This Mark Halperin op-ed is really stunning. I’m glad I’ve got a long car ride in my future this afternoon, because maybe it’ll give me the opportunity to really process why and how this is happening. At a first glance, though, while it’s certainly possible to join Robert Farley in slamming Halperin’s preposterous notion of “underdog” (such that Bill Clinton in 1996 qualifies) and his goofy equivalence between Bill Clinton’s tragic flaw (blowjob!) and George W. Bush’s (massive death and destruction; torture; financial crises) or to join Alex Massie in noting the stunning chutzpah and hypocrisy of it all, it should be said that Halperin’s fundamental point is correct.
His op-ed says that the media has been dominated by the presumption that campaign coverage should be focused primarily on making judgments about politicians’ campaigning savvy, that the reason the media does this is an assumption that the skills it takes to run a savvy campaign are the skills that it takes to run the country well, and that these presumptions are false and should be abandoned.
Halperin is a little late to the party. And by “a little” I mean “a lot.” Go read James Fallows’ old article about why the media sucks. But, whatever, if Halperin wants to come over to the side of light, I think we should take him.