Politics, by Don Rickles


The weekend brought a wealth of 2008 stories whose drama–indeed, whose very point–came from politicians acting odd or being insulted. Here's Patrick Healey with an already-enraging-feminists piece about Hillary Clinton's disconcerting, rude-sounding laugh.

… she copes with the pressure by using what friends have come to call the Cackle. At Wednesday's debate, for instance, former Senator Mike Gravel complained about her vote on an Iran resolution and said he was "ashamed" of her. Asked to respond, Mrs. Clinton laughed before answering, as if to minimize the matter. Last Sunday, meanwhile, she appeared on all five of the major morning talk shows, and her laughter seemed heavily caffeinated. Chris Wallace, of Fox News, first pressed Mrs. Clinton about why she was so "hyperpartisan," and that drew a huge cackle. (Coming from Fox, her aides said, the question was pretty funny.) At another point, Mr. Wallace switched gears and said, "let me ask you about health care," and Mrs. Clinton responded, "Yeah, I'd love you to ask me about health care" — and then let it rip, again, a bit quizzically.

The great Matt Taibbi follows Fred Thompson on the trail and finds incoherent answers matched up with reporters who, shrugging, report them as wisdom.

I spot Carl Cameron, the right-wing hatchet man for Fox News. Cameron is whaling on Thompson, doing a mocking impersonation of the candidate's "Security, Unity, Prosperity" campaign shtick.

"We're, uh, gonna be yoo-nited bah owre yoo-nity!" Cameron cracks.

A crowd of reporters doubles over in laughter. Then they get in their vehicles and chase after Thompson to the next event, so they can feverishly record those same hackneyed lines again and again for posterity. They'll laugh in private, but they'll be repeating that shit on air with a straight face for the next 400 days.

James Pindell reports that Ron Paul's family was having some fun on the trail with Rudy Giuliani's oddball cell phone addiction.

While introducing his father, Rand Paul, a Kentucky physician, pretended to take a phone call.

"Oh Rudy Giuliani, how are you," Paul joked. "Oh what's that? You don't have any members of your family who want to campaign for you and you want to borrow ours?"

And from the comments on the Friday thread, here is a disturbing yet compelling video for Roy Shivers' song "Ron Paul 2008," a litany of insults and calumnies against the other candidates.

It seems weird that he couldn't find any images or video for the Fred Thompson part.