And thus we arrive at this, the final night of our semi-final round to see who will take home the gold for finding the most gallingly stupid Joe Klein comment of all time. If the past three nights have taught us nothing else, it is that there is no agony of defeat here; each and every comment proffered for entry seems to supersede the one before it for pure noxious flapdoodle.
No one man can claim credit for the minority status of Democrats today, but Joe Klein can certainly rest easily knowing that he has done more than his fair share.
So without further ado, here are tonight's contenders in "Joe Klein, In His Own Words:
29. "And yet, for the moment, Bush's instincts -- his supporters would argue these are bedrock values -- seem to be paying off. The President's attention span may be haphazard, but the immediate satisfactions are difficult to dispute. Saddam Hussein? Evildoer. Take him out. But wait, no WMD? No post-invasion planning? Deaths and chaos? Awful, but ... Freedom! Look at those Shi'ites vote!"Remember to vote only once and by number, and that your comments are also being evaluated for snark factor as they contend for the Charles P. Pierce Award for Excellence in Klein Snark. Mr. Pierce will be selecting the winner of this award from entries made in the comments section, so please defend your choice with craft and passion. The winner of this coveted crown will likewise be awarded a DVD copy of the darkly funny and late lamented show Action.
30. "As for Bush, a hopeful sign is that he spent more time talking about poor people when he ran for president than any Democratic nominee I've watched -- since, er, McGovern. His domestic policy was the most creative of any Republican I've ever covered, far more creative than Gore's."
31. RE: Bush's "incredible instincts": "But expertise and deliberation have never seemed more stodgy, unappealing and unconvincing than they do right now."
26. "I think private accounts a terrific policy and that in the information age, you're going to need different kinds of structures in the entitlement area than you had in the industrial age."
33. "Kerry, like many other Democrats, never truly understood this reality. He did not bother to visit the Southern Baptist Convention or any other fundamentalist group to say, Look, we're going to disagree on some issues, but there are lots of things we have in common, and I want to hear your point of view. He did not take a "listening tour" through rural Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi; he simply ignored the South. When Whoopi Goldberg lewdly compared the President to a body part in her southern hemisphere, Kerry -- who was in the audience -- came onstage and said entertainers like Goldberg represented "the heart and soul of America." He did not criticize the mayor of San Francisco when he broke the law to perform gay marriages. He condoned late-term abortions. He had nothing to say about Janet Jackson's Super Bowl breast flash. Unlike Al Gore, he did not even give a speech supporting faith-based social programs. To religious conservatives, he seemed a secular extremist. The Democrats have paid a heavy and honorable price for their support of equal rights -- first for African Americans and now for homosexuals."
34. "I'm not nearly as smart as Eric [ Alterman], to have opinions without bothering to report first. Instead let me react by speaking to the facts. After all, I've lived my life by seeking out facts and then reporting them. One advantage I think I have over other columnists is that I do reporting."
35. "Given the circumstances, there is only one possible governing strategy: a quiet, patient, and persistent bipartisanship."
36. "Abortion is not mentioned in the Constitution, and so interpretations are all we have. One way to solve this--perhaps the best way--is to put abortion to a vote, as a constitutional amendment or on a state-by-state basis. Issues this important should be decided democratically, don't you think?"
37. "I watched the President go through his public paces last weekÂa joint press conference with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, speeches touting Social Security reform and the Patriot ActÂand his stubborn consistency was both admirable and annoying. His unwillingness to drop Social Security reform in the face of lousy polling results is certainly admirable. He has changed the emphasis from semi-privatization of old-age pensions (although he still favors that change) to the solvency of the system, and he has proposed a creative solution, progressive indexing, which would modulate benefits according to income, with the poor receiving proportionately more than the wealthy. This is an idea Democrats would embrace if they had the courage of their "progressive" convictions. But the donkeys appear to be more obsessed with social issues (like abortion rights) than with programs to benefit the poor, and most obsessed with short-term tactics to thwart Bush, regardless of the quality of his proposals."
Show Joe some love.
First night semi-final round
Second night semi-final round
Third night semi-final round