I’m always amused by the “liberal” pundits who appear with monotonous regularity on the political talk-show circuit, occasionally to make some insightful point, but always to demonstrate their worldly sophistication.
They are familiar names on a long list, too long to itemize here, but you know them: in a nutshell, they’re the Joe Kleins of the airwaves.
They’ve been around the block, they want you to know. They’ve seen it all, heard it all, and they don’t get excited about bombshells that rock only the impressionable little people and political amateurs. They’re casual and dismissive, because they’re so damned sophisticated.
Of course their sophisticated dismissiveness slipped a bit in the 1990s, when they tortured us for months on end over the Clinton-Lewinski matter.
Every day, every night, every unholy hour we were subjected to their seemingly endless hairsplitting over “what rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.” They agonized over the president’s sexual proclivities and the constitutionally profound implications attached, over what the DNA evidence would “prove,” over the purely collateral nature of Clinton’s “perjury,” and other such drivel. They grilled legal experts and politicians with clear agendas. They were frantic and obsessed.
It was their obsession that fomented just enough national hysteria to permit Republicans to proceed with impeachment proceedings with (mistaken, as it turned out) political confidence. Without the endless coverage and analysis, the GOP’s malicious prosecution would have gone nowhere and a president would not have been paralyzed for more than a year.
But that was then. And this is now:
"President Bush intervened in March 2004 to avert a crisis over the National Security Agency’s domestic eavesdropping program after Attorney General John Ashcroft, Director Robert S. Mueller III of the F.B.I. and other senior Justice Department aides all threatened to resign, a former deputy attorney general testified Tuesday.
"Mr. Bush quelled the revolt over the program’s legality by allowing it to continue without Justice Department approval, also directing department officials to take the necessary steps to bring it into compliance with the law.
"Mr. [James] Comey, the former No. 2 official in the Justice Department, said the crisis began when he refused to sign a presidential order reauthorizing the program… He said he made his decision after the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, based on an extensive review, concluded that the program did not comply with the law.
“It was unclear from [Comey’s] testimony what authority existed for the program while the changes were being made.”
Let’s see. The president launched an illegal spying program. The president later intervened to protect and extend the illegal spying program. The Justice Department knew the program was illegal and told the president just that. Furthermore, what constitutional “authority existed for the program while … changes were being made”? Is this really “unclear”? Try “none.”
Now compare, if you can take it, the amount of coverage and analysis of this monstrously flagrant high crime to that of yesteryear’s obsession with a moment of whoopee – a moment of constitutional irrelevance that nevertheless consumed even liberal pundits to the point of distraction for months.
This high crime? As opposed to Clinton’s “high crime”? They’ll give it two days’, maybe three, at the most a week’s attention. And their attention will be oh so worldly and sophisticated and dismissive. Then it will be back to business as usual – meaning seemingly endless coverage and analysis of how disorganized the Democrats are and how squirrelly any talk of impeachment would be.
That’s the “liberal media” for you.