Part 3—It’s time for the clowning to stop: Friend, how well do you understand the disputes and disagreements about the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Check that! How well do you understand the disputes about international trade deals in general? With how much knowledge could you discuss the effects of NAFTA, to cite one high-profile example?
For ourselves, we know very little about international trade. We have heard that the general topic is a major big deal.
On May 7, we heard that from Rachel Maddow. At the start of this passage, she’s discussing the way Nike conducts its business around the world:
MADDOW (5/7/15): That kind of business arrangement, where even iconically American products get made overseas because it’s more profitable to have the work done in places with terrible wages and terrible labor standards, that age-old dynamic which has killed off huge swaths of working-class and middle-class American jobs over the last few decades, that dynamic, many people worry, will get even worse than it is now if this big 12-country Asia trade deal goes through, which the president favors.Maddow expressed no opinion herself. But she told us that “many people worry” that the proposed Asian trade deal, which Obama favors, could “kill off huge swaths of working-class and middle-class American jobs.”
That sounds like a bad thing! Watching Maddow that night, you learned who has those fears about the proposed trade deal. “Labor and Democrats and people on the left and people in the center are opposed to that trade deal in considerable numbers,” the joke-laden cable star said.
If you watched Maddow that night, you got to see “Our Own Cantinflas” get serious for just a moment.
According to Maddow, her comments about the proposed tradedeal had “nothing to do with owls attacking joggers in that park in the Oregon state capital.” She wasn’t discussing “the still inexplicable girlfriend scandal that drove [Oregon’s] once very popular governor out of office.”
She was discussing the TPP; she made it sound like the substance of this proposed trade deal was a very serious matter indeed. Six weeks later, Maddow conveyed the same sense as she discussed the very serious “trade thing” Obama has been supporting:
MADDOW (6/17/15): So, that’s one thing. Tomorrow 10 A.M., potentially huge Supreme Court news.From there, Maddow began discussing the Pope. But along the way, viewers had been told that the proposed trade deal “is a big deal in terms of policy.”
In the other branch of government that is usually boring but occasionally fantastically interesting, huge news tomorrow from Congress. This trade thing that President Obama has been trying to get passed, the thing Republicans support but most Democrats don’t, looks like that trade bill may be back up tomorrow.
You saw all those super-melodramatic headlines about the Democrats turning on the president on the issue and the president’s sway with his own party. But Republicans have been a mess on this one too. Yesterday, Boehner fired three of the House Republicans on his team, people in charge of counting votes for him.
People who couldn’t count the votes on the issue. They themselves voted the opposite of the way they were supposed to be whipping.
So the trade bill is a big deal in terms of policy. It would affect 40 percent of the world’s economy. But the politics around it are like a hurricane without an eye. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. That might be tomorrow too, which will be a huge deal in Washington.
The TPP “would affect 40 percent of the world’s economy,” the Crazy Guggenheim of cable news said, as she discussed a branch of government “that is usually boring.” Passage of the next day’s bill would be “huge news.”
In terms of policy, it sounded like the Asian “trade thing” might be a very big deal. According to Maddow, who’s boredom-averse, the proposed deal would affect almost half the world’s economy, in a way she didn’t attempt to explain. Six weeks earlier, she had said that the proposed deal might “kill off huge swaths of working-class and middle-class American jobs.”
In terms of policy, it sounded like the proposed Asian pact is an extremely big deal. That’s why we’re asking you to notice the fact that Maddow virtually never discusses this topic, even though she seems to think it might devastate large numbers of regular people.
Maddow never seems to lack for time to tell her endless jokes or to engage in her endless mugging, which ought to serve as an open insult to her viewers’ intelligence.
Last night, he played her toy xylophone again while “Nick” paraded behind her with his cardboard NBC sign. We were amazed, as we always are, to think that liberal viewers accept this.
It gets even worse. Night after night, Maddow wastes time in prodigious amounts with her inane pseudo-discussions of the large number of Republican candidates in the White House race. Last night, she wasted time once again discussing “my guy, Jim Gilmore,” who apparently told the Richmond Times Dispatch that he will be running for president again.
No imaginable announcement could be less significant. But Maddow burned away her standard dollop of time:
MADDOW (7/7/15): Today, another candidate says he is jumping to that end of the candidate pool. And it’s my guy! It’s Jim Gilmore, the former governor—Maddow repeats this general story might after night, week after week, in much the way that Lady Macbeth became famous for washing her hands.
He’s only my guy because his press office calls us back and nobody else does.
Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia. He was chairman of the National Republican Party in 2001. He ran for president for a hot minute in 2007. In 2008, he was in the debates and everything before dropped out of the presidential race.
Later that year, he ran for Senate in Virginia, whereupon he lost to Mark Warner by 31 freaking points in that Senate race.
But be not afraid, Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia. He’s in. He told The Richmond Times Dispatch today that he’s running. He will declare that he is running around the time of the first debate which he and lots of other Republican presidential contenders will not be allowed into because Fox News says they can’t.
He will be, I think, the 17th major candidate to announce. Fox News says they are only taking ten. And by that dictate from Fox News, that makes the next three weeks something of not just critical, but existential importance for these candidates [showing photos] and my man, Jim Gilmore.
These guys, plus Jim Gilmore, only three will make it to the stage. This is now a dog-eat-dog, zero-sum game. Only three of the people can make it.
Just to clarify the chronology, Gilmore’s “hot minute” in the 2008 presidential campaign actually ended in July 2007. From there, he went on to be decimated in that Senate race.
For reasons which are blindingly obvious from the history Maddow recited, Gilmore’s potential candidacy would be one of the most ridiculous vanity runs in modern history. Despite this fact, Maddow loves to waste her viewers’ time talking about his deliberations, most recently on her previous programs of June 11, June 16, June 25 and July 2.
She loves to waste her viewers’ time on this ridiculous pap. By way of contrast, she almost never discusses the substance of that Asian trade thing, which “would affect 40 percent of the world’s economy” and might “kill off huge swaths of working-class and middle-class American jobs.”
Friend, are you a serious person? Are you a serious liberal or progressive? A serious citizen of the world? Are you a decent human?
If so, we think it’s time for you to wonder why Maddow behaves this way. We think it’s time for you to ask why she clowns in the ways she does on almost every program.
We think it’s time for you to ask why she burns time on “my guy, Jim Gilmore,” but can’t bring herself to attempt to explain the substance of a major policy fight which, according to her own fleeting remarks, would affect all kinds of people who aren’t corporate-paid multimillionaires.
Over the past few months, Maddow’s “campaign coverage” has become about as dumb as anything we’ve ever seen on a cable news program. (That takes in a lot of territory.) But if you watch the Maddow Show, you know next to nothing about the proposed Asian trade deal, or about the substance of international trade deals in general.
Maddow doesn’t seem to care a whole lot about the jobs of working-class people. In our view, it’s long past time when you should be asking why that is.
How much do you really know about the substance of international trade? Tomorrow, we’ll show you what Paul Krugman has said about the substance of the proposed TPP. On Friday, we’ll return to Maddow’s absurd pretense, in the past few months, of discussing this major topic.
(Warning! Don’t let the children watch!)
Maddow and her corporate owners branded her as Our Own Rhodes Scholar. Her lunacy has reached the point where it must be made to stop.
Tomorrow: What has Krugman said?