Since even some conservatives thought that Hillary Clinton won Thursday’s Benghazi hearing, it stands to reason that lefty bloggers would be happy with the way things turned out.
In fact, not all of them waited until the hearing was over. Early in the afternoon, when Clinton still had several hours of testimony before her, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall observed that “Hillary…looks poised; [Republicans are] radiating spittle.” As the hearings rounded third and headed for home, Esquire’s Charles Pierce sniped, “This was a performance piece for the people residing within the conservative media bubble…who already are too smart to be fooled by the Hildebeast and her alleged facts because Mark Levin has told them that they are too smart to be so fooled."
Not long before Joe Biden announced that he wouldn’t run for president, he drove Esquire's Pierce up a high wall (think the Green Monster) by saying, “I still have a lot of Republican friends. I don't think my chief enemy is the Republican party…I actually like Dick Cheney, for real. I think he's a decent man."
Pierce opined that Biden’s comments on Cheney were disqualifying (“Anyone who thinks Dick Cheney is a decent man does not have the judgment to cut his own meat, let alone lead the Democratic party”) and asserted, “Decent men do not oversee the outing of covert CIA agents. Decent men do not help deceive their country into a war and then walk away with the profits… Dick Cheney is the closest thing that American democracy has produced to a Goering.”
Esquire’s Charles Pierce seemingly would like a time machine to take him back a quarter-century so he could advise the Tom Foley/George Mitchell-era Democratic party. Failing that, Pierce wishes today’s Dems would at last act on his idea to persuade the American people that the Republican party is “thoroughly, deeply, banana-sandwich loony,” thereby “beat[ing] the crazy out of [the GOP] so the country can get moving again.”
“Republican extremism should have been the most fundamental campaign issue for every Democratic candidate for every elected office since about 1991,” argued Pierce in a Friday post. “The mockery and ridicule should have been loud and relentless. It was the only way to break both the grip of the prion disease, and break through the solid bubble of disinformation, anti-facts, and utter bullshit that has sustained the Republican base over the past 25 years.”
Esquire’s Charles Pierce is a graduate of a Jesuit university (Marquette). It’s among the many reasons he’s been a big fan of Pope Francis, the first-ever Jesuit pontiff, and it’s probably one factor in his vehement disappointment that Francis met with, and apparently encouraged, gay-marriage objector Kim Davis last week in Washington.
Pierce referred to the pope’s behavior regarding the “nutball” Davis as “a fcking [sic] blunder,” “a sin against charity,” and “the dumbest thing [he] ever has done.” He concluded, as if addressing Francis, “I will pray for you, because, damn, son, you need it.”
A few months ago, many liberals, including much of the bloggerati, were afraid that Walker had a good chance to win not only the Republican presidential nomination but also the presidency. Now that Walker’s out of the GOP race, several lefty pundits have weighed in on why.
Among the insights: Fiorina "has a notable facility for delivering answers that thrill conservatives but fall apart under close examination"; a discussion of childhood vaccines showed that the party is "fervid, claustrophobic, recklessly insinuating, and, at the same time, utterly timid when it comes to extremism in its own ranks”; and the GOP as a whole is "wedded to the tenets of [George W.] Bushism — rabid, debt-financed, regressive tax-cutting, reflexive hostility to regulation, and a pervasive anti-intellectualism."
Apropos of Wednesday night’s Republican debates, Esquire’s Charles Pierce worried that political reporters may be treating the race for the party’s presidential nomination as if it were a Brad Thor novel rather than a highly consequential real-world event.
“How do you cover a campaign in which 15 candidates are running on the basis of things that simply are not true…that simply do not exist?” wondered Pierce. “If the elite political press is going to treat fiction as fact as long as the fiction is delivered in a compelling, dramatic manner, then the country truly is lost.” He added, "The final fealty of the Republican Party to total and complete bullshit has been sworn.”
There’s going to be a Top Gun sequel, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous is coming back, and Bloom County has already returned. Still, suggests Esquire's Pierce, when it comes to things that have the 1980s written all over them, these days Donald Trump is the king of the mountain.
In a Tuesday post, Pierce contended that Trump “was one of the purest products of the Age of Reagan, which was nothing if not a celebration of vulgar excess, whether that was illustrated by the excessive opulence of people like Trump or the excessive self-regard of the mindless nationalistic chest-beating that kept Reagan's administration aloft through scandal after scandal. In that time, the country was louder and more stupid than it had been for a very long time.”
Whether or not Chattanooga shooter Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez was a jihadist, opined Esquire’s Pierce in a Friday blog post, the key to Thursday’s murders is that he had a quintessentially American trait: he was gun-crazy.
“He had a grudge. The basis of that grudge, whether it was rooted in a bloody-minded version of religion or an anger at the country's policies across the seas, is beside the point,” wrote Pierce. “Abdulazeez was angry at someone or something. He had a problem he could not solve and, being an American, he reached for that most American of solutions. He reached for a gun.”
Monday was a big day for journalists to suggest similarities between mass murderers and Republicans. Newsweek writer Nina Burleigh claimed that certain of Timothy McVeigh’s “militia ideals have gone mainstream” in the GOP, but Esquire's Pierce really put the ideological pedal to the metal when he likened Dick Cheney to one of the all-time worst genocidal maniacs, opining that Cheney’s relatively high current political profile is akin to “giving Pol Pot a late-night TV gig.” (As a lead-in, Pierce also called Cheney “the most inexcusable American who ever lived.”)
Pierce’s item piggybacked on a Washington Monthly post by Ed Kilgore, whose tone toward Cheney was not much less harsh than Pierce’s. After quoting Reince Priebus’s remark that Cheney is “a top fundraising draw, in high demand,” Kilgore sniped, “I suppose this is an example of what the church calls the ‘glamor of evil’ in the Easter baptismal renewal vows."
Tuesday’s New York Times piece on how the problematic phrase “established by the state” got into and stayed in the Affordable Care Act provoked a great many blasts from lefty bloggers at the plaintiffs’ case in King v. Burwell. Two especially heated posts came from MSNBC’s Steve Benen and Esquire’s Charles Pierce.
Benen, a producer for The Rachel Maddow Show and the primary writer for the show’s blog, claimed that almost no one believes there’s any merit to the plaintiffs’ case: “There are effectively two competing factions: those who acknowledge that the litigation is hopelessly insane, and those who know the case is hopelessly insane but pretend otherwise for the sake of appearances...The case [conservatives are] pushing…is based entirely on a lie.” Meanwhile, Pierce charged that the "preposterous" case emerged from a conservative “alternate universe” sustained by “wingnut welfare."
Esquire’s Pierce considers the web site/newspaper Politico an embarrassment to journalism (he habitually refers to it as “Tiger Beat on the Potomac”). Recently, Pierce found more fuel for his ire, a Politico story that to his disgust 1) merely hinted, rather than stated, that Scott Walker is an “unprincipled scoundrel,” and 2) virtually endorsed Walker’s “fundamental mendacity” as long as it’s effective -- in other words, if it helps him to “lie his way into the presidency.”
Pierce added that Walker’s shiftiness won’t matter to the GOP base, which “is filled with crazoids, Bible-bangers, and people with short-wave radios for brains. All they know is that Walker knuckled all the people of whom The Base is terrified. The only way Walker's bone-deep dishonesty can hurt him is if the people who stoke the plutocratic engine of the party believe that it might make him a loser. So far, they seem quite happy with the way he's done business for them.”