Monday, April 14, 2008

Pseudo-populism

The media response to Bittergate really ties together everything I hate about the way presidential elections are covered in this country. We have fake populism and faux outrage as the media and the right obsesses over a single incident that is supposedly personally telling. As Josh Marshall wrote:

In this case, I didn't think what he said was offensive. Of course, I don't live in a small town or in rural America. But then again, neither do any of the other people I've heard sound off on this topic. So I'm in good company. (This has been one of the more comedic aspects of this 72 hours -- watching a cavalcade of extremely wealthy pundits, editorialists and political operatives from New York and Washington tell me how rural Americans won't stand for this.)


An example of this the column I criticized by Bill Kristol. Eric Alterman skewers this supposed populism pretty well in a recent article in the Nation.
John Podhoretz, the son of neoconservatism's second couple, Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter, who attended elite private schools and the University of Chicago before his father's connections helped him secure jobs in the media empires of Sun Myung Moon and Rupert Murdoch, also professes to see America through rose-hued glasses. "Bush Red is a simpler place," he explains, on the basis of a visit to Las Vegas. It's a land "where people mourn the death of NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt, root lustily for their teams, go to church, and find comfort in old-fashioned verities."

Hillary Clinton's response was right out of Rovianism 101. Take a look at this campaign commercial. Misconstruing what a rival says about faith and guns? That's the Republicans job.
More silly is her claim to love the gun.
“You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught me how to shoot when I was a little girl,” she said.

“You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.”

As the New Republic put it, she's doing her Mitt Romney impression.
Seriously, when will this primary be over?
(Posted by Ewan)

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