I signed up as an MSNBC contributor yesterday, which means I’m on call for a couple of segments a week — just as I was at the Washington Post — and that you won’t be seeing me on CNN and Fox News.

This isn’t a new full-time job. Ezra Klein is an MSNBC contributor and a Washington Post blogger. Pat Buchanan is an MSNBC contributor and a columnist. And so on. I’m spending this week and possibly next week meeting with other media companies about my next full-time job, choosing one as soon as I’ve heard everyone out.

I’ve gotten a lot of supportive notes and e-mails about this move, and I’m thankful. At the Washington Independent and the Washington Post I only appeared on TV to talk about things I’d reported on. So at my new job I’ll keep reporting, then I’ll appear on MNSBC sometimes to talk about it. One of many reasons not to worry too much about me.

Rick Barber talks about Nazis

The would-be GOP candidate in AL-02 has unleashed his third viral* video: a tavern chat with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln followed by… look, just watch it.

I talked to Barber today, who happily defended his evocation of slavery and his use of World War II iconography — which includes images of the Holocaust.

“Somebody has to say this,” said Barber. “When Hitler took power, no one wanted to think that the Holocaust, the murder of 6 million Jewish people, was possible. I’m saying that you have to recognize and name tyranny when you see it. And I think people are finding out that I’m the candidate who’s willing to speak clearly and not be afraid of sounding politically incorrect, and my opponent isn’t that candidate.”

*by the way, what is the point when we can call things viral? 250,000 views? A chat thread at the Politico Arena?

On Ratfucking

The Daily Caller:

Weigel seems to harbor special contempt for a type of conservative he calls a ratfucker, a favorite phrase of his.

“Ratfucking” is a well-known political term, originated by one-time Richard Nixon campaign strategist Donald Segretti. It is a colorful and foul simile for “pulling a dirty trick.” I did not come up with it. Here, for example, is a usage of it from page 129 of “All the President’s Men” by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.


Was it “a favorite phrase” of mine? I have done searches in my email archives for the phrases “ratfuck,” “ratfucker,” and “ratfucking.” I used the word four times, and every use appeared in the Caller’s story.

– On March 4, 2009, I wrote that Rush Limbaugh encouraged “Republican voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries as a ratfucking tactic.”

– On October 27, 2009, I wrote that Sarah Palin and “half of the Republican Party” was “trying to ratfuck the Republican nominee in NY-23.”

– On January 20, 2010, I wrote of President Obama that Republicans would “spend 10 months ratfucking him on every bill.”

-  A January 26, 2010 thread on the arrest of James O’Keefe was titled (not by me) “ACORN Ratf*cker arrested.” Later, picking up the word, I wrote: “You’re all wrong. He’s either going to get a radio talk show or start a prison ministry. That’s was successful conservative ratfuckers do for their second acts.”

Those were the only times I used the word “ratfuck” in any permutation. All of them predate my hiring by the Washington Post. Two of them referred to the literal meaning of the word — using false pretenses to nail a political opponent. (In this case, Limbaugh/Obama and O’Keefe/ACORN.) One irony: Were a Republican operative to enter Journolist on false pretenses then leak information about its members, that would be a classic ratfuck.

The Coakley e-mail

Because you asked, here is the e-mail I sent to Journolist about Martha Coakley — I was responding to someone arguing that the media was sexist for obsessing over her baseball-related gaffes. (This person is quoted in the first graf.)

from David Weigel
to journolist
date Mon, Feb 15, 2010 at 3:42 PM
subject Re: [JournoList] Re: WOW – Bayh Retiring

“Is there any possibility we could discuss the Democrats’ future without further reference to Martha Coakley’s baseball-related deficiencies?”

Yes, we can discuss her holding fewer than 1/3 as many events as Brown, saying that Catholics shouldn’t work in emergency rooms, and holding a DC fundraiser with a week to go before the election.

I think pointing out Coakley’s awfulness is vital, because it’s 1) true and 2) unreasonable panic about it is doing more damage to the Democrats. I don’t think the party has gotten up off the mat yet. And it’s been a month!

If you think that political reporters don’t occasionally play armchair generals for the people they write about, you have never met a political reporter. By “unreasonable panic,” I meant panic that didn’t make sense for a party that still ran Congress and the White House and was a House vote away from passing its big signature legislation — and did not need another Senate vote to do this. I was right.

Get Him to the Greek

The movies produced by Judd Apatow are as much about the love between platonic friends — male friends — as they are about the in-all-but-one-case required love between men and women.* Think of Seth Rogen rescuing James Franco in “Pineapple Express,” or Michael Cera and Jonah Hill drunkenly confessing their feelings in “Superbad.” This theme has never been handed subtly, but “Get Him to the Greek” finally bleaches all of the subtext away. In a crucial scene, music industry flunky Aaron (Hill) is guilted into a three-way with rock star Aldous Snow (Russell Brand) by his girlfriend, the put-upon and harried Daphne (Elizabeth Moss). Daphne seems to be enjoying the three-way a bit too much. Aaron sees that Aldous is about to, well, enter her. In order to stop him, he grabs Aldous and kisses him passionately, then grabs his penis (“the emperor,” Aldous calls it). No one extracts much pleasure from this, and the three-way ends so we can move the story along.

As this unfolds, it’s awkwardly hysterical. I’d say most of the movie is hysterical — for the first two acts, we don’t go more than twenty seconds without a joke. Nicholas Stoller directs all of this beautifully, after “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” (this is a quasi-sequel, with Brand reprising his role as Aldous) failed to reveal very much craft or ability to clip scenes down to the stuff that mattered. This time he’s discovered the joys of fast pacing, with arrivals to new cities handled by quick scenery montages, and plenty of story told with faithful fake commercials and TV segments.

Oh, yes, the story — Aaron convinces his boss, Sergo (played loudly and brilliantly by Sean “Diddy” Combs), that what their record company needs is a 10th anniversary concert for Aldous, which will bring in syndication rights from the web and cable and re-ignite interest in the fading star’s back catalogue. Aldous needs that, because since the release of his disastrously pretentious album “African Child,” he’s lost his model/singer girlfriend and staggered off the wagon into a self-destructive Pete Doherty lost weekend/third-of-a-decade. So Aldous, after a surprise break-up with Daphne, is dispatched to bring Aldous from London to Los Angeles. He gives in to every temptation, dazzled by his new friend and the sex, drugs and luck that follow him everywhere, as long as he makes the occasional sacrifice like chugging a whiskey flask so Aldous can’t wreck himself before a TV hit.

*the exception being “Funny People”

The beach

I am there right now, sitting on the third-floor deck of a Nags Head, NC rental, watching the sun set after a day when my friends and I were urged to leave the beach for a thunderstorm that never came. Bliss, in other words.