November 29, 2007

So Why Does Joe Klein Hate Democrats?

Joe Klein sees himself as a most reasonable man, but he has long been known to happily bash Democrats for being soft on national defense. Who can forget his waxing lovingly about how Bush was a fine and authentic leader while John Kerry was a two-faced fool? It all comes from his desire to be one with the cool kids who know the only way to be safe is to be willing to smash your enemy and he believes Democrats are too soft to be good smashers. Nevermind that smashing your opponent might be exactly the worst thing to do.

Even worse, he believes if we have to give up all our rights to the government to keep us safe, then so be it. Those enemies are so scary that he sees the only way to keep safe is to give the Bush administration (who he now admits is mendacious and incompetent) the power to undermine our civil rights because otherwise we will all be overrun by those really scary terrorists.

John Kerry and his campaign adviser, Bob Shrum, thought Joe Klein was a very influential pundit and they spent much time and energy cultivating him. Klein himself sees himself as the prototypical centrist passing judgment on the Democratic fold. Yet, when one looks at Klein and his ability to provide honest and sensible analysis, one wonders how any Democrat (candidate or adviser) would ever see the shallow and thug-loving Klein someone they had to woo to win the election.

From Glenn's archives: here's Howard Kurtz on what Klein said about candidate Kerry and his advisor, Bob Shrum.

In his new memoir "No Excuses," veteran Democratic consultant Robert Shrum says Time columnist Joe Klein doubled as a "sometime adviser," and that the Massachusetts senator "craved his approval."

Klein "would chastise Kerry on the phone when he didn't like a speech, counseling both Kerry and me about what the candidate should say and what our strategy should be," down to the kind of health care plan the senator should propose, Shrum writes.

Obviously Kerry and Shrum thought Klein was someone to cultivate and make their ally. So how did that work? Here is Jonathan Chait's review of how Klein described the Kerry campaign and Bob Shrum whom Klein sees as being too focused on populist arguments especially in comparison to the refreshing and authentic George W Bush:

Yet nothing could shake Klein from his theory. Not even Bush's decision to bring on non-compassionate conservative Dick Cheney. "Anybody who tries to take a really strong position on [Cheney] from the left or from the right seems kind of silly," Klein said of Bush's vice presidential selection on a "Meet the Press" panel. "We're all Clintonians now. Everybody is a Third Way Democrat or Republican, you know, and I think that that's one of the central problems that politicians in both parties face right now, is that there are no huge differences, or at least very few."

And then, after the election, Klein predicted that the result would be "a quiet, patient, and persistent bipartisanship," with no big tax cuts or Supreme Court ideologues. Klein suggested helpfully, "Bush could easily retain Lawrence Summers at Treasury and Richard Holbrooke at the United Nations." And this scenario could have easily come to pass, provided every other Cabinet-eligible American citizen had been wiped out in a nuclear holocaust.

...There are also Klein's ideological prejudices, which pop up throughout his book. Like other centrist pundits, he has a disdain for populism. Unlike the others, he makes his disdain explicit rather than simply assuming it as an unquestionable truth. "The least successful form of populism," writes Klein in his book, "is [Bob] Shrum's economic class warfare, which has only received majority support during tough times, like the Great Depression." (Harry Truman? Lyndon Johnson? Al Gore plus Ralph Nader?) Klein argues that Democrats would win more elections if they focused on gun control and global warming, favored issues of the latte set. I'm tempted to suggest that the set of issues Klein derides in the book as "jobs, health-care, and blah-blah-blah" has some resonance with the segment of the voting public that doesn't lead the privileged lifestyle of a multimillionaire author and TV pundit. But that would sound populist.

Klein made his reputation on backing Bush (a fine, authentic and compassionate man) against the phony John Kerry who swayed in the wind and when he finally figured out (years later than the rest of us Bush-haters) that Bush was a horrible president, he still cannot admit that his judgment might be faulty. And so he reflexively will throw away our civil rights just because he loves the strong-man Republican response to foreign threats. (Bad boy Bush is such a he-man. And Nancy Pelosi is not!)

Well, thank goodness, Joke Line has really bitten off more than he can chew this time. Here's the Glennzilla who has taken up a mission to take down the pompous and self-righteous Joe Klein:

*Prof Marcus - when he has occasionally been caught out in the past, there may have been a short-lived kerfuffle, but not the balls to the wall, take no prisoners approach you are taking

I'm not giving up on this -- ever -- until Time itself accounts for what happened here.

I've been writing about FISA issues for two years and the reason why the public became so confused about what happened -- about the clear law-breaking the President engaged in -- is because people like Joe Klein have been doing this -- outright lying and clouding everything on purpose -- ever since the whole scandal emerged, all in order to defend the President. This illustrates exactly what happened and I'm not letting it go, even if it means relentless email campaigns to Time and more.

-- GlennGreenwald

As someone who has found Joe Klein to be deeply destructive to normal human decency as he sucks up to Bushco and impugns the characters of Democrats who care about the powerless, all I can say is "Go get him, Glenn."

Posted by Mary at November 29, 2007 07:36 AM | Media | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |


This is a very good blog. Just discovered you.

Thanks for the smartness. It's in short supply.

IOZ is right about the overall big picture, but as I've said, you have to start somewhere, and Glenn is doing a number on Joke Line.

Posted by: John O at November 29, 2007 08:55 PM

This is a very good blog. Just discovered you.

Thanks for the smartness. It's in short supply.

IOZ is right about the overall big picture, but as I've said, you have to start somewhere, and Glenn is doing a number on Joke Line.

Posted by: John O at November 29, 2007 09:03 PM


Posted by: ccoaler at November 30, 2007 02:55 PM

I've always wondered about Klein and a lot of the beltway set. The line about gun control is hilarious. Siding with the gun control people LOSES the Dems seats. Pathetic. Nice blog.

Posted by: Tony Schinella at December 1, 2007 03:13 PM