Dec
09
2011

Joe Klein: Newt's Kids-as-Janitors Plan Too Narrow

We know by now that Newt Gingrich thinks he's smart. And we know there are plenty of people in the corporate media who believe the same thing. How do they show their love for the brainy Republican presidential candidate? Time's Joe Klein shows the way in this week's issue (12/19/11) of the magazine. He doesn't think Gingrich should be president, but he does think Gingrich is full of interesting ideas. Well, what about that plan to have kids work as janitors cleaning their schools? Klein's problem with it is that it doesn't go far enough: I've known him for 25 […]

Jun
17
2011

Time Magazine Feeds the Bachmann-tum

The story of Michele Bachmann's surging campaign momentum continues, this time courtesy of Beltway reporter Mark Halperin of Time magazine: Why has Michele Bachmann suddenly become the It candidate? With her impressive New Hampshire debate performance, Bachmann has gone from a conservative Sarah Palin-lite curiosity to a potential game changer. For two hours onstage with her GOP rivals, Bachmann appeared polished, serene and in command. Her smooth performance was partly the work of a top-shelf team of veteran advisers (manager Ed Rollins, pollster Ed Goeas, forensic coach Brett O'Donnell). They sanded down some of her rough edges but let Bachmann […]

Apr
01
2011

Joe Klein and the Palestinian Gandhi

There's a long tradition of U.S. pundits wishing for the day Palestinians finally decide touse non-violent means to protest Israeli occupation. Time magazine's Joe Klein weighs in on the subject this week: Ever since Israel won control of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, the Palestinian national movement has been defined by terrorism, intransigence and, until recently in the West Bank, corruption. It has never been known for dramatic acts of nonviolence. "If they'd been led by Gandhi rather than Yasser Arafat, they would have had a state 20 years ago," Kenneth Pollack of the Saban Center at the […]

Mar
04
2011

Rose Hearts Huckabee: 'Public' TV on Wisconsin Protests

The Charlie Rose show–which airs mostly on public television stations–has mostly skipped the protests in Wisconsin, one of the biggest labor stories of the past decade. This is not a total surprise–Rose seems to identify with The Bosses more than with the workers–so it was interesting to see how he finally approached the subject on his March 2 show. The first guest was Time's Joe Klein.He seems toidentify with public sector workers, he knows they're not getting rich, but he doesn't like their unions: "Public employees' unions are a pretty questionable proposition," as he put it. The solution in Wisconsinis […]

Feb
03
2011

Joe Klein and the Rotten Fruit of Arab Democracy

Sometimes words fail. Joe Klein, writing in the new issue of Time, wonders: How on earth do we get saddled with such creepy clients as Karzai and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, over and over again? Yes, why do they keep doing this to us?! His piece is a pox-on-both-houses rant about U.S. foreign policy: The "realists" often end up coddling dictators, and the idealists don't understand how the world works. Of the latter, he writes: the tangible fruits of the Freedom Agenda turned out to be mostly rotten: elections in the Palestinian territories, which no one but Hamas (and Bush) […]

Jan
11
2011

False Balance, Joe Klein-Style

Appearing on CNN's Reliable Sources (1/10/11), Time's Joe Klein denouncedthe "crap" on the Fox News Channel. And as many pundits are prone to do, he found the need to balance that by citing a comparable example from the "other" side: Well, that brings me to point number two…. Cable news chooses not to really deal with complicated issues with the level of complexity that they deserve. I was on Ed Schultz's show to discuss Afghanistan. I was just back from there. It is the most complicated issue imaginable. And the guy writes on a piece of paper, "Get out now," […]

Dec
01
2010

WikiLeaks Hasn't 'Leaked' Anything

If a single foreign national is rounded up and put in jail because of a leaked cable, this entire, anarchic exercise in "freedom" stands as a human disaster. Assange is a criminal. He's the one who should be in jail. –Joe Klein, Swampland (12/1/10) Actually, Julian Assange didn't leak anything–he can't, because he didn't have access to classified documents. Someone (or someones) who did have such access leaked those documents to Assange's WikiLeaks, which, as a journalistic organization, made them available to the world, both directly and through other media partners. This distinction, which is widely ignored in commentary on […]

Oct
29
2010

Joe Klein's Bipartisan Advice: Obama, Embrace Nukes!

The conventional wisdom among corporate pundits has long been that Democrats have to move to the right in order to win. You're likely to hear a lot of this after Tuesday, but there's already plenty of advice being offered in advance of the Democrats' likely midterm defeat. Time's Joe Klein has his take in the new issue of the magazine (11/8/10). He writes that "with the prospect of a Congress tilted toward the right, Obama will have to figure out new ways to sell his wares, if he can sell them at all." Klein urges Obama to think big–and to […]

Oct
11
2010

Joe Klein on Big Government Breastfeeding

Thispast Sunday's edition of NBC'sMeet the Press (10/10/10) featuredtwo gueststalking about the midterms, the economy and public sentiment: conservative Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan and Time magazine's Joe Klein. Klein has been on a road trip through the middle of the country to assess how Americans are feeling (that is, Americans who don't live in "urban" areas or the "deep South," as Klein explained). Trying to explain how voters feel aboutWashington, Klein provided this anecdote: They have no idea what the Democrats stand for, except for these big, slovenly pieces of legislation that we've seen which inevitably contain ridiculous […]

Jun
11
2010

Thousands of Rockets, Millions of Bullets?

One thing to add about coverage of Gaza's' rockets is the popularity of the phrase "thousands of rockets." To cite one of many examples, Joe Klein writes for Time (6/9/10): There is reason to treat Hamas as an enemy of Israel; thousands of rockets fired at Israeli civilians attest to that. If you described the threat of rockets from Gaza in terms of lives lost, it would sound much less impressive: Rockets fired from Gaza have killed some 16 people in Israel, going back to 2001. It's difficult to present that as a legitimate rationale for killing more than 3,000 […]

Jan
26
2010

If Americans Are Uninformed, Corporate Media Have Made Them So

Time's Joe Klein wrote on his magazine's Swampland blog (1/25/10) that the American public doesn't understand that the economy benefited from the Obama administration's stimulus efforts. So far, so good–it's true that economists generally feel that the stimulus bill had some impact in curbing unemployment, saving about 1.2 million jobs, according to one survey of the profession (USA Today, 1/25/10). The CBO had a similar estimate of stimulus effects (Bloomberg, 12/1/09). Where Klein goes wrong is blaming the public's lack of understanding of the impact of the stimulus on the public's stupidity. The post, headlined "Too Dumb to Thrive," notes […]

Dec
04
2009

Joe Klein: Obama No Reagan

Time columnist Joe Klein (12/3/09) was not altogether impressed by Obama's announcement of a 30,000 troop escalation in Afghanistan (an "iffy proposition," as Klein put it). But Klein's main point was that Obama should have justified the war differently: "Once you have made the decision to go, or to redouble your efforts, you must lead the charge–passionately and, yes, with a touch of anger." Then he describes the better way: Ronald Reagan would have done it differently. He would have told a story. It might not have been a true story, but it would have had resonance. He might have […]

Sep
01
2009

Joe Klein Advises Obama on Afghanistan

In his Time column this week, Klein writes: So what should Obama do about Afghanistan? His dilemma isn't as stark as has been posed in recent press accounts, with screamers on the right demanding slavish devotion to the military's wish list and screamers on the left demanding a withdrawal. The U.S. military has become far more … nuanced when it comes to making requests of presidents. The negotiations about what [Gen. Stanley] McChrystal can officially request will not take place anywhere near the public eye. It is very likely that more troops will be sent–to build and train the Afghan […]