Thursday, June 12, 2008

Reflections: McCain't

I was watching "Morning Joe" over a cup of same a bit earlier today, and I saw and heard Joe Scarborough, in response to the suggestion of an Obama supporter that McCain doesn't understand the situation in Iraq, loudly questioning over and over again, "You say that a man who spent five years in the Hanoi Hilton doesn't understand foreign policy?!?"

To that, I say "Huh?"

I mean, can somebody please explain to me how sitting in a POW cell in Vietnam provides a person with "foreign policy experience?" What wisdom does McCain bring away from that ordeal other than, "Don't get shot down and captured by the N. Vietnamese?" That should be pretty easy for Obama to accomplish.

How does being a bomber pilot train one to negotiate with foreign governments? McCain may know how to BOMB foreign governments (although he was clearly not that good at it), but does he know how to talk to them? What does being a warrior--somebody who is deployed by somebody else, after diplomacy has failed--necessarily teach one about being a statesman--or even, for that matter, a Commander-in-Chief?

In so far as he is a "war hero" and Obama is not, what is McCain's actual edge here? I don't see it.
__________________________________
Friday, June 13th

Tim Russert, R.I.P.

We have all just learned, as of this afternoon, that Tim Russert has suddenly died. He died with his boots on. He died way too young. The comments section of this post are open to thoughts anybody might have concerning Russert's passing.

37 comments:

William R. Barker said...

Scarborough is on heavy pain meds. (*SHRUG*) I'm sure the inanity made sense to him as he said it. (*SMILE*)

BILL

Rodak said...

If it were only "Morning Joe"... But the whole nation, pretty much, seems convinced that being taken prisoner in a war forty years ago in S.E. Asia makes one eminently qualified to be a wartime CiC in an insurgency situation in the Middle East. I don't see the connection. And I don't understand why most people seem to swallow these crazy notions whole.

Anonymous said...

For you, blue:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/vance/vance143.html

Onward Christian Soldiers (or Sailors, in McCain's case)?

---MS

Rodak said...

It is the troops that are ultimately responsible for prosecuting this senseless and immoral war.

MS--
Amen to all of that, brother. (cf., "The Universal Soldier" by Buffy Sainte-Marie)

Anonymous said...

Russert's reputation might have been the only one left untarnished by the scandal involving I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Valerie Plame in the CIA Leak case, which turned on Russert's testimony.

Not that I believe in Conspiracies, but, um, could it be the Administration is wrapping up some business like Michael at the end of the first Godfather film?

I'm just saying ...

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how this plays among the incestrous MSM. I bet Chris Matthews and David Gregory are slicking back their hair and picking their teeth in the mirror, as we speak ...

--MS

Rodak said...

Cable TV is going to be unwatchable for at least a week.

Anonymous said...

Well, luckily, I don't have cable!

On a more serious note, with his passing and that of William F. Buckley, you can see the old world of journalism fading before our eyes. We have technology superior to anything I.F. Stone, Ida B. Wells, or Edward R. Murrow could ever imagine, but in their places are million munchkins of minutae offering nothing of intellectual or substantive heft, regardless of being "left" or "right" of the spectrum.

I guess you could sum up the post-Russert state of today's journalism as "Greater Technology, Lesser Voices" ...

---MS

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, ALL THREE MAJOR networks opened with his passing, which I thought was ridiculous. While I understand all networks covering important news, the fact that others THAN NBC treated it like the Pope had died (including special statements from Obama, McCain and Bush), only stresses the incestrous nature of the Beltway-MSM connection. CBS's coverage of Russert's death was almost as long as NBC's!

The media may be the Fourth Estate, i.e., colloquially, the branch of government, and I've never considered that a good thing. The First Amendment was not written with the thought that the press should be knocking back brewskis with those on the hands of the wheels of power.

It's one the things I found disgusting when I was in journalism, and I still find it disgusting.

---MS

Rodak said...

Television journalism has never been much more than that, with a few notable exceptions.
I wasn't much of a Russert fan, because I thought that he often showed excesssive respect for "important" DC personages whom he liked. That said, he was as retro, in the Edward R. Murrow sense, as anybody left on the air.
I watched him most every Sunday, and sometimes watched his interview show, as well. "Meet the Press" may now cease to be; or at least be greatly diminished. That will fuck up my rhythm for awhile.

Anonymous said...

As the most talented Beatle put it, "Life flows on within you and without you." Meet the Press won't be going anywhere.

On another note, going back to McCain, Obama, et al, have you seen this documentary?

http://www.maxedoutmovie.com/

I think you would enjoy it.

---MS

Rodak said...

Thanks. I'll check it out in the morning.

William R. Barker said...

"While I understand all networks covering important news, the fact that others THAN NBC treated it like the Pope had died (including special statements from Obama, McCain and Bush), only stresses the incestrous nature of the Beltway-MSM connection."

Good point, Mad. Spot on.

I'm bummed Russert died. I'm bummed as a human being and I'm bummed as a news junkie.

Was Tim Russert the "ideal" journalist? Certainly not. Was he as good, maybe better than average? Yeah, I'd say so. Did the "establishment" give him too much rather than too little credit, applause, and deference? Yes - IMHO.

Everything's relative. Murrow's gone. Brinkley's gone. Buckley's gone. Was Russert in their league? (*SHRUG*) One thing's for sure, though... compared to a Scarborough or a Matthews or to his Sunday peers - Stephanopolous and Wallace for sure, and yes, even Schieffer IMHO - Russert was the top of the heap.

His poor dad. His poor son. His poor wife. What a frigg'n shame.

BILL

William R. Barker said...

Just came across this... (we're not alone) -

http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=10623

By: John Cole June 13, 2008 at 6:35 pm
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I liked Tim Russert, even though I thought his BS gotcha nonsense was thorough idiocy and not helping the debate at all. He was a likable guy- friendly, always smiling. I understand it is a loss for the beltway folks, and he had a lot of really good friends and meant a lot to people, and I would be dishonest if I failed to mention that I feel sad by his passing.

MSNBC has been running nothing but a 5 hour (and presumably it will go until 11 pm or beyond) marathon of Russert remembrance. CNN has done their due diligence, and Fox news has spent at least the last half hour talking non-stop about him.

But let’s get something straight- what I am watching right now on the cable news shows is indicative of the problem- no clearer demonstration of the fact that they consider themselves to be players and the insiders and, well, part of the village, is needed. This is precisely the problem. They have walked the corridors of power so long that they honestly think they are the story. It is creepy and sick and the reason politicians get away with all the crap they get away with these days.

Tim Russert was a newsman. He was not the Pope. This is not the JFK assassination, or Reagan’s death, or the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion. A newsman died. We know you miss him, but please shut up and get back to work.

Rodak said...

Sense is that Russert was good man, and that the fact that people liked and respected the man led them to over-estimate Russert the journalist.
Apparently, on the other hand, he was a successful manager for NBC, behind the scenes.
Nonetheless, it bothers me that when he dies it's as though there is no other news happening in the world.

Anonymous said...

I'd say Juan Cole nailed it on the head. He said more fluently what I clumsily was trying to express.

---MS

Anonymous said...

Freudian cognitive slip. I assume that since this was Rodak's blog, the quote must have been JUAN Cole (well, translate into English and it is JUAN).

===MS

Anonymous said...

Apologies to Ms. Mitchell

By the time we got to Russertstock
We uttered half a million wrongs
And everywhere there was self-adulation
And I dreamed I saw the talking heads
Spreading cheeks wide for this Bush guy
And they were turning tricks
and dealing lies
to our nation
We are starstruck
Billion real stories ignored
We love golden calfs
Acting on the devil's behalf
And we'll be right back after
these commercials ...

William R. Barker said...

Hey, Rob... let me ask you... did you see anything wrong with my original post on RT on this subject?

Next...

Even if you wondered - weren't quite sure if I was attacking Russert - didn't my second post there clarify that it was never my intent to accuse Russert of being responsible for his own death?

Madscribe. I know you're avoiding posting over at RT, but take a look at RAG's "Tim Russert, R.I.P." thread and tell me if I'm overreacting by being pissed off as hell for what I call a cheap )not to mention late) shot from RAG.

Sometimes I wonder if AIP isn't one of RAG's alter-egos.

* Anyway, Rob... sorry for cross-threading but it seems to me that since YOU didn't seem to find anything I wrote there (or here!) amiss, and Madscribe is familiar with my style and RAG's sop, it's not too far a stretch to lay the question out here. If you find it inappropriate... my apologies in advance.

BILL

Rodak said...

Bill--
I didn't find anything wrong with what you wrote. But I did think that it could have waited...

Rodak said...

well, translate into English and it is JUAN

Si, senor. And I want you to know that you had me fruitlessly scrolling down through JUAN Cole's site, in a vain attempt to find out what the fuck it was you were talking about. Shee-it.

Rodak said...

MS--
Not a bad parody of "Woodstock" btw.

An Interested Party said...

"Sometimes I wonder if AIP isn't one of RAG's alter-egos."

The same could be asked of "Fred" who posted on that same thread...if I really were Robert, I wouldn't have allowed your begging to get you back on my blog...

And really, spilling it over to this blog? Is someone's eensy weensy feelings hurt that much? Oh please...


As far as Russert is concerned, it is rather amusing to read all these tearful, loving tributes from so many people who constantly bitch and moan about how much they hate the "liberal" MSM and so many of the individual parts (Russert included) of it...

Anonymous said...

Bill, I read what you wrote. It's obvious that you weren't slogging off on Russert, per se, but sequed into a general point. And you are right. Wealthy people have no excuse for preventative care, but you could die suddenly even with money, the best health insurance and proactive efforts. A well-off friend of mine died suddenly of cancer (within a couple of weeks) despite regular doctor visits, and he was as described financially.

Obviously, you hit a nerve (again!) at "that other blog" because Mainstream journalists don't like you to point out to them the contradictions that Mr. Cole speaks of.

A gazillion bullshit words of hagiographical reflection flying in the media over a JOURNALIST (not an actual ELECTED OFFICIAL), yet scarcely a word about a SCOTUS decision on GITMO (major constitutional law issue on the level with Roe or Brown), or Iowa floods (not just disastercoverage, what are the implications for the macroeconomy, future prices, commodities that are already highly speculated?).

My "spirituality" is of the Taoist sort, rather than Rodak's Christian outlook. Therefore, I'll consider Russert's demise as a cosmic slap to the face of Beltway Sycophancy and complacency to power.

"what Goes Around, Comes Around."

---MS

Anonymous said...

I remember when Max Robinson of ABC, the first major black network news anchor, died (I worked with one of his former assistants, a black female, when I was in college). Yes, it was a culturally significant loss, but I don't recall too many black folk thinking it was the fucking equivalent of Martin Luther King's death.

---MS

Rodak said...

Compare the reportage of Russert's death to that of Peter Jennings...

William R. Barker said...

Thanks, Rob. Thanks, Mad. (And Mad, you hit the nail on the head - it WAS OBVIOUS that I wasn't slogging off on Russert, per se, but had sequed into a general point. That's why the cheap shot was so annoying.)

One final point - just because AIP brought it up and was wrong as usual:

When RAG banned me he did so with no personal notification to me. I waited a few days and then noted that fact (perhaps first on Ed's blog - I don't recall the exact sequence.) RAG then - THEN - contacted me directly via email with some lame excuse that *I* should have contacted *him* after I was banned instead of him contacting me directly.

(No doubt he's lurking here so obviously he can give his version if it differs from mine.)

I didn't "beg" to rejoin the RT community. In fact, I didn't even ask. On this sequence I'm crystal clear. RAG proactively offered to un-ban me - basically with the understanding that I wouldn't treat him as a "peer" and... as it turned out... with the understanding that he could directly insult me personally, calling me an asshole or whatever, but that I wasn't free to reply in kind.

(*SHRUG*)

And now... (*WINK*)... now that that's been cleared up... (*SMILE*)... back to ignoring AIP on all blogs and no more "trespassing" on Rob's good nature.

BILL

William R. Barker said...

Off-topic: HAPPY FATHERS' DAY, Rob!

BILL

Rodak said...

Thanks. Back at ya, daddy-o.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, joyous Father's Day to all you breeding types.

Selfish bastard that I am, I will continue to enjoy having no dependents and extra disposable income, which can be used for condoms when consorting with nubile young women, so as NOT to join your ranks!!! (LOL)

But I wish you a pleasant "holiday" all the same.

---MS

---MS

Rodak said...

Let the record show that I've never before been called a "breeder" by a heterosexual. [insert appropriate emoticon here]

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, unmarried straight guys don't have the flair for language that gay men do, so I borrowed that one from gay friends; who, ironically want to become the one thing that I can do more readily than them, married with children.

Being a libertarian, mon frere, I'm sure you realize my use of term is more Malthusian than Mapplethorpe (LOL).

---MS

Anonymous said...

Just in time for Father's Day; unintentional dark humor

http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080614/NEWS/806140359

If it reads for you, like it did me, there's a little Flash ad around the third paragraph that reads "Start Planning Your Getaway to Missouri."

---MS

Rodak said...

"Start Planning Your Getaway to Missouri."

All you need is a raft and a dream...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Father's Day and thinking of the generational whinings of another blog, I came across this clip of my favorite cartoon as a wee tot

http://youtube.com/watch?v=HgtnLhemN9Y

Now, if my father's generation (meaning yours) was so "evil," then how do you explain the fact that the cartoons we watched were a tad more uplifting than what my generation has wrought on impressionable minds (meaning South Park and Family Guy)?

Rodak said...

My generation was brought up on Saturday morning cartoon shows featuring the cartoons made as shorts for theaters, going all the way back to Day One: Krazy Kat, Betty Boop, Popeye; then the Looney Tunes group: Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig. Then there were Tom and Jerry, Tweety and Sylvester, Mr. Magoo; and a host of others.
The first made-for-TV cartoon that I can think of (other than Disney stuff) is Rocky and Bullwinkle. But I may be forgetting something.

William R. Barker said...

I miss pre-feature cartoons at the movies! And yeah... I miss "wholesome" cartoon too.

South Park is too much for me. I "get" the humor and don't deny it'll crack you up at times, but so did Bugs Bunny - PLUS... you actually learned a great deal from exposure to the "old" cartoons.

I like King of the Hill. I like the Simpsons. (*SHRUG*) Not quite sure what effect watching the Simpsons would have had on me if I had been watching it as a child, though. As to Family Guy and American Dad... they're kind of "between" the Simpsons and South Park in terms of "rudeness," and like South Park, both can be hysterically funny. Still... not something I'd point to with pride saying "Made In America." (*SHRUG*)

Interesting side riff, Mad!

BILL

An Interested Party said...

"RAG proactively offered to un-ban me - basically with the understanding that I wouldn't treat him as a 'peer' and... as it turned out... with the understanding that he could directly insult me personally, calling me an asshole or whatever, but that I wasn't free to reply in kind."

So you're saying that you had to agree to be a eunuch to come back? That's even worse than begging! And to think that not so long ago you were bragging about your package on RT...it musn't be that big if you agreed to such terms...