Part 1—David Gregory and the even younger intern: “The state of the union is dumb.”

We’d love to see Obama say it, right at the start of tomorrow night’s address.

In our mind’s eye, members would shift about in their seats. Starting in the gallery, the applause would start to spread.

Helpful suggestion! As a performance hook, the president might want to borrow from Foxworthy, repeatedly saying this:

“The state of the union may be dumb if...”

He could then produce his examples. His point would of course be the same.

Good God, but the state of the union is dumb, especially at the top of the millionaire press corps food chain! Just consider what actually happened on yesterday’s Meet the Press.

It was January 26, 2014. (Concerning the year, we felt forced to double-check.)

Despite the year at the end of that date, Gregory built a chunk of his opening segment around Hillary Clinton’s chance to get elected president—in November 2016!

You’re right—Clinton hasn’t even announced that she’s running for president. If she does, the election in question is 34 months away.

But Gregory had Carolyn Ryan sitting there as part of his all-star panel. Ryan is the new Washington bureau chief of the New York Times.

In yesterday’s editions, the Times was wasting everyone’s time with an inane magazine cover story about the problems facing Clinton in the White House run she hasn’t yet announced. After an extremely brief mini-discussion of Obama’s impending address, Gregory tossed his first question to Ryan.

The state of the union may be dumb if— If this is the mentality at a large nation’s “paper of record:”
GREGORY (1/26/14): Pure politics here: This is also a chance for [Obama] to say, "This is what Democrats are for—you know, income inequality, raising the minimum wage—and we're much different than the Republicans." He's going to be thinking about helping Democrats.

RYAN: Absolutely. He's thinking about the Senate midterms. You know, the outcome of those races is far more important than the speech. But just to take a little bit of issue with the idea that— The question is, does Obama still really command the stage? And you have at least some people in the political world, including in his own party, who seem to be moving beyond the Obama era.

You have this kind of remarkable stampede of people who are signing up to be part of the 2016 Hillary Clinton election campaign, and the president has three years left. So the question is, is he still relevant? Can he command the stage? Can he move the country?
The state of the union may be dumb if— If that person sits at the head of the New York Times’ Washington bureau.

In that deft reconstruction, Ryan abandoned any talk of what Obama might say tomorrow night concerning matters of substance. She even moved us past the elections which happen later this year.

According to Ryan, the midterm elections are more important than the president’s address. And the 2016 election seems to be more important than the midterms are!

Ryan moved where We Irish have longed to be over the past twenty-two years. She asked us to forget matters of substance and think about Hillary Clinton.

People like Ryan actually have “moved beyond the Obama era.” They simply haven’t been able to move beyond the Clinton years!

As we’ve noted for many years now, they’ve moved beyond the tedious place where people talk about matters of substance. Instead, they talk about what might happen to Clinton at some future date.

Please discuss the Clintons, Ryan said, to the tune of Please Come to Boston. And good God! Instantly, her host introduced Rand Paul—and Gregory was soon saying this:
GREGORY: Final political question for you. Whoever the Republican nominee is, there's a good chance, as we look at it now, that one candidate on the Democratic side who'll have a lot of momentum, whether she gets the nomination or not we don't know, is Hillary Clinton. And an interesting profile in Vogue magazine, including this analysis:

"While her husband jokes," meaning you, "that his gut feeling is that Hillary Clinton will not run for president is good a thing since all the polls show her trouncing any opponent, Kelley, the wife of Senator Rand Paul practically cuts him off to say that, 'Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky should complicate his return to the White House, even as first spouse. I would say his behavior was predatory, offensive to women,' she tells me." Are these issues something that you really think will be fair game and an appropriate part of a campaign, should she be the nominee?
Ryan had begged for some good Clinton talk. In response, Gregory dragged Miss Lewinsky out, citing a comment made by Paul’s wife in “an interesting profile in Vogue.”

The state of the union is very dumb when people like Gregory do this.

How desperate was Gregory for Miss Lewinsky? This desperate:

That “interesting profile in Vogue” is more than four months old. It appeared in mid-September 2013. You can bore yourself with it here.

In hard-copy form, its pages are yellowing. That said, how interesting did people think that profile was in real time?

Not very interesting! In particular, that comment by Paul’s wife created no interest at all. According to Nexis, the thrilling comment about Miss Lewinsky was barely mentioned last fall.

Here’s the rundown:

The explosive comment by Mrs. Paul rated 26 words in Politico. (“Speaking about Hillary Clinton's possible run for the Democratic nomination in 2016, Paul's wife, Kelley, was critical of former President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.”)

Beyond that, it generated a 288-word report in the Huffington Post—and nothing at all beyond that. (To read that piece, click here.)

According to Nexis, no one else mentioned Mrs. Paul’s comment. Speaking on his cable “news” program, Lawrence managed to extract the real news from the intriguing profile:
O’DONNELL (9/18/13): The junior senator from Kentucky is suddenly a fashion star. There he is in a new Vogue magazine spread. Vogue informs us that his pants are from Brooks Brothers and his shirt, the shirt he is wearing right there, is of course, Polo, Ralph Lauren.

The accompanying article is entitled, “Could Republican Senator Rand Paul Win the White House?” My answer to that question is absolutely not and I will explain why next in the rewrite.
Lawrence went on to praise Paul for comments he’d made that day about “the way the war on drugs visits disproportional suffering on black men.” (Lawrence: “Senator Rand Paul showed just astonishing political courage today and we will show you what he said.”)

Elsewhere, “journalists” noted that Vogue was accusing Senator Paul of wearing “Dad jeans.” But no one gave a flying fig about that spousal remark.

As you’ve noticed, this silly piddle is now more than four months old. In real time, no one thought the profile was interesting. Virtually no attention was paid to the comment about that woman.

Yesterday, Gregory went a million miles out of his way to refluff the thrilling topic. He spoke as if the profile was current, as if the comment mattered.

Repeat—Rand Paul didn’t raise this topic on yesterday’s Meet the Press. That said, he created a new chapter in the history of “the 21-year-old intern” who wasn’t 21 at the time and also wasn’t an intern.

In response to Gregory's pitiful question, this is what he said:
PAUL (continuing directly): Well, you know, I mean, the Democrats, one of their big issues is they have concocted and said Republicans are committing a war on women. One of the workplace laws and rules that I think are good is that bosses shouldn't prey on young interns in their office.

And I think really the media seems to have given President Clinton a pass on this. He took advantage of a girl that was 20 years old and an intern in his office. There is no excuse for that, and that is predatory behavior, and it should be something we shouldn't want to associate with people who would take advantage of a young girl in his office.
Almost twenty years later, the intern who wasn’t 21 was bumped back to 20 years old! She has even become “a young girl!”

In fact, Miss Lewinsky was 22-and-a-half when she first met The Big He. Our “journalists” reduced her age to make the story sound better.

(On TV, Jay Leno cited her actual age. Big stars like Mark Shields did not.)

Yesterday, Gregory revived the excitement. The state of the union is massively dumb when people like this are paid millions of dollars to peddle this pluperfect piddle almost twenty years after the fact.

The state of the union is very dumb. The assist goes to Carolyn Ryan.

Tomorrow: The state of the union is atomized


  1. Call me Nostradamus:


    AnonymousJanuary 26, 2014 at 3:00 PM
    Don't know if Bob saw it. It's possible. But I sure did. Sometimes, you just got to let a guy talk, and he'll make an ass out of himself just fine.

    And I wouldn't be surprised if, should Rachel Maddow weigh in on Paul's words, that Bob will use that as another occasion to try to beat on Maddow some more -- while he uses it tomorrow as an excuse to beat on David Gregory.

    After all, this blog isn't about politicians. It's about journalists. Bob told us this himself.


    1. Well, at least KZ didn't predict the phrase "peddle this pluperfect piddle" would be used. We'd never hear the end of boasting about that one.

      I will go out on a limb futher than a crazy Jersey man studying main lane throughput in good faith:

      I predict a Nostradamus thread diversion could generate as many off topic comments as the Monty Hall Problem.

    2. "Part 1" is intriguing. Sometimes, however, Somerby has written a "Part 1" without quite getting around to "Part 2."

      Dare I predict what "Part 2" shall be tomorrow? Or have I already done so?

    3. Notradamus Predicts that Part 2, if it appears, will have a title, and that whatever the topic, it will have a link to great moments in the Howler blogography. Expect a visit to the archives.

    4. That's a good bet, too. But Bob should be careful. Such a trip down Memory Lane might serve to point out how good this blog once was and how far off the rails it has gotten, particularly since the debut of The Rachel Maddow Show.

    5. This metaphor (off the rails) implies a predetermined direction to the blog. Isn't that wherever Somerby wants to go? Why should trolls be dictating what any blog should talk about, much less deciding how "good" it once was or is now?

    6. That may be what you infer, but it is certainly not what I imply.

      Let me state it more clearly: Off the rails = batshit loony

    7. But first:

      Consider something Bob Somerby said Saturday. We’d have to say the highlighted statement is rather Wildsteinesque too:

      "Some people are actually mentally ill. We wouldn't rule that out.

    8. Yes, the trolls are definitely becoming more ugly.

    9. At 1:36 - so are their groupies, like you.

  2. I refuse to admit that yes, this is dumb dumb "journalism".

    No, no, no. The problem is entirely with Somerby.

    And I am a great prognosticator (Like that other great, Nostradamus), because I knew Somerby would mention this! No seriously, I'm a genius!

    1. Show us your PISA scores!

    2. Actually, I thought it was quite good journalism to let a politician hang himself with his own words. You know, "Proceed, Senator."

      Of course, in Bob's World, politicians are never held accountable for their own words. It's those nasty, wily journalists who put those words in their mouths by asking such rude, leading questions.

      After all, this blog isn't about politicians. It's about journalists.

    3. I am looking for a few posts on feminist reaction in Salon to Mrs. Rand's indirect blaming of Hillary. Is that a Nostradamus prognostication or simply wishful thinking?

    4. Salon has already weighed in? Good grief, this will be a multi-part series which we will be reading well into the baseball season.

    5. Anonymous 11:25

      Into the baseball season? You are thus predicting a very short series by Somerby standards.

      Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 15!

    6. Allow me then to clarify. Into the regular baseball season which doesn't commence until the end of March and doesn't end until the end of September.

    7. I think you're right, Anon 11:03am, this was Gregory's attempt to engender the next gotcha faux pas to be played endlessly on cable and at Mediaite and Salon. The next Big Buzz ala Mr. Gregory.

      Gregory mentioned the land that he thinks Pres. Obama must possess in the upcoming SOTU address (income equality, higher minimum wage), but what's all that stuff compared to a chance to generate the next media storm.

    8. Rand Paul is not hanging himself. He wants to say this or he wouldn't have repeated it. His audience is not Democrats, it is Republicans. They will love this.

      Any thinking woman's reaction should be to deplore the lack of agency accorded Lewinsky throughout the incident. Her deposition made it clear that she was the aggressor in their relationship (such as it was). Bill Clinton was a fool, but he isn't the first politician with a need to be loved by everyone and an inability to say no. It is pretty easy to argue that Obama has that same need for approval, but maybe less of an appetite, although even he hasn't managed to stop smoking. This has nothing to do with Hillary, although the Republicans will try very hard to claim that it does.

      Why is Gregory furthering conservative interests? Why is the NY Times, for that matter? What is Ryan's goal in bringing this up? These are more than fair questions to ask. This discussion didn't happen by accident. If they simply wanted to please an audience, they would have talked about deporting Bieber. This is motivated political behavior in the guise of journalism. That makes it propaganda.

    9. Yep. Gregory on Bieber deportation would double the Sunday morning ratings of MTP. Gregory on Bieber teleportation would triple it.

    10. Cecelia is on point. This will be a cue for Rachel to ask
      "But what about AquaBuddha" and thus ignore the pitiful numbers of Obamacare signups among the target demographic.

    11. Troll, Obamacare is as dead an issue as Lewinsky. Why should there be a lot of signups when the webpage wasn't working? In the states with their own webpages, there are plenty of signups in the target demographic.

    12. Lewinsky dead? Maybe as an issue to you. But not as a bubbly trivia question.

      I'll venture a prediction of my own that many "Where is Monica Now?" articles will result from the mere mention of her name on MTP.

      How much does she weigh? Have there been other men in her life to fill the void left by Bill? Did she ever get the blue dress back?

    13. "His audience is not Democrats, it is Republicans. They will love this."

      Ah, but here is the rub. Republicans are now caught between the rock of appealing to their base and the hard place of appealing to the sane world.

      I'm sure Todd Akin's "women's bodies shut down pregnancy when legitimately raped" went well with his base, too.

    14. Moralizing has broad appeal within the entire Republican party and among older or more traditional Democrats. When people could see Monica Lewinsky back during that scandal, no one was tempted to think of her as a victimized child. If she were to be back in the news it would undercut this meme because she must be near 40 now.

    15. "She must be near 40 now"

      Not near. Is.

      Of course we have one of Bob's favorite writers for one of his favorite online magazines to thank for this bit of news.
      And they didn't even need the David Gregory prompt.

    16. Let us tread carefully before we assign to either Clinton or Lewinsky the lion's share of the blame.

      You don't have to think of Lewinsky as an innocent victim to also believe that Bill was incredibly stupid.

      And you can also acknowledge that Bill was incredibly stupid while still maintaining that blowjobs weren't what the Founding Fathers were thinking of when they wrote "high crimes and misdeamors."

      This is one case where the people got it exactly right. Despite Somerby's meme that we are all stupid.

    17. "misdemeanors' of course, not "misdeamors," whatever they are.

    18. I don't think two consenting adults engaging in sex is "incredibly stupid." He and Lewinsky both had that right and it was nobody's business what they did together. Lewinsky was illegally wire-tapped or their activities would have remained private, as they should have done. There is nothing about being president that suggests the person holding that office cannot have sex with a consenting adult. All the rest concerns matters of taste, not intelligence.

      As evidence of this, notice that Clinton's polling was not hurt by his liaison with Lewinsky -- the lying was the problem. I personally think that people have the right to lie about things that are personal, private, nobody's business and shouldn't be asked about. I have no doubt whatsoever that Obama has lied about such things (e.g., whether he has really quit smoking, for example; his youthful drug use for another example). Sex is something most people engage in. Persecuting a president because of it is stupid, not what he did. Remember that the trumped up case Paula Jones tried to bring was ultimately dismissed because it had no merit. Nor did any of the other attempts to portray him as someone who coerced women into having sex with him. All that is left is the sex itself, and I do not believe that healthy human beings having sex is stupidity.

    19. Monica is hot. On Yahoo, anyway. She's trending, they report.

    20. It is your perogative to believe Clinton did nothing "incredibly stupid" by accepting BJs from a willing young lady to whom he wasn't married.

      I happen to take my marriage more seriously than that and would do nothing to jeopardize my marriage to a woman I love more than life itself.

      And I think cheating on your spouse is a pretty serious issue that puts a lot of couple in front of a lot of judges.

      Now, once again, I am allowed to think that Clinton was a hound dog while still thinking this didn't rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors" for which he should be impeached, convicted and removed from office.

    21. You shouldn't do anything like Clinton did, given the way you feel. But there are all kinds of marriages and one person does not get to dictate how others should understand whatever vows they have made. Plenty of people don't consider BJ's "sex" or cheating, as emerged during the nationwide discussion and polling at the time. How many court decisions must be handed down before people understand that they don't get to impose their own sexual "standards" on other people through force of law. You can think what you want, but understand that Clinton and many others would disagree with you. As a Libertarian, Rand Paul should be supporting sexual freedom, not condemning Clinton for engaging in it.

    22. So if you came home early one day and walked in on your wife giving the mailman a blow job, no problem, right? They are both consenting adults. And it isn't really sex.

      Look, I agree that matters of the bedroom belong in the bedroom. So please refrain from lecturing me about what I have a right to be offended by.

      And you know what? Bill Clinton was finally honest enough to own up to it, and to the gravity of what he did to his wife, his daughter and his marriage.

      And it speaks well of both him and Hillary that they were able to get through it.

    23. That would be between me and my wife. It wouldn't be a national issue, even if I were president. I am not lecturing you about what you have a right to be offended by. I am saying that you do not have the right to tell other people how to live their lives. Whatever Clinton and his family decided to say to each other, it is none of our business. He should never have had to make any statement to the public much less "own up to" anything. His sex life is irrelevant to his job description. Your approval of his subsequent behavior is therefore also moot.

    24. Wow. You convinced me. Every man should accept BJs from whatever 22-year-old employee offers them. Right on the spot. Phone sex, too. Nothing stupid about that, even if you are President of the United States and the employee is one who will spend hours on the phone crying to her friends about it and preserve a semen-stained dress as a souvenir.

      Not "incredibly stupid" at all. In fact, downright brilliant.

    25. "That would be between me and my wife."

      You mean it wouldn't be solely between the mailman and your wife? Two consenting adults?

    26. Not brilliant, irrelevant. Irrelevant. What is hard to understand about that?

  3. Ok, she's 21 (and a half) and not an intern, just someone who worked in the white house. No problem then. Good point.

    The only people who would blame or not vote for HC because of the Lewinsky scandal would never have voted for her anyway. So, 21, 20, 22 even in anycases it's disgusting that a 49 (50?) year old president of the US was getting blown by a 22 year old white house worker in the Oval Office. But as far as HC goes... who cares?

    1. Was it IN the Oval Office? Check your facts. That may be an invention of yours. Or is it "creation"?

    2. It was in a closet next to the Oval Office. Lewinsky has stated that she instigated that activity. But would you be as disgusted if he ate a hoagie in the Oval Office? How about smoking that cigar in the Oval Office? Aren't those disgusting too? Is consenting sex between adults really disgusting? Do you find the relationship between Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones disgusting too? How about Demi Moore and Ashton Kucher? Have we all forgotten that the scandal was about the lying, not about the sex? Or are we now separating the Democrat wheat from the Republican chaff here?

    3. Now that you mention it, anybody with Ashton Kucher at least raises an eyebrow of all thinking folk who are worth their wheat in chaff.

    4. You do realize that Demi was with Bruce Willis, staunch defender of all things conservative, before Ashton, and that they are pillars of Republican rectitude (except Ashton is now on that "potty-mouthed" TV show)?

    5. No. I didn't realize at least some of those things.

  4. I for one am looking forward with great anticipation to a few more years of tales of the Lewinsky love lock on Bubba's love pork chop!
    The younger she gets the better! Cigars all around!

    1. Do not forget how this episode also spawned the War on Gore.

      We can never get enough posts about the 2000 election. We are always hungry for the same old leftovers.

    2. Well, you gotta admit it beats trying to pick which toll booth
      on a New Jersey on ramp you can find Wildstein's motive behind.

    3. Yes indeed, this fresh new topic of the Lewinsky scandal is screaming so loud for Somerby's brilliant analysis that he might not have time for the New Jersey bridge and the Virginia bribes any more.

    4. Bob: If this blog leaves Jersey and Virginny and we don't cover Lewinsky you’ll regret it. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon and for the rest of your life.

      Trolls: But what about us?

      Bob: We’ll always have Rachel.

    5. The war on Gore was an extension of the war on Clinton, which began with the uproar over Hillary rearranging travel office staff (Travelgate), continued with Whitewater, devolved into Troopergate and Paul Jones, which led to wiretapping of Lewinsky by Lucianne Goldberg and the debate over whether blowjobs constitute sex, followed by the impeachment, during which Clinton's approval ratings were never higher. Gore had his own mini-scandal over fundraising in the VP's office and Chinese bundlers, but he decided to support Tipper's decency campaign by distancing himself from Clinton's presidency. A fatal error. The rest of his campaign was beset by the same made up attacks as the Clinton's suffered, over any and every thing, small or large. And the "liberal" press were part of this whole sordid campaign.

      Instead of wondering whether Clinton or Gore deserved such treatment, ask yourselves why they were so hated by the liberal establishment, who wanted them gone, and why the Democrats have been so ambivalent about our most successful politician? Bill Clinton is still so well liked that he had to come in and save Obama's bacon during his own campaigns, and at other key points. The question I find difficult to answer is why Bill and Hillary Clinton still want to be part of Democratic politics, after the treatment they have each received.

    6. And some still doubt whether Bob contributes to the comment box.

    7. For the record, I am not Bob (Anon @12:02).

    8. But we're sure you are a very nice person.

    9. The Usual Douchebag Troll CrewJanuary 27, 2014 at 12:29 PM

      NO, no, no!

      If you don't sing from the troll hymnbook, but have an able voice, you /must/ be Somerby.

      We trolls are just that stupid. And perhaps a bit more.

    10. The problems of Jersey and Virginny don't mean a hill of beans in this crazy, mixed up world.

      But that is our hill. And those are our beans.

    11. Anon @ 12:31

      I think this is the beginning of a beautiful trollship.

  5. Nostradamus @ 10:40 AM

    Don't know if Bob saw it. It's possible. But I sure did. Sometimes, you just got to let a guy get conflicted.

    Amanda Ripley is back.

    I predict Sr. Somerby will devote a couple of posts to refuting her thesis that "poverty isn't the problem" then slam Josh Marshall for printing her opinion.

    1. That would be a good bet. Amanda Ripley is bait that Somerby will find hard to resist.

      However . . . it appears that Somerby and Marshall had a parting of the ways some time ago. They used to link back and forth to each other's blogs, and compliment the work the other was doing.

      Then Somerby wrote a post about how aliens had kidnapped the real Josh Marshall and left an impostor in his place over something he apparently disagreed with Marshall about. It wasn't enough for Somerby to disagree and state his own case. He had to add ridicule and insult on top of it.

      Since then, radio silence between the two.

    2. Don't mention aliens and kidanapping again. It is a signal for the really vile troll to sweep in and make people feel unclean.

    3. Everyone thinks that about Marshall. He sold out and let his blog be used for nefarious purposes. Go read what Cannonfire says about this.

    4. Marshall became ridiculous. It was embarrassing to watch.

    5. Who (or what) is Cannonfire. Is it like as FireDogLake
      but with guns?


    7. "Every one" = Cannonfire.


    8. Thanks 12:14.

      First reaction to a first visit:

      "I don't want to paint nudes. Honest. Sure, there was a time when that sort of thing had a certain appeal, but now that my beard has more salt than pepper, my concerns are elsewhere."

      Another old white guy blog. I'll stick with TDH. No Norman Rockwell to distract me from the serious issues of the day.

    9. Everyone =/ Cannonfire but Cannonfire has summarized the reasons why Marshall is not on people's must-read list any more. Cannon does illustration, animation and graphics for a living, so his weekend blog is relevant to his own interests and not typical of daily content (like Drum's cats or Digby's movie reviews). However, if you don't read any old white guys, you won't be reading Marshall either, so don't bother reading anything more.

    10. Cannonfire probably explained very well why Marshall is not on HIS must-read list any more. And they might very well be the same reasons Marshall isn't on YOUR list.

      But "people"?

      Marshall's Web traffic is quite high. In both hits and unique hits. So a lot of people are clicking "Talking Points Memo". Whether they are actually reading or not after Cannonfire's brilliant takedown, I suppose it is possible that "people" aren't reading it. We don't know.

    11. Marshall's web traffic is quite high.

      It is going to get higher. Somerby will be going there all week since the Amazing Ripley will be a guest today through Friday.

    12. Somerby isn't following Ripley around to persecute her. He isn't in the business of critiquing other people's blogs either. If Ripley is discussed in the media, maybe he will talk about her. Marshall is having a nice life. So what? Lots of people like Limbaugh too -- what does that prove?

    13. Hey 2:51, be sure to skip the post immediately before this one. It begins thusly:

      "Kevin Drum says there’s no chance that David Wildstein was conducting a “legitimate” traffic study when he closed two traffic lanes leading out of Fort Lee. Click here for the analysts' favorite.

      We don’t completely agree with Drum’s post, for reasons we’ll offer below."

    14. If you go back, you'll see that that post isn't about Kevin Drum. I didn't say he never mentions bloggers. He doesn't critique Drum at all, as most commenters pointed out.

    15. That's odd because it was the "trolls" who said that Somerby never got around to Drum after his tease, and the "groupies" who said he did and his rant about Maddow was really on--point addressing Drum.

      I'm so confused now.

    16. No, you're not. It was all about press coverage of Wildstein, the supposed study and the bridge lane closures. It was not about Drum, except that Bob used Drum's comment as a device to state his own opinions. If you open a story about kittens with a brief quote from Keats, it doesn't mean your story is now about Keats.

    17. Oh, I get it. The groupies were right then when they said the post was about Drum, and they are right again today when they say it wasn't about Drum.

    18. Is Diane Ravitch a journalist, activist, or blogger?

  6. It is good to see Gregory get us back on topic.

    Enough of this right wing obsession with Obama.

    We are out of Africa and back to blowjobs.

    American, and NBC, don't care about black kids.

  7. anamericanwhohappenstohaveirishancestorsJanuary 27, 2014 at 12:18 PM

    somerby says, “Ryan moved where We Irish...”

    >>> i didnt play the clip, but unless she spoke with an irish accent, it can safely be assumed she's not irish.

    it doesnt matter how many of her ancestors hail from the emerald isle as opposed to somewhere else. for example, from reading this blog, etc, it would appear that most of somerbys ancestors are not of irish extracti0n, but even if all his known ancestors, like me, could be traced back to ireland, that wouldnt make him or me irish. to say you are other than american is wrong culturally and in a legalistic sense and disrespectful of america and self defeating and 'group' (as though americans of irish extraction are a coherent social group) defeating. it marginalizes people who happen to have that background.

    Somerby says, “Ryan moved where We Irish have longed to be over the past twenty-two years. She asked us to forget matters of substance and think about Hillary Clinton.
    "People like Ryan* actually have “moved beyond the Obama era.” They simply haven’t been able to move beyond the Clinton years! “ [my asterisks]

    >>> how does he know what this whole group thinks on average on an arcane topic like that. [we do know this 'group' voted mostly for the dem candidate for president in 2012.] (and does he even know what her ancestry is? i couldnt find it, or is a last name sufficient for a journalistic truth-squader?) i dont hear things that would indicate his 'group' mind reading is accurate.

    you may find somebody who is put up to say *anything* on the tv or the internet to make their so-called 'group' look bad by association.

    btw, somerby never does this to any 'group' other than americans who happen to have irish extraction or an irsh-catholic background.

    1. Nosatradamus could have predicted Bob's off hand Irish reference would provoke this. But Nostradamus was a Phrench Pharmacist. Nobody but the English ever gave a phig
      about the comings and goings of the Irish.

    2. ...or of this particular mentally ill troll, for that matter.

    3. But first, Anonymous 12:31:

      Consider something Bob Somerby said last weekend. We’d have to say the highlighted statement is rather Wildsteinesque too:

      "Some people are actually mentally ill. We wouldn't rule that out.

    4. "it doesnt matter how many of her ancestors hail from the emerald isle as opposed to somewhere else"

      It does matter to certain Irish-heritage people in the NE. To those people it matters very much.

      Further, it is tempting for those of us of Irish heritage to assume that we are now so assimilated into US culture that we no longer bear any traces of our heritage. I found out how wrong I was about that when reading Angela's Ashes. McCourt talks about the Irish habit of self-denigration and the competition for lowest down-and-out status as a tradition in story-telling. I still do that myself and I learned it from my family. So, you can get rid of the accent but other traditions are more subtle.

      This argument that being Irish in the NE is no big deal reminds me of the efforts to pretend there was no such thing as the mafia or Italian organized crime. Immigrants help each other out, and that tradition continues long after it is needed for survival.

    5. anamericanwhohappenstohaveirishancestorsJanuary 27, 2014 at 3:16 PM

      i wouldnt try to learn about irish culture from from anybody who is anti-irish, even if they were born and raised there. he calculated correctly that if he belittled ireland he'd much more likely get published and make a pile of money.

      "A former school mate confronted McCourt at a book signing and ripped a copy of his book in half. Threats against the author forced Limerick University to step up security when he visited the college. The actor Richard Harris wrote a letter denouncing McCourt to The Times. The writer Kevin Myers published a parody, Cyril's Cinders, part of which read: "And at school – well, when I say school I mean an upturned bucket, because that was school in those days – the Christian Brothers would wait for us to get through the Specials' ambush and then when the survivors staggered in, they would take down our trousers and beat us with iron rods until it was time to go home again. That was our education, pretty much."

      "Even Angela McCourt had challenged her son's recollections before her death in 1981. Frank and his brother Malachy had persuaded her to attend A Couple of Blackguards, their stand-up memoirs, in a Manhattan theatre. Angela interrupted the tearful renditions of their childhood, standing up and shouting at the stage: "It didn't happen that way. It's all a pack of lies."

    6. an american who happens to have irish-catholic heritageJanuary 27, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      anon 2:00 says, "Further, it is tempting for those of us of Irish heritage to assume that we are now so assimilated into US culture that we no longer bear any traces of our heritage."

      >>> three points, i would imagine there could be some traces to be found in the first generation born in america of real irish people, but i cant think of any in my own case, and i doubt it is is significant.

      second, the extent the irish immigrant group's offspring varies from the typical kid of non-irish immigrants has to be considered. you cant fairly look for variations in irish' (from ireland) offspring and compare that variation to no other offspring groups' level of variation. in other words, *how much* (somerby preaches to be specific) does the attitudes, etc. of the irish offspring vary, more or less, from the majority culture as compared to kids of other backgrounds whose parents were from another country and whose children were raised in the same area as the kids of the irish parents, preferably also controlling for economic differences as well.

      third, after the first generation, (americans of irish extraction (or irish-catholic heritage) having kids), the degree of variation almost certainly drops from whatever very small level it was, to infinitesimal.

      [fourth, not to mention kids with parents who have multiple ancestries, including from ireland]

    7. anamericanwhohappenstohaveirishancestorsJanuary 27, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      anon 2:00 says, "This argument that being Irish in the NE is no big deal reminds me of the efforts to pretend there was no such thing as the mafia or Italian organized crime. Immigrants help each other out, and that tradition continues long after it is needed for survival."

      >>> americans who happen to have irish extraction or an irish catholic heritage dont stick together nearly as much as other 'groups'. i dont why and i think its likely a mistake, but its easily observable.

    8. McCourt wasn't anti-Irish. He was very poor and he described conditions that were embarrassing to his mother and the Catholic Church. His descriptions are very consistent with other accounts of poverty.

      So, do you think it didn't matter whether you came from "Back of the Yards" in Daley's Chicago?

    9. anamericanwhohappenstohaveirishancestorsJanuary 27, 2014 at 6:03 PM

      "McCourt wasn't anti-Irish."

      >>> thats how i and a lot of others remember him.

      "So, do you think it didn't matter whether you came from "Back of the Yards" in Daley's Chicago?"

      >>> you may be making an interesting comment, but i dont follow it.

  8. "Trolls" get results!

    We've been begging Bob to jump off the George Washington Bridge. And now he is onto an entirely new subject: David Gregory and Monica Lewinsky.

    1. The George Washington Bridge story had nothing to do with jumping. Suicide from the bridge was not effected by the blockage of lanes from Ft. Lee although mentally ill people were invoked.

  9. At least David shows up on Sunday morning. George is often too tired after a week of hosting GMA and we have to settle for a substitute host. Nobody else of his stature to take the reins, or is he just too greedy. Why don't they just give it to Martha Raddatz and get it over with? Maybe she likes hanging out at the Pentagon too much.

    Maybe things have been worse. The last time the nominal host of TW was absent this often David Brinkley was old and sick and Sam Donaldson had to play Ed Sullivan

    Apparently neither MTP or TWWGS can fill a whole hour anymore. Both seem to being killing time with a weekly irrelevant feature story rejected by other shows.

    30-odd years ago Brinkley replaced the old 30-minute Issues and Answers with his revolutionary 1-hour talk-fest. George Will once called it the jewel in the crown of Sunday-morning news programs, or something equally quasi-poetic. Of couse he did. It was a weekly opportunity for him to make liberal Sam look dumb, or at least non-academic (same thing to academics).

    In 30 years these panels went from a simple but effective Beatles-like foursome to an absurd Blood, Sweat & Tears crowd of the same old gang of hacks and mouthpieces week after week. Insufferable.

    I've basically quit MSNBC. Now I no longer Tivo the Sunday shows. It's the end of the world.

    Honestly, is Donna Brazile really twins?

  10. Lots of fascinating comments.

    That said, upon reading the post, I thought it was about the "reporters" that start a story with the irrelevant comment, "If the election were held today..."

    1. Now THAT would be an interesting post, worthy of the MIA Bob.

      Of course, Bob would have to discipline himself to remain on topic of why and how we got into this "endless election cycle" game, rather than type up the next stray thought that enters his head and jam them into another long, wandering post.

      By the way this is ground that James Fallows covered quite brilliantly in "Breaking the News: How the Media Undermine American Democracy" back in 1996, two years before Somerby began blogging.

      It is also territory covered brilliantly by Bill Moyers on his PBS "Journal" during the 1992 election cycle.

    2. If it has been covered brilliantly already, why must Bob do it now for free?

    3. Good question for Bob, who seems to love plowing ground that had been plowed 20 years before.

    4. Yes, because Bob told David Gregory to bring up Monica Lewinsky.

    5. Actually, it is more nefarious than that.

      Bob told Vogue to ask Mrs. Paul, knowing that Gregory would soon bring it up to the senator.

      And that makes as much sense as Bob's various "theories" about Fort Lee.

  11. Look, it is possible that Gregory was acting in good faith when he asked Paul this question. After all, he, like Jim Lehrer in the 2000 debate, may feel this is an issue and is inviting Paul to make it one.
    Nobody has proven otherwise. Gregory may have overlooked all good journalistic practice in doing so. He may have been ofndrugs and could possible be insane. Bob, to his discredit, has not mentioned any of these possibilties, but until disproven, he should.