Punditry

I got the quoted paragraph in an email today. My response is below.

QUOTE OF 2008

“From the time Barrack Obama [sic] was sworn in as a United State Senator, to the time he announced he was forming a Presidential exploratory committee, he logged 143 days of experience in the Senate. That’s how many days the Senate was actually in session and working. After 143 days of work experience, Obama believed he was ready to be Commander In Chief, Leader of the Free World, and fill the shoes of Abraham Lincoln, FDR, JFK and Ronald Reagan. 143 days. I keep leftovers in my refrigerator longer than that.” – Columnist Cheri Jacobus

Nice! No, really, it’s nice – in that quick condescending reductionist ignore-the-facts Fox News “terrorist fist jab” sort of way.

With this cute little quip, Cheri Jacobus, Pundit, ignores Obama’s years of community organizing in Chicago and other experience, first citing how many days the Senate is in session, and conveniently blowing past the work done over four years in office when not actually in session – from committee hearings to constituent service, and more – and implies that Obama’s only worked 143 days his entire life. Obama will concede he’s a young man, but its not unreasonable to claim that he’s done more serious work and more intellectual heavy lifting than the man he would replace, so let’s not talk about that. Let’s look at who brought us this valuable insight: it’s what we can expect from someone who boasts of her own extensive work experience on her own company’s web site.

“She appears on national television programs such as “Crossfire”, “The O’Reilly Factor”, “Your World With Neil Cavuto”, “Larry King Live, “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” and “Talk Back Live” on CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, and CNBC, “The Montel Williams Show” and ABC’s “Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher” and many more offering political analysis, commentary and debate. She also has lectured at The Leadership Institute, American University, Young American Broadcasters, American Bar Association Legislative Conference and other groups.”

There’s more than that, of course, including her helping a friend win the race for class president in 8th grade (I’m not kidding – look it up). What we have here, friends, is just a professional talking head. Heaven knows we need more of those, lest we suffer a moment of actual, ahem, news on cable news. Jacobus is an empty suit with a sneer, denigrating Obama with a cute turn of phrase. Again, nice. Good on you, Cheri! You’re making America better!

Friends, take note of her client list, here. Jacobus is little more than a right-wing sock puppet, a paid apologist – not for “freedom” or “conservative values” – but for high-paying corporate greedheads. There’s no evidence that she has never done a useful day of work in her life. To be fair, maybe some native modesty prevents her from admitting that between TV appearances she volunteers at animal shelters or a food bank or helps lead tours at the Smithsonian. It’s possible. And it’s possible she’s invented flubber, too. Whatever actual work she may have done, she certainly is proud of her service to the Republican cause in the late 1990s.

Remember the Republicans about 10 years ago? We must note that while she worked for a Congressional committee in the late 90s, the Republican congressional leader was Tom Delay, who along with others created the infamous K Street Project (look that one up too), the most corrupt lobbying environment in modern history. (Note that historically, the Democrats are no amateurs when comes to corruption, but come on – the 90’s Republicans were pros.) These guys are still coming to trial. Remember Jack Abramoff? At least he’s in jail now, where he’s likely to do little more harm. (He cried at his sentencing – thats good television!) A key thing to remember about those guys is this: saying they’re corrupt isn’t political rhetoric; they were Republican congressmen and lobbyists prosecuted and convicted under a Republican administration. Not just any Republicans, either, but the most partisan Republican administration with the most ideologically biased Justice Department in modern times (for that, look up former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez and the whole fired U.S. attorney scandal). To be so corrupt your own highly biased team throws the book at you? To mention the time period (but not discuss the real work of the folks she was working with) front and center in her resume: that’s something to be proud of… for Cheri Jacobus.

Hmmmm… maybe she’s not the Quoter we want after all, so let’s entertain another possible Quote of 2008. Conservative author and ABC commentator George Will says in his latest book, that among the things the presidency of George W. Bush has brought us is

“a torrent of acrimony about the dubious inception and incompetent conduct of a war that became perhaps the worst foreign policy debacle in the nation’s history.”

That’s a good one. I found it here.

Or maybe check out the coverage of the testimony going on this week about all the innocent people tortured at Guantanamo and Bagram and other places. Did you know that numerous thorough non-partisan reports, including from within the government and even the military itself, have determined that, while there are legitimate terrorists in custody, several detainees were falsely imprisoned and tortured, and when they were discovered to be not “the worst of the worst” but innocent bystanders, or worse, victims of liars seeking bounties, they were still imprisoned so their shameful treatment could be kept secret? If you didn’t know that, would you blame the Liberal Media? The real question, though: How many more innocent people are still there? How many of them died in U.S. custody?

So, following from that, another suggestion for Quote of 2008: A CIA interrogation lawyer, discussing permissible “interrogation techniques” at Guantanamo in 2002, regarding how to do waterboarding:

“If the detainee dies, you’re doing it wrong.”

That would be a hell of a Quote for 2008, even if it is six years old. Find it here.

I’m guessing this would not be a time to play Lee Greenwood’s “Proud to be an American.” Anyone? Bueller? Maybe we’ll cue that one up a little later, when the shame’s had some time to recede a bit.

Friends, if you’re still with me, I know I’ve ranted long here, but snappy statements from wholly-owned hacks like Cheri Jacobus really chap my behind when we’ve got genuine anti-American-values crap like this to live down. And note I am not knocking all Republicans, just the incredible combination of arrogantly misguided ideologues and greedmongering hypocrites who hijacked their party. It’s time for a change, and the tall thin man from Chicago might, just might, have something.

So, for Quote of 2008, what about an Obama speech, say the one he gave in Philadelphia three months ago about race in America.

It’s all over YouTube, if you don’t want to read it. I recommend it highly – whether you like Obama or McCain, it’s an honest take on what divides so many of us and it’s a vision of what might unite us. I’d argue it is worth more of your time than one minute of Cheri Jacobus cracking jokes about her leftovers.

With that, a good night to you all.

One reply on “Punditry”

  1. Well said, and well annotated. Quotes like hers are just another example of research without insight at best and deliberate spinning of factual data at worst. I guess it depends on whether one believes she is without rigor, or without conscience.
    I have to admit, I’m encouraged by the fact that Fox News’ ratings are falling. I believe that at some unconscious level, those seduced by the self-gratifying politics of “what’s in it for me” are figuring out the instability of that short-sighted approach.

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