Saturday, October 04, 2008

In What Oozed From Them...

My vote for Post-Obama. He'll only be 88 in 2016. From The New Republic online:

The Debate's Real Losers

Richard Stern is a novelist and emeritus professor of English at the University of Chicago.

It's 50 minutes after the vice presidential debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden. The losers were David Brooks, Mark Shields, and other commentators supposedly hired by television executives for intelligence, sensitivity, and ability to articulate clear-eyed responses and titillate viewers with their amusing and thoughtful reactions to political events. That these two regulars on PBS's "The NewsHour" failed to see that Sarah Palin's brassy, blind narcissism, chirpy ignorance, evasiveness, broken syntax, self-vaunting folksiness, and robotic falsity disqualified her for important public office should be their end as commentators. That they did not commend the essentially thoughtful, well- and widely-informed performance of Joe Biden should cancel their television contracts. The contrast between his intelligence and her stupidity, yes, stupidity, was too clear to be missed by all but blazing partisans.

Yes, this writer is partisan, but makes some attempt to accurately appraise what he sees and hears. That is more important than most causes. Otherwise, value systems will disintegrate and the boundaries between right and wrong, vice and virtue, truth and falsity will be destroyed. Brooks and Shields abandoned the standard to which they've given more than lip service. If their failure should help lead to the elevation of a foolish, almost willfully ignorant person and the defeat of a thoughtful, humane, and articulate public servant, I hope they marinate for years in what oozed from them tonight.

I've been proud that Brooks had been a student of mine at the University of Chicago. That pride has turned to ashes. As for Shields, it has been a minor pleasure to hear political insights he'd gathered over years of reportorial work.

No more. Working such special streets of punditry as "Who came up to expectations?" "Would Biden gaffe his way into headlines?" or "Would Palin again reveal the ignorance she showed on the Katie Couric interview?" this Tweedledum and Tweedledee of savvy politics failed to distinguish what was basic, namely which of these two candidates could head the American government. May they rot in Commentator Hell.



Blogger San said...

AMEN, Brother Stern.

Brooks and Shields seemed outright giddy that Palin hadn't collapsed on the floor and writhed in agony, as had been anticipated. I, however, was on the verge of running to the john for a good puke, as I smelled the gov's putrid logorrhea emitting from the tv. It actually made a puddle on the saltillo tile. Bennie had a more polite word for it. VAPID.

Biden would have won the debate simply by refraining from grabbing the nearest blunt object and putting that winking machine out of her (and our) misery. That he not only restrained himself from committing a homicide on national tv but answered all of the questions succinctly and wisely, that he demonstrated a wide knowledge of foreign and domestic policies and problems, tempered by just plain common sense, just the right amount of passion, and yes, dignity and courtesy, makes him the Bear Bryant Winningest Debater in history. I can be "folksy." I ain't runnin' for high office. Ya betcha, Pat Six Pack.

4:43 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dontcha just love a righteous rant, San? I've been questioned as to whether it is the "Christian" thing to go after the guv with such glee; after all, she can't help being short on policy and coherent sentences. I agree: she can't help those things, but what she CAN help is the hubris of "not having blinked," when asked to run. An INTELLIGENT, short on policy and coherent sentences person (like, say, me) would have, at the asking, simply said, "Mr Maverick, are you an idiot? You do realize that I am entirely unfit for this post, don't you? What, my good maverick-sir, have you been inhaling?" Governor, this country would be much better served if had MORE blinkers.

For more hilarious SP send-ups, see this:

Thank goodness, there is only one VP debate. I fear for your saltillo.

Roll Tide.

5:08 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

Thanks for keeping me up to date on the insane world of politics!

11:12 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Hello, Tammie: I think we should thank Mr. Stern for keeping us up and vastly entertained.

11:58 AM  
Blogger rebecca said...

i've not missed one debate since this whole thing started. i've been keeping up with campbell brown on cnn and rachel maddow on msnbc (love that girl)...they're on the ball and on the mark.

I loved Biden that night. I really did. He answered all questions intelligently and with much knowledge, he kept his hands to himself instead of wringing them around the neck of dumba** palin, and was not condescending at all. what i liked was that he was smiling and laughing all the time - i think not because he found her so charming and witty, but instead he was probably thinking how utterly, utterly idiotic she was! it could not be more clear who won this debate and it was won by a landslide. can you say 'avalanche?' she is by no ways or means ready to lead, not even as vice president and i think it completely irresponsible of mccain to have chosen her as a running mate. i can't recall who said it but one commentator said that if biden said half the things she said, people would think he was having some sort of mental breakdown. the woman scares the hell out of me. she spews out big words and talks with such conviction that she passes off for intelligence and knowledgeability. and she didn't even answer the questions!!! hello! oh, she so, so, sucks (for lack of a better word, and i am sorry, i know, 'unacceptable' for a wordsmith like you) but she really does. i can't take her. i do not buy that winking, i do not buy that i'm a commoner just like you bit, i don't buy her honesty....if anything, i think she is completely disingenous and dangerous.

3:21 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Rebecca: Good to hear from you. I am with you on Biden in the debate: I thought he was both substantive and masterful, and this is coming from someone who was initially very dismayed with his selection: old grudge stuff about his history of plagiarisms. But, even before the debate, I began to see how he was humanizing the ticket in ways that are at times even hard for Obama. A very grounded politician, passionate, hard-hitting, but hard-hitting in a dignified way and with data.

Palin is a travesty, and this is from someone who thought her selection to be brilliant from a purely political standpoint, measured in terms of the evangelicals she would ignite, to energize her ticket. This was before I came to know the depths of her stupidity and hubris. Not to mention a virulently nasty and decidedly "un-Christian" mean-spiritedness. Rather than the energizing sword for McCain to hold aloft, she appears to be the sword he will fall upon instead.

I don't think (fingers crossed) stupidity quite has the electoral appeal that it has had for the past two presidential elections, with GWB and his monumental vapidity. Maybe he's helped hoist the esteem of our electorate, bringing them to see that "we're not THAT stupid, nor need we be."

Here's to history in the making, come November 4th.

5:23 PM  

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