Tony Blair, Elizabeth Edwards and “Normal People”

Monday mornings mean, among other things, that there’s an entire weekend’s worth of press output over which “pretend journalists” can hold forth.

Accordingly, Fausta at Bad Hair Blog bristles over The Economist’s “preachy op-ed,” teased on its cover with an image featuring the well-coifed George W. Bush and Tony Blair and the words “Sincere Deceivers.” (The piece is subheaded: “They believed what they said, but they said more than they really knew.”) Fumes Fausta: “The Economist, full of editorial pride, insists that the President ‘has a lot to do to convince the electorate — and The Economist — that the buck should not in fact stop with him.’ Heaven forbid Mr. Bush convinces the electorate and not The Economist’s editors. We might have to call in the UN to mediate.” Fausta’s final flourish: “As to sincere deceivers, no one more so than the press.”

Piling on is Pandagon’s Ezra Klein, who takes on — in true Campaign Desk fashion — Mark Leibovitch’s Elizabeth Edwards profile in Sunday’s Washington Post. Klein deems the Post piece “monstrously ironic,” noting it “operates on two levels: the ‘profile’ level, detailing well-known generalities and tiny tidbits about Elizabeth; and the profile of a profile level, repeatedly lamenting the overused form and acknowledging that nothing new will be gleaned.” Turns out, Klein maintains, “nothing new is gleaned.” (Well, we didn’t know that Elizabeth Edwards “sleeps, on average, about five hours a night, and rarely for consecutive hours.”)

Over at National Review’s The Corner, Jonah Goldberg pays the New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick high compliments for his front-page Saturday story on the “young Right.” Kirkpatrick’s piece, Goldberg opines, “seems to cover the bases all right, though his selection of sources is a bit, um, curious.” (Excluding, presumably, the two young sources affiliated with the National Review.) “[Kirkpatrick is] basically right that younger conservatives are basically split along the libertarian-conservative axis (as I’ve written five trillion times),” Goldberg declares. “But it’s far from clear to me that being ‘libertarian’ for lots of young righties isn’t simply their way of being rebellious while still being able to get girls, get drunk and not be considered an all-around buzz kill.” (Wait, is Goldberg implying that conservatives are considered all-around buzz kills?)

Self-appointed spokesman for “normal people,” Oliver Willis, is bothered by what President Bush reportedly said during a private meeting with Old Order Amish on Friday in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job.” Preaches Willis: “It’s one thing to be religious, it’s a whole other to believe you’re the messiah in some way.”

Speaking of religion, to Mickey Kaus’ mind the opiate of the masses is actually John Edwards (well, for that portion of the “masses” who vote Democratic). Kaus wonders whether Kerry’s running mate is like a “narcotic — calming the Dems during the convention period, only to have them wake up later, when it’s too late, to the grim pain of the unappealing personality who heads the ticket?” Seems Kaus fancies himself the Good Witch, shaking Democrats awake from their poppy-induced slumber.

Liz Cox Barrett

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.