I talk a lot about how terrible Maureen Dowd is because I am an old person who still reads the version of the Sunday Times that is printed with ink on paper, so she’s harder to avoid. But to be Scrupulously Fair, she probably isn’t the most vapid and inept political analyst with a six-figure income and a rep as long as Mark Halperin remains in the business:
Back when Donald Trump was winning primaries, Mark Halperin, the famously well-compensated political journalist at Bloomberg, went on TV and said Trump is a terrific politician.
“He is one of the two most talented presidential candidates any of us have covered,” Halperin opined. “He just is.”
Trump’s skill, he explained, exceeds Barack Obama’s because, unlike Trump, Obama “had David Axelrod and David Plouffe and a squadron of people around him who knew what they were doing.” Trump flies solo, ergo every supporter he counts, every stadium he packs, is somehow more rightfully his.
Halperin has also defended Trump from accusations of racism on the grounds that “Mexico isn’t a race,” and posed for this notorious picture, so unspoken affinities may be affecting his analysis. But to this day, as Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton in every poll, it is still commonly suggested that Trump has mysterious political powers. No matter what he says, his supporters love it! If he’s losing, it might be because he’s “deliberately trying to avoid winning.”
The idea that Barack Obama is a less talented politician than Donald Trump because he hires talented, competent people to run his campaigns really CLOSES THE DEAL and throws the conventional wisdom UNDER THE BUS!
While we’re discussing inadvertently hilarious political “analysis,” I can’t resist telling you about the Mickey Kaus temp gig at Breitbart that Erik alluded to earlier. The most comic gold is to be found in his assessment of Bill Clinton’s speech at the DNC.
The introductory film on Bill doesn’t highlight the 1996 welfare reform bill. That seems a miscalculation. The people in the hall would hate it, but Dems are trying to appeal to people outside the hall, where I suspect welfare reform remains popular, and not just because many single moms improved their lot.
Mickey sure has his finger right on the political zeitgeist! It’s not just a minority of self-defined Real Leftists who think that in political time it’s always 1996. It’s these shrewd political instincts that allowed him to get 5% of the vote in the 2010 Democratic Senate primary! He should have gone all the way and suggest that Clinton appear holding a copy of Mickey’s book like Khizr Khan holding the Constitution, though.
OK. I forgot. Bill’s charming and sensible! I’d probably vote for him again. But he’s not running.
Bill>Trump>Hillary is an…interesting preference order.
7) Glosses over the crushing failure of Hillary’s health plan, and Hillary’s role the single biggest mistake of Bill’s first term (his failure to pull the plug on Hillarycare and shift to passing a welfare reform bill so Dems would not lose Congress in the 1994 mid-terms).
1)Yes, it is highly unusual that Bill Clinton would not dwell on his wife’s role in a failed health care initiative at a convention devoted to making the case that she should be president. 2)Hillary’s role in the failure of health care reform was, in fact, negligible. There are no magical actions Clinton could have taken that could have gotten Republican support or caused Daniel Patrick Moynihan to give a damn about health care reform. 3)Anybody who thinks that passing welfare “reform” in 1994 could have staved off a Republican midterm win that was the inevitable culmination of long-term partisan realignment doesn’t understand how politics works.
He also cherry-picked the good parts of his wife’s career, languishing in the early years of promise, fast-forwarding through the rest and completely failing to address the obvious problems (including cattle futures, the Rose law firm billing records, the Russian “reset,” the Libyan mistake, etc. That’s not what my old boss, Charlie Peters, would call “playing Notre Dame.” And it’s why Bill’s re-re-re-introduction of his wife wasn’t as effective as it needed to be.
Yes, it is highly unusual that a politician trying to make a case for electing someone would highlight the positive aspects of this person’s record. And, in particular, Clinton should have devoted more time to addressing trivial pseudo-scandals from 20 years ago. Clinton should have PLAYED NICK SABAN by just reading passages from Doug Henwood’s book for the whole speech. But he’s just not a gifted natural politician like Donald Trump.
UPDATE: Halperin’s Republican “report cards” were amazing.