Now for the rest of the story: This morning, we has to pull the plug on a post we had planned.
We had planned to ask and partially answer a question: where do our inaccurate claims and statements come from? We had planned to start with this (fuzzy but) unlikely-seeming claim, as featured in last Sunday's Washington Post:
"A younger sibling is more than ten times as likely to try and succeed at stealing a base."
From there, we'd planned to move to the latest debunking of one of Malcolm Gladwell's eye-popping claims. We'd also planned to ask this question:
Why doesn't Ken Burns know what Slate seems to know about Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese? Even worse:
If he knows it, why in the world has he chosen not to say it? (We were especially struck by the Robinson quotes.)
The facts behind the base-stealing study turned out to be more elusive than we'd understood. We may return to it at some later point. To our ear, that statement had the feel of an instant classic of a familiar type.
For today, we've just seen Kevin Drum's post about the latest dopey pseudo-scandal—the desperate need to examine the transcripts of Candidate Clinton's deeply important speeches.
Drum's post was triggered by recent remarks by TPM's John Judis, a very experienced lifelong insider. We were struck by Judis' remarks at TPM too.
We largely agree with what Drum wrote. That said, we want to add the rest of the story.
We'll start with Drum's basic assessment. According to Drum's best guess, Clinton doesn't want to release the transcripts because some pointless remark will be yanked out of context and "made into yet another endless and idiotic Republican meme."
We would be inclined to assume that this is basically true:
DRUM (4/16/16): My own guess is that it's vanishingly unlikely Hillary said anything in these speeches that's truly a bombshell. Her entire life suggests the kind of caution and experience with leaks that almost certainly made these speeches dull and predictable. But the Goldman folks knew all that up front. They just wanted the cachet of having a Clinton address their dinner.Obviously, we don't know why Clinton is withholding the transcripts. That said, the principle here is blindingly obvious, except to those who pose as reporters and pundits within our "mainstream press corps."
Still, when you give speeches to any industry group, you offer up some praise for the vital work they do. It's just part of the spiel. And Hillary knows perfectly well without even looking that some of that stuff is in these speeches—and it can be taken out of context and made into yet another endless and idiotic Republican meme. Remember "You didn't build that"? Sure you do.
Clinton has been a targeted pol for decades. You'd have to be extremely clueless not to know what would happen as soon as she released the transcripts of those speeches:
Some pointless phrase would be yanked out of context and transformed into the latest distraction, entertainment and deeply concerning scandal. The fact that we liberals still don't understand this point helps prove a blindingly obvious fact:
Our tribe is largely ineducable.
That's the first thing that would happen if those transcripts were released. Baboons don't understand that fact. Neither do we the liberals.
Now for the rest of the story:
Concerning John Judis: At TPM, John Judis was wringing his hands about Clinton's puzzling failure to handle this.
Judis has been around forever. Does he really not know what Kevin Drum knows? He didn't seem to have a clue about what would instantly happen.
Concerning Kevin Drum: Drum seemed to picture this context grab being performed by Republicans. He said the play would result in "another idiotic Republican meme." Earlier, he showed how an anodyne statement from those speeches would end up sounding "in the hands of a political opponent."
Crackers, please! If history is any guide, this context grab would be performed by the mainstream press corps. They've been running these cons for decades now. That said, within the career press, liberals still aren't supposed to say so.
Would something from one of those speeches be yanked out of context? Would pundits proceed to howl at the moon? In the process, would some relatively innocuous comment be transformed into the latest distraction, entertainment and scandal?
Crackers, please! Of course those things would happen! Drum offered "you didn't build that" as an example. We can think of more egregious examples, stretching back through many years.
But of course those things would happen! Forget the GOP for once. This is the only way our mainstream press corps knows how to play. It's also the way we now conduct our own affairs here on "the left."
Would something like that happen? Liberals, please! Did you hear that Candidate Clinton made a remark on one occasion, in 1996, using a term which was in widespread use by many players at that point in time? Did you hear that she made that one remark, on that one occasion, twenty years ago? On exactly one occasion?
That's our latest exciting scandal! That's the way we humans now "reason" within our deeply unimpressive failing political culture.
We're death-defyingly silly and dumb. We just aren't serious people. Our major candidates all know this, and conduct themselves accordingly.
When it comes to the press corps' role in this nonsense, long-time players like TPM's Judis are still unwilling to tattle. Dearest darlings! You know the rules!
It simply isn't done!