Thursday, January 17, 2008
From his latest piece in Rolling Stone:
The hilarious thing is that while Obama and Huckabee were blasted for not providing the press with enough boxing-metaphor material, Clinton was getting the business for being too feisty. IS SEN. CLINTON WARM ENOUGH TO WIN? wondered Slate. Just like the others, Hillary quickly proved her willingness to eat as many worms as we could dish out, hilariously releasing a whole Web site where Friends of Hillary lined up to swear on a stack of Bibles, that despite what you might think, the candidate isn't a crabby old battle-ax in private.
How did one of the most genuinely interesting primary contests in American history devolve into a Grade-D smack-down that even Vince McMahon would be ashamed to promote? The real story of the campaign has been its unprecedented unpredictability — and therein lies the problem. On both tickets, the abject failure of media-anointed front-runners to hold their ground was due at least in part to voters having grown weary of being told by the press who was "electable" and who wasn't. Both the Huckabee and Ron Paul candidacies represent angry grass-roots challenges to the entrenched Republican party apparatus, while the Edwards candidacy is a frank and open attack on his own party's too-cozy relationship with corporate America. These developments signaled a meaningful political phenomenon — widespread voter disgust, not only with the two ruling parties, but with a national political press that smugly enforced the party insiders' stranglehold on the process with its incessant bullying of dissident candidates.
But there was no way this genuinely interesting theme was going to make it into mainstream coverage of the campaign heading into the primary season.