I realize this doesn’t exactly qualify as a news flash. But White House press secretary Scott McClellan’s performance yesterday, which I caught on television last night, struck me as yet another example of a certain type of political rhetoric that is so phony it ought to be held up and ridiculed on every occasion.
And though I’m not prepared to quantify it, it seems to me that it’s the sort of thing engaged in far more often by Republicans — or at least those Republicans whose reason for being is to promote the fortunes of George W. Bush — than it is by Democrats.
The subject: U.S. Sen. John Kerry’s announcement that he’ll try to lead a filibuster of Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. Rick Klein captures it in today’s Boston Globe:
Seizing on the fact that Kerry demanded a filibuster from the economic summit — held in Switzerland’s posh Steigenberger Hotel Belvedere — the Republican National Committee press release labeled Kerry and Kennedy the “Davos Dems.” One Capitol Hill wag tagged their Quixotic move “the Swiss Miss.”
Asked at the White House about the filibuster threat, White House press secretary Scott McClellan chuckled. ”I think even for a senator, it takes some pretty serious yodeling to call for a filibuster from a five-star ski resort in the Swiss Alps,” he quipped.
Got that? Kerry is working at the world economic conference, doing whatever it is a senator might do at such a gathering. And the spokesman for Bush — who is known for occasionally attending such events himself, as of course he should — immediately mocks Kerry as though he had merely gone on an expensive ski trip. The “rich, elitist, out-of-touch liberal” trope rides again!
Now, if people want to mock Kerry for launching a filibuster that will likely be futile, that’s fine. I laughed along with everyone else at David Kirkpatrick’s piece in yesterday’s New York Times, in which he wrote, “Democrats cringed and Republicans jeered at the awkwardness of his gesture, which almost no one in the Senate expects to succeed.” (Not exactly a model of objectivity, though.)
But McClellan’s putdown is so contemptible because it is inherently dishonest. The media have got to stop going along with this stuff.