Friday, December 03, 2010

I Guess We're Just Too Stoopid Mister Gergen - and other tales from Intelligentsia

It's nice that the people at the institution...rather, it's great to get a chance to spit a blog out - though I think starting out with a literary mucus joke might make you think twice about why you're reading this. I've always wanted to take a slice out of David Gergen and other aging "moderate" pundits to explore just how "insightful" the progressive intellectual crowd really are - so if you want to go back to YouTube to watch that video with the fat kid playing with the light saber, no one's going to blame you.

First, before diving into that soup, let me be very frank about the WikiLeaks affair - from the mouth of Bing West, who is always there to put things in context when my eloquence eludes me;

"Placing hundreds of thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables on the Internet constitutes a massive betrayal of America. A nation must safeguard its military and diplomatic secrets if it is to be trusted in the international system. Whoever provided the material to WikiLeaks should be prosecuted under the ...death sentence, regardless (of their) alleged motivations. Traitors always feel aggrieved."

This situation has gone far beyond the farce as the media has been portraying it. This is not about the media created fiction of "the people's right to know", which is just a euphemism the media uses for being intrusive and reckless. This is sedition at the very least, and treason at the worst, and I would be hard-pressed to find a way to reduce the gravity of this to fit the parameters of sedition in a legal context.

Batter up!

The always brilliant and insightful James Bowman, in his diary entry of Nov 15th, rhetorically mused "Why do the best and the brightest hate us simple folk as they do?" It's a fair enough question, and Bowman dissects it in a way that only a man of his remarkable talents can. Why do people like the G-20 protesters - who bombed a bank, chased and harassed the adolescent son of a hapless bank executive, and went on to cause millions of dollars in property damage to the city of Toronto - get a free pass from the media, while the peaceful tea party protesters incur the full wrath and scorn of every news organization (barring perhaps Fox)? Curious still is why the violent G-20 protesters were given an undeserved level of legitimacy from the media.

Anyone who's read Bowman's "Media Madness" or anything by Bernie Goldberg already knows the answer to that question, but let's take it a step further and ask the question "why do they keep getting away with  it?"   

The thing about Washington intellectuals, both inside and outside of the beltway, is that they have an uncanny knack for being wrong, and the good fortune of rarely being held accountable for it - with the exception of folks like Bowman, who have a singular talent for what the kids say in their post-modern vernacular "calling out" the David Gergen's and Michael Tomasky's of the world.

Gergen's been around Washington for a long time and would probably have lots of interesting anecdotes were he not constantly playing the role of Monday morning quarterback for his own cult of personality. It's a role he's been playing for almost 40 years. Gergen was one of the coveted few who fed Bob Woodword and Carl Bernstein information for their 1976 tell-all book about the final days of the Nixon administration. Gergen, a peripheral figure (at best) in the Nixon administration, paints himself as the quiet voice of modulated reason. Gergen is a buffoon, but he has cemented a place for himself both in the media and academia, making rounds at Harvard, Elon, Duke, and The Ford Foundation.

But every so often, we poor peasants don't like to play along to the media narrative set by these much coveted eggheads. Every once and a while, when they least expect it, we break from the story line and "go rogue", so to speak.

Remember the Jan 11th debate moderated by Gergen, when the plain spoken dark horse candidate Scott Brown laid him out for asking if he'd be

  "...willing to sit in Teddy Kennedy's seat and say I'm going to be the person who's going to block liberal health care policy for another 15 years",

To which Brown responded;

"It's not the Kennedy's seat, it's not the democrats's the people's seat."

Few can forget that moment, but fewer remember Gergen's smug prediction, when he admitted to National Review that he had been taken off guard by the quick witted Scott, but that the voters

"...want to show their frustration, but they aren’t willing or ready, yet, to send a Republican to the Senate."

Brown went on to handily win the "people's seat", and Gergen added yet another failed prediction to his extensive collection without ever being reminded of it. Does anyone still listen to this guy?

Since the November GOP sweep, it's become fashionable for beltway intellectuals holding court in the lofty pundit corners provided by their all too willing media sycophants to wax philosophically about the how the GOP won by scaring the elderly about health care. Funny, considering the left has made a cottage industry of telling Americans that the GOP were coming to end school lunch programs, drag seniors out of nursing homes, and drown every last kitten in the lower 48.

In fact, the Democrats went so overboard in 1994 with scare tactics and nasty campaigning it cost them both the House and the Senate.

Republicans warned that Obamacare would give less coverage to more seniors - and that's exactly what happened. Last month, seniors saw a remarkable 8% increase in their out of pocket expenses, and we're not just talking about the older folks living the good life in Florida, God's waiting room. It's the poor that have been hit the hardest, and irony of ironies to those who demonize the corporate world, it's been the drug companies that have stepped up to the plate to help those who have also lost their jobs due to the inept and reckless spending of President Obama.  It has been the "evil drug companies" that have provided drugs to those hit the hardest at little or no cost to them.

Last week, at the end of a fascinating presentation by the wonderful (and very human) execs of a major drug company, a dear friend, whose firm did some PR work for President Clinton, said; "The GOP have only got two years left." He's made a few bad predictions in the past (though he's reluctant to admit it), so I made him repeat it twice, saying

"Remember this moment and what you've just said standing right here in the lobby of this nice hotel - I'm going to hold you to it, and there's no squirming out of it this time when you end up being wrong."

I suggest you get yourself a score card for the next time one of the great intellectual overlords looks down their nose at you and explains the way things are and how they're going to be. Hold on to that score card and swack them over the head with it like a frozen salmon after the next election.

Perhaps over time, if we conservatives devote ourselves to this practice, intellectuals will have to trade in their label for the one that once was reserved for them - Eggheads.