Monday, January 11, 2010

Harry Reid's Controversial Remarks About Obama, Other 2008 Campaign Scoop, And More News From Yemen

Hi everyone. Happy New Week! This is going to be another one of those short posts. It may be 2010, but we're going to spend the majority of this broadcast in the warm afterglow of the 2008 campaign season. Political junkies' hearts are currently a-flutter over a new book called "Game Change," which has the chattering class, well, chattering over all kinds of juicy little nuggets involving our favorite and not-so-favorite political figures.

Will I be buying this book? In a word? No. Don't get me wrong, I AM one of those political junkies, and anyone who watched Anderson Cooper's 60 Minutes piece knows there's some serious Sarah Palin schadenfreude thrown in there, but as a rule I tend to avoid these kind of beltway reads.

Though they surely contain truths, the truth is a different animal. Let's cut the crap here; this is a book of political gossip, anonymously sourced from people that have agendas, as well as written by people that have agendas. I think Glenn Greenwald breaks the situation down quite nicely. When it comes down to it, I simply don't believe that Mark Halperin and John Heilemann have produced something that deserves my money.

We're kicking things off with the revelation that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid thought Obama would succeed as president due to his "light-skinned appearance" and "no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one." Ruh roh. Yeah, cracking open a couple of brews at the White House isn't going to solve this one. Republican hypocritical outrage is 3...2...1...

We're first joined by Bill Bennett and James Carville, who each play their partisan roles as one might expect. James calls the comment "inelegant," while Bill gets all puffed up about the situation, demanding to know "Who the heck talks like this anymore?" Um, lots of people in your party?

Then we're on to Roland Martin, Soledad O'Brien, and Peter Beinart, who provide us a much better discussion. The whole double standard issue is brought up and you know what? The Republicans are absolutely right. If a Republican said what Reid said, everyone defending him now would be screaming for a resignation. But before you think I'm backing the Party of No, the opposite is true as well. They'd suddenly find their defense on. That's politics in 2010.

Funny thing is--or sad thing, actually--is that Reid is right. I definitely don't endorse the way he said it, but as the panel notes, we all know there's some truth there. I also think it should be pointed out that Reid wasn't making a personal comment. He was commenting on Obama's electability. So, should Reid resign over this? Um, no. Should he lose his re-election? That's up to the voters in Nevada. Anyway, good discussion. I like how they incorporated footage from the documentary "A Girl Like Me."

On now to Anderson interviewing "Game Change" authors Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. There's some interesting stuff about the Clintons here. It seems some people who were publicly endorsing Hillary were privately pulling for Obama because they thought she would be too polarizing. That's actually why I voted for Obama as well. That and the Bill factor, which apparently the Clinton people very much worried about too. Perhaps the biggest revelation is that Hillary wasn't going to accept the Secretary of State position. I'm glad she did.

Transitioning now to a Paula Newton piece on Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born Muslim cleric hiding out in Yemen. Paula is able to talk to Anwar's father, who claims his son wrongly accused and an "all American boy." Mmhm. Not sure how well that's going to fly.

We're then joined by Peter Bergen for discussion. He gives us good info, as always, but I'm going to go slacker and just give you the funny. Says Peter: "Richard Reid, the so-called shoe bomber, it's sort of forgotten that he had a colleague called Sajib Badat who also was going to do a shoe bomb attack on an American airline, got a case, as it were, of cold feet." Ah, I see what you did there, Mr. Bergen. "Was that a pun? asks our anchor. "It was a bad one." says Peter. See, this is what happens when you let the analysts participate in the "shot." They get all cocky. By the way, Peter trying to be funny in of itself is kinda hilarious.

In other news, screw you Mark McGwire. Thanks for ruining a lot of memories. Also, Sarah Palin joins Fox News. Because nobody saw that coming a mile away.

I think I'm just going to wrap it up here. The show was really panel heavy. Really book heavy, actually. And it's not like they had an exclusive. It's everywhere. That's some mad marketing going on, huh? This is one of those times when I'm completely confused about 360's identity. If this show is geared toward political junkies, then they did an excellent job. Otherwise I think the focus was way too much. I mean, in essence this is all old news. It's not like campaign coverage where people need to be informed about the political goings-on. I'll be interested to see the ratings. That'll do it.

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Blogger Anne said...

Hey Eliza,

Thanks again for watching so I didn't have to. This time because I can't believe how the media is falling all over themselves about a book that is basically, gossip. I read Glenn Greenwald's take on it. He is one of the few honest and sane observers of this sorid circus act surrounding the book. I agree with him, kicking the Edwards around now is pointless and I will say downright cruel. If all the so-called journalists, including AC would read Greenwald's article, I think they would feel some degree of shame by the time they are done reading it. Big Bill Bennett needs to shut up, he talked about crime rates going if black babies were aborted, geesh! On Reid, because of his age, I think he is speaking from the old school of thought. Unlike Trent Lott who expressed a yearning of life before desegregation, I feel no such malice from Reid. I could be wrong, I don't think Democrats would ask for a Republican's resignation if the roles were reversed. With all the hate filled e-mails and comments coming from the political figures in the R. party, they certainly have no room to talk. Since they don't take on the unoffical leader, Limbaugh, they need to shut up like Bennett. Anne D.

5:24 AM  
Blogger eliza said...

@Anne: Glad I could be of service, though I wish the show was something you wanted to watch. Yeah, I knew someone out there probably had the same thoughts as me and had expressed them better than I ever could. Greenwald was my first guess and sure enough, there was a perfect post just waiting to be linked.

As a political junkie, I don't mind a little bit of coverage of this kind of stuff. Admittedly, some of it is interesting/amusing/frightening to hear. I just hate that the media never steps outside themselves and looks in. Anonymous sources. Agendas. Strategic leaks for marketing. We're being sold a product and 360 is cheerily helping without so much of a ponderance as to how this book came about.

I completely forgot about Bennett's black baby comment. I don't think Reid was speaking from malice either, but I have to disagree about Democrats not asking for resignations. Everyone is so cynically political these days. But you're right, the Republicans have absolutely no room to talk.

5:06 PM  

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