George Will on Sunday gave Christiane Amanpour a much-needed education on the myth of campaign overspending.
During the Roundtable segment of "This Week," with a chyron below him bemoaning "Big Money Midterms," ABC's lone conservative spelled out the issue in language so simple even a caveman could get it (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Has anyone noticed a leftward tilt by Politico lately? More and more, the respected inside-the-beltway publication seems to be more aggressive in its tack with conservatives.
Here’s one such example: In the Oct. 21 issue of Politico, an article written by Jonathan Martin attacks former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for her political activities and her dealings with other conservative leaders. One of Martin’s examples of Palin “wreaking havoc on the campaign trail” involved a disagreement with Fox News host Glenn Beck:
When it comes to so-called Super PACs spending money on TV ads targeting swing House districts, the Baltimore Sun seems to care a lot more about who's behind Republican ones than Democratic operations.
Yesterday I noted how Sun staffer Paul West wrote about a PAC running ads against freshman Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil (Md.).
West portrayed the PAC's ads as a clever end-run around campaign contribution limits for Baltimore-area businessman Daniel Schuster.
The White House is opening a press bureau in New York City at 30 Rock – or so it seemed with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski parroting the administration's talking points, one after the other, on today's "Morning Joe."
Brzezinski has mentioned in the past that the White House e-mails her during segments, and she seemed thoroughly briefed by the middle of Tuesday's show.
When Politico's executive editor Jim VandeHei explained that frustrated big business donors have been giving to the Republicans under a cloak of anonymity thanks to the Citizens United ruling, Mika retorted with the White House's argument.
"Jim, what the White House will say, though, is that the reason why the big business is hostile at this point is because they've taken them on, and they've put some rules in place that they're maybe not that comfortable with," Mika answered. "[They will say] this White House has done something actually to try and fix the system."
It's clear that the Times hates the idea that corporations may have a say, however indirectly, in democracy. But one would at least think that a journalist comparing the perfectly legal corporation donation tactics of today to illegal fundraising by past political campaigns would look for the most recent examples. Perhaps the Clinton administration’s corrupt 1996 fundraising from China, or the indelible image of Al Gore raising money in a Buddhist temple.
Instead, Abramson traveled all the way back to 1972 to link the anonymous corporate donations of 2010 to that quintessential example of Republican corruption, Richard Nixon.
Even as Abramson briefly admits today’s allegedly Nixon-style fundraising is legal, she strained to set up a parallel between this pro-Republican election cycle and the illegal donations of 1972, specifically the Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CREEP), and handily exploited a single loose link from the past to the present, one Fred Malek. Abramson began with Nixon:
To old political hands, wise to the ways of candidates and money, 1972 was a watershed year. Richard M. Nixon’s re-election campaign was awash in cash, secretly donated by corporations and individuals.
When Bob Schieffer invited Liz Cheney and Howard Dean on "Face the Nation" to discuss a number of issues related to the upcoming midterm elections, he must have had a feeling sparks were going to fly.
But he certainly couldn't have known bringing up the Administration's claim the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign money into Republican campaigns would lead to Cheney exposing the former Vermont governor in a lie about who helped bankroll his 2004 run for the White House (video follows with transcript and commentary):
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour on Sunday discovered “a long and venerable tradition of conservatism in this country” exemplified by Ronald Reagan and William F. Buckley and “all of that sort of intellectual conservatism,” but she only showed respect for that tradition in order to contend “people,” who she failed to name, “are saying that right now, it's really gone to the extreme.” Repeating her “people” generality, she insisted: “People are looking at the Tea Party and saying this is not conservatism as we knew it but it's extreme.”
George Will retorted: “Which is exactly what they said about Bill Buckley and Bill Buckley's candidate, Barry Goldwater, who was supposedly representing the paranoid style in American politics.”
Later, during the October 17 roundtable, Amanpour fretted: “Where is campaign finance reform?” Will called the lack of legislative prospects on that front be “an absolutely wonderful development this year,” to which an appalled Amanpour wondered: “How can that be wonderful for a democracy, I mean not to know where all of this money comes from and who is putting it in?”
The White House attack on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn't about "disclosure." It's about disarmament. While posing as campaign finance champions, the ultimate goal of the Democratic offensive is to intimidate conservative donors, chill political free speech and drain Republican coffers.
Chamber of Commerce official Bruce Josten tried to educate the public. "(W)e know what the purpose here is," he told ABC News. "It's to harass and intimidate." Josten cited protests and threats against chamber members as retribution for ads the organization ran opposing the federal health care takeover.
But this isn't the first time liberal bullyboys have targeted right-leaning contributors. Far from it.
In August 2008, a former Washington director of MoveOn.org — the smear merchant group that branded Gen. David Petraeus a traitor for overseeing the successful troop surge in Iraq — announced a brazen witch hunt against Republican donors. Left-wing political operative Tom Matzzie told The New York Times he would send "warning" letters to 10,000 top GOP givers "hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions." Matzzie bragged of "going for the jugular" and said the warning letter would be just the first step, "alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives."
Mark Shields on Friday accused the White House of making up the story about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce funneling foreign money into Republican campaigns.
Appearing on PBS's "Inside Washington," Shields said of the issue the Administration and many of their media minions have been harping on for over a week, "It was absolutely fallacious on their part. And they made it up, the White House did" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The liberal media have had a field day with conservative Delaware Republican Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell saying years ago on "Politically Incorrect" that she had dabbled in witchcraft in high school.
But don't hold your breath for the mainstream media to call out leftist radio host Mike Malloy for insisting without any proof whatsoever that Karl Rove "makes deals with... demonic forces on this planet" and would, if he could, "make a deal with Osama bin Laden to attack the United States again" in order to "end Obama's presidency."
Here's the relevant excerpt from Malloy's October 13 radio program from four minutes into the first hour (MP3 audio here):
The White House thinks its got a great campaign issue in falsely accusing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce of funneling foreign dollars to Republicans, and MSNBC's Chris Matthews is making it clear he's willing to assist the administration in making its case.
Who cares that there's absolutely no factual basis in what President Obama and the "Hardball" host are saying?
So hell-bent on making this a serious election issue is Matthews that on Wednesday he accused the Chamber of intentionally increasing unemployment in this nation while harming the economy (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Oh, this is side-splitting: After exporting U.S. jobs, importing foreign debt and kowtowing to global thugs shamelessly over the past two years, the Obama administration is now playing the America First card. Democrats deserve a Guinness World Record award for their election-season cognitive dissonance.
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, White House senior adviser David Axelrod and their mynah bird operatives across the country accused Republicans last week of benefiting from "money from foreign corporations" — which liberals claim the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling into domestic political ads.
Democratic clown prince Al Franken is leading a Senate inquisition against the chamber. A Democratic National Committee ad lambasted the GOP for "Stealing Democracy," complete with piles of Asian currency. Endangered Democratic candidates across the country are dutifully parroting the line of attack, which originated with the Center for American Progress, funded by far-left billionaire George Soros.
It's beyond comical to watch the party that cries "RAAAACISM" whenever conservatives question their shady foreign funny money suddenly sounding the alarm over non-U.S. campaign cash. And it's beyond galling to hear Democrats fret about foreign intrigue while the foreign agent-in-chief has inextricably tied America's fate to the Chinese holders of our T-bills. Guess we're all "nativists" now, eh, Obama?
When the likes of CBS “Face the Nation” moderator Bob Schieffer and The New York Times are calling out the Obama White House on its efforts to villainize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, you have to know something is up. However, President Barack Obama hasn’t completely distanced himself from the Chamber, a fact which has gone largely overlooked by an increasingly skeptical media.
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell and Mika Brzezinski believe the Republicans should be open and transparent about the interest group sources of their campaign money, even though Democrats play by the same rules and don't have to reveal their sources.
Their reasoning was that the GOP has pulled in 40 to 50 million dollars more than the Democrats have from interest groups this campaign season. The MSNBC colleagues made their points on Monday's "Morning Joe."
"Citizens United allows non-transparent donations to be made. We don't know what's being given to these groups," O'Donnell warned. "You talked about how much Wall Street has donated to President Barack Obama, but we know about it. It was disclosed."
"Morning Joe" co-host Joe Scarborough countered that the same applies for Democrat interest groups.
The White House’s current effort to disparage the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is an act of desperation in light of the low poll numbers of the Democratic Party going into the November midterm, as some have pointed out. But perhaps President Barack Obama should address some questions about his own fundraising before attacking other organizations.
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. And so goes the White House with these attacks on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce drummed up by the “professional left’s” blogosphere that it is using foreign donations to finance political advertising.
Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer however, had another take on what these attacks are. He said they’re not insane, but desperation of one of the highest degrees. During the Oct. 11 broadcast of Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Krauthammer attacked the Obama administration, calling this campaign against the Chamber “reptilian desperation.”
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Monday took on CBS's Bob Schieffer for challenging unsubstantiated allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign dollars into Republican campaigns.
As NewsBusters previously reported, the "Face the Nation" host mocked White House senior adviser David Axelrod Sunday for advancing this unfounded premise that even the New York Times has discredited.
Yet that didn't concern the "Hardball" host who rather than presenting the facts as Schieffer and the Times did exclusively offered the Democrat view as he scolded his colleague from another television network (video follows with transcript and commentary):
The only way it gets worse than reading the latest pinko missive by Robert Redford on the Huffington Post would be if Michael Moore was checking your prostate at the same time and muttering, “No, no, no, that doesn’t feel right at all.”
Redford used to be a movie star and heartthrob until he began noticeably wizening in the 80’s (watch 1992’s Sneakers; Redford’s got more loose skin going on than Ed Gein’s basement). After that, he largely moved on to directing crappy movies about how America sucks that no one watches, like 2007’s Lions For Lambs, and lecturing the rest of us about how we have failed to live up to his expectations.
His current bugaboo is that evil companies are engaged in the political process. Redford warns:
Grilling Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell on Monday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez questioned President Obama attacking Republicans over unproven claims of accepting foreign campaign donations: "Why did he spend so much time talking about the Republicans trying to steal the election? Offering no evidence of that. Isn't it a bit undignified for the President to resort to that?"
The Democratic governor attempted to defend the President: "Well, the President's got dual roles, he's the commander-in-chief...but he's also the campaigner-in-chief....[talking] about what's to be afraid of....the unreported money that's coming into this campaign through groups that we'll never know who contributed to, that's something our citizens should be worried about." Rodriguez pressed him: "If you gave them evidence to support that claim, it would be one thing. But, to make claims like this without backing them up, seems not right."
It seems like a phony issue for the a struggling Obama administration to be promoting – the allegations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce may or may not be using foreign contributions to fuel political ads against Democrats. However, President Barack Obama would be best advised to make sure his party wasn’t doing something similar before using the bully pulpit to push this meme.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Sunday mocked President Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod for echoing last week’s unsubstantiated charge by a liberal website that the Chamber of Commerce is funneling foreign money to support Republican candidates.
“The New York Times looked into the Chamber specifically and said the Chamber really isn’t putting foreign money into the campaign,” said the Face the Nation host.
“This part about foreign money, that appears to be peanuts,” chided Schieffer.
When Axelrod continued to press the issue, Schieffer said almost laughing, “If the only charge, three weeks into the election that the Democrats can make is that there’s somehow this may or may not be foreign money coming into the campaign, is that the best you can do?” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Wednesday, the far-left blog ThinkProgress unveiled an "investigation" that alleged, without any conclusive evidence, that the Chamber of Commerce was spending funds acquired from foreign-owned companies on political activities in the United States, a crime under U.S. law.
ThinkProgress demonstrated that such funds entered the Chamber's general fund, and that money from the general fund was used to pay for political activities. But it readily admitted that it could not show the same funds attained abroad were used for those activities. Instead, it demanded the Chamber prove the licit nature of its political funds. Some in the media ran with the story, despite that lack of evidence.
So was the Chamber consulted or asked for comment by media outlets that reported on the ThinkProgress post? In an interview with NewsBusters, Chamber COO David Chavern says they were not. And while the New York Times's initial coverage was an editorial, MSNBC discussed the issue on two separate programs. Neither, Chavern claims, made an attempt at balanced coverage.
I asked Chavern during a phone conversation on Thursday how he explained this apparent breach of the most basic standards of journalism.
The Los Angeles Times really wants you to know that Meg Whitman has taken more money from "special interests" than her Democratic opponent in the California gubernatorial race.
Not so high on its list of important facts: 97 percent of independent special interest contributions to third party groups have gone towards supporting Brown or defeating Whitman. Yet despite that fact, the Times still managed to run a story today claiming in the headline that "Donations to Whitman undercut her no-special-interests claim".
After a headline, a subheading, and two paragraphs stressing Whitman's $10.7 million in contributions from special interests - contrasted with Brown's $9.5 million - the Times finally gets around to mentioning that "those figures don't tell the whole story - unions and other special interests separately spent a further $13.7 million supporting Brown through independent political committees not controlled by the candidate" (h/t Patterico).
Appearing as a guest on Monday’s Charlie Rose show on PBS, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin seemed to misunderstand conservative complaints about judicial activism as he seemed to suggest that any court rulings that strike down legislative action could be considered part of judicial activism. The CNN analyst charged that the Supreme Court of the United States has recently engaged in "conservative judicial activism" in its enforcement of the First and Second Amendments.
Missing the point that "judicial activism" often involves a distortion of the Constitution's words to find legal precedent that does not exist, Toobin characterized recent decisions by a "very aggressive conservative wing" of the court as activism: "But what we have seen in recent years is conservative judicial activism, telling Congress you can't ban, you can't regulate campaign finance the way you thought, you can't – state legislatures, city councils – you can't impose gun control. So you have a very aggressive conservative wing of the party telling the democratically elected branches what to do."
Minutes earlier, he had described Chief Justice John Roberts as "very, very conservative."
You're Ed Schultz. Sorry about that, but work with me. Your big beef on tonight's show is foreign influence on US elections. What would be the glaring, obvious, overwhelming thing you would want to avoid in your choice of a guest? Having a union boss who is himself a foreigner, you say? Bingo! Yet that's exactly the slip-up Schultz committed.
A number of media liberals are up in arms over a far-left blog's inconclusive investigation - replete with innuendo and assumption - purporting to show that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has illegally spent funds obtained from foreign entities on political campaigns in the United States.
Of course near-identical efforts by a handful of the most powerful labor unions have not been mentioned.
The New York Times and MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz have all opined on the horrors of the Chamber's use of foreign funds. They all unquestionably parroted a report by the Center for American Progress's ThinkProgress blog that doesn't actually show that foreign funds have been spent on domestic political races. Meanwhile, labor unions have been given a pass, despite the amazing resemblance their political spending bears to the Chamber's.
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith highlighted supposed division between Sarah Palin and Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller: "...a controversial e-mail, reportedly from Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, that is burning up the internet, it was leaked by a left-leaning website called The Mudflats and is causing quite a stir in political circles."
Smith explained that Todd Palin was upset that Miller had not endorsed Sarah Palin when asked about her possible 2012 candidacy in television interviews. Smith then quoted from the email in question: "Todd reportedly sent it to Republican senate nominee Joe Miller, who Sarah Palin endorsed, and it says, quote, 'Sarah put her blank [a**] on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question, is Sarah Palin qualified to be president? I don't know if she is. Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works. Is it to be completely one sided?'"
Turning to CBS political analyst and Republican strategist Dan Bartlett, Smith said of Miller, "he's gone on Fox a couple of times and he hasn't really been able to say how much, you know – profess his fealty to Sarah Palin." In response, Bartlett remarked that, "you can kind of feel for Todd Palin and what he's doing," but then added: "Sarah Palin and her camp are extremely thin-skinned and if she does plan to run for president, she's going to have to get used to people like this doing things that they don't appreciate." Smith replied: "A thicker hide in order, perhaps."
Neither Smith nor Bartlett raised the ethical issue of a private email being publicized or the fact that Palin had been a victim of email-hacking in the past.
It’s okay for the news media to attack a candidate, but not for citizens to join together to buy TV ads criticizing one – especially if more of those ads attack Democrats than Republicans. “Earlier this year, in a very controversial decision, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that outside groups may spend unlimited amounts of money attacking candidates for office,” Katie Couric intoned Tuesday night. Reporter Nancy Cordes noted that as candidates “unleash their most devastating attacks, they're bolstered this year by record expenditures from outside groups, who are often even less constrained by facts than the politicians they support.” But are they less constrained than the MSM?
Presuming it’s a bad development, Cordes highlighted: “So far, outside groups have spent $69 million on these elections, compared to the $16 million they spent on all of the 2006 midterm elections.” But it soon became clear what drove CBS’s despair: “Republican groups are raising the lion's share of that money, outspending Democratic groups 5-1 in the past month and a half.” She then asserted to the head of the Republican-oriented American Crossroads: “Most of your money is coming from millionaires,” before painting a far-left, union-backed, Democrat as a victim: “Double-teamed by his opponent and outside groups, Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold is trying to take them both on.”