Hallandale Beach Blog -A common sense public policy overview offering a critical perspective on the current events, politics, govt., public policy, sports scene and pop culture of the U.S., South Florida and Europe, especially the UK and Sweden. In particular, Broward & Miami-Dade County, and the cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood & Aventura. Trust me when I tell you, this part of Florida is NOT the Land of Lincoln. Pictured in upper-left is Hallandale Beach's iconic beachball-colored Water Tower on State Road A1A; September 2008 photo by me, South Beach Hoosier. © 2013 Hallandale Beach Blog, All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

That's why he's Michael Barone and you're not: When Liberal Leaders Confront a Centrist Nation

I've been reading and following columnist and pundit
Michael Barone since even before I moved to D.C.
in 1988, or even before he was a regular on the original
Group, when that was the only
syndicated political chat show, and everyone I knew
watched it religiously.


It's still a LOT more popular in the Beltway area
than in the uninformed burbs of South Florida, plus,
now that I think about it, I rarely see a promo for it
on WPBT-Channel 2 -why is that anyhow?-
where it runs on Fridays at 8:30 p.m.

(At various times while I lived in the greater D.C. area,
especially the Clinton years of the go-go Nineties,
I used to bank at the Riggs Bank, specifically, the
branch on 17th Street, N.W. & Eye St., three blocks
north of The White House and the OEOB.

This was the sort of place where on payday, Fridays,
you'd regularly see very well-heeled K Street D.C.
defense lawyer or lobbyists doing their weekly
transactions, like transferring money into their college
daughter's checking account so she can continue
living the McLean or Potomac lifestyle while they
were away from the financial Mother Ship.
No doubt while their daughter's roommate has to do
a 'Work Study' job like I did at IU.

Almost like it was a game, one of the persons who
always seemed to just beat me into the bank was
a highly-visible someone who always seemed to be
just 2-3 customers ahead of me in line: McLaughlin
Group regular Eleanor Clift of Newsweek magazine.)

In D.C, McLaughlin aired on the NBC affiliate,
WRC, and was part of my regular routine on
Saturday night before heading out for the night.

This essay was part of my daily email this from
Rasmussen Reports this morning.

The big news this morning there was that American
voters now give the GOP first-time lead on health
That comes as no surprise to me given what we've
all seen the past few weeks, with so many uninformed
members of Congress unable to explain what
Obamacare would and would not entail, to voters
who have actually read the bill, or, explain away the
logic of so much secretiveness surrounding 1/6th
of the American economy.

For all the MSM talk in January and February of
David Axelrod's folks being so oh-so smart and
Chicago street-savvy, it's as if they never learned
the fundamental lessons of President Bush's
(irresponsible) immigration amnesty plan of two years
ago, which also featured no congressional hearings
that voters (and members of Congress and the
) could watch or follow to become better
acquainted with the actual facts and provisions.

But when you insist on NOT having congressional
hearings where representatives of The White House
have to make their case publicly, and then have groups
opposed speaking against those policy ideas but for
others, you're asking for trouble.

But then you compound that fatal flaw by also insisting
on doing everything behind-the-scenes, even to the
point of refusing to publicly release the names of health
care leaders meeting with West Wing types, just as
was the case with Hillarycare in 1993, or groups
like La Raza working on the Kennedy bill at the
Bush White House, it's perfectly logical that people
would be very suspicious, especially middle-class
people who are usually apathetic -and proud of it-
about most aspects of American public policy.

People who find it easy to tune out discussions o
f the
legal ramifications of McCain-Feingold
or redistricting
-see www.FairDistrictsFlorida.org- while they eagerly
wax philosophic, blog and Tweet about the particular
merits of one singer over another on a TV show I never
watch like American Idol.

(I used to see the last two minutes when they bleed
over to
HOUSE's time-slot.)

Given that predicate, what's really surprising is that
The White House, DNC and Beltway press are so
surprised at the reaction of the American people.

It was entirely predictable.

Here's what I wrote on the Herald's webpage last
Thursday to the dreadful -what else is new?- Beth
column about the town meetings on health

Tempers flare in South Florida over healthcare overhaul


To me, this town hall/Obamacare issue has really
pinpointed the Herald's central identity problem,
in that they are now so short-staffed and so very
poorly edited -but still more smug and arrogant
than reality ought to allow
- that they now cover
local South Florida stories like they're parachuted
out-of-town reporters who arrive with their misplaced
preconceptions, false stereotypes and condescending
know-it-all persona, who want to treat everything
down here in South Florida as either precious,
eccentric or unique, even if it isn't.
It's the Iowa Caucus Syndrome.

Like our crime and corruption isn't really crime and
corruption, with an emotional and physical toll
victims, like other cities and regions, but rather
a local lifestyle choice.

That's the same attitude and response I run into when

I try to explain just some of the many unethical and
shady things are going on at Hallandale Beach City Hall,
and they turn to me and say,
"That's just Hallandale Beach."

In the
Herald's case, that has been made all the worse by
their increasingly wasting half their
column space by writing
about how other reporters
elsewhere have characterized
similar events,
contaminating the local perspective, rather
accurately reporting and illuminating what happened
right in front
of them -HERE!

This is both insulting
AND infuriating, besides being bad
journalism that doesn't serve local
readers, that no matter
how much I want to give
Herald Executive Editor
Anders Gyllenhaal the benefit of the doubt, at some point,
you can't help but wonder when is the bad dream going
to end?

When is the Herald finally going to shape-up?
Would it be better for the long-term if the Miami Herald
went kaput and something else emerged
from the ashes
that was
actually interested and able to cover local
stories properly?
Or, to use a particularly apt sports
metaphor, addition-by-subtraction?

Just recruit some smart, savvy and enthusiastic grads
from Medill and Ernie Pyle and elsewhere and let 'em
loose on all the unsuspecting pols and crooks
People with smarts and skills who don't care who
Ron Book is or who he knows or whom he
and his daughter
bankroll with campaign contributions,
or even who
rides home to South Florida on his plane

I used to think no, but as I stated a few months ago
on the blog, and even said in an email to Gyllenhaal
last year, that he responded to, the question of the
Herald's future is increasingly not a rooting matter for me,
but more an
academic or sporting proposition.
When does it all fall apart for good?

HallandaleBeachBlog wrote on 08/07/2009 04:54:25 AM:

What do these Obamacare stories and the tea-bag stories have in common? The Herald being VERY late to the party in covering them, and reporting on something in their own area like they were tourists, sporting cliches we've all heard on TV for days already.

Not surprising given that the Herald NEVER wrote a single thing about the 4,000-plus turnout at the Orlando "tea party" on March 21st. No articles, no photos, no nothing.

That's really surprising since any time you get that many people in an apathetic FL city to do anything at one time, it's newsworthy.

Just NOT to the editors of the Miami Herald, apparently, a paper that never used the phrase until March 21st, weeks AFTER the topic had gained national currency.

What do the candidates seeking to succeed Meek think about Obamacare or 'cap and trade'?

Can't say, the Herald's reporters and the rest of SoFL media won't ask them.

Maybe I should just call them and put their answers on my blog, so people in SoFL will know their views, huh?

And now, the feature presentation...

When Liberal Leaders Confront a Centrist Nation
A Commentary
By Michael Barone
Augusts 13, 2009,

There are more conservatives than Republicans and more Democrats than liberals. That's one of the asymmetries between the parties that helps to explain the particular political spot we're in. The numbers are fairly clear. In the 2008 exit poll, 34 percent of voters described themselves as conservatives and 32 percent as Republicans; 39 percent described themselves as Democrats but only 22 percent as liberals.

Read the rest of the essay at:

Michael Barone archives are at:

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