Be with you in a sec. Gotta finish this bag of Cheetos. Man, what a mess down here in Mom's basement. Let's see, where were we? Barnicle. Right. Bloggers. Doesn't think much of us. On this evening's Hardball, decrying the decline of bi-partisanship, Barnicle put much of the blame on the blogosphere.
Subbing for Chris Matthews, Barnicle had as his guest historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. The jumping off point was a clip of Obama saying he could imagine naming McCain as his head of Homeland Security. Barnicle wondered whether that was feasible in what he sees as a hyper-partisan age, and pointed the finger largely at bloggers. Kearns Goodwin suggested that despite the difficulties, she could imagine either of the candidates reaching out to his opponent. That prompted Barnicle to let loose on bloggers, casting them as largely a bunch of loons with too much time on their hands.
View video here
MIKE BARNICLE: I don't want to be a downer here. And I don't want to appear too overly cynical, and I would love to see a day just as you describe where one candidate took the other into his cabinet and a new era of bi-partisanship did flourish. And yet we in a sense, and you can disagree with me or agree with me, live in a nation of 300 million newspaper columnists, many of them crazy people, with access to computers. And they blog all day long. And the separation, the ideological separation of these people is such that I don't know that bi-partisanship is still possible.
In fairness, Barnicle also put part of the blame on cable TV news. But he didn't label any of the cable-newers "crazy," despite the obvious infirmities of certain of his colleagues right there at MSNBC. For her part, Kearns Goodwin didn't entirely buy into Barnicle's notion that things are more partisan today than in the past. She pointed out that during Lincoln's time, a senator nearly killed an opponent on the Senate floor, presumably a reference to the famous incident [illustrated here] in which Congressman Preston Brooks beat Senator Charles Sumner with his walking cane.
To be serious for a moment, what really is Barnicle's point? Why would the increased flow of information facilitated by the internet decrease mutual understanding and peaceful co-existence? Isn't Obama's foreign policy based on the notion that hostilities can be averted if we would just talk to each other? Isn't that what blogging is all about?
OK, back to the Cheetos, and ttyl—one of my favorite Seinfeld re-runs is coming on.