I don’t think we need to get caught up in arguing whether or not using the word should be grounds for suspension. That’s between MSNBC and their employees.
What we should focus on is the bootlicking weaselly-ness of the thinking that went into his decision to say it.
I don’t know if Mark Halperin, the guy Andrew Sullivan calls “this non-pareil in empty conventional wisdom hacks,” is this clever---I mean you have to question the cleverness of anyone who thinks that he’s being clever when calling the President of the United States or anyone, for that matter, a dick---but by saying the President was being “kind of a dick” Halperin made sure the debate was over his word choice and not the attitude and the motivation behind it.
What Halperin was doing was bootlicking. He was taking advantage of the situation to show Republicans in Washington he’s free enough from liberal bias to insult the President. “See, guys! I really am one of you! Will you let me come inside the clubhouse again today?”
The country is on the brink of defaulting on its debts, thanks to the Republicans in Congress, and if that happens not just our economy but the world’s economy will suffer. People will lose their jobs, stock portfolios will be wiped out, retirement savings just beginning to recover from the Recession will take another hit, governments will be unable to function, and that’s the best case scenario, and Mark Halperin’s response to this is to go out of his way to make sure he doesn’t lose any dinner invitations.
Writing in The Daily Beast, Michelle Goldberg calls Halperin a disgrace and says his response “embodies all that’s rotten and shallow about the D.C. pundit class…”
James Fallows makes a similar point over at the Atlantic: “The real problem is the dickishness of our mainstream political analysis, especially from the ‘savviest’ practitioners” like Halperin for whom the “what of public affairs” is of no interest. All they care about, says Fallows, is the how.
But perhaps the main thing to keep in mind about Halperin is that he is always wrong! As Salon’s Alex Pareene shows, Halperin is a hack who fails at being a hack.
I’m sure that his framing all his “analysis” to flatter Republicans is just a coincidence.