Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Clinton Campaign Conundrums, Ralph Nader Back To Annoy, Gay Teen Killed, And Bringing Music To North Korea (Monday's Show)

Hi everyone. Happy new week! Why must Larry King point at me as he ends his show? It's impolite to point, Larry. Anyway, we begin things tonight with Anderson Cooper telling us that Obama and Clinton are at it again. Oh, those crazy kids. What are they doing now? A Candy Crowley piece breaks it down. The BFF bracelets the candidates were metaphorically sporting during the last debate are so going back to the store. Because now Clinton is comparing Obama to Bush and suddenly Drudge is running a 2006 picture of Obama from Kenya wearing traditional Somali dress, no doubt an effort to play on anti-Muslim sentiments. Drudge claims the picture was pushed by the Clinton camp; they say nuh uh. Something impossible to deny is the fact that this past weekend Clinton actually mocked Obama's hope message.

Okay, I'm an extremely cynical person, but even I'm not that cynical. Me thinks the wheels have come off this campaign bus. The train is off the tracks. The wings have, er, fallen off the plane. Pick your own analogy. It's sad, really. I never wanted to see her crash and burn, but that seems to be the road she's on right now. Although there's always time to turn around. We also learn in the piece that Clinton is ticked at Obama about a flyer that states she supports NAFTA. While we're told Clinton consistently rails against the trade agreement on the stump, 360 takes us on a little trip using the way-back machine and we're treated to a clip of Clinton circa 1996 singing NAFTA's praises. I love it when they do that. Obama, in the meantime, remains cool as a cucumber. (Why is it a cucumber? There are things that are cooler. Why don't we say cool as a Popsicle? And what does coolness have to do with being calm? We'll just call theses ponderances "Deep Thoughts by Eliza." And now Jack Handey is rolling in his grave. Or he would be, you know, if he were dead.)

For discussion of all this (the politics, not the cucumber), we're joined by Gloria Borger and David Gergen, who both think we're witnessing campaign messaging run amuck. Remember when Clinton found her voice before New Hampshire? Well apparently she found more than one and now she's trying out all of them. Gloria thinks there's an internal argument in her campaign over which one to pick. Then there's a little bit of talk of Clinton's "angry rant" and I know I've just been doing some smacking around of her behavior this weekend, but I have to wonder if John McCain had done the same thing, if it would be characterized as an "angry rant" or "straight talk." I suspect he would come out looking better.

Speaking of McCain, he just told reporters that his campaign success is connected to what happens in Iraq. The Gerg thinks it's clear the success of the surge has helped his campaign. Um, has there been political progress? When did surge success become conventional wisdom? What he means is the perceived success of the surge because the media has apparently decided to stop bringing us nuanced reporting from Iraq. I know they're working in soundbites here, but it's uncool to let that stuff go. And it's lazy. Before I wrap up, I'll be fair to Clinton and add that The Gerg thinks she was actually very unhappy with NAFTA when they did it. So maybe she should point some of her anger at Bill.

Moving on now to an interview with Dee Dee Myers, former Clinton White House press secretary, and author of "Why Women Should Rule the World." Because we're awesome, that's why! So okay, this talk is all about Clinton and why everything seems to be going downhill for her. Dee Dee tells us what about half of the country already knows: it can be hard to be a woman. To get ahead, you have to be tough, but oh, not too tough. Because then you're a bitch, or "the B-word," as Dee Dee puts it. And of course for Clinton it's extra hard because any time she tries to soften up, people accuse her of being insincere. From there the conversation moves to the topic of women leaders in other countries and how the US seems to be behind the curve. Dee Dee thinks that women rule differently than men and the two styles together are the most desirable situation. Sounds like a plan.

In tonight's "What Were They Thinking?" Gary Busey just, like, assaults Jennifer Garner on the Oscar red carpet. He gets all up in her personal space and kisses her on the neck and the best part (or most horrifying if you're Jennifer Garner) is she obviously didn't even know who he was. So to her, some strange crazy man just came and slobbered on her neck. And it was all filmed by E! Anderson then makes a pitch to Busey, who is totally watching 360 and not passed out on his floor right now, to come and audition to be their celebrity announcer. And if you think you're all Busey'd out, well kids, 360 has an extra treat for you in the form of this indescribable Buseyrific YouTube video. Crazy has found its king. Anderson wonders if they added in the music. No Anderson, you didn't. And that just makes it even better. Whenever I think of Gary Busey I always think of the movie "Point Break." And then I think of Keanu Reeves in a wet suit and then...wait, what was I saying?

Hey, so over the past day or so have you noticed a slight annoying kind of nagging feeling penetrating your political mind? Not quite sure what it is? Well, let me bring you up to speed. Ralph Nader has decided to throw his hat into the presidential ring. I swear, does the man not have hobbies? Can't he take up golf or something instead of messing with our elections every time? In full disclosure, during the election of 2000 I was a brand spanking new voter who was just as excited as could be to punch my card for Nader. But hold onto that rotten fruit; I didn't go through with it. Back then, I didn't like Al Gore all that much (I blame the media) and though at that time I didn't hate Bush, I did suspect that he might actually be mentally retarded, so Nader it was. I was being a rebel--sticking it to the two party system. Channeling Lou Dobbs before I even knew who Lou Dobbs was. But then the race just got way too close and since I wanted to make sure Gore got elected, I switched my vote at the last minute. And he did get elected, yet somehow, here we are. Sigh.

So anyway, Nader joins us for an interview and he's all, "Big business bad." "Drug companies suck." "Yada, yada, yada." It's not that I don't agree with him; it's that I don't agree with how he's fighting for his causes. I care about healthcare, but I'm not going to go stand in the street and shout about it because that will only get me cussed at and probably hit. You have to be practical when you attack a problem. Nader tells us that this campaign is about raising awareness of issues, but if that's all he wants, why doesn't he just raise money to buy airtime or ad space. Money talks in this world. The more you have, the more you're heard. Ralph should just buy himself the publicity instead of getting it by screwing up a presidential election.

Transitioning now to a Dan Simon piece on a 15 year old named Larry King who was gunned down at his school for being gay. If he was straight, Larry might have been given grief for having the same name as a 200-year-old talk show host, but because he was gay he was relentlessly bullied for wearing a feminine look. Then one day a fellow classmate shot him in the back of the head. The shooter is barely 14 and has been charged as an adult with first-degree murder and carrying out a hate crime. Dan then tell us the case is complicated because it's believed the shooter may have been humiliated because Larry had a crush on him and made it known. Oh, please. This "gay panic" stuff is sick and should never hold up in court. Just think if something tried to claim "black panic." Don't get me wrong, the kid is too young to be charged as an adult, but a hate crime should never be rationalized.

For more on this topic, we're joined by adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Sophy. They talk about bullying and Charles' solution is to work tolerance into the educational system. Yeah, that's gonna work well. Has Charles met the Right Wing? Because they don't so much like that word. Anderson points out that slurs against gays are still accepted in most high schools. Yep, pretty much. I remember years ago having a really long argument with one of the brother's friends because he just didn't get why it was wrong to refer to something bad by saying "that's so gay." Kid probably still says it. But people are probably more tolerant now than they were a couple of decades ago, so, baby steps, I guess.

Our last piece of the night is from Christiane Amanpour, on the disabling of North Korea's nuclear facility. In return, the North Koreans want fuel, aid, and to be off the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. That ain't happening yet, so the disabling has slowed down. But it's not a total wash because both countries seem committed to the deal; it's just going to take a while for both sides to get what they want. In related news, the New York Philharmonic orchestra is there. Uh, because they heard North Korea is lovely this time of year? I don't really know what's up with that, but after her piece, Christiane tell us they're being very well received. Hm, maybe we should always include music in our diplomacy.

The Shot tonight is this adorable kid singing "Hey Jude." Oh, and he's got a guitar. Apparently he does a whole bunch of Beatles songs. Anderson does not believe the YouTube post's claim that he doesn't get help from family or friends. I gotta go with our anchor on this one. The kid's doing the Beatles. Hello! Of course he gets by with a little help from his friends. It's in the lyrics, man. The show was pretty good tonight. Actual other news creeped out from under all the politics. I love the politics, but the tunnel vision on the topic is a bit much. B


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