Joe Klein Breaks with Precedent – Calls Us Stupid


Can someone please take Time Magazine’s Joe Klein aside and explain that being sophomoric is only cool when one is actually a sophomore? After that, it’s kind of like your Uncle Ed in a very small Speedo.  Not pretty, and a little sad.

In his latest offering  It’s Her Party: The Brilliance of Sarah Palin (or “Those People Are So Stupid – Part XXXIII”) Klein takes another look at a large swath of the American population, and, unhappily, pronounces it as stupid as the last time he wrote about it. I don’t know about you but I’m not in a whole lot of suspense about next week’s theme.

The object of his arched eyebrow this time is Sarah Palin and the recent Tea Party convention.

“How’s that hopey-changey stuff workin’ out for ya?” Sarah Palin asked the anti-élitist Tea Party élites — those who could pay $549 for a ticket — gathered in suffocating self-righteousness at the Opryland Hotel on the first weekend of February.

I’m not sure if he’s more concerned that they spent $549, or had the $549 to spend, but before this article is over he will make darned sure you know the cost.  For reasons best known to himself there is irony in “grass roots” people spending money on something other than lessons on how to put pretentious accents on words like “elitist.”

Warming to his subject, Klein presses on:

The speech was inspired drivel, a series of distortions and oversimplifications, totally bereft of nourishing policy proposals — the sort of thing calculated, carefully calculated, to drive lamestream media types like me frothing to their keyboards. Palin is a big fat target, eminently available for derision. But I will not deride. Because brilliance must be respected, especially when it involves marketing in an era when image almost always passes for substance.

In the spirit of the high road to which Klein obviously aspires I won’t deride that first long, labored, torqued-up sentence that reads like a handout from “Students Against Sentient Life.”  Honest.  Some might contend this piece is nothing but derisive from the opening umlaut, and wonder at the disingenuous and ham-handed manner in which he affects magnanimity, but I won’t. Really.

Staying classy and above the fray, he paints middle-America in positively Norman Rockwell-esque tones.

I have a theory about Bill Clinton: his philandering worked in his favor politically, especially with a demographic chunk that usually shies away from liberalism: American working guys. It made him more accessible. Here was a fellow who got it on with faded lounge singers and then celebrated with a Double Quarter Pounder and fries at the local McDonald’s.

I have a theory about Joe Klein. His only knowledge of working America seems to come from watching Roseanne reruns. ‘Nuff said.

I suppose we need a paragraph here about why all this simplicity is extremely dangerous.

The sigh here is practically audible. Thanks Joe, I know actually defending one’s assertions with something approaching facts or logic can create a certain sense of ennui but we proles do appreciate it.

Most economists agree that if it hadn’t been for the bank bailouts and the Obama stimulus package, the country would have slid into a deep recession that might have prevented a lot of Tea Partyers from buying their $549 tickets to ride. Then again, any sentence that begins with “Most economists” is a license to snore in tea party nation.

Gosh, there’s that five hundred bucks again. Actually Joe, any sentence that begins with “most economists …” is treated with the same reverence as “everybody knows…” We’d kind of like to see some examples of this overwhelming hoard and perhaps an explanation why 192 of them who opposed TARP didn’t make your head count. I know you know this, and are just being playful, but “most economists” don’t agree on the color of an orange.

If I can offer an alternative explanation, Joe, the snoring you are hearing is a logical response to a shtick that has become awfully, awfully old.