James Carville, the ragin’ cajun, former Democratic strategist and adviser to Bill Clinton, is hot.
Carville has been making the rounds on cable news and on web outlets like Vox, issuing dire warnings to his party — a party that sees a base coming around to the idea of nominating a socialist. He’s acting as his party’s Jor-El, warning anyone who will listen about planet Krypton’s impending doom — and just like Krypton, no one is listening. ‘They’ve tacked off the damn radar screen!’ he proclaimed to Vox this week.
In an unbridled interview on MSNBC, after the disastrous Iowa Caucus that saw the implosion of several campaigns including Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, Carville was cooking on gas:
‘We had a great experience in 2018 and the day after we started all this goofy stuff. So, hopefully, we have time to jerk this thing back and be about healthcare, prescription drug prices, education, infrastructure, climate, diplomacy, rejuvenating whatever it is. But this is not happening so far. We can’t act like this is going well. We can’t come out and put three wonderful talking points. These campaigns have got to be more relevant.’
He continued slinging arrows at Warren: ‘The best bio I’ve seen in a presidential campaign and she had a very good critique which is that corruption is holding the country back. For some reason, I don’t know why, she decided to chase Bernie’s left tail all over the country and became known for exotic positions.’ Carville is no doubt talking about Warren suddenly running her campaign like a juniot counselor from Occidental — stating she would have a transgender teenager choose her education secretary for her cabinet, or banish the electoral college, or whatever else happened to be trending on Twitter that day.
Carville also declared Joe Biden DOA:
‘He has had an honorable life in politics. This is just not the time. What’s happened is he blocked out access for my guy Michael Bennet, for Gov. Bullock, blocked out access to Sen. Booker, probably some people that were going to run didn’t run because he was in the race.’
He saved his real ire for the Vox interview, when he took the Democratic party to task for becoming a coastal urban elitist and celebrity-driven cabal, pushed by an ever left-lurching progressive media complex:
‘We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments — talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party.’
He then set his sights on the New York Times itself, in particular, Binyamin Appelbaum, the bearded Bond villain who grilled Pete Buttigieg over Canadian bread prices and became an instant meme:
‘I want to give you an example of the problem here. A few weeks ago, Binyamin Appelbaum, an economics writer for the New York Times, posted a snarky tweet about how LSU canceled classes for the National Championship game. And then he said, do the “Warren/Sanders free public college proposals include LSU, or would it only apply to actual schools?” You know how fucking patronizing that is to people in the South or in the middle of the country? First, LSU has an unusually high graduation rate, but that’s not the point. It’s the goddamn smugness. This is from a guy who lives in New York and serves on the Times editorial board and there’s not a single person he knows that doesn’t pat him on the back for that kind of tweet. He’s so fucking smart. Appelbaum doesn’t speak for the Democratic party, but he does represent the urbanist mindset. We can’t win the Senate by looking down at people. The Democratic party has to drive a narrative that doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant.’
Carville was almost immediately excoriated by hoards of online Chapo-Bernie bros, but something tells me that the guy who got that Arkansas hillbilly elected president after 12 years of Republican rule knows a bit more about how to win elections and capture hearts. He is absolutely right about the cultural state of his party and its supportive media, as evidenced by Don Lemon, Rick Wilson and Wajahat Ali on CNN poking the yokels outside of New York City. Carville is right to call his party to task for pushing the woke issue of the day on Twitter instead of discussing real problems real people are facing.
The problem for James Carville, though, is he’s also to blame for the state of the party. He fostered a reputation for years as an underhanded and ruthless political operative; a sort of Roger Stone or Steve Bannon of the left. This is the same James Carville who defended Bill Clinton with the famous line about dragging a dollar bill through a trailer park — a reference to Paula Jones filing suit against Clinton which ultimately led to a special prosecutor and impeachment. Carville was a staunch ‘defend at all costs’ Clintonista that helped weaponize a media narrative against accusers such as Jones, and victims such as Monica Lewinsky.
Carville himself occupies a warm spot on the straight line of history that can be traced from the Clinton presidency to the Trump presidency, and much of how Trump was defended over the course of his impeachment by his party and his base is taken straight from the Clinton playbook. He’s a key figure in the coarsening of American politics, and a reason why the tribes fight to the death online over the conch on Twitter on a daily basis.
In 2016, Carville acted as a volunteer surrogate for Hillary Clinton, rebuffing everything from the Clinton Foundation’s shady associations to Hillary spilling classified information from an unsecured private server.
It’s as though Dr Frankenstein is warning about the damage his monster might cause to the village. Now with the village in embers, the townsfolk are looking to Bernie Sanders to rebuild it — without the great strategic insight of James Carville.