The way your career pundits function: Last week, Barack Obama made a joking remark concerning the fact that Kamala Harris is conventionally good-looking.
As a general matter, men shouldn’t make such remarks in professional settings. By now, you’d almost think that liberals would understand why.
Many liberals do not.
Over the weekend, we were struck by some of the liberal men who complained about the reaction to Obama’s remark. Jonathan Capehart just didn’t get it, of course. And this is what Bill Richardson said on yesterday’s Meet the Press:
RICHARDSON (4/7/13): You know, maybe I’m a Neanderthal, but I thought the president’s comment was harmless. It was a political speech. He talked about her accomplishments. He talked about her competence. And then he threw in that line.“She’s not the attorney general,” Andrea Mitchell instantly said, stating a blindingly obvious point.
You know, you’re at a political event, what are you going to read, her resume? So my point is this—You know, political correctness has reached the point where it’s out of control.
Am I going to be criticized, for instance, if I say that a movie star like Scarlett Johansson is beautiful? Are they going to go after me? Probably.
For ourselves, we think a liberal man has hit rock bottom when he complains about “political correctness” in a matter like this, when he wonders if “they” will come after him if he makes such a remark.
That said, there is no doubt of a second point. Reaction to a comment like this will often be artificial. The pundit corps is constantly looking for something of minor consequence, but high interest, to blather about on the TV machine. On This Week, it was sad to see George Will elevated to the place where he made this obvious point.
Obama shouldn’t have made the remark. But when he did, many of the usual suspects were eager to use it to get through the night—or the early morning. Having said that, let us also say this:
The analysts came right out of their chairs when Arianna Huffington sounded off about this matter on This Week. Arianna thought it was time for everyone to calm down:
STEPHANOPOULOS (4/7/13): Arianna, should everybody relax or did the president really make a mistake here?“It was a fun story,” Greta van Susteren instantly blurted, reminding us that millionaire pundits persistently want to have that.
HUFFINGTON: Everybody should relax. Lighten up. It was an aside. It's unbelievable. George and I were talking in the green room about the G. K. Chesterton quote, "If there is one thing worse than the modern weakening of modern morals, it's the modern strengthening of minor morals."
Mock outrage. I mean I wish there was more outrage about the jobs numbers than there was about, than we had about Kamala Harris.
Arianna was outraged by all the mock outrage; she wanted to hear discussions of substantial fare. She couldn’t even bring herself to allow that Obama actually shouldn’t have made the remark. And this brought the analysts right out of their chairs.
They recalled the disgraceful things this Big Pundit Loudmouth once said, at a time when she didn’t choose to relax. Back then, she spoke as part of an all-star panel on Rivera Live, Geraldo's nightly CNBC program:
HUFFINGTON (11/9/99): When you are talking about a consultant that you bring on to give opinions on how to dress and whether you're an alpha male and how do you become a beta male, frankly—This person loved mock outrage then.
You know, what is fascinating is that the way [Candidate Gore] is now dressing makes a lot of people feel disconnected from him. And there was this marvelous story in one of the New Hampshire papers saying, “Nobody here, nobody here in Hanover, New Hampshire, wears tan suits with blue shirts.” You know, it's just—and buttons, all four buttons. You know, it's not just—it's just not the way most American males dress.
In fact, there were no suits with four buttons. Beyond that, we never found the marvelous story which said no one in Hanover wears tan suits, although the piece may even exist, given the lunacy then existing all through the mainstream presws. Beyond that, the “alpha male” talking-point was bullshit. So was the earlier complaint Arianna had voiced this night, in which she complained, over Al Franken’s rebuttal, that the Gore campaign was paying Naomi Wolf too much.
Wolf and Gore had both denied the unsourced claim that Wolf was telling him how to dress. No one contradicted that on the record, but Arianna's mock outrage was high.
Candidate Gore wore no suits with four buttons. But other pundits were complaining that Gore was wearing suits with three buttons. Making her comment stand out from the pack, Arianna bumped it to four.
In case you still don’t understand, this actually is the way George W. Bush reached the White House. People are dead all over the world because Arianna, and many others like her, just wouldn’t stop that relentless bullshit, with all that phony outrage.
Arianna was full of death-dealing outrage that night. But no one will ever challenge her on it. She will never be asked to explain why she kept saying these things.
The career liberal world has agreed to pretend that that history doesn’t exist. The relentless comments of the Ariannas and the Frank Riches have been airbrushed away.
Arianna was a disgrace that night. Today, though, in a startling flip-flop, we’re told that it’s time to relax.