Politics & Media
Apr 15, 2024, 06:30AM

The Media’s So Bored With the USA

Hoping for a ruckus at the Democratic convention in Chicago this summer.

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American media (and British buttinskis):

“What do we want?”

“Mayhem at the Democratic Convention in Chicago!”

“When do we want it?”


Me: “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!”

The media, MSM and “fringe” is bored. Since the Democratic and Republic presidential nominations were decided earlier than usual, what in the world are they going to write, and broadcast, between now and August? The polls are static—jumping a point or two between Biden and Trump—that there’s not much material there. I suppose the alleged heightened support for Trump among black voters can fill the gap temporarily, although I’d bet that when the votes are cast, and harvested, in November, Biden will see minorities “come back home.” There’s all the weird abortion nonsense (especially in 19th-century Arizona) but that subject is already “baked in” to the election. And over the weekend, the Iran-Israel “start of WWIII” caused more than a flutter, but (not trying to be glib) that’s business as usual right now.

A brief digression: I don’t think enough acclamation has been awarded President Sippy Cup for his funniest quip (and maybe even on purpose!) when recently, on the occasion of Greek Independence Day, he said at the White House, “I am Joe Biden-opoulos.” Had to be an ad-lib, since his very weird and (sometimes) sensitive staff would never countenance such a remark. When he accepts the nomination (taking the leap he hasn’t stepped down), he ought to welcome the delegates with a fusillade of one-liners:  “Welcome, my name’s Joe McBiden, and Joe Bidenwitz, and Joe Bideninski, and Joe Biden-Assad, and Joe Biden-Burrito.” On the off chance I watch the convention, that would tickle my ribs and toes.

Back to the action, all you protest scribes and talking heads!

The New York Sun, online only, ran an editorial last week that was so stupid, speculative and provocative that it took me aback, a rarity in today’s political culture. The headline, “Will Democratic Convention Be 1968 All Over Again? was silly, but didn’t hint at the preposterous text. “It’s none too soon, it seems to us, to wonder whether President Biden’s coronation at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago this summer will make the 1968 Vietnam protests look like a game of Tiddlywinks… Now Gaza looms over the Democratic jamboree set for the Windy City. The protests are not just persistent. They are shot through with a lawlessness that could mar the whole nominating process.”

A spoonful of history for The Sun’s writer (if he or she is 25, the hyperbole is still egregious but more understandable; but if, as I suspect, the culprit is older than 50, then I smell from here one too many trips to the cannabis shops—contributing to air pollution and general stink! In any case, as some recall: In 1968: LBJ withdrew from the race, Bobby Kennedy was murdered in June, two months after Martin Luther King Jr, Johnson’s lapdog Hubert Humphrey, was detested by millions, not just because he was awarded the nomination without participating in the limited number of primaries then, but also his pro-war stance. As a teen I watched it all: Sen. Abe Ribicoff (his finest moment) at the podium giving the nomination speech for protest candidate Sen. George McGovern and directing a scabrous denunciation to Chicago’s Mayor Richard Daley. Ribicoff said: "With George McGovern, we wouldn't have Gestapo tactics on the streets of Chicago.” Daley responded to Ribicoff: "Fuck you, you Jew son of bitch! You lousy motherfucker! Go home!" “Clean for Gene” McCarthy attended to tear-gassed and beaten, bloody protestors; rump caucuses for McGovern and (it goes without saying) the dim but grieving Sen. Teddy Kennedy; and reporters and TV anchormen subjected to the kind of abuse they weren’t accustomed to.

And The Sun believes the energetic, but relatively small, number of super-duper-left-wing pro-Hamas protesters (if they show up) is going to match what happened in 1968, a cataclysmic political event that significantly contributed to HHH’s defeat to Richard Nixon that November? Not mentioned in the editorial is a fact that definitely isn’t “Tiddlywinks”: the draft. The Vietnam protests, over a number of years, were large and noisy. Young men, some idealistic, some along for the party that any protest provides, didn’t want to go overseas and fight in a country most couldn’t locate on a map. They didn’t want to be seen, in caskets, on the evening news. They didn’t want to be sons of “Gold Star mothers.”

There’s no draft today, and the Gaza protestors won’t be sent to the Mideast (or Ukraine). Like the Sun editorialist, I find today’s rising anti-Semitism horrific, but when the AI Biden dodges and prevaricates on the Israel divide at the convention, he’ll likely hear some catcalls (“Genocide Joe!”) from infiltrators, who’ll promptly be escorted out of the hall.

The Wall Street Journal also tumbled into the speculation, though in far more measured tones. An editorial quoted Behind Enemy Lines leader Michael Boyte: “People are like, we want to confront some Zionists… we want to burn an Israeli flag. We want to take this protest to the next level.”

Maybe a dozen Israeli flags will be burned at the convention, but in 1968 American flags were incinerated almost daily. The Journal adds: “As for the DNC, the group [Behind Enemy Lines] says it aims to ‘make bruises from Chicago police batons the 2024 back-to-school Fall fashion.’ Democrats can’t be eager to have Joe Biden’s moment turn into a rerun of the violent clashes that made the Chicago Democratic convention infamous in 1968.”

Like, you know, I hadn’t heard of Michael Boyte, like, before last week. But as a 13-year-old in 1968, with four older brothers of draft age (and scared for them), I was well-acquainted with Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, the Berrigan brothers and so many others in the lead-up to Chicago. It wasn’t Tiddlywinks.

—Follow Russ Smith on Twitter: @MUGGER2023


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