Category Archives: Gail Collins

The people in your neighborhood

Barack Obama and John McCain may be running for President, but Gail Collins is running for Maureen Dowd.  She writes,

Also, there was the problem of tone. McCain has sometimes been charged with sounding like a cranky neighbor yelling at kids to get off the lawn. This time, he turned into a cranky neighbor who hires you to cut his grass and then follows you around, pointing out blades that you missed.


While McCain was never violently opposed to offshore drilling, he has now embraced it as if it is not only the solution to our energy problems, but also the key to eternal salvation. Really, it’s a little scary. You can’t help wondering if he’s been captured by some kind of drilling cult.

And (continuing directly):

“We’re not going to pay $4 a gallon for gas because we’re going to drill offshore, and we’re going to drill now. We’re going to drill here. We’re going to drill now!” he told the bikers. McCain is not at his best when he’s trying to rally a large group of people. He pushes too hard and sometimes winds up sounding less enthusiastic than, um, loony. It was under this exact circumstance that he volunteered Cindy for the Miss Buffalo Chip contest, though I truly do not believe he knew about the topless part.

How silly.  In a similar vein, another of the grand liberal pundits, Ruth Marcus, musters her inner literary critic to discuss Obama's "pivot" (nice basketball metaphor) to populism: 

This turn to populism is not an extreme political makeover. Rather, it's a distinct tonal shift as the Democratic presidential candidate finishes a trip through three swing states — Michigan, Ohio and Indiana — where blue-collar voters aren't necessarily on board. Listen to Obama, and you hear the distant strains of Al Gore 2000: "the people versus the powerful." 

Whether there is something inauthentic about this "pivot" Marcus doesn't bother to say (and she gives no reason to think it is inauthentic other than the use of the word "shift").  But she devotes an entire column to the idea that there is a shift, which must be a part of some kind of inauthentic strategy, or some kind of pander:

Obama circled back to our conversation when a questioner at yesterday's town hall meeting asked why he singled out oil companies. This time his answer ventured beyond refinery capacity and widgets.

"So the question is, does it make more sense for the oil companies to pay for it or does it make more sense for the struggling waitress who is barely getting by to pay for it?" he said. "And the answer is, I'm going to fight for the waitress, not because I hate the oil companies but because I think it's more fair."

Also, waitresses vote.

Perhaps no one but a cynical newspaper columnist would pretend to be surprised by the "tonal shifts" in stump speeches versus interviews with cynical newspaper columnists.

Mind numbing

I’m out of my territory here a little bit, but yesterday’s excursion into press narratives (although only to make a kind of side point) inspired me to read a little more of it.  With that in mind I stumbled across Gail Collins’ column in the New York Times.  She is another card-carrying (remember that phrase anyone?) of the liberal media.  Let’s read:

It’s all up to Pennsylvania!

Yes folks, over the next seven
weeks — the amount of time it takes a normal country to conduct an
entire national election — we will be obsessing about the critical
upcoming Pennsylvania primary. Harrisburg! Altoona! The Poconos! Did
you know that in the Poconos, some hotels have bathtubs shaped like
hearts or Champagne glasses? We actually plan on bringing that up a lot.

That’s really how the article begins.  I think it’s pastiche of the kind of irrelevance we will be subjected to in the coming days.  The kind of irrelevance the following paragraphs provide: 

Of all the things that went right for Hillary Clinton on Tuesday, the
Ohio primary win was most impressive. Although Ohioans politely tiptoed
out of Hillary’s more boring round-table discussions
, they came to
she could be a president who would fix things, no matter how
complicated or frustrating. The mere fact that she had the staying
power to keep her eyes open, they felt, was a good sign.

response, the Obama campaign has reportedly decided to do far fewer
exciting rallies and lots more mind-numbing round-table discussions in
Pennsylvania. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say we are all
really looking forward to that.

Collins’ fact-free insight and vast power of generalizing amazes me.  Notice two things.  First, she knows what Ohioans are thinking, believing and feeling–in detail "no matter how complicated or frustrating."  Was that a poll question?  I doubt it.  Beyond that, she’s intolerant of meaningful discussions of policy–they’re boring!  Mind-numbing!  And on that point–who is the "we" who is not looking forward to these discussions?  Maybe it’s Collins, who wants to talk about the Poconos.

Maybe I’m just impatient with this stuff, and I miss the larger points Collins is making.  I guess I’m a conservative that way.  I like my assertions supported by evidence.  

Keep in mind, of course, that while the liberal media over here at the New York Times can’t even bother to discuss matters of policy, George Will, conservative luminary, is busy eviscerating such leftist heroes as Oliver Stone, Norman Mailer, and Jean Paul Sartre, for their admiration of Fidel Castro, or Cuba (or something).  What’s wrong with them?  Well, Cuba has basically sentenced people to jail after one-day secret trials.  I know, I know.  That sounds awful to be stuck in Cuba in some kind of extra-legal limbo and convicted after a Stalinesque one-day secret trial.