And other signs of the times: The functioning of our upper-end press corps is just amazingly low.
Given their incomes and social cachet, it's amazing how unimpressive they tend to be. Last night's Republican debate provided a gruesome case in point.
Repeatedly, the questions were both snarky/negative and unchallenging at the same time. Intellectual rigor never quite entered the building.
Opportunistically, the candidates kept noting the snark and the negativity. This let them extend a familiar old charge concerning alleged liberal bias.
Becky Quick provided the evening's comic relief with her question to Candidate Trump about a statement on his official web site. Uh-oh! As became apparent, Quick didn't seem to have any idea where the statement in question had come from. When Trump denied that he's made the statement, Quick was left to say this:
QUICK (10/28/15): Where did I read this and come up with this? That you were—After the audience laughed at Quick, Trump continued to speak. Moments later, this exchange occurred on the same topic:
TRUMP: Probably— I don’t know. You people write the stuff. I don’t know where you—
TRUMP: [Rolls eyes in frustration]
QUICK: If I may say, Mr. Trump. You’ve been, you have been— You had talked a little bit about Marco Rubio. I think you called him Mark Zuckerberg’s personal senator because he was in favor of the H1B [visas].Presumably, Quick had been provided the information in question by staff. For herself, she seemed to have no idea where the info came from.
TRUMP: I never said that. I never said that.
QUICK: So this was an erroneous article the whole way around?
Later in the evening, Quick returned to the subject, informing Trump that she had been quoting material from his own web site. Trump and Quick made quite a pair this evening.
Everyone can make a mistake. Quick's cluelessness concerning her own material may reveal the haphazard way our big TV stars gather their information and their understandings. That said, the American discourse is conducted at a very low intellectual level. This has been true for a very long time.
Here's an horrific example:
Last night, the public was exposed to a famous old script which we thought was withering on the vine. Candidate Christie uncorked the old chestnut, a gruesome tale the liberal world has never known how to address:
CHRISTIE: Let me be honest with the people who are watching at home. The government has lied to you and they have stolen from you. They told you that your Social Security money is in a trust fund. All that’s in that trust fund is a pile of IOUs for money they spent on something else a long time ago."Let me be honest with the people at home," Christie sub-honestly said.
And they’ve stolen from you because now they know they cannot pay these benefits and Social Security is going to be insolvent in seven to eight years.
This is for the guy, you know, who owns a landscaping business out there. If somebody’s already stolen money from you, are you going to give them more?...We need to get realistic about this. We’re not— The American people, forget about anything else, they’ve already been lied to and stolen from...
Why are Republican voters angry? In large part, because they've been hearing stories like that for the past thirty-plus years.
In that hoary old story, they've been lied to and stolen from by the federal government. All the money they've submitted in payroll taxes is now a pile of worthless IOUs. Social Security will soon be going broke.
The liberal world has never devised a clear response to that hoary old tale. Nor has the liberal world ever tried to create outreach to the tens of millions of people who get deceived by this hoary old story. The laziness of the liberal world is a large part of our ongoing story, in which our society continues to spiral downward in the face of tales of that type.
How useless are our liberal leaders? We've saved the worst for last. As Halloween approaches, this particular horror story came from Candidate Rubio:
RUBIO: OK. I know the Democrats have the ultimate SuperPac. It’s called the mainstream media, who every single day—Candidate Clinton was exposed as a liar last week! Here's how Rubio knows that:
—and I’ll tell you why.
Last week, Hillary Clinton went before a committee. She admitted she had sent e-mails to her family saying, “Hey, this attack at Benghazi was caused by Al Qaida-like elements.” She spent over a week telling the families of those victims and the American people that it was because of a video. And yet the mainstream media is going around saying it was the greatest week in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
It was the week she got exposed as a liar. It was the week that she got exposed as a liar—
But she has her super PAC helping her out, the American mainstream media.
QUICK: Senator Rubio, thank you very much.
Clinton sent an e-mail to her daughter saying the attack at Benghazi was caused by an al Qaeda-like group. But she told the American people that the attack was because of a video!
Did Secretray Clinton ever attribute the attack to the video? We aren't entirely sure.
But as any sane person can see, there's no contradiction there. Despite what Rubio was selling last night, there's no obvious reason why an al Qaeda-like group couldn't stage an attack because of an insulting video.
Is that what actually happened? In the wake of last week's hearing, we haven't seen a single news org try to report the facts about this situation.
What is the current state of intel concerning the cause of the attack? We've seen no one ask or say.
Once again, the L-bombs began to fly after last Thursday's hearing. The mainstream press and the liberal world both sat around sucking their thumbs, as is the reliable norm.
We're stuck inside our own Salem Village, feeding urine cakes to dogs. Our national discourse operates at roughly mental age 10. Little Betty Parris was 9 when she touched off the irrational frenzy inside historical Salem.
We're hapless and lazy and nobody likes us. We lost the White House this way in 2000. We could easily do it again.