Can you quit E. J. Dionne: For the modern liberal, it’s the biggest test of your ability to resist the tribal imperative.
Here’s the test: Can you quit E. J. Dionne?
He seems so rational, so decent, so good—so well-intentioned, so palpably honest! But here’s what Dionne said again last night, guesting on The Last Word:
DIONNE (4/9/12): You know, if I could just say something about all that stuff you ran before. I think there are Velcro candidates and there are Teflon candidates. Teflon candidates like Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan, where nothing sticks, and then Velcro candidates like—Al Gore never even said that "I invented the Internet," and yet that stuck to him.To gain the full effect of this dog-and-pony show, you have to watch the tape. Listen to the heartfelt concern with which Dionne expresses his point:
And Romney, from the ease with which you can play those reels, you know, “two Cadillacs,” you know, “the trees are the right height” and all of that, he is looking more and more like a Velcro candidate. And that I think is his core problem.
Al Gore never said, “I invented the Internet!” And yet, the bullshit stuck!
Of course, Dionne knows why the bullshit stuck. It stuck because people like O’Donnell kept saying such things during Campaign 2000—even as people like Dionne kept refusing to challenge their conduct.
Al Gore said he invented the Internet! The mainstream press corps pimped that tale for twenty months, from March 1999 through November 2000. And according to Nexis, Dionne never spoke up, not even once, to challenge this twenty-month war. The bullshit stuck because the “good people” did nothing while the very bad people—the folk like O’Donnell—conducted their twenty-month war.
We researched this matter in 2010, when Dionne first made this statement about Gore and the Internet in a column (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 7/27/10). We found no sign that Dionne ever spoke up.
It’s how George Bush reached the White House.
Last night, Dionne seemed so good, so pure, so sincere. He was playing you, right to the core.
To this day, are you able to quit him?
What O'Donnell did: As the conversation continued, O’Donnell played the stupidity card, with Jonathan Capehart serving the crepes. Eventually, O’Donnell pimped some SNL jive concerning Candidate Gore.
Can you spot the flaw with O’Donnell’s story?
O’DONNELL (continuing directly): And, Jonathan Capehart, [Romney] spent Easter weekend at his southern California beach mansion, the place I guess where he’s trying to put in the elevator for the four cars. But he apparently did body surfing, which my guess is, that`s a less politically damaging than wind surfing was for John Kerry.When a person like O’Donnell talks about wind versus body surfing, he’s treating you like a low-IQ fool. Which is exactly what you are if you're willing to tolerate this in the name of tribal unity.
CAPEHART: Yes, because lots of people do body surfing. I've never done it, but I know people who have done it and I've seen people do it. It looks fun, but it's not for me.
O’DONNELL: And, Jonathan, to the SNL thing, I think E.J. raises an important point in that in 2000, Saturday Night Live did some penetrating stuff on Al Gore that I think gave the electorate a vocabulary in a certain sense for what made them uncomfortable about Al Gore. And it seems like they’ve zeroed in on the essential defect in the Romney candidacy, which is that pandering, which is that willingness to say anything...
Regarding Gore, please understand:
O’Donnell refers to a SNL skit on the first weekend of October 2000, after the first Bush-Gore debate. At that point, Dionne’s colleagues had been pushing the “invented the Internet” tale for nineteen solid months, without a single word of rebuttal from Dionne, who feigns such concern today. And omigod:
That very same weekend, O’Donnell appeared on the McLaughlin Group where he pushed another bogus “lie” by Gore. Sitting in one of the program’s “liberal” chairs, he said the lie—which Gore never told—was “one of his most ridiculous and his most relevant untruths.”
To review O’Donnell’s disgraceful conduct, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 6/3/05. This is how Bush reached the White House.
Bad people then, awful people today! Dionne was playing you last night.
Lawrence O’Donnell? Much worse!
Regarding that SNL skit: In April 2003, we took part in a panel discussion of political humor at the University of Virginia.
Larry Sabato chaired the event. Also appearing was James Downey, kingpin of SNL.
At one point, Downey aired tape of that very skit, the one which featured the “penetrating stuff” about Candidate Gore. We expressed our views regarding its quality.
In our view, the young college kids got a lively discussion. To see what you think, just click this.
But just for the record:
Dionne had been refusing to speak for nineteen months by the time that worthless skit aired. That is how George Bush reached the White House, despite the things these very bad people tell you on TV today.