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John McCain’s camp is attacking the media for having the audacity to question Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience, even though — as the GOP talking points go — her stellar qualifications include being a “commander in chief” (of the Alaskan National Guard) and living in a state that borders Russia. The Republican push back will undoubtedly work, as foreshadowed in this story today from Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post:
I’ve talked to many political professionals over the years who were mad at the media, or me in particular. But I’ve never quite had a conversation like the one Tuesday night with Steve Schmidt. He was absolutely furious as he unloaded on the journalistic community for, in his view, unfairly savaging Sarah Palin.
Sure, it is in his interest to try to get the press to tone things down. But Schmidt–Sen. John McCain’s hard-headed, no-nonsense, on-message strategist–really sounded shell-shocked. And so he was saying things on the record that senior aides usually say only under a cloak of anonymity. That doesn’t make his accusations right. But it does suggest to me that a brewing conflict between McCain and his media chroniclers–one that makes the ol’ Straight Talk Express days a distant memory–has reached the boiling point.
So McCain’s top strategist thinks the press coverage of Palin is unfair, and Kurtz clearly takes his opinion more seriously because Schmidt is “furious” about it. (Spinmeisters take note.) The media is asking tough questions about Palin — as are some conservatives — but someone has to vet her since the McCain camp clearly didn’t.
In general, the idea that the media is being overly critical of the McCain campaign is ridiculous. There was only so much convention coverage I could stomach, but
I didn’t see a lot of harsh attacks on the GOP during my channelsurfing. Consider this exchange on Fox News, between Chris Wallace and Karl Rove:
WALLACE: It seemed to me that — that in a very low-key, reasoned, cautious, Joe Lieberman way, he kind of took Barack Obama apart. And you know, it wasn’t red meat. And it wasn’t shouting. But in contrasting the real reform credentials of McCain and Obama, it was very powerful.
ROVE: He put dynamite underneath the two foundations of the Obama campaign and blew them up. Gifted and eloquent young man, but eloquence is no substitute for record. And then he talked about bipartisanship and said, in essence, McCain has done it. Obama has not. I think I’m with you. It was a very powerful demolition of the Obama camp.
From what I saw, the “savaging” of the Republicans by CNN was equally fierce.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Commentary — November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm
The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.
i. stand with israel
I listen to a lot of conservative talk radio. Confident masculine voices telling me the enemy is everywhere and victory is near — I often find it affirming: there’s a reason I don’t think that way. Last spring, many right-wing commentators made much of a Bloomberg poll that asked Americans, “Are you more sympathetic to Netanyahu or Obama?” Republicans picked the Israeli prime minister over their own president, 67 to 16 percent. There was a lot of affected shock that things had come to this. Rush Limbaugh said of Netanyahu that he wished “we had this kind of forceful moral, ethical clarity leading our own country”; Mark Levin described him as “the leader of the free world.” For a few days there I yelled quite a bit in my car.
The one conservative radio show I do find myself enjoying is hosted by Dennis Prager. At the Thanksgiving dinner of American radio personalities (Limbaugh is your jittery brother-in-law, Michael Savage is your racist uncle, Hugh Hewitt is Hugh Hewitt) Dennis Prager is the turkey-carving patriarch trying to keep the conversation moderately high-minded. While Prager obviously doesn’t like liberals — “The gaps between the left and right on almost every issue that matters are in fact unbridgeable,” he has said — he often invites them onto his show for debate, which is rare among right-wing hosts. Yet his gently exasperated take on the Obama–Netanyahu matchup was among the least charitable: “Those who do not confront evil resent those who do.”
Average number of Americans who are injured by chain saws each year:
A farmer in Kenya bit a python who tried to eat him.
A former prison in Philadelphia that has served as a horror-movie set was being prepared as a detention center for protesters arrested at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired his campaign manager.
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“Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'”