Archive for August 8th, 2014

by lizard

Was John Walsh the victim of a mean and unfair media attack, the kind of attack that is never directed in the same proportion against Republicans? Don Pogreba’s Few Last Thoughts on Walsh’s political implosion has a comment thread with an interesting smattering of wailing against the media. For the best diatribe, here’s Pete Talbot:

I wasn’t Walsh’s biggest fan — voted for Adams in the primary — but to dump Walsh because he didn’t attribute parts of a paper he wrote for the War College over seven years ago?

This makes me sick.

I used to have respect for journalists and their editors. Now they’re whores for headlines, from the NY Times down to our local rags. There’s Daines: sue the President, fuck the poor and immigrant kids, and a woman’s choice, and health care; deny climate change and, oh yeah, Earth is less than 10,000 years old. Where’s the journalistic outrage on that?

Journalists used to do their own research. I know times are tough in the industry but to rely on opposition research to do your work for you and then make it a big story? Pathetic. Of course, ramp up the pablum on the editorial pages, too: call for Walsh’s resignation. Bold move.

And Montana Democrats are screwed. No big name is going to step up to the plate for the Senate race and the down party ticket is going to suffer; nationally, statewide and locally. It’s a mess.

Nationally, get ready for a Republican controlled Congress. To plagiarize TPM: … the Paul Ryan budget with its huge cuts to safety-net programs and fundamental changes to Medicare … a bevy of limits on access to abortion and birth control, harsh and punitive measures aimed at immigrants and lower-income people who get public assistance, and repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety (and) a whole lot of ideological grandstanding, including, most recently, the attempt to sue the President.

Same statewide and in your own hometown.

On that note, I’m having a shot and going to bed.

Don Pogreba, of course, agrees (and of course, as always, he’s astonished):

I agree. I’ve always been a pain in the ass critic of the media in Montana, but this has been astonishing. The worst I can remember.

I don’t know that I’ve been angrier, or more worried about the direction we’re headed, in a long time.

I have learned from reading Democrat blogs that it’s just fine to be critical of the media when it’s hitting your candidate or issue.

But sometimes it’s not okay to blame the media, like when Kirsten Pabst railed against the Missoulian and Gwen Florio for stoking the rape scandal. To be fair, scapegoating the media in that case did come off as tasteless, considering the source.

And sometimes, if your both critical of the US media (like Talbot’s now despised New York Times) and open to the perspective of enemy state media, then not only are you a crazy conspiracy theorist, but you’re also an anti-American.

But media smear campaigns are ok if they are against crazy libertarian presidential candidates, like Ron Paul, so don’t expect any wailing about the unfair treatment of Ron Paul from those now aghast at the media in regards to Walsh.

In Ron Paul’s case, it was more conservatives jumping on the racist newsletter media attack because Ron Paul was gaining in the polls, thus a threat (that sounds kinda familiar).

I bring up Ron Paul because, as Democrats are licking their wounds and taking shots of booze, a recent piece in that dastardly New York Times is wondering has the libertarian moment arrived ?

Before getting to that piece, I pointed out to Pete Talbot in the comment thread of my last post that Democrats are losing ground with the youth vote to libertarians, to which Pete responded with this:

So how do you woo them back? With Libertarian policies of Social Darwinism; including no government, no regulation — basically anarcho-capitalism?

I think the first step to fixing a problem is acknowledging there is, in fact, a problem. A problem with Democrats. From the NYT piece:

Libertarians, who long have relished their role as acerbic sideline critics of American political theater, now find themselves and their movement thrust into the middle of it. For decades their ideas have had serious backing financially (most prominently by the Koch brothers, one of whom, David H., ran as vice president on the 1980 Libertarian Party ticket), intellectually (by way of policy shops like the Cato Institute and C.E.I.) and in the media (through platforms like Reason and, as of last year, “The Independents”). But today, for perhaps the first time, the libertarian movement appears to have genuine political momentum on its side. An estimated 54 percent of Americans now favor extending marriage rights to gay couples. Decriminalizing marijuana has become a mainstream position, while the drive to reduce sentences for minor drug offenders has led to the wondrous spectacle of Rick Perry — the governor of Texas, where more inmates are executed than in any other state — telling a Washington audience: “You want to talk about real conservative governance? Shut prisons down. Save that money.” The appetite for foreign intervention is at low ebb, with calls by Republicans to rein in federal profligacy now increasingly extending to the once-sacrosanct military budget. And deep concern over government surveillance looms as one of the few bipartisan sentiments in Washington, which is somewhat unanticipated given that the surveiller in chief, the former constitutional-law professor Barack Obama, had been described in a 2008 Times Op-Ed by the legal commentator Jeffrey Rosen as potentially “our first president who is a civil libertarian.”

Meanwhile, the age group most responsible for delivering Obama his two terms may well become a political wild card over time, in large part because of its libertarian leanings. Raised on the ad hoc communalism of the Internet, disenchanted by the Iraq War, reflexively tolerant of other lifestyles, appalled by government intrusion into their private affairs and increasingly convinced that the Obama economy is rigged against them, the millennials can no longer be regarded as faithful Democrats — and a recent poll confirmed that fully half of voters between ages 18 and 29 are unwedded to either party. Obama has profoundly disappointed many of these voters by shying away from marijuana decriminalization, by leading from behind on same-sex marriage, by trumping the Bush administration on illegal-immigrant deportations and by expanding Bush’s N.S.A. surveillance program. As one 30-year-old libertarian senior staff member on the Hill told me: “I think we expected this sort of thing from Bush. But Obama seemed to be hip and in touch with my generation, and then he goes and reads our emails.”

Desperate to lay everything at the feet of Republicans, here again is Pete Talbot:

I don’t believe Obama has disenfranchised young voters as much as you say, JC, but young people want a panacea and that ain’t America right now. The science-denying, hate-the-poor, war-mongering Republicans are getting close to taking over Congress. Can you explain that?

Sure, Obama has disappointed to some degree on some issues, but it’s the whole damn system: a do-nothing Congress, absurd Supreme Court rulings and corrupt campaign financing that have really turned them off. Most of the blame, but not all of these failings, lies with the Republicans, don’t you think?

I suppose I can’t blame youngsters for looking at an alternative party. I did. But the Koch funded Libertarians? Shit.

The more I think about it: the wars, the free marketeering, the safety net cuts; assaults on the environment, women, children and immigrants — I repeat myself for the umpteenth time — fall mostly in Republican laps.

Pete can say it, but that doesn’t mean the kids will buy it.

The sad reality is the Obama brand they were sold was the same crony-capitalist product lurking behind nice, richly pigmented packaging. And that product has continued to push the establishment consensus of perpetual war and domestic austerity.

Is the whole damn system corrupt? Pretty much, yeah. So why are people surprised when a distorted media gets an assist in a political take-down? Why do some partisans find the local media’s participation so astonishing?

Montana Democrats will probably learn some lessons from this Baucus to Hail-Mary-Candidate debacle, like invest more in opposition research. And expand dark money libertarian honey pots to peel off support from the Christo-fascists. And buy a few more ad spots in local newspapers to help their failing business model.

The problem is I don’t think those are the right lessons.

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