Brian’s Hawks

A subculture of militancy is emerging in cable news punditry.

Above: “Wham!,” by the American Artist Roy Lichtenstein, image courtesy of Sotheby’s

Check out this month’s episodes of Brian Williams’ MSNBC “Eleventh Hour with Brian Williams.” During political “analysts” speaking to the Biden-Manchin-Republican infrastructure bill(s) dust-up, one experiences a curious militancy.

A militancy accompanied by a hands-to-the-sky exasperation with (OMG!) ‘Democrats.’ Notable really, given the tawdry conspiratorial efforts of the Republican Party leadership to jettison any legislation stamped with President Biden’s future signature.

It’s a militancy courtesy of Williams, Rick Wilson, Eugene Robinson, Peter Baker, James Carville — the list goes on as new recruits emerge: why aren’t Democrats tougher, why aren’t they ‘out for blood,’ why don’t they know how to fight in the (presumed) war with Republicans? Why are Democrats (always) bringing soup ladles to a knife fight? Why are Democrats, as one pundit delicately put it, always wagging behind?

It’s a curious ploy — this sell — because underneath is not only a disdain for negotiation and public discourse about matters that matter ‘when the dust clears…’ But also more…

We are not on ‘Lord of the Flies’ island yet. Nor are we on ‘Gilligan’s Island.’

What the hell is going on?

Consider that ‘Democrats’ have been fighting ‘like hell,’ behind closed doors, with themselves, with moderates, with Republicans.

Consider that President Biden calculates that without Progressives he can’t move his programs ahead. Progressives must be at the table. Guess what? Suddenly, a confab of liberals, moderates, centrists, anti-progressives feel vulnerable and get nasty about their party, Biden and their policy boats. Suddenly ‘we’ are ‘wusses,’ not up to the fight.

And who’s to blame for getting us here? Progressives.

Solidarity-with-negotiation goes out the window and ‘we’ self-deprecate.

‘Wusses’ quit a fight, which is definitely not what is going on. So what are liberals afraid of? That there is no divide, there is no red-blue. That ‘this’ — Biden’s programs — comprise a redistribution of wealth demanded by the marginalized, the unprotected, the vulnerable.

Let’s repeat: the American people.

And there is an obsession that Biden will ‘gaffe’ something up. His approval ratings are dropping. He has to sell harder, go out on the trail more, get tough. And yet, Biden does not represent the Democrats per se, he is the party leader. And his is not exclusively, the ‘tough guy’ role. That’s in the comic section, not on the front page.

Democrats don’t have a ‘courage problem.’ The ‘liberal press’ has a communication problem.

October 7



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