Thursday, June 04, 2009

Racists outraged by racism

Earlier in the week, I asked a friend of mine who hosts a popular on-line "chat" program for a well-trafficked on-line newsletter/magazine/whatever something like this is called, whether his colleagues in the establishment Washington media truly understood the irony, if not absurdity, of asking such Republican celebrities as Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Pat Buchanan and Glenn Beck, or air-head frat boys like Tucker Carlson, to comment on Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor's comments about how her ethnic heritage and background affect her approach to law and constitutional rights. In the case of Limbaugh and Buchanan, that's like asking Adolf Eichmann whether he thinks Woody Allen's movies are too Jewish. As for Gingrich, he's Exhibit #1 for the old Lyndon Johnson adage that there's no such thing as bad publicity for a politician, just no publicity. Naturally, if you add in an occasional albeit inexplicable observation that one day we will have a student exchange program, funded by the private sector, of course, with our Martian friends . . . in our lifetime, you become, in the eyes of the establishment media, an "interesting" person with "big" ideas. Not ideas that have any relevance to reality, or are the least bit workable, or are actually thought through. As long as you don't mention such phrases as "election cycle," "the process," use adjectives like "train wreck" or "Draconian," or mention how some obscure small state governor, like "30 Rock" Kenneth the Page act-a-like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, or a one term small town assemblyman represents the future of the Republican party or is a possible candidate for the Republican presidential nomintion in 2012, you qualify as a Beltway intellectual. Newt the Frewt is an intellectual like Mark Russell is a political satirist or the Capitol Steps are a comedy troup -- only in Washington.

As for Tucker Carlson, who knows why anyone would want his opinion about anything? Yet, and not suprisingly, there are those who do. Then again, these are largely the same people who thought Sarah Palin, who was the future of the Republican party either slightly before or after Bobby Jindal was the future of the Republican party -- I honestly don't remember who came first -- was hot.

No, really, Palin had Washington men getting all weak-kneed in their penny loafers and Washington women trading in their Spectator pumps, Hermes scarves and Talbots suits for something more racy to keep their men in check, like a Land's End skirt or outdoorsey and rugged, like an L.L. Bean Gore-Tex jacket with a silver triangle on the back.

. . . back to my friend. His answer: "I get 300 calls on a live chat for almost any guest I choose. For Newt, I get 5,000. It's all show business; not journalism."

At least he's honest. But isn't there some line that even a huckster like Gingrich, whose career long ago devolved into a "Spinal Tap"-like self-parody of himself, can't cross before being placed on that dreaded "DO NOT CALL" list of former administration officials, political strategists, kidnap victims and Capitol Hill insiders? Gingrich's public statement that Sotomayor was a "racist" for commenting in an old speech that her experience as a Latina woman gave her insight into certain issues that differed, by and large, from a white man revealed far more than his own stupidity. The episode also revealed the tired pattern of the establishment media relying on the same old hacks, frauds and has-beens for "commentary" on matters about which they know nothing or, even if they know something, are uniquely unqualified to assess.

Oh, there's so much more to say. But Joe Conason at Salon says it all much better here.

1 comment:

Robert Goldschmidt said...

Now c'mon Gregg... While I agree with most all your comments, you are at best misleading when you claim that Ms. Sotomayor said that "her experience as a Laina woman gave her insight into certain issues that differed, by and large, from a white man". This is clearly not what she said. She said that she hoped a Latina woman "would more often that not reach a better conclusion than a white male". BIG DIFFERENCE! I'm surprised at your glossing over of this statement. Not even Obama agreed with this statement, and indicated that he wished she had used different words. My guess is that during her confirmation hearing, she'll also say that she wished she had used different words and that she didn't mean what these words say.

The Republican party, thanks to a general lack of leadership, a narrow list of primarily social issues which are far outside the mainstream of America, and the failed presidency of W, is becoming a fringe party of right wing fanatics. However, even though I support Soyomayor's candidacy, I think it's important to candidly admit when someone says something that's wrong.

In any event, despite this singular poor choice of words, she's a strong candidate who should and will be confirmed.