This is the center-left’s idea of sophisticated commentary on the Democratic candidates’ debate last night, and in particular, a reflection of their ability to process the message conveyed by Tulsi Gabbard:
Tulsi GabbardJamelle Bouie (5/10) — Gabbard, like Andrew Yang, is a one-note candidate. But she played that note fairly well. She took serious hits from Harris and Buttigieg, and I’m not sure that she recovered.
Bianca Vivion Brooks (3/10) — She was robotic, uninspiring and seemed to spend the entirety of the debate on the defense.
Jorge Castañeda (6/10) — She was the only one to say that the war on drugs has failed.
Gail Collins (4/10) — Really, her best talent is tearing down other candidates.
Maureen Dowd (2/10) — Everyone loves a spoiler but it’s time to tap out and head back to Fox Nation.
Nicole Hemmer (1/10) — She’s more likely to land a Fox News gig than the Democratic nomination.
Liz Mair (6/10) — Disingenuous in many of her comments, but a good attacker and fun to watch.
Daniel McCarthy (6/10) — She’s a two-note candidate, criticizing an awful, hawkish foreign policy running back several administrations and the need to tolerate political differences, not just racial and sexual ones. Two vital messages.
Melanye Price (4/10) — Why wasn’t Julián Castro onstage?
Mimi Swartz (3/10) — The more she talks about unification, the less credible she sounds. Emits enough chill to save the polar ice cap.
In other words, the mean girls and snark boys get together for a short but evidently satisfying session of mutual masturbation, then upload it to the political equivalent of PornHub.
The visceral, unreasoned nature of these comments only too obviously suggests that just as there’s such a thing as fake news, there’s such a thing as fake commentary, an art form that the center-left, in its smug complacency, has come to perfect. Other than convincing the already smug and complacent to remain so, commentary of this kind does nothing but add volume to the liberal echo chamber in just the way that Fox News adds to the conservative one.
The money shot prize in this episode has to go to Nicole Hemmer (“historian“), in a comment ostensibly about Tom Steyer, but aimed at Gabbard:
Nicole Hemmer (2/10) — He’s a vanity candidate who bought his way into the debate, but at least he’s not a fan of Bashar al-Assad.
In case you thought I was exaggerating about “McCarthyism.” This is how these assholes “think”: If they repeat a lie often enough, it becomes true; if they do it for the Democrats, it becomes virtuous; and if both things are the case, they can affirm their superiority to Fox News. If only any of this were believable to anyone outside of the circle jerk session.
Suggestion for the political to-do list: may want to re-think that superiority conceit. Most of these commentators have more in common with Fox News than they realize, and far more in common with it than Tulsi Gabbard does. Self-knowledge doesn’t appear to be in their wheelhouse, alas, but no one can stave the need for it off forever.
On second thought, it occurs to me that my reference to “snark boys” is a bit of false equivalence. The men don’t offer up very much snark; it’s the women who seem to have a visceral, infantile “mean girl” reaction to Gabbard.
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