Saturday, June 12, 2010

Cat Fight!

Poor Carly Fiorina: a few moments of unguarded chatter and she gets nailed for a rather bizarre comment on the hair-do of Sen. Barbara Boxer, her opponent in the race for the Senate. Most newspapers in California covered it. The New York Times put it on the front page. Talking heads talked about it on television. What's the deal?

Is it really important evidence of the candidate's frivolousness? Of her being more interested in style than in substance?

The center-left editorial board of the Los Angeles Times has its own theory, one that excuses the execrable behavior of the press in this nonsense:

Does anybody really care what Carly Fiorina thinks of Barbara Boxer's hair? Almost certainly not, and yet Californians kicked off the general election campaign this week with a spirited discussion of Fiorina's snarky critique of her rival — she blurted that Boxer's hair was "so yesterday" amid some babble about craving hamburgers and avoiding Sean Hannity. Her comments were captured by a live microphone and then made the rounds: They were front-page news in Friday's New York Times. ... seems more illustrative of a yearning among journalists — and voters — for moments of authenticity that have become so rare in politics. Driven by money and advertising, campaigns today are scripted and candidates guarded. Office seekers avoid spontaneous contact with constituents; they are shielded by police tape, velvet ropes, handlers and security guards. They stay relentlessly "on message" and, in the process, aloof.

Oh, please!

Have sober discussions of issues and stances on those issues become, well, "so yesterday" that journalists are just looking for a gotcha-moment to spice up their own boring lives of providing needed information for the electorate? If so, perhaps they ought to consider another career, maybe as paparazzi.

No, I think more is going on. After noting that California's GOP has finally admitted women to the ranks of candidates for major offices, something that party should be congratulated for, the press is now busy undercutting that advance by promoting a cat fight. "See, women are really all about hair-dos and fashion."

Instead of concentrating on Ms. Fiorina's stint as the CEO of a major corporation (which I think is fair game since she is running on her credentials as an astute businesswoman), the press has taken the low road. "Real" political leaders (i.e., men) drop the F-bomb in public. Women, God love 'em, talk about hair styles.

The silly season has just gotten sillier.



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