In his standup-comedy days, Steve Martin did a joke about imposing the death penalty for parking violations. Michael Tomasky suggests that the House Benghazi committee has a similarly disproportionate penalty in mind for Hillary Clinton over Emailgate: wrecking her presidential campaign.
Tomasky acknowledged in a Wednesday column that Hillary “screwed up this email business,” but asserted that the committee “isn’t even pretending to be about the Benghazi attacks anymore. It’s a taxpayer-funded get Clinton operation, and it’s now all about finding a smoking gun in these emails.”
Conservatives are accustomed to admiring the work and deploring the politics of artists like Bruce Springsteen and Stephen King. Michael Tomasky wrote Thursday that some liberals have had roughly similar feelings about Antonin Scalia, but that’s over now because of Scalia’s dissent in King v. Burwell, which was devoid of the justice’s usual “writerly flair and intellectual acumen.”
“It long ago became a kind of fetish, the anticipation of reading Scalia’s opinions,” remarked Tomasky. “There was always an excess of intellectual and moral certitude, to be sure, but there was also wit and a kind of joyfulness of battle whether he was on the winning or losing side…But that was then. This decision is something else again. Here, there is no wit. There is just bile. As you read along you can veritably see his carotid artery pulsing, growing; smell the sweat flopping out of the pores...The law lives, and he is livid.”
In a Wednesday column, Tomasky alleged that the “real job” of the House select committee looking into the September 2012 Benghazi attack is “to get [Hillary] Clinton” and declared that “this ‘investigation’ now constitutes openly and defiantly urinating on the grave of Amb. [Chris] Stevens.” Tomasky commented that Trey “Gowdy’s investigators have come up empty on the consular attack itself, but their assignment, undoubtedly never spoken but equally undoubtedly always understood, is to find something that will keep Clinton out of the White House.”
Even by the standards of Democratic presidential nominees, Barack Obama did exceptionally well among black voters, winning 95 percent in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012. The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky thinks that Hillary Clinton, assuming she’s nominated, will come close to those numbers in 2016, partly on her merits and partly because black people understand that today’s Republican party doesn’t have much use for them.
“When I was young,” wrote the 54-year-old Tomasky in a Friday column, “I thought Ronald Reagan’s Republican Party was bad on race, and it was, but the GOP is a far more openly and aggressively anti-black-people party today. Back then, there were still a fair number of moderate Republicans in the House and Senate who voted for civil rights measures…Republicans in Congress even reauthorized the [Voting Rights Act] when Dubya was president! Those days are long, long gone. Maybe not forever, but certainly for the foreseeable future.”
Never mind the vast right-wing conspiracy, suggests Michael Tomasky in the June 25 New York Review of Books. What Hillary Clinton needs to concern herself with are 1) a possible vast mainstream-media conspiracy and 2) her and her husband’s propensity for shadiness and avarice.
In a nearly 3,800-word article that’s ostensibly a review of Peter Schweizer’s Clinton Cash but in classic NYRB fashion is more about issues related to the book in question, Tomasky delves into topics including Clinton Foundation fundraising practices; the Clintons’ whopping income from speechmaking; and how they should clean up their act regarding both so that they don’t impede Hillary’s presidential campaign.
Tomasky also analyzes, and largely endorses, the idea stated in early May by Politico’s Dylan Byers that “the national media have never been more primed to take down Hillary Clinton (and, by the same token, elevate a Republican candidate).” Tomasky specifies one extremely prominent northeastern liberal newspaper that’s “worth keeping an eye on” given its putative record of anti-Clinton reporting.
A recent Gallup poll found that 31 percent of Americans self-identify as social liberals, and that an equal percentage call themselves social conservatives -- the first time since Gallup began conducting such surveys in 1999 that conservatives haven’t outnumbered liberals. On Tuesday, pundit Michael Tomasky seized on this development as an indication that Republicans no longer will be able to use so-called wedge issues to gain Democratic crossover votes, but that maybe now Dems can win away GOPers who aren’t thrilled with their party’s stands on matters like gay marriage.
Tomasky added that any Democratic wedge issues would have a different “psychic ingredient” than those that Republicans have pressed, given that the GOP has relied on “fear-mongering…Conservatives are much better at this than liberals are, and in any case, if liberals tried this it just wouldn’t make sense or work. Everybody knows that the anti-same-sex-marriage side is losing fast.”
The faltering religious right would be well served to borrow a strategy from gay activists, but it almost certainly won’t, contended The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky in a Friday column.
In Tomasky’s telling, the gay-rights movement in the 1980s alienated many because it could be self-righteous to the point of belligerence, but eventually “the leaders of the movement saw that it was more important to persuade public opinion than to shock it. And so the public-relations strategy around the movement for same-sex marriage became ‘we’re just like you.’ And it worked.”
The religious right, Tomasky argued, “can’t change. When you believe the Big Guy Himself handed you down your positions, you’re not going to alter them or indeed even the way you talk about them. What is the religious right’s version of ‘we’re just like you’? I don’t think there is one. Because they are not like the rest of us, at least when it comes to politics.”
Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast is prone to wild overstatement. For example, after the last elections, he counseled the Democrats to just avoid the Southern states after Sen. Mary Landrieu lost. It was "just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment....Forget about the whole fetid place. Write it off.”
That same wild overstatement came in this new Daily Beast headline: “The Clintons Still Aren’t Corrupt.” The website pulled out this wisecrack for a text box: “I know the fact that she walks freely among us suggests to many people that she and Bill are so brilliantly devious that they always knew exactly how to get away with it.”
Lefty pundit Michael Tomasky is no populist, at least when it comes to the Republican party. He gives props to GOP politicians like Marco Rubio who have “serious and unorthodox ideas,” but expects that Rubio, et al will soft-pedal said ideas during the presidential primaries since “you can’t be a smart candidate in a party that wants to be stupid.” In a Wednesday column, Tomasky asserted that “the 800-pound gorilla of this [Republican] primary process is…the aging, white, very conservative, revanchist, fearful voter.”
Michael Tomasky opines that the Republican candidates are “hostil[e] to actual ideas that might stand a chance of addressing the country’s actual problems,” and that even if one of them were “Lincoln and TR and Reagan all rolled into one, with a little bit of Thatcher on the side…it wouldn’t matter. He wouldn’t be able to demonstrate the breadth of his vision, because that isn’t what the GOP base of today wants.”
Michael Tomasky is not content to argue, in the wake of Mary Landrieu's defeat, that Democrats should write off the South as politically unfriendly territory. In his Daily Beast item of today, Tomasky goes to great lengths to trash the region in the ugliest of terms.
"Reactionary, prejudice-infested, fetid, reject[ing] nearly everything that’s good about this country, just one big nuclear waste site of choleric, and extremely racialized, resentment," is how Tomasky slurs most of the South, saying "almost the entire region" is as he describes it.
Last week, Wendy Davis, the Democratic Party candidate for governor of Texas, aired a controversial ad attacking her opponent, Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott, depicting him as an empty wheelchair who had turned his back on disabled people in Texas. Despite MSNBC doing everything it could to promote Ms. Davis, her latest attack ad appeared indefensible for the “Lean Forward” network. On Sunday morning, an entire panel on Up w/ Steve Kornacki condemned the Davis ad, with liberal columnist Michael Tomasky declaring “this makes liberals squirm in their chairs.”