Politico, like almost all media outlets, is trying its best to drag Barack Obama’s sorry carcass across the finish line. One of the leaders of that effort is the site’s chief political columnist, Roger Simon (no relation to our friend Roger L. Simon of PJ Media). Media liberals are desperately trying to push two themes on the American public: 1) Barack Obama is winning the presidential race, and 2) Mitt Romney’s campaign is in disarray. They think that this will help Obama win the election, although, as I argued here, it is by no means clear that pushing those themes will in fact help Obama.
Liberal journalists push theme #1–Obama is winning–by first carrying out, and then relentlessly publicizing, polls that ridiculously over-sample Democrats, so as to prove the uncontroversial proposition that if you ask a lot of Democrats whom they intend to vote for, most of them will say Obama. What they have mostly succeeded in doing is creating a scandal concerning obviously mendacious polling.
Journalists have a problem with theme #2–the Romney campaign is in disarray–because it isn’t. Actually, the Romney campaign is as close to a well-oiled machine as you will see in presidential politics. If you are looking for disarray, check out the Obama administration. But don’t expect to read about it in the New York Times, or Politico.
So this brings us back to Politico’s chief political correspondent, Roger Simon. No doubt he would have liked to write a column about actual disarray in the Romney campaign, but being unable to do so, he instead wrote a satire column imagining such disarray; specifically, imagining conflict between Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Is it obvious that Simon’s column was intended as comedy? Well, it isn’t very funny. Here is how it begins; let us know when you get to the first chuckle:
Paul Ryan has gone rogue. He is unleashed, unchained, off the hook.
“I hate to say this, but if Ryan wants to run for national office again, he’ll probably have to wash the stench of Romney off of him,” Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Republican Party of Iowa, told The New York Times on Sunday.
That is, amazingly enough, a genuine quote from someone who appears to be an actual Republican. Everything that follows is fiction.
Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.
Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”
Even before the stench article appeared, there was a strong sign that Ryan was freeing himself from the grips of the Romney campaign. It began after his disastrous appearance on Friday before AARP in New Orleans.
It goes on for a long time in the same vein; follow the link if you have any appetite for more. So, was it reasonable for Simon’s fellow Democrats to fail to notice that his column was intended as comedy? Later in the column, Simon wrote:
A word about PowerPoint. PowerPoint was released by Microsoft in 1990 as a way to euthanize cattle using a method less cruel than hitting them over the head with iron mallets. After PETA successfully argued in court that PowerPoint actually was more cruel than iron mallets, the program was adopted by corporations for slide show presentations.
Conducting a PowerPoint presentation is a lot like smoking a cigar. Only the person doing it likes it. The people around him want to hit him with a chair.
PowerPoint is usually restricted to conference rooms where the doors are locked from the outside. It is, therefore, considered unsuited for large rallies, where people have a means of escape and where the purpose is to energize rather than daze.
I don’t know, that strikes me as sort of humorous. Readers should have been able to figure out that Simon’s column wasn’t exactly on the level. But liberals are so desperate for evidence that the Romney campaign is on the rocks–a theme with no support in the world known as “real”–that they swallowed it hook, line and sinker. Tobin Harshaw of Bloomberg has a roundup:
Times columnist Paul Krugman:
Can I say that even though I’m not exactly a fan of Mitt Romney’s, this is just bad behavior? You’re supposed to wait until it’s actually over before you do this kind of thing. Anyway, I like how Ryan is declaring independence: by using PowerPoint!
Which means that Krugman actually read the Power Point riff quoted above, and still didn’t discern that the column was supposed to be funny. So, Paul, does that mean you can be a complete moron and still win a Nobel Prize for anti-Americanism?
Tommy Christopher of press-gossip site Mediaite:
Simon’s anecdote has the recognizable (to the Beltway crowd) ring of truth that renders it canonical in political circles … Simon’s anecdote demonstrates that the Romney campaign’s toxic press is in Ryan’s head. In this electoral game of chicken, Ryan is already unbuckling his seatbelt and visualizing his roll onto the shoulder.
Joe Gandelman of the Moderate Voice:
Have we ever heard of a winning Presidential ticket in American politics that had a Vice Presidential candidate have an attitude like this about his running mate? Talk about a total lack of deference (or respect).
Liberal radio personality Taylor Marsh:
Ryan is trying to save himself so he can live to run another day. Roger Simon’s piece has spread like wildfire and is causing a gigantic ripple.
Steve Benen at MSNBC host Rachel Maddow’s blog:
In applied terms, Simon’s piece went on to note that Ryan no longer likes the directions “dictated by his Romney handlers.” It’s quite a presidential campaign, isn’t it?
David Ferguson of the Raw Story:
According to Simon’s anonymous sources, the Romney “brain trust” of senior campaign officials in Boston have taken to calling Ryan “Gilligan.” Campaign headquarters apparently feels that the man brought on to the ticket for his alleged deftness in navigating complicated snarls of budget and policy numbers is turning out to be an intellectual flyweight.
That’s an impressive list of left-wing media personalities, all of whom are evidently more clueless than the average seventh-grader. Why? Because they are desperate. They fervently want Barack Obama to be re-elected, but they know his administration has been a disaster, and they fear that most Americans have noticed. So they are hysterical pretty much 24/7 and are not in the mood for nuance, to the point where they can’t even discern Roger Simon’s less than subtle effort to use fiction to discredit the Romney campaign. Or here is another way to look at it: the Democrats are past the point where they can deal with reality, and they are happy to rally round any comfortable piece of fiction that comes their way.