This morning I was writing about Adam Cohen's editorial in the NYT and how ridiculous it is for someone who works for the same newspaper as Judy Miller, Jeff Gerth, John Tierney, and David Brooks to be lecturing bloggers on journalistic standards and practices.
I should correct that.
It's ridiculous for anyone who works in the same profession as Joe Klein to be lecturing bloggers on standards.
Now, I don't want Hillary to run. I don't think she can win if she runs. I think that all the speculation about her strength as a potential candidate is mistaking her celebrity for popularity. But mainly I don't think she should be President because her sole claim on the job and her major qualification for it is that her husband was President.
But Joe Klein thinks that the reason she can't win is the reason so many people expect her to run and win.
Klein thinks that Bill will be an albatross around her neck.
And then there is her husband, a one-man supermarket tabloid. A few weeks ago, the New York Post ran a photo of Bill Clinton leaving a local restaurant with an attractive woman, and the political-elite gossip hounds went berserk. Prominent Democrats—friends of the Clintons—were wringing their hands. "Do we really want to go through all that again?" one asked me. I don't know—should the sins of the husband be visited upon the wife? Absent any evidence, the former President should be considered guilty until proved really guilty.
The Moose takes care of Klein's other ideas as well, but he deals with this one most effectively.
As for as Bill being a liability, Klein should read the latest Democracy Corps poll which shows that in a hypothetical 2008 George W. Bush v. Bill Clinton matchup- old Bubba would prevail over W. - 53-43. In '08, the eight years of Clinton peace and prosperity might look mighty fine.
(Thanks to Jack Shannon at CommonSenseDesk for the link.)
I doubt that Bill would be enough of an asset to get Hillary through the primaries, let alone the election, but it is borderline delusional to suggest that the most popular president of the last 50 years---and, yes, he was more popular than Reagan by the time he left office---would drag down his wife's candidacy, unless it happened because Hillary suffered by the comparison.
But Klein lives in a dreamworld. It's called Washington D.C. And in that land of hallucination and vaporous illusion George Bush is wildly popular and Bill Clinton never was, Karl Rove can do no wrong, the Republicans are the party of ideas, the Democrats are always out of the mainstream, and everything that is wrong with politics in America is equally the fault of Republicans and Democrats but it is the Democrats who need to clean up their act.
Before this one, Klein's most recent transcription of one of his dreams was his argument that the while polls were showing that close to 80 per cent of Americans thought the Republicans had gone stark raving mad on the Terri Schiavo question, the Democrats had blundered badly and been totally outfoxed by the Republicans and would suffer for it at the hands of the voters.
To which Digby said, Excuse me?
Klein also thought that Clinton would be tarred and feathered and run out of town on a rail back in 1998, a fact he seems to have forgotten about himself.
You'll notice in his Time column that when he calls Clinton a one-man tabloid he doesn't mention his own book, Primary Colors, which did a lot to convince Washington insiders that Bill was as slick a Willy as his Republican enemies in Arkansas said he was, but which ultimately had no effect on the voters' opinion of Bill, except maybe to make them like him more.
It's not just that Klein apparently doesn't hold himself accountable for his woeful judgment, lazy reporting, stubborn disregard for facts that contradict his theory du jour, and his habit of putting his own opinions forward as if they were other people's objective analysis.
It's that nobody in the national press corps seems to have noticed that Klein is incompetent.
Because in the eyes of his fellow "real journalists" Klein is doing not just a good job but an exemplary one. Klein is the journalist they all want to be---a celebrity with a bestselling book under his belt, regular TV appearances, and a gig at one of the top magazines in the country.
All of what objectively look like Klein's disqualifications for the position he holds in the public eye are intrinsic to the skill set of most "real journalists."
But it's bloggers who need to straighten up, fly right, and start conducting themselves like real journalists...
like Joe Klein.
(A quibble: In his post, the Moose, pointing out that it really is too early to make predictions about who will turn out to be either party's nominee in 2008, asks who would have predicted in 1989 that Bill Clinton would be the Democratic nominee in 1992.
Well, my father, for one. But also most of the other Democratic governors, the leaders of the DLC, and just about everybody who'd watched Clinton at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. Clinton had been a rising star in the party for a long time by that point and the reason he wasn't seen as the inevitable next nominee as soon as Dukakis got into that tank is that most people thought that Mario Cuomo would run and the nomination was his for the easy picking and the still very young Clinton would have to wait until 1996 or 2000.)