The fact that Rupert Murdoch is going to hold a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton, as The Financial Times and Matt Drudge are reporting, doesn't surprise me -- Ben Smith of The New York Observer noticed the two getting closer nearly a year ago. (Among other things, as Smith pointed out, the New York Post trashed Ed Klein's hatchet job The Truth About Hillary around that time.) Don't forget that that Murdoch abandoned the Tories and began courting Tony Blair in 1995, a move that started paying off almost immediately, as Mother Jones noted shortly afterward:
In 1995, Murdoch asked the Labour leader to fly halfway round the world to give a talk to his senior executives at Hayman Island, a resort off the Queensland coast. More meals and meetings followed until, six weeks before the 1997 election, the Sun endorsed Blair. If the wooing paid off spectacularly for Blair at the polls, Murdoch can also feel satisfied. Apart from the government's refusal to outlaw his pricing policy on the Times, there is to be no legislation to protect people's privacy from the attentions of marauding tabloid reporters. Calls for such laws intensified after the death of Princess Diana, but they would have cramped the style of the Sun and its Sunday stablemate, the News of the World.
If it hadn't been for 9/11 and George W. Bush's subsequent obedience training, Tony Blair would have gone into the history books as Britain's Bill Clinton, a "Third Way" politician rather than a hero to hawks. Murdoch's blandishments didn't mean Blair was the new Maggie Thatcher; they don't mean Hillary is the new George W. Bush.
Still, it's an odd time to learn about this fund-raiser. The news comes just as Bush plunges to 31% in the Gallup poll (and just as we're learning that administration-friendly Fox and conventional-wisdom-spewing CNN are suffering significant ratings slippages, while Bush critic Keith Olbermann's audience grows at MSNBC).
Isn't it odd that the worse things get for Bush, the more the two major parties' 2008 front-runners, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, work to identify themselves with Bushism? What's wrong with these people? Why are they struggling so desperately to get on board what appears to be a sinking ship?