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Friday, July 30, 2004
Fineman Gets “Hot under the Collar”
By Steven Taylor @ 12:03 pm

From Howard Fineman’s convention blog (which is really more of a blog than Hardblogger) we find the following:

We’re sitting here on the “Hardball” set and I got a little hot under the collar when Joe Scarborough presumed to give us all a lecture about the “reality” of the Kerry speech. Joe said it was a blown chance because it was too rushed. I think that Kerry, if he didn’t hit a home run, hit a solid double up the gap or even a triple and put himself in scoring position.

I caught the tail end of this last night (including Fineman rolling his eyes at Scarborough), so I missed Joe’s exact argument (which I gathered was about Kerry’s cadence and general delivery). Fineman and Andrea Mitchell were quite dismissive of Scaraborough’s comments, noting that delivery doesn’t matter, but rather the words matter (not only is that not the way they cover Bush speeches, it really ignores the fact that both the words and the delivery matter).

The thing that struck me about the interchange at the time, and that is driven home by Fineman’s entry (e.g., “Joe Scaraborough presumed to give us all a lecture”), is that Fineman and Mitchell weren’t exactly treating Scaraborough as a serious member of the panel (which was chaired by Chris Matthews and also included Willie Brown). Instead he was clearly the token conservative on the panel, and wasnt supposed to overly rain on the Democrat’s parade. It really should embarass Fineman who was there as an analyst, not a booster for the Kerry campaign (and unlike Professor Doctor John Lemon, I tend to think Fineman does a good job, although he has seemed a bit more agressive vis-a-vis Bush of late).

And I certainly do not think that Fineman had to have a negative view of the speech because he was there as an analyst-he could legitmately have had a positive view. However, to get ticked because Scaraborough didn’t like the speech and “presumed” to share his views (which is what he was there for) came across as biased to me. At a minimum he seemed to be treating Scarborough as an interloper who shouldn’t have been allowed to crash the Hardball inner circle.

Update: A thought I forgot to include: I am not sure that a “solid double” does it. Weren’t we told by the chattering class in the lead-up to the speech that Kerry needed a home run?

Filed under: 2004 Campaign | |Send TrackBack


  1. Except for Willie Brown, the crew on MSNBC missed the point of Kerry’s delivery last night. He wasn’t talking to the true-believers in the Fleet Center, he was talking to the television audience, and the speech worked in that regard. Lengthy interruptions for applause, while loads of fun for convention-goers, would have destroyed the flow for television viewers.

    Comment by John Cuccia — Friday, July 30, 2004 @ 1:34 pm

  2. Actually, I disagree-by running over the applause lines and such he made it look as if there was insufficient energy in the room. Politicians liek Clinton, who know how to give a speech, know how to use the applause and such timing-wise to demonstrate the response he is getting from the crowd.

    Heck, Edwards did a better job at delivery than did Kerry, and I thought Edwards was a bit flat.

    Comment by Steven Taylor — Friday, July 30, 2004 @ 1:42 pm

  3. I agree with Joe. The speech didn’t touch me at all.

    The really laughable part of their analysis though, was that the speech was better than Clinton’s. You can say all you want about Clinton, but that man knows how to give a speech. John Kerry is no Bill Clinton.

    As for the disrespect of Joe, the previous night when the discussion of how much faith and church means in the South, Joe was reiterating how important it is. Andrea Mitchell made a snide comment to stop talking about church. That is the whole point. The South is very steeped in the values of God and faith. You cannot separate it in political life. Like it or not, they are intertwined.

    Comment by kdeweb — Friday, July 30, 2004 @ 2:07 pm

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