Wednesday, May 14, 2008

James Carville and Mary Matalin - goodbye

...an act of betrayal. Mr. Richardson’s endorsement came right around the anniversary of the day when Judas sold out for 30 pieces of silver, so I think the timing is appropriate, if ironic - James Carville

If she [Hillary Clinton] gave him [Barack Obama] one of her cojones, they'd both have two - James Carville
So the tiresome James Carville, the self-styled Ragin' Cajun, has once again shown himself as the media whore he is in the second quote above (the first was from March when Bill Richardson endorsed Obama). I understand the press is tired of this campaign, tired of going through the contortions necessary to avoid actually understanding and discussing issues, but to continue to go to this massively irrelevant figure for his "insight" is simply lazy.

Every few weeks, Tim Russert trots out Carville, former Democratic strategist, along with his wife, former Republican strategist Mary Matalin (oh, ho, ho, they truly are strange bedfellows, har, har), for their commentary on the presidential campaign. Their appearances are train wrecks.

Carville, with his folksy Cajun accent and shiny bald head, cannot escape the charismatic envelope of his former employers, the Clintons; he loves, loves, loves them. Last month, he came up this gem:
It's also fair to say this is probably the best, most courageous toughest presidential candidate that we're ever seen anywhere, anyplace in our lifetimes, OK?...She is--she is--her personal performance in this campaign, her personal tenacity has been awesome.
Oddly enough, this is part of a criticism he's making about the Clinton campaign, but he passes that off by pointing out that Bush ran a good campaign in 2000, and, "look what that got us." (And his point is, what? That we should excuse a poorly-run campaign because well-run campaigns inevitably lead to disaster. It certainly doesn't sound as if Jim's doing any more political consulting any time soon.)

And what an amazing statement! Carville was born in 1944, which is before 1968, which is when presidential candidate Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed during his campaign, so the use of "courageous" seems a bit much. More than a bit much, it's an insult to people who actually do need to show courage to do their jobs, to live their lives.

The biggest downside to Hillary losing is that she will go back to the Senate, probably in a position to exert even more power, and she can sign a book deal worth, what, maybe $10 million, to give her self-serving view of the campaign. Hillary's a lot of things, good and bad, but courageous is near the bottom of the list.

But, of course, that's just Carville being Carville. As are his odd performances on Meet The Press, in which he will grub for attention, usually by thrusting his hand Russert-ward (pick me, pick me), only to come out with some banality - it's just he can't stand to let anyone else have the floor for more than about two minutes. And, after issuing yet another bon mot, he looks around the studio to see who's laughing (no one's laughing out here, Jim).

And his wife is no better, but certainly different. Her flat affect and nasal whine suggests nothing so much as narcotization; she only really springs to life when talking about the man she loves, Dick Cheney. Her basic approach is to greet any talk of the Democratic campaign with a wheezing, "and that's why John McCain is going to be our next president."

I have seen a lot of the coverage during this campaign, and there are actually reporters and commentators who seem engaged in the process. Any of them are worth more notice than this over-exposed pair of windbags who seem to exist only to be seen. I know that Carville co-hosts a radio show (on sports!) with Tim Russert's son, but, at this point, I would rather see Luke Russert's dry cleaner on Meet The Press.

Supposedly, Carville continues to act as an advisor to the Clinton campaign, but I cannot imagine what, other than folksy faux-outrageousness, he can bring to that effort. It's time to send Jim and Mary back to New Orleans and accept that their time on the stage is over.
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