Michelle Goldberg (Daily Beast): Here’s why Mark Halperin is a disgrace. It’s not because he used a mild obscenity to describe our president on Morning Joe, disrespectful as that was. Rather, it was the circumstances of the slur.
Right now, the Republican Party is threatening to blow up the world economy unless Democrats agree to savage cuts in spending while refusing any of the revenue increases that all serious economists say are necessary to actually address the national debt. Obama, whose greatest fault in office has been a misplaced faith in the GOP’s capacity for reasonableness, went on television and chided the party for this stance. Apparently, this struck Halperin as unreasonable. His response embodies all that’s rotten and shallow about D.C.’s pundit class, which fetishizes bipartisanship even as it only demands it of one political party.
….He’s as good a symbol as anyone of our political class’s smug insularity, its obsession with process and symbolism, and utter disinterest in policy. He creates and then reifies conventional wisdom.
…In slavish interviews with Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly, he apologized again and again for the media’s purported liberal bias. “I’m proud of where I work, where we understand that we’ve got to not be liberal,” he said.
….Because Halperin is so determined to bend over backward for the right, he can’t come to grips with the central fact of modern politics – the death of Republican moderation … Right now, the GOP is playing a game of chicken with all of our financial futures … The president tried, in a very mild way, to address his opponents’ dangerous intransigence. What kind of political journalist regards that as wildly inappropriate? Halperin has given us the answer.
I know, it’s pure stupidity to give this Halperin scumbag hits on his Time site anymore. My only excuse: I was curious to see if he’d tone down his anti-President Obama venom in light of what happened this morning.
Just look at the nasty, aggressive tone this guy uses:
“In His Face.”
“His” face being that of the democratically elected President of the United States of America.
“Obama” would be, well, President Barack Obama – although it was a refreshing break from Halperin calling him “Bam”.
No mention, needless to say, of Romney’s latest comical flip-flop (see here)
Just to quote again the endlessly brilliant Steve Benen:
“Halperin’s credibility as an objective observer of political events has long been dubious, at best, but this morning’s little stunt should remove all doubt. In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case. To this extent, the “dick” comment only helps bring an end to a thin pretense.”
What are the bets Halperin will become a regular Fox contributor any time soon?
A post from May:
Are the Teabaggers designing Halperin’s graphics now? Real classy.
Update: Interesting – the graphic has now been removed from the site. The new headline story? Yep, you guessed it, it’s about the half-termer meeting the Chump.
Another post from May:
Mark Halperin’s obsession with the Alaskan half-termer is …. well …. bizarre. He must be the last man alive who takes this creature seriously.
His headline story at the moment on The Page is not about the reaction to the President’s speech on the Middle East, it’s not about the President’s meeting today with PM Netanyahu, it’s not about Jon Huntsman’s interview on GMA, it’s about the half-termer telling Fox (who else?) that she has ‘fire in her belly’. I kid you not, that’s his lead story, under the headline ‘Woman of Fire’.
He’s apologizing for letting slip his contempt and disrespect for the President? Right.
Steve Benen: …. If you can watch the video, note how Halperin, ostensibly one of the nation’s most influential pundits, was smiling, with a smug satisfaction. It wasn’t a word he just blurted out in the heat of a larger discussion – Halperin thought about it….
….There are a couple of angles to keep in mind here. The first is that Halperin’s credibility as an objective observer of political events has long been dubious, at best, but this morning’s little stunt should remove all doubt. In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case. To this extent, the “dick” comment only helps bring an end to a thin pretense.
… If the president stays cool, he’s an emotionless Mr. Spock. If the president shows some fire in the belly, he’s “a dick.”
What passes for mainstream political punditry in 2011 is too often a national embarrassment.
NYT: MSNBC suspended one of its best-known political analysts, Mark Halperin, on Thursday morning after he directed a slur at President Obama on the channel’s morning show, “Morning Joe.”
….Immediately after the show concluded at 9 a.m., a meeting was convened about the incident, and by 10:30 a.m., Mr. Halperin had been suspended indefinitely from his analyst job at MSNBC.
“Mark Halperin’s comments this morning were completely inappropriate and unacceptable,” the channel said in a statement. “We apologize to the President, The White House and all of our viewers. We strive for a high level of discourse and comments like these have no place on our air.”
In a fresh statement from the channel, Mr. Halperin said he agreed completely “with everything in MSNBC’s statement about my remark” and added, “I believe that the step they are taking in response is totally appropriate.” He said he deeply regretted using the slur.
Mr. Halperin, who is also an editor-at-large for Time magazine, is a paid contributor to MSNBC and a regular guest on “Morning Joe.” Time did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Steve Benen: … The key takeaway, at least for me, is what prompted Halperin’s shot in the first place.
….Yesterday, President Obama held a press conference to urge GOP leaders to accept a compromise — he and other Democrats will accept massive cuts, but the president wants Republicans to agree to some concessions as part of a bipartisan agreement.
I couldn’t care less which four-letter word Halperin uses. I do care that Halperin is presented to news consumers as a neutral observer when he clearly is not. But I really care that he and others in the media establishment look at the debt-ceiling fight and think Obama’s the one who’s a big jerk. And why do they think that? Because the president offered some relatively mild criticism of truly insane tactics.
Let me say this as plainly as I know how: Republicans are threatening to deliberately cause a global recession. The president is willing to strike a deal that leans heavily in the GOP’s direction, and Republicans are refusing. Who, in this scenario, is being dickish?
Halperin’s choice of words pales in comparison to the fact that he’s offended by the president’s mild rebuke of political recklessness the likes of which American hasn’t seen in generations….
Robert Shrum: The killing of the architect of September 11 has provoked predictable remonstrance from the usual suspects. Most Americans have reacted to the brave and brilliant operation that killed Osama bin Laden with pride and satisfaction. The predominant emotion — and this was a profoundly emotional moment — was not a sense of revenge for its own sake, but of renewed confidence in America’s capacity, relief that we no longer seemed helpless or hopeless in the pursuit of the world’s greatest mass murderer, and the simple belief, as Barack Obama expressed it, that “justice was done.”
There are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than the supposed violation of bin Laden’s civil liberties — or on the far opposite side of the ideological divide, a concocted vindication of torture glibly and opportunistically credited for the American success in tracking and taking him down. But such were the nearly instant, sadly predictable responses of those on the fringe Left who see bin Laden’s manner of dying as a blatant act of injustice, and from the neocons who want to use his death to justify their systematic and futile violation of both the law and basic standards of justice…….
…..The plain truth is that Bush failed to get bin Laden and Obama did. But nothing now seems immune from a politics of the absurd that too easily casts right as wrong, inverts reality, and pulls the extreme into mainstream dialogue. After a month in which Donald Trump was taken seriously, during a week in which Newt Gingrich declared his candidacy, at a time when the 2012 Republican anthem looks as if it might be “Bring in the Clowns,” perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the killing of bin Laden has provoked remonstrance from some on the Left and self-justification from too many on the Right.
The vast majority of Americans are where they should be — with the president and the SEALs. Barack Obama showed that a progressive Commander-in-Chief can command the heights of national security as Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy did. That’s not just good for the president or his party, but for the country. So instead of muddled thinking about bin Laden’s Miranda rights, or a partisan rhetoric of redemption for past failure, the reflex critics and the false credit-takers at least ought to have the decency to grant us the sounds of their silence.
Steve Benen: Less than two months ago, Sen. Dick Lugar (R) of Indiana was still touting his support for the DREAM Act … one of the strongest Republican supporters of the bill not only boasted about being a co-sponsor of the measure, but said he hoped it will actually pass this year.
And then he got a primary challenger.
“As the politics of the 2012 election heat up, GOP Sen. Richard Lugar declined today to join Democrats in reintroducing an immigration measure he’s long supported. Lugar has for years co-sponsored with Sen. Dick Durbin a bill to let illegal immigrants who grew up in the United States earn legal status through college or the military.”
….The senator wants to do the right thing, and understands how worthwhile the legislation would be, but suddenly can’t be responsible because right-wing activists in his home state will kick him out of work unless he panders to them shamelessly.
We’re starting to see the same thing with Olympia Snowe (R) in Maine, who’s moving to the right, and Orrin Hatch (R) in Utah, who’s already dropped his strong support for the DREAM Act and is quickly becoming one of the institution’s most buffoonish hacks. Both are facing credible primaries, and so both have given up their decency. Now, we see Lugar starting to do the same thing. It’s quite sad.