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Q: What’s the worst thing on TV right now?

A: Those fuckin’ trailers for Lincoln that get shown three times every commercial break.

Q: What’s the worst thing about the trailers?

A: It’s not that it looks like Spielberg’s conception of Lincoln was that the yellow Sun of the Earth gave him moral powers far beyond the reach of ordinary men, which is a shame, because Daniel Day-Lewis, David Strathairn, and Gale Boetticher all look like they’re having a ball. It’s that it forces one to remember that Doris Kearns Goodwin exists, and Doris Kearns Goodwin is fucking awful.

Let us draw a merciful curtain across the nagging plagiarism details; not only have they clearly not affected her rise to a comfortable role as a prominent public intellectual, but it is a might unseemly for someone with those connections and fame to have to deal with subjects that crude.

For, verily, she has to keep herself nice and clean in order to spray the fucking shit that keeps coming out of her mouth on television.  Like this recent nugget about the 3rd presidential debate, in which she acknowledges that Romney lied his Byrlcreemed head off but still “did what he had to do to seem presidential”.  Debates are a reliable staple in Goodwin’s wheelhouse, who can always be counted on to counter any naysayers of those misleading and inconsequential snoozefests with “oh no you don’t understand these debates may be incredibly facile and staged more than Danny Boyle’s Olympic ceremonies but you need to keep watching because, uh, here are the greatest hits from the past debates” fluffpieces.

It’s not just that she uses the same model of trite cliche generator Friedman uses but sprung for the “erudition” upgrade, it’s that she knows better.  She has to know better.  Because even though standards have been slipping at Harvard ever since they stopped asking Jews to prove the Riemann Hypothesis as an entrance exam question, presumably they still teach the fundamental basics of academic disciplines.  And presumably Doris Kearns Goodwin, with both an undergraduate degree and PhD in political science, would have been taught enough to know just how much of her Meet The Press appearance yesterday was a big mouthful of donkey come: all of it.

[W]hat the president has to do to build his mandate is to play both an inside game and an outside game.  He should use that political White House as an asset, more than he has done before.  I would have the– I’d have a cocktail hour every night, you have forty Republicans there, forty Democrats there, night after night after night, do what LBJ did, do that more than he’s done.  But the outside game means he has to mobilize that base.  That base was energized on election night.  He said to them, your job is not done.  It’s not just voting.  It’s there to bring pressure on obstructionist if they don’t get a deal done from the outside in.

1) The parties have become so polarized among such a wide variety of policies (PDF in google docs) that the good ol’ boy methods of the past like building coalitions based on personal relationships that relied on significant ideological overlap and lax party discipline taint work no’ mo’.  2) If I hear one more goddamn thing taking the BULLY PULPIT at face value Imma take my frustration out on some innocent nebbish pulpit, and that wouldn’t be fair.  3) “Build his mandate.”  Jeeeeeeeeee-zus.

But the fundamental loss of this campaign probably took place in the Republican primaries when they put out a group of people who were so far off the political cliff on issues that mattered to Latinos, to women and to young people.  And that is the new governing coalition.  And perhaps the fact that the economy got a little bit better is another fundamental fact.  But all these other things preoccupied us for so much time, you can only, looking back, see that.

A necessarily partial list of outlets running stories in real-time which boldly defy Doris Kearns Goodwin’s pronouncement: Salon. Fox News. NPR. The American Foreign Press also somehow got ahold of the analysis no-one did and put this samizdat in papers worldwide.  And I guess when shares of Etch-a-Sketch went through the roof in March it wasn’t because a presidential campaign made a statement about how the extreme things their candidate had been forced to say in the primaries weren’t worrying them.

I think what the president needs to do is to bring some CEOs into his top positions, FDR did that.  He brought in the head of Chrysler.  He brought in the head of Sears and Roebuck.  What about bringing Romney in to deal with this whole problem of how do you keep manufacturing here rather than going abroad?  What incentives to use?  What sanctions to use against countries that are not dealing fairly?  I think you bring people in but you don’t lose your conviction.

I’m actually glad she said this because it lets me bring up my favorite thing in the entire world: when David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell and member of the Erskine-Bowles commission, said within a fifteen-second span both that companies are not hiring because of regulation and uncertainty, and that Honeywell wasn’t hiring because there was very little demand for their products.  I can understand why Doris Kearns Goodwin would not want to acknowledge the existence of such things.  Oyez, more of this please, for fuck’s sake.

Literally the only thing I haven’t quoted is her saying she’s sad that important people can’t fuck anyone they fancy to their heart’s content without their careers suffering consequences for it.  So, 1 for 4?  If we’re using pity points?

And Christ maybe if she were actually deserving of the laurels heaped at her feet the constant centrist mist spritzed from her face would be more tolerable.  But the court intellectuals are always hacks, for some reason.  Her annoyance factor is not even about the plagiarism, it’s about the fact that her stuff doesn’t hang together academically, and that she isn’t afraid to do something like soft-pedal the immense racial hypocrisy of her subject in a work partially about his innate moral goodness if it makes for a good story.

Plus if Lincoln turns out to be horrible for that reason, the blame can’t all lie with Senior Spielbergo.  Some of it’s on the source material.  Some of it’s on Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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