CPAC, currently going on just outside the Beltway in National Harbor, Maryland, has changed along with the conservative movement, believes Matthew Yglesias. Old-school CPAC, Yglesias contended in a Wednesday piece, was philosophically driven, populated by the sort of activists who “helped [Ronald] Reagan mount a primary challenge to incumbent President Gerald Ford.” In the past fifteen-plus years, however, it has become “to a substantial extent a live version of the conservative entertainment experience that one could also get on cable or on the radio.” In other words, it's now Donald Trump's CPAC, which “reflect[s] the reality” that conservatives are “older, whiter, and less educated than the population at large and [are] filled with a keen sense of nostalgia for the good old days.”
In a Christmas Day post, Digby (also a columnist for Salon) contended that, given the media’s hostility toward Hillary Clinton, that “it’s actually a testament to her rectitude that [the e-mail story] was all they came up with. They had certainly tried over the course of 25 years to come up with something real and they ended up having to make up this ridiculous fake scandal to justify their Javert-like obsession.” To Digby, Hillary was an even more inviting target for the media than her scandal-prone husband: “After all, she was always the uppity one who was asking for it, not good old Bill. They didn't get the indictment they were promised but the FBI did manage to be the instrument of her destruction so it's almost as good.”
Hours after Donald Trump announced Republican Congressman Tom Price as his pick for Health and Human Services Secretary, the media had already begun their witch hunt against him. Price is a vocal opponent of Obamacare with a consistently conservative record on social issues such as abortion. This, of course, made him an easy target for liberal journalists who took to Twitter Tuesday morning to bash the cabinet pick as a disaster for poor people and the LGBT community.
The Hillary Clinton e-mail scandal involves no wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, contends Matthew Yglesias. So whose behavior has been scandalous? The media’s. “Emailgate, like so many Clinton pseudo-scandals before it, is bullshit,” wrote Yglesias in a Michael Kinsley-esque Friday piece. “The real scandal here is the way a story that was at best of modest significance came to dominate the US presidential election -- overwhelming stories of much more importance, giving the American people a completely skewed impression of one of the two nominees, and creating space for the FBI to intervene in the election in favor of its apparently preferred candidate in a dangerous way.”
The uproar engendered by the Comey letter illuminates how Clinton-haters start with a conclusion and work backwards, suggests Matthew Yglesias. “The latest Hillary Clinton email revelations arose out of an unrelated investigation into Anthony Weiner’s sexting,” wrote Yglesias in a Monday piece. “The best way to understand this odd hopscotch is through the Prime Directive of Clinton investigations: We know the Clintons are guilty; the only question is what are they guilty of and when will we find the evidence?” Yglesias implied that the answers to those questions almost certainly are, respectively, “nothing” and “never,” given that Hillary “has been very thoroughly investigated, and none of the earlier investigations came up with any crimes.”
Vox and some other liberal outlets seem to have a new shtick going. They know that they can't portray Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation as ethical so they admit that there was perhaps a smidgeon of corruption there. Having given ground on that Vox then proclaims that even though there were problems in the past, the promise by Hillary to reform the Clinton Foundation IF she is elected president is a very welcome development.
Before finally hailing Hillary, Matthew Yglesias concedes that perhaps there were problems with the Clinton Foundation in the past such as being "kind of a modern political machine." However, before Yglesias makes his ethics concession, he first rejoices that finally, finally the Clintons have seen the light by promising to reform the Clinton Foundation IF Hillary is elected president.
There’s the entertaining kind of irascible old guy (e.g., Grampa Simpson) and there’s the scary kind, which several liberal pundits thought they beheld Monday night as they watched Rudy Giuliani speak at the Republican convention. Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall remarked that “ever since the late and great Molly Ivins quipped that she thought Pat Buchanan's speech at the 1992 GOP convention sounded better in the original German it's been sort of a parlor trick to compare a 'hot' Republican speech to one from this or that fascist dictator. But this speech was really febrile and unhinged." Fred Kaplan of Slate claimed that Giuliani “spew[ed]…rank nonsense” and “delved into the shallowest realm of Trump’s attack on Obama’s (or Obama-Clinton’s) counterterrorism policies—the refusal to call our enemy by their name."
Vox editor Emmett Rensin started a firestorm on Twitter last night after he actually advocated the violent situation in San Jose should be a model for other cities to follow. Rensin continued justifying the riots in subsequent tweets while Rensin’s coworker Matthew Yglesias added to the insanity by bringing up Hitler. Other liberal media jumped in to do their part in justifying the violence. Rensin was later suspended for “condoning writing that could put others in danger.”
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio put media bias on the front burner at CNBC’s Republican presidential debate, but conservatives and liberals differed sharply on whether what was in the pot smelled appetizing. Several lefty bloggers turned up their noses at the idea that in last night’s event and in general, the media favor Democrats.
The antics of the former major-league baseball player Manny Ramirez were frequently described as “just Manny being Manny.” Yglesias suggests that Hillary Clinton’s ill-advised use of a private email server was just Hillary being Hillary, and that that’s a good thing.
In a Tuesday article, Yglesias wrote that “from her adventures in cattle trading to chairing a policymaking committee in her husband's White House to running for Senate in a state she'd never lived in…to her email servers, Clinton is clearly more comfortable than the average person with violating norms and operating in legal gray areas.” That modus operandi, he argued, is what liberals will need in the post-Obama years: “Democrats have almost no chance of securing a majority in the US Senate and even worse odds of securing a majority in the House. So if there is a future for making progressive policy, that future is executive action."
The mainstream media don’t like Hillary Clinton, contends Yglesias, nor does she “care to hide her disdain” for them. Conservatives don’t have to choose a side (talk about strange bedfellows either way) but Yglesias related in a Monday post that in this conflict, he’s partial to Hillary.
Yglesias claimed that “the press hates to admit…good news” about HRC, such as her edge in polls over her prospective Republican opponents. That said, anti-Hillary media bias may not hinder her candidacy, since “Clinton's disdain for the press is largely shared by the public, which does not think journalists are credible or contribute to society's well-being.”
All in all, concluded Yglesias, the forecast for Hillary's presidential hopes is sunny and warm: “Clinton's brand of cautious center-left politics and her genuine passion for trying to bring people together and make deals more-or-less reflects what the public wants from a politician.”
One of the most discussed articles of the past week was Matthew Yglesias’s Monday piece in Vox contending that this country’s combination of a presidential system and increasing ideological polarization is a recipe for eventual political breakdown (the article was headlined “American democracy is doomed”). New York magazine’s Chait thinks Yglesias overlooked something important. Chait argues that the major threat to America’s political stability is that conservatives in the U.S. are much farther to the right than are conservatives in other industrialized democracies.