Wednesday, February 03, 2010
NOTWITHSTANDING OLD LOYALTIES. Maybe this entry is a little unfair, and maybe it isn't. I watched Fox News Sunday this week and got a bad taste in my mouth. The show began with a panel of two senators and two congressmen assessing the State of the Union speech, Obama's current positions on healthcare and the war on terror, and the nature of the political environment in the wake of the Massachussetts miracle of Scott Brown. Three of the four were candid and thoughtful as much as politicians can afford to be -- Senator Evan Bayh (D) of Indiana, Senator Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee, and Congressman Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin. The fourth was Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D) of Maryland. Every second he spent on camera was an utter waste of time. Rote, repeated talking points. Denial. Outrageous claims of Obama achievement and popularity. Bush bashing. Class warfare. An almost parodistic string of empty clichees. It was as if he were appearing on a completely different program from his congressional colleagues, who endured his remarks with thin smiles and thinly disguised, uh, embarrassment.
Here's the transcript. And just one representative excerpt:
WALLACE: Let's turn to — I mean, we've been skirting around it, but let's talk just some politics with a capital "P" here.
Congressman Van Hollen, as we've said, you're in charge of electing more Democrats to the House this year. In the wake of the November loss in New Jersey and Virginia, in the wake of Scott Brown's victory in Massachusetts, how much trouble is your party in?
VAN HOLLEN: The party's not in trouble, but at the same time we need to recognize what's on the mind of the American people, which is jobs, which is why the president and the Congress will be focused on a jobs acceleration package going forward, why we're going to make sure we try and pass the Wall Street accountability bill so that we don't have the taxpayers left holding the bag again in the future if you have bad decisions on Wall Street.
And the president's made a proposal to make sure that the taxpayer gets all those monies back at the end of the day, and we're hoping our Republican colleagues will join us in that.
So I think if we focus on the fundamental issues — and by the way, we all know health care reform is essential to bring down the deficit over the long period of time. All my colleagues would acknowledge that. So I think that if we focus on that, we will be in good shape going forward.
It's always going to be a difficult election year, the first midterm for a new president. We understand that. But let's focus on the fundamentals.
And if I just could, the president's point was not that the Republicans don't have any ideas. He pointed out he had incorporated some of them, like tax cuts, as part of the stimulus bill.
But what he was saying is, "Let's not go back to the same ideas that got us into the mess to begin with," for example, big tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
OK indeed. All this pitiful spin on the same panel where a clearly troubled Senator Bayh said:
I mean, we can all criticize what happened last year under the previous administration, but I think the real question is where do we go from here.
I think a freeze on domestic discretionary spending is a good step in the right direction. I think the president's pledge to veto spending bills that go beyond his pledge to restrain Congress is a good step. A commission to restrain long-term debt, where we have bipartisan solutions - - I know Lamar voted for that. I voted for that. That's an example.
John McCain and I last week put out some suggestions, taking some of Paul's [i.e., Rep. Paul Ryan's] good ideas about how to restrain spending.
So it was a wake-up call, but whether we actually get the message and do the tough things to implement what needs to be done — that remains to be seen.
Now here's where the bad taste in the mouth comes in. While these gentlemen were speaking, Fox News producers were subtitling their responses on camera with chyrons spelling out their educational backgrounds. Evan Bayh: B.S., business economics/public policy, Indiana University; J.D., University of Virginia. Lamar Alexander: B.A., Vanderbilt University; J.D., NYU School of Law. Paul Ryan: B.A., economics/political science, Miami University of Ohio. Chris Van Hollen, B.A., Swarthmore College; M.P.P.A., Harvard University; J.D., Georgetown University Law Center.
Have I made it clear that Van Hollen was the whore on the panel? Lacking only black lip liner, breast implants, and platinum hair extensions to establish his real profession beyond doubt. The only Harvard guy there (apart from a slightly incredulous Chris Wallace). Veritas.
Right. What a joke. And so I'm thinking, not for the first time, Harvard has a lot to answer for in this country. Teddy Kennedy has finally gone to his reward, whatever that might be. But we still have to account for the fact that many of the, well, blowsiest, most shameless lying whores in today's federal government have a Harvard connection: Senator Chuck Schumer, who will say absolutely anything to get on camera; Congressman Barney Frank, as despicable and duplicitous an abuser of the public trust as has ever been elected to the House of Representatives; Senator (ugh) Al Franken, who nakedly connived to chisel and steal an election he should never have been allowed to participate in as a carpetbagger and dilettante gadfly; and Barack Obama, who has never told us the truth about anything in his brief but incredibly damaging public career. Veritas.
One element of unfairness is that Harvard isn't the only offender in this regard. The other over-esteemed Ivy League schools are just about equally culpable. Timothy Geithner is a cheat and liar from Dartmouth. Eric Holder is a corrupt political buttboy from Columbia. Keith Olbermann is a vengeful pseudo-intellectual, semi-psychotic streetwalker from Cornell. The Clintons are both Yale sociopaths. Economist-whore Paul Krugman hails from Princeton.
Another element of unfairness is that some of the good guys come from these schools too. Charles Krauthammer. Bill Kristol. Ann Coulter. George Will. But nothing can make up for the harm that has been, and is being, inflicted on us by universities that proclaim their visionary discernment on matters of character, learning, and enlightenment. If they're any good at all at fulfilling their educational mission, why do their graduates constitute 40 percent of the top ten "most corrupt" politicians in the United States?
Harvard (and its vassals) has become the Fool on the Hill. Which makes me sick. And it should make you mad. I know I am.