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Late Nite FDL: Dial ‘M’ for Meltdown


Every time Dan Gerstein has a meltdown, an angel gets its wings.  Or something.  I can’t help but see these things as a gift from God to me.  Just when I was starting to get a little desperate for something to write about tonight, my cell phone rang with the raucous sounds of jungle birds, which is my ring-tone for Jane.

"I’ve got a surprise for you, TRex!" she said.

"What’s that?"

"Well, you saw Kenneth Cain’s article in GQ, right?" 

"What, the one that laid out all of Lieberman’s underhanded intimidation tactics leading up to the primary?" I replied, "I read it last night."

"Well, the Lieberman campaign wasn’t very happy about it, so they got DAN GERSTEIN to write a press release!"

I clapped my hands together with glee!  These are always so entertaining.  Sending DANGERSTEIN out to do spin control for your campaign is a lot like trying to change a diaper with a molotov cocktail.  It doesn’t do anything about the shit, and now everything’s on fire!  Yay, Dan Gerstein!  Heckuva job!  Mission accomplished!

"Send it!  Send it RIGHT NOW!" I pleaded.

"You’re gonna love it," she said, and oh, lord, she wasn’t lying.  What does the Lieberman campaign do, freak out about something and hand Gerstein a bottle of Adderall, a fifth of vodka and a typewriter?  Seriously, this is NOT the man you want handling perception management.  He comes off as being about as concise, stable, and reasonable as a border collie on crystal meth!  The press release says it’s from Tammy Sun, but anyone who knows Gerstein’s foam-flecked, wild-eyed writing style will know whose authorial fingerprints are all over this screed.  No mistake about it.

Oh, where to begin?  Well, first, go read Cain’s article, "Kiss of Death", then meet me back here. 

Right.  Finished?  Great.  So, DANGERSTEIN has entitled his press release, "Harry Potter Reports from the Campaign Trail: FANTASY vs. REALITY".

"Harry Potter"?  Oh, whatever, this ought to be good.

He has divided everything into two categories, "GQ FANTASY" and "REALITY", although it appears that the word "reality" has an altogether new meaning in this context, i.e., "GERSTEIN FANTASY". 

To wit:

GQ FANTASY: Cain claims that Lieberman was inaccessible to him and other members of the media.
REALITY: As Cain himself admits, he traveled in close proximity with Lieberman on the Tomorrow Tour bus. Cain also admits: "For weeks, I’ve been postponing the questions I’m dying to ask…" In fact, during the last ten days of the primary (the time period when Cain was traveling with Lieberman in Connecticut) Cain had at least two sit-down interviews with the Lieberman. In addition, Cain had multiple opportunities to ask Lieberman questions during press avails conducted at every campaign stop, sometimes as many as nine in a single day.
Not a day passed (except the Sabbath) when Joe Lieberman was not accessible to reporters at public events. Unless Cain wanted to crawl into Joe Lieberman’s lap, which is possible, his staffers made every effort to accommodate his multiple requests for time.

Um, "crawl into Joe Lieberman’s lap"?  Ew! Now, see?  This is Reason No. 1 why Gerstein should never talk to reporters.  All he had to do was outline Joe’s availability to the media, but instead he had to bring us that creeptastic mental image.  *SHUDDER!*  ("I don’t like this bedtime story, Grandpa!")  And whatever point he was trying to make is completely lost in the upwelling of squickyness that follows.  

But in this way, he is like the Lieberman campaign’s own Jeff Goldstein.  No matter how good his intentions are when he comes to the table, he can’t help but throw a dead cat into your lap before it’s over.  It’s like he’s trying to make a point and you’re with him, okay, but then some weird gassy bubble of deeply disturbed homoerotic longing rises from his mental sludge and bursts and everybody has no choice but to run for cover or get hit by the splatter.

At least this time he managed not to say that Holy Joe beats his wife.  

Then we’re into paragraph two, but Dannyboy’s already all worked up.  You can almost see the spittle starting to fly:

GQ FANTASY: Cain claims that GQ Magazine is not part of the "mainstream media" while accusing the "mainstream media" of bias in its coverage of Iraq.
REALITY: GQ Magazine is a popular, glossy fashion magazine based out of New York, with a circulation of 854,155 and ad buys from Calvin Klein, Sony, Gap and other mainstream labels. The magazine includes coverage of mainstream pop culture icons such as Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, and Ashton Kutcher. We wonder how their advertisers would feel about the magazine taking itself out of the "mainstream."

And in the last year, it’s also had hard-hitting features on Ralph Reed, Russ Feingold, and Colin Powell.  But remember, who needs truth when you’re Dan Gerstein?  Why stand on fact when you can be dismissive and condescending?  But we get the point.  GQ Magazine is just a step removed from People, nobody reads it and no one takes it seriously.  WHICH IS WHY YOU WROTE AN 1100 WORD PRESS RELEASE RESPONDING TO IT.

GQ FANTASY: Based on nothing more than his admitted attempt "to crawl inside Joe Lieberman’s head," Cain speculates wildly and baselessly about Lieberman’s personal thoughts and personality traits.
"In my opinion, there’s a major psychodrama playing out in Joe’s head about Iraq…It’s like his conscience starts to get just a bit ahead of his pride, and then the hubris races to catch up and tackles the concession midsentance…That he refuses to pay them [voters] that respect infuriates people. He may just lose his career over the simple human inability to concede a possible mistake."
REALITY: If Cain possesses the gift of identifying altercations between the id, ego, and superego inside the mind of Joe Lieberman, as well as reading his personal thoughts, we would like to offer him a job on our campaign.

See, Dan, that was actually the money quote from the whole piece.  Remember what I told you before about not dragging unflattering information about your candidate out under the noses of a whole new audience by quoting it in a press release?  Right, clearly you weren’t listening.  And besides, ALL of us can see into Joe Lieberman’s head.  It looks just like this.

And that’s as far as I can get.  The rest devolves into a vurrrrry tedious he said/she said deal, which is really what the Lieberman campaign is best at.  But that doesn’t mean I have to read it!  I can’t imagine what the busy reporters at the New York Times and other news organizations felt when they got this piece of crap press release.  It reads like an eleven year old having a tantrum about today’s school assembly.

Poor Dan.  I see you also couldn’t quite make yourself go a whole page without mentioning Jane’s name.  I’m really sorry about your obsession with her.  I know seeing her looking all gorgeous and brilliant on Countdown last night can’t have helped that, either.

Don’t despair, little DANGERSTEIN.  This will all be over on November 8th and Joe will doubtlessly sack you like he does everyone else who can’t convince the voting public that Joe Lieberman is anything other than, well, Joe Lieberman.  Hopefully, there will be a wealth of job opportunities for the reality impaired after this election season.  Maybe you can get work trying to convince the world that Pete Doherty isn’t on drugs, or that Madonna really is an English Jew, or that Jack Abramoff is an honest man who has only ever had the best interests of the American people at heart.

But in the meantime, I can’t wait for your next thrilling press release!

Try and get some rest, okay? 

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TRex is a 60-million-year-old theropod who enjoys terrorizing trailer parks, stomping his enemies, and eating things that get in his way or annoy him. He is single and looking for a new boyfriend. He's 60 feet tall, green, with delicate forelimbs, large, sharp teeth, and a lengthy tail. Turn-ons include political activism, bashing conservatives, and volcanoes. Turn-offs are vegetarians, right-wing blogs, and killer asteroids.