The Senate is a Vast Wasteland


A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report on kids' media consumption pattern has been tossed on the engine fires of another predictable round of moral panic, with senators from both parties (including Hillary Clinton, whose recent clumsy lurches to the right appear to be part of a deliberate rebranding) calling for a $90 million study of media's effect on children. Michelle Cottle at The New Republic urges all concerned to calm down, have some dip.

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  1. ‘Over time, (Clinton) argued, the effects of such media-driven desensitization teaches children “that it’s OK to diss people because they’re women or they’re a different color or they’re from a different place.”‘

    Yo yo yo, homegirl.

  2. Wait a minute, i thought the media exposure was teaching kids to be more sensitive to differences.

    The MTV generation is much more accepting of homosexuals and interracial couples then any other generation.

    While anicdotal, its easy to prove, look around the mall and pay attention to the teens and young 20-somethings….

    when will old people just let the young grow up in their own time?? Why is it every generation has its old foggies that are out to stop the young from having a good time…..

  3. I guess homegirl is a bit sensitive about being dissed for being from a different place.

  4. In the inimitable style of Tim Cavanaugh I call bullshit on this.

  5. At least there is Ron Paul in the House:

    His site has a video of his speech before the House on the National ID card.

  6. You know, I used to think that Hillary couldn’t possibly be dumb enough to run for President. She’s absolutely hated, far more hated than her husband was.

    But with this rebranding as a social conservative I have to conclude that she is in fact running for President. I think Jon Stewart put it best when he saw her swaying like she was into it during Ashcroft’s song at the innauguration: “Oh my God, she is running for President!”

    I’m tempted to say that, even if she does run, the Dems won’t be dumb enough to nominate her, but one should never assume too much of the Dems’ intelligence. But I am confident that, even if she’s nominated, there’s no way in hell that she’ll win.

    Then again, if she did win, the Congressional Republicans would cancel all legislative business and become a dedicated investigative body. Travelgate times 1000.

    So there would at least be a silver lining on that horrible, horrible cloud.

  7. thoreau, are you suggesting an unpopular, polarizing figure can’t win an presidential election by striking a few poses?

    The secret weapon of the Clinton’s is their ability to goad conservatives into acting like complete jackasses. Look at Bill; he cheated on his wife – with an intern – and lied about it – from the presidential podium – then lapsed into a parody of lawyerly weasel speak while testifying before a grand jury – which was recorded and disseminated across the country. Pure, solid gold for the opposition – they should have run him out of town on a rail. But what happened? Such an outpouring of unadulterated jackassery that his poll numbers actually went up!

    If Hillary enters the race, she can count on a barrage of revolting, sexist, lunatic assaults from the people Democratic primary voters love to hate – Rush, Robertson, Lott, Dobson. If the gender gap grows even a little bit in the general election as a result, Hillary wins.

  8. joe-

    Good points. But remember that Bill Clinton’s incredible survival wasn’t based solely on his opponents’ lack of political skill. It was also based on the guy’s incredible charisma. He disgusts me, yet at the same time I want to shake his hand and worship his awesome ability to survive anything.

  9. As much as I think a Hillary Administration would be the ultimate in divided government, I must say the chances of her willing are very slim.

    Consider, for example, that Kerry was outvoted 65%-35% by men. I don’t think those numbers will improve for HRC.

    Also, once you’ve been typecast as a fire-breathing liberal, you just can’t shake it. No matter how hard you try to “fix” you image.

    As far as I can tell, John Edwards is the most “electable” candidate the Dems could hope for in ’08.

  10. thoreau,

    She certainly lacks his charisma. OTOH, she’s not nearly as much of a fuckup to begin with, so there would likely not be nearly as much for the oppos to work with.

  11. I guess I should follow that by saying that Hillary doesn’t have Bill’s charisma. I look at her and see a typical liberal Democrat with an annoying persona. I don’t hate typical liberal Democrats the way that most people on this forum do, but they don’t exactly excite me either.

    I’ll grant you this much, joe: If Hillary is the nominee and wins, it will be because the GOP base succeeded in boosting voter turnout among the Democrats.

  12. kmw,

    “Also, once you’ve been typecast as a fire-breathing liberal, you just can’t shake it. No matter how hard you try to “fix” you image.”

    The thing is, Hillary doesn’t really have a liberal record. Kerry was actually a liberal – not “the most liberal man in the Senate” by any means, but mainstream Democrat liberal. Hillary, otoh, isn’t. I expected her to be much further to the left than her Senate record shows, especially since she’s from a very blue state. Her “liberal” image comes from shit like keeping her maiden name and wearing headbands thirty years ago and being against the war in the 60s. Kerry had trouble arguing that he wasn’t a liberal because the only “maverick” thing he could point to was the Balanced Budget Amendment. Hillary, otoh, has been taking hawkish, family-values positions since she took office. And, of course, she can point to the decidedly centrist administration of her husband.

  13. I wrote my post while joe was writing his. I’ll certainly grant that Hillary doesn’t seem to have as many sexuals skeletons in her closet as Bill has, but:

    1) Those were part of Bill’s charm, in a way.
    2) There are non-sexual skeletons: travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster, etc. I realize that some (all?) of these are probably over-blown, and a lot of people wouldn’t vote based solely on these things, but these scandals are enough to distract people. Even bullshit scandals are a great way to sow doubt and keep people from paying attention to other matters.

    Who knows? Maybe she could win. I just think the odds are better with other people.

    (And now that I’ve said that she might have a shot, Andrew will show up and accuse me of being enamored of her or something.)

  14. Joe,

    That’s why I said “typecast.”

    She probably is closest to a centrist, but that doesn’t stop the GOP from yelling “liberal” from the hilltops. And the GOP PR machine would have a field day.

    Most people don’t bother to look at voting records, they just pick up sound bites from the 11 o’clock news.

  15. You could be right about that, thoreau. The bullshit Swift Boat scandals hurt Kerry, mainly because he didn’t fight back right, and because the Republicans tied the charges in with a larger narrative. Had Kerry been more skillful, he could have made the issue about his opponents’ sleaze in making the charges (like Bill did), but he wasn’t.

    If Hillary is the candidate, the narrative will be “uppity rich bitch who thinks she’s better’n you and has a desperate craving for power.” If she handles them skillfully enough, she could paint her accusers as neanderthals who want women barefoot and pregnant (like Bill painted his accusers as anti-democratic, puritanical Big Brothers). Her efforts to court the mom vote – security moms, anti-media moms – can be read, in this light, as an attempt to bond with women who don’t call themselves “Ms.”

  16. kmw-

    Agreed. It’s all about the typecasting. Bush spends vast sums of money and gladly signs the largest expansion of entitlement programs since LBJ (what the hell is wrong with Texan Presidents anyway?) but the left still insists that he’s Scrooge while a lot of people on this forum still insist that he’s the only suitable candidate for us small government types.

    It doesn’t really matter how moderate her record in public office is. She’s still considered a far lefty. She could personally execute pot smokers on national TV (after a parental advisory warning, of course) with an unregistered handgun but people would still insist that she’s a far lefty.

  17. kmw, Got it. What I’m saying is, it is possible to successfully play against type, if you’re really got the goods.

    “And the GOP PR machine would have a field day.” Dangerous ground, though. Done wrong, i looks like a culture war against women with careers. And the GOP PR does has a history of overreaching when they go after the Clintons.

  18. I think everybody is overlooking the single worst aspect of a Hillary candidacy: It would clear the way for Jeb Bush to run.

    I think the American people would be reluctant to vote for the brother of the outgoing President, the whole anti-monarchy thing. But if the wife of a former President is the other party’s nominee, well, that would nullify the disadvantage.

    Does anybody really want an election where the choice is between 2 dynasties? Well, besides gaius marius?

  19. The thought of a Frist Administration scares me to death, so I’d really prefer the Dem delegates play it safe on this one.

    Perhaps our nation can survive four more years of Bush, but getting a Tennessee cultural warrior in there would approach the breaking point.

  20. No No No! “Playing it safe” is what cost the Democrats the Senate in 2002, and the White House in 2004. The last thing we need is another candidate to play it safe!

    Hit him with the chair! The chair! When he starts to whine about it…make fun of him!

  21. Russ Feingold in 08. Lone vote against the Patriot Act. Strong opponent of corporate welfare and pork.

  22. OK, well… There’s being daring, and then there’s going out on a limb. My personal observation is Clinton is a limb, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.

    Is there any poll data available yet?

  23. Her “liberal” image comes from shit like keeping her maiden name and wearing headbands thirty years ago and being against the war in the 60s.

    Well, her heavy involvement in Clinton’s abortive health-care initiative, probably the least centrist thing they worked on, might be a factor. Some people call it HillaryCare, so she’s pretty tied to that in image. Despite that, I agree that she’s pretty centrist. In fact, I think, like Bill, she aggressively seeks the center and just occasionally misjudges to the left.

  24. thetruth,

    Is “defender of the First Amendment” on your list there, too?

  25. “There are non-sexual skeletons: travelgate, Whitewater, Vince Foster, etc. I realize that some (all?) of these are probably over-blown . . .”

    Isn’t someone going to react to the use of the term “over-blown” in a discussion of the Clintons?

  26. I think Hillary is like the Rolling Stones — she’ll cancel the show if it isn’t going to be a sellout. I don’t think she’ll run for the nomination if she thinks she’ll actually have to scrap for it. Coronation is more her style.

  27. Russ Feingold in 08. – thetruth (sic)

    Oh, please, no. Yes, he voted against the Patriot (another sic) Act, but, as a Wisconsin resident who has seen this wannabe Proxmire crawl out of the Dane County fever swamps over the last quarter-century, there is no more reliable statist willing to crush economic and civil liberties, if not in exactly the same way as the mouthbreathing Bushies, as Russell Feingold.

    As for HRC, her “liberalism” goes back to her college days. She was (in)famous in Arkansas for having a tin ear about Southern, low-church, NASCAR-style culture. Besides the “maiden name” crap, Bubba made her an education consultant and she rubbed a buncha people the wrong way. She was a honcho at the Children’s Defense Fund, the lobbying arm of the countries’ Welfare-Industrial Complex. She was one of the members of the Legal Services Corporation boasrd who, forgetting all about the issues behind the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, refused to go along with President Reagan’s appointment of replacements. This is the same crap Mary Frances Berry tried to pull recently at the Human Rights Commission.

    Peel all the PR veneer off Hillary, and she is still a Seven Sisters/Yale educated “public interest” lawyer, turned pol’s wife, and then pol herself. That she’s a meddling F.I.B., who betrayed her beloved Cubbies to worship at the altar of Steinbrennerian evil, merely to win a Senate seat, just proves what an opportunist she is.

    She Is No Damn Good.

    (Let’s Go, Mets!)

  28. What a bunch of cynics. Don’t you know that Ms. Clinton is truly thinking of the children on this issue? Why if kids watched the evening news while she was First Lady they probably got the idea that when they grew up and went to work they could have an intern who would…

    That’s not what she was talking about?

    Never mind.

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