Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 19, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

CAMPAIGN NARRATIVE WATCH....E.J. Dionne notes today that Democrats do pretty well in national polls until actual names are plugged into the questions. Then the Dems start to sink. Why? Bob Somerby thinks he knows:

Why do voters want a Democratic president — until the candidates' names are mentioned? Dionne doesn't say, but we'll offer an obvious answer: This "performance gap" is a reaction to the mainstream press corps' messaging in the past several years — messaging in which demon tales have been dumped on Big Dems, with hero tales fashioned for Reps.

Do McCain and Giuliani run ahead of their party? Yes — and why would that be a surprise? McCain has been praised for eight years for his mighty "straight talk," even when he flips and reinvents madly. Giuliani has been endlessly tagged as "America's mayor." In short, the mainstream press corps tends to recite these pols' slogans for them, as we've recorded many times.

By way of contrast, let's just say this isn't a problem Hillary Clinton has been forced to endure.

Who knows? Maybe one advantage of the absurdly early campaign season this year will be to help Dems out by letting the press get all the idiot stories out of their system before the public is paying attention. Alternatively, maybe a year from now their desperation for newer and even more idiotic stories will be all-consuming after all the obvious narratives have been used up. Vote for your prediction in comments. I'm a pessimistic sort, so I guess I'll go with option 2.

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (59)

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Comments

The MSM is able to stay on this narrative (Dems = flip-flopping non-manly weasels; GOP = heroic saviors drenched in musk) forever. Dems have to find a way to overcome it.

Posted by: rk on June 19, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

They won't get the idiot stories out of their system because they are publishing them on purpose. It's idiot stories all the way down. It's time to stop hoping for a fair media and time to start working around it.

Posted by: Boronx on June 19, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise."

"And what is the turtle standing on?"

"You're very clever, young man, but it's no use -- it's turtles all the way down."

Posted by: zmulls on June 19, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Idiot stories, and more idiot stories. They can always make up more. This time next year will have Hillary with a horse a la Catherine the Great, "Hussein" Obama with a bevy of white chicks, and Edwards with his hairdresser. And if Gore runs it'll be his fault your kids are downloading porn.

Posted by: thersites on June 19, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

C'mon Kevin you know better. Those idiot stories that start with Rush or some other idiot don't get out of their systems. They get repeated ad nauseum until it's common wisdom Al Gore claimed he invented the internet and John Kerry fought for the Viet Cong, if not in Vietnam certainly when he went to Paris after he got out of the navy. What am I talking about? Go ask your nearest wingnut. They'll tell you all about it.

Posted by: markg8 on June 19, 2007 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe one advantage of the absurdly early campaign season this year will be to help Dems out by letting the press get all the idiot stories out of their system before the public is paying attention.

that's some funny shit, there, Kevin!

Posted by: cleek on June 19, 2007 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

I think surveys of populations poll high for Democratic because of what the Democratic Party still represents. When names are plugged in to those surveys, the sample population understands those names do not represent Democratic values, resulting in lower numbers.

Posted by: Brojo on June 19, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe one advantage of the absurdly early campaign season this year will be to help Dems out by letting the press get all the idiot stories out of their system before the public is paying attention.

This has statement has my vote in the "Most glorious example of wishful thinking of the year" award category.

Posted by: Alan on June 19, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Pointing out the silliest things a Dem does and ignoring the outrageous by a Republican is how the media protects themselves from wingnuts calling them "librul".

Posted by: Robert on June 19, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo, I wonder how Dennis Kucinich stacks up in the 2008 polls? If only the media weren't suppressing this information! Probably leads Giuliani and McCain by 20 points because of his Democratic values.

Posted by: magellan on June 19, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, they do this on purpose. More time just means more time for them to force this message into the heads of the Americans. I don't think it's just protection from conservatism, it's also about pleasing pro-republican advertisers and editors as well.

Posted by: soullite on June 19, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo, I wonder how Dennis Kucinich stacks up in the 2008 polls? If only the media weren't suppressing this information! Probably leads Giuliani and McCain by 20 points because of his Democratic values.

Alan, I think this tops your quote on wishful thinking.

Posted by: gq on June 19, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Pointing out the silliest things a Dem does and ignoring the outrageous by a Republican is how the media protects themselves from wingnuts calling them "librul".

I seriously doubt that the MSM gives a shit about wingnuts calling them liberal.

Posted by: E Henry Thripshaw on June 19, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe one advantage of the absurdly early campaign season this year will be to help Dems out by letting the press get all the idiot stories out of their system before the public is paying attention.

Why in the world would they run out of idiot stories? They're constructed out of non-events, of which there's an endless supply. No, my prediction is that the idiot stories will run right to election day.

Besides, they seem to be working.

Posted by: Horatio Parker on June 19, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

the MSM hasn't exhausted idiot stories about bushco even at this late date, so I wouldn't be too optimistic.

Posted by: supersaurus on June 19, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Democratic politicians need to learn how to control their message through the media; it can be done. It is a different world now, they must adjust to the new set of rules if they are to succeed.

Unless the US government actively breaks up the media oligarchy, the situation will not change in the future.

A critical press is a prequisite for a democracy, we are losing ground fast, heading toward fascism. I fear that when corporations get control of the internet, we are in big trouble.

Posted by: TT on June 19, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Option 2, of course.

Let's hope that the Democrats on television are smart enough to play the game. That is, if they are asked "Why does everybody hate Hillary?" their response should not be "I'm not sure--she probably does not deserve some of the bad feelings people associate with her."

The correct answer to such questions is, "Fred Thompson is a lazy Right Winger who will cause all of us to die horrible deaths after watching our children die horrible deaths." I hope some Democrats figure this out, because they didn't answer such questions well in 2000 or 2004.

Posted by: reino on June 19, 2007 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Boronx, LOL at "it's idiot stories all the way down."

So . . . we all know the problem. We all know what is about to happen to our candidates. What's the plan? What can we do about this? Making fun of them in blog comments doesn't seem to be getting us very far . . .

Posted by: EmmaAnne on June 19, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

After Nixon was elected in '68, he started sending His VP, Spiro Agnew, around making speech after speech savaging the "liberal" press of the time. (Writing speeches for Agnew was a young writer named William Safire, who like alliteration.) This served purposes both short-term (allowing the administration to reply to the pounding they were getting every night on Vietnam) and long-term (laying the basis for the "liberal media" narrative). Since it was the VP doing it and not the President, Nixon kept some distance from the nastiness of it, but at the same time was able to have the speeches make some impact.

Assuming Dems can get into the oval office again, the new President ought to do something similar. Whoever the VP is should be someone able to undertake pit bull attacks. The VP should then make attack after attack on the MSM, making the Somerby points about how terrible they are.

The critiques will be both true and impossible to ignore. Combine this with FCC and legislative initiatives to break up the broadcast monopolies, and you'll be able to strike fear into the hearts of the MSM ownership. Do that enough, and you might start getting some less hostile coverage.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 19, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I believe once of the benefits of a Giuliani/Clinton race for the Democrats will be the increased attention paid to New York. It'll be almost impossible for the press to ignore Rudy's past as mayor if he's the Republican nominee, unless it's entirely in the pocket of the other side. And if the major media outlets don't do it, then the increased attention paid to the state will allow the smaller ones a better chance of getting their points out there.

It's sort of a wonder, really, why the press hasn't done this already. As other people know, he's a guy with shady business dealings up the wazoo, ties to the mob, failed marriages marked by absurdly ugly breakups and kids who barely speak to him if at all, and a penchant for dressing up in drag. Yet the press doesn't see fit to discuss any of this in great detail? Astonishing.

Posted by: Brian on June 19, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's all very tiresome when the bulk of any reporting is only based on who's ahead now, who may be ahead tomorrow, who will probably win the election.

It's all handicapping and no issues. And a monumental pain in the ass.

Posted by: Joshua Norton on June 19, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Since the modus operandi of the journalists has now been common knowledge for over 10 years, there is no excuse for the Dem leaders to be innocent victims of the media.

If they suffer from unfair portrayal in the media, it's their own damn fault, notwithstanding the thousands of blog posts on the subject from Somerby exposing the journalists' despicable behavior.

This is the main reason I fault Kerry for losing the 2004 election: having known fully well that he will be smeared by the opposition with explicitcooperation from the media, he chose to keep silent and spoke plaintively and yet so mildly when it was too late.

Posted by: gregor on June 19, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

When reporters ask about it: "If you were doing your job, you would already know that the story is a lie."

Posted by: freelunch on June 19, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Did I read correctly that Bob Somerby, whoever he is, complained about "the mainstream press corps' messaging in the past several years — messaging in which demon tales have been dumped on Big Dems, with hero tales fashioned for Reps."? Has he been reading the same papers as me? Has he even looked at the New York Times during that period? It's practically been a compendium of DNC talking points, and the television broadcast media (CBS, NBC, ABC, NPR, CNN - but not Fox) have been the same. During the last election, if you recall, the MSM line was how corrupt and incompetent the Republicans were and how heroic the Democrats were in coming along to sweep out the stables. What the hell is Mr. Somerby smoking?

Posted by: DBL on June 19, 2007 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

DBL, the Republicans are corrupt and incompetent but that isn't what the news was covering. They were covering the Swift Boat liars and spreading the lies around further. Sure, they expected Bush to lose, but they didn't know about the corruption in Ohio because they weren't doing their job. They didn't pay attention to the issues, just the numbers.

Posted by: freelunch on June 19, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

The fact that Republicans are incapable of running the government is not a DNC talking point--it is the truth. The New York Times has not conspired against Republicans--the truth has.

I can respect DBL, though. We need Democrats who are as willing to overstate our case as DBL is willing to state his lack of a case. Next time you wonder why Republicans run the media, take a look at DBL and wonder why there are no Democrats like him.

We don't have to build up the Democrats. We just need to tear down the Republicans. The job gets easier and easier every day, but it needs to be done every day. Let's talk about Giuliani, Bush, Cheney, Fox News, McCain, Romney, Thompson, Rice, Feith, and the whole lot of them. Now that DeLay is gone, we need to get some new Congressional Republicans to make fun of--looks like Stevens is a fun target for now.

Did you notice that DBL said nothing nice about the Republicans? For one thing, he didn't need to. For another thing, there's nothing nice to say.

Posted by: reino on June 19, 2007 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Very droll sense of humor there, Kevin. What's Next? A reader poll on whether the earth is round or flat? Whether or not the sky is blue? Whether man evolved from lower animals over the last several million years or was placed on earth fully formed within the last 10,000 years? Oh, wait....

Posted by: Marlowe on June 19, 2007 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

Many Americans do not necessarily want a Democratic President so much as they want change. The problem for Democrats is that the issues most Americans agree with Bush on, such as tax cuts, the Right to Bear Arms, and judges, the Democratic frontrunners oppose Bush on. On issues many Americans disagree with Bush on, such as the chaotic borders and the most massive expansion of federal power since the Great Society, the leading Democrats agree with Bush on. When it comes to the Iraq War, the issue that Americans disagree with Bush on the most, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards both voted in favor of the war. Thus, the leading Democrats share many of Bush's weaknesses without sharing his strengths.

Obama is the exception when it comes to Iraq, and the significance of the issue may propel him to the White House. But whereas Bush is right on only a few issues, the Democratic leaders are right on even less. This is one reason why the Democratic Congress's approval ratings now hover even lower than Bush's.

It is likely that if McCain, Giuliani, or Romney is nominated, the Democrats will have more than a decent chance to retake the White House, especially if they nominate Obama, who, unlike Hillary and Edwards, opposed the Iraq War from the beginning. But if the Establishment Republican candidates remain evenly powerful, if the Establishment remains divided, than an insurgent candidate, such as Ron Paul, may take the nomination. And then the Democrats will face a whole different kind of race.

Finally, there is a factor of hubris among the interest groups on the Left that could also undermine the Democrat's chances. In 1972, Nixon appeared to be a one term President, and the Left, feeling it was their time to shine, decided to nominate the very liberal George McGovern and run a liberal campaign. Nixon fought back, attacking the Democrats as the Party of "acid, amnesty, and abortion". With an effective campaign, and the aid of price controls, Nixon defeated McGovern in a 49 state landslide.

The Democrats would be wise to play to the center on this one. But will the interest groups that dominate the Party, smelling the figurative blood of a wounded President, be willing to cede such territory to the centrists they loathe?

2008 may look like 1932 to some Democrats. But it may actually be more like 1972.

Posted by: brian on June 19, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Part of the Dems' problem is that they do not have a natural strong candidate. Hillary has made many enemies. Obama is young and not highly experienced. Also, they both suffer from being minorities. People won't admit it, but a lot of voters would be uncomfortable with a woman or an African American. (Romney has a similar problem.) Edwards has little experience.

Guiliani has a positive public image, which he earned. He's rightly praised for the improvements he made in New York City and for his leadership after 9/11.

McCain was a war hero. But, the main reason he has gotten positive press has been his willingness to criticize other Republicans. One aspect of media bias is that they laud Republican "mavericks", but they don't give similar praise to Democratic mavericks.

Fred Thompson's popularity remains a mystery to me. I can only conclude that many of his supporters confuse the TV image with the actual person. I suspect that by the time voting begins, voters will look at the man himself, whereupon they will be turned off by his limited experience.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 19, 2007 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

Bob Somerby is annoying, repetitive, boring, humorless, relentless, and disdainfull of anyone who is not in 100% agreement with him. He is also 99% right. DBL? Not so much. He is much funnier than Somerby however. Anyone who claims that the NYT news and commentary (partially excluding the editorials) coverage of Democrats has been has even been positive (let alone a comependium of DNC talking points) the last few years, especially in 2000 and 2004, certainly deserves a comedy gig somewhere. Or with the RNC (where he is likely currently employed).

Posted by: Marlowe on June 19, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

This is only the tip of the iceberg considering that those in the media who were right about Iraq have already been demoted in favor of those who were wrong - as has already been well-documented.

Posted by: Kiweagle on June 19, 2007 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

"Since the modus operandi of the journalists has now been common knowledge for over 10 years, there is no excuse for the Dem leaders to be innocent victims of the media.

If they suffer from unfair portrayal in the media, it's their own damn fault, notwithstanding the thousands of blog posts on the subject from Somerby exposing the journalists' despicable behavior."

Well, but . . . what do you suggest? How does a candidate force the press to portray him fairly? I suspect it needs to be a broader effort, but I don't see many ideas as to how it could actually happen.

Posted by: EmmaAnne on June 19, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

how Dennis Kucinich stacks up in the 2008 polls?

Good question. One would think values Democrats would choose a candidate who best represents the values of the party. Unfortunately most people do not choose candidates based on party values. Electibility, popularity, personal preferences about looks or height, and candidate partisanship play more of a roll when polls ask about individuals.

Both Kucinich and Clinton supporters are going to answer Democratic in a poll of party preferences. In a poll about Democratic candidates, the Kucinich partisans are going to put Clinton very low and the Clinton partisans are going to do the same to Kucinich. In a poll comparing Democratic front runners to Republican front runners Kucinich or Paul might not even be listed as choices.

I think the disconnect between party values and candidates is based on electoral probabilities not party policies.

Posted by: Brojo on June 19, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Dionne, a French name, has a French mind. Commenter DBL is a great man and you fools have not understood his greatness. The Truth is that the Media Hates America much as you all do. We're fighting enemies and all you're concerned about is piddly little corruption.

Fred Thompson makes me so happy I could cry. He is such a beautiful American true success story. You will be kneeling before him soon, you haters.

Posted by: Free Lover of Freedom and Free Liberty on June 19, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

There is no story too idiotic for the MSM to drop if it concerns democrats. They'll just add the new ones onto the playlist and set it to shuffle.

Posted by: Col Bat Guano on June 19, 2007 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

There is no level too low for the msm to sink with their base stories about dems. This a.m. Russert repeated his rnc-limbaugh talking points regarding Edwards with relish: haircut, house, hedge-funds. He was obviously delighted with himself and the alliteration trick. Disgusting.

Russert and Matthews are the same second rate journos who pounded Bill Clinton on character but haven't a single question for old Rudy, with his wives and mistresses and mayoral mansion sexual flings. They don't even see the irony when they asked Rudy how he would feel about Bill Clinton occupying the WH again.

Posted by: Chrissy on June 19, 2007 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

Well, but . . . what do you suggest? How does a candidate force the press to portray him fairly? I suspect it needs to be a broader effort, but I don't see many ideas as to how it could actually happen

It's not the question of forcing the press to portray him/her fairly, it's how they respond to such dishonest narratives in the media. For example, I think Kerry would have done wonders for his chances of victory had he come out forcefully and furiously for himself as soon as the whiff of swiftboating was in the air. Instead, he waited, and then chose to whine, 'Mr. President, stop the swift boaters from smearing me'. That's hardly what you would expect from the potential leader of the free world. Even if you do not attack the opponent below the belt (although the current political environment is such that there is no risk in doing so) at least you can vociferously defend yourself.

I don't see the current crop of Dem leaders learning much from the Kerry loss.

Posted by: gregor on June 19, 2007 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

Forgot to mention the most appalling Russert rnc-limbaugh talking point. Russert, the self styled "working class guy from Buffalo" who happens to be rich as Croesus, and plays Mr. Pious Catholic, had the nerve to question how Edwards could be both wealthy and care about the poor at the same time. Wonder how much time and money Russert the pious fat cat devotes to the poor.

Posted by: Chrissy on June 19, 2007 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

It is funny to see a poster describe Bob Somerby as "humorless" since he makes his living as a stand-up comedian.

When it comes to his judgments on our national media these last fifteen years, however, Somerby is indeed humorless, relentless, repetitive and all that other stuff Marlowe said.

Posted by: howie on June 19, 2007 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

along with impeaching Bushies, we may be due for an overturn in the press.

Richard Cohen earned himself 71 pages of negative comments today. Most of them manage to overcome the Post's incredibly bad software & still appear well written.

This is happening to the Post writers all the time now. Somebody there is eventually going to start reading their baskets of cogent rage & who knows? Howell, Broder, Cohen & that crew are all long past retirement age.

The cost of maintaining a pundit who is universally derided has to exceed the benefit. Chris Matthews, Glenn Beck - Where's their constituency?

Granted, the replacements will probably be just as awful, maybe Politico awful, but most likely they'll start new scripts.

Posted by: Downpuppy on June 19, 2007 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

i counted six different people living in a dreamworld: in that dreamworld, there's nothing to it for the dems to overcome the standard narratives. they just have to yell as loud as rush or something.

sorry, kiddies: ain't gonna do it. the narrative will simply be "angry dems can't take criticism."

journalists, like all professionals, tend to think in consistent ways: maybe the next generation of journalists will think in different ways than the current one, but until then, it's simply "blaming the victim" to insist that it would be no sweat for the dems to overcome the institutional inertia in place.

meanwhile, although by and large it's easy to ignore the blitherings of brian and ex-liberal, the least brian could do if he's going to play 1972 is know something about 1972, namely, that nixon was the favorite going in with wallace not running as an independent. only an idiot like brian would think otherwise.

Posted by: howard on June 19, 2007 at 4:16 PM | PERMALINK

The best defense is a good offense. When Democrats are attacked, they should ignore it. They and their underlings need to go after the Republicans in every way possible. If every Democrat on TV in 2004 talked about how cowardly Bush and Cheney are, the only candidate in the 2008 Democratic Primary would be the incumbent. Instead, Democrats went on television and tried to be thoughtful.

Also, the lesson from 1972 is not to go moderate. If it was, then the lessons from 1980, 1984, 2000, and 2004 were to go radical. The main lesson from 1972 is to know demographics (old people with kids vote, and young people without kids don't), but that does not affect how liberal or conservative a candidate should be.

Posted by: reino on June 19, 2007 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

I believe once of the benefits of a Giuliani/Clinton race for the Democrats will be the increased attention paid to New York.

No, no, no! If it's Rudy vs. Hillary, the New York tabloids win!

And I note Somerby is a 1969 Harvard grad. Didn't Al Gore go there about the same time?

Posted by: Vincent on June 19, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

Vincent, Bob Somerby was a roommate of Al Gore and Tommy Lee Jones at Harvard.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 19, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK
Russert and Matthews are the same second rate journos who pounded Bill Clinton…. Chrissy on June 19, 2007 at 3:40 PM
They made millions telling every lie they heard and making up others about Clinton, Gore and Kerry. The RNC should have purchased their Nantucket summer homes for them.
Part of the Dems' problem is that they do not have a natural strong candidate…..ex-lax at 2:19 PM
In case you weren't aware of it, women are the majority in America. The Democratic Party has a plethora of great candidates, any of which would be a better president than any on the Republican side. The competence of Biden, Clinton, Obama, Edwards is obvious against the Republicans who can only spout their adherence to Bush policies which has failed in New Orleans, failed in Iraq, failed in Europe, failed in Asia, failed in the Middle East, and failed in the US. Giuliani, if you haven't heard, was hated in NYC before 9-11 and couldn't carry the city today. He was headed for defeat in the senate race he conceded to Clinton.
….But it may actually be more like 1972. brian at 2:18 PM
Stick close to your itty biddy buddy Bush and it'll be like 1964. Posted by: Mike on June 19, 2007 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

Somerby has done (and continues to do) yeoman work on the scripts that rule the elite media. Needless to say, these scripts favor Republicans.
This has been going on for 15 years.

Media Matters has joined the fight against the script.
Paul Krugman took at shot at the script a week ago.

The only way to counteract the favored scripts is to call them on it. In all forums. Every day.
Somerby critiques this site (and other liberal sites) for avoiding the issue. He says you avoid discussing how Clinton, Gore and Kerry were beaten with these scripts for the past 15 years. And how the current Democratic presidential candidates are being beaten over the head with these scripts. I am sure you are aware of the criticism.

You and other progressive (liberal) sites must push back against the favored script all the time or we will lose again next year.
Such is the power of the MSM script.
Plus the MSM want the Republicans to win.

Also, read "The Daily Howler" every day.

Posted by: King Quaker on June 19, 2007 at 6:08 PM | PERMALINK

I think Kevin grossly underestimates the whorishness of the media whores if he thinks they will run out of whorish fuckery in any timeframe you care to name. They are bottomless wells of whoredom.

Posted by: Disturbance on June 19, 2007 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

"The New York Times has not conspired against Republicans--the truth has."

Yes, but the Republican troll has a point. After all, the facts are biased aganst the Repugs.

Posted by: Disturbance on June 19, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Pravda never turned a profit at all.. no profits at all, yet they managed to keep operating for over 70 years. How could that be?

Think of the MSM as a loss-leader for oligarchy.

Posted by: Archie on June 19, 2007 at 6:59 PM | PERMALINK


ex-lib: Fred Thompson's popularity remains a mystery to me.


its easy...

republicans prefer fred's legs...rather than hillary's..

Posted by: mr. irony on June 19, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Fred Thompson may be a phony, but he's a viable candidate and he may well be the Republican nominee. Here's why:

Rudy Giuliani, the current GOP frontrunner, is from New York. Hillary Clinton, who every Republican presumes will be the Democratic nominee, is a senator who represents New York. All Thompson has to do to stay in the race is go out to the heartland with his red truck and say that he's not from New York. That's enough to keep him in the race through the primaries.

Romney's from Massachusetts, which out here in flyover land is almost as bad as New York. McCain's been in Washington too long. Brownback, Huckabee, et al lack the name recognition to pull the trick off.

Downstate Illinois politicians for generations have made their reputations by running against Chicago. Rural Tennessee politicians have done the same by vilifying the sin bins of Nashville and Memphis. I suspect the same dynamic works on the national level as well. Fred Thompson doesn't have to put forth much in the way of policy. all he has to do is run against New York City and the "Eastern Establishment", and he'll guarantee himself a long ride.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on June 19, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

The post directly after this one should answer your questions, Kevin. Rudy's AWOL status at the Iraq Study Group, per your post, was common knowledge for months, but never addressed by the MCM*.

Now, if that were a Dem contender, do you think this kind of news would be left unpublished or not talked about???

Supreme example of IOKIYAR. And, as Somerby notes, almost any Repubican gets the Oooh! My Hero! treatment; Dems get the Pathetic Little Wusses (or something else for Hillary) treatment.

Bush is in the WH because of the MCM.

*MCN--Mainstream Corporate Media

Posted by: jawbone on June 19, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

The post directly after this one should answer your questions, Kevin. Rudy's AWOL status at the Iraq Study Group, per your post, was common knowledge for months, but never addressed by the MCM*.

Now, if that were a Dem contender, do you think this kind of news would be left unpublished or not talked about???

Supreme example of IOKIYAR. And, as Somerby notes, almost any Repubican gets the Oooh! My Hero! treatment; Dems get the Pathetic Little Wusses (or something else for Hillary) treatment.

Bush is in the WH because of the MCM.

*MCN--Mainstream Corporate Media

Posted by: jawbone on June 19, 2007 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the double--it took so long to post I thought I hadn't clicked. ooops.

Posted by: jawbone on June 19, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Look, Kevin, as if you're actually going to read this comment:

I share your fury at the idiocy of the haircut stories. And I, too, work in the press. But what I don't understand is why more people don't investigate the editorial decisions that are made to run these stories. Who are the people who decide to go with the Edwards haircut story? Why do they make that call? Why are they saying, "This is newsworthy?" It shouldn't be that hard to track this stuff down, and to force them to engage in discussion about it personally. We are, after all, members of the press, right? I know Bob Somerby is sort of on this beat, but I don't see him doing enough substantive journalistic tracking of how this happens.

Posted by: mattsteinglass on June 20, 2007 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

what I don't understand is why more people don't investigate the editorial decisions that are made to run these stories.

I heard some author on NPR Saturday AM, Keenan(?), who wrote a book about the degrading cultural effects of the internet. His thesis was that the internet is run by amatuers and that other medias are meritocracies run by well educated and well meaning professionals. I do not think this author understood that the meritocracy he was so fond of has become wholly corrupted by capital and that those who have turned to the internet understand this.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with King Quaker, it is VERY important that everyone who wants the Democrats to win in 08 should read the Daily Howler EVERY day.....I really disagree with the poster who wrote:

"The best defense is a good offense. When Democrats are attacked, they should ignore it."....that is soooo wrong, I hope every thinking Dem chooses to ignore that sentiment completely...

Also, to the poster who thinks the Howler is humorless...what...?....I find the Howler to be not only vital and important but also DAMN FUNNY! Lighten up bucko!....I know that a lot of "fan boys" out there dont like Somerby ripping into their "liberal" and blog heroes, but anyo9ne who doesnt work CONSTANTLY to fight the MSMs false and phony scripting about the candidates are just enablers of our completely disfunctional main stream press corps. (you know, the same MSM that Somerby points out that so many of these same "heroes" some day want to be part of)

Posted by: Tim L on June 20, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

oops! I vote for # 2

Thanks Kevin for this post...and your wise and pessimistic (after 2000 and since - only a fool wouldnt be) nature.

Posted by: Tim L on June 20, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

I stand by my quote, Tim L. If the focus of the next election becomes Thompson, Giuliani, Romney, McCain, Gingrich, or whatever other doofus gets nominated by the Republicans, then we will win.

If the focus is Clinton, Obama, or Edwards, then we will lose.

It's that simple.

Posted by: reino on June 20, 2007 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK
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