Time's Bush-Excluding Top 100 Includes Staff-Written Puff Pieces for Obama, Hillary
Time magazine's list of "The Most Influential People in the World," or the Time 100, has already earned controversy for implausibly leaving President Bush off the list. But in a magazine stuffed with valentines to important people written by their friends, admirers, and family members, Time's staff writers promoted Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as not only influential, but naturally moderate. Karen Tumulty claimed Hillary "has always been a more moderate and pragmatic politician than either her admirers or her detractors believed." Joe Klein praised Obama for "conservative boldness," but he really meant that Obama's tone was cautious and reserved, devoid of red meat, since Klein also noted Obama "swims contentedly in the Democratic Party's mainstream" -- which everyone knows is not conservative.
Klein's Obama tribute carried the headline: "A young yet audaciously thoughtful U.S. Senator makes his run at history." This gooey article led the "Leaders and Revolutionaries" section. Obama "has attached himself to the notion of audacity....The whoosh of his candidacy, in the polls and in the amount of money raised, has been audacious as well."
Then he started twisting words. "But Obama’s is a determinedly conservative boldness. He is a lovely speaker, yet his tone is more conversational than oratorical. He offers little in the way of red-meat rhetoric to his audiences, some of whom are surprised, and disappointed, by his persistent judiciousness. He is solid on the essentials of most issues but daring on none—he swims contentedly in the Democratic Party's mainstream, unwilling to lose any potential voters with, well, the audacity of his proposals."
Obama’s gamble is "that in a time of rancid partisanship, after six years of a presidency dedicated to bullying its domestic adversaries and international allies, an Obama candidacy will prosper by offering the exact opposite: flagrant, thoughtful consensus seeking. Which is very audacious, indeed."
Tumulty's Hillary article contains the apparently required (if implausible) Hillary line that "I may be the most famous woman you don’t really know." Tumulty's overall tone isn't nearly as adoring as Klein's (she's not winning the Time primary, at least on paper), but painting her into the center is still dutifully performed:
As a First Lady and then as a Senator from New York, she has always been a more moderate and pragmatic politician than either her admirers or her detractors believed. Her 2008 campaign strategy is a reverse image of the liberal stereotype, one that has its eye on the November election. But in retooling her image so she can be acceptable to moderate voters in swing states, she risks finding herself at odds with an angry Democratic primary electorate that has not forgiven her vote on Iraq.
Liberal Republicans were also honored. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was recruited to tout the green credentials of his in-law, Arnold Schwarzenegger:
In an era when Republicans across the nation seem intent on tearing the "conserve" out of conservatism, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 59, is a national leader for his efforts to restore Teddy Roosevelt's conservation tradition to the GOP...A true fiscal conservative with a deep commitment to California's future, the Governor regards environmental injury as deficit spending—loading the cost of this generation's prosperity onto the backs of our children. Schwarzenegger believes that good economic policy, over the long term, is always the same as good environmental policy.
Katie Couric's puff piece on Michael Bloomberg, the RINO Mayor of New York City, suggested she has a taste for liberal government action:
From the ashes of 9/11, Mayor Bloomberg, 65, rebuilt New York City as only a nonpolitician could. He has cut the murder rate, banned smoking and trans fats in restaurants, centralized the public school system, created a coalition of mayors to keep illegal guns off the streets and developed an extensive plan to make the city more environmentally friendly before the end of his term. He recently said he was banning all desserts and sweets. Unfortunately for my diet, he was kidding.
The other American leaders honored (and their authors) were:
-- Condoleezza Rice by Donna Brazile. All positive.
-- John Roberts by Alan Dershowitz. "Rarely in our history has a more qualified lawyer than John Roberts been appointed Chief Justice of the US." Dershowitz explores somewhat neutrally how Roberts will use "standing" to achieve substantive results without looking activist.
-- Nancy Pelosi by Newt Gingrich.Whacks at her Syria trip, but hails how she earned her job by being "a hardworking, smart, and disciplined professional."