Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Concern troll Howard Kurtz clearly thinks we should just leave poor Christine O'Donnell -- and all the other tea party candidates -- alone, because they're so "real":

One candidate, who talked of privatizing Social Security, also declared that pregnant rape victims should make the "lemon situation into lemonade."

Another candidate says he has reservations about the 46-year-old Civil Rights Act.

Another candidate says unemployment benefits aren't authorized by the Constitution.

And the latest tea party favorite, among other things, defaulted on her mortgage, didn't take the college courses she claimed, and is on tape criticizing masturbation and blabbing about dabbling in witchcraft....

To be sure, journalists have every right to unearth past statements....

Already Kurtz is mixing apples and oranges. The attacks on Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, and Joe Miller are attacks on issue positions. They're attacks on statements the candidates have made on matters that are going to come before them if they're senators.

And those attacks have not been particularly successful. All three have a good chance of winning.

So O'Donnell drops a treasure trove of too-much-information, chat-show-provocateur talk in our laps, and Democrats use it because this is America, where trying to defeat a right-wing candidate based on this kind of thing actually works better than trying to use issues, and the press picks it up, and Kurtz (as you'll see) is appalled. (Democrats -- how dare they mount a politically effective attack in a campaign! Only Republicans are allowed to do that!) What's more, Kurtz uses the O'Donnell situation to imply that the attacks on Angle, Paul, and Miller regarding actual issues are in the same category as the attacks on O'Donnell. It's all trivia!

Oh, but Kurtz is just looking out for our best interests:

In a normal year, the accumulation of rhetoric and might be enough to send a candidate down to defeat. But this is not a normal year.

And here's the thing: the slightly mocking tone with which some journalists are portraying these tea party conservatives is probably helping them with the broad swath of voters who don't much trust the media. If some of these voters are fed up with the establishment, that would include the establishment press....

Or, no, actually he's not looking out for our best interests -- it's his own contempt he's expressing:

I don't immediately associate having dabbled in witchcraft with senatorial service. But if see the 11-year-old Bill Maher clip one more time I'm going to feel like making my TV set disappear. The thing went so viral in 24 hours that it now looks like open mockery. Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle told me that the media were acting like the cool kids making O'Donnell the geek.

Right -- only Al Gore is allowed to be treated like a pathetic geek. (And Mike Dukakis. And, at the hands of Maureen Dowd, Barack Obama. And Jerry Brown can be the "Moonbeam" guy and Hillary Clinton can be the mousy feminist who can't get a date. That's OK. But don't mock O'Donnell!)

Kurtz the approvingly quotes The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder:

Wackiness will always cut through the clutter. But the difference this cycle is that wackiness has been MAINSTREAMED....

Look at our fascination with reality shows.

... all the reality shows ... have conditioned us for "wild and woolly" candidates....

Um, yeah -- but if our political culture has degenerated that much (and I think Ambinder is on to something), do we have to treat these new reality-star candidates with more deference than we offer to actual reality stars? America has no problem feeling contempt for Kate Gosselin or the Salahis -- why, aren't Democrats and the press allowed to focus on embarrassing or less savory facts about O'Donnell?

Oh, yeah, I forgot: O'Donnaell (and the other 'bagger candidates) have "realness." Basically, what Kurtz is saying is:

Aren't crazy, masturbation-condemning, Social Security-privatizing, unemployment insurance-condemning teabaggers really people America would rather have a beer with?

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