Lauer: Radical Islam "Some Kind of Term", Brokaw on W "Extremes," Katie Kriticizes Kerry

Liberals hate to be accused of having a pre-9/11 mentality. But how else can you describe it when two leading MSM lights dismiss the war on terror as a political ploy that President Bush has taken to "extremes"?

That's exactly what happened on this morning's Today show. Matt Lauer, conducting a SOTU post-mortem interview of Tom Brokaw, wrote off W's war on terror as a political tactic:

"The president talked about this fight against "radical Isam" [note that Lauer raised his hands, painting scare quotes in the air around the term] saying that the weapon they use in the fight is fear and that we cannot retreat, there's no peace in retreat. Is this an attempt in this divided nation to find some kind of term or idea that people can get united behind?"

For Lauer, "radical Islam" isn't necessarily real. It's something to be put in quotes, something the president at the very least has exaggerated, and is now using as a "some kind of term" to curry political support.

Brokaw was only too happy to agree:

"I think it is and I think he carried it to some extremes last night by saying if we cut and run from Iraq, and no one is suggesting that they're going to do that, OBL moves in and uses Iraq as a base. No one believes that's going to happen."

In Brokaw's world, the real extremist is George W. Bush.

"No one is suggesting" that we cut and run from Iraq?

Does Brokaw not remember that when Murtha suggested we immediately begin withdrawal, Nancy Pelosi seconded the notion? Nancy Pelosi - who would likely become . . . Speaker of the House of Reprentatives were Dems to regain the majority this November? No one wants to cut and run? Does Brokaw remember Howard Dean declaring "the idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong,"

And what of Brokaw's allegation that if we do cut and run "no one believes" Al-Qaeda would use it as a base of operations? In a country already infested with foreign terrorists, in which Al-Qaeda leader Zarqawi has been operating for years, does anyone doubt that Al-Qaeda would radically ramp up its activities there, given the chance?

The kind of blithe indifference to terror mouthed by Lauer and Brokaw this morning, and echoed by their friends in the Democratic party, explains why it it unlikely the American people will entrust their security to them any time soon.

In other news, readers of this column will recall that last week, a clearly skeptical Katie Couric comprehensively raked Howard Dean over the coals. See: Katie Hands Howie the Crazy Uncle Treatment.

Katie continued her auditions of Democrats this morning. This time her guest was the haughty, French-looking junior senator from Massachusetts, and let's just say that people shouldn't expect to see Couric hosting any Koffee Klatches for Kerry any time soon, as Katie gave him the skeptical treatment she usually reserves for conservatives.

The topic was the SOTU, and Couric began by putting him on the defensive: "Was there anything you appreciated or liked hearing?"

When Kerry accused W's proposals on energy as "falling far short" and started ticking off his laundry list, Katie cut him off: "Senator, the president certainly insisted that he wants to be headed in that direction." When Kerry tried to respond, she brought him up short: "so the question is, will the Democrats work with him?"

When Kerry accused the president of not making the country safer, and described threats including Iran, N. Korea Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, again Couric interrupted. With a skeptical tone she asked: "can you blame all those things, Senator, do you think you can squarely blame them on the administration?"

When Kerry dismissed W's proposals on education and competitiveness as "timid," Couric reminded him that the president said "he wanted to train 70,000 additional teachers in math and science." Kerry answered in his best Martha's Vineyard lockjaw "and that's terrific, Katie" while continuing his carping.

Katie saved her best zingers for last: "in our latest NBC poll, 63% of those asked said the Democrats are doing a poor job at presenting a clear agenda and putting forth new ideas. That is 63%. That's a pretty sizeable number of people, Senator. If the president and the Bush administration had such a rocky year, in 2005, why weren't the Democrats able to capitalize on that in a more effective way?"

When Kerry started complaining about the limited time the Democrats were given to respond to the SOTU, and that "all of you commentators were busy commenting," a clearly irritated Couric interrupted. Flashing a sarcastic smile, she asked "oh you can't blame it all on the media, can you, Senator?"

Sounding a theme she had raised with Dean, Katie then complained of "poisonous partisanship," asked what could be done about it, and recognized that "certainly the president addressed that last night."

Message to Kerry: you're cooked in Katie's quarters. Time to quit presidential politics and get on the Al Gore/MoveOn.org speakers circuit, as Katie continues her Democrat Idol search.

Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.