Ed Driscoll

Everyday I Write The Book

Ed Morrissey on Chris Matthews’ remarkably flexible standards on political memoirs:

Chris Matthews decided to poke some fun at Scott Brown’s book deal for his memoirs, just a few weeks after winning his Senate seat, and Greg Hengler catches the moment. Matthews makes a pretty good point about politicians who write their memoirs before their careers really get going. It’s a darned good thing that Barack Obama waited until after retiring from politics to — wait, what? Obama has already written two memoirs. Yeah, okay, but he didn’t write them before getting elected to the Senate, did he, Mr. Smartypa — wha, what? His first book came out in August 2004, three months before getting elected to the US Senate and the second two years later? Er …

Update: His first memoir actually came out in 1995, not 2004, before he ran for office of any kind; my apologies for not recalling that when I first wrote this post. I await Matthews’ statement disavowing his leg tingle shortly.

That’s similar to the reaction that led to the title of Harry Stein’s latest book:

So what happens when a liberal’s cocoon is pierced? In the latest edition of PJM Political, I interview Harry Stein, the author of the newly released I Can’t Believe I’m Sitting Next to a Republican: A Survival Guide for Conservatives Marooned Among the Angry, Smug, and Terminally Self-Righteous. Its title derives from a dinner party that Stein was attending last year in bluer-than-blue Hastings on Hudson in New York State. (How blue is it?!, as another Ed was wont to say: it’s Keith Olbermann’s birthplace!) Stein raised a minor conversational point about the comparative inexperience of then-rookie Senator Obama, and the guest sitting next to him blurted out what would become the book’s title in a classic puritanical Margaret Dumont-esque tone.

But then, as I also wrote last year, experience is very much a fungible asset to the left:

In April of 2001, Time magazine had the chutzpah to dub then newly-elected President Bush “the least experienced presidential nominee of modern times”, despite being elected to two terms as governor of one of America’s largest states, whose father had spent 12 years in the White House as veep and then president.

Of course, experience is remarkably fungible commodity amongst the left;  Time magazine’s 2001 attack on the nascent Bush presidency is even more applicable to President Obama, though no one on the left complained during his campaign or afterward.  (For comparison sake, Dan Quayle had spent more time serving in DC before being nominated in 1988 to be vice president; Sarah Palin has actual executive experience governing a state).

The left’s double-standard on the importance of experience in DC is palpable: on the one hand, they want to pretend that governing is so complex, only a phalanx of John Kenneth Galbraith-style wisemen armed with slide rules and scientific calculators can do it. On the other hand, when it suits their purposes, they’re happy to pretend that a neophyte first-term senator is the smartest man on the planet, if not a deity made flesh.

And then they’re surprised when he falls to earth.

Related: Just to follow-up on my refence to Galbraith and other mid-century big government types, Daniel Henninger explains why “Why Obama Is No LBJ:”

The idea that Obama should become LBJ, even in the glare of modern media, reveals how other-worldly our politics has become. Only a dilettante would believe a Barack Obama can walk in off the street and be LBJ. To read Caro’s account of the hours, years, effort, savvy and muscle memory Lyndon Johnson built over a career to become “LBJ” is to know why Washington “doesn’t work” anymore.

A final irony. Johnson’s victory with the 1957 civil rights bill broke the Southern Democrats’ long hold on the region in obvious ways. In recent years, moderate Senate Democrats like Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landrieu and some House members have begun to defeat Republicans. For a 2,000 page health-care bill, an alliance of northern liberals is about to break them again.

Read the whole thing.