New York Times reporter Astead Herndon had an unwelcome surprise for Times readers on the front of Friday’s paper -- a bit of actual scrutiny of Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, based on her clumsy handling of a DNA test meant to prove she had Native American heritage: “Warren Facing Cloud of Anger Over DNA Test.” The story got some pushback within the mainstream liberal media -- no surprise -- but from an unlikely source: the paper’s own former opinion page editor Andrew Rosenthal (recently in the news for his 1992 fake news attack on George H.W. Bush over a supermarket checkout scanner).
Many persons have started thinking about President Trump’s re-election campaign. One, of course, is Trump himself. Another is lefty pundit Paul Waldman, who in a September 27 column for The Week argued that while recent approval ratings for Trump don’t augur well for his winning a second term, he might pull it off if he cribs from Karl Rove’s 2004 playbook.
The affinity of some American conservatives for Vladimir Putin was a minor phenomenon well before Donald Trump ran for president, and for obvious reasons it’s still grist for the mill of punditry. Liberal blogger and columnist Waldman delved into the topic in a Monday piece for The American Prospect. Waldman mused that maybe Republicans “are just now realizing that Putin is a leader after their own hearts,” explaining, “An avatar of anxious masculinity, [Putin] finds democratic constraints inconvenient, rules with an iron hand, and has a habit of having his enemies killed.”
According to TNR’s Lovia Gyarkye, one of the less tangible things President Obama has tried to forge is “a liberalism that fuses identity politics with the idea of American greatness.” As for Obama’s successor, “the answer to the Trump presidency is not to abandon the progress we have made. It is not to yearn for the past glories of a nation that has wronged so many people. It is to do the hard work of abandoning this country’s self-serving myths, and realizing that America’s greatness is yet to come.”
There is a conspiracy against Donald Trump, believes The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, but it’s inanimate: a “conspiracy of facts,” not a “conspiracy of liberals” in the media. The facts, Tomasky claimed in a Tuesday column, “simply do not damn [Hillary] Clinton in the way that [Trump] and his supporters believe they should. Take the new story, about the FBI and State and the alleged ‘quid pro quo.’ As all the news stories state plainly, eventually, in the sixth or seventh graf, there was no quid pro quo.” Tomasky blasted both Trump's “ridiculous whining” about the media and the idea that “the media are in Hillary’s pocket. Lord. The New York Times has been after her since 1992”
Complaints from liberal pundits about media bias against Hillary Clinton have snowballed during the past few days. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman had the most high-profile effort, which contrasted “the impression that [Donald Trump is] being graded on a curve” with “the presumption that anything [Hillary] does must be corrupt,” and some of the others have taken aim at Krugman’s newspaper for its Hillary-hounding. For example, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo sniped semi-sarcastically that the Times “appears to be revisiting its 'whitewater' [sic] glory days with its increasingly parodic coverage” of the Clinton Foundation and accused the paper of having “a decades' long history of being [led] around by rightwing opposition researchers into dead ends which amount to journalistic comedy…especially when it comes to the Clintons.”
How will you deal with the “vast right-wing conspiracy” always trying to “undermine” you if you are elected? This is just one of ten “good questions” liberal blogger Paul Waldman wants to ask Hillary Clinton, if she ever has a press conference before November 8. His latest “10 Good Questions for Hillary Clinton,” posted in the Washington Post’s Plum Line blog this weekend, strikes the same favorable, lenient, even apologetic tone Clinton has always experienced from the press.
Conservatives can’t stand Hillary Clinton, but do they have reasons for their antipathy? No, suggests pundit Paul Waldman, who indicates that detailed accusations about such matters as emails or Benghazi are mere pretext for the right’s “visceral loathing” of Hillary, which would be expressed more genuinely via sexist insults, or maybe primal screams.
In a Tuesday Post web piece, Waldman wrote, “Even those who long ago gave up hope in the absurd conspiracy theories swirling around Benghazi (like the idea that Clinton issued a ‘stand down’ order that directly led to the four deaths) now say that it’s the email server that demonstrates the true depths of her villainy. ‘She oughta be in jail! Because, you know, that email thing!’ they say (and Donald Trump says it too), which sounds a lot more like a substantive critique than ‘God I just hate that b-tch.’”
On Saturday morning, Tom Johnson at NewsBusters called attention to how Paul Waldman at The Week recently crowed about the Obama administration's supposedly scandal-free record consisting of "only piddling little scandalettes."
Waldman's fever-swamp take is made even more hilarious by the fact that he considers George W. Bush's "selling of the Iraq War" a genuine scandal. But somehow, President Barack Obama's selling of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare — where even the reflexively leftist evaluators at Politifact labeled his core "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise the Lie of the Year in 2013 — must not be a scandal, or is at worst a "piddling little scandalette."
Angry, embarrassed Republicans went looking for a scapegoat and settled on a man who’s more than a decade past the normal retirement age. That’s essentially the explanation The Week’s Paul Waldman gives for House GOPers’ move to impeach 76-year-old Internal Revenue Service commissioner John Koskinen.
That effort, asserted Waldman in a Tuesday column, stems from Republicans’ “frustration over the failure of [the IRS] scandal to take down Barack Obama...With every controversy during this administration…Republicans say to themselves, ‘Now we've finally got him!’…And then it turns out to be a giant nothingburger.”
Give columnist Paul Waldman credit for coming up with a real grabber of a lead: “Get ready, America: we're about to take a long and unpleasant journey back down Bill Clinton's pants.” Less amusing is the rest of Waldman’s Monday American Prospect piece, which trashed Republicans for raising the 42nd president’s sexual behavior as an issue in the current campaign.
Waldman jeered at GOPers for “pretend[ing] to…care so deeply about women” while being “the party that wants to keep women from being able to sue for discrimination on the job, the party that wants to keep insurance companies from having to provide coverage for birth control, the party that wants to make abortion illegal, the party whose favorite media figure, Rush Limbaugh, positively luxuriates in his hateful misogyny.” Moreover, argued Waldman, reporters’ fascination with Clinton’s sex life demonstrates that “the right's charges of endemic liberal media bias” are “laughable.”
If Paul Waldman had wanted to put the main argument of his Monday American Prospect column in Obamaesque terms, he might have written that conservative opponents of political correctness have gotten bitter and are clinging to their supposed right (and maybe even their duty) to act like jerks.
“For today's Republican, if people think you're a jerk then you must be doing something right, and the political correctness charge has become an all-purpose answer to criticism of any sort,” contended Waldman. “You say my beliefs are abominable? Take your political correctness and shove it! It's a way to pose as a brave truth-teller, even if all that's actually happening is that people are pointing out that you're a brave crap-teller.”