Campaigns/Elections

Presidential Kipple

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From a repellent unsigned editorial in today's Washington Post:

If you tuned in to the recent Republican and Democratic presidential debates, you may have had the same reaction as many viewers looking at the crowded stages: Who's that? The Democratic debate in South Carolina featured eight candidates, while 10 crammed into the GOP debate in California last Thursday. Voters trying to sort out their presidential choices aren't helped by debates cluttered with the likes of Mike Gravel (hint: he's a former senator from Alaska) on the Democratic side and Ron Paul (hint: he's a libertarian House member from Texas) among the Republicans. If the standard is that any declared candidate is entitled to a podium, we're going to end up with even more crowded stages in 2012.

Now, there were plenty of candidates on those stages who really were clutter: They don't have a chance to win and their messages are indistinguishable from the people who do have a shot. But it's telling that the Post didn't single out, say, Chris Dodd or Jim Gilmore. It singled out the two most anti-war and anti-establishment figures in the race, two men who clearly are alternatives to the frontrunners. Unlike the clutter candidates, Gravel and Paul said things at the debates that actually generated some buzz afterwards, on talk radio and online if not in the Post or with the Sunday-morning dinosaurs. I don't know if they won any votes, but they did more than anyone else to add ideas to the conversation.

Yes, I'm biased: I'm a Paul supporter, and while Gravel gives off a dotty-old-man vibe I think his anti-war, anti-IRS platform is preferable to any other Democrat's program. But I'm also glad to see small-scale candidates I don't agree with onstage, whether it's Tom Tancredo and his border-control campaign or Dennis Kucinich and his plans to regulate everything up to and including the sky. It's people like that who introduce actual debate to the debates. That concept might be foreign to the Post, which seems eager to whittle the political spectrum to a manageable centimeter, but for some of us it's the only thing that might make the race interesting.

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  1. Hear, hear!

  2. say it, brother

  3. I know THAT’s right.

  4. On a more serious note, here’s something I posted over at Third Party Watch:

    Dude is blowing up all over the Interweb in a way that I never expected. It seems to me that our ‘net-based libertarian culture has finally grown large enough to command some attention from the mainstream media. That’s absolutely historic.

    To which I would add:

    It is also absolutely historic that the MSM is finally getting the bitch-slapping it so deserves. Three cheers for the Interweb.

  5. AMEN!

  6. Question: Has Jesse Walker always kicked ass or is this a new development?

  7. But it’s telling that the Post didn’t single out, say, Chris Dodd or Jim Gilmore. It singled out the two most anti-war and anti-establishment figures in the race, two men who clearly are alternatives to the frontrunners.

    [rolls eyes]
    Yes, because the Washington Post is so pro-war. It is almost as if they were run by William F. Buckley, Jr. and Jonah Goldberg, or some other Catholic/Zionist kabal.

    Remember how they were back in ‘nam? If it were not for their constant drumbeat of war Nixon would have been gone right after that thin win of his in 1972.
    [/rolls eyes]

  8. Question: Has Jesse Walker always kicked ass or is this a new development?

    He always has, in his own quiet way: one butt-cheek at a time.

  9. Oh fer chrissakes Jesse, stop complaining and let the Post tell you who to vote for – that’s the way it’s supposed to be, right?

  10. Jesse has always kicked ass, but his apropos use of the word “repellent” makes him seem ass-kickier than usual.

  11. It is strange the Post would single out Ron Paul as “clutter” when he has raised more campaign funds than four of the other candidates on stage (Thompson, Huckabee, Hunter, and Gilmore) and has outpolled two of the others at times (Brownback and Tancredo.)

    Apparently the Post considers anyone other than McCain, Giuliani, and Romney to be clutter.

  12. In addition to having those who’ll raise issues, you also need moderators who’ll ask real questions instead of hacks like ChrisMatthews.

    To help that along, please sign the petition at my name’s link, or if you don’t like that one try this one.

    For an example of what’s wrong with the mindset of both the WaPo and ChrisMatthews, hear his response to a Ron Paul question: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOgeJ7mPeWg

  13. John McLaughlin, on the May 4th McLaughlin Group, said the following:

    I would say the best performance last night was rendered, seriously, by Ron Paul.

    Every little bit of good press helps.

  14. Here’s what I meant when I said “dude is blowing up all over the Interweb.” Just scroll through the pages. It’s the same story on Youtube. Damn.

  15. Just did a search at digg for “ron paul” and dugg everything I could find. Let the buzz be so defining even the MSM can’t ignore it.

  16. Those of you on MySpace can help by adding him as your friend: http://www.myspace.com/RonPaul2008

  17. Good post, especially for a magazine called Reason!

  18. Typical big media viewpoint that the citizens (or to the media consumers) shouldn’t get exposed to too many ideas. I have a choice of thousands of shampoos, but for the people who decide my freedom, tax rate, and what issues are important, I just get 2? (Yes, I know the ballet lists several candidates, but I want to see someone like Nader in the final debate – after all, diversity is good, no?)

  19. you also need moderators who’ll ask real questions instead of hacks like ChrisMatthews

    Hear, hear. I didn’t watch either debate, but when you know all the questions are going to be about Jesus and abortion, who needs to?

  20. That editorial was a sitting duck for Jesse’s sharp pen. WAPO couldn’t be more establishment. I’d bet half the employees there are married to government workers.

  21. For once, TLB and I agree. The real loser of the debate was Chris Matthews.

  22. What do you mean? Aren’t there only 2 sides? Aren’t you either a Republican or a Democrat, and that’s that? What do we care who the nominee is if they represent all our hopes, dreams, and ideals by sheer fact that they’re a member of *our* party?

  23. Yeah! What Jesse said!

    My favorite moment in the debate was the following exchange with Gravel:

    Gravel: “Some of the candidates on this stage scare me.”

    Host: “Like who?”

    Gravel: “Well, the leading ones.” Looks at Joe Biden, “And you, too!”

  24. You know, I think we can stand some clutter in the debates eighteen fucking months before the election.

    Why is there such a rush to get to the tired kabuki of the general election?

  25. Why is there such a rush to get to the tired kabuki of the general election?

    Because it’s never too early to polish up the indoctrination of the masses with mindless rhetoric

  26. joe,

    You have GOT to be making that up.

    If he actually said that I would cross party lines and vote for him, since the best it appears we can expect from presidential candidates these days is entertainment.

  27. Guy Montag sarcastically says “Yes, because the Washington Post is so pro-war”

    Well, yes it is. Under Fred Hiatt, it has sometimes been critical of the way Bush has managed the war, but much more scathing toward “irresponsible” war critics.

    It is not exactly a neoconservative publication, but it is closer to being one than people who still live in the 1970s and talk about its opposition to the Vietnma war imagine…

  28. crimethink,

    No, that really happened. He was talking about their willingness to use nuclear weapons.

    He says to Biden, “And you, too! You’ve got a certain arrogance about you…”

    I’m not voting for the guy, but I hope they give him Imus’s old job.

  29. This sort of “debate” is by nature unwatchable, a waste of time.
    “How would you address the situation in Iraq? You have 30 seconds.”
    Sheesh. Politics for nitwits.

  30. Why to they hate and fear Ron Paul?

    Could it be that Ron Paul declined to accept money from Corporate Media?

    I invite everyone to go look up Ron Paul’s comments on the Fed policies from a few years ago. In one speach, the Senate turned off his mic, even though he’s on the Senate Banking Committee and it was his turn to talk.

    He warned that Fed and government policies were causing a housing bubble (they were) and in combination with soaring deficit spending would lead to the clapse of the exchange rate (it did) and ruin the dollar as international reserve standard (is going on now).

  31. Some of the unsigned editorials in the Washington Post are truly disgusting. I think the worst one I ever saw was the recent outpouring of fulsome praise occasioned by the death of Pinochet. The WaPo publishes some terrific commentary and blogs (along with a lot of crap), but the unsigned editorials come from deep within the Beltway.

  32. My guess is that they dislike Ron Paul b/c he publicly questions the influence of AIPAC on U.S. foreign policy. The Washington Post is probably in bed with AIPAC.

  33. No need to look for conspiracies to understand why the editorial section of the Post is the way it is. It is the Official Newspaper of Really Important Gubbimint Stuff. As such, it can’t be seen to be too adventurous.

  34. Yet again, I must comment: Paul, Gravel and you are not “anti-war.” They’re not even “anti-Iraq war,” since the war will continue (and intensify) after a precipitate American withdrawal. What they are is pro-capitulation to Iraqi terrorists, murderers and thugs.

  35. Right, because fostering a divisive war within Islam hasn’t served their ends at all.

  36. Right on brother! Speak truth to power, I am firmly convinced that NOBODY in the media is looking out for AMericas best interest. I truly do thank digg and the blogsphere for giving Gravel and Paul the attention they so truly deserve. Now lets join the Gravel and Paul campaigns and show the establishment who is really in charge.

  37. Anyone tuning into the debates saying “who’s that?” must get their news from the Washington Post.
    According to the FEC, Ron Paul has raised more money than Sam Brownback, Duncan Hunter, Jim Gilmore or Mike Huckabee. At last report, the Paul campaign had almost as much cash on hand as Tom Tancredo, who is spending money twice as fast as the parsimonious “Dr. No”.

  38. Guy wrote:

    “[rolls eyes]
    “Yes, because the Washington Post is so pro-war. It is almost as if they were run by William F. Buckley, Jr. and Jonah Goldberg, or some other Catholic/Zionist kabal.

    “Remember how they were back in ‘nam? If it were not for their constant drumbeat of war Nixon would have been gone right after that thin win of his in 1972.
    “[/rolls eyes]”

    Don’t be so silly. The Post is just as interventionist as the rest of the American establishment, Dem or Repub. Like Hillary, they just think Dems could run the wars better.

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