The Republican minority in the Senate found an unlikely defender today: MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host, Mika Brzezinski.
Yesterday, the Brew Crew played the video for the Democrat talking point attack on Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), but omitted the ghoulish statement by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.):
They [the GOP] are desperate to break this president. They have ardent supporters who are nearly hysterical at the very election of President Barack Obama. The birthers, the fanatics, the people running around in right-wing militia and Aryan support groups, it is unbearable to them that President Barack Obama should exist. That is one powerful reason. It is not the only one."
This morning, however, the bump-in to start the show was that very quote – kudos to the producers of the show for making the connection. Better late than never; and it was even done without the presence of Joe Scarborough, the token MSNBC Republican.
Sadly, some members of the Brew Crew could not contain their bias:
Remember Barack Obama's pipe dream put forward during the 2008 presidential election cycle - that he was going to usher in an era of "post-partisanship" and change from "the politics of usual" in Washington? How's that working out? Not so well according to NBC "Meet the Press" moderator David Gregory.
Gregory appeared on NBC's Dec 21 "The Tonight Show" and was asked by host Conan O'Brien about the prospects of health care reform becoming a reality - which Gregory praised as some sort of monumental achievement.
Anchoring CNN Tonight, correspondent Erica Hill reported the findings of a new poll:
While Democrats and the president may be cheering the bill's passage, a majority of Americans still oppose the Senate plan. According to a CNN Opinion Research Corporation poll, 56 percent say they are against the measure. Now that's a slight shift actually in favor of the plan from a weeks ago. When as you can see opposition was as high as 61 percent, 42 percent support the plan, that number also up at six points.
And when asked for the effect the health care bill would have on their own family, 34 percent of respondents thought it would change things for the better, 37 percent thought it would make things worst. While 39 percent said it would have no effect. And when you figure the sampling error, almost works out to even across the board.
The responses to the second question total 110 percent, an unlikely result. Unless, of course, the poll were taken in Chicago by federally funded ACORN operatives. That doesn't appear to be the case. The actual poll question (#23) and results:
Appearing Monday on MSNBC during the 10AM ET hour, CNBC White House correspondent John Harwood worked to whip up support for the health care bill passed by Senate Democrats while slamming its liberal opponents: “...so much of the commentary I’ve heard has been really idiotic. Liberals who want universal health care ought to be thanking Harry Reid for getting this thing done...”
Speaking to anchor Contessa Brewer, Harwood told left-wing critics to stop “talking about what’s inadequate in the bill” and said that if they think “that Harry Reid can do better than what he’s done....they ought to lay off the hallucinogenic drugs because we have had a vivid demonstration of the limits of political possibilities on this issue.” Later in the 1PM ET hour Harwood called them “insane” and that they should “have their heads examined.”
Good on the Post for printing this letter from a reader who caught liberal columnist E.J. Dionne in the act of hypocrisy:
E.J. Dionne Jr. ["Democratic fratricide," op-ed, Dec. 17] views the Senate as a "dysfunctional and undemocratic partisan hothouse," presumably because of the ability of 41 senators to prevent a bill from coming to a final vote.
Mr. Dionne has not always taken such a dim view of undemocratic procedures, however.
In 2003, he heartily approved of Democratic obstruction of two judicial nominations by President Bush: "The filibuster is the only way to prevent the president from creating a federal judiciary dominated by ideologues of his own persuasion, appointed to satisfy his political base" ["Order and the Courts," op-ed, May 9].
When it comes to freedom of speech, liberal journalists are the staunchest of defenders, right? Not so much when it comes to blasting Republican senators opposed to ObamaCare for "borderline sedition" that "comes dangerously close to inciting violence."
"The crisis of confidence in this country is now at an apex that has not seen in over 150 years, and that lack of confidence undermines the ability of legitimate governance," he said. "There's a lot of people out there today who...will say, 'I give up on my government,' and rightly so."
Of course, many liberals said similar things about losing faith in their government during the previous administration, one with which Klein had many disagreements, most if not all of which he took to Time's pages or Web site to bluster about. I don't recall any concern from Klein about seditious liberals or Democrats when George Bush or Dick Cheney was the object of harsh rhetoric.
But leave it to a Republican senator to criticize the pork barreling and special exemptions Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has given to fellow Democrats to buy a cloture vote, and it's damn near seditious to Klein:
There was something very important that I did not see on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning.
The very first bump-in on the show was a montage of Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.):
COBURN: What the American people ought to pray, is that somebody can’t make the vote tonight. That’s what they ought to pray.
DURBIN: I don’t think it’s appropriate to be invoking prayer to wish misfortune on a colleague. And I want him to clarify that. I’ve invited him, I’ve tried to reach out to him. He is my friend, and I have worked with him, but this statement goes too far. The simple reality is this: We are becoming more coarse and more divided here [...].
This, of course, is political gamesmanship. But it goes further than that. In the entirety of Morning Joe, I did not note a single mention of the following statement from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) -- hat tip to Kerry Picket for catching this:
As NewsBusters’ Noel Sheppard reported on Saturday, on Friday’s Morning Meeting program on MSNBC, host Dylan Ratigan got into a shouting match with Democratic Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz over health care legislation. On Monday, he apologized for the outburst: “...the way I went about that on Friday was a disservice to our viewers....I have some work to do.”
Ratigan’s heated exchange with Schultz stemmed from his anger over the Senate health care bill not being liberal enough. On Friday, he declared: “It basically allows the taxpayer to take the hit to pay for the uninsured, but it does not deal with the underlying symptom as to why there are so many uninsured...[P]art of the problem in this country is that our politicians do not understand that they make laws that create total imbalances.”
Schultz attempted to address the issue, but Ratigan repeatedly cut her off. On Monday he described one viewer’s reaction: “The way I conducted the interview has been called many things, but I’ll sum it up with a tweet from a woman known only as DianeG12, and I quote, ‘Dylan was very rude!’” He then admitted: “yes, DianeG12, I was and I want to apologize to the Congresswoman and to our viewers for that.”
In an interview in which he hit the 2008 Republican presidential nominee repeatedly from the left, George Stephanopoulos pleaded with Sen. John McCain to "name an issue next year where you are going to be joined at the hip with President Obama." [audio available here]
The live interview via satellite occurred six hours after McCain joined the other 39 Senate Republicans in voting against cloture on the Senate version of Democratic health care legislation.
All but two of Stephanopoulos's questions dealt with health care,the other two with Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Transcribed below are Stephanopoulos's agenda of questions, which you'll notice buffet McCain from the left, and/or paint Republicans are the party responsible for keeping the Senate from wrapping up its business until Christmas Eve, even though it is Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who controls the legislative calendar:
“There's a lot in” the health care bill as it now stands -- even without the “public option” or expanded Medicare -- “that people are going to like” and a “lot of people are going to like a whole lot once they see what's in it,” ABC News veteran Cokie Roberts contended on Sunday's This Week as she blamed Democratic messaging, not the substance, for declining support: “I think the Democrats lost control of the argument – the message – and that's why the polls are as they are.”
If the public just understood all the great things in it, she scolded, they'd realize the Christmas gift they're getting from those Democrats: “It's just a question of understanding it and the Democrats should have been getting that out there more.” As if hey haven't had the news media on their side. Amongst the wonderful benefits: “For he first time” there will be “totally paid-for long term care insurance.” Totally paid for by whom?
Roberts soon praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's deal-making and payoffs: “The person that I have really new-found respect for is Harry Reid, who just has this Senate in session relentlessly until they do this.”
On Thursday’s Stossel show on Fox Business Network, host John Stossel got to do the kind of show he was not able to do earlier this year when he was at ABC, as he devoted an entire show to the debate over access to health care, and gave attention to the market-based plan utilized by most employees of Whole Foods, which uses health savings accounts and encourages employees to shop around for health care, and to conserve their money for use in future years. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey, who has been the target of attacks from socialized medicine advocates despite the popularity of his company’s program with its employees, was the featured guest on Stossel's show, though he and Stossel at one point did get to debate socialized medicine advocate Russell Mokhiber. When Mokhiber cited the dubious statistic that 45,000 Americans die yearly from lack of health insurance, and contended that "zero Canadians die from lack of health insurance," Mackey charged that in Canada, "They oftentimes die from a lack of health care as they wait for services that are rationed by governmental bureaucrats."
While Stossel argued that too much involvement by a third party like insurance companies or government programs have caused health care prices to increase because consumers shop around less, Stossel and Mackey also charged that government regulations that forbid health insurance companies to compete across state lines, and that require insurance companies to cover procedures in their plans that are not desired by many customers, have helped create the problem of high insurance prices:
On Friday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Russ Mitchell introduced a report on difficulties President Obama is having with left-wing: “President Obama is facing a growing backlash from liberal supporters on the issue of health care reform.” White House correspondent Bill Plante described the: “...anger really among the President’s former grass roots supporters on the Left.”
After citing former Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean’s opposition to the health care bill, Plante turned to other liberal critics: “Christopher Hayes, editor of the left-leaning magazine The Nation, says President Obama has betrayed the promises of his campaign.” Hayes argued: “What made the campaign so great was that it engendered a feeling of empowerment, that it felt like power was being distributed downwards, right? And that is something that you’re seeing the opposite of in this legislative battle.”
Plante even cited left-wing commenters on President Obama’s Facebook page: “Jamie writes ‘I had so much hope, but I feel like I’m invisible to a man I worked so hard to elect.’ While Melanie warns ‘if this White House doesn’t change, I won’t vote for you again.’” Plante concluded: “And that’s exactly the problem. It may mean that all of that enthusiasm that was generated in 2008 won’t be there either to push Congress or to reelect the President.”
Today, it sounds like the president has finally reached that point with the Senate Democrats and their increasingly aggravating health-care squabbles. He's ready to issue a steely "Enough." And not a minute too soon.
Not a minute too soon? Isn't Connolly supposed to be an objective reporter, not a cheerleader for a political party and its agenda? Oh, that's right, this is Newsweek, the magazine whose editor actually aspires to a smaller (and more liberal?) audience.
At the top of Thursday’s CBS Early Show, correspondent Nancy Cordes excitedly proclaimed that Senate Democrats “are tantalizingly close” to passing a health care bill and derided Republicans for trying to “thwart” the legislation using “stall tactics.”
Cordes reported on the urgency of Democratic efforts to get 60 votes in the Senate: “Leaders are trying to craft a compromise that everyone can live with and soon...to pass a bill by the holidays, they must file the bill by this Saturday.” She lamented that “...they could get thwarted by Republican stall tactics....[who] suddenly demanded that clerks read a 767 page health care amendment out loud on the Senate floor.”
After explaining that “Senate business got tied up for three hours,” Cordes declared: “Democrats were predictably outraged.” She concluded her report: “And that’s the kind of stunt that Republicans would happily pull again if it will slow down the Democrats’ goal of getting this bill passed.”
In his swan song interview with President Barack Obama, which consumed more than ten minutes of World News, ABC's Charles Gibson couldn't have provided a friendlier or more empathetic platform to Obama on the “weight” of sending troops to war and how “devilishly difficult” it's become to pass a health care plan because of a few rogue Senators. Gibson, set to retire Friday, teased his last Wednesday newscast:
Welcome to World News. Tonight, we broadcast from the White House. And in the headlines, one on one. Our conversation with the President in which he says he lost sleep over his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan, and makes a dire warning about health care.
That “dire warning,” which Gibson did not challenge in the interview: “If we don't pass it, here's the guarantee: the federal government will go bankrupt.”
Gibson began with Afghanistan, recalling how commanders don't “commit kids to war,” they just follow the President's orders, “and I thought, 'Holy God, what a weight that is on your shoulders.'” After Obama ruminated at length on the “gravity” of the “tough” analysis process he went through, Gibson wondered about the inner Obama: “How did you change from the beginning of that analysis and process that you went through to the end, inside you?”
A night after MSNBC's Keith Olbermann demanded Senator Joe Lieberman “just resign already” as he shrieked “you are embarrassing humanity!”, CBS joined in targeting Connecticut's “independent Democrat” for daring to oppose liberals on health care. “He holds the 60th vote needed to get the health care reform bill passed in the Senate,” anchor Katie Couric intoned, “and Nancy Cordes tells us supporters of reform are angry and confused about Lieberman's position.”
Cordes soon expanded the exasperation to include “Democratic Senators Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln and Ben Nelson” who “successfully blocked the public option even though the other 55 Democrats support it. Nelson is still holding out for stricter anti-abortion language, leading some liberals to complain their agenda is being hijacked by a few.” She demanded of Lieberman: “Does it trouble you that you're going against an overwhelming majority of your caucus?” (Hard to imagine a CBS reporter ever scolding a more liberal Republican for defying the party's conservative majority.)
A frustrated Cordes concluded: “So this small group of four or so Senators has managed successfully to impose their will on the other 530 members of Congress because the changes that they're demanding to the Senate bill will likely have to be made to the House bill, too.”
Longtime readers of Associated Press dispatches have long since learned that many of the most important facts of a story -- especially facts that put the government, bureaucrats, and leftists in a bad light -- are often found in its final paragraphs. This is a way for the wire service to boast that it really did report all important facts while usually ensuring that harried broadcasters and other users of AP content who attempt to digest it down to a couple of sentences will probably will leave the meaty and incriminating stuff on the cutting room floor.
Such is the case with a report on the arrest of dozens of Medicare ripoff artists in various US cities. While the details of the arrests are indeed important, the final three paragraphs of AP writer Kelli Kennedy's report are the real jaw-droppers, especially in the context of the president's and Congress's dogged determination to set a statist takeover of the entire health care system into motion before the end of this year (bolds are mine):
It's a good thing New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wasn't a used car salesman because CNBC "Squawk on the Street" co-host Mark Haines would have driven off the lot in a lemon.
Friedman appeared on the Dec. 14 broadcast of "Squawk on the Street" to promote the paperback release of his book, "Hot, Flat, and Crowded." And once again, he made the case the United States is lagging behind in green technology and the only way to overcome this innovation gap is to set some sort of premium on the price of using carbon-based energy sources, as he meticulously argued in his book.
Friedman insisted it will take action by the government to impose these premiums and to grant some sort of long-term subsidy to stimulate this innovation. Haines, showing he was sold on Friedman's premise, expressed his doubt this could ever be set in motion.
In an unusually tough interview with President Obama on Sunday’s 60 Minutes on CBS, correspondent Steve Kroft described the President’s West Point speech as being “greeted with a great deal of confusion” and that “some people thought it was contradictory.” He later said of the health care bill: “some people think is incomprehensible....I’ve not met anybody who’s read it.”
Kroft began the interview by asking about the new Afghanistan strategy and made some observations about Obama’s announcement of the plan: “In your West Point speech, you seemed very analytical, detached, not emotional....There were no exhortations or promises of victory. Why? Why that tone?” Obama argued: “...that was actually probably the most emotional speech that I’ve made.” And then hit the Bush administration: “...one of the mistakes that was made over the last eight years is for us to have a triumphant sense about war. There was a tendency to say, ‘We can go in. We can kick some tail. This is some glorious exercise.’”
Kroft went on to note that the speech: “was greeted with a great deal of confusion.” A testy Obama interjected: “I disagree with that statement.” Kroft rephrased: “...it raised a lot of questions. And some people thought it was contradictory. That’s a fair criticism.” Not according to the President: “I don’t think it’s a fair criticism....There shouldn’t be anything confusing about that.” Obama then touted a Bush administration success to make his point: “...that’s something that we executed over the last two years in Iraq. So, I think the American people are familiar with the idea of a surge.”
"And if there's a policy rationale here, it's not apparent to me, or to others who've interviewed him," Klein wrote. "At this point, Lieberman seems primarily motivated by torturing liberals. That is to say, he seems willing to cause the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people in order to settle an old electoral score."
Salon editor Joan Walsh, a frequent contributor on MSNBC, finds the network's "Countdown" host to be lacking in the diversity department when it comes to his guests. Of course, her complaint isn't with Olbermann's refusal to feature guests with whom he could have ideological clashes -- something his nemesis Bill O'Reilly has never been afraid to do -- but the fact that his guests are infrequently of the fairer sex.
Fresh off Donny Deutsch’s defense of Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) slavery analogy, Mike Barnicle asked GOP Chairman Michael Steele about what proposals the GOP favored for health-care reform. Along the way, however, he used an unfortunate choice of words:
MIKE BARNICLE: [...] What are you people for?
MICHAEL STEELE: You people? [starts laughing] Who are 'you people?'
While interviewing former Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean on Wedneday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez questioned his support for a plan by Senate Democrats to expand Medicare coverage: “...the criticism is that Medicare as it stands doesn’t work because the payments don’t cover the plan. Are we just not creating a bigger problem if we have to insure more people under Medicare?”
Dean praised the idea as a good alternative to the public option: “Medicare is a very, very effective program. It’s a government-run single payer program. Everybody over 65 is in it and it works very well....This isn’t perfect and the coverage is not broad enough, in my view, but I do think this is a positive step forward.”
Rodriguez began the interview by pointing out that Dean had previously been adamant about the public option being part of any health care legislation: “...back in August when we talked about this. You said ‘you can’t have reform without the public option.’ But as you know this plan, devised by these ten senators does not include it. So do you oppose it?” Dean replied: “Actually, not at all. Medicare is a public program, and it’s a single payer run by the government....I judge all these plans by whether they move things forward or move things backward. This move things forwards.”
While interviewing Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith referred to recent comments by Senator Harry Reid: “[He] said Republicans are on the wrong side of history when it comes to this health care bill and very soberly...compared those who opposed health care to those who opposed civil rights legislation....How would you respond to that?”
Steele fired back: “Well, you know, it was not a sober moment for Harry Reid at all. It was an ignorant moment for Harry Reid.” Steele continued: “ I’m kind of sick and tired of, you know, the Left and Democrats in this country, when they get into trouble and don’t get their way...they play that race card, that slavery card, that civil rights card.” Smith didn’t even mention Reid’s further comparison of Republicans to those who resisted ending slavery.
Steele called on Reid to apologize: “...it was an ignorant comment. Harry needs to go to the well of the Senate, take it back, and apologize for offending the sensibilities of the American people on something so important.”
Time's Amy Sullivan has little use for moderate Senate Democrats throwing up any semblance of a road block, nay, even a speed bump, to ObamaCare, especially if it entails pro-life measures which would keep abortion from being covered by the taxpayer-subsidized government option.
"What is it about those Nebraska governors-turned-senators?" Sullivan huffed in the beginning of her December 8 Swampland blog post. "Did they not get enough attention as children? Do they chafe at being told they hail from a 'flyover' state? Does that unicameral legislature leave too few adoring supporters?"
Sullivan's ire was directed at Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson (D), who along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) has offered a pro-life amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill that Sullivan insists is all but doomed to fail and which is not likely a deal-breaker for either Sens. Nelson nor Casey when it comes to final passage:
Blogger Doug Ross got to the news of the Congressional Budget Office's Monthly Budget Report (PDF) over the weekend, quite accurately observing that the establishment news coverage of its content barely existed.
On Monday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez pressed Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on the GOP’s opposition to ObamaCare: “...there’s been a lot of criticism that Republicans have done nothing but oppose this bill, nothing to help pass it, just try to kill it....have you done more than say ‘no, no, no, no, no’?”
At the top of the show, Rodriguez described a weekend visit by President Obama to Capitol Hill: “A rare closed-door rally on Capitol Hill over the weekend as President Obama calls on Democrats to close ranks and pass health care reform.” Rodriguez later suggested that Republicans “were not invited to the meeting yesterday” based on their criticism of the legislation. Senator Alexander responded: “Well that’s really an amazing statement. I mean, the President was elected on the idea of open meetings.”
Rodriguez also spoke with Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill but tried not to be too tough as she asked the Senator about the Presidential visit: “There were four holdouts yesterday before your meeting with the President. Did he succeed in changing any minds?” McCaskill declared: “Well, I think we’re getting there. Failure’s not an option.”
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."
"In today's Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer takes great pains to paint a bleak picture of health care reform as ‘monstrous,' ‘overregulated,' and rife with ‘arbitrary bureaucratic inventions,'" Pfeiffer wrote. "The columnist's argument may be cogent and well-written, but it is wholly inaccurate."