Taking journalistic hypocrisy to ever-headier heights, Politico's Todd Purdum spent hundreds of words Wednesday evening bemoaning the potential impact of an incident which both sides involved say never happened, and acted as if incivility only comes out of the mouths of conservatives and Republicans.
Earlier Wednesday, the website's Tal Kopan relayed news that Illinois Democratic Senator Dick Durbin "said in a Facebook post that a House Republican leader told off President Barack Obama during a negotiation meeting, and that GOP leaders are so disrespectful it’s practically impossible to have a conversation with them." The supposed statement to Obama by a GOP leader, which both White House spokesman Jay Carney and House Speaker John Boehner say never was made, and which Durbin could not have observed or heard because he wasn't there, was: "I cannot even stand to look at you." Durbin, it must be recalled, ultimately was forced to apologize for comparing U.S. troops at Guantanamo Bay to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings," in 2005.
Purdum's outrage over something which didn't happen appears to have no bounds:
Trash-talking the president
No matter how many times you’ve been there, the White House is a pretty awesome place, conferring on every president what “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin once called “the single greatest home-court advantage in the modern world.”
So it would have to rank as the biggest “in your face” any modern president has faced if someone actually said to Barack Obama, in his own workspace — where a constantly shifting array of blown-up photographs of him line the halls and a retinue of helicopters wait at his beck and call — “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
Such an insult — delivered eyeball to eyeball — would trump Rep. Joe Wilson’s shouted “You lie!” on the House floor during the Obama’s health care speech to Congress in 2009.
It turns out that Joe Wilson was absolutely correct if impolite when he made his 2009 statement in response to Obama's claim that Obamacare would not cover illegal immigrants.
It would top former Vice President Dick Cheney’s terse suggestion on the Senate floor in 2004 that Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) should perform an anatomically improbable act. And it would make Dick Armey’s heated advice to a scolding Bill Clinton (“Perhaps it’s my Western upbringing, but I don’t listen very well when someone’s pointing a finger in my face!”) during the 1995 government shutdown seem positively polite by comparison.
... But “I cannot even stand to look at you,” is what Sen. Dick Durbin says one unnamed House GOP leader told Obama in a meeting during the recent government shutdown.
... By Wednesday afternoon, spokesmen for the White House and Speaker John Boehner had flatly denied that any such encounter ever occurred. But Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, posted the allegation on Facebook over the weekend, and his office said Wednesday that he stood by his words.
Well, Harry Reid probably "stands by" his Mitt Romney tax-return fables. So what?
Naturally, Purdum made no reference to two-plus years of outrageous characterizations of Republican and conservative lawmakers as "hostage-takers" made repeatedly by Obama himself, White House spokespersons, and Democrat lawmakers.
And for what it's worth, Todd Purdum, if someone likened me to a kidnapper and/or terrorist by calling me a hostage-taker to my face, I'd be tempted to tell that person, no matter who he or she is, that I can't stand the sight of them.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.