OK, I’m going to level with you. My week kind of sucks and I’m working on a couple of big stories for Washington Babylon but I want to post an item. The good news(*) is this is a great story about the Center for American Progress, the think tank founded by über sleaze John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.
He’s been in the news, some of you may know, because Vlad Putin hacked his embarrassing emails. At least that’s what Hillary Clinton claims; it’s also possible that a 400-pound private citizen sitting in his basement did it, as Donald Trump has claimed about the DNC hack. It’s also possible that no one hacked Podesta’s emails but that they were obtained because he lost his phone in a cab when it fell off of his belt clip.
Whatever happened, there’s one question that needs to be answered before Election Day: What kind of a jackass wears his phone on his belt?
Anyway, here’s the start of the story about the Center for American Progress and you can read the whole thing here.
Try to conjure up the dullest, most vapid intellectual experience you can possibly imagine. A Matthew Perry film festival. A boxed set of Kenny G’s entire discography. Al Gore “in conversation” with Wolf Blitzer.
Now imagine something worse. Far, far worse. Once you’ve hit the speculative bottom of the unexamined life, you’d be hard pressed to outdo Thomas Friedman holding forth on “Climate Change and the Arab Spring.” What’s still more disturbing is that Friedman’s maunderings—unlike the foregoing litany of intellectual failures—actually took place, and were recorded for posterity, during a panel event this February at the Center for American Progress, America’s most influential liberal think tank. The great globalizing muse of the New York Times op-ed page was joined on stage by Anne-Marie Slaughter, the Princeton University professor and former State Department deputy to Hillary Clinton.
*The bad news, if you’re going to be negative about it, is that this story is about three years old and ran in The Baffler so you may have seen it already. Nonetheless, it’s probably the best lede I’ve ever written.