Sunday, April 8, 2007

Joe Klein: Monday morning quarterback

A most interesting column from Joe Klein. He writes:

When Bush['s] hyper-partisanship has proved to be a travesty of governance and a comprehensive failure. I've tried to be respectful of the man and the office, but the three defining sins of the Bush Administration--arrogance, incompetence, cynicism--are congenital: they're part of his personality. They're not likely to change. And it is increasingly difficult to imagine yet another two years of slow bleed with a leader so clearly unfit to lead.

Wow. That's pretty tough stuff. These are thoughts I agree with, and I'm sure many fellow liberal (and conservative) bloggers may also agree.

So, we should be applauding Klein. Here is an influential MSM member forcefully speaking truth to power. I've complained bitterly about the how MSM are stenographers to power who would rather trade jokes and sip martinis with the powerful than hold the light of truth to them.

My problem is Joe Klein's history. Matt Taibbi recently excoriated Klein. Taibbi has known Klein for a long time, and rips him for the very point of stenographing the powerful.

Oh yes, Klein did write in April 2003 that the invasion of Iraq was a "big gamble". Back to Taibbi:

[A]ccording to Klein, he's been against the war since that September 2002 column[.]... Except for one thing -- while Klein in that column did point out many things that could go wrong in Iraq, and suggested that we all give the invasion a good thinking over before we signed off on it ("this should cause us to pause, slow down, talk this over"), he didn't actually say we shouldn't go. In fact, he would say just the opposite six months later, on Meet the Press:

MR. KLEIN: ... This is a really tough decision. War may well be the right decision at this point. In fact, I think it--it's--it--it probably is.

RUSSERT: Now that's twice you've said that: 'It's the right war.' You believe it's the wrong time. Why do you think it's the right war?

Mr. KLEIN: Because sooner or later, this guy has to be taken out. Saddam has--Saddam Hussein has to be taken out."

Now, it is gratifying to see Klein go off on BushCo; I wish more of the MSM would go off on BushCo. However, important members of the MSM - Bob Woodward, Tim Russert, Tom Freidman, Joe Klien, et al, had their chance - a once in a generation chance - to speak truth to power at an incredibly important time in our nation's history. These men had a chance to influence history, rather than simply swim downstream with the current.

The best I can say now about Joe Klein is an adept Monday Morning Quarterback.


TomCat said...

Ron, I'm noticing a trend that more and more conservatives in the MSM are backing away from Bush. They goose-stepped as long as they could get away with it, but it's getting to the point that any authentic news professional values credibility too much to support Bush, and non-authentic ones must follow suit to maintain the pretense of authenticity.

Political Realm said...

Klein is definitely a follower. He kissed and dissed Clinton at various times when it was popular. I still enjoy his writing, however--very matter of fact.
And as you note, better late to the truth than never.

a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

I dislike Klein, but I don't quite follow your line that because of what he said, back when. Hussein was a nasty guy, his words, like his words every day are his opinion.

As to "chance to influence history."

What do you think the media does every stinkin' day? I would like them to just report it and quit influencing it. Granted Klein is a commentator/pundit so opinion is ok by me.

Most of these folks don't know their *ss from a hole in the ground and even though you (likely) believe Bush does as well - would you really want to trust your world to the unelected messengers? Not that we don't already

a.k.a. Blandly Urbane said...

Forgot to mention....I like the blog