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.  Mark spent ten days in Iraq in November, 2006, mainly in Anbar Province. Email: mark.finkelstein@gmail.com
 

Latest from Mark Finkelstein
December 24, 2007, 5:46 PM EST
I'm calling this the Day's Daffiest Question Award. Suzanne Malveaux, come on up and accept it on behalf of CNN. You asked the question, after all.

Malveaux was interviewing Mike Huckabee this afternoon and talk turned to a tough editorial a New Hampshire paper had written about Mitt Romney.
SUZANNE MALVEAUX: Saturday, New Hampshire's Concord Monitor broke with tradition. They're not endorsing someone, but they certainly took a slap at your opponent, calling him "a phony that must be stopped." Do you think that they went too far?

View video here.

December 24, 2007, 10:11 AM EST

See Update at foot: Could it be Jeb?

Bona fide prediction, or devious three-dimensional-chess-move-cum- double-bank-shot-jujitsu gambit designed to sow chaos in Republican ranks? Hard to say, but one thing is undeniable: MSNBC correspondent David Shuster has predicted that Mike Huckabee will be the next President of the United States.

The surprising prognosis came at the end of an interesting pundits roundtable [presumably recorded over the weekend] that took the place of Morning Joe's regular live programming this Christmas Eve morning. Wrapping things up, host Joe Scarborough went around the horn, soliciting predictions from his guests.

View video here.

December 23, 2007, 10:13 AM EST

A recent study, "Good News = Less News on Iraq War," by Rich Noyes, the Research Director of Media Research Center, NB's parent organization, revealed that coverage of Iraq by the big three evening newscasts has declined as the news from Iraq has improved. Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace highlighted the MRC study during his interview of General David Petraeus, Commanding General, Multi-National Force - Iraq .

CHRIS WALLACE: It seemed to us that you hadn't been in the news much recently, which probably is a good thing from your point of view, since you came back from Washington in September. But we decided to check it out, and the Media Research Center says that the three network evening newscasts did 178 stories on Iraq in September, when you were here, that in October as the surge took hold there were 108 stories, and that in November that dropped to just 68. General, any thoughts about why success in Iraq isn't news here at home?

View video here.

December 22, 2007, 8:27 PM EST
Nothing is deadlier to a campaign than a rumor that a candidate might be dropping out. But NBC has seen fit to suggest that Rudy Giuliani might be withdrawing from the presidential race based on what it itself calls "speculation" in the blogosphere.

NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lester Holt interviewed John Harwood on this evening's edition.
LESTER HOLT: Let's turn to Rudy Giuliani. He's had a health scare, he's had a drop in the polls. You've seen it in the blogosphere: a lot of speculation as to whether he'll stay in this race. What do you think?
View video here.
December 22, 2007, 2:12 PM EST

The current column at the NY Times Opinionator blog, Huckabee and the Democratic Ideal, wonders "where’s the Democratic Mike Huckabee?" It answers its own question by approvingly citing David Seaton, an American expatriate blogger living in Madrid, who writes thusly [emphasis added]:

Democrats could learn a lot by studying Huckabee. I have no idea what is really behind Mike Huckabee’s friendly facade, but he is making some interesting and nuanced noises for a southern populist and I think Democrats should take note of these nuances and make some of the same noises.
December 21, 2007, 8:55 PM EST

If whoever plays the Nazi-analogy card first loses, then Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) is a double loser. First, for having played the Bush = Hitler card, second, for lacking the courage to stick by his slander.

Moran, a member of Congress' Out-of-Iraq Caucus, was a guest on this evening's Tucker. The eponymous host was hammering him over the fact that despite all their inflamed anti-war rhetoric, the Dems have folded like the proverbial lawn chair, caving to all President Bush's funding requests for Iraq. When Moran could take the taunting no longer, he resorted to the loser's strategy. But watch how he back-pedaled when Carlson called him on it . . .

View video here.

December 21, 2007, 8:45 AM EST

When David Gregory grilled Hillary Clinton on Today on December 17th, the challenges to her came from his own mouth. Not once was a statement by Barack Obama used to confront Clinton.

But when Barack Obama made back-to-back appearances this morning on Today and Morning Joe, again and again tough questions were posed not in the first person but as coming from Hillary Clinton or her surrogates.

View video here.

December 20, 2007, 10:49 PM EST

Ed Rollins is Mike Huckabee's National Campaign Chairman. Appearing on this evening's Hardball, the renowned political consultant declined to say that Romney's religion wasn't relevant to the campaign. For good measure, Rollins suggested that a senior Romney aide is . . . an atheist.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Does faith bring you guys together or separate you?

ED ROLLINS: Well, first of all, you and I are Catholics and Ron [Kaufman, senior Romney aide], are you still an atheist or have you basically converted, now that you're rich?

View video here.

December 20, 2007, 10:32 AM EST
Chris Matthews shouldn't count on a Christmas card from Hillary after the way he absolutely unloaded on her on Morning Joe today. The topic was her Christmas ad [view YouTube here], which shows her "giving" a variety of government programs to the American people.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: I always thought the problem with Hillary was, her notion of government was, "I am Evita, I am the one who gives gifts to the little people and then they come and bring me flowers and they worship at me because I am the great Evita."
View video here. Chris was far from done.
December 20, 2007, 8:05 AM EST
Biting the hand that used to feed him, David Shuster has accused Fox News of being part of the "Republican establishment" and as such, going after Mike Huckabee. Shuster appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe during the 6:30 AM ET half-hour today.
DAVID SHUSTER: What's been so interesting about Huckabee, you're starting to see the Republican establishment, despite him being the "Baby Jesus" candidate [adopting Joe Scarborough's formulation], the Republican establishment is going after him pretty hard now. And you even saw it last night when the, I suppose you could call them the Republican establishment Fox News correspondent was asking some pretty asinine questions --
View video here.
December 19, 2007, 6:57 PM EST

Mike Huckabee might want to "revise and extend" the remarks of his Iowa campaign manager. Appearing on this evening's Tucker on MSNBC, Bob Vander Plaats stated that "we're fighting a radical religion in Islam" and that "the war on terror is a theological war."

View video here.

December 19, 2007, 12:10 PM EST

"But Mika Brzezinski agrees with me!" might not be Mike Huckabee's best pitch to Republican primary voters in defending his harsh criticism of the Bush administration on foreign policy. But the fact is that Mika has done her best to throw Mike a lifeline on the matter.

In a "Foreign Policy" magazine article, an excerpt of which appears below, Huckabee had famously written of "the Bush administration's arrogant bunker mentality."

Interviewing Huckabee on today's Morning Joe, Mika teed up some recent news as supporting evidence for the "arrogant bunker mentality" allegation -- and the candidate was only too happy to take a swing.

View video here.

December 19, 2007, 9:35 AM EST

Discussing the controversy surrounding his latest campaign ad and the broader issue of his invocation of religion in his political campaign, the normally good-natured Mike Huckabee turned . . . cross on this morning's Today. And while contending he wanted to promote a kinder tone at this time of year, the candidate came prepared to take some pointed shots at Mitt Romney.

View video here.

December 19, 2007, 7:25 AM EST
Talk about the dog that didn't bark . . .

As soon as I realized that Maureen Dowd's column of today, "Rush to Judgment" was indeed about Rush Limbaugh's recent observations about Hillary's looks, I braced myself for the backlash.

Surely Dowd would seek to unload on Rush for having said, in commenting on an unflattering photo of Hillary [displayed here] that turned up on Drudge, "will this country want to actually watch a woman get older before their eyes on a daily basis?” Added Rush “men aging makes them look more authoritative, accomplished, distinguished. Sadly, it’s not that way for women, and they will tell you.” And Hillary “is not going to want to look like she’s getting older, because it will impact poll numbers, it will impact perceptions [so] there will have to be steps taken to avoid the appearance of aging.”

And so I continued to read, and wait, and wait -- for the comeback that never came.
December 18, 2007, 1:34 PM EST
NewsBusters.org - Media Research CenterAs noted here, Chris Matthews yesterday named former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack a member of Hillary's "eunuchs chorus," people he derided for "saying whatever the Clinton people told them to say." Today, Matthews might be claiming vindication. In an MSNBC interview with Andrea Mitchell, Vilsack parroted Hillary's word-'o-the-week--"change"--no fewer than eight times.

View the edited video clip of Vilsack crooning Hillary's "Change Chorus" here.
December 18, 2007, 8:50 AM EST

You'd hardly expect the chief Washington correspondent of business channel CNBC to negatively stereotype economic conservatives. But appearing on today's Morning Joe, the urbane John Harwood did just that.

View video here.

JOE SCARBOROUGH: [Huckabee is] a different type of evangelical. It's not the evangelical in American politics that's traditionally been very conservative economically. Obviously a lot of people at the Wall Street Journal don't like this guy.

HARWOOD: Oh yeah!
December 17, 2007, 9:57 PM EST

Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."

Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.

View video here.

December 17, 2007, 1:06 PM EST

Is Hillary Clinton's campaign still communicating with Billy Shaheen? And does Hillary still consider Obama's youthful drug use a relevant campaign issue? Clinton wouldn't say this morning. Hillary sandwiched her evasions between two moments of mirth and hilarity on today's Morning Joe.

View video here.

Earlier in the morning, Hillary began her Today interview with David Gregory with a smile. Perhaps it was an intervening cup or two of strong coffee, but by the time she chatted with the Morning Joe crowd a bit later, Clinton was downright manic. Hillary was in full cackle as she attempted to laugh off her slippage in the polls. She ended the interview with some guffaws about the trials of waking up early on the campaign trail.

But in between, when it was Mika Brzezinski's turn to ask about continued communication between her campaign and Billy Shaheen, and the relevance of his allegations to the campaign, Hillary turned suddenly grim-faced [see image below] and evasive.

December 17, 2007, 9:57 AM EST

Is the MSM turning on Hillary?

Clinton began her Today interview with David Gregory with the radiant smile on display here. But it wasn't long before an irate Hillary was demanding "no, wait a minute" when things didn't go to her liking.

That's what a few minutes of serious Gregory grilling did to Clinton this morning. It was by far the most intense -- dare-I-say aggressive -- examination of Clinton I've seen this campaign season.

Throughout, Hillary clung as if to a life preserver to the endorsement she received from the Des Moines Register, whose editor is that same mirthless Carolyn Washburn who moderated the past week's debates. Strict School Marms of the World, Unite!

But Gregory kicked off his questioning by discounting the endorsement's value and things went downhill from there. Add the rough ride Gregory gave Clinton to the battering she took yesterday as noted here, here and here, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that the MSM has had it with Hillary.

View video here.

December 16, 2007, 8:11 PM EST
It's been a rough day for Hillary. First, as noted here, she was drummed from pillar to post on ABC's "This Week." NewsBuster Noel Sheppard then detailed here how Chris Matthews' crew raked her over the coals. Now, completing Hillary's troika of tribulation, the CBS Evening News has gotten into the act.

The development being reported was ostensibly positive for Hillary: the Des Moines Register today endorsed her. If CBS had stopped there, it would have been a plus for the Clinton campaign. But unfortunately for Hillary . . . the Evening News decided to play clips of Clinton on the stump in Iowa.