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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Punditry? Idiocracy

Iron my shirt! Iron my shirt!
--Hecklers at a Clinton appearance in New Hampshire

Before we really get rolling here, I'm going to tell you a little story. In 2004 I was so for Kucinich. He was right about everything. There wasn't a single issue that I thought he got wrong. He was perfect.

When February came around and it came time to cast my primary vote, I voted for Edwards -- still believing that Kucinich was perfect. Why? Because I noticed that the longer the Democratic primary race went on, the lower Bush scored in the polls. The 2004 dem debate wasn't about who would make the best president or -- despite the punditry -- the question of electability. The debate was really about who thought Bush sucked more. And, as the primaries went on, it was Bush -- not the Democratic candidates -- who was taking a beating. So I voted for Edwards, who was running second, hoping to keep the ball rolling. If the Bush-bashing fest that was the Democratic primary continued, I figured Bush's slide would continue.

All of which is by way of explaining that I can't say who I will or won't vote for next month. I vote in the primary based as much on the moment in history in which my vote is cast as I do on whether or not I think the candidate is good. I'm not ruling out voting for anyone, even if I'm not particularly supportive of them at this very moment. When it comes to the primaries, at least, I'm the non-classic undecided -- someone who's vote is cast deliberately and strategically -- as opposed to the classic indecisive dope.

So, I'm not saying that I won't vote for Hillary Clinton. Just that it's really, really, really unlikely. Hillary, like her husband and Joe Lieberman, is a "New Democrat" -- meaning a corporatist Democrat, what Sen. Russ Feingold calls "Republican-lite." So I'm not really a fan.

But, man, is Hillary ever getting a raw deal in the press. She seems to be attracting the stupidest, most simpleminded criticism out there. We got a glimpse of how brainless the criticism would be at the very beginning of the campaign, when she caught some flack for showing a little cleavage on C-SPAN. This had something to do with the campaign how? Since then, it really hasn't gotten any better.

It's been asked whether the nation is ready for a black or female president. The first two primary contests say yes -- and that trend's likely to continue. The question is whether or not the media is ready for a black or female president. And the answer there is mixed. Black? Yes. Female? Clearly not. Despite either being or living with women all their damned lives, most of the press seems to have no idea how to cover a woman's campaign seriously.

Take the latest incident. At an appearance in New Hampshire, Clinton was asked, "How do you do it? How do you keep up ... and who does your hair?" OK, stupid question, but we'll let it pass. It was asked by a local free-lance photographer, not some big-name talking head.

According to CNN, "Clinton said she had help with her hair on 'special days,' and that she drew criticism on the days she did not." Point number one -- she draws criticism from the media for bad hair days. Who freakin' cares? What's the reasoning here? Will Osama Bin Laden (assuming he's alive) look at President Hillary's frizzy hair and say to himself, "America is weak today. We must strike now!"?

But the bigger point is that Hillary cried when she answered. Well, not exactly. Not if you watch the video. She chokes up, probably because she was as tired of the damned, stupid-assed questions about hair and make up as she was just plain tired. But, you'll notice, she doesn't actually cry.

This is what crying looks like:

House Minority Leader John Boehner bawling his eyes out

That's House Minority Leader John Boehner crying his eyes out over the fact that Democrats had introduced a non-binding resolution opposing Bush's surge. In fact, Boehner seems to cry at the drop of a hat. How big a deal was this with the punditry? It wasn't. Pretty much only lefty blogs made anything of it.

But Boehner's not running for president, just running at the eyes, you say? How about this, then:

Associated Press:

Mitt Romney's eyes filled with tears Monday as the Republican presidential contender recalled watching the casket of a soldier killed in Iraq return to the United States and imagined if it were one of his five sons.

Adding a poignant twist to a story he often tells on the campaign, Romney recalled the scene at Boston's Logan International Airport while he was Massachusetts governor to make the point that the country remains united despite its differences over the war or other national challenges.

Was the reaction of the punditry, "Boo-hoo, Mittens! Boo-hoo-hoo!"? No. Romney's emotional moment was "poignant." Never mind that Mitt's kids are only in imaginary danger of that imagined death in Iraq. Mitt's kids will never serve -- they're too busy campaigning for their dad. Mitt calls this, "Serving their country." There was no talk of Mitt Romney's "Ed Muskie moment."

Apparently, it's only bad when women cry these days -- even if they don't actually cry.

We'll end this with the context of the quote we started with:

A Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign stop was interrupted when two men stood in the crowd and began screaming, "Iron my shirt!" during one the US senator's final appearances before New Hampshire voters cast the first primary ballots in the US.

Clinton, a former first lady running to become the United States' first female president, laughed at the seemingly sexist protest that suggested a woman's place is doing laundry and not running the country.

"Ah, the remnants of sexism -- alive and well," Clinton said to applause.

Amen. Not only among those lower primates who heckled her, but among the punditry who criticizes her. There are plenty of substantial reasons for criticism of Hillary Clinton, the only reason pundits resort to sexism is because it's so damned easy for them.

This way, they don't have to actually do any work. And this way, they can ignore the issues. Just as in 2004, when the pundits asked the BS question, "Which candidate would voters most want to have a beer with?" (ignoring, BTW, that Bush doesn't drink), it allows them to dodge the real questions and the real problems facing the nation. And it allows them to drag the campaign coverage down to the level of paparazzi TV like Entertainment Tonight.

That's what they think of you. They think you're stupid and they think you care about BS. And, if you don't care about BS, they'll use all their pundit powers to convince you that you do. Think what you like about Hillary Clinton, but be offended by what the media thinks of you and how dismissive they are of your intelligence.


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