Joe Klein Banned from McCain Plane

Joe Klein, political columnist for TIME magazine, has been unable to secure a seat on the McCain campaign planes for months, Michael Calerone reports for Politico.

“I’ve done nine presidential campaigns and this is the first time this has ever happened to me,” Klein said. “I was even allowed—I won’t say welcomed—on the Clinton plane in the summer of 1996 after I was revealed as the author of Primary Colors.”

“I rode with McCain during the primaries, but not since I asked him—at a June press conference—whether he really believed Ahmadinejad was the ‘leader’ of Iran, since he has no control over foreign policy or the nuclear program,” Klein continued. “That was when they suddenly told me that I hadn’t called in time to get secret service clearance. (I had called more than a day in advance.)”

They’ve also banned Maureen Dowd, apparantly.   After initially attributing this to bureaucracy, saying Klein applied too late for credentials, the new tack, from spokesman Michael Goldfarb, is “we don’t allow Daily Kos diarists on board either.”   This prompted Erza Klein to quip, “How does Goldfarb know there are no DailyKos diarists on the plane? Many DailyKos diarists are anonymous. They could be anywhere! They are everywhere! Even…behind…you.

For his own part, Klein says “I don’t consider it a big deal,” noting that he’s an opinion columnist, that several TIME reporters have seats on the plane, and that he’s still treated cordially by most McCain staffers, who continue to answer his questions.

Klein has been pretty brutal to McCain, questioning his decency and integrity, so it’s not entirely surprising that the campaign’s not rolling out the red carpet.  Still, this is just gobsmackingly stupid.  McCain made his reputation largely on the strength of a warm relationship with the press corps, granting them unprecedented access.   It makes no sense to alienate name brand columnists — and their peers — by being petty.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Media, US Politics,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Joe Klein Banned from McCain Plane: Joe Klein, political columnist for TIME magazine, has been unable t.. http://tinyurl.com/5mn88b

  2. Yes, of course, you should always welcome someone into your presence who smacks you on the back of the head with a shovel every chance he gets. Members of the press that act like partisan hacks should expect to be treated like partisan hacks.

    Anyway, how many people do you think actually read Joe Klein? And how many of those take him seriously?

  3. John425 says:

    Does Mr Joyner actually read what he writes?

    “…Klein has been pretty brutal to McCain, questioning his decency and integrity,…”

    “It makes no sense to alienate name brand columnists — and their peers — by being petty.”

    If someone were out there printing articles questioning my decency and integrity I’d be “petty” enough to break his frikken face!

    Politics is a hardball game AND a contact sport.

  4. Davebo says:

    I’ve always found that the best way to prevent people from questioning your decency and integrity is to , you know, be decent and have integrity.

    You didn’t see a lot of people questioning McCain’s decency and integrity in 2000 after all.

  5. Steve Plunk says:

    Given x number of seats on the plane who should the McCain campaign bump off for Klein and wouldn’t that reporter then have a similar complaint? Is this even newsworthy?

  6. Alex Knapp says:

    Steve,

    I don’t really care about this one way or the other, but if you read the linked article you’ll note that there are empty seats on Palin’s plane.

  7. Anderson says:

    Just what you’d expect from bitter losers.

    People with some character would invite him on board, slap Klein on the back, and joke with him about his disaster-tourism. Might even restore some of his personal liking for the campaign.

    But character is not what we’ve seen from McCain’s campaign.

  8. John Cole says:

    Does Mr Joyner actually read what he writes?

    “…Klein has been pretty brutal to McCain, questioning his decency and integrity,…”

    “It makes no sense to alienate name brand columnists — and their peers — by being petty.”

    If someone were out there printing articles questioning my decency and integrity I’d be “petty” enough to break his frikken face!

    Politics is a hardball game AND a contact sport.

    And even now, as the Republican party faces certain annihilation in the election, the dead-enders still do not get it.

    In every electoral cycle, you are going to have fans and critics alike covering your campaign. What you do is try to convert the critics and keep the fans happy. What you do not try to do is act like a petty child, running around “punishing” those who give you negative press, and you certainly don’t ban people from your plane for the offense of “negative coverage.” You look petty, childish, and small, and additionally, it symbolizes the kind of hive-mind mentality that brought you the current disaster called the Bush administration. You remember them- the ones who attempted to crush everyone who spoke negatively about them and paid people to write puff pieces (see Williams, Armstrong). How is that working out for you all?

    It is painful watching what was once my Republican party go down the crapper, but man do you all deserve it. Enjoy your new party- and trust me, there will be plenty of seats on your planes so that you can fill it with only loyal scribes from the National Review, Commentary, and the Weekly Standard. Hell, there will even be room for Hot Air writers.

  9. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Hey John want to bet your mortgage on the outcome of this election???? You are betting your future, and you are voting for the dark side, no pun intended. Biden made a promise Obama will botch the first foreign policy test. At least it will seem so to most Americans like letting Iran develop nukes. That is such a good idea because Israel will respond with enough warheads to turn Iran and its oil, to glass. Is that what you think is a good idea? Obama is a fool who knows nothing about anything accept his Marxist philosophy (wealth redistribution).

  10. Steve Plunk says:

    Alex,

    The Palin people said it was an issue of asking too late on a particular flight.

    I would disagree with John Cole regarding those of us who see this as a non-issue as “dead-enders”. If he wants to give up on his Republican party and then bad mouth those of us who still see it as viable so be it but isn’t that being just as petty and childish as he’s claiming the McCain campaign is?

  11. John425 says:

    John Cole is parsing the quote down to blandness. Questioning a man’s decency and integrity is a wee bit more than “negative coverage”. Negative coverage is me telling you that you don’t think straight. Impugning your integrty by calling you a Marxist asshole is another matter, don’t you think?

  12. tom p says:

    Yes, of course, you should always welcome someone into your presence who smacks you on the back of the head with a shovel every chance he gets. Members of the press that act like partisan hacks should expect to be treated like partisan hacks.

    Charles, remember this all startewd with:

    “I rode with McCain during the primaries, but not since I asked him—at a June press conference—whether he really believed Ahmadinejad was the ‘leader’ of Iran, since he has no control over foreign policy or the nuclear program,”

    A perfectly fair question.

    John 425, methinks you are a little confused…

    Impugning your integrty by calling you a Marxist asshole is another matter, don’t you think?

    That is what FOX calls Obama… And yet I don’t hear FOX complaining of being barred from Obama’s plane… I guess they are just a little better than that.

  13. John Cole says:

    I would disagree with John Cole regarding those of us who see this as a non-issue as “dead-enders”.

    No, I am saying the mentality of people who think the appropriate way to handle criticism in the press is to ban them from access and act like petty children is both a symptom and a cause of the current mess the Republican party is in- by the very nature of buying into this flawed approach of dealing with dissent, you are proving yourself to be a dead-ender. And you still do not get it.

    By all means, though, go watch some more Fox news and read the NRO, and tell yourself but for the media conspiracy against Republicans, you really would be winning big right now. Pay no attention to the mass defections from the GOP. Pay no attention to the fact that 80% and more of the country thinks that Republican rule has been a disaster. Pay no attention to any of that- it is just the liberal media and insufficient fealty to the cause on the part of weak-minded folks like me.

    Have you not even noticed how uncomfortable your host is with the current state of the GOP? Talk about oblivious.

  14. Davebo says:

    Have you not even noticed how uncomfortable your host is with the current state of the GOP?

    Perhaps a bit unfair. But it does raise a question.

  15. tom p, there’s a lot more to this than that. Methinks Mr. Klein is being selective and subjective about his memory, but that’s nothing new.

    Mr. Cole, you make the same mistake of trivializing this down to “petty” Republicans can’t take criticism. Yeah, whatever, just make sure you don’t ask Senator Obama a question whose answer might prove troublesome after the fact. In fact, better not to ask him any questions at all, if one is paying attention to the media coverage these days, I guess.

    Unlike Mr. Joyner, I’m not a Republican so I’ve got no stake in this other than trying to live as free as possible. Unless one is hopelessly wedded to a Manichean world view, one can be utterly disenchanted with Republicans and still think Democrats will do worse.

  16. Steve Plunk says:

    charles once again hits a homer. Of course many of us are disenchanted with the Republican party at times but we know for certain the Democratic party and their candidate is ruinous. That is pragmatism and far from being a “dead-ender”.

    John Cole,

    You and I have certainly have gotten off to a bad start. I like to keep things more cordial with my political opposition but you make it hard. It amuses me when I offer reasonable explanations and insights only to be told to go watch more Fox news (I don’t by the way). That sort of offhanded, veiled insult is most often used when the author cannot come up with something substantive and wants to use the tired stereotype of Fox watchers as less educated and more readily molded into rightwing ideologues. Like I said, it’s a tired stereotype.

    It will be interesting to see if there really are “mass defections from the GOP”. I doubt there are many except those who claim to be the intellectual arm of the party. So much for inclusiveness and a big tent. Once the rednecks got a say the highbrows couldn’t wait to distance themselves from ‘those people’.

    I should note I have great respect for our host but disagree with him often but in a respectful manner. Us country bumpkins know how to be polite in someone else’s house.

    The McCain campaign has plenty of press so if in fact (so far people here are just speculating) Klein is not being given a seat it won’t hurt him to lose that particular perspective in the papers. Now let’s be friends.

  17. Eric says:

    John Cole is parsing the quote down to blandness. Questioning a man’s decency and integrity is a wee bit more than “negative coverage”. Negative coverage is me telling you that you don’t think straight. Impugning your integrty by calling you a Marxist asshole is another matter, don’t you think?

    OK. The part I don’t get here is the part where McCain and Palin and all their ads and all their robocalls do nothing but question Obama’s decency and integrity, but Joe Klein somehow crossed the line questioning McCain’s decency and integrity and he was booted.

    That sort of offhanded, veiled insult is most often used when the author cannot come up with something substantive and wants to use the tired stereotype of Fox watchers as less educated and more readily molded into rightwing ideologues. Like I said, it’s a tired stereotype.

    I’m sorry, there’s some question that Fox News watchers aren’t being brainwashed?

  18. steve says:

    Once again, departing from orthodoxy gets someone raked over the coals. There are many of us long time Republican voters who are truly unhappy with the current foreign policy stance and the large debts being run up by the party. Tired of trying to kick the football we are leaving. The party will not change as long as it is in power. Political parties do not behave that way.

    Steve

  19. tom p says:

    STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Steve P: The republican party is still viable? As what??? The boot heel of missouri? They stopped being conservative 8+ yrs ago!

    Look guys, I am not invested in this argument except for the fact that I want somebody to argue with (challenge) me in a way I can respect and ACTUALLY learn from.

    Take it from one on the outside looking in: The GOP is dead. I can see the forest from the trees. The writing was on the wall with Palin… When she got picked, my initial thought was, “Vote McCain/Palin… end the GOP as we know it.

    Go ahead, vote. I will see you all in 4 yrs, and lament the state of affairs with you.

  20. I’m been around too long to take “the Republicans are finished” or “the Democrats are finished” seriously, as one or the other has been offered every couple of years since I started voting 30 years ago.

  21. One correction, I apologize for writing Mr. Joyner above, it should be Dr. Joyner.

  22. Benson says:

    “You didn’t see a lot of people questioning McCain’s decency and integrity in 2000 after all.”

    No, because he was a wimpy candidate who let Team Bush smear him. I’m sure they’ll treat him nicely if he allows Obama to walk all over him, too.

  23. John Cole says:

    I’m been around too long to take “the Republicans are finished” or “the Democrats are finished” seriously, as one or the other has been offered every couple of years since I started voting 30 years ago.

    Charles Austin is correct. Just a few years ago, I remember talk of a permanent Republican majority.

    You and I have certainly have gotten off to a bad start.

    It was mostly my fault. By nature I am belligerent, but right now I am exceedingly frustrated.

    Look, the knee-jerk response to kick Klein off the plane is, as I said earlier, a symptom and a cause of the current mess the GOP finds itself in. The manichaean “with us or against us” is the root cause of the current Republican decline, and I will get back to that in a minute.

    But if nothing else, let me explain why kicking Klein off the plane was a bad idea on a number of levels. Tactically, it was disastrous. In the short term you have a number of stories about a campaign so insecure they can not handle dissent, treating a member of the press with complete disdain. Right now at Swampland, Joe Klein is the one explaining why it was ok- making him look better and the campaign look smaller with his graciousness.

    Strategically, it was worse- now you have a press that is overtly suspicious and untrusting- a long-term problem for any campaign. Additionally, it feeds the Obama campaign narrative regarding McCain’s temperament, and it feeds all the stories regarding how this is a different John McCain from previous years.

    Finally, politically, this is a disaster. A movement with ideas fueling them, on the right side of issues, can take tough pieces on them. Furthermore, every movement needs tough pieces so they reflect on what they are doing. Self-reflection, contrary to what Bush and Palin think, is a good thing.

    All the way around, this was a bad idea. Just keep him on the damned plane and vigorously disagree with him. Same with Maureen Dowd.

    But back to the main point- the political aspect. The Republican party is where they are because they have spent the last few years simply “being better than the alternative,” which is the Democrats. And they internalized it- the Democrats are worse, the Democrats are worse- it is a mantra and matter of fact with every right-wing blog. There is no reflection on whether or not that is, in fact, true, and now, it seems, the majority of the public disagrees with the assessment. Part of how we got there was by shutting down all dissent- demonizing, villifying, and tightening the belt. The big tent is now a small tent of true believers, and who knows what they believe in? Their positions are malleable- whatever Bush and Rove and Cheney say are good, they support

    Long story short- had the GOP spent more time reading folks who criticized them and crafted better policy, rather than enforcing, they would not be where they are.

    I see kicking Joe Klein off the airplane as the perfect example as to how the current GOP got where it is right now.

  24. just me says:

    Part of how we got there was by shutting down all dissent- demonizing, villifying, and tightening the belt.

    I would point out that while I agree with this comment it isn’t a problem unique to the GOP. GOP candidates and politicians have spent a lifetime being demonized and villified.

    I think in general both sides of the aisle spend way too much time paying the virtuous while accusing the other side of all manner of evil.

    This is a problem in both parties, and it is one I think is only going to get worse.

  25. gael says:

    “Name Brand Columnists”? Wow! They’re segeragting themselves now! guess what, oh vaunted namebrands, people don’t read you rspew anymore becasue You Refuse To Report The News. You continue to report on the world, as you wish it would be, instead of as it actually is. And the American reader is far too intelligent to succumb to your fantasyAct anymore. We know where to go fro the truth, we know how to get to the actual event footage, and transcripts and won’t tolerate your filters and skews and corruptions of the truth anymore.

  26. G.A.Phillips says:

    That is what FOX calls Obama… And yet I don’t hear FOX complaining of being barred from Obama’s plane… I guess they are just a little better than that.

    lol, when? I missed it?

  27. tom p says:

    G.A: Sarcasm….

    Of course FOX couldn’t say “asshole” on the air.