On July 1, my colleague Tim Graham accurately reported how the replacement of the sadly departed Tim Russert with Tom Brokaw brought a strong liberal tilt to "Meet the Press."
On Sunday, Brokaw shamelessly proved Graham's point by actually offering a McCain-bashing television ad that Democrats should air in the fall in order to get Barack Obama in the White House.
Speaking with RNC Victory 2008 chair and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and Obama's national co-chair, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Brokaw actually said the following (video of some of this interview added below the fold):
Both campaigns have had difficulty this past week with accusations of flip-flopping. Let me begin with Ms. Fiorina. You said that your candidate, John McCain, he's a man that the American people understands, that he walks the talk. But let me just share with you what I think could be a Democratic ad come this fall. The ad will begin, "Oh really?" after quoting you. "Here's a man who voted against the Bush tax cuts. Now he wants to make them permanent. Here's a man who is worried about global warming, now he wants to give American motorists a gas tax holiday so they can drive even more during the summer months. Here's a man who called Phil Gramm a trusted economic adviser, had him on the bus and in pictures with him. Now he disowns him. Here's a man who said he really wasn't up to speed on the issue of whether birth control should be covered by insurance policies; in fact, he voted against it."
Hmmm. A supposedly impartial journalist proposing a Democrat ad to a Republican campaign manager that included four possible flip-flops.
Yet, when it came time to show some balance and do the same to his Democrat guest, only one of Obama's flip-flops was addressed:
Senator McCaskill, your own candidate has had his own difficulties this past week in explaining his positions, sometimes in the same day. Let's begin with a well-known, now, sound bite about what he would do in Iraq.
The "let's begin with" was a smokescreen, for Brokaw never quizzed McCaskill about Obama's recent changes of heart concerning taking public funds for his campaign, telecom immunity related to FISA and terrorist surveillance, handgun rights, and the death penalty.
Why not, Tom? And why didn't you grill McCaskill about Obama's economic policies the same way you did Fiorina (video embedded below, Brokaw's question to Fiorina underneath):
Let's begin now with the economy and the federal budget. Both campaigns have different views of what they can do in the next four years and in the next eight years. To go back to Senator McCain for just a moment...First he said he could balance the federal budget within four years, and then he said no, it'll take eight years. Now he's back to four years again. If you were the CEO of Hewlett-Packard again and you were talking to Wall Street analysts and you would say, "I'm going to cut taxes. I'm going to continue to have wars in two countries. We have a housing crisis that we're probably going to have to bail out. We have a $410 billion deficit. We have entitlement costs that now represent 53 percent of our federal budget that are going up every year. But I can balance the budget," you'd be hooted off the phone, and they'd put a big sell sign on Hewlett-Packard the next morning, wouldn't they?
McCaskill wasn't confronted with anything close to this level of contentiousness. And, when she made the following historical gaffe, Brokaw let it pass (minute 6:00 in video above):
Some of the war dividend that we will get will go back right into the military, and Barack Obama has proposed that. But he will, in fact--and, and it was interesting that Carly referred to the boom years. That's when we had a Democratic president and a Democratic Congress. Those were the boom years. And that's the, the years we want to get back to, where we can, in fact, have responsible economic policies that are fair to the middle class, give a square deal to workers, and get us back in a competitive mode by getting all our kids in college.
Why didn't Brokaw interrupt the Senator here to inform her that the Republicans took over Congress in 1995, and held it during the so-called "boom years" of the '90s? Russert likely wouldn't have let her get away with this.
Sadly, it's become very clear that not only has Brokaw's presence as MTP host moved the program decidedly to the left, he is by no means up to the task.
Frankly, the show has become dull and far less informative with Brokaw at the helm, and it will be interesting in the months to come to see whether ratings reflect this.