Ed Driscoll

Destruction Complete

Newsweek’s Howard Fineman tells Keith Olbermann yesterday that “Obama’s changing everything as he moves“:

His victory speech last night in Grant Park which was so memorable on so many levels was also the first speech of his administration three months before it begins. He said, we’re at the base of the mountain, not at the mountain top, and exuded a core of sort of sense of sober “let’s roll up our sleeves” determination you’re seeing reflective in the fact that he got this transition system running two or three months ago, another example of this guy’s ability to plan and look ahead, look over the horizon. They’ve been working for months on this, Keith, just as they worked for months on the campaign itself before anybody noticed.

OLBERMANN: The names that we mentioned here, they are just some of many possibilities that have surfaced for the new administration. It’s all over the place. But what will be, is there going to be an overarching theme in the appointments? We discussed this last night, competency, bipartisanship, diversity, newness, where are they going?

FINEMAN: Well, it’s going to be all of those. But I think, if you had to pick one, it would be excellence. Barack Obama is a guy who appreciates excellence and focus. He’s a guy who appreciates results. As we reported reportedly, doesn’t like drama queens, doesn’t like egomaniacs, doesn’t like leakers — which eliminates about three-quarters of the people in Washington for sure.

And that’s what he’s going to focus on. It will be naturally diverse and naturally bipartisan. He’s not going to pick people to fit slots because they’re Republican, because they’re an African-American, because they’re Hispanic. He believes that the country has changed enough and developed enough and is diverse enough, as his own election has now shown, that he can pick the best people all across the spectrum and will reflect the whole country. But it’s going to be excellence first and experience.

As Fineman wrote four years ago, in “The ‘Media Party’ Is Over“:

A political party is dying before our eyes — and I don’t mean the Democrats. I’m talking about the “mainstream media,” which is being destroyed by the opposition (or worse, the casual disdain) of George Bush’s Republican Party; by competition from other news outlets (led by the internet and Fox’s canny Roger Ailes); and by its own fraying journalistic standards.

“Sometime in 2008, journalism as we knew it died, and advocacy media took its place”, Victor Davis Hanson wrote last week–and you can see the transformation in Fineman’s hagiographic appraisal yesterday.

(On the other hand, Newsweek’s Evan Thomas–he of 2004’s 15 points–viewed Tuesday’s coronation through somewhat of a more gimlet eye.)