Barbaro with the busybodies!

FRIDAY, JUNE 8, 2012

All topics from haircuts to houses: Your upper-class “press corps” is very dumb, as such elites typically are.

Yesterday, the New York Times turned its emptiest young tribune loose on Mitt Romney’s oceanfront home.

Granted, the piece appeared on the front page of the Home section. It ran some 1800 words, accompanied by seven color photos.

On the other hand, this is the second time in the past six months that Home has offered an addled, sprawling report about the homes of Republican hopefuls.

Yesterday’s piece was tremendously dumb; December’s piece may have been even dumber. In that earlier report, Kate Zernike was forced to psychoanalyze Romney, Gingrich and five other candidates based on the state of their cribs. (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 12/29/11.)

In yesterday’s piece, Michael Barbaro moved beyond his own front-page report about Mitt Romney’s hair, the report which appeared last November. In this new piece, he interviewed a gang of simpering busybodies who live near Romney’s home in La Jolla.

That’s “derived from the Spanish word for ‘jewel,’” the brilliant young author informed us.

This is a very dumb piece. It turns on two basic ideas: The Secret Service can sometimes inconvenience people when it’s protecting our candidates. And busybodies are no longer restricted to the Salem Villages of our nation's east coast.

The stars of this piece are a gang of biddies who dream of wasting Romney's time as they expound on various issues. In fairness, all candidates have to put up with this sort of thing in this self-impressed modern age:
BARBARO (6/7/12): Mr. Clark, an accountant, is trying to organize a campaign fund-raiser at his home for President Obama and hopes to bump into Mr. Romney on the street, so he can explain, ''in a neighborly way,'' why he thinks his relationship with Mr. Maddox deserves the same rights and status as the marriage between Mr. Romney and his wife, Ann.

A few houses up on Dunemere are Michael Duddy and his partner, James Geiger, who make no secret of their discomfort with some of Mr. Romney's politics. Chatting with Mr. Maddox and Mr. Clark a few weekends ago, Mr. Geiger playfully proposed hanging a gay-pride flag from the Italian stone pine tree in his yard ''so that Romney's motorcade has to drive under it.''
When’s the last time you arranged to bump into a neighbor so you could make him hear your views on some political issue? Meanwhile, is anyone this side of Syria more daring than Duddy and Geiger? Despite the possible repercussions, they “make no secret” of their discomfort with some of Romney’s views!

In fairness, a dope like Barbaro can make people sound much worse than they are. But this is a monstrously stupid piece, of a type this fatuous newspaper very much enjoys. In October 2004, the Times ran a sprawling report on the Sunday front page about Candidate Kerry’s troubling home, which was of course much too large.

Upper-class elites are always upset with those who are more upper-class.

That was one of the stupidest pieces in history. From its snarky headline and its dateline on down, Times reporter Robert Worth helped us understand “the air of privilege Mr. Kerry seems to carry with him.” (Dateline: ST.-BRIAC-SUR-MER, France.) Worth helped us understand various topics, from Kerry’s accent to the paintings found on the wall of his homes. Regarding the former key topic, “His accent is no longer the upper-class drawl of his youth, but his soft vowels and formal diction still hint at a privileged lineage.”

The election was only three weeks away when the Times unloaded that low-IQ bomb on the front page of its Sunday editions. Who but the Times would publish such crap? See THE DAILY HOWLER, 10/11/04.

(For the record, the inner circle had a long-standing problem with Kerry’s wife. Darlings, she was much too rich—and she was much too bitchy!)

(Last week, Digby was actually defending this past reporting about Kerry! It was her way of defending the bullshit about Ann Romney’s dressage.)

Last night, the hopeless Lawrence O’Donnell was exulting about Barbaro’s vapid new piece. He threw two of the busybodies on the air, letting us learn even more about their various views.

O’Donnell is a very dumb person. Wealthy elites quite typically are, even if we “liberals” can’t see this.


  1. The prejudice of the New York Times reports on Governor Romney are astounding and of course empty. Easily as rotten and pervasive as the prejudice against Al Gore. This is very important to keep pointing to, and this sort of prejudice will actually I think work in favor of Romney.

    1. Yes, it will, because conservatives have a long history of telling their base that the media is biased against them. Their base knows that the harder the media is on Romney, the more they should vote for him. They also know that the more facts are brought to bear on their candidate (such as his past as a looting capitalist who hurt the economic interests of people like them), the less they should listen.

    2. So by that logic, the media should just surrender to the right wing and not print anything remotely critical about any Republican, even if it's the Gospel truth?

      While, of course, remaining free to scrutinize every detail of a Democrat's life?

      That's the kind of world we want to live in?

  2. "When’s the last time you arranged to bump into a neighbor so you could make him hear your views on some political issue?"
    Yes, how bizarre that they'd want to try to talk to a presidential candidate. It's just like when I go over and talk my neighbor's ear off.

    1. Exactly.

      Just to put Bob's troubled mind at ease, the next time a neighbor of mine is a serious candidate for President of the United States, I'll certainly make it a priority to bump into him/her so they can hear my views.

    2. The Daily Howler has often shamed Chris Mathews over his big house. Just sayin....

    3. Hmmm, guess being born in the 1 percent and now owning a big house isn't a problem for Bob. In fact, those folks need to be defended when anyone points out the size and location of their houses.

      But when a person rises from the middle class, happens to land a job that pays millions, and then buys a big house on, say, Nantucket, then that just shows how out of touch they are with the rest of us working stiffs.

  3. Very well said, anonymous2:29. And thus, conservatives can --and do --dismiss virtually anything remotely critical of their man or woman. I find myself wondering, on the 40th anniversary of Watergate, if that story would have meant anything at all given your description. My guess is it would have been a one or two day wonder, then vanished, having been ripped to shreds on Fox news and bungled by MSNBC.

  4. Bob, you could hardly be more wrong on this one. Don't you realize that all these right-wing trolls are attracted to your site because of such misguided attacks on progressives (I mean, Jesus, Maddow is god awful, but she's SOMETHING at least)? This story not only illustrates Romney's excessive wealth, but also his selfishness, and the fact that his policies would persecute his own neighbors. These are certainly all valid topics in the presidential race. We need more of these kinds of symbolic attacks on this monster!

  5. In the sense that it demonstrates irrelevance of clowns who work for MSNBC and the NY Times, it is somewhat encouraging that Romney could easily win the election.

    1. I don't think that Romney can "easily" win the election. But I will concede that when looking in June at an election that will be held in November, anything is possible.

      I do think that there are a lot of voters who will be turned away from Romney because he is a gazillionaire with no understanding or empathy for non-gazillionaires. I also think that Romney's tendency for sarcastic and often cruel humor (e.g., the 7-11 cookies and the cheap rain ponchose cracks) will turn off some voters.

      Then there will be those who come to realize that Romney really doesn't have a single moral principle that he won't completely turn his back on and pretend it never existed in order to get elected.

      Then there are others who might remember the last time the slash-and-burn Republicans were fully in charge and what happened then. They could think it might be a good idea to keep a Democrat in the White House as the short of check and balance the Founding Fathers wanted.

      But still, there are an enormous number of people who have been whipped into such a lather through three decades worth of propaganda about "liberals" and now the Kenyan, Marxist Obama in particular that they would vote for Beelzebub instead, policy and character issues be damned.

      And that is the sad state of political discourse these days.

      But by all means, let's not focus on that. After all, the "real" problem in America today is all those awful hosts on MSNBC, and all those muddleheaded op-ed columnists in the NY Times.