In The Tank With Obama

Newsweek doesn't even pretend to be objective anymore.

Of the many fascinating and amusing things we've seen throughout the Best Presidential Primary Ever, not the least is the spectacle of Hillary Clinton writhing under the unaccustomed glare of bad publicity.

After two decades of being able to count on the complete cooperation of the mainstream media in whatever goals the Clintons might happen to have, from burying the "bimbo eruptions" on the back page, through refusing to declare the end of the recession until Bush Sr. had been safely defeated (and then instantly declaring it over thanks to Clinton while he was still unpacking the moving van), to unaccustomed cheerleading for bombing Serbia as a distraction from less appealing news, and even the famous total silence on Monica's blue dress until the entire media was scooped by an unknown named Matt Drudge with a new toy called a "web page", the Clintons have known that their friends at the news desk will say, or not say, whatever they need them to.  Not for nothing was the phrase "Clinton News Network" bandied about.

Until this year.  Now, the media has a new love, and it's neither Slick Willie nor the missus.

No doubt the liberal media would have preferred to let the Clintons bask in the warm afterglow of their eight-year "Holiday from History."  Alas, Hillary Rodham Clinton had the misfortune to be the one standing between Barack Obama and the White House.  So, in a flip-flop worthy of John Kerry at his best, Hillary has found herself looking at the other end of the media bazooka instead of the one she has grown accustomed to.

Listening to Hillary whine, no matter how legitimately, has a certain appeal to schadenfreude.  It's only fair that the founders and chief architects of the Politics of Personal Destruction should have a healthy taste of their own medicine.  Alas, all good things must end, and barring some unlikely miracle of chicanery, Hillary is now lying in the road covered with tire-tracks as Obama's campaign bus recedes in the distance.

Now comes the main event, where Barack must overcome the mythical Republican attack machine.  Despite the fact that the Republican brand is reviled as never before, that President Bush's approval ratings are barely in the double digits, and that the Republican nominee is loathed by a significant portion of his own party, the liberal newsmongers are taking no chances.

Newsweek magazine has long been known for its leftist slant.  There's nothing inherently wrong with this; liberals have just as much a right to free speech as do conservatives.  However, if you wish to maintain credibility across the board, a certain level of objectivity is required.

The last decade or two has seen this line abandoned; not coincidentally, the same period has seen plummeting readership and ratings for the traditional news and the rise of new media sources like Fox News, talk radio, and the Internet which offer a rather different news menu.

Recently, Newsweek put forward a classic illustration of why it is no longer a news magazine but an opinion journal.  Richard Wolfe and Evan Thomas authored the cover story "Sit Back, Relax, Get Ready to Rumble."  This article is a paean to the perceived brilliance and Presidential-ness of St. Barack:

There are no screamers on Team Obama; one senior Obama aide says he's heard him yell only twice in four years. Obama was explicit from the beginning: there was to be "no drama," he told his aides. "I don't want elbowing or finger-pointing. We're going to rise or fall together." Obama wanted steady, calm, focused leadership; he wanted to keep out the grandstanders and make sure the quiet dissenters spoke up. A good formula for running a campaign-or a presidency.

So far, so conventional.  The truly astounding aspect to this article is not really its adoration for Obama.  It is its complete disdain for Republicans, not as personified by any particular politician, but as a party and in principle.

But the real test is yet to come. The Republican Party has been successfully scaring voters since 1968, when Richard Nixon built a Silent Majority out of lower- and middle-class folks frightened or disturbed by hippies and student radicals and blacks rioting in the inner cities.

In other words, the Reagan Revolution had nothing to do with his superior policies or presentation; Newt Gingrich's Contract with America was irrelevant to the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress.  No, the only reason Republicans ever win, according to Newsweek, is because they summon up phantoms with which to scare the voters.

So the 1968 riots were in fact not scary?  The hundreds of dead and millions of dollars of damage were illusory?  The inability of the government of the day to maintain order - to fulfill the foundational role of government - was not a legitimate campaign issue?

Going forward in time, our rivalry with the Soviet Union was of no concern?  Right on up to today, the media seems quite unconcerned about the threat of Islamic terrorism despite 9-11 occurring within sight of most of their offices.

[McCain] will be sorely tempted to run down his opponent. The McCain campaign is now poring over Obama's record, looking for weaknesses that can be exposed without race-baiting or hitting below the belt. They want to brand Obama as a "superduper liberal who is out of the mainstream," says one McCain adviser who did not wish to be identified discussing internal campaign strategy.

Really?  Twenty years sitting under a pastor who repeatedly preaches "God damn America!" is mainstream?  Obama's long association with an unrepentant terrorist who was published on 9-11 calling for more terrorism, is an act of moderation?  A man who has no problem with babies born alive after botched abortions being discarded, suffocating, in a trash can - something even NARAL could not stomach - is representative of most Americans' core beliefs?

The McCain campaign is not going to "brand" Obama as a superduper liberal; they don't have to.  They are going to point out that he is, in fact, a superduper liberal, as clearly proven by his legislative record, speeches, and associations.  Is this not what a political campaign is all about?

McCain is not lying about Obama's record; he doesn't need to.  Interesting, isn't it, that these journalists seem to consider it out of bounds to point out Obama's own words and deeds?  Looks like they know what he and his wife really are, and that most Americans won't like him when they find out.

Campaigns can deceive voters, or at least mask shortcomings. After watching his father's triumph in 1988 and failure in 1992, George W. Bush had a good feel for the mechanics of campaigning: the importance of money, message and geography. His 2000 campaign was well managed by a tight group of loyal aides, with little infighting. It was only after he became president that voters began to grasp Bush's failings as an executive - his disdain for expert opinion, his stubborn approach to policy or rivals, his fatal lack of follow-through. Obama, at least, seems to be more curious than the current president.

Again, they are saying that the only reason Bush is in office is because he deceived the American people as to his true nature.  In fact, he's such an accomplished liar that after four years, the voters were still deceived, re-elected him to a second term, and increased his party's support in the House and Senate.  Quite the accomplishment for the so-called Village Idiot, eh?

Newsweek criticizes Bush for his stubbornness and disdain for (liberal) experts; but comparing Bush to his conservative base, you find an ever-growing list of deviations between his beliefs and Republican beliefs.  Illegal immigrant amnesty?  The Department of Homeland Security?  The growth of government?  Harriet Miers?  There's no shortage of examples where Bush has infuriated conservatives.

In contrast, can anyone identify one single issue on which Barack Obama is not in full and complete agreement with the most extreme leftist position?  No, it is not Obama who is curious about the other side; like these authors, Obama knows that being liberal means never needing to question the All-Encompassing Rightness of your beliefs - regardless of the disastrous consequences of implementing your ideas in the real world.

John McCain's adviser Mark Salter wrote a response to Newsweek's article.  It's an interesting read, but one wonders why he bothered.

The news media is so thoroughly embedded in the tank with Obama that they don't even realize there is anything outside the tank except, of course, the hated evil Republicans who must be destroyed at all costs.

Well, each year their share of the news market grows smaller.  The day will come when, as usual, they'll line up behind the most liberal candidate they feel is electable and nobody will even notice, or care, because all the voters will be getting their news elsewhere.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments
Stop fighting and get behind Obama. He will, in the long term, be much better for the country than McCain.

Why? Because Obama will be the worst President we have EVER known. He has NO idea what the real world is like at all. Remember Carter and gas rationing? MUCH worse than that. And even the MSM won't be able to convince people things are actually good.

Obama's disaster of a presidency will guarantee a Republican for years afterward.

That is, assuming the Republicans grow some balls in the meantime.
May 22, 2008 11:44 PM
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