Around The Campaign 2008 Sphere
NOTE: This is a special campaign 2008 edition of our famous Around The Sphere link-fest where we offer readers links to weblogs of differing viewpoints and give you our comments on the issues raised. Links do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of TMV or its co-writers.
More On Hillary Clinton Versus MSNBC’s David “Pimped Out” Shuster whose whore-able choice of words sparked a political/media firestorm. Tom Watson sees some political and media fallout:
The towel-slapping, anti-woman frat boys (plus Andrea Mitchell) over at MSNBC just had their bells rung by the political equivalent of a punishing Michael Strahan sack. Not only does David Shuster face an indefinite suspension for his boorish “pimped out” remark about Chelsea Clinton. Not only has the network had to apologize multiple times to the candidate its talking heads openly despise and root against (see Olbermann’s best special comment of the year, above). Not only does it put Chris Matthews and his gang of Clinton haters on public double probation. But the pimping out moment does something else as well.
It turns the momentum in the all-important Media Primary.
For the very first time in this year-long marathon, Hillary Clinton has turned back the swelling, snarling, sexist media beast like Gandalf confronting the Balrog.
The Shuster locker room moment was a tipping point in this battle with the media for the Clinton campaign, an opening to jab a killing spear into the gut of the snarling beast, and an absolutely justifiable reason for a counter-attack.
(And he says a lot more). As we noted in THIS POST yesterday, the controversy reflects the cable talk media culture. There are pitfalls to “advocacy journalism,” particularly when it involves journalism that has become intertwined aspects of talk radio.
But Some Others Disagree. For instance, Hart Williams has an this excellent MUST-READ look at this controversy and examines the offending words and wonders if the Clinton folks aren’t going to rue the day they pressed this issue:
I wonder if the increasingly shrill Hillary Clinton campaign and its supporters are really aware of the “meta” message they’re sending out this week?
Read it all. But since TMV is mentioned, to clarify: (a) I stand by my headline and everything in TMV’s post (b) TMV is not and will not be a part of any “campaign” for or against any candidate: we look at each issue individually and each writer here then gives readers his/her own take on it. (We routinely lose readers on the right and left, seldom get political ads from candidates and are never invited to any candidate conference calls to friendly bloggers due to our independence).
And Don’t Miss This MUST-READ On Shuster/Clinton by The Gun Toting Liberal
REQUIRED READING FOR ALL POLITICAL JUNKIES!! Political scientist Dr. Steven Taylor’s newest Toast-O-Meter is up where he takes a concise but thoughtful look at where the campaign is — who’s up, down and gives you some vital links. But this week he also looks an a fascinating issue which merits quoting here:
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of this election cycle to date has been the advent of widespread delusion regarding the candidate pool. I am not sure how much of this is because in the Internet age there is greater access to all, and therefore a higher probability of encountering passionate (if not insane) supporters of a given candidate, how much is the result of the fragmentation of the electorate due to the large number of candidates this year, and how much is because the Earth is tilting slightly off its axis and no one has noticed yet.
It could be all three — but his point about the Internet is well taken. Rather than seeing a broadening of perspectives on many websites, there is an increasing (and understandable) partisanship that has now narrowed even further from Democratic/Republican to individual candidates. On many websites you can almost tell whom they support by the headlines. This also will have positive fall-out (which we genuinely believe and know is NOT why websites take positions) so a website will get lots of pro-Hillary readers, others pro-Obama, some pro-McCain, and others anti-McCain. (TMV goes in cycles depending on who is posting and the issue so we routinely get — and then lose — whole blocks of readers and). MORE:
While the Earth’s axis theory has a certain poetry to it, I will go with the first two explanations, although they are still in many ways inadequate to the task of explaining the delusion that lurks in many corners of the body politic these days. It is clear that the Ronulan Encounter is part and parcel of the Internet age, which allows small numbers of actors (in relative terms) to let their voices be heard in ways that were heretofore impossible (although, despite the technology, it didn’t allow them great feats of numeracy).
The broader fragmentation question is more old school electoral study kind of stuff, as one would expect that the more viable candidates competing for the nomination the more it would bring party factions to the fore. What has been fascinating, and somewhat difficult to fully comprehend, is the delusional arguments and denial that this fragmentation has produced in this cycle. It is like nothing I have seen. One expects fragmentation to bring passion to the fore, but it is wholly unclear why it should create such bizarre arguments. This phenomenon has been especially marked on the Republican side. For whatever reason neither Gravel nor Kucinich generated the kind of denial that Paul did, nor did the ardent supporters of Edwards have as much false hope about their candidate as did some Fred supporters.2 The ongoing vitriol (not just dislike, not just disagree, but reality-denying hatred) aimed at McCain continues to astound.
And, indeed, it is vitriol. For instance, there was a time when the phrase “hate radio” when used to characterize conservative talk could be challenged and was an exaggeration, but anyone who has listened to a recent three-hour broadcast of Rush, Shaun etc. knows it can now accurately be called “hate radio” (Fox’s John Gibson has not indulged in this.) McCain is clearly detested (even though the hosts insist it is only on policy). Actually, these talk show hosts are now doing to McCain — and to parts of the Republican Party — what they have done for years to Democrats, independents and moderates: using heavy doses of demonization, inaccuracy and exaggeration.
Perhaps part of what is going on is that negativity in American politics has now veered out of control. The reason: political discussion and debate seem impacted by the dominance of the sound-byte, zinger, and radio talk show scream-fest cultures. Many think that to be negative, to talk in that angry ranting style, equals intelligence (just look at some of the comments that are left on weblogs sometimes by people who think they’re being brilliant by being insulting). These days when you read many websites and listen to talk radio you realize there is a great, untapped potential market for decaf in this country…
Taylor has one of the best, most thoughtful political sites on the Internet. Be sure to also read THIS POST.
The Washington Post’s David Broder Agrees that there are some folks who are just naysayers. And he notes that some of the same conservatives who angrily denounce McCain were not nice to Ronald Reagan.
Obama wins Washington, Nebraska, and Louisiana. Wide margins everywhere. And… impressive geographic distribution. Those who would point to Hillary Clinton’s consistent lead in the national polls need to remember that the Electoral College determines who wins in the end, and extra votes in California and New York are useless. And neither is popularity in states that will surely go Republican in any close race.
Here’s an interactive Electoral College map. You’ll see the swing states are beige, and you can pick a year and see who won the various states in past elections. Now, here’s a map showing which states Obama and Clinton have won so far. Obama has strong appeal — or Hillary is unappealing — in the nation’s midsection. Is a picture of Obama’s electability emerging?
So what will the “super-delegates” do? She has a theory on that. READ IT ALL.
“Never Mind The Victories, Look At The Margins” urges Andrew Sullivan.
Meanwhile, When Some People Look At Hillary Clinton Are They Getting Shrill? Here’s an expert on that subject.
Speaking Of The Clinton Campaign, it is reportedly pressing hard for donations from small donors — but do recent losses complicate fund raising? And are there a bunch of other dynamics at work in her front runner status. Some thoughts at Pandagon.
So Who Will Arizona Senator John McCain Choose As His Running Mate On The GOP Ticket? Could it be THIS GUY?
A note on this: The way the Vice President is chosen remains one of the most anti-Democratic processes in our election system. It’s outrageous that in our political system choosing a post that could be so vital is basically still left to The Victor pointing his/her finger at someone (which sometimes is giving his/her middle finger to America). Yes, yes, yes, the convention has its say — but that’s window-dressing. It’s a finger-point by one man or woman who chooses the Veep. It’s part of our system — and it smells.