Greg, Josh, and Atrios beat up on Dean Broder’s ludicrous new celebration of an “independence” that, as the complete cave-in on the torture bill indicates, doesn’t actually exist irrespective of the moral import of the issue. Rather than pile on in this case, Somerby allows us to recall this Broder classic from 2000:
Here was Broder, discussing the candidate who wasn’t “lawless and reckless”—the candidate who wasn’t the consummate dope, the candidate who did have lots of knowledge:
BRODER (8/20/00): In tone and substance, Vice President Al Gore’s acceptance speech on the final night of the Democratic National Convention was like nothing I have heard in 40 years of covering both parties’ quadrennial gatherings.
Usually these acceptance speeches are attempts to take you to the mountaintop and show you the future. Gore’s was more a request to step inside a seminar room, listen closely and take notes.
As he continued, Broder openly mocked Gore’s attention to matters of substance. “One more paragraph and he would have been onto the budget of the Bureau of Indian Affairs,” the clowning pundit complained. “He mentioned only three aspects of what was, in fact, a significant record in the House and Senate. But, my, how he went on about what he wants to do as president.” (Imagine that!) Then came one of the most remarkable paragraphs in recent press corps history:
BRODER: I have to confess, my attention wandered as he went on through page after page of other swell ideas, and somewhere between hate crimes legislation and a crime victim’s constitutional amendment, I almost nodded off.
A candidate for President showing knowledge about policy details? Explaining what he might do if he were elected? How gauche! As with Joe Klein, Broder is someone who just doesn’t care about politics in any meaningful sense at all. He might as well be writing a gossip column for a high-school newspaper; to him, it’s all empty symbolism and tautological personality evaluations.
Luckily, should the Dean ever retire, or Klein go back to musing about Woody Guthrie, the blogosphere has its own replacement ready to go:
Clinton leans way forward into Wallace’s space. He even jabs him in the knee a few times with his finger. Meanwhile, he seems unaware of his own ungainly body. He’s gotten quite fat, and his suits — which he keeps buttoned — don’t fit him properly anymore. He’s sitting with his feet apart and planted on the floor, and the pantlegs get hiked way up so that a wide band of white leg shows above each sock.
Ohmigod! And like did you see how Caitlin walked around with a mascara smudge on her face for like 2 hours today? And hasn’t she gained two pounds? And she calls herself a feminist but was walking around in a slutty Ann Taylor sweater! I’m like so sure that Sean is going to dump her and start dating Nicole instead! (If only such svelte, feminist and moral men like Henry Hyde had gotten their way and gotten Clinton impeached, the country might have been spared such a ghastly fashion faux pas.)
There’s no difference between Althouse’s coverage of politics and her legendarily interminable rambling about America’s Next Top Model, except that the latter is more substantive and coherent because she actually cares about it. She’d fit in with the complacent, reactionary, superficiality-obsessed Beltway pundit class just fine.
…a commenter, like Althouse herself, defends her body-language analysis as being meaningful. I would remind everyone that last week’s extensive analysis of The Breasts That Destroyed Feminism yielded such insights as 1)a group picture in which the short people were in front and the tall people in the back could only be explained by a systematic effort to give Clinton a good look at Jessica’s rack, and 2)the simplest explanation for why NARAL’s house blogger had been invited to a meetup by Hillary Clinton’s blog liaison is so that she could be set up with Bill. In other words, the analysis is about as reliable as using astrology; it’s nothing more than a way of making up deranged conspiracy theories about Bill Clinton while indulging her mean-spirited sneering about other people’s bodies. Similarly, her profound insights into Clinton’s socks today allows her to imply that what Clinton is saying isn’t true, without actually, you know, engaging in any substantive critique of what he was arguing. Either what Clinton is saying is correct or it’s not. Discussing his suit is just a way of questioning the veracity of his statements without having the slightest idea what the hell you’re talking about.
And speaking of mean-spirited superficiality, does this man look “fat” to you?
Wow, if this “means something” Denny Hastert must be worse than Hitler. And is Althouse thin enough to be trustworthy? Isn’t the idiocy of this line of non-thinking obvious to everyone by now?