Part 3—Maddow and Krugman explain: How did we liberals get to be such manifest, world-class losers?
We just lost a White House race to the craziest person who ever sought the office. This outcome will change history for generations. What forces conspired to make us such consummate losers?
You're asking a very good question! For today, let's consider the work of two influential journalists. We refer to Rachel Maddow, a consummate corporate "cable news" clown, and to Paul Krugman, the most important American journalist of the past sixteen years.
Let's start with our own Cantinflas. More specifically, let's consider the dumbness-delivering way she started last evening's program.
Good God! Our own Rhodes Scholar started her program with her favorite topic, the sex tape from Alabam'.
She took the throw from the great Chris Hayes. Within minutes, liberal brain cells were dying all over the land:
MADDOW (11/28/16): Thank you, friend. And thanks to you at home for joining us this hour.Maddow burned her first six minutes with this lurid, raging story about the sordid sex scandal. The sordid story involves the alleged mistress who may have been shtupping the governor, who wasn't handsome but liked to do things with his hands.
Of all the attractive and in some cases alluring governors that we have in these 50 fine states in our country—and honestly, they're an unusually handsome bunch of governors that we have in this country. Of all the governors that we've got in this country, you would not necessarily expect that the one governor of all the 50, the one governor who would be living through an ongoing, raging sex scandal right now, complete with sex tapes, you wouldn't expect that the one with the sex scandal would be this handsome devil.
But he is the governor of Alabama. And his ongoing lurid sex scandal continues to be one of the weirder sidebar stories in American politics right now. It's fairly lurid stuff.
His amorous discussions with one of his top advisers were published, were broadcast by the Birmingham News website earlier this week [sic]. They're all about what he'd like to do with her and how he hoped his secretary couldn't hear too much from outside the governor`s office door when they were in there doing. Yech.
You might remember the tapes. I don't really feel like playing them any more. But last night, we reported on a new wrinkle in this story, a new unlawful dismissal lawsuit that was filed against the governor and against his alleged mistress. This is a lawsuit that the governor is dismissing as street gossip and Internet rumors. But this new lawsuit from his former body man, his former chief of security, says that his former chief of security was basically fired from the governor's administration in Alabama because basically he wouldn't go along with the governor`s effort to cover up this affair and to cover up the illegal use of state resources that were being employed to perpetuate the affair.
The lawsuit alleges that one of the ways this alleged affair came to light is that the governor's staff had the bright idea that they should have Governor Bentley start using an iPad for some of his work. And the governor, according to the lawsuit, he didn't understand that his new iPad would be linked to his iPhone. And so, darn that Cloud, his sexy messaging with his alleged mistress ended up popping up in plain view on the iPad, which apparently other people had access to besides just the governor. He thought it was private and just on his phone, but it was not private.
Now, the governor's marriage is over. We know from his own words on the sex tape exactly what he likes to do with his hands even when he's in his office. The governor's facing possible impeachment in Alabama. He's facing a state investigation by the attorney general even as that same attorney general is trying to get the governor to appoint him to the U.S. Senate seat that's about to be vacated by Senator Jeff Sessions when Jeff Sessions goes to Washington to join Donald Trump's cabinet. Yuck.
So it's just this lurid story that continues to spin out in Alabama. It now has national implications because of its links to the Trump administration. And one of the truly strange lingering storylines in that whole sordid, ongoing story in Alabama is the question of how exactly the alleged mistress got into the governor's office in first place. Because by all accounts, she was the top adviser to the governor, traveled with him everywhere, was at all of his events. Multiple legal complaints that have arisen around this affair have described her as the de facto governor, described her as the person who was actually making decisions in Governor Bentley's office while Bentley was allowing her to run the place behind the scenes.
And all along through this story, there's been this interesting question of where exactly she came from. Who was paying her salary? Because it's undisputed that she was working with the governor's office every day, undisputed that she was his closest staff member, at all of his events, involved in all his high ranking decisions, but she was never a government employee.
It's really weird fact in this lurid story. The taxpayers of Alabama were not paying her salary. And whether or not she was shtupping the governor, that's kind of weird, right? To have somebody working in the governor's office every day who was not a government employee?
Well, the group that apparently was paying her is called the Alabama Council for Excellent Government. ACEGov.com was their website. But when the alleged relationship between the governor and this mysterious aide became a national sex scandal, they disappeared their website. This is their website today. It's just nothing. It's just a little placeholder, in case you might want to build something at ACEGov.com because there's nothing there now.
So in the middle of this raging story with national implications, there's this black hole, there's this group that was apparently paying this woman who was in the governor's office every day, this group does not answer its phones, they don't have a physical presence anywhere. You can knock on the door. They don't respond to requests for comment. If they were paying her that money, we have no idea where that money comes from, or what the group was trying to do.
We have no idea what gave them the right to pay somebody to be in the governor's office working full time alongside the governor, let alone allegedly shtupping him. We just have no idea, except for one thing—we do have one piece of information. We do have one thread to pull.
Because we can see, thanks to a bunch of do-gooder, modern-day librarians a thousand miles away, we can see today how this mysterious group that tried to disappear itself once the scandal broke, we can see how they used to represent themselves to the world before they suddenly went dark. We can see how they used to present themselves when they use to have a public face before this sex scandal happened and they decided that they better go away.
And we can see that because this is an old version of their website from before they took it down and tried to disappear it from memory. And these screen shots of their old website were taken by the Wayback Machine. By the Internet Archive, which is a nonprofit based in San Francisco that's been around since 1996. The Wayback Machine.
It is a national treasure. It's an international treasure. We've used it hundreds, probably thousands of times in the preparation of this show...
Brain cells were dying all over the country as Maddow killed time with the lurid tale she can't seem to stop discussing.
We'll advise you to ignore every substantive point she stated or suggested until you can confirm it. We'll especially note that this pretty much isn't a "national story...with national implications," except inside the very strange head of the person a bunch of corporate suits picked to serve as one of our liberal intellectual leaders.
Just so you'll know, this was the third time in the past two weeks that Maddow has discussed this sordid story. On Monday night, she started her report on the sordid topic by correcting a ridiculous error she made on November 18, when she offered the first in her latest series of pointless reports on this shtupping-inflected affair.
(On those first two occasions, Yuck! We were treated to excerpts from the lurid sex tapes all over again! BREAKING: He would put his hands on his girl friend's breasts! And he isn't even handsome!)
Liberal brain cells screamed in pain as Maddow burned time in this manner, as she endlessly did earlier in the year. Just in passing, might we offer some possible context?
In the past year, Maddow has begun to discuss her Catholic upbringing in an open way. We'll suggest this may provide some context for understanding her weirdly obsessive puritanism and her desire to see people get punished, especially people of whom she doesn't approve, if possible with their children dragged in.
That said, Maddow has been playing her "sex tape" throughout the year, seeking ways to justify her own obsessive behavior. Liberal brain cells wither and die every time she does this.
Maddow was picked by the corporate suits to serve as a star liberal journalist. Years ago, it was reported that she was being paid $7 million per year. When "journalists" are paid such huge sums, it rarely turns out well.
In the next few weeks, we'll explore the topics Maddow has ducked in the past few years as she kept scratching her various itches with her various gong-show distractions. How did we liberals become such losers? In our view, Maddow's first six minutes last night provide one tiny clue.
It's very hard for liberals to see this, but Maddow has turned out to be a corporate-selected disaster. By way of contrast, Paul Krugman has been the most important American journalist over the past sixteen years.
For unknown reasons, Krugman has missed the lurid sex scandal which Maddow can't stop discussing. Last Friday morning, he opened his New York Times column with the question every liberal, progressive and Democrat should be pondering:
KRUGMAN (11/25/16): Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by more than two million, and she would probably be president-elect if the director of the F.B.I. hadn't laid such a heavy thumb on the scales, just days before the election. But it shouldn't even have been close; what put Donald Trump in striking distance was overwhelming support from whites without college degrees. So what can Democrats do to win back at least some of those voters?Did Comey the God defeat Hillary Clinton? There's a very good chance he did! But how weird! As we'll note next week, Maddow never so much as mentioned Comey's name all through the summer months and very deep into the fall. (Comey's intrusion on the election started on July 5.)
As we'll discuss in some detail, our own corporate creation is highly skilled at playing it very safe. We'll turn to this general topic with a focus on Comey next week.
In that opening paragraph, Krugman was asking a very good question. As we've noted, he has been the most important journalist in the nation over the past sixteen years.
That said, Krugman's vast strength lies in policy matters. To be perfectly honest, he has no comparable political insight. There's no reason why he should.
That said, we noticed his lack of political chops all through last Friday's column. How can Democrats win white working-class voters back? How can they do so in coal country—in struggling places like Clay County, Kentucky?
That was the subject of Krugman's column. The subject is very important, but yikes! The column ended like this:
KRUGMAN: Maybe a Trump administration can keep its supporters on board, not by improving their lives, but by feeding their sense of resentment.Truly, that's astonishing. White working-class voters imagine that they're looked down on by liberal elites?
For let's be serious here: You can't explain the votes of places like Clay County as a response to disagreements about trade policy. The only way to make sense of what happened is to see the vote as an expression of, well, identity politics—some combination of white resentment at what voters see as favoritism toward nonwhites (even though it isn't) and anger on the part of the less educated at liberal elites whom they imagine look down on them.
To be honest, I don't fully understand this resentment. In particular, I don't know why imagined liberal disdain inspires so much more anger than the very real disdain of conservatives who see the poverty of places like eastern Kentucky as a sign of the personal and moral inadequacy of their residents.
One thing is clear, however: Democrats have to figure out why the white working class just voted overwhelmingly against its own economic interests, not pretend that a bit more populism would solve the problem.
Krugman says that two different times. It's one of the most striking political statements we've seen in a long time.
To his credit, Krugman acknowledges the fact that he doesn't understand this white working-class resentment. From Maddow, we liberals get a better deal—she'll never pay the slightest attention to any such voters, to their perceptions or interests.
Instead, she will continue scratching her itch by discussing "that whole sordid, ongoing story in Alabama." This may not be the greatest way to go after those wandering voters.
In our view, we liberals must face a basic fact—this month's appalling defeat says something quite large about us. We managed to lose to the craziest candidate who ever went after the White House.
We're skilled at blaming this outcome on Them, perhaps on the puzzling things they imagine.
We're skilled at blaming this outcome on Them. We're sorry, though. At some point, it has to come down on Us.
Tomorrow: Krugman gets it right