Today marks the opening of the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Regardless of where you may stand on internal debates about some of this year's co-sponsors, there's no denying that for nearly four decades its been an enduring legacy of conservative political activism.
But to liberal journalists like Time's Adam Sorensen, CPAC is casually dismissed as a "three-day carnival of Republican ladder-climbers and red meat throwers."
"Tea Party or no, red meat is always the entree du jour at these kinds of events," Sorensen noted later in his February 10 Swampland blog post. "In a year before a presidential election, speeches from potential candidates promise heaping helpings."
Predictably joining the media attacks on Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), NBC's "Saturday Night Live" began its most recent installment mocking her response to the President's State of the Union address last Tuesday.
Actress Kristen Wiig playing the Congresswoman explained that as a result of technical difficulties in her first attempt, CNN gave her a second try at it. What followed was gaffe after gaffe in another segment by SNL designed to totally trash a conservative woman (video follows with transcript and commentary):
In his treatment of the predicted unemployment rate, Taylor betrayed no concern whatsoever about the plight of the millions of unemployed who are in that position largely because the Obama administration attempted to bring about an economic recovery through government "stimulus" and government intervention instead of cutting taxes, or even leaving what appeared to be an incipient recovery in late 2008 continue. Instead, as AP reporters Hope Yen and Liz Sidoti did last September in advance of last year's poverty report from the Census Bureau, when they fretted over the report's impact on the Congressional midterm elections, a terrified Taylor spent two paragraphs worrying about the high unemployment rate's impact on the President's reelection prospects:
For the second day in a row, MSNBC's Chris Matthews mercilessly attacked Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) while repeatedly referring to her as a "balloon head."
Knowing what he was going to be up against, Texas Tea Party leader Phillip Dennis came prepared for the "Hardball" host's hostility, and at the end of a lengthy segment, marvelously summed up exactly why Matthews and others in the media attack this movement and all of its members saying, "You fear the Tea Party" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Prior to calls for civility and what turned out to be a disastrous "date night" for the Democrats, Barack Obama was nicely set up to catapult himself into a fabulous 2011 approaching next year's reelection campaign with an enviable head of steam.
Having been all but considered dead - am I allowed to say that post-Tucson? - after his shellacking at the polls in November, the President eked out win after win in the lame duck session, and did a very admirable job with his memorial speech.
Even conservatives like syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer were singing his praises.
The nation was also getting a proverbial thrill back up its collective leg according to polls making the coincidence of all these stars aligning so perfectly right before the State of the Union address almost Capraesque.
During his (in)famous "Psycho Talk" segment of his Thursday evening MSNBC show, host Ed Schultz played the clip of Rick Santorum's interview with Terry Jeffrey of CNSNews.com where Santorum challenged President Obama's plea of ignorance on the question of when a person receives the right to life. Schultz, himself a loud-mouth liberal radio talk show host prone to crazy talk branded Santorum's comments as "psycho talk."
Rick Santorum said the following about Barack Obama and abortion in the interview: "The question is--and this is what Barack Obama didn't want to answer--is that human life a person under the Constitution? And Barack Obama says no. Well, if that person, human life, is not a person, then I find it almost remarkable for a black man to say, no, we are going to decide who are people and who are not people."
He later followed up his comments with a statement comparing abortion with slavery, and said he is "disappointed that President Obama, who rightfully fights for civil rights, refuses to recognize the civil rights of the unborn in this country."
According to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has "a man-crush" on New Jersey's Chris Christie. The GMA host interviewed the governor on Thursday and hit the Republican on not cutting unemployment fast enough and on his handling of December's blizzard.
Regarding the state of New Jersey's turnaround, Stephanopoulos touted the talking points of the state's Democrats: "But some of your critics, some of the top Democrats in the state, say that your priorities are misplaced. One counted the number of the times you used jobs in the speech. Said it was four."
After being told by Christie that the level had come down almost a full point (from ten to 9.2) since taking office, the former Democratic operative turned journalist reminded, "Still above nine percent." The host followed-up with his remark about Rush Limbaugh.
On MSNBC's "Jansing & Co." today, anchor Chris Jansing and liberal columnist Karen Hunter took turns ripping apart Sarah Palin's call for civility in an Internet video posted yesterday morning in the wake of the Tucson shooting.
The morning after President Barack Obama delivered a well-received speech at a memorial service for the victims of a rampage that left six dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) critically injured, Jansing recited a quote from Joan Walsh, editor of the left-wing Salon.com, to criticize Palin.
"You know, Mark, times of tragedy are times when we judge our leaders," remarked Jansing. "And Joan Walsh writes on Salon.com, about Sarah Palin, 'Having watched her atrocious, tone-deaf, all-about-me video: Sarah Palin will never be president of the United States.'"
Calling out Jansing's liberal spin, conservative columnist Mark Tapscott deftly quipped, "I would never expect Joan Walsh to have anything positive to say about anything Sarah Palin does or says."
Ed Schultz has suggested that Sarah Palin employed the term "blood libel" to describe the way her critics have tried to hold her responsible for the Arizona shootings "as an appeal to an extreme Christian conservative base for 2012."
Citing no evidence for his grotesque allegation, Schultz first floated it during his opening monologue on his MSNBC show this evening. He raised it again with his first guest, Dem congressman Jan Schakowsky, and took things a despicable step further. Schultz suggested that Palin "got help from the speech from somebody who knows exactly what 'blood libel' means."
Put up or shut up time, Schultz. View video after the jump.
MSNBC's Chris Jansing featured the liberal Jonathan Capehart on Wednesday to attack a newly released Sarah Palin video as "anti-Semitic." The Washington Post editorial page writer berated Palin for complaining about the media's attempts to link conservative speech to last week's shooting in Arizona.
In the video, the former Alaska governor rejected this as a "blood libel." Capehart smeared, "...That phrasing, that phrase is incredibly anti-Semitic. And no one is calling Sarah Palin an anti-Semite but for her to use that language a lot of people think she has dug a deep hole even deeper."
However, the National Review's Jim Geraghty pointed to an October 30, 2008 Ann Coulter column: Capehart's Washington Post colleague Eugene Robinson complained about "...The blood libel against black men concerning the defilement of the flower of Caucasian womanhood." Was Mr. Robinson using anti-Semitic language? Should he have been "more careful," as Capehart instructed Palin to be?
According to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos, there's "no evidence" that the Arizona shooter was motivated by political ideology. But, that didn't stop the ABC host from speculating during a discussion with possible Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty.
After allowing that "crazy voices" inside Jared Loughner's head probably prompted the rampage, Stephanopoulos continued, "But this has sparked a debate about the political debate in this country. You see Roger Ailes on Fox News saying his people have to tone it down. You have got Paul Krugman on the left talking about a climate of hate."
"What's your take on this," he prompted. Later, the former Democratic operative turned journalist attempted to get the Minnesota governor to repeat a mild criticism he made of Sarah Palin. Regarding the so-called cross hair maps that Palin's PAC created in 2010, Stephanopoulos nudged, "You actually told the New York Times you wouldn't have done the kind of mapping with cross hairs...Is this a test for her?"
The next two years, more than the last two even, depend on President Barack Obama. While conservatives and fiscal hawks pin their hopes on the newly elected House members to trim the Federal government, nothing will happen if President Obama vetoes.
Time magazine's Michael Scherer on Monday constructed one of the odder political metaphors when he compared the likelihood of Barack Obama running for reelection to the recent announcement that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is engaged.
Appearing on Monday's Early Show, he joked, "This is about as surprising as Hugh Hefner getting married again." The weird comparison makes even less sense when you think that Hefner is 84 and has only been married twice. (The eight-time married Elizabeth Taylor, he is not.)
Early Show guest host Russ Mitchell quizzed Scherer on the announcement by White House press Secretary Robert Gibbs that Obama would likely run for a second term: "The President's run in 2008 was historic in so many ways. How will the 2012 campaign be different, do you think?"
“This is such a weak field,” Fox News analyst Juan Williams, recently ousted from NPR for not fully toting the far-left line, declared during a Fox News Sunday discussion of potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, prompting an appalled Bill Kristol to mock: “Yeah, President Obama had done so much when he ran for President. I mean, all of these guys are better qualified than Barack Obama.”
Williams got in the last words of the December 26 segment, using them to deride Sarah Palin compared to Barack Obama:
There is nobody out there except for Sarah Palin who could absolutely dominate the stage and she can't stand on the intellectual stage with Obama.
That caused oohs from the panel and led host Chris Wallace to suggest “there’ll be a lump of coal” in Williams’ stocking. (Audio: MP3 clip)
On Friday’s Political Capital show, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson lavished praise on President Obama has having "negotiating skills" like the recently deceased diplomat Richard Holbrooke - known for facilitating a ceasefire in Bosnia in the mid-1990s - as host Al Hunt asked Carlson and the National Review’s Kate O’Beirne to describe what Christmas gifts they would figuratively give to various public figures. Carlson: "I’m going to give him an inscribed copy of the late, great Richard Holbrooke’s memoir, in honor of Obama’s negotiating skills in this lame duck session. All he had to do was give up tax cuts - for which the Republican Party stands - to the wealthy who don’t need it in exchange for everything else he got."
She went on to trash Tea Party Republicans recently elected to Congress as "blowing off steam." Carlson: "I’m afraid that they might succumb to earmarks and lobbyists. They give every sign of that. So I’m going to give them a tea kettle because all they’ve done so far is blow off steam."
It's Christmas Eve, so let's treat ourselves to something conservative political junkies enjoy: handicapping the 2012 Republican field.
On the Fox News Special Report this evening, panelists Stephen Hayes and Charles Krauthammer both singled out Mitch Daniels as a man to watch. Hayes identifed the Indiana gov as perhaps the true Tea Party candidate—someone willing to speak the hard truths about the need for entitlement reform. Krauthammer counter-intuitively found Daniels' lack of charisma appealing—as an antidote to our overdose of hope-and-change.
Oprah Winfrey thinks America is going to fall in love with Sarah Palin - as a reality TV star that is.
In a Parade magazine interview scheduled for publication this Sunday, the daytime talk star also said she's not afraid of Palin running for president because she believes in 'the intelligence of the American public":
Chris Matthews on almost a nightly basis devotes MSNBC air time to bashing former Alaska governor Sarah Palin.
Sticking with the trend, during a brief segment on Wednesday's "Hardball" about how President Obama is polling in Florida against some prospective Republican challengers in 2012, Matthews said, "Sarah Silverman can beat her down there" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Late last week, CNN announced its plan to team up with the Tea Party Express to co-sponsor a Republican presidential debate in September. While this creates the possibility that Republican candidates will actually face questions of interest to Republican primary voters (as opposed to the typical liberal media agenda), it’s also probably the first time a media organization will partner with a group that its on-air correspondents and commentators have trashed over the past two years.
CNN’s liberal commentators have been savage to the Tea Party. Back in 2009, longtime CNN house liberal Paul Begala slammed the Tea Party as “a bunch of wimpy, whiny, weasels who don’t love their country.” A couple of weeks before this year’s election, CNN’s 8pm ET co-host Eliot Spitzer said the Tea Party was “vapid” and leading America “down a dangerous road....They’re going to destroy our country.”
But CNN’s supposedly objective correspondents and anchors have showcased a similar hostility to the Tea Party, attacking them as racist, extremist, pawns of Fox News, or using the vulgar “tea-bagging” nickname favored by left-wing activists to disparage the group. A few of the choicer examples from the MRC’s archive (including video):
If you were Haley Barbour's political consultant, and he had indicated his intention to make his reported remarks about the White Citizens Council, would you have counseled him to reconsider? I sure would have.
That said, there was a hypocritical double-standard on display by the Morning Joe folks who turned Haley slowly over a spit today. Hat tip NB reader Ray R.
Eugene Robinson took the lead in belting Barbour for sending his children to private schools in Mississippi rather than to local public schools attended by black children. Joe Scarborough chimed in with his Mississippi-childhood recollections of such post-integration private academies springing up. Mike Barnicle did his bit, contributing the tale of whites in South Boston pulling their kids out of integrated public schools in favor of parochial and private ones.
One thing was missing from the conversational mix, however: any reference to the tradition of Dems in DC--from Bill and Hillary, to the Gores, to of course the Obamas--sending their kids [or in the case of the Bidens, grandkids] to tony private schools like Sidwell Friends rather than to the heavily African-American public DC schools.
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman - also a political analyst with MSNBC - spoke favorably of the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law, asserting that "this historic vote will be remembered as a very important one in the social history of the United States," and, as he admitted that independent Senator Joseph Lieberman "takes a lot of guff on this network," gave the former Democrat-turned independent Senator "credit where credit is due" for supporting the measure.
Fineman went on to predict that, because the Republican House next year will seek to undermine various pieces of legislation passed by Democrats - which he referred to as "historic" - that President Obama will be running against a "‘tear down’ Congress." Fineman:
The dynamic of the next two years is going to be to re-litigate and reargue all the legislation that Obama and the Democrats for the most part passed in the first two years. That means efforts to defund, to delegitimize, to get rid of, you know, all the historic legislation that was passed these first two years, and spending is going to be the way to do it. ... So it's not that Obama's going to be running against the "do nothing Congress." The President is going to be running against the sort of "tear down Congress"because that's going to be the mode of the next two years.
Fineman also notably used the term "progressive" - the preferred term of liberals - instead of the word "liberal" as he referred to the left wing of the Democratic party, and contended that Republicans "went pedal to the metal on the fear strategy on immigration" as he explained why the Dream Act failed to pass the Senate.
As ABC’s World News Sunday recounted President Obama’s failed effort to provide citizenship for immigrants who entered the country illegally as children if they go to college or enter the military, the issue was framed as conservatives standing in the way of the "dream" of such immigrants, and, as anchor Dan Harris introduced a report on the measure that failed in the Senate - dubbed the Dream Act by supporters - a graphic appeared beside Harris with the words "Dream Dies" because Republicans succeeded in blocking the bill’s passage.
Harris and correspondent Tahman Bradley both raised the possibility that Hispanic voters would punish Republicans by supporting Democrats in the next election. Harris introduced the piece:
The President was, we should say, dealt one significant defeat this weekend when Republicans blocked the so-called Dream Act, which would have provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came here as kids brought by their parents. But could this legislative loss ultimately turn into a political win?
Bradley began his report highlighting the plight of Diego Alvarez, who entered the country illegally as a child, as Alvarez hoped that passage of the Dream Act would make it possible for him to go to college, with the ABC correspondent contending that his "dream" had been "deferred" because of the recent Senate vote. Bradley: "For Diego Alvarez of Marshall Town, Iowa, the Senate's vote means a dream deferred." Then came clips of Alvarez calling the vote "heartbreaking," and complaining that "it’s not right" that some believe he does not belong in the country.
On Tuesday, conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh accused the No Labels crowd of being a bunch of "washed-up losers."
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough took on Limbaugh's criticism saying he has "the luxury of never actually governing, never being a president, never being a senator, never being in Congress" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Chris Matthews on the syndicated program bearing his name devoted an entire segment this weekend to attacking Sarah Palin.
To assist him in the attacks, the host of "The Chris Matthews Show" brought on Howard Fineman of the Huffington Post, the BBC's Katty Kay, Joe Klein of Time magazine, and NBC's Norah O'Donnell (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For all of the bluster and glory, for all of the pomp and circumstance and yes, for all of the anticipated hope and the promised change, the whirlwind of hype and expectation surrounding the President a mere two years earlier has virtually dissolved, and Barack Obama has set a course that will leave his legacy as no more than a footnote in American Presidential history.