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"The Week" Opinion Awards and the indomitable spirit of the Washington pundit


Amy Klobuchar, Ed Rendell, Sir Harold Evans, Eric Cantor and Steve Schmidt provide the after-dinner entertainment at "The Week" Opinion Awards. (Neshan Naltchayan)

When the revolution comes, they'll be the ones in trouble. Maybe that's why the pundits had their secret conclave at the W Hotel on Tuesday, when the rest of the world was watching Kate Gosselin get kicked off "Dancing With the Stars" and wouldn't notice that they were all suspiciously absent from cable and Twitter.

(Except they weren't absent from Twitter. They tweeted throughout dinner. In this crowd, it would be rude not to.)

We speak, of course, of the Week's annual "Opinion Awards," where pundits give awards for best pundit in front of an audience of pundits, and the after-dinner entertainment is (no, really!) a panel of talking heads. It's the kind of room where Rahm Emanuel gives the benediction. Where, when emcees Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski say it's good to see David Shuster, everyone applauds knowingly. (Shuster was recently suspended by MSNBC after taping a pilot for rival CNN -- but of course you knew that.) Where hostess Margaret Carlson keeps graciously inviting us back even after we called the dinner a "nightmare," because that is the indomitable spirit of the pundit!

The awards went to the New Republic's Jonathan Chait, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers and our Post blogger colleague Ezra Klein. But you want to hear about the panel, right? Sir Harold Evans lined the talking heads up against the wall -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Gov. Ed Rendell (D-Pa.) and GOP strategist Steve Schmidt -- and asked, "Is bipartisanship dead or alive?"

And then they were off and running. Here are our notes: The earmark problem ... deficits ... Marco Rubio ... synchronized Chinese drummers at the Olympics ... our intellectual infrastructure...

Sorry, not helpful? Rendell, too, seemed to be drifting away, and we tensed when Evans ordered him to speak. But he confidently responded that "everybody knows we have to do something about entitlements," then more words that made a sentence -- and that's why he's the governor of Pennsylvania and we're not.

Was Cantor wearing Guccis, or good knockoffs? ... Does that cute Kevin Madden have his own show yet? ... Did we know that blond lady from real life or just TV? ... Evans woke us from our reverie: "We have to bring it to a conclusion." Awwwwwww! C'mon! We haven't even settled whether Sarah Palin is going to run for president!

No way, Klobuchar said. "When she speaks, she gets a couple hundred thousand dollars. We're here for a free dinner."

LAST YEAR: You try to flip the channels, but they're right there in the room with you!

By The Reliable Source  |  April 22, 2010; 1:02 AM ET
Categories:  Parties  
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Comments

Amy, terrific piece on the Opinion Awards (aka "PunditPalooza" as we in the punditocracy call it). Though perhaps not as thrilling as last week's Harding Prize awards celebration (the Hardies), last night's 'Opies' certainly had their moments: I, for one, particularly liked the interpretive dance segment featuring Tucker Carlson and the staff of the New Republic. Glad to see Tuck hasn't lost his step.

But I must disagree about one thing: I was actually struck by how LITTLE pundits were tweeting last night. Compared for example to last year's White House Correspondents Dinner, it was a virtual tweet blackout last night, save for Patrick Gavin's frequent updates. You need look no further than the official hashtag #OpinionAwards which inexplicably didn't even register the tweets from the hosting magazine @TheWeek. Other than some regrettable postings about the afterparty (sorry you missed it!), there was very little about the awards themselves:
http://hashtags.org/opinionawards

Posted by: martypundit | April 21, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Ed Rendell looked fabulously trim! He's all ready for the next phase.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | April 22, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Martypundit: They were tweeting under the radar, without the opinionawards hashtag, so as to better camouflage their whereabouts.

Posted by: The Reliable Source | April 22, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

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