Saturday, October 31, 2015


Fox Business has announced the format for its November 10 Republican presidential debate (no opening statements, slightly more time to answer questions, yet another kiddie-table debate for the low-ranked candidates), as well as the team of moderators:
The main-stage debate will be moderated by Fox Business Managing Editor Neil Cavuto and Global Markets editor Maria Bartiromo, along with Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker.
Baker? I don't think we're going to hear any Ted Cruz rants about his anti-conservative bias. He's perhaps best known in America for a 2008 Times of London column in which he mocked then-candidate Barack Obama as a Messiah:
He Ventured Forth To Bring Light To The World

And it came to pass, in the eight year of the reign of the evil Bush the Younger (The Ignorant), when the whole land from the Arabian desert to the shores of the Great Lakes had been laid barren, that a Child appeared in the wilderness. The Child was blessed in looks and intellect. Scion of a simple family, offspring of a miraculous union, grandson of a typical White person and an African peasant. And yea, as he grew, the Child walked in the path of righteousness, with only the occasional detour into the odd weed and a little blow.

When he was twelve years old they found him in the temple in the City of Chicago, arguing the finer points of community organisation with the Prophet Jeremiah and the Elders. And the Elders were astonished at what they heard and said among themselves: "Verily, who is this Child that he opens our hearts and minds to the audacity of hope?"
This goes on and on. The video version is six minutes long:

Read the complete text here.

That column went viral on the right, as did another column from the 2008 campaign, in which Baker compare Obama to Sarah Palin (guess who came out ahead):
Political experience

Obama: Worked his way to the top by cultivating, pandering to and stroking the most powerful interest groups in the all-pervasive Chicago political machine, ensuring his views were aligned with the power brokers there.

Palin: Worked her way to the top by challenging, attacking and actively undermining the Republican party establishment in her native Alaska. She ran against incumbent Republicans as a candidate willing and able to clean the Augean Stables of her state's government.

Political Biography

Obama: A classic, if unusually talented, greasy-pole climber. Held a succession of jobs that constitute the standard route to the top in his party's internal politics: "community organizer", law professor, state senator.

Palin: A woman with a wide range of interests in a well-variegated life. Held a succession of jobs - sports journalist, commercial fisherwoman, state oil and gas commissioner, before entering local politics. A resume that suggests something other than burning political ambition from the cradle but rather the sort of experience that enables her to understand the concerns of most Americans....


Obama: A very attractive speaker whose celebrity has been compared to that of Britney Spears and who sends thrills up Chris Matthews' leg

Palin: A very attractive woman, much better-looking than Britney Spears who speaks rather well too. She sends thrills up the leg of Rush Limbaugh (and me).
Yes, and you can practically feel the leg tingle in this chat with Hugh Hewitt after Palin's 2008 convention speech:

Gerard Baker and Hugh Hewitt React to Sarah Palin by FORAtv

BAKER: ... that amazing way that she did it with -- going after [Obama] with, you know, with real, real vigor, but also with that smile on her face.... I don't think I have seen a -- and I've seen a lot of kind of national political arrivals, if you like. I mean, this was her arrival on the national political and the international political scene -- I don't think I've seen -- you know, Obama gave a great political speech at the 2004 Democratic convention -- I don't think I've seen an arrival, an emergence of someone like that on the international scene, you know, in twenty or thirty years. I thought it was just a remarkable performance.
Hewitt compares Palin to Margaret Thatcher -- a saint on the right. Baker says that Palin as a speechmaker was better than Thatcher, or at least the early Thatcher.
BAKER: ... to me, I think Sarah Palin -- you know, again, I'm saying she's a Margaret Thatcher, we've got a long way to go before we see what metal she's really made of, whether she is a real Iron Lady -- but again, in terms of coming onto the scene like that, she was, if anything, more impressive than Margaret Thatcher.
After that, Baker and Hewitt repaired to a private chamber for a cigarette, or something.

So no, I don't think he'll ruffle any conservative feathers. And hey, from that Palin gush we know what an excellent judge of political talent he is.


Never Ben Better said...

I can see one positive outcome of this "moderation" -- all the "debaters" will be encouraged to let their freak flags fly proud and high, which will thrill the base but (hopefully) disgust and terrify the electorate at large.

And since TPTB are probably desperate to thin the herd somewhat, it will be interesting to see if any of the establishment-unacceptable and/or lost-cause candidates get subtle (or not so) nudges toward the trap door.

JosephP said...

Agree with previous commenter. No harm can come by letting them live in their bubble. The only consequence will be a more satisfying pop on election night.

Feud Turgidson said...

NBB, JP, I'm fine with accepting the Devil's retainer (in this context, the exact opposite).

Start with context: The biggest problems for this edition of GOP Clown Car Racing derive almost entirely from 3 realities:

1) the gap between what's required to win the GOP nomination & what's necessary to have any shot at beating HRC (short of the obvious &/or massive cheating that brought about President GWB, it's even tougher to pull off where the likely Dem nominee has such a huge lead.),

2) too many contestants in too little time for actual debate (3 hours is too short; 2 hours exponentially inflates this problem.), &

3) there IS no debate about policy: the entire contest is about who's the toughest opponent for HRC.

Withing THAT context, I admire what the smarter Clown Car racers are up to here. They've gamed the contest to first cut out the traditional Chamber, Wall Street, Big Corporate & Big Media Establishment candidates. They had to cut out Jeb!, Kasich, Walker & Perry early, before those contestants were able to engage their structural & money advantages, and so far that's worked great: Perry & Walker already gone, Kasich mininized to the Huntsman role, & Jeb! flailing.

They couldn't achieve that without the agencies of Trump, Carson & Fiorina. Once Kasich & Jeb! have been cut out, they'll need to get rid of those 3 while vacuuming up the respective supporters of those 3.

This Labor Insurgency is a way to serve that latter agenda, at a time when it's not unreasonable to treat Kasich & Jeb! as walking dead. Rubio & Cruz are each WAY better at screwing with the refs than Trump & Carson are - yet they've managed not just to co-opt the neophytes into a battle that best suits Rubio & Cruz, they've managed to goad them into LEADING the frontal assault on Pork Chop Hill.

We've all seen the Hollywood depictions of those actions: the shock troops get their ASSES handed them (Best depiction ever: The Thin Red Line, Woody Harrelson, "My ASS been blowed off!"). And it's not 'just' Hollywood: it's been proven in military battles for millenia & in sportsball contests for decades.

If Cruz & Rubio are able to put prime control of the Clown Car race series in the control of extreme rightwing media - which they appear to have succeeded in doing - eventually this will come down to something closer to an actual debate between only those two. Each of them has some reasonable basis for thinking he could win that fight, and they're both right in thinking it's their best shot.

Never Ben Better said...

I wouldn't count out Trump, though, if he wins New Hampshire; he takes such glee in sticking it to the base's favorite bogeymen he might still stay in it for months. All the way to the convention? Seems dubious, but then this whole GOP debacle has been beyond what I could have envisaged a few months ago.

Glennis said...

So it's Baker who originated the "Liberals think Obama is the One" myth? I was always curious about that.

Steve M. said...

I think he was just using a popular right-wing meme. I'm not really sure where it started.