Vetting

If you’ve swung by Drudge today, you know the latest manufactured outrage is that Gwen Ifill has a book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, coming out on inauguration day.

Oh no!! A mistrial!!!

Now, frankly, I do think it rather inappropriate for Ifill to moderate this debate, what with the built-in financial incentive she’s got to see Obama taking the oath of office on the day her book comes out. 

But, as Judd Legum and Michael Calderone argue, it’s McCain campaign’s own damn fault.  Judd writes:

If that’s true, it just shows the McCain campaign’s incompetence. The debate moderators were agreed to on August 6. Ifill’s book was reported in the Associated Press two weeks earlier:

"We have an awkward history about how to talk about race in the nation and in newsrooms," says Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent for PBS’ "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" and author of "The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama," slated for publication early next year.

But I think Judd is being overly hard on the McCain campaign. Judd must forget that McCain was very very busy in early August, with stuff that was way more important than vetting Ifill. They surely were totally focused on vetting Sarah Palin. Right?

For the record, McCain says Gwen Ifill, who threw mostly softballs for Dick Cheney in 2004, "will do a totally objective job, because she is a highly respected professional," though he seems to be hedging his right to complain after the fact. Which is no surprise, since they’ve been working the ref for several days already.

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  1. DefendOurConstitution says:

    Stop bringing up the word “vetting” because if you do McCain is going to have a stroke!

    I say replace Ifill with Letterman. I have never thought that Ifill is that tough an interviewer. She is a great moderator of a panel of journalists, but I’m not sure that makes her qualified to elicit answers from candidates in this extra-spin campaign.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ifill’s willingness or ability to throw burning fast balls to every batter is long gone. Nowadays, it’s slow change ups in the middle of the strike zone. Throwing curves or knuckle or fast balls would be out of character with the self-styled, gentlewomanly behavior expected in the Komfy Korner known as Jim Lehrer’s NewsHour. After all, being a competent big league pitcher might make Brooks and Shields look like Single “A” washouts.

  3. bmaz says:

    Hey, Katie Couric is on a roll lately, let her do it. Heck, her legs were better than Ifill’s even before the accident….

  4. radiofreewill says:

    This is what Gooper Fear looks like – they get Loud and Incoherent.

    But, imvho, it won’t break the way People think it will.

    If Palin comes across as Convincingly Un-Qualified tomorrow evening, two things will likely happen:

    1 – The Dems will focus on Winning Every Contested Gooper Seat in the House and Senate, with a Goal of Destroying the Neocon Republicans

    2 – The Goopers will Erupt against Bush as the Reality of Total Loss – Across the Board Failure – sets in

    All the Pent-Up Shame and Guilt that they’ve Held In – because they were willing to Look Away as long as they were ‘Winning’ – but They Knew was Wrong All Along – the Great Failure That They Don’t Want to Own – is going to come out and Want To Feed on a Scapegoat.

    Nothing would be sweeter than for Joe to expose Sarah the Imposter right before Our eyes, and then Let the Goopers Do the Rest for US.

    • MadDog says:

      2 – The Goopers will Erupt against Bush as the Reality of Total Loss – Across the Board Failure – sets in

      Wouldn’t it be funny if the Congressional Repugs then brought up Articles of Impeachment against Junya and Deadeye?

      Shorter Repugs: “We wuz conned! We wuz fooled! We wuz…Master Baited!”

        • MadDog says:

          In spite of my howling at the moon, I’m not actually totally around the bend. *g*

          It’s just for some reason, the false portrayal of this appointment as that of a “Special Prosecutor”, really gets my goat!

          That and the fact that it has gained traction. Particularly with folks I respect like CREW and Amy Goodman; folks who generally fact-check far more thoroughly than they’ve done here.

          I’ve emailed AP wrt their reporter, Mark Sherman who wrote the false article and who was linked to by CREW, to insist on both a correction and an explanation. We’ll see if any response is forthcoming.

          And interesting to note, Mark Sherman of AP, re-wrote the very same article and to my mind, rather conspicuously “doctored” the article to unapologetically remove the falsehood.

          Cute! The MSM doesn’t “correct” things so much as it tries to “re-write” history thereby avoiding a required mea culpa.

  5. ThingsComeUndone says:

    This is good replace Gwen she gave softball questions to Darth so I have no use for her.

  6. freepatriot says:

    unless it has God, Guns, or Taxcuts on it, sarah palin can’t hit a softball

    if she literally has ten toes when she’s done, mcsame is gonna say she won (you KNOW they already made the ad)

    the real test is coherency

    if this clown starts babbling again, America is gonna KNOW why they can’t understand what the fuck this twit just said

    stunned stoopid silence ain’t gonna work either

    Joe Biden just has to answer the questions and deflect the attacks

    princess pandora will do the rest

    and then exit stage right in three, two, one …

    an I think I got a convert possibility here:

    If Palin comes across as Convincingly Un-Qualified tomorrow evening, two things will likely happen:

    1 – The Dems will focus on Winning Every Contested Gooper Seat in the House and Senate, with a Goal of Destroying the Neocon Republicans

    and that’s how we end up with a TWO/THIRDS majority in the Senate

    then impeach every judge appointed by a bush …

  7. JohnLopresti says:

    I thought of two interesting surrogates if the Republican machine operatives guiding McCain’s flagging campaign want designated hitters, though I am not sure either prof is available on 24-hour notice, one is from the midwest, one a noted ethnologist and law historian from the west. Each is interested in fairness; links are from the mid September2007 timeframe when UC Irvine had problems settling on a founding dean for its new law faculty, which is why the links point to articles of that epoch two summers ago.

  8. FrankProbst says:

    Okay, yes, this is Team McCain’s fault for not catching this. But seriously, does ANYONE think it’s a good idea to have someone moderate a debate when she has a clear financial interest in who wins? Ifill herself should have had the sense to say, “You know, I don’t think this would look too good.”

    • Teddy Partridge says:

      Ifill is blind to her own conflicts. She has no problem covering Condi Rice, with whom she shares a close friendship. I don’t expect she sees this as a conflict at all.

      And Villagers love Gwen. They will be appalled if the McCain campaign manages to work the refs (presumably the Debate Commish) to get Ifill disqualified.

      Fun times.