Daily Archives: March 29, 2006

Cozy

Rarely does a day go by when one doen’t wonder how Howie Kurtz managed to survive elementary school. Surely his blame-shifting antics began back then, with a daily whine of “It wasn’t me, teacher — it was HIM!” for every time his hand was caught in the cookie jar. Must have been a really fast runner to elude the after-class beatings that were surely his due.

But now, of course, such dissembling has become so central to his work it’s almost an art.

“So the press, which has been lusting for a White House staff shakeup, finally got one yesterday.”

Breathtaking, isn’t it? Right from the get-go “the press” means “not me, of course.”

“And we learn that all those administration denials of a pending staff shuffle, particularly involving Andy Card, were hogwash, since he submitted his resignation weeks ago.
The media are also getting their way with cozy little off-the-record sessions with the president.”

Don’t you just love that word? The best use of “cozy” I know of can be found in The Servant — when Wendy criag is asked by James Fox what she thinks of his plans for building cities in Brazil to be populated by the populace of Asia Minor.

So clever of Howie to use it here, as if he weren’t ever-so cozily situated himself — far more so than any of the colleagues his so obviously disdains. For Howie is devoted to “fairness” — a fourth estate slight-of-hand in which “both sides” are “criticized equally.”

Of course there are more than two sides to any story, but Howie isn’t interested. He’s far too busy shoving other hands into that very crowded cookie jar.

“The Card resignation is a gift-wrapped package to bored journalists for several reasons: They can speculate about the reason (did he jump or was he pushed? )They can churn out profiles of his successor, Josh Bolten (is he the answer to the administration’s problems?) They can opine about why Bush didn’t bring in a true outsider (the Fourth Estate’s preferred option). They can gab about whether more heads will roll (is Rove next?), pontificate about second-term blues, analyze whether Bush’s problem is his staff or himself, and so on. Talented journalists could easily keep this thing going for a week. That’s why we’re professionals. Don’t try this at home.

So nice to see the “we” sneaking in at the last, especially in a context where “talent” is tied so conspicuously to “boredom.” A truly talented journalist would see that Bolton’s ascent to Car’d position is no story at all. But as Howie well know true talent in this area is now the province of Firedoglake, the Daily Kos and other areas of Blogistan where Glenn Reynolds, Roger L. Simon et.al. fear to tread.

“Never mind that most Americans don’t know who Card is. (In fact, he may be most famous for that scene from the Michael Moore movie; television kept replaying the footage of Card interrupting Bush’s reading of “My Pet Goat” to tell him about the 9/11 attacks.) “

And that of course means that most Americans know precisely who Andrew Card is. If not
an internet aide memoire is easily obtained

“Card certainly was an important player on Pennsylvania Avenue, even though he wasn’t a big policy maven. But what feels like an earthquake here inside the Beltway is probably barely a tremor in most of the country.
As for Bolten, he may be a talented staff man, but let’s face it. His promotion gives the Democrats a free pass to talk about how the guy who presided over huge budget deficits got rewarded.”

And true to form, Howie reverts to the partisan meme– as if criticizing BushCo was only matter for Democrats to deal with.

Surely Mrs. Howie (a well placed RNC operative) knows that’s not true. Obviously she’s too much of a lady to have told him.

Now that’s what I call “cozy.”