Thursday, July 22, 2010

Walsh 1, Heilemann 0

In a spectacular review back in January of the chatty, enticing, and inane book "Game Change" by John Hielemann and Mark Halperin, Alan Wolfe observes

To talk about real historical significance would mean addressing matters of substance, and that would violate the chatty inside-dope approach that characterizes Village journalism.

This John Heileman, whose book "inadvertently confirms just how many of our top political journalists really are Villagers," was clearly on display on Wednesday's Hardball (transcript here; segment near the end; video on this site). Speaking about Michelle Bachmann's new Congressional Tea Party Caucus and the impact of the Tea Party on the GOP, Heilemann commented

Look, I—Chris, I can see that, too, and you‘re right. I mean, history—the history of the way political parties evolve, they tend to swing to an extreme. There are people on the conservative side who would say the Democrats swung to an extreme in the mid-1980s when they put Walter Mondale on the ticket, that the party was way too liberal.

But the parties tend to swing to an extreme. They suffered a huge devastating electoral loss and then they come back to their senses and start to move back towards the middle. You can see this happening. Like I say, if the Republicans win the House and if they win also with the Senate especially, you can imagine heading into this 2012 election someone like Sarah Palin or someone who‘s be able to appeal to Sarah Palin‘s voters, and it‘s noticeable.

You know, one of the things that happened today was that someone you might never have expected to align with this caucus, Mike Pence, someone who wants to run for president.

What planet is this guy on? The GOP in 2006 and 2008 "suffered a huge devastating electoral loss" and they are.... "coming back to their senses" and moving "back towards the middle?" This is a party whose congressional members have almost unanimously opposed an extension of unemployment benefits, financial service reform so modest as not to endanger "too big to fail," and health care built on the framework of reform originally proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation. This is a party whose current superstars are Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, who make appear moderate Minority Leader John Boehner- who wants to end all government regulation (the likes of Goldman Sachs, Massey Energy, and BP notwithstanding). And it's a party whose frontmen include Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

The parties tend to swing to an extreme? The leader of the Democratic Party is a centrist pragmatist whom Heilmann adores as a centrist pragmatist. But this is how Village journalism rolls, assiduously avoiding pointing the finger at one party when it can be "balanced" by including both parties. As is often the case, "balanced" is not accurate, but wildly inaccurate.

As is the case of Heilemann's characterization of a former Democratic presidential nominee as "extreme." Fortunately, shortly after Heilemann's ludicrous remark, Joan Walsh shot him down:

Chris, I just have to say one thing.... Walter Mondale is not an extremist. So, if we‘re putting Walter Mondale out as a radical, come on, let‘s be right about history.

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