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The REALLY ANNOYING Don’t-Wanna-Subsidize-Wealthy-Kids’-College-Tuition Canard [With fun update!]

Hillary Clinton’s performance wasn’t as clean or as crisp as her last one. Among other things, she invoked 9/11 in order to dodge a question about her campaign donors. But she effectively made the case that, though Sanders speaks about important questions, his solutions are ultimately simplistic and hers are better. Instead of railing about breaking up the big banks, focus on identifying and moderating the biggest risks to the financial system. Instead of making college free for everyone, increase access to those who need it and decline to subsidize wealthy kids’ tuition.

Can anyone really imagine Bernie Sanders in the White House?, Stephen Stromberg, Washington Post, Nov. 15

Stromberg, a Washington Post editorial writer who also blogs there, is an all-but-official Clinton campaign mouthpiece who last month, in a blog post and (unforgivably) a Post editorial (i.e., commentary with no byline, published on behalf of the Post’s editorial board) baldly misrepresented what Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon on Tuesday misrepresented about Sanders’ single-payer healthcare insurance plan, but from a different angle: Stromberg said that the cost of the single-payer plan would be in addition to the cost of healthcare now.  Actual healthcare, not just insurance premiums.

According to Stomberg and the Post’s editorial board then, hospitals, physicians and other healthcare provides would receive full payment from private insurers and also full payment from the government.  And employers, employees and individual-market policyholders would continue to pay premiums to private insurers while they also paid taxes to the federal government for single-payer—double-payer?—insurance.

A nice deal for some but not, let’s say, for others.  Also, a preposterous misrepresentation of Sanders’ plan.

Fast-forward a month and Stromberg, this time speaking only for himself (as far as I know; I don’t read all the Post’s editorials) and for the Clinton campaign, picks up on Clinton’s invocation of the horror of the public paying college tuition for Donald Trump’s kids.  But since he probably knows that Trump’s kids no more went to public colleges than did Clinton’s kid, he broadens it.

Instead of making college free for everyone, increase access to those who need it and decline to subsidize wealthy kids’ tuition.  Good line!  At least for the ears of voters who are unaware that public universities, like private ones, quietly skew their admissions processes to favor the kids of parents who likely can pay full tuition simply by switching the funds from a CD or other savings account into a checking account at the beginning of each semester, thus removing the need for the school to dig into its endowment fund to provide financial assistance.  Or to worry about whether the student will have that loan money ready at the beginning of each semester.

Which is why Jennifer Gratz, salutatorian at her working-class Detroit suburb’s high school, whose extracurriculars included cheerleading but probably not a summer in Honduras assisting the poor, was denied admission to the University of Michigan back in 1995.  And why she sued the University in what eventually became a landmark Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality under the equal protection clause of UM’s affirmative action program.

She did not challenge the constitutionality of the U’s almost-certain, but unstated, admissions policy that would ensure that the freshman class had a substantial percentage of students from families wealthy enough to pay the full tuition.

Y’know, the ones wealthy enough to pay for SAT tutoring, SAT practice course and if necessary more than one SAT exam.

What especially angers me about this let’s-not-subsidize-wealthy-kids’-college-canard is that it uses disparities in ability to pay the tuition as a clever way to ensure the admissions status quo.  Or something close to the status quo.

In her and her campaign spokesman’s statements in the last several days—most notably her “Read My Lips; No New Taxes on the Middle Class, Even $1.35/wk to Pay for Family and Medical Leave” declaration, but other statements too—she’s overtly declaring herself a triangulator.  And some progressive political pundits are noticing it.  Yes!*  They!**  Are!***  And Sanders needs to start quoting these articles, in speaking and in web and television ads.

I said here yesterday that Clinton is running a Republican-style campaign.  But it’s not only its style–its tactics–that are Republican. Watch her edge ever closer on substance as well.  Which is the way she began her campaign last spring and early summer, until it became clear that Sanders’ campaign was catching on.

——

*Hillary Clinton Attacks Bernie Sanders’ Progressive Agenda: Why is she talking like a Republican?, Jonathan Cohn, Senior National Correspondent, Huffington Post, Nov. 17

**Hillary Clinton Hits Bernie Sanders on Taxes, Paul Waldman, Washington Post, Nov. 17

***Under attack at the Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton plays EVERY POSSIBLE CARD, Alexandra Petri, The Washington Post, Nov. 14

——

Edited for clarity, typo-correction–and the addition of the last sentence.  11/19 at 8:23 pm.  [Oh, dear.  That’s addition, not edition. Can’t seem to avoid the typos.  I need an editor!]  Corrected 11/20 at 9:52 a.m, after Naked Capitalism linked to the post.  Damn!  

Oh, well.

FUN UPDATE: Yves Smith was kind enough to republish this post on Naked Capital this morning, and there are a few terrific comments to it there.  But I can’t resist reprinting this one, from rusti, as an update the post here at AB:

rusti November 20, 2015 at 5:07 am

We can’t, in good conscience, continue to pay for public works projects knowing that The Donald’s kids are driving on these roads, getting their electrical power from these lines, sourcing water from the same pipes and so forth. A few (moderate) tax rebates to impoverished families to allow them to build out their own infrastructure ought to do the trick.

Perfect.  Question to self, though: Why didn’t YOU think of that, Beverly??

Added 11/20 at 10:18 a.m. 

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Clinton Finally Announces Her Message: Banality and Incoherence.

The much-ballyhooed announcement video offers little hint [of who, policy-wise, Clinton is].  For the first half-minute or so, you would be excused for thinking that it was some sort of detergent commercial, intended to air during the Olympics. Gay weddings! Babies being born! Moms going back to work! Clorox, this commercial seems to say, has finally gotten with the program.

But then the ad continues. Clearly, this is some sort of anthology drama, around the theme of getting ready for things. Possibly the next installment of “Love Actually.”

Call it “Hillary, Actually.” Women getting ready to start businesses! Brothers getting ready to start businesses! Moms getting ready to go back to work! Families getting ready for the addition of new members! Gay weddings! Tomatoes! Legendary tomatoes! School plays! “I’m gonna be in the school play and I’m gonna be in a fish costume,” says a child. This is actually a thing that happens in the commercial. Actually. “The little tiny fishes…” the child sings. It doesn’t stop there. Cats! Dogs! Hillary actually is all around us. All it was missing was an aging rocker, hoping for one last hit.

But instead, we have Hillary. “I’m getting ready to do something, too,” Hillary says at the end of the video, one-upping all these people with their businesses and prize tomato gardens. “I’m getting ready to run for president.” (That fish costume doesn’t sound so impressive now, does it?)

“Because it’s YOUR time and I hope you’ll join me on this journey,” she amends quickly, but not quickly enough.

‘Hillary, Actually’–Hillary Clinton actually is all around us, Alexandra Petri, Washington Post online, late yesterday afternoon

My late father (no less a politics junkie and frustrated liberal than is his daughter) and I had a longstanding joke dating back to the 1988 Michael Dukakis campaign.  The ad, a short one, 30 seconds, probably, shown late in the general-election campaign, began with the camera showing … something; I no longer recall what the video showed, but I think maybe it was just Dukakis speaking into the camera, and with Dukakis saying … something.  I don’t recall the specifics of what his first sentences were, other than that they were unspecific.  But the last three sentences were, if I remember right, “That’s not a Democratic concern.  That’s not a Republican concern.  That’s a father’s concern.”

Actually, I do remember, precisely, that final sentence, since it served as the punchline of our standing joke.  Which had to do with the fact that the ad gave no clue to what the “that” was.  The first time or two that you saw the ad, you thought you simply had missed what the “that” was.  But you had not missed what the “that” was.  Dukakis had missed including it.

I began to think about that ad again around the time last fall when most of the political reports about Clinton said she planned to run as a grandmother.  (“That’s a grandmother’s concern.”)

Then came news, early this year, that she was also going to get into substantive economic policy that would go beyond verifying yet again (and again and again) her support for an increase in the federal minimum wage, paid sick leave and vacation time, and affordable childcare and guaranteed preschool. She was, it was reported, speaking at length to economists.  Did this mean that she might discuss Keynesian vs. Laffer fiscal policy, and the actual effects of each?  Hope springs eternal.  So, maybe?

But hope began to fade (it wasn’t eternal, after all) a few weeks ago, when every three or four days, or so it seemed, there was another report about another one or two or three new communications hires—um, should she decide to run.  The solely political hires seemed fine, if very numerous.  But then there were the ones from Madison Avenue, including the one most recently from Madison Avenue and, before that, Michelle Obama’s staff.  (She’s credited as the one who suggested that Michelle do a dance on some daytime TV show, or something, which apparently was a big success in the effort to “humanize” Michelle for the then-upcoming reelection campaign.)

On the heels of those reports came the ones, repeated again and again in the past two weeks, that Clinton would forego, at least for the first few months, the traditional large rallies and speeches to large audiences, and would instead speak with people in small, somewhat intimate settings.  I thought that sounded great; I detest those idolatry political rallies and the like, and Clinton, it was clear from her 2007-08 effort, was particularly bad at this type of thing.  And I assumed that Clinton would use these small-setting meetings, in part, to discuss specifics of economic policy.  After all, this campaign, high-level people inside it made a point of indicating, will not be focused on her—her political ambitions; her desire to be the first female president—and will instead be focused on economic policy addressing middle-class fears and aspirations.

And even when the campaign insiders said she planned to meet with ordinary people in order just to listen to them and learn what’s on their minds, I figured that that didn’t preclude something more than soundbites and clichés from her during these discussions.  Her answers could involve, maybe, three or four sentences of substantive background and explanations.  Theoretically, anyway.  Her husband did that, at times.  Maybe she could, too.  So I held out hope for a campaign of genuine substance about economic policy.

And we all were assured, and assured and assured, that her long-awaited announcement wouldn’t be like her announcement last time, which was, “I’m in.  And I’m in to win.” Weren’t we?

But instead, it turned out, it would be: “I’m in.  And I’ll use a Super Bowl-style commercial that, for its first three-fourths, gives no hint of tie-in to the product being pushed, and then closes with a few words or maybe two sentences generically identifying the brand, the product, the slogan, and, finally, the intended message of the very long lead-in.”

Which, in this case, is that Clinton, like other Americans who are preparing for something new and major in their lives, is getting ready to do something, too!  In her case, it’s running for president.

But something had to be said about, y’know, policy.  Or something hinting at it.  And so, in perfect Super Bowl-ad style, she said, “Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.”  And, in perfect Super Bowl-ad style, that was it for a tie-in to, well, anything.

Okay, well, almost it for a tie-in.  She did add, “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by.” So she’s “hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time.” And “I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

Which I will, of course.  Bush, Walker, Rubio and Paul don’t appeal to me, partly because Laffer doesn’t.  And on my way home from the voting booth I’ll stop in at a grocery store and buy a bottle of Clorox.  Or maybe buy that Chrysler advertised during the Super Bowl.  It might be my time for one of those, anyway.  I mean, who knows.

—-

Appended to add the following exchange between reader CaffeinatedOne and me in the Ccomments thread:

CaffeinatedOne

April 13, 2015 3:59 pm

Yes, Presidents are expected to do substantive policy things, but campaigns are a lot more than that. All this was intended to be was a feel-good kickoff announcement and some broad framing of themes. Given where we are in the campaign cycle, doing much more than that hardly necessary and likely counterproductive,

Anything solid that she proposes at this point just becomes a target for the republicans in the clown car, and the media and doesn’t really help her much. Once republicans have a nominee and (somewhat) coherent set of policy proposals, then we’ll (hopefully) get to the meat of things.

Yes, it’s cruddy that campaigns aren’t policy focused affairs, but tactically it makes a lot of sense for her to focus on framing and positioning at this stage and wait for an opponent to form up.

Beverly Mann

April 13, 2015 6:19 pm

“Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” And, “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by.” And she’s “hitting the road to earn your vote, because it’s your time.” And “I hope you’ll join me on this journey.”

There was a complete disconnect between “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top” and “Everyday Americans need a champion, and I want to be that champion so you can do more than just get by,” and the stories of the people in that video. There was no one in the video, best as I recall, who sounded like he or she was just getting by. The child who sang the fish song, maybe?

They all were upbeat and excited about the upcoming big change or big event in their lives. Just like Hillary’s all excited about running for president. But the things that these people were excited about are basic parts of their lives. Expecting a new baby. Finishing college. Moving. Major home repairs to that young couple’s new home. A woman looking forward to her imminent retirement and thinking of what she will become involved in then. None of these people looked as though they were just getting by, or, if they were, expected that it would last much longer. The deck may still be stacked in favor of those at the top, but it wasn’t hurting the people appearing in that video. It may be their time, but they didn’t seem to need a champion.

This was a deeply incoherent message, surely the result of a compromise between the Madison Avenue messaging folks and the political people who wrote a coherent passionate message for her give and then saw three lines of it appended disjointedly to the Super Bowl ad.

Clinton doesn’t really care very much about policy, other than the traditional women’s movement policy issues. She wants this particular glass ceiling broken and she wants to be the one to do it. That’s why she flits from one persona to another, convinced that what matters for her electability is her persona and nothing more. I was surprised at how really bad that video was, in my opinion. I’m pretty sure it was really bad.

Not fatal, of course. She will, after all, be running against a Republican. But more than a day after I watched that thing, I still can’t shake a feeling of incredulity.

Added 4/13 at 6:37 p.m.

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Check your privilege again, Mr. Fortgang, and prove that you really did get into Princeton as a merit admittee. [Format-corrected repost.]

It is a familiar phrase on college campuses, often meant to serve as conversational kryptonite, the final word in an argument to which there is no response.

“Check your privilege.”

But Tal Fortgang, a Princeton freshman from Westchester County, had a response.

At Princeton, Privilege Is: (a) Commonplace, (b) Misunderstood or (c) Frowned Upon, Marc Santora and Gabriel Fishermay, New York Times, May 2

Indeed he did.

I’m betting that most AB readers haven’t heard of the “Check your privilege” controversy currently raging at Princeton and other prestigious American institutions of higher learning.  Or, for that matter, the phrase “Check your privilege” itself, although I could be wrong about that.  I myself learned of the controversy on Thursday, when I read Alexandra Petri’s satire piece on it in the Washington Post. (I had not read the article in the New York Times, which was in the NY/Region section.)  The Times article explains:

After class recently, he was explaining to a classmate his views on welfare and his concern about the national debt, when he was told — not for the first time, he said — to check his privilege.

He thought about the phrase, what it meant and last month penned a pointed essay in a conservative campus publication, The Tory.

“The phrase, handed down by my moral superiors, descends recklessly, like an Obama-sanctioned drone, and aims laserlike at my pinkish-peach complexion, my maleness, and the nerve I displayed in offering an opinion rooted in a personal Weltanschauung,” he wrote.

His essay touched a nerve.

Indeed it did. As you can imagine. The Times article expounds:

He was hailed on the right, his piece used as evidence that America’s universities are hopelessly liberal. Conservative bloggers and national publications picked up his cause.

He appeared on Fox News this week, in a segment labeled “Student Takes Down Liberals Over ‘White Privilege’ Debate.”

The reaction on the left was equally strident, with other students challenging his position and saying his own words were evidence that he had failed to understand the phrase.

Josh Moskovits, also a freshman at Princeton, said the phrase was not commonly used and argued that Mr. Fortgang did not even understand what privilege meant.

“In my opinion, it’s sort of a manufactured right-wing idea that people are running around left wing colleges saying ‘Check your privilege,’ ” he said. “He would have to say, in my opinion, something incredibly outrageous to get someone to say ‘Check your privilege.’ ”

The essay in The Tory–The Tory? Seriously? And that name is not meant as satire?–you’ll be interested to know, is called “Checking My Privilege: Character as the Basis of Privilege.”  The title probably was the work of an editor, not of Fortgang, but it captures, exactly, Fortgang’s claim, as well as exactly what’s wrong with Fortgang’s position. And exactly why the essay itself effectively illustrates that Princeton is accepting the children of the wealthy upon the basis of something other than intellect. This guy just isn’t very smart.

The character he claims for himself is, in fact, the character of his ancestors and relatives, some who were murdered by the Nazis during WWII, some (including his grandparents) who survived unspeakable horrors and then made their way to America and started a wicker-basket-making business that supported this father’s nuclear family of six.  He co-opts as his own not only the horrors, perseverance and character of his relatives who were Holocaust victims or survivors; he does the same with his grandparents’ nurturing of their kids, his father’s studiousness at City College, CUNY, doing well enough “to earn a spot at a top graduate school.”

Was that graduate school Princeton, maybe?  I don’t know. I do know that his father, Stanley–who is quoted in the Times article, and who in his brief comments comes off as gracious; not the least bit entitled, obnoxious, silly or confused–is:

the founder and managing partner of Etzion Consulting Group, L.L.C., where [in 20011 he specialized] in consulting on fixed income markets, including the market for distressed loan trading. Mr. Fortgang previously worked at Jefferies & Co., Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, among other investment banking institutions ….

Apparently, he’s now back at Jeffries & Co., as its managing director.

What could have been a beautiful essay, published somewhere else, about his gratitude to his forebears for their hard work and perseverance, their nurturing and their focus on their kids’ education, is instead a weird conflation of what he and The Tory’s headline writer view as the “character” of parent and child–his family members, and others (i.e., blacks, rural whites, Hispanics).  It also pretends that his ancestors, who came to America with no money and no English, were left completely to their own devices in post-War America, a pretense that surely is false. Perhaps his parents and grandparents forgot to mention to him the structure in place among Jews, dating back to the early part of the last century and escalating tremendously after the War, to assist Jewish immigrants, many of whom already had family in America and Canada.

But I doubt that the oversight was theirs. I suspect that, instead, the obliviousness is not a facet of his parents’ and grandparents’ character but of his own. Precisely, he write:

Perhaps my privilege is that those two resilient individuals came to America with no money and no English, obtained citizenship, learned the language and met each other; that my grandfather started a humble wicker basket business with nothing but long hours, an idea, and an iron will—to paraphrase the man I never met: “I escaped Hitler. Some business troubles are going to ruin me?” Maybe my privilege is that they worked hard enough to raise four children, and to send them to Jewish day school and eventually City College.

Ah, yes. So not only did he not have to compete for financial aid for college; his father didn’t have to take out a student loan.  Perhaps because back then CUNY’s tuition was negligible because progressive local, state and federal taxes actually funded most of the costs at public colleges and universities?  Fortgang (the son) doesn’t mention how his father paid his tuition and living expenses at that top graduate school.  Might it be that he took out a federal-government-backed student loan at a low rate, to pay tuition that was steep for its day but pocket change now relative to what it is there now?  More from the essay:

Perhaps it was my privilege that my own father worked hard enough in City College to earn a spot at a top graduate school, got a good job, and for 25 years got up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time he wanted to spend with those he valued most—his wife and kids—to earn that living. I can say with certainty there was no legacy involved in any of his accomplishments. The wicker business just isn’t that influential.Now would you say that we’ve been really privileged? That our success has been gift-wrapped?

Our success has not been giftwrapped? Our success? Did anyone tell his father or his grandparents to check their privilege?  As opposed to telling him to check his?

Only folks who made it into the high echelons of wealth get up well before the crack of dawn, sacrificing precious time they want to spend with those he valued most—their spouse, or kids, or both—to earn that living?  So their kids’ failure to get into Princeton, perhaps through a legacy admission, perhaps through large financial donations to the university, but in any event surely through tutoring, SAT prep, aggressive outreach by a high school counselor who has contacts at the Ivy League admissions offices, and oodles of expensive extra-curriculars that actual have no legitimate business factoring into college admissions practices at all–is because of the kids’ lack of character, as well as a lack of the parents’ poor character?

Anyone who grew up with every imaginable advantage and thinks his own success has not been gift-wrapped because his father’s success and his grandparents’ successes weren’t isn’t just socioeconomically blind; he’s also just not very smart.

And, most revealing on that last point, is his claim and apparent belief that what was meant by “his privilege” was his race and gender rather than that he did indeed have the huge benefit of having grown up with access to excellent schools and so much more that money buys such a large percentage of students at this country’s most prestigious colleges and universities. Including, and in his case probably most relevantly, that he would not need financial assistance from the university’s endowment, to which his father may wll have already contributed before his admission and could be counted on to contribute to during the son’s time there.

This is, in one (but only one) important respect, reminiscent of a mini-controversy last year about David Brooks’s decision to us one of his NYT columns to publish, with permission, an essay written for a class assignment by a student of his in a Yale course he was teaching as a guest lecturer.  The essay, which Brooks thought was brilliant and had awarded an “A” grade, was pro forma–pretty banal, and (most glaring to me) included a statement that was nonsensical.  Its subject was generic millennial perspectives on the political process, but it was written, obviously, from the perspective of someone who was not, suffice it to say, attending Yale on a financial-needs scholarship.

Unlike the Fortgang essay, this one was not written with any malice or purpose of denigration toward certain racial minorities or poor whites.  Much less any borrowed superiority of character. It was written instead as a phone-in by an already mentally-checked-out college senior in her final semester, to complete an assignment in a filler course taken to get that final three credits needed to graduate. The student, who probably wishes she had never heard of David Brooks, surely already had accepted a position on Wall Street or in some prestigious grad-school program.  But she had indeed “come from money”.  Unless, that is, she had attended National Cathedral School on a scholarship. And, probably, so did the other students in that class. And this was the best of the essays.

But unlike that Yale senior’s essay, Fortgang’s presents something fairly ugly, in my opinion, that has been skirted but should not be. I kept wondering as read through his piece what his Holocaust-victim relatives–those who survived but are now gone, and those who perished–would think of his invocation of their lives and (for some) deaths as justification for his claim to have himself earned his spot at Princeton. Yes, he documents, they earned it for him.  But he says it’s due him by virtue of their virtue.

I wonder, as a Jew myself, how proud his late relatives would be (and how proud his father really is) of their legatee.  I suspect that his late ancestors would explain to him the difference between being the beneficiary of your parents’ and grandparents’ intense efforts, resilience, and the welcome assistance to them by others–being the beneficiary of their hard-earned successes–and being the beneficiary of your own.  And that his great aunts and great uncles who died at the hands of the Nazis during WWII would be grateful to have their stories told, but not as justification for a great nephew’s admission to Princeton.  I suspect that they would consider this, as I do, unseemly.*

*Paragraph edited, and the last two sentences added, 5/11 at 1:12 p.m.

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THREAT-LEVEL-GATE©: Bob Woodward’s Awful Hope-Y’All-Won’t-Notice-Ryan-Lizza’s-Report Ploy

Bob Woodward, the legendary Watergate reporter turned reliable chronicler of insider accounts of political events, has made a series of bizarre assertions over the past week.
— Matthew Yglesias, Bob Woodward Trolls the World, Slate, today

Yglesias then summarizes last weekend’s exciting Woodward-related events, and then updates us:

Things moved into the absurd Wednesday night when it was revealed that National Economic Council director Gene Sperling had concluded an email disagreement with Woodward with the observation that in Sperling’s view Woodward would come to regret clinging so tenaciously to an untenable position.
As if determined to prove Sperling right, Woodward chose to start talking around town about how Sperling had threatened him—a ridiculous interpretation that the ridiculous conservative media has been running with—rather than sticking with the obvious interpretation that Woodward’s reputation among journalists is going to suffer from flagrant wrongness. It would be interesting to see Woodward try to hash this out with, say, fellow Post-ie Ezra Klein, but instead he’s going the full wingnut and will be appearing on Sean Hannity’s show Thursday night to advance the agitprop agenda. In retrospect, this whole affair was foreshadowed by the release of Woodward’s latest book last fall. It made much less of a splash than many other Woodward books. Most well-informed observers agreed with Noam Scheiber that it was marred by anti-Obama bias, but under the circumstances of the time, it didn’t get the right geared up either. By essentially doubling down on the worst qualities of that book, Woodward has managed to make himself the center of attention again.

Surprisingly, though, Yglesias doesn’t mention that earlier this week, New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza published a journalistic scoop that undermined the thing about Woodward being a reliable chronicler of insider accounts of political events.  Lizza quoted none other than Eric Cantor, who conceded that Boehner, at Cantor’s urging, reneged on the 2011 grand bargain deal at the last minute, for political reasons.  

Uh-oh.   

So, do you think Woodward might have decided to ratchet up the off-the-rails stuff a-few-fold yesterday because yesterday (or maybe the day before) was the day when Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker story broke?  Yeah?  You think?

Yes, that’s right.  Bob Woodward, the legendary Watergate reporter had turned a reliable chronicler of insider accounts of political events, and has now been exposed as a reliable and gullible tool of Republican insiders.  But he hopes no one will notice that.

What I find interesting about this is that apparently the Washington Post has pulled the plug on Woodward’s unfettered use of it as a forum in which to spread false statements of fact. Thus he was relegated to seeking out Politico as his venue for the “breaking news” this time.

Progress.

I can’t help wondering, though, whether Sperling was right that Woodward might come to regret his flagrantly false reporting on what the sequester agreement is.  He hasn’t yet, though. He’s still cowering with fear from that threat, but determined to press on nonetheless.

—-
By the way, you really, really need to see Alexandra Petri’s threat-level piece on this. Seriously.  (Just be sure you’re not eating anything you might choke on when you do.)

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