Matthews and Corn move on: In yesterday’s column, Paul Krugman said Obama should drive a hard bargain regarding the so-called fiscal cliff.
In Krugman’s view, Obama should be willing to take the risk of going over the cliff, if it comes to that. His headline: Let's Not Make a Deal.
Last night, we went from over the cliff to under the bus! That’s where two of your favorite TV stars threw Krugman as they played Hardball.
Chris Matthews was cast in the role of Socrates, with David Corn and Dee Dee Myers cast as his admiring interlocutors. In the part of the dialogue which follows, everyone agrees that Obama can’t possibly imagine going over the cliff.
At that point, Matthews mocked Krugman by name. Affably, Corn played along.
To watch this entire segment, click here. As the segment nears its end, gaze on the face of pseudo-liberalism, TV entertainment style:
MATTHEWS (11/9/12): The other fear [Obama] has is, “I’m going off that fiscal cliff,” meaning, “I tried so hard to get my way that we screwed it up with the Republicans, like we did last August, and nothing gets done—”To hear the sneering, watch the tape. Myers couldn’t move fast enough to agree with Matthews’ remarks.
CORN: And the economy—
MATTHEWS: “And the economy tanks again for a second recession—”
MATTHEWS: “—and I’m going down in history as a double failure.”
MYERS: He can’t let that happen!
MATTHEWS: Now, so he has to—
At some point, he’s got to pull back from the Paul Krugmans of the world and the people on the far left, if you will—not far left, but left. And he’s got to say, “You know what? I’m president. You’re a columnist.”
After she finished, Corn took his turn. With language that rang out loud and clear, David signaled his allegiance to Insider Standard Think too:
MYERS (continuing directly): I mean, the, he has— He’s going to get a lot of flack from both his own left flank and the right. He has to accept that. He cannot, as a responsible adult, let the economy go, let us go over the fiscal cliff. That would be terrible for the economy. It’d be terrible for the people that he’s trying to protect in this. It would be terrible for the middle class.In that moment, David announced. He has chosen to sell his soul for the cable dollars.
CORN: At the same time, though, the way he negotiates and the way he tries to reach that compromise is going to be essential. I think people on the Democratic Party will be willing to yield on some issues. They'll fight and they'll scream and they’ll make good cases for their own position, but at the end of the day, if the package, if the compromise is reasonable and is good and he’s gotten major concessions from the right, then I think [inaudible] fair, it will work.
Note how soft our hero is! Duh:
If Obama gets “major concessions from the right,” if the compromise is "reasonable and good," then of course he should agree to the deal. But what sorts of "major concessions" should Obama insist on?
Corn made no attempt to say. Beyond that, he made no attempt to defend Krugman against Matthews’ sneering—and he himself pictured the Krugman types “fighting and screaming” for their position.
Lo, how the Nation types have fallen! As Corn described the Krugman types “screaming” for their position, we thought of the way Matthews would describe Democrats in the good old days, before he was reinvented to suit the new business model at The One True Channel.
It was January 2007. With Jimmy Carter sitting in the front row at a public event, Chris recalled the bad old days when Carter was running for president. More precisely, he pictured the sweaty, crazy, yelling people a Democrat had to avoid:
MATTHEWS (1/21/07): You know, I thought one of the smart things President Carter did as a candidate...was, every time President Carter won a primary, instead of standing on a platform with a bunch of sweaty, yelling people—you know, the scene with the Democratic Party usually, a bunch of crazy people yelling—and you had to have the full potpourri of Democrats present on that stage or someone would be ticked at you—you would meet in a hotel room and it was amazing. You’d sit down one-on-one, it was a unilateral, with some anchor or reporter, a serious reporter. And every time you saw a primary, you’d stay up till 11:30 to see who won, and you’d see the president, the candidate, sitting there very calmly talking about the future of the country.Did anybody fail to understand that language? Instead of appearing with those “sweaty, yelling people,” Candidate Carter would “calmly talk” with “a serious reporter.”
As a candidate, Carter wouldn’t join the scene with the Democratic Party, with “a bunch of crazy people yelling.” He knew much better than that!
That’s how Matthews was describing Democrats as late as January 2007, before his subsequent reinvention. Last night, using similar language, Corn rejected the Krugman types who are going to scream for their positions in the next few weeks.
There was no attempt to discuss what Krugman actually said. There was no attempt to discuss what those “major concessions from the right” should be—what major concessions should be received before Obama signs on. (Nor will any such discussion ever occur on Hardball.)
Liberal viewers were given one message: Obama must sign a deal right now! Our side’s biggest fraud mocked our side's MVP.
Weakly, a "cable lefty" knew he must go along.
A bit more historical context: Matthews made those remarkable comments in January 2007. He hadn't yet been reinvented. Principally, he and his allies were still involved in the wars against both Clintons.
Case in point: Three days earlier, Howard Fineman had offered this wisdom on Hardball:
FINEMAN (1/18/07): At least [Obama] was not like that crazy Al Gore, who had been the ultimate goody-goody but who had grown a beard, made a film and dropped out to attend the School Without Walls.Gore was a crazy person too! As of January 2007, this was standard patter on Hardball. It had been so for ten years.
These are truly terrible people. They did tremendous damage with their endless war against both Clintons and Gore.
In a different world, people like Corn and Walsh would tell you that. But in this world, their hands are out.
They're begging Chris Matthews for jobs.
This is why we have to honestly assess the performance of these cable stars, even while they are packaged as liberals. Their motives, their sensibilities, their values are *not* driven by a progressive agenda.ReplyDelete
It's not about winning elections as much as it is about getting the progressive agenda on the legislative agenda. These people are assets to the liberal cause only so far as they advance the progressive agenda.
I think Bob shows week after week how they fall short, despite the moronic knee-jerk attacks from his commenters.
And it is just this kind of "progressive agenda" vs. "conservative agenda" ideological purity crap that HAS GOT TO END! NOW!Delete
You do recall 2010 don't you? No? Too long ago? Let me remind you.
That was the election in which "progressives" upset that the "progressive agenda" wasn't advanced far enough during the compromise that brought the nation its first national health insurance plan, threw their little passive-aggressive fit and sat it out.
Which of course allowed the Tea Party to take over the House, and which of course it is still firmly in control of.
You aren't going to cram anything down their throats. All they care about is the next election in 2014, and they will have another field day letting the country slide into another recession then blaming the guy in the White House for it.
But if you are as smart as Obama is, you might be able to pick off enough votes from the other aisle to get this thing done AND raise taxes on the wealthy while you are at it, and I can think of a gazillion ways -- from road and bridge projects in certain key districs, to perhaps a phase-in of the tax increase, to additional middle class and corporate cuts financed by the upper end increase, to get that done.
It's called good old fashioned, grown up, you scratch my back I'll scratch yours politics, instead of this infantile "Gonna hold my breath until I turn blue until you gimme what I want" malarkey that dominates both ideological extremes.
I'm looking to see if you left out any of the usual cliches. "Infantile" Check.Delete
"Gonna hold my breath" Check. "Ideological extremes." Check.
The funny thing is that your reply doesn't make any sense as a reply to what coyote said. It might work against some people, but not here. Coyote was criticizing some of the nitwits that appear on cable TV. You seem to be on some kick about the Naderites or the people at Firedoglake or something.
Thank you, Anonymous @ 3:17. I was not addressing nor advocating any ideological purity test. I was addressing the notion that the punditry class represent any interest other than their *own*.Delete
Anyone who advocates a better discourse should know this, regardless of political persuasion.
Frum said on Morning Joe that the conservative media complex exploited the conservative base. I'm saying that the liberal base is just as vulnerable.
"I was not addressing nor advocating any ideological purity test."Delete
Really? Then who wrote this?
"These people are assets to the liberal cause only so far as they advance the progressive agenda."
Here's the bottom line here: Bob once again has got his panties in a wad because Matthews, et al, had the temerity to disagree with Krugman!
Darlings! That just isn't done! Don't we know that unless we treat every word Krugman writes as if it were divinely inspired, that our precious "progressive agenda" isn't being properly served?
It is as if Somerby has co-opted Reagan's famous 11th Commandment: "Dare ye not to criticize any progressive lest you face the wrath of Bob."
If you had an ounce of honesty, you'd note that Matthews didn't disagree with Krugman so much as simply dismiss him.Delete
Let's see...Obama sets out his position, runs on it, wins convincingly, and both the Republicans and Matthews et al. conclude that means Obama has to accede to GOP demands. Looks like Fox consumers aren't the only ones living an insular, limited information existence. Apparently elections only have consequences when Republcians win, and, coincidentally, that's the same time the Village demands bipartisanship.ReplyDelete
Mitt Romney's message was, I am going to take away Medicare from everybody under 55, I'm going to cut Medicaid for everybody but about a third, and I'm going to do that to finance a giant tax cut for me and my friends, and the reason I'm doing that is because half the country contribute nothing to the national endeavor. Thank goodness, he lost and lost big!Delete
2:50, care to attribute that to David Frum or do you just like to plagarize?Delete
Frum, 11/10/12, Morning Joe:
"Mitt Romney's message is I am going to take away Medicare from everybody under 55, I'm going to cut Medicaid for everybody but about a third, and I'm going to do that to finance a giant tax cut for me and my friends, and the reason I'm doing that is because half the country contribute nothing to the national endeavor."
" . . . he himself pictured the Krugman types “fighting and screaming” for their position."ReplyDelete
Interesting, Bob. Now let's match that up with the passage you yourself highlighted to see if Korn was indeed talking about "Krugman types" and thus throwing Krugman "under the bus."
"At the same time, though, the way he negotiates and the way he tries to reach that compromise is going to be essential. I think people on the Democratic Party will be willing to yield on some issues. They'll fight and they'll scream and they’ll make good cases for their own position, but at the end of the day, if the package, if the compromise is reasonable and is good and he’s gotten major concessions from the right, then I think [inaudible] fair, it will work."
Hmmmm. "People on (sic) the Democratic Party . . ." Why, surely he's talking about Paul Krugman, and not about Democratic Congress people involved in the negotiations, whom Corn predicts will yield if the deal is right.
And, gee! How rude of Corn not to come up with THE plan to end all this bickering right on the spot. Clearly, he has sold his soul!
I'm not a big fan of David Atkins over at Digby's place. But he highlights the exact right portions of this Morning Joe conversation. It seems to me that what David Frum is saying about the media is EXACTLY what Bob has been saying for so long. The only difference is that Bob is warning the left that we're not immune to the same type of fleecing that has been happening over on the right.ReplyDelete
Well, just in case you think it came originally from Bob, it is exactly what James Fallows said in 1996 in his seminal book, Breaking the News.Delete
Does it really matter? The point is *this* has been one of the major points being pushed by Bob forever. Rather than engage him on it, many of the idiot commenters here practice the art of sophistry so as to distract away from it.Delete
I wish Bob would get rid of the comment threads altogether. The discussion threads had no value to this website.
oldman you might be right about the comment section. I question myself as to why I bother. Boredom perhaps and enough ego to want to throw my two cents in usually to defend Bob. Reading about the idiotic remarks on Hardball does reinforce my decision to avoid cable news altogether. It seems the more I delete from my viewing and reading habits the more I learn.Delete
Yes, it does matter, coyote. Fallows' book, which is as timely today as when it was published 16 years ago, spoke of an growing disconnect between an emerging millionaire celebrity pundit class and the people they are supposed to serve. Instead, we had this pundit class identifying more often with the millionaire class they were supposed to be reporting on.Delete
In the early days of this blog, Bob wrote eloquently about this, even going so far as to suggest that a primary reason that the pundit class had lined up so solidly behind Bush was because it was in their own economic self-interest to do so.
Bob would also write eloquently about how this pundit class and governing class would even socialize together with their "must attend" dinner parties for the real movers and shakers of media and politics.
But over time, and for motives known only to Somerby, he has become obsessively focused on proving that every utterance by a "liberal" pundit -- especially if spoken on MSNBC -- is so entirely wrong that he has taken to defending Mitt Romney, who is perhaps the single greatest example of a disconnected, multi-millionaire plutocrat running for president of the United States of America than we have ever seen, at least in this lifetime.
And if you don't believe me, then go to the Incomparable Archives and review his work this election cycle. It is beyond pitiful.
Now as far as your remark about the comment threads, I couldn't disagree more.
Yes, it would be such a lovely, orderly world if we weren't confronted by comments with which we disagree. We could read our favorite pundits in peace without putting them through peer review to see if their words of wisdom actually hold up.
I personally believe we are better served by more places for people to express themselves, not fewer.
cant properly concentrate on somerbys column . . . lachrymose again, never this bad. . . tears of joy of course...will have to keep this brief . . . fear shorting out keyboard.ReplyDelete
sincere thanks to the bosses of comcast, ge, nbc and msnbc for instructing (or allowing) their front people to be democratic partisans.
thank god no ryan . . . thank god . . . thank god.
Zzzzzzzzz, .....sooooo played.Delete
I was watching "Snowball" and watched David Corn genuflecting to that idiot's nonsense about Krugman......Matthews wants austerity just like the rest of the chattering villagers. David Corn......forget about it......never call yourself a progressive -- you're a knuckle walker just like the rest of the villagers....shame on you.ReplyDelete
Obama is the President, but Krugman is a Nobel-Prize-winning economist, not only a columnist, while Matthews is a bloviating TV pundit. Obama knows the difference. He probably knows the real economic (non-)significance of the "cliff" which has been explained by several economists besides Krugman.ReplyDelete
Jesus. I just woke up. Are those Roman columns?ReplyDelete
It's all so weak, so very, very weak.ReplyDelete
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