CBS's long-time political host Bob Schieffer went quietly berserk the other day, though few noticed. Schieffer, a pre-eminent water-carrier for the power elite, was livid about the decrepit state of US politics. He was nearly sputtering as he looked into the camera and provided his latest commentary.
The outburst may have many causes, but one that occurred to us was his recently conducted interview with Libertarian Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Tex).
During the interview, Schieffer's irritation was obvious, as was his bias. He attacked Ron Paul's free-market philosophy as unworkable and his anti-empire perspective as unrealistic. The interview was widely panned on the Internet, with many taking shots at Schieffer's unprofessional conduct.
It could be that Schieffer was brooding over the interview and the resultant 'Net furor. Or perhaps the futility of the current system − and the strain of avoiding Ron Paul's ongoing success on the campaign trail − is getting to him.
Certainly, as the 'Net era blossoms all sorts of power elite verities go by the wayside. The mainstream media that Schieffer represented so ably in the 20th century has lost considerable clout. The old paradigm of Republicans versus Democrats has been transformed by the Internet and so has the sociopolitical dialogue.
Now Republicans and Democrats may be seen standing together on one side of the aisle, providing state solutions while Ron Paul and the libertarian crowd stands on the other, presenting economic and cultural remedies that emphasize freedom and free markets. That's the Internet Reformation for you.
Perhaps this is what made Schieffer so grumpy. He unleashed a commentary that was startling for its vitriol, and quite unusual to hear on an establishment platform like CBS.
In their effort to destroy each other are the political parties on the verge of destroying the category, the system, he asks. "We're not there but we may be close."
Campaigns, he adds, "are as meaningless as they are mean − and government has done nothing for us lately." Finally, he asks, "Can it be repaired before the whole thing blows apart?"
See the video here:
(Video from CBS's YouTube user channel.)