I've had many, many conversations with people who struggle to understand why the media never seems to quite understand the extreme level of dissatisfaction and skepticism of politicians. My answer to them is invariably the same: one cannot overstate the insularity of the Beltway Bubble. These people live next to one another, eat together, entertain together and associate almost exclusively with one another. We get hints of it from time to time: David Gregory playing back up dancer to Karl Rove; media elites waxing rhapsodic on John McCain's barbecue prowess, and then there's just the sycophantic stylings of Wolf Blitzer:
I know it will probably sound weird, but I admire these politicians who put themselves out there before the American public knowing full well that all their warts will be exposed big time.
Most of them already have lots of money. They could easily coast at this point in their lives and sit back and relax.
Instead, they are working hard on the campaign trail.
I’ve seen them in action, and it’s tough. They get up early in the morning and go to sleep late at night. They have to deliver the same stump speech over and over and over again, and then answer an endless amount of often annoying questions at town hall meetings, at diners and from reporters such as me.
I’ve covered politicians long enough to know they certainly like the power that comes with elected office, but it’s still a rough and tough proposition. You think it’s easy going out there all the time and appealing for campaign cash?
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul and Rick Perry could have taken the easy path and relaxed and enjoyed life. Instead of playing golf and hanging out with their children and grandchildren, they are working hard trying to get the Republican presidential nomination. In the process, they are bitterly attacked - often for good reason.
What the....? Blitzer, who distinguished himself as journalist during the first Gulf War, has reduced himself to saluting Republican politicians simply because they run for office? What's next--"Kudos for the Kardashians: An Appreciation of Talentless Wealthy Camera Hogs"? "Sympathy for CEOs: The Heartache of Golden Parachutes"? These men are gathering huge amounts of money from donors, attention for their egos and setting themselves up for healthy future speaking fees and lobbying gigs. With the exception of Romney, not another one of them has a mathematical chance in hell of nabbing the nomination, much less the general election. Think about it...what other motivation could they possibly have?
But moreover, what has happened to Wolf Blitzer's sense of integrity and journalistic standards? Jay Rosen wonders as well:
I think Erik Wemple of the Washington Post has it right. In this fourth-grade essay that Blitzer chose to share with us, the impression given is of fear. Fear of having an opinion, of offending anyone, of appearing to have any sharp thoughts of his own.
At this point, I think that whether or not Blitzer is genuinely fearful or just so compromised he can't see how this hurts his credibility, it's clearly time for him to look for a new line of work.