(Part of a continuing series of New York Times comments by yours truly, with some added commentary in this post to make the fun even funner.)
Charles Blow, Hillary Clinton Wins Again
Blow makes his centrist political preferences and Times group-think perfectly clear with his second column in a row canonizing Hillary Clinton. The fact that his other gig is on CNN (the Beltway group-think/ terror channel) explains it all.
Here's a sample from his latest ode to the Empress-in-Waiting:
And Blow's obligatory ode to Libya war cheerleader Elijah Cummings (Centrist D-Black Misleadership Class):She is far from flawless, but she is no slouch or dummy. She is sharp and tough and resilient. She is a rock, and she is not to be trifled with.The Clintons as a couple, and individually, are battle-hardened. They are not new to this. They are survivors. Even when they lose, they survive. No upstart congressman or woman can do more damage than has already been done and dealt with.Why can’t these people see that? Oh well…
Toward the end of the 11-hour hearing, Cummings said to Clinton:My response to Blow:
“You have laid it out. I think — you’ve said — this has not been done perfectly. You wish you could do it another way, and then the statement you made a few minutes ago when you said, you know, I have given more thought to this than all of you combined. So I don’t know what we want from you. Do we want to badger you over and over again until you get tired, until we do get the gotcha moment he’s talking about?”He continued:“We’re better than that. We are so much better. We are a better country. And we are better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign. That’s not what America is all about.
With all due respect to Elijah Cummings, Congress is not "better than that." With its approval rating at 15%, Hillary Clinton went into that hearing knowing full well that it would be a marathon campaign commercial, the equivalent of five victorious prime-time debates between a competent politician and a group of bumbling idiots and sadists that made even Ben Carson and Donald Trump look reasonable and kind.
Her composure and stamina were enormously boosted by her fellow Democrats. who obligingly used their time to praise her to the heavens while placing one figurative dunce cap after another upon rapidly deflating Republican heads. There weren't any questions on reports that Benghazi was the site of a secret CIA prison or its use as a hub for illegal arms smuggling to Syrian rebels, for example. There were no questions about her brokering a $20 billion arms sale to the Saudis, who then donated a cheap $1 million to her family foundation. No Democrat questioned her retention of Cheney neocon Victoria Nuland.
The over-the-top right-wing inquisition of Hillary Clinton has served to temporarily defuse legitimate criticism of her actions and policies from the left. Memories of the Clintons' betrayal of poor women through the odious Welfare Reform Act of 1996 are forgotten as besotted pundits praise her as a role model for beleaguered women everywhere.
Watch out for those falling shards as she breaks the glass ceiling, and Wall Street cries all the way to Wall Street.
No, he isn't being snarky or ironic. He thinks that Romney, in his heart of hearts, is a really cool technocrat who just doesn't get enough credit for inventing Obamacare. I haven't been keeping count, but this has got to be about the hundredth of all Krugman's blog-posts and columns over the past several years which have inordinately praised the Affordable Care Act.
Krugman is especially pleased that some rich people in his own social set are happy with the program, no doubt because they are able to afford the ridiculous premiums on the Gold Plan, or whatever they're calling health coverage for the pampered ruling class these days:
Well, unlike his Times colleagues, Krugman is rare in his honesty. He readily admits that he is a snob.How good is the insurance thus obtained? Not perfect: despite subsidies, policies are still hard for some to afford, and deductibles and co-pays can be onerous. But most people enrolled under Obamacare report high satisfaction with their coverage, which is hugely better than simply not being uninsured. And may I inject a personal note? If truth be told, I live in a pretty rarefied, upper-middle-class-and-above milieu — yet even so I know several people for whom the Affordable Care Act has been more or less literally a lifesaver. This is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a really big deal.
My response to him:
Meanwhile, Mitt's running mate Paul Ryan wants to privatize Medicare, as well as getting rid of Obamacare and tearing the rest of the social safety net to shreds. But Joe Biden has just come to his defense, saying that Ryan is "a good guy" with whom Democrats should be eager to cooperate.
And therein lies the problem. The DNC leadership has veered so far right that it is either reduced to shooting diseased GOP fish in a barrel, or pretending that bipartisanship is still a good thing. It's reduced to defending a clunky insurance program that benefits only some of the people some of the time.
Yes, the expansion of Medicaid to some of the working poor is to be applauded. But the fact remains that at least 30 million of us remain uninsured or underinsured. Thousands of people are still dying because they can't afford to see a doctor.
Medicare for All (John Conyers' HR 676) is getting well-deserved new attention through the presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders. Not only would it cover everybody from cradle to grave with medical, dental, mental health care and drug therapies, it would actually save as much as a trillion dollars a year. From "consumers" who must now enter a fraught health care lottery every year in order to enrich the increasingly consolidated insurance industry, we'd be able join the rest of the civilized world in defining health care as a basic human right.
Forget about freeing Romney. How about freeing 330 million Americans via Medicare for All?
As a further antidote to Times-think, here's Bernie Sanders tearing it up at last weekend's Jefferson-Jackson dinner in Iowa. (Yes, the Dems unfortunately still honor a slave-owner and an ethnic cleanser.)
* Update, stop the presses! Maureen Dowd tells Public Editor Margaret Sullivan that her "Column (about Beau Biden's death-wish) Is Accurate."
I wrote about this planted column when it was published on Aug. 2. And presto change-o, months later, during the same week Biden decided not to run, he appeared on TV to huffily disown the whole bathetic story about Beau's death-wish. And now the New York Times is embroiled in yet another "scandal" of its own making. It seems that news reporter Amy Chozick extrapolated from Dowd's puff piece the image of Beau on his death-bed, a la The Gipper, when all Dowd had done was place him sitting up at the kitchen table. Seriously.That is how seriously these very important, shallow people take themselves.
It was so obvious that Joe Biden and/or his operatives used Maureen Dowd and the Times as the vehicle to float his presidential trial balloon. Whether Beau had the alleged conversation with his dad as he sat dying, or whether he had the conversation as he lay dying, or whether the conversation existed at all, is a moot point.
I remember that her column appeared earlier than usual that weekend, and that moderators immediately placed reader comments saying "Run Joe Run!" in the "Times Pick" category, effectively sequestering those that were more skeptical. The agenda was perfectly clear.
As others have noted, the propaganda was mutually beneficial to both Dowd and Biden. If her column did not suit his express purposes, don't you think he would have immediately demanded retractions on both her column and Amy Chozick's subsequent article?
Biden had come under renewed criticism in the past few weeks, when his PAC ran a maudlin commercial which shamelessly used Beau Biden's death as a vehicle to push his father's candidacy. The VP demanded that it be taken down because it was that obvious and slimy and phony.
And now that he is no longer running (or at least until Hillary Clinton possibly implodes) he suddenly comes out and makes a stink about the Beau column and the articles on "60 Minutes." It seems to me that Regular Joe bears as much of the blame for this whole mini-scandal as the sycophantic press corps.
Lesson to pundits and reporters: don't be shills for the powerful.