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."
The Washington Post's Robert J. Samuelson in his Monday column scolded President Obama's deficit commission in a fashion that should be must-reading for every American, especially liberal media members.
At issue for Samuelson wasn't the cost-saving or revenue-generating ideas in the plan. Instead, he accurately pointed out that it lacked a coherent message as to why our social programs are not a right to every American at birth, and that it is not immoral for government to withdraw or lessen benefits as it sees fit:
There are times when one has to think the Manhattan building that is the home of the New York Times doesn't have any windows, doesn't have any television sets, and doesn't have any doors that allow employees to venture out and actually see what's happening in America beyond the walls of 620 Eighth Avenue.
Consider that after the impact the Tea Party has had on our nation's politics the past 20 months, and the historic elections that just took place on November 2, Times columnist Tom Friedman actually thinks Americans aren't interested in reducing the federal deficit but are instead yearning for higher taxes and greater government spending:
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Krugman tries to clarify what he said.
Although he was likely taking a swipe at former governor Sarah Palin with the reference, Paul Krugman on Sunday recommended "death panels" as a means of helping to balance the federal budget.
In a Roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week," the New York Times columnist said of what recently came out of the President's deficit commission, "Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Monday's CBS Early Show, political analyst John Dickerson discussed President Obama's strategy against Republicans in Congress, particularly on tax cuts: "[He] said there's got to be a way to pay for it, again trying to put pressure on Republicans to say if you want to spend $700 billion, you've got to find the cuts, make them own those cuts, which are painful and might be quite unpopular."
Earlier, co-host Harry Smith asked about the possibility of Obama and the GOP working together on stopping earmark spending. Again, Dickerson saw the issue as a chance for the President to go after his opponents: "...an opportunity for the President not only to get involved in the conversation but, also, to perhaps drive a bit of a wedge within the Republican caucus, they have different opinions in the Senate, Mitch McConnell has a more favorable opinion of earmarks than say some of the tea party-backed conservative candidates or some House members and the President can say, 'hey, maybe I have a chance to cause a little mischief in the Republican caucus.'"
The Obama administration gave corporate giant General Electric—the parent company of NBC--$24.9 million in grants from the $787-billion economic “stimulus” law President Barack Obama signed in February 2009, according to records posted by the administration at Recovery.gov.
All three broadcast evening newscasts on Thursday covered the formal unveiling of the Republican ‘Pledge to America,’ a campaign document calling for the repeal of ObamaCare, no tax hikes and balanced budgets. CBS’s Nancy Cordes cast it as pro-Tea Party, “littered with references to the Constitution and promises to reduce the federal debt,” and Tea Party members as “grateful” for its policy prescriptions.
But ABC’s Jonathan Karl said the Pledge was “hardly a Tea Party manifesto. The 45-page document includes more photographs than specifics on spending cuts. No mention of controlling Social Security or Medicare. No mention of eliminating any federal departments. Not even a promise to eliminate earmarks or pork barrel spending.”
Karl even hit GOP Representative Mike Pence from the right: “There aren’t enough cuts in this thing that I see to get anywhere near a balanced budget.”
The Pentagon rescinded the invitation of evangelist Franklin Graham to speak at its May 6 National Day of Prayer event because of complaints about his previous comments about Islam.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation expressed its concern over Graham's involvement with the event in an April 19 letter sent to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. MRFF's complaint about Graham, the son of Rev. Billy Graham, focused on remarks he made after 9/11 in which he called Islam "wicked" and "evil" and his lack of apology for those words.
Col. Tom Collins, an Army spokesman, told ABC News on April 22, "This Army honors all faiths and tries to inculcate our soldiers and work force with an appreciation of all faiths and his past comments just were not appropriate for this venue."
So you do your part and pay your taxes to the federal government. However, you feel you pay too much and you don't like how that same government uses that money. Do you have the right to petition and protest that government?
If it's on federal land that your tax dollars paid for, then your protest is hypocritical nonsense, according to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. To her, the tea partiers, who protested on the government land of the National Mall, are hypocrites. Worse, they're getting unwarranted media coverage.
"In the case of the tea partiers, though, mainstream media coverage has been willing to almost assume that they're making sense, even in the face of evidence to the contrary," Maddow said on her April 21 program. "Because the idea of being in favor of smaller government, the idea that government is inherently wasteful and incompetent and should be shrunk, because that idea has shifted from a conservative movement talking point 30 years ago to centrist Beltway common wisdom today, sometimes we don't recognize the hypocrisy when it's right in our face. The conservative movement won the framing fight. It doesn't sound crazy anymore to rail against the federal government while standing in a national park until you really think about it."
Beyond that, it appears that no establishment media outlet has raised a few self-evident points made in a Wednesday Wall Street Journal editorial, proving yet again that the paper's editorials are as much a real news source as they are a rundown of the editorialists' particular take on things.
The critical points of the editorial (link may require subscription, and will probably not be available in a few weeks) are these:
Bunning was trying to do in practice what Nancy and Pelosi, Harry Reid and President Obama are fond of only talking about (Clay Waters also made this point in one of those NewsBusters posts).
The outrage is the result of substance-free political gamesmanship.
(Tea Partiers take note) Many of Bunning's fellow party members headed for the tall grass when the media heat commenced.
What follows are the Journal excerpts that make those points (bolds are mine):
When this arrived at my e-mail inbox Sunday, I thought a usually reliable tipster was playing a joke on me.
But after reviewing the video and transcript of this morning's "Reliable Sources" on CNN, it's become apparent that Howard Kurtz really did ask two of his guests if the press is currently going soft on the Republican Party.
"Every day, every week the media -- and that includes this program -- focus on President Obama," Kurtz said.
"But what about the Republicans? Do they largely get a pass because they're in the minority?" (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript and commentary, h/t Story Balloon):
The Washington Post launched an interactive page this week to profile President Obama's record on his campaign promises after one year in office. The Post put promises into three categories: "To Do," "In Progress" and "Completed."
Based on the president's record, most people would be surprised to learn the Post put most of the promises in the "In Progress" category -- and didn't even include a "Broken Promises" category. Many recent promises made as president would belong in that category.
"In Progress" according to the Post includes "reversing" the Bush tax cuts, while the "To Do" list includes "enact a windfall profits tax" on oil companies.
James Valvo, government affairs manager for Americans for Prosperity, offers the following additions to the Post's analysis:
In keeping with the tradition of the holidays - the minds at MSNBC, the place for politics if you're of the lefty persuasion, decided rate the top 10 political stories of the decade.
And leading this gang of masters of the political journalism universe was "Hardball" host Chris Matthews, who on the broadcast of his Dec. 24 program, announced that conservative activism, mainly the tea party movement was the eighth biggest story of the decade - but labeled "angry white voters" (emphasis added).
"Welcome back to ‘Hardball' - our number eight political story of the decade, angry whites at town hall meetings across the country," Matthews said. "Lawmakers heard the wrath of angry voters."
However, these Democrats would be doing themselves and their audiences a favor to take notice of two Fox News anchors, "Your World" host Neil Cavuto and the weekend edition of "America's News HQ" co-host, Gregg Jarrett. The two recently challenged two Republican members of Congress, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill.
On the Dec. 12 broadcast of Fox News Channel's "America's News HQ," host Gregg Jarrett took on Grassley, who made an appearance to rail against federal spending, but all the while having so-called "pork project" money earmarked for his home state (emphasis added).
Glenn Beck - he has one of the highest-rated shows on the top cable news network. He's had a number of bestselling books and he's called attention to some unsavory characters working in the Obama administration. Yet - he's somehow considered to be a risky business decision for the powers in charge at Fox News.
"He's talking there about Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, who did get a provision in order to get her support for breaking the filibuster on the health care bill - $300 million for Louisiana," Kurtz said. "He said she was ‘hooking,' basically called her a prostitute."
What's $100 million of taxpayer money between a few U.S. Senators?
After reports surfaced of $100 million for Louisiana was added to the Senate's health care reform legislation, originally from ABC News, and subsequently commented upon by prominent lefties, like U.S. News and World Report's Bonnie Erbe as my colleague Noel Sheppard pointed out, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., took the Senate floor on Nov. 21 to announce she would vote in favor to proceed forward with the Senate Democratic leadership's bill.
She also responded to allegations that $100 million earmarked for the Louisiana was added to that legislation to sway her vote. She referred to the likes of ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl and Erbe as "very partisan Republican bloggers."
"I know that might time is up, but I would like to ask personal privilege for just one more minute to address an issue that has come up unfortunately in the last 24 hours by some very partisan Republican bloggers so I need to respond I think and will do so now," Landrieu said. "One of the provisions in the framework of this bill that I've just decided to move on to debate has to do with fixing a very difficult situation that Louisiana is facing and any other state that might have a catastrophic disaster - let's hope they don't - like we did in 2005."
Subtitled: "Washington is spending $60 billion to create the careers of the future, but not a single green job yet exists. Obama's 'green czar' explains."
The Leftist publication deserves some plaudits for exploring this $60 billion gaping hole in the $787 billion "stimulus" package President Barack Obama signed into law in February. But there are many points in the article where they could have done better.
It would have been nice, for instance, if Newsweek had exhibited some of the scrutiny they show here in advance of the massive plan's passage. They begin with an interesting realization:
With much fanfare, President Barack Obama rolled out his intentions to cut $17 billion from the federal budget on May 7. But despite the spinmeisters, not everyone was buying it.
"The White House today played up its proposed cuts to the federal budget," ABC "World News" anchor Charles Gibson said on his May 7 broadcast. "That budget plays up to $3.6 trillion. The White House wants to trim a tiny fraction - $17 billion. The president, arguing that seemingly small amount is a step in the right direction."
And that's exactly what ABC White House correspondent Jake Tapper emphasized during his report on the budget cuts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The Lamestream Media The media coverage of the more than 800 Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party protests that took place in all fifty states on April 15 ranged from disdainful dismissal of their nature, significance and import, to outright hostility towards the events and individual participants, to sexual innuendo-based full-on ridicule.
In this summary, we focused on the three major networks - NBC, ABC and CBS, the two left-of-center cable news networks - CNN and MSNBC and the three major "national" newspapers - the USA Today, the New York Times and the Washington Post.
While not an exhaustively comprehensive oeuvre of TEA Party bias, it contains many, many examples which serve to illustrate the broader antipathetic themes.
CNN reporter Susan Roesgen became a pseudo-"journalistic" anti-hero yesterday for her obnoxiously belligerent interview of one Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party participant and her overall assessment of the more than 750 events around the country as amongst other derogatory things "anti-government."
But in another segment, she delved into rank hypocrisy the likes of which we rarely find even in the woefully biased liberal media pantheon.
In it she sought out another TEA Party participant who had a mocked-up sign in which President Barack Obama is melded with Adolf Hitler. She immediately began arguing with this gentleman as well; amongst the things she angrily said were "Why be so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message?" and "Do you realize how offensive that is?"
We will admit that portraying President Obama as Der Fuhrer is a bit over the top. But Miss Roesgen's sensitivity to being "so hard on the President of the United States with such an offensive message" seems only to arise when the Hitler-izing involves Democratic Commanders-in-Chief.
Barack Obama's optimistic campaign rhetoric has crashed headlong into the stark reality of governing.
In office two months, he has backpedaled on an array of issues, gingerly shifting positions as circumstances dictate while ducking for political cover to avoid undercutting his credibility and authority. That's happened on the Iraq troop withdrawal timeline, on lobbyists in his administration and on money for lawmakers' pet projects.
But just wait. Although it's true that Obama is breaking promises faster than he made them, we can't hold that against him. Sidoti explains:
Barney Frank was allowed, by NBC's Meredith Vieira, to go on a tear against AIG for wasting bailout money on corporate bonuses, on Monday's "Today" show, yet Vieira never once interrupted Frank to point out his own wasteful stimulus spending on earmarks going to Frank's home district, including $1 million for scallop research. Vieira also didn't interject when Frank blamed the Bush administration for failed economic oversight, even though it was Frank who blocked reforms of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, something former Vice President Dick Cheney brought up on this Sunday's "State of the Union," on CNN.
Vieira never asked a challenging question throughout the whole interview, instead choosing to let Frank rant: "The time has come for the federal government to put some people in charge...When we were asked by the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve last fall, to do these things, they resisted some of the conditions we wanted to put on."
The following is a complete transcript of the interview with Frank as it was aired on the March 16, "Today" show:
The Seattle Times compiles what it calls "The Favor Factory," which it calls "A database of lawmakers, earmarks, and campaign giving."
One noteworthy congressman in the Favor Factory is Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA; picture at right is currently at his home page).
Moran's Favors Factory page for 2008 lists 29 earmarks totaling $40.6 million, and over $890,000 in capaign contributions from earmark recipients.
Recall that Nancy Pelosi promised "Fiscal Restraint If Democrats Win" in a July 2006 Wall street Journal interview about the congressional elections that would be taking place four months later (link is to cato.org, which excerpted the now unavailable WSJ report). She also told the Journal:
“Personally, myself, I’d get rid of all of them,” she said. “None of them is worth the skepticism, the cynicism the public has… and the fiscal irresponsibility of it.”
Rep. Moran begged to differ just one month earlier, using language he would hopefully avoid around the second-graders with whom he is pictured above (actual offensive four-letter word is at link), as reported by a local metro DC community newspaper, the Sun Gazette:
In what was an otherwise critical story about President Obama signing an earmark-laden spending bill despite promising an end to such pork barrel projects, on Wednesday’s CBS Evening News correspondent Chip Reid decided to mention a modest earmark by former Idaho Senator Larry Craig: "And it's not just Democrats, about 40% of the earmarks were inserted by Republicans. Even retired lawmakers. Remember Republican Senator Larry Craig, arrested in a bathroom sting? He retired, but his legacy lives on through a million dollars in earmarks for Idaho." If Reid wanted to cite much more egregious Republican offenders he could have picked Alabama Senator Richard Shelby, who had $114 million in pet projects, or Missouri Senator Kit Bond, who had $86 million. Of course, neither of them were recently involved in sex scandals.
Other than the Craig mention, the piece was unusually tough on Obama, as anchor Katie Couric began the broadcast by declaring: "Also tonight, he campaigned against earmarks, but today President Obama signed a bill loaded with them behind closed doors." Reid reported: "The last thing the President wanted was a high-profile ceremony as he signed a bill stuffed with pork barrel spending...behind closed doors, it was, critics say, business as usual, as the President quietly signed a $410 billion domestic spending bill. 1,100 pages loaded with about 8,500 pet projects known as earmarks, inserted by members of Congress without legislative review...Some are the handiwork of former lawmakers who now work for the President. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has $6.5 million in projects for Illinois."
On a day when the number of Americans out of work reached a 25- year high, President Obama made a visit to a place where he could show just how in fact his stimulus plan really is saving jobs.
Bullet point number one tonight: the president in Columbus, Ohio, where two dozen police cadets whose jobs were saved as a result of the stimulus were sworn in as officers today. It's a story we have been following for some time now. The president insists today the nation is now on the right track.