What Would Molly Say?
Google “Molly Ivins,” and you’ll come up with a number of posts headlined “What Would Molly Say?” It’s been a frequent refrain of Molly’s myriad friends and admirers since we lost her to breast cancer at just 62 in January 2007. For many readers, her unique combination of good humor, common sense, lightly worn erudition and political fearlessness made it possible to slog through the rest of the MSM with one’s sanity (barely) intact. The demand for such journalism has only grown stronger as its supply rapidly diminishes.
I found myself wondering WWMS on the day Chris Dodd withdrew from the 2010 Senate race in Connecticut. The withdrawal, unlike Byron Dorgan’s in North Dakota a day earlier, vastly improved Democrats’ chances of retaining that seat, and brought to, um, four the number of incumbent Democrats who are planning not to run. (That’s compared with six Republicans.) In the House, ten Democrats are planning to retire (compared with fourteen Republicans). Among the nation’s governors, it is three Democrats (and four Republicans). Add it all up, and what do you get? According to that unerring guardian of Beltway bloviation–ABC News’s The Note–“Democrats Are Dropping Like Flies.” A contradiction, you say? Turns out that it, too, is the Democrats’ fault: “You know things are bad for Democrats when a move that actually improved their chances in this fall’s elections…was universally interpreted as yet another sign of the party’s bleak prospects,” explains Wall Street Journal ace columnist Gerald Seib. (Remember, he said “universally.”)
Earlier the same week, I had a WWMS moment in reaction to the coverage of the “Underpants Bomber.” Recall that when the so-called Shoe Bomber got past security in late December 2001, the Bush White House simply clammed up, and the media (and the Democrats) were happy to go along. The president did not mention it at all until a press conference six days after it took place. Meanwhile, after the shenanigans of Mr. Underpants, Barack Obama issued three public statements and announced two security reviews and a directive on how to try to correct the problem. So what did we hear? “In the Obama administration, protecting the rights of terrorists has been more important than protecting the lives of Americans,” explained Newt Gingrich, who made more appearances on Meet the Press than any other individual last year. “I don’t know that Obama has the same ability to reflect the emotions of the country as Bush did at certain points in his presidency,” worried its host, David Gregory. And with almost breathtaking lunacy, Rudy Giuliani went on ABC’s Good Morning America to insist, “We had no domestic attacks under Bush; we’ve had one under Obama.” The show’s host, George Stephanopoulos, did not think this rather unusual claim worth a follow-up. Lord knows what Molly would have made of all this…