Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Yeah, it's good that Joe Klein feels this way about outrages like Newt Gingrich expressing fear that America will become "secular, atheist country" dominated by radical Islamists, or Herman Cain saying he wouldn't have any Muslims in his administration -- though I don't know how much good Klein's anger can do:

This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party's banner. They are the most compelling argument I've seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty, a decent governor, can't let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know. Mick Huckabee, the front-runner if you can believe it, might have to negotiate a trade agreement, or a defense treaty, with the Indonesian President some day. Newt might have to discuss very delicate matters of national security with the President of Pakistan. And so I plead, as an unflinching American patriot--please Mitch Daniels, please Jeb Bush, please run. I may not agree with you on most things, but I respect you. And you seem to respect yourselves enough not to behave like public clowns.

As Steve Benen and Kevin Drum have said, what good would it do to have non-crazies in the race? They'd just have to say the same crazy things in order to have any chance at all of winning the votes of the crazy GOP electorate.

Klein is right when he says, "One of them could get elected." But what are the members of Klein's profession going to do to stop that? Are they going to describe the ideas and pronouncements of the GOP field as the crackpot notions they objectively are? Or are they going to treat the candidates as rational because, well, they're in one of the major political parties, and not the Dirty Hippie Party, so whatever they say must be within the pale (or must be swept under the rug)?

(I'm not talking about biased reporting -- I'm talking about describing delusion as what it is, the way even an unbiased reporter would do with a flat-earther or 9/11 truther.)

Aren't Klein's fellow journos just going to cover the GOP primaries almost exclusively as a horserace? Are they going to talk at all about the Republicans' ideas?

And after that, aren't they just going to cover the general-election contest through silly, mostly right-wing frames -- which candidate is more "American," which wears a flag pin more often or opens more campaign rallies with a prayer or the Pledge of Allegiance, which seems to resonate most with a bunch of boilermaker drinkers or NASCAR fans or retired old white men in a diner in the Midwest?

Talk to your colleagues, Joe. If the Republicans are nuts, the mainstream press has to let us see that -- not just in reporters' blogs, but in actual news coverage.

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