Part 1—David Gregory and the even younger intern: “The state of the union is dumb.”
We’d love to see Obama say it, right at the start of tomorrow night’s address.
In our mind’s eye, members would shift about in their seats. Starting in the gallery, the applause would start to spread.
Helpful suggestion! As a performance hook, the president might want to borrow from Foxworthy, repeatedly saying this:
“The state of the union may be dumb if...”
He could then produce his examples. His point would of course be the same.
Good God, but the state of the union is dumb, especially at the top of the millionaire press corps food chain! Just consider what actually happened on yesterday’s Meet the Press.
It was January 26, 2014. (Concerning the year, we felt forced to double-check.)
Despite the year at the end of that date, Gregory built a chunk of his opening segment around Hillary Clinton’s chance to get elected president—in November 2016!
You’re right—Clinton hasn’t even announced that she’s running for president. If she does, the election in question is 34 months away.
But Gregory had Carolyn Ryan sitting there as part of his all-star panel. Ryan is the new Washington bureau chief of the New York Times.
In yesterday’s editions, the Times was wasting everyone’s time with an inane magazine cover story about the problems facing Clinton in the White House run she hasn’t yet announced. After an extremely brief mini-discussion of Obama’s impending address, Gregory tossed his first question to Ryan.
The state of the union may be dumb if— If this is the mentality at a large nation’s “paper of record:”
GREGORY (1/26/14): Pure politics here: This is also a chance for [Obama] to say, "This is what Democrats are for—you know, income inequality, raising the minimum wage—and we're much different than the Republicans." He's going to be thinking about helping Democrats.The state of the union may be dumb if— If that person sits at the head of the New York Times’ Washington bureau.
RYAN: Absolutely. He's thinking about the Senate midterms. You know, the outcome of those races is far more important than the speech. But just to take a little bit of issue with the idea that— The question is, does Obama still really command the stage? And you have at least some people in the political world, including in his own party, who seem to be moving beyond the Obama era.
You have this kind of remarkable stampede of people who are signing up to be part of the 2016 Hillary Clinton election campaign, and the president has three years left. So the question is, is he still relevant? Can he command the stage? Can he move the country?
In that deft reconstruction, Ryan abandoned any talk of what Obama might say tomorrow night concerning matters of substance. She even moved us past the elections which happen later this year.
According to Ryan, the midterm elections are more important than the president’s address. And the 2016 election seems to be more important than the midterms are!
Ryan moved where We Irish have longed to be over the past twenty-two years. She asked us to forget matters of substance and think about Hillary Clinton.
People like Ryan actually have “moved beyond the Obama era.” They simply haven’t been able to move beyond the Clinton years!
As we’ve noted for many years now, they’ve moved beyond the tedious place where people talk about matters of substance. Instead, they talk about what might happen to Clinton at some future date.
Please discuss the Clintons, Ryan said, to the tune of Please Come to Boston. And good God! Instantly, her host introduced Rand Paul—and Gregory was soon saying this:
GREGORY: Final political question for you. Whoever the Republican nominee is, there's a good chance, as we look at it now, that one candidate on the Democratic side who'll have a lot of momentum, whether she gets the nomination or not we don't know, is Hillary Clinton. And an interesting profile in Vogue magazine, including this analysis:Ryan had begged for some good Clinton talk. In response, Gregory dragged Miss Lewinsky out, citing a comment made by Paul’s wife in “an interesting profile in Vogue.”
"While her husband jokes," meaning you, "that his gut feeling is that Hillary Clinton will not run for president is good a thing since all the polls show her trouncing any opponent, Kelley, the wife of Senator Rand Paul practically cuts him off to say that, 'Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky should complicate his return to the White House, even as first spouse. I would say his behavior was predatory, offensive to women,' she tells me." Are these issues something that you really think will be fair game and an appropriate part of a campaign, should she be the nominee?
The state of the union is very dumb when people like Gregory do this.
How desperate was Gregory for Miss Lewinsky? This desperate:
That “interesting profile in Vogue” is more than four months old. It appeared in mid-September 2013. You can bore yourself with it here.
In hard-copy form, its pages are yellowing. That said, how interesting did people think that profile was in real time?
Not very interesting! In particular, that comment by Paul’s wife created no interest at all. According to Nexis, the thrilling comment about Miss Lewinsky was barely mentioned last fall.
Here’s the rundown:
The explosive comment by Mrs. Paul rated 26 words in Politico. (“Speaking about Hillary Clinton's possible run for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Paul's wife, Kelley, was critical of former President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.”)
Beyond that, it generated a 288-word report in the Huffington Post—and nothing at all beyond that. (To read that piece, click here.)
According to Nexis, no one else mentioned Mrs. Paul’s comment. Speaking on his cable “news” program, Lawrence managed to extract the real news from the intriguing profile:
O’DONNELL (9/18/13): The junior senator from Kentucky is suddenly a fashion star. There he is in a new Vogue magazine spread. Vogue informs us that his pants are from Brooks Brothers and his shirt, the shirt he is wearing right there, is of course, Polo, Ralph Lauren.Lawrence went on to praise Paul for comments he’d made that day about “the way the war on drugs visits disproportional suffering on black men.” (Lawrence: “Senator Rand Paul showed just astonishing political courage today and we will show you what he said.”)
The accompanying article is entitled, “Could Republican Senator Rand Paul Win the White House?” My answer to that question is absolutely not and I will explain why next in the rewrite.
Elsewhere, “journalists” noted that Vogue was accusing Senator Paul of wearing “Dad jeans.” But no one gave a flying fig about that spousal remark.
As you’ve noticed, this silly piddle is now more than four months old. In real time, no one thought the profile was interesting. Virtually no attention was paid to the comment about that woman.
Yesterday, Gregory went a million miles out of his way to refluff the thrilling topic. He spoke as if the profile was current, as if the comment mattered.
Repeat—Rand Paul didn’t raise this topic on yesterday’s Meet the Press. That said, he created a new chapter in the history of “the 21-year-old intern” who wasn’t 21 at the time and also wasn’t an intern.
In response to Gregory's pitiful question, this is what he said:
PAUL (continuing directly): Well, you know, I mean, the Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women. One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office.Almost twenty years later, the intern who wasn’t 21 was bumped back to 20 years old! She has even become “a young girl!”
And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office.
In fact, Miss Lewinsky was 22-and-a-half when she first met The Big He. Our “journalists” reduced her age to make the story sound better.
(On TV, Jay Leno cited her actual age. Big stars like Mark Shields did not.)
Yesterday, Gregory revived the excitement. The state of the union is massively dumb when people like this are paid millions of dollars to peddle this pluperfect piddle almost twenty years after the fact.
The state of the union is very dumb. The assist goes to Carolyn Ryan.
Tomorrow: The state of the union is atomized