Tuesday, July 22, 2008

She's finally made it

Joan Vennocchi of the Globe finally wrote a column of such penetrating stupidity, vapidity, and sycophancy to the Republican line that she got a shout out from Instapundit:

UPDATE: Radio Equalizer notes that the Boston Globe published this column by Joan Venocchi: "The Audacity of Ego." So the NYT is more in the tank than the Globe?

Heh, indeedy. The Devil knows his own. But apparently doesn't know that the Times owns the Boston Globe. But I digress. That column was so hideous that it literally brought me to my knees with rage. Venocchi's no towering intellect at the best of times but this wholly airy piece of persiflage was more reminiscent of Mallard Fillmore phoning it in two weeks late than even her usual stuff. It was also straight out of the Maureen Dowd playbook. It begins thusly:

JUST LIKE the Obama girl, Obama has a crush on Obama.

Apparently we aren't going for "he's a boring old wonky wonk a la Mike Dukakis just look at the way he insists on having pages of policy on his web-site!" and instead we are going with Obambi. But is it possible she has failed to grasp that he is not, in fact, spending the weekend preening in front of the mirror but instead is , in fact, in Afghanistan and Iraq talking about the future of our two favorite wars, meeting the troops and world leaders, and talking policy? Apparently, yes, since:

Barack Obama always was a larger-than-life candidate with a healthy ego. Now he's turning into the A-Rod of politics. It's all about him.

And because its all about him he has forced--FORCED--the republicans to attack him personally rather than on the policy issues he is refusing to talk about. ( "He's giving his opponent something other than issues to attack him on: narcissism.") And, wait for it --I SAID WAIT FOR IT--because you know its coming, she can't believe the ego of a guy who would actually plan on giving an acceptance speech to a nominating convention!

A convention hall isn't good enough for the presumptive Democratic nominee. He plans to deliver his acceptance speech in the 75,000 seat stadium where the Denver Broncos play. Before a vote is cast, he's embarking on a foreign policy tour that will use cheering Europeans - and America's top news anchors - as extras in his campaign.
The egotistical bastard even has a campaign slogan "yes, we can" unlike all previous campaigners. I hear he's even put it on buttons and things to hand out to his "cult followers."

Even worse, Obama's ego is such that he identifies with another young, charismatic, handsome, presidential hopeful:

But when Obama looks into the mirror, he doesn't just see a president; he sees JFK.

And that is so wrong because although Michelle is like Jackie, and JFK actually also gave his acceptance speech in a stadium, JFK never had the ego to think he was Obama--so there! His modesty was such that he gave a speech in Germany *after* he was elected. And he never, ever, would have gone to Iraq. Case closed!

McCain, meanwhile, is absolutely altogether more restrained, thoughtful, and humble. He has no campaign slogans--oh, wait, he does ("change we can't believe in" and "an american president we've all been waiting for" I believe as well as "you are all a bunch of whiny sissies" and "stop slathering on the makeup you cunt.")

But McCain has one thing going for him: the appearance of modesty.

Oh, that's good, because I was afraid for a moment that we were going to talk about things that were not mere appearances.

Part of it is physical. McCain is stiff and awkward, the result of age and injuries from his years as a prisoner of war. That, too, is a contrast to Obama's sleek physique, the consequence of youth and a George W. Bush-like passion for working out. [Yes, she really tried to make a negative Bush/Obama equivalency there by insisting that working out made Bush the intellectual and moral slacker he is today]

How do we know McCain is humble--because he waited until he was running for president to have a self aggrandizing, romantic "autobiography" ghost written for himself at age 63:

McCain's humility comes through in his book, "Faith of my Fathers," which he wrote at age 63, after completing a career in the US Navy and moving onto politics.

Gosh, the guy's a regular Uriah Heep!

While Obama wrote a "more self reverential" (I think the words she means are "self referential" or "reflective" but let it go, we've got better fish to fry " "Dreams from My Father," after he was elected president of the Harvard Law Review."

Will the man's ego stop at nothing! How dare he allow himself to be elected president of the Harvard Law Review. How trivial and self absorbed of him. At his age McCain had already crashed four planes and been a prisoner of war. At Obama's current age McCain had already abandoned his first wife and family, married into vast wealth, and bought his first congressional seat. What has Obama done that merits any notice compared to that?

But with McCain, there's also the sense of a man who made mistakes in life and acknowledges them.
Venocchi insists on these parallelisms but doesn't have the nerve to flip them and acknowledge the other possibility. I mean, I'll cop to it, there are stark contrasts between the two men:

Obama's black, McCain's white. Obama's young, McCain's old. Obama's an egotist, so McCain must not have any ego at all. Of course Miss Mallard Fillmore doesn't fill in all the blanks correctly--McCain's a son of privilege whose father's family dominated his life; Obama's the son of a rejecting, abandoning father who was never there for him. McCain's mother always did everything society expected of her and remained at ease in her privileged surroundings; Obama's mother never did. McCain failed upwards through school and the military, unable to deviate from the family line. Obama is a self made man. McCain's family protected him from the consequences of his own behavior, Obama's family couldn't. Obama is faithfully married to the beautiful and dynamic young mother of his children. McCain is unfaithfully married to the drugged out, sad eyed, former barbie known as his own ex-mistress. Michelle shops at Target (while channeling Jackie!) while Cindy travels with her own stylist on her own private plane. I'll go one further because its going to come up at the Rick Warren Come to Jesus--Obama's a committed christian who accepted jeezus christ on a cracker in his life, personally. McCain, not so much. Obama sat in a church pew for twenty years listening to something. McCain did not. See, contrasts!

Venocchi's column wobbles from a pretense of first person observation (she's the reporter who stands in for those of us who don't bother to watch TV or read the books) to a vague "this stuff is out there" as she retails republican talking points, acknowledges how fake they are, but then worries on Obama's behalf (while chastising him for failing to prevent the rumors) that "voters" will take this stuff seriously. Well, if they are true--that is that Obama's "ego" is so huge its like some kind of dangerous blancmange from outer space ready to eat the country, surely the voters should take it seriously. But if its all manufactured, as she more or less admits with her quotes from Rush Limbaugh and McCain's surrogates, exactly why is she rooting for it to take hold as the correct narrative for the race?

Venocchi is exactly the kind of op ed writer who makes readers despair. Its not that she's a partisan--I'd welcome outright partisanship at this point--its that she's a concern troll who retails second hand campaign propaganda from the conservative side as reportorial insight into the actual candidates.