Glenzilla vs The Todd Monster

by digby

Turns out Chuck isn't all that bright.

Todd is a perfect example of a village reporter. He sees the world entirely through the lens of beltway conventional wisdom and obviously hasn't taken even five minutes to consider whether or not it's right, much less what the implications of blindly following its edicts might be. From this interview, I'm not sure he would even know how to do it. He's so ill-informed, even about basic facts about the US Attorney firings, that I don't think he has the tools.

The conventional wisdom at this minute says that since investigations of politicians inevitably become political, it is bad to have investigations because the country needs to heal its wounds. As it happens, this is always the conventional wisdom when a Democratic president succeeds a Republican one. Conversely, when Bush succeeded Clinton, there were investigations of things as silly as the alleged removal of of the letter "w" from the keyboards of the white house computers and the pardon of Marc Rich. There would have been more if the town wasn't already completely sated after eight years of endless nonsensical investigations into everything from old land deals to extramarital fellatio with the press slobbering and slavering over every detail each step of the way.

If the conventional wisdom were to shift on torture, say if a different administration and their allies in the village decided that it was important for America's image that these investigations take place, Todd would be right on board with it. (This was, in fact, why I thought the Obama administration would legitimately want to pursue these investigations and Todd's bizarre repetition of the talking point that torture investigations will harm America's image abroad is quite telling. You can be sure he didn't come up with that all by himself.) He has no independent judgment and zero insight into his role in the political process.

I would just write him off as another fluffy spokesmodel except he's got a real job as political director at NBC news. As shocking as it seems, he's really quite powerful. His shallow understanding of the issues at stake --- the reduction of absolutely everything, (even torture and murder) to the insider political parlor game are the most important requirement for advancement in the beltway press and he has that function totally mastered.

But then he's just following in the footsteps of his mentor Tim Russert who wistfully looked back at the lies leading up to the Iraq war and wished someone had picked up a phone and who automatically assumed all conversations were on background instead of the other way around. His protege has filled his shoes quite admirably.