In the clearest sign yet that the shifting standards of the press have tilted so violently to the inane that just about any hack, criminal, or fool is allowed to offer their "insight" into the electoral process, your New Hampshire Primary coverage included analysis from people like Tom DeLay and Ralph Reed, whose qualifications as experts on the political process are mostly based in their long histories of trying to debase it.
On MSNBC last night, Chris Matthews brought Tom DeLay, last seen resigning from the U.S. House of Representatives under indictment and in disgrace, onto the program last night to offer his opinion on the Democratic Party race and the Clintons. Oh, gee! I wonder what he is going to say? Of the Hillary Clinton campaign, DeLay said that she was facing "a wake up call." "It's not, 'the comeback kid,'" DeLay said firmly, adding that "the coalition they have built over the last seven years...obviously is not coming through for them." Ha! Obviously!
And how about his sober, serious, mature take on running against Obama?
"On the other hand, Obama," DeLay said, "...we'll get to talk about what 'change' means when Obama is president of the United States. 'Change' isn't exactly what I think this nation wants to go -- surrender the war on terror, more taxes, more spending, bigger government."
Yes, because, that's exactly what Obama has suggested he'd do: surrender the nation to terrorists. Did Chris Matthews, whose commercials paint him as a defiant rejector of his guests' B.S., call DeLay out for this nonsense? Of course not! He was too busy inviting DeLay to jump up and down on Hillary's ("Bill Clinton's wife," he helpfully reminded) head!
Over on CNN, Anderson Cooper, seeking insight into the McCain win, turned to Ralph Reed, "strategist." What was Reed's fascinating take? "The main thing he did right was that he focused on a laser beam on New Hampshire, like he did in 2000." Oh! That's the "main thing" he "did right," eh? Not only does Reed make it sound like McCain chose this option from among many others that were open to him, but this level of analysis could have been proffered by any well-trained dog.
Hilariously, Reed described McCain's move as "going fetal." Then, when Cooper asks about McCain's long-term chances, Reed says, "The jury's still out." What? Ralph Reed said that the jury was still out on a fetus coming to term? Somebody better call Jesus!
Crooks, fundies, and hypocritical piety pimps (Bill Bennett, whose racial insight we'll treasure for a long time to come, was seated next to Reed on CNN)--these are among the treasured caretakers of your discourse.
At least, over at MSNBC, Keith Olbermann was willing to challenge the premise of Tom DeLay coming on TV to offer his insight:
OLBERMANN: Before we go over to Huckabee headquarters, I can't let the moment pass. I have to ask you this. Juxtaposition. You said that the Clintons are guilty of questioning how the game is played.
OLBERMANN: And then we went directly to an interview with Tom DeLay. I just can't let that moment -- it's not a rhetorical question, just an observation of the sequence of events there I found rather extraordinary.
MATTHEWS: Well, Tom's out of the game and you might get more attitude out of the guy who's out of the game. he's not being careful.
OLBERMANN: On occasion in his past he was known, though, for questioning the rules of the game.
MATTHEWS: Yeah, well, they had redistricting in the middle of a decade, rather than waiting for the end of it.
OLBERMANN: A little bit, yeah.
MATTHEWS: You've got a strong memory, sir.
A strong memory? No, he's just not entirely clueless.