I wrote most of what follows over the weekend. So much of it seems dated already; that’s what big news does. However, I will not consider the events of Sunday the way Wolf Blitzer says I should — that I will “always remember” where I was when I heard the news. Great googly moogly, how does anyone stand CNN anymore? There should be room on the dial, shouldn’t there, for one cable network that plays things more or less down the middle, that spares us Lawrence O’Donnell and Megyn Kelly, where producers understand there’s nothing wrong with pictures that don’t have people yakking over them, that when you have nothing to say, sometimes it’s best to say nothing? (Don’t tell me to watch C-SPAN. Please.)
I understand 45 minutes is a long time to vamp in TV time, but there’s a way to do it without making viewers want to kill you, and there’s something about the way Wolf Blitzer does it that makes me insane. It’s some combination of the droning monotone and the expressionless face and the way he doesn’t move more than a millimeter in any direction. He’s the worst of Larry King combined with the sort of faux-seriousness that threatens every anchor, and when you’re paid like these folks, that’s a constant threat. Who would shower that many millions on someone who wasn’t serious?
Yes, yes, the channel-changer. I switched over to David Gregory on NBC. And used the mute function until the big moment.
Let’s gather a little bit of related bloggage, then:
Many excellent tick-tocks out there on the raid. I read this one this morning, but it’s NYT, and you might have used up your monthly access. The WashPost has its own lavish package, and they’re all over the place out there. I think the most important details are these:
1) Some cave, buddy. When it came time to settle in for the long haul, a dialysis patient can’t stay just anywhere.
2) None of this dead-or-alive stuff:
The code name for Bin Laden was “Geronimo.” The president and his advisers watched Leon E. Panetta, the C.I.A. director, on a video screen, narrating from his agency’s headquarters across the Potomac River what was happening in faraway Pakistan.
“They’ve reached the target,” he said.
“We have a visual on Geronimo,” he said.
A few minutes later: “Geronimo EKIA.”
Enemy Killed In Action. There was silence in the Situation Room.
Finally, the president spoke up.
“We got him.”
3) Where did you get that blazer, Hillary? I’m not much of a tweed girl, but that one’s working for you.
The Free Press has gone mad. For the last hour, this Mitch Albom column has been the top story on their web package on you-know-what. Yes, a man has died, and Mitch has written about it — I know, crazy! This is what the column says: Nothing. It has many short sentences. It reports what Mitch felt when he heard the news. Amount of reporting it contains: Zero. Eat your baby food, readers.
And now, the weekend’s bloggage:
Predictably, the president killed at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. You can find the video everywhere; I put this clip on while I got dressed yesterday, followed by this one. There were so many great lines, but this one was my favorite, aimed at Donald Trump:
But all kidding aside, obviously, we all know about your credentials and breadth of experience. For example — no, seriously, just recently, in an episode of Celebrity Apprentice at the steakhouse, the men’s cooking team cooking did not impress the judges from Omaha Steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around. But you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately, you didn’t blame Lil’ Jon or Meatloaf. You fired Gary Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night. Well handled, sir. Well handled.
There will be some who will point out that Obama undoubtedly had professionals write this for him. True. So does Jon Stewart, so does David Letterman, and yet these are obviously funny people. You could hand the same script to Mitch Daniels, and I doubt he could sell it. But Obama has such a natural ease about him, he makes it work. There was a moment last year when he singled out Michael Steele in the crowd:
I saw Michael Steele backstage when we were taking pictures — AKA Notorious GOP. Michael, who knows what truly plagues America today — taxation without representin’. My brother. I did a similar routine last year, but it always works.
I’d bet a C-note the “my brother” was pure ad lib. And that got the biggest laugh.
So how was your weekend? Mine was pretty fine. Friday night I did the Critical Mass ride. I’d like to tell you all about it, but as it was winding up it occurred to me I should try to pitch it as a story somewhere, and the very next day I read something in the Wall Street Journal, the Bible of the wealthy and successful, that said trying to cut costs was a losing, depressing game, that if you want more money, you should earn more money. OK, sold.
The ride was fun, though, and moved quite a bit faster than I anticipated. Once I got comfortable with the pace and my place in the crowd, I tried to look around a bit. Most of the neighborhoods were familiar, but individual streets were new. We rolled through southwest Detroit and Mexicantown, and passed a tiny tool-and-die shop, about the size of my house, the smallest I’ve ever seen. One garage door in front, a people door next to it, and not much more. Probably employed fewer than a dozen people, tucked into a streetscape like any other neighbor. Maybe some of the employees walked to work. Gone for what looks like decades now, its facade bleached with time. And there are hundreds like it all over town. People forget it wasn’t just the Big 3 that employed people around here, it was these little widget factories, gone, gone, gone.
And you thought only the American media were this silly:
From the moment Pippa arrived at Westminster Abbey, clad in an audaciously simple cowl-necked ivory sheath that skimmed like a glove over her slender yet shapely figure, the nation swooned; you could almost hear the collective male gasp every time she bent to straighten Kate’s dress.
By the time Friday’s royal wedding service was halfway through, Pippa’s crepe-covered derrière was “trending” wildly on social media site Twitter, and by the day’s end there were three separate Facebook pages dedicated to praise of her posterior – with the “Pippa Middleton *** Appreciation Society” leading the panting field. Many other admirers, however, had eyes only for the tantalising glimpses of cleavage afforded by her dress’s teasing neckline.
What Trump actually stands for is an exaggerated sense of victimhood. This is the theme that unites his personal style with the political views he has thus far expressed. Are you tired of being pushed around? Are you tired of our country being pushed around? Trump’s political acuity lies in his ability to take these grievances and turn them into politics. His foreign policy views in essence consist of a pledge to bully other nations. China is “decimating our country.” OPEC is imperiling the economy. And ungrateful Libyans and Iraqis are trying to build a society from oil that is rightfully ours. (“We won the war. We take over the oil fields. We use the oil.”) When Bill O’Reilly, in an interview with Trump, seemed taken aback by the idea that we could simply force OPEC or China to do our bidding, Trump appeared surprised that anyone could view international relations as anything more than a contest of machismo. “The messenger is the key,” Trump told O’Reilly. “If you have the right messenger and they know how to deliver the message … you’re going to scare them, absolutely.”
(Via Zorn. I need to be more scrupulous about my HTs.)
For you Hoosiers, a less butt-kissy look at Mitch Daniels as a probable presidential candidate.
Finally, the president wasn’t the only one who looked impressive last Saturday night. Has there ever been a first lady this lovely? Don’t think so.