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Friday, April 21, 2006

True Romance

by digby

Via Tristram Shandy I see that TIME's in-house faux liberal is at it again, this time giving Hugh Hewitt a private lap dance instead of dancing around the pole for everyone to see:

HH: I just have never seen them on PBS. But nevertheless, Joe, what I want to talk about is reverse Turnip Days, moments where candidates were not candid, and I think it hurt them. I want to start with an episode I find odd not finding it here in Politics Lost, which is the Florida recount, and the disastrous attempt by Gore and Lieberman to throw out the ballots of the military. Was that not the sort of authentic moment where we saw the soul of the modern Democratic Party on display?

JK: I think that the Florida recount in general...well, first of all, you're right about that. I mean, too often, the default position, especially in the left wing of the Democratic Party, is to not respect the military sufficiently, and to assume that anytime the United States would use force overseas, we would be wrong

And people wonder why liberals are popularly perceived as being cowards.

Here we have alleged liberal Joe Klein being confronted by alleged human Hugh Hewitt with a comment that the Democratic Party's [black]"soul" was on display when it argued that illegal ballots cast after election day shouldn't be counted (for good reason, as it turned out.) Does Joe Klein argue that the the Republicans staged fake uprisings and attempted to get the Cuban community to rise up (among many other things) thus showing that using the Florida debacle as an illustration of the "soul" of a party wasn't really a smart thing to do? No. Does he point out that the Republican party has a funny way of showing its "soul" when it supports torture? No. Does he laugh in Hugh Hewitt's supercilious face? Of course not.

He agrees with Hewitt. Indeed, this line is his foremost Scotty McClellanesque robotic talking point lately, called into use no matter what the question about the Democrats, whether it's about "soul" or nuclear war. Is there anyone in DC who can deprogram this guy? Or, at least officially relabel him a conservative so he an no longer be used as a liberal or "left of center" counterbalance on talking heads shows? Then he'll be able to officially join the right wing noise machine and he can take Hewie to the Conservative Prom.

Here are some highlights of Joe's bumps and grinds. It's true that he teases poor Hewie with some feints toward Democrats by saying the Swift boaters were wrong and a few other things, but he always comes back with a big gyrating bounce right where it counts:

JK: No, no. Hugh, in the past year, I've stood for the following things. I've taken the following positions. I agreed with the President on social security reform. I supported his two Supreme Court nominees, and I support, even though I opposed this war, I support staying the course in Iraq, and doing whatever we have to do in order to stabilize the region.

HH: All right. There are two critical aspects...

JK: So where do you put me on the spectrum?

HH: I'm going to put you as an old liberal with some hope of coming around.

JK: You know, I keep on getting hammered by the left.

HH: Oh, I know, but they're crazy now, Joe, as you write in this book. That's what's so wonderful about it. Your descriptions of the Democratic Party made me chuckle. It's lost. It's off the cliff.

JK: It made me cry.


JK: Well, you know, I also run in the kind of faith based circle. In fact, one of Bush's nicknames for me is Mr. Faith Based.

HH: Well, that's good.

JK: And at the very end of the book, I acknowledge Bill Bennett as giving the best advice on how to judge a presidential candidate.

HH: At a Christian Coalition meeting. Yeah, it's a great anecdote.

JK: And Bill's a good friend of mine. But I've kind of got to give these guys cover. You don't want to be praised by what you call a traditional liberal, do you?


JK: But can I just say this about the President? You were saying this before the break. Let me say that of all the major politicians I've covered in presidential politics in the last two or three times around, he is the most likely to stick with an issue, even if the polls are bad, and to govern from the gut as you said. I don't always agree with the decisions that he makes, but I think he is an honorable man, and when I've criticized him, I've tried to criticize him on the substance, and certainly not on his personality, because I really like the guy.


HH: When Michael Moore shows up in Jimmy Carter's box, the presidential box...

JK: Disgraceful!

HH: Disgraceful?

JK: Utterly disgraceful. I mean, one of the problems that I have with being called a liberal by someone like you is that there are all these people on the left in the Democratic Party who are claiming to be liberals, and I don't want to be associated with them.

HH: And Michael Moore is one of them?

JK: Oh, yeah. I mean, Michael Moore is reprehensible.

HH: How about when Al Gore shouted he betrayed us, he betrayed us? Was that reverse turnip time?

JK: Yeah, I thought that was pretty terrible. I mean, I think that Democrats have gotten so frustrated by their inability to win elections, that they're beginning to get pretty harsh and stupid.

HH: What's going on at the Daily Kos, and at Atrios, and these left wing bloggers? Do you read them?

JK: Only when they attack me, which is just about every day.

HH: Yes, they do. So what's happened...

JK: You know, last Sunday on Stephanopoulos, I said that we can't keep...that we have to keep the nuclear option on the table when dealing with Iran, if for no other reason than to make them worry a little bit, that we might be so crazy as to use it. That gets translated the next day by a number of left wing bloggers into me supporting a nuclear attack on Iran.

HH: Well, doesn't the Democratic Party have to distance itself from this fever swamp?

JK: Well, I think the Democratic Party has to, and I think the Republican Party has to distance itself from Creationists, and extremists on their side. You know, I was up with Newt Gingrich in New Hampshire last week, and someone asked him about intelligent design. And he said I think it's a perfectly fine philosophy, it just shouldn't be taught in science classes, because it has nothing to do with science. And those are the kind of politicians...I've always really respected Newt, because he's a man of honor, and he is a real policy wonk, and he really cares about stuff.

HH: We're out of time. Joe, will you come back when you're done with the hectic of the book tour?

JK: Sure.

HH: Because I would love to continue this on. In fact, as often as you want, you've got the open invitation to be our responsible Democrat on the show, because they're hard to find.

Joe loves you too big guy. You know just what to say to guy like him.

For the record, I can't speak for everyone in the left blogosphere, but I can say that I criticized Klein's comment about leaving nuclear war on the table as being insane because you don't want pre-emptive war (especially nuclear)on the table, not because I thought he actually wanted nuclear war. I think the first is stupid and insane, and the second is stupid, insane and evil. Klein wants it known that he is only stupid and insane and I'm happy to grant him that. Evil would require some actual substance.

And, btw, he goes out of his way to support, of all things, gun control, which has pretty much been jettisoned by the Democratic Party. I'm beginning to think he's a paid agent of Richard Mellon Scaife. Everything he says, whether in "favor" of Democrats or against them is Karl Rove's dream.