Times say they butched Marco up: Last night, amid the endless time-wasting, Rachel Maddow reported results from the latest New Hampshire poll.
If we might quote Maddow herself, "Woo-hoo!" She was reporting results from the latest Fox News poll. It showed Sanders ahead of Clinton in the great state of New Hampshire:
MADDOW (1/8/16): A new poll out from Fox News tonight says that the Democratic race for the nomination could be quite a contest in the early states.That presentation is so dumb it squeaks.
Yes, Hillary Clinton is still far ahead in the national Democratic polling. A new Fox News national poll just out tonight puts her 15 points ahead nationwide.
But we don't vote nationwide to pick a nominee, we vote state by state. And look at this new poll, a new New Hampshire poll that Fox just published tonight.
Again, this is a poll done by Fox News but don't let that disturb you. It's a real poll, it's a scientific poll.
The last time Fox did this poll for the Democratic race in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders was leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by one point. That was in November.
As of tonight, Bernie Sanders is leading Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire by 13 points. Look! 50-37! He's a) at 50 percent, that's an important mark, that's an important threshold. And b), he's leading by 13 points in New Hampshire.
Huge margin! Fascinating!
As is the norm this year on "cable news," Maddow treated the new poll like a precise measure. There was no citation of "margin of error." There was no mention of other polls which might show different results.
As everyone surely understands, that's an extremely dumb way to treat a poll. That said, Maddow's failure last night was especially striking. Here's why:
A second new poll which appeared this week showed a different result in New Hampshire. For whatever reason, Maddow failed to cite that other Democratic poll this week, even as she spent oodles of time on its Republican results for New Hampshire.
We'll show you what we mean below. But first, let's see the New York Times complete a stupid, ugly hat trick concerning its latest confection, Bootgate.
To this day, the New York Times hasn't explained the crazy effects of Candidate Trump's crazy budget proposal. Our greatest newspaper no longer wastes time on topics like that.
Instead, our greatest newspapers reports on the candidates' senses of humor—and on the candidates' shoes. This penchant was already apparent in 1999, when reporter Frank Bruni gushed and flushed and suffered hot flashes over the preposterously charmed campaign of Candidate Bush.
When Bruni profiled this greatest of hopefuls, he of course began with the candidate's savvy selection of shoes:
BRUNI (9/14/99): When Gov. George W. Bush of Texas first hit the Presidential campaign trail in June, he wore monogrammed cowboy boots, the perfect accessory for his folksy affability and casual self-assurance.First with the monogrammed cowboy boots, then with the shiny black loafers! And of course with the easy swagger! Just for the record, despite the candidate's savvy shoe selections, he swaggered on to a 19-point loss in the New Hampshire primary the following year.
But when he visited New Hampshire early last week, he was shod in a pair of conservative, shiny black loafers that seemed to reflect more than the pants cuffs above them. They suggested an impulse by Mr. Bush to put at least a bit of a damper on his brash irreverence, which has earned him affection but is a less certain invitation for respect.
As Mr. Bush presses forward with his almost preposterously charmed quest for the Republican Presidential nomination, he has plenty of confidence, evident in his easy swagger...
The New York Times has always understood the importance of footwear selection! This week, our emptiest newspaper went there again, inventing the analytical episode now widely known as Bootgate.
It all began when Michael Barbaro tweeted a photo of Candidate Rubio's boots. Why would a campaign reporter do that?
(Because he's the world's dumbest known human? Because he's employed by the Times?)
We can't answer that question, and the Times hasn't explained. At any rate, the Times pushed the excitement along yesterday as fashion maven Vanessa Friedman penned a brain-dead, hard-copy news report about this important topic.
Last night, Times reporter Jeremy Peters completed the hat trick in an appearance on Hardball.
It was the standard format. Chris Matthews asked a panel of pundits to "tell me something I don't know."
No one decided to say, "You're a manifest personal fraud who shouldn't be allowed with a hundred miles of a TV camera." Instead, Peters offered the thoughtful remarks shown below as the appreciative panel guffawed.
The Rubio campaign had "butched him up," the thoughtful Timesman said:
MATTHEWS (1/8/16): Go ahead, Jeremy.Peters completed the hat trick. The campaign thought that "Bootgate" may have feminized Rubio. So the campaign "butched him up," the thoughtful liberal explained.
PETERS: So we all caught a bit of the wind of Marco Rubio's boots controversy this week. "Boot-ghazi," "Bootgate," whatever you want to call it.
MATTHEWS: How tall is he?
PETERS: What is it? Five-eight, five-nine?
MATTHEWS: And how tall are his boots?
PETERS: They're a good like two-inch chunky heel. Anyway—
So there might have been a little bit of a thinking that that could have feminized him a bit. So today, what does the campaign release? An ad, butching him up, showing him tossing a football around.
MATTHEWS: Butching him up, what a phrase!
Go ahead, Molly.
BALL: I got to plug my—
MATTHEWS: Butching him up! That's never been used here before! Go ahead.
In fairness, the New York Times has always had an eye for feminized hopefuls. In that same Campaign 2000, Candidate Gore was "so feminized he's practically lactating," one New York Times star explained.
(Gore had hired "a woman to teach him how to be a man," that same Times star disclosed.)
In Campaign 2004, Candidate Edwards was repeatedly described as "the Breck Girl." In Campaign 2008, Candidate Obama was persistently mocked with such descriptions as "Obambi, the diffident debutante."
The New York Times has always had an eye for this sort of thing. Last night, Peters completed the hat trick as his colleagues enjoyed a good laugh.
("Molly" was the Atlantic's Molly Ball. As someone cast in the role of a liberal within the structure of corporate pseudo-news, she might have said something about the sexual politics of Peters' designations. Dearest darlings, first things first! "Got to plug my big piece this week," she said as she continued, chuckling at Peters' masterful wit. "You can find it on TheAtlantic.com.")
Peters completed the Times' most recent brain-dead disgrace. The laughter helped us see the real shape of our pseudo-liberal politics.
Two hours later, Maddow was gushing about the latest poll from New Hampshire. "Woo-hoo!" as the trillionaire star kept saying throughout the hour.
According to the new Fox poll, Sanders was leading Clinton in New Hampshire by 13 points (see text above). Even for Maddow, we thought her report about this new poll was strange.
That new Fox poll is the second new poll from New Hampshire this week. On Wednesday, Public Policy Polling (PPP) released its own new poll from New Hampshire.
It showed Clinton leading Sanders in New Hampshire, 47-44. To review the whole thing, click here.
Which new poll is more accurate? There's no way to know! For that reason, intelligent journalists present results from a range of credible polls. Other people may pick and choose the results they want you to see.
Maddow's failure to cite the Democratic results from PPP was especially striking. On Wednesday night, she went on and on, at time-wasting length, discussing the Republican results in PPP's new poll from New Hampshire.
We join her blather in progress. It went on quite a while:
MADDOW (1/6/16): The latest national polling still has Mr. Donald Trump absolutely killing the rest of the field. That said, the nomination is not decided by a national vote.On Wednesday night, Maddow went on and on about the Republican results of PPP's New Hampshire poll. It was "the only New Hampshire poll that's been taken so far this year," the corporate star explained.
The nomination is decided state by state. And the latest early-state poll, the first one of the New Year, in fact, came out today.
Turns out it's fascinating. These are the results from the new New Hampshire poll that just came out from Public Policy Polling. This new PPP New Hampshire poll shows Donald Trump nearly lapping the rest of the field. He's near 29 percent in New Hampshire. His nearest competitor is Marco Rubio at 15 percent.
So Donald Trump has a 14 percent lead in the only New Hampshire poll that's been taken so far this year. But what's fascinating here, what's totally new, is that the first time ever in this race, for the first time in this poll or any other poll out of New Hampshire, there are six different candidates who are in double digits. The field could not be more split.
Yes, Donald Trump is still leading, but look at the rest of the field! If Donald Trump is sort of the non-establishment candidate, and guys like Chris Christie and Marco Rubio and John Kasich and George Bush—sorry, Jeb Bush—if they're the establishment candidates, the more mainstream choices, right, well, New Hampshire's support for the mainstream/ establishment choices, it just couldn't be more evenly split.
It's like a five-way car crash of candidates getting between 10 percent and 15 percent there. You see Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, they're all bunched up there, all in double digits between 10 and 15 percent.
And as long as all those establishment guys and sitting senators and governors keep splitting up all of that mainstream vote, then Ta-da! Donald Trump wins.
Donald Trump is winning. Donald Trump is winning nationally. He is winning in New Hampshire. He is trading the lead or tie with Ted Cruz even in Iowa, which is crazy. Iowa picked Rick Santorum the last time around.
At no point did Maddow report the Democratic results of the PPP poll, which showed Clinton ahead of Sanders.
Two nights later, Maddow spent considerable time, as shown above, noting that Sanders is far ahead in New Hampshire in the new poll from Fox. Once again, she didn't mention the contrary finding from PPP, which she has often cited as the best polling outfit around.
Is Maddow simply picking and choosing the results she wants us liberals to see? If Maddow was a competent political analyst, that would be an obvious conclusion.
That said, Maddow is utterly hopeless in the field of domestic politics. The staffers who write her text each night were surely aware of the PPP's Democratic numbers. The staffers knew, but how about Maddow? Did Maddow know about the dueling results from the two new polls?
Because we watch her program each night, we know of no reason to think so.
The way New Hampshire works: In New Hampshire, independents are allowed to vote in either party's primary.
This makes New Hampshire slightly harder to predict. Depending on the way various tides are turning, the state's many independents can decide, at the last minute, which party's ballot to select on primary election day. In Campaign 2000, independents tended to break for McCain, over on the GOP side. This helped produce a surprisingly large defeat for Bush, and a win for Gore on the Democratic side.
(Independents tended to favor Bradley and McCain that year. To the extent that they decided to vote for McCain, they couldn't vote for Bradley.)
In its latest New Hampshire poll, PPP broke the Democratic results apart. In its Democratic poll, PPP found two different races unfolding:
PUBLIC POLICY POLLING (1/6/16): Things remain extremely close on the Democratic side, with Hillary Clinton at 47% to 44% for Bernie Sanders, and 3% for Martin O'Malley. There's an incredible divide between the Democrats and independents planning to vote in the primary—Clinton leads Sanders 55/36 with Democrats, but Sanders almost completely cancels that out with a 59/29 advantage among non-Democrats planning to vote in the primary.According to PPP, Clinton would be far ahead if only Democrats could vote. But Sanders is beating her two-to-one among independents who plan to vote in the Democratic race.
Given the massive time she wastes discussing trivia about the primaries, you'd almost think that Maddow would want to explain such things. That said, we've never seen anyone waste so much time on so much total nonsense as Maddow does in her endless pseudo-coverage of the campaign.
Maddow's campaign work is amazingly dumb. This week, it also seemed that it might be slightly dishonest, if only on the part of the staffers who tell her what to read.