I try to stay informed. I try not to restrict my reading to news and opinion outlets with which I agree. That, however, can make life harder than it need be.
I subscribe to the email edition of Politico Playbook. Most mornings I skim it and find it mildly annoying. Today’s edition is worse than average. The title says it all: Biden’s important, puzzling democracy speech.
The mooks at Politico think President Biden is an outlier in his concern about the fate of democracy. The horse race is the only thing that matters to them.
They appear not to understand that without democracy there will be NO horse races to cover.
This passage is as clueless as anything said by Cher Horowitz in the film of that title:
As Olivia Olander and Chris Cadelago report, “It was a familiar tone from the president, who has warned about threats to democracy before. But with the midterms just days away, it took on a sharper note. Biden blamed [Trump] for stoking divisions in the country and breeding election denialism. And he warned that election-denying Trump acolytes were ‘running for every level of office in America.’”
It was the closing message that met the moment for Biden, if not for other Democrats who have been swamped in Republican attacks focused on inflation, crime and the porous southern border. Biden set aside all of those issues to instead ask Americans to simply vote for candidates who won’t work to destroy democracy.
As one Biden ally familiar with the planning told Playbook last night, “The [theme] of democracy versus autocracy and the notion of an inflection point — that came straight out of Biden’s head and mouth.”
The person added that Biden knows “there’s not a big interest group [for this]. There’s not a Twitter feed for democracy. But that’s the moment we find ourselves in.”
I’m uncertain whether to call this inane or insane. I yield the floor to the aforementioned character from Clueless as played by fellow San Mateo High alum Alicia Silverstone:
Politico has always had a pro-Republican bias. It’s gotten worse since it was sold last year. Its political reporters spend much of their time pretending that the GOP is a normal party when the evidence is overwhelming that it is not. Where’s their plan for inflation? Election rigging is their jam.
The tone of today’s Politico Playbook is world-weary cynicism over the crazy president who thinks that democracy is on the ballot when gas prices are all that matters. I get the cynicism, but it’s misplaced in this instance. No democracy, no horse race coverage.
Despite my extreme agita over Politico Playbook’s consistent muddying of the political picture, I’m not cancelling my subscription. Instead, I’m calling it by its correct name, The Politico Racing Form.
Repeat after me: No democracy, no horse race coverage.
The last word goes to Richard Thompson: