Part 2—Ann Compton pimps Bush pimping Bush: There was something for everyone in the Outlook section of Sunday’s Washington Post.
But first, we had Monday morning. In the New York Times, we liberals got conned once again.
Charles Blow was very upset with the partisanship in Washington. That led him to please us with this:
BLOW (11/17/14): [T]he tipping point will likely come when the president takes executive action on immigration, which, according to reports, could protect up to five million unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Republicans are beside themselves at the prospect.From that, we liberals might get the impression that Krauthammer has called for impeachment proceedings. Or at least for a government shutdown, unlike the GOP’s dwindling number of grown-ups.
Amnesty! Out-and-out lawlessness! Shredding the Constitution! No claim—and no recourse—is out of bounds, it seems.
Many conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, are demanding another government shutdown to stop it. Others, like Charles Krauthammer, have suggested that Obama’s actions on immigration might be “an impeachable offense.”
The grown-ups on the right—to the degree such people exist—know full well that shutdowns and impeachment proceedings are suicidal, but such is the political blood lust on that end of the spectrum that one can’t be sure that cooler heads will prevail over hot ones.
That claim seems to be false, but it makes us liberals feel good. For that reason, we liberals are now being fed this dish everywhere we look.
Increasingly, the world of upper-end journalism seems devoted to giving something to everyone. Big modern newspapers cast wide nets. They must provide pabulum to all comers.
In Sunday’s Times, the truly insufferable Nicholas Kristof praised the brilliance of Blow, even as he recited Volume 4 in his own long-running series, “When Whites Just Don’t Get It.”
Kristof’s skill consists in the way he pre-slimes those who might disagree with his own brilliant vision. This is the way he started:
KRISTOF (11/16/14): When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 4Those whites! They do it every time!
When I write about racial inequality in America, one common response from whites is eye-rolling and an emphatic: It’s time to move on.
“As whites, are we doomed to an eternity of apology?” Neil tweeted at me. “When does individual responsibility kick in?”
Terry asked on my Facebook page: “Why are we still being held to actions that took place long ago?”
“How long am I supposed to feel guilty about being white? I bust my hump at work and refrain from living a thug life,” Bradley chimed in. “America is about personal responsibility…And really, get past the slavery issue.”
At any rate, dissenters were wrong this day before Kristof even got started! They stood accused of eye-rolling before he’d advanced his first point!
In our view, Kristof has little to say about race that’s likely to be helpful. We’ll ponder his column tomorrow.
For today, we thought we’d consider the puddles of piddle which streamed from Sunday’s Outlook—from a section which seemed to provide a feel-good space to each of the paper’s constituencies.
Feminists actually got two spaces. This included Roxanne Gay’s fiery response to Time’s fourth annual (tongue-in-cheek) survey of words which ought to be banned—a survey for which the humbled magazine has already apologized.
More from Outlook:
Jonathan Gruber got batted around for calling voters stupid. In the Post’s devolving Five Myths feature, Nia-Malika Henderson composed a tribute to Valerie Jarrett, whose name few voters have heard, let alone swallowed myths about.
For unknown reasons, the section included a lengthy report concerning a mathematical formula which explains why hipsters all look alike. Most foolishly, there stood Compton.
Compton is the go-to journalist for fawning profiles of All Things Bush. On Outlook’s front page, there she stood, offering a “book review” of Bush the Younger’s loving profile of Bush the Elder—his father.
No one knows how to sand the edges quite the way Compton does. Henderson fawned to Jarrett on page B2, but Compton was on B1.
Compton has never been better. From her lengthy tribute review, you’d never know that some people think our ongoing war in Iraq was perhaps a small tiny partial mistake:
COMPTON (11/16/14): George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, is the only commander in chief in modern times who has declined to write a memoir. Now George W. Bush, the 43rd president, strides into the void with a book of his own intended to give voice to his modest father’s life and legacy.No, we’re not making that foolishness up. That’s as tough as Compton gets regarding that small second war, which “knit this father-son duo closer together.”
At the outset of “41,” George W. makes clear his objective. He says he expects that many books will assess his father’s contributions. “Some of those works may be objective,” he writes in an author’s note. “This one is not. This book is a love story.
Indeed, “41” is a chronicle of family love and loss, written in a plainspoken voice that sounds just like George W. Bush in person, with wisecrack asides and loads of family sentimentality. For those of us who watched both Bush presidencies up close, the book is also a predictably firm defense of the elder Bush’s foreign policy, particularly in Iraq and the Cold War, a strategy that laid down even higher stakes for the son’s presidency eight years later.
[T]he younger Bush finds a family silver lining to his father’s defeat in 1992: If the elder Bush had won a second term, George W. would not have run for Texas governor in 1994 and later for president. In 1994, George W. faced a popular incumbent, he writes, “and as the son of the President it would have been distracting to answer questions about whether I agreed with every decision that his administration made.”
Nothing knits this father-son duo closer together than the wars in Iraq. The elder Bush drove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait in early 1991 during Operation Desert Storm and then called the American action to a halt. When George W. sought to topple Hussein from power more than a decade later, he faced accusations of one-upmanship with his father.
“I was not trying ‘to finish what my father had begun,’ as some have suggested,” he writes. “I never asked Dad what I should do. We both knew that this was a decision that only the President can make.”
Compton’s piece runs 1347 words. She never suggests that this new book is anything other than Bush the Younger’s attempt “to give voice to his modest father’s life and legacy.”
She laments the press corps’ attacks on both Bushes. She never hints that something may have gone marginally wrong in that small second war.
Compton was there to please one of our teams. Henderson catered to the other. Feminists were pandered to twice. Also, why do hipsters all look alike, mathematically speaking?
Outlook did include one gloomy book review. Stuck on page B6, it bore this gloomy headline:
“Is Earth’s dominant species doomed to self-destruct?”
Without even thinking, we voted yes. But then, we had a good solid excuse:
We’d read B1 through B5!
Tomorrow: Brave new voices on race
Parade pandered too: Parade magazine pandered too.
As its cover story on Sunday, it offered an excerpt from Bush’s new book. Then, it ran this hard-hitting interview.
For whatever reason, the reinvention seems to be on.