The rules have changed
Digby makes the point that the press is already reverting to their Clinton-era snideness. The Dems have a leadership fight, it's fits into the meme of the disorganized Dems. The GOP reappoints a racist clown and a child sex predator protector, it's business as usual.
Clinton Rules Redux
Man are these catty little MSNBC snots enjoying their full-on Demo bitch fest. They are partying like it's 1999. Norah O'Donnell, Lawrence O'Donnell, Mary Ann Akers and some other person I don't know have just spent half an hour discussing the fact that Nancy Pelosi ruined her own honeymoon and now it is really quesionable whether she can lead. Meanwhile, the dirty netroots and Howard Dean must have done something wrong because James Carville is hanging out all the Democratic dirty laundry (while his wife cackles with glee, no doubt) and he wouldn't do that unless there was something to it.
After a thorough discussion of how hapless the Democratic nerds have already proven to be, Mary Ann Akers whispers that reporters all over town are "loving" this story. It's so much fun! All the kidz squealed like schoolgirls at prospect of the merciless going-over they are preparing to give these totalbigfatlosers. ("We're so not being mean or anything cuz they like totally deserve it cuz they just don't get it, ok?")
The spite girls are back in town. It isn't so much a matter of substance. You can argue that talking about the majority leader race is worthwhile and that it says something about Pelosi's leadership style. The Carville sideswipe at Dean is interesting. That's not the problem. It's that the patented 90's style smug, juvenile, derisive Kewl Kidz tone is once again ooozing through everything they say. (I could have sworn I heard the "Friends" theme song in the backround.)
It's as if all these unpleasant events of the last six years never happened and we are back in the days of endless cable bitch-fests filled with sniggering about unauthorized blow jobs and earth tones and "grown-ups" who eat PB&J's and travel with their favorite pillies.
I knew it would happen in one form or another. (We caught a glimpse of it with the John Kerry apology treatment.) The DC press corps hates having to criticize Republicans. Republicans make them feel all icky and call them liberals (which they so, like, aren't!) I confess, however, that I'm a little bit awed by how smoothly they have transitioned back into their assigned roles. I thought there might be a moment or two of cognitive dissonance as they went from grim and serious reports about terrorism and war to shallow personality politics and tabloid character assassination. I assumed they would at least wait until the presidential campaign took off to contrast the manly Republican Alpha with the loser Omega Dem, but I guess I didn't realize how much they've missed their fast times at DC High.
They were certainly enjoying themselves tonight. Rolling their eyes and laughing and even snorting a time or two at the completely absurd sight of Democrats in power. I expected to see Yoohoo spray out of Norah's nose at one point. It was just so, like, awesomely super-fun!
It's worth noting that the last time the House turned over, in 1994, Tom Delay beat Newt Gingrich's handpicked choice for majority leader and somehow the whole town didn't interpret that as Newtie's waterloo. As a matter of fact, the press was giving him such wet slurpy blowjobs they could hardly come up for air.
Bill Clinton, on the other hand, was given five months before TIME put him on the cover as the Incredible Shrinking President saying this:
"While the staff can be blamed for some of the confusion, even his closest advisers insist that Clinton is a big part of the problem. 'A lot of it can't be laid at anyone's doorstep but his own,' said one last week. Democratic Party elders admit to being stunned by Clinton's judgment lately. Having his $200 haircut and allowing a Hollywood producer to work out of a White House office and then intervene on behalf of friends to win White House air-charter business have done serious damage to his public standing. 'The best politician the Democratic Party has turned up in a long time turns out to have a tin ear,' said a longtime friend. 'He has squandered his moral authority with a lot of this stuff. It leads people to say, "This man isn't really a populist; he is a phony, a fraud." And though this perception is completely wrong in substance, it is enormously damaging and has to be dealt with. He has to regain the moral authority to call people to sacrifice.'...If he fails to adjust quickly, he will confirm the widespread belief that the biggest problem with the Clinton presidency is Clinton himself."
There are no honeymoons for Democrats. Remember that. And "moral authority" is about haircuts and Hollywood, not torture and illegal wars. It is not merely a fight against the Republicans or a fight over politics and policy. It is a non-stop battle with the press to cover events with seriousness and responsiblity. For some reason, when Democrats are in power the press corps immediately goes from being merely shallow to insufferable, sophomoric assholes.
The 2006 election was nine days ago and this is what CNN had on their screen today:
These are Clinton rules, folks. Get used to it.
This is not 1996. We live in different times and the stakes are vastly higher. They start with that Beltway Kool Kids Klub bullshit, they're gonna get run to ground.
Clinton didn't have the infastructure on the left to protect him or even object to the bullshit being run about him.
But in an era of You Tube and blogs, this kind of thing is going to be nailed and nailed hard. Noron can make her stupid comments, but her bosses have an e-mail address.
Because, we're coming close to the day that Bush finds out his war is going to end. Hoyer, Murtha, Pelosi and other adults will go up to the White House and say there are no more six months to give. And I doubt that Bush will take it well, since he doesn't seem to have had too many people tell him no in his life.
But that day is coming and it doesn't end in any place happy.
posted by Steve @ 10:18:00 AM