Mark Finkelstein has a B.S. from Cornell University, an Ed.M. and a J.D., magna cum laude, from SUNY Buffalo, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law. In 2011, Mark moved to Pecan Plantation, Texas from his long-time home in Ithaca, NY where he hosted "Right Angle," an award-winning local political talk show. Mark is an aviation buff and holds an instrument rating.  He spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email:

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
February 7, 2008, 7:13 AM EST
With Joe Scarborough away, the mice did play during the opening segment of today's Morning Joe . . .
WILLIE GEIST [facetiously]: David, I know how you like to speak for Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of that group.

MIKA BRZEZINSKI: He's going to the [CPAC] convention.

GEIST: You're the voice of that community, but can you make sense out of this? Are they willing, the conservatives, the Limbaughs, the Hannitys of the world, to concede the election, to not have John McCain be president, to take Hillary Clinton over them, just to take a principled stand?
View video here.
February 6, 2008, 12:10 PM EST

Mike Huckabee won five races last night. Mitt Romney won seven. Mike Huckabee has 190 delegates. Mitt Romney has 269 [see results here]. The only closed Deep South state left on the primary calendar is Mississippi. Romney has the message and money to compete across the USA.

So when Huckabee claims it's now a two-man race between McCain and himself, a journalist would surely challenge him on it, no? No. Not Robin Roberts, at least. To the contrary, she bought into his logic to the extent of asking only about his strategy going forward.

There were also some intriguing comments from Huckabee about allegations of backroom West Virginia deals and the importance of politesse . . .

View video here.

February 6, 2008, 8:34 AM EST

Well surprise, surprise!

He danced the complete Kabuki, right down to the mandatory move about considering John McCain for his VP slot. But at the end of the day, Mike Huckabee has admitted the obvious: he'll take the Veep nomination if John McCain offers it.

Huckabee was a guest on this morning's Today.

View video here.

February 6, 2008, 7:34 AM EST

Joe Scarborough has given away the MSM's dirty big secret: it hates Mitt Romney and is letting that animus distort its coverage of the Republican race. Joe went on an impassioned riff at the opening of today's Morning Joe.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: I want the media mavens in Manhattan and Washington, DC to listen what I'm about to tell you, because it goes against your narrative, but it is the truth. Look at the map; let's put the map back up there. Last night was a good night for John McCain, he won the big states . . . but starting at about 9 PM last night, before a lot of the Western states were closed, we heard over and over again that Mike Huckabee had now raced into second place, and once again friends that Mitt Romney should drop from the race . . . McCain had nine states won, Romney had seven states won, Huckabee had five states won. And yet, what did we hear time and time again, at this network and every other network: Mike Huckabee has now raced into second place.

View video here.

February 5, 2008, 9:34 AM EST

Is it just me, or was there a defiant tone in George Stephanopoulos's voice this morning as he declared that Rush Limbaugh can't stop John McCain? The "This Week" host was a guest commentator on today's Good Morning America, and co-anchor Robin Roberts began by playing a clip of a recent Rush comment.

ROBIN ROBERTS: Let's start with the Republicans. Of course John McCain, the big lead over Romney, but not everyone is rallying around McCain. Let's listen to this for a moment.

Cut to Rush clip.

View video here.

February 5, 2008, 8:04 AM EST

Sore winner?

You'd think a man who might be on the verge of taking a giant step toward winning the Republican nomination would go out of his way to be gracious. But John McCain couldn't suppress his spiteful streak on this morning's Today.

In the course of his interview by Matt Lauer, the Today co-anchor cited criticism of McCain by former and current Senate colleagues Rick Santorum and Thad Cochran. McCain retaliated with a personal swipe at their reputations, and later declined to describe Mitt Romney as a fine man.

View video here.

February 4, 2008, 8:31 PM EST

Don't take NewsBusters's word for it. According to Lanny Davis, with one exception MSNBC has donned flippers and goggles to go entirely in the tank for Barack Obama.

Davis, who made his bones tirelessly defending Bill Clinton during the dark Lewinsky days, appeared on Tucker Carlson's show this evening. Tucker opened the conversation by asking whether Davis sensed Obama's momentum. But Lanny was more interested in getting his point on the record about MSNBC's pro-Obama bias.
February 4, 2008, 2:14 PM EST
The voters had a temper tantrum last week . . . Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old. -- Peter Jennings, November 14, 1994, on the Republican landslide.

[C]onservatives . . . can choose to stand aside from history while having a temper tantrum. But they should consider that the American people might then choose not to invite them back into a position of responsibility for quite a while to come. -- William Kristol, February 4, 2008, on conservative aversion to McCain.

It's one thing to have been bawled out by the late Peter Jennings. But do conservatives have to have their knuckles rapped by one of their own, Bill Kristol? Apparently yes, as per the Weekly Standard editor's New York Times column of today, Dyspepsia on the Right.
February 4, 2008, 12:24 PM EST
H/t ML.

How fixated is the MSM on its beloved Democrats? In a recent week, the media bestowed more coverage on Bill Clinton than on any of the Republican presidential candidates.

That's the finding of the The Project for Excellence in Journalism [PEJ], a part of the Pew Research Center, which has never been accused of right-wing tendencies.
February 4, 2008, 10:37 AM EST
When a Democrat pulls off an upset in California, it's a "win." If a disfavored Republican does the same, he's "stealing." Just ask George Stephanopoulos, appearing on today's Good Morning America.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS [pointing to map]: This is Barack Obama's targets tomorrow night, this is what I'm going to be watching. If he wins Massachussetts, where he's got the support of Ted Kennedy, he's going to have a good night. If he wins Missouri, right in the middle of the country, he's going to have a great night. If he wins California tomorrow night, it is going to be very hard to deny him the nomination.

View video here.

February 4, 2008, 8:50 AM EST

Opening for Hillary? Obama has spoken some sense on the surge . . .

Whereas Obama's claim to foreign policy fame among Dems has been his opposition from day one to the Iraq war, it appears he may have now put himself to the right of Hillary Clinton on the issue of sustaining the surge.

Readers will recall that when Tim Russert asked Clinton on Meet the Press of January 13th whether she would be open to sustaining the surge through the end of the year if General Petraeus requested it, Hillary tersely answered "No, and here's why, Tim."

But confronted with a similar hypothetical on this morning's Early Show, Obama evinced more flexibility.

View video here.

February 4, 2008, 7:15 AM EST

Serious question: why does Mika Brzezinski bother? Why does she sustain the charade of non-partisanship? Not a day goes by that host Joe Scarborough doesn't proclaim his conservative Republicanism. But despite a mountain of evidence as documented here over the months, Brzezinski continues to deny the undeniable: that she is a partisan Democrat.

On today's Morning Joe, Mika first put her GOP consultant cap on, counseling Republicans to stop supporting Romney, then floated the notion that she might actually vote Republican in the fall. The duo were mulling the latest poll numbers, which showed Mitt Romney having jumped up over the last month.

View video here.

February 3, 2008, 4:43 PM EST

On this Super Sunday, it's fitting I suppose that Mike Huckabee would be out there blocking and tackling for Team McCain. Appearing on this morning's Today show, the former Arkansas governor made a pro forma claim that he's still running for president and not the veep slot. But Huckabee certainly seemed to be acting as what Mark Steyn described in a recent Hugh Hewitt interview as McCain's "wing man."

Consider Huckabee's reply to a question from Sunday co-host Jenna Wolfe [a resident, coincidentally, of Chappaqua, NY, home to Bill and Hillary.]
February 3, 2008, 7:33 AM EST
As its Hollywood-borrowed headline There Will Be Blood suggests, the gist of Maureen Dowd's column today is that appearances of that icky post-debate clinch notwithstanding, there is no love lost between Hillary and Obama. The junior senator from Illinois won't agree to run as Hillary's vice-presidential candidate. Or as Maureen metaphorically puts it:
Why would Obama want to follow in the frustrated footsteps of Al Gore . . . being third banana to Billary?

Along the way, Dowd appears to break some news of a confrontation between the two that one camp views as having been physical . . .

February 2, 2008, 2:40 PM EST
The LA Times has endorsed John McCain in the GOP primary, and at least two of its reasons for doing so should give conservatives pause: the liberal paper likes McCain because he's weak on border fences and strong on global warming.

Excerpts [emphasis added]:
As the Republican field indulged this campaign season in an orgy of ignorance on immigration, McCain stood his ground, sponsoring legislation that would provide a route to citizenship for the 11 million to 12 million immigrants here illegally. His rivals have argued for mass deportations and strong border fences.
February 2, 2008, 8:14 AM EST
Mooch-a-mas grassas! That was Ted Kennedy -- the man who brought you "Mike McGwire and Sammy Sooser" -- thanking a California crowd. View here. Now we know why he paid someone back at Harvard to take that Spanish exam.

John McCain might want to borrow that snippet of smashed Spanish from his amnesty bill buddy to thank Today. The NBC show this morning depicted the Republican primary race as all but over with the GOP establishment coalescing around the Arizona senator. And for good measure, weekend co-host Lester Holt threw in some campaign consulting, gratis, counseling McCain against moving right to appeal to the conservative base.

Holt interviewed Chris Matthews. View video here.
February 1, 2008, 7:44 PM EST

David Frum might not be every conservative's cup of tea. But un-fans of John McCain will find plenty to like in Frum's biting analysis of the Republican front-runner.

The former Bush speechwriter and author of Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again, was a guest on this evening's Tucker.

View video here.

February 1, 2008, 10:26 AM EST

Tim Russert isn't practicing his Christmas tree-ornament hanging technique. The Meet the Press host is demonstrating how John McCain is dangling the VP slot to Mike Huckabee. And Huck seems as transfixed as a hound before a bone, judging by the way he's staying in the race against all odds and spending his time taking shots at Mitt Romney.

Russert was a guest during the 7 AM half-hour of Morning Joe.

View video here.

February 1, 2008, 7:28 AM EST
Don't tell Joe Scarborough that John McCain's the stronger Republican candidate because he can attract voters in the middle. The Morning Joe host has depicted McCain as unelectable because of the opposition to him of two key conservative leaders, Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson.

Scarborough's comments during the opening segment of today's Morning Joe were prompted by an article in today's New York Times that included this line [emphasis added]:
Since his victory in the Florida primary, the growing possibility that Mr. McCain may carry the Republican banner in November is causing anguish to the right. Some, including James C. Dobson and Rush Limbaugh, say it is far too late for forgiveness.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: There are a lot of conservatives that I've heard grousing that have said "I would rather a Democrat win then John McCain."

View video here.

January 31, 2008, 9:28 AM EST - Media Research Center"For his part, Obama appears to view Hillary as a thug who will say anything to win." -- ABC's Dan Harris, GMA, 01-31-08.

Gangsta rappers for Hillary? Could be. After all, Barack Obama apparently sees her as a "thug." At least that's what ABC's Dan Harris said on today's Good Morning America.

ROBIN ROBERTS: And that brings us now to the Democrats. It's their turn tonight. Whatever your political feelings, it's an historic moment in American history. A woman, an African-American man, one will shatter 200 years of history and win the nomination. The stakes could not be any higher. Dan Harris is here with the story.

DAN HARRIS: High stakes, high tension, high drama. The showdown with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has become increasingly acidic. And their positions on the issues are essentially identical but their personalities and personal philosophies are very different.

View video here.