I suppose that, being a media blogger and all, I should face up to the distasteful task of responding to insidious and disingenuous horse hockey like this:
Here's the way Halperin and Harris describe the two styles:
"Clinton Politics is the politics of the center. It holds that Americans for the most part, with the exception of irate groups at the edges, are less interested in ideology than in practical solutions to basic problems. People would prefer politics to be polite, civil, and compromise-minded."
"Bush Politics is the politics of the base," the authors continue. "A successful leader will stand forthrightly on one side of a grand argument. Then he or she will win that argument by sharpening the differences and rallying his most intense supporters to his side."
People from the Old Media, like me, instinctively prefer a centrist style of civilized debate. Of course we do, say Halperin and Harris. We are the gatekeepers of the old order. The shrill voices of the New Media -- the bloggers and talk-radio hosts and other partisan megaphones that Halperin and Harris describe as the "Freak Show" -- don't just threaten our beloved center. They might eventually put us out of business.
Well, that's what it's really about, isn't it, Dave, old pal old buddy? The idea that people like us might put People Like You out of business. The horror!
It's not so much what they say as the cognitive dissonance that allows them to say it.
I hardly know where to begin, what with someone like Mark Halperin (of ABC's horrible "The Note") having the audacity to lecture us on civility and politeness. "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach," I suppose. After all, The Note is a stomach-turning concoction of insider smugness, opposition-research spin and off-handed character assassination.
But let's not go tit-for-tat. Let's look at the compelling core fact that seems to elude the Beltway Bobbleheads, and it's this: This is not a game. Really. The actions of the Bush administration, their congressional enablers and the media's blushing handmaidens have real consequences, for real people.
What could possibly be more telling than their collective furrowed brows and concern over why those Other People just don't seem to grasp the good economic news that is BushCo? Why don't they know anyone outside of the Georgetown investor class? How can they not know how bad it is for the rest of us?
Perhaps they should ask their Third World nannies.
How do they manage to treat the Iraq war like a chess game, played with cheap plastic pieces instead of real men and women? How do they oh-so-politely ignore the stench of 600,000 Iraqi dead as if it were of no more consequence than an ill-timed fart at a dinner party?
How do they downplay the breathtaking orgy of rape and pillage that is the White House, this war and the members of the GOP-controlled Congress?
How do they reduce our finally awakened and greatly concerned electorate to annoyingly "shrill" voices?
And how dare these Washington media fluffers insist, from the protection of their bubble, that they have the moral authority to tell us civility should prevail when their polite indifference brought us to the point where our nation is in utter crisis?
In "They Live!", the cult movie that seems more than prescient these days, you can't see the evil aliens or the oppressive means by which they're controlling the populace without the right sunglasses.
It's high time the Washington press corps gets their collective eyes checked.