Joe and I spark it up quite a bit —the transcript will be up here later— a product of my disdain for the hubris in this column and in his approach to the world of views which don’t match his preconceived ones. Klein dismisses as foolish, for example, not just Victor Davis Hanson, Bernard Lewis, or mark Steyn, but all three. Really, what can you say to such a writer?
Challenged on his absurd statement that Romney “has flipped on immigration, to better suit the Mexican-fearing tendencies of a segment of the Republican base,” Joe mounted a filibuster that saw him flip-flopping on immigration as well as Romney in the space of a minute as well as utterly incapable of summoning up any data to back his smear of immigration bill opponents as “Mexican-fearing.”
Aside: Most people accusing Romney of changing his views on immigration point to a 2005 interview in which Romney gave a general endorsement to regularization. The Boston Globe’s Scott Helman recently wrote up the old exchange this way:
In a November 2005 interview with the Globe, Romney described immigration proposals by McCain and others as “quite different” from amnesty, because they required illegal immigrants to register with the government, work for years, pay taxes, not take public benefits, and pay a fine before applying for citizenship.
“That’s very different than amnesty, where you literally say, ‘OK, everybody here gets to stay,’ ” Romney said in the interview. “It’s saying you could work your way into becoming a legal resident of the country by working here without taking benefits and then applying and then paying a fine.”
Romney did not specifically endorse McCain’s bill, saying he had not yet formulated a full position on immigration. But he did speak approvingly of efforts by McCain and Bush to solve the nation’s immigration crisis, calling them “reasonable proposals.”
My challenge to Klein is rooted in the absurdity of describing as a flip-flop the general endorsement of regularization in 2005 with a rejection of the specific bill on the table in May, 2007 with its Section 601(h) probationary status for 12+ million people. Klein himself admits that there “are a great many things wrong with the bill” presently on the table, but since Romney would not vote for it, Klein indulges the lazy cliche of flip-flopping. This exchange perfectly illustrated my point of why MSMers, especially the self-anointed serious ones, end up sounding so hackneyed and arrogant at the same time.
I like Klein and he’s a good guest, but he’s delusional about how his writing appears or how it impacts the reader. As MSM bleeds out its audience and its subscribers, one of the greatest explanations will be the self-regard its high priests hold themselves in. Joe demands seriousness from candidates but is himself the opposite of serious. He is offended when I mock him, but his column not only mocks Romney, but slanders as racist millions of opponents of McCain-Kennedy 2.0.
Klein’s pumping his old war horse pals Clinton and McCain, the candidates of the Beltway-Manhattan elites. His brand of agenda journalism is threadbare, but it is amusing. I hope he’ll come back. Often.