In wake of the Harriet Miers withdrawal of her nomination to the US Supreme Court, the Associated Press wasted little time in releasing an article trashing conservatives. Terrence Hunt found plenty of people to quote in regards to how "extreme" the Republican party is, but could find no one with any reasonable counter-arguments.
He quotes Democrats as saying: Bush has bowed to the "radical right wing of the Republican Party."
He found Ted Kennedy: "The president has an opportunity now to unite the country. In appointing the next nominee, he must listen to all Americans, not just the far right."
He found Democratic Leader Harry Reid: "The radical right wing of the Republican Party killed the Harriet Miers nomination. They want a nominee with a proven record of supporting their skewed goals."
On CNN’s American Morning, legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin was quick to attach the “very conservative” label to possible Supreme Court nominees Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and Michael Luttig. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, however, Toobin deems to be “a lot more politically appealing.”
At 9:55 am, Toobin did not merely state that Owen was a conservative judge on the Texas state supreme court.
On ABC’s Good Morning America on Thursday, co-host Charles Gibson seemed mystified why a pro-life group would be disturbed by Harriet Miers’ formulation that the abortion debate is between those who would “criminalize abortions” or “guarantee the freedom of the individual woman’s right to choose.” Gibson thought that such liberal language was perfectly neutral: “That sounds to me, when I read it, as if she’s setting out alternatives and not taking a stand.”
His guest, Concerned Women for America’s Wendy Wright, told Gibson that someone who was genuinely pro-life would have framed the debate very differently: “Those who believe in the sanctity of human life speak in terms like that, respect for unborn children, respect for life. And so by her phrasing of criminalizing abortion as contrasted to freedom, that does speak to a philosophy that’s a bit troubling.”
Are you a Republican or conservative? Want to get invited on a morning MSM show? No problem! Just be prepared to do one thing - criticize the Bush administration.
We've seen the pattern in recent weeks at the Today show. First there was Bill Kristol, fiercely attacking the Miers nomination. Yesterday, GOP congressman-turned-MSNBC-host Joe Scarborough upped the ante, accusing VP Cheney of a "lie."
And this morning brought an appearance by conservative uber-celebrity Ann Coulter.
The first hint that a warm reception was planned for Ann was the fact that Today chose Matt Lauer to interview her, rather than Katie Couric with whom Ann had famously clashed on air after having described Couric as an "affable Eva Braun."
What earned Ann her invite? Matt gave it away when he cited to Ann her recent comment "in which you compared the Bush White House with the Nixon White House."
Bingo! Any conservative willing to invoke the Nixon White House in discussing W is welcome on Today!
Not to worry, America. The Associated Press, with its vast worldwide resources, has uncovered some vital information on the Miers nomination: The high school she attended was “all-white.”
And because of this, “Miers (Was) Isolated From Social Turmoil As Teen.” So says the title of the latest in the AP’s series of insightful articles on the possible Supreme Court Associate Justice.
Harriet Miers spent her teens in an all-white high school far removed from the racial and social upheaval of the early 1960s, consumed instead with academics, tennis and even a stint as the school newspaper's assistant sports editor.
In introducing Joe Scarborough this morning, Katie Couric described him a "former Republican congressman." After witnessing his performance, one is prompted to ask: was "former" intended to modify "congressman," or "Republican"?
In any case, Scarborough was living proof of the adage that the kind of Republicans welcome on the Today show are those willing to take swipes at the Bush administration.
Scarborough did so in spades this morning. Speaking of the Plame investigation, Katie asked, in her best butter-wouldn't-melt-in-her-mouth ingenue tone:
Peter Baker and Jim VandeHei of the Washington Post pulled no punches in their front-page article this morning about the challenges currently facing President Bush:
“Rarely has a president confronted as many damaging developments that could all come to a head in this week. A special counsel appears poised to indict one or more administration officials within days. Pressure is building on Bush from within his own party to withdraw the faltering Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. And any day the death toll of U.S. troops in Iraq will pass the symbolically important 2,000 mark.”
Rarely? I guess 9/11 doesn't count, for regardless of what happens this week, it’s got to be a cakewalk by comparison to the days following the first attacks on this country since Pearl Harbor.
In "Bushies Feeling the Boss' Wrath" Thomas M. DeFrank, the New York Daily News Washington bureau chief portrays President Bush as "frustrated, sometimes angry, and even bitter" of late.
And in case you don't get DeFrank's drift from his litany of setbacks for the Bush administration interspersed with anonymous administration sources, the editors at the Daily News were kind enough to offer this unflattering photo of the President, available here.
You'll note the filename 906-w_scowl.jpg. I guess the first 905 takes just wouldn't do?
In an article headlined "The Conservative Machine's Unexpected Turn," Washington Post reporter Peter Baker gets a little too light in the metaphor department. He begins by noting that the White House wanted to build an army to fight for his judicial nominees. "Yet now, as the president struggles to sell the nomination of Harriet Miers, much of Bush's army is refusing to leave the barracks -- and part of it is even going over to the insurgency."
Since the "I" word is now standard lingo for the press to describe the anti-democratic terrorists of Iraq, is that really the best image for the Washington Post to apply to disappointed conservatives? (While Baker used the word "conservative" eight times in the article, and quoted Jay Sekulow with another two C-words, reporter Chris Cillizza's piece today on Emily's List -- the PAC that funds only pro-abortion female Democrats -- didn't have a single liberal label in it.) This is not the first time Peter Baker has grown a little overenthusiastic in his metaphors.
On this past weekend'sReal Time with Bill Maher on HBO, comedian Bill Maher pointed to the liberal scriptwriters of NBC's West Wing for political guidance. Maher touted how “Alan Alda plays a Republican Senator who tells the Christian Right to go screw.” Maher yearned: “Why can't we have that in real life?” Last Tuesday (October 11) on MSNBC's Hardball, the Chicago Tribune's Jim Warren had also held up how the Alda character "confronts a top Christian Right official who insists on a public pledge that Alan Alda, if elected President, will only pick anti-abortion judges to the federal court. And Alan Alda, seeing the world as much more complicated, declines to do that." Maher proceeded to wonder: “Why can't we have a real Alan Alda character who says to the Christian Right what the Democrats basically say to the black people, which is, 'you know what? Where else are you going to go?'"
Full transcripts of Maher's comments, the Alan Alda character's lines on the October 9 episode of The West Wing and links to previous NewsBusters items on The West Wing, follow.
In the midst of the recent controversy surrounding Harriet Miers' political leanings, the media seems to have come to its own comfortable determination that Miers is a suitable candidate for the Supreme Court.
In this story by Donald Lambro for the Washington Times, several Republican chairmen are quoted as saying they believe their constituents support Miers. What I want to know is the last time a party chair said, "Yeah, my constituents agree, our president doesn't know what he's doing." This is news? And what about the conservative megasite, Townhall.com's recent poll, that said 86% of the site's viewers don't like Miers? I'm not great at math, but something isn't adding up.
On Friday’s Washington Week on PBS, Washington Post reporter Michael Fletcher informed the panel that “the little bit we know about” the “record” of Harriet Miers “indicates kind of a, you know, bridge-builder, moderate” and “so there's deep concern among conservatives, some of whom have called for her to withdraw." That prompted befuddled fill-in host Michel Martin, of ABC News, to seemingly presume moderation and consensus-building should be higher values than conservative ideology: "Is that a dirty word, 'bridge-builder,’ 'moderate,’ consensus builder? I'm sorry. I wasn't aware that those were epithets." Gwen Ifill is the usual host of the show. (More complete transcript of the exchange follows.)
Washington Post columnist Tina Brown today took the opportunity to mark the 80th birthday of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's first female prime minister, with a scathing attack on Harriet Miers.
In, "You've Come a Long Way, Ladies," Brown begins:
The healthiest aspect of the Harriet Miers nomination is that women haven't rallied to her cause. Ten years ago, there would have been a lot of reflexive solidarity about keeping the Sandra Day O'Connor spot on the Supreme Court from reverting to male type. But every female lawyer I've spoken with in the past week skips right past the sisterly support into a rant about Miers's meager qualifications or her abject obeisance to power. The good news is that for women, it seems, Miers's nomination is like the moment for blacks in Hollywood when it was suddenly okay to cast an African American actor as something other than a perfect hero. The Sidney Poitier phase is definitively over.
Describing a brief interview NBC's Matt Lauer had with President Bush and the First Lady in front of a Habitat for Humanity construction project yesterday, The Washington Post's Dana Milbank was so obsessed with the President's body language that everything else he wrote about the interview got lost in his frenzied descriptions. For instance, regarding a question about prosecutors' interest in Rove, Milbank described the President's response as:
"Bush blinks twice. He touches his tongue to his lips. He blinks twice more. He starts to answer, but he stops himself. 'I'm not going to talk about the case,' Bush finally says after a three-second pause that, in television time, feels like a commercial break."
The opposition from the religious right faced by the fictional Republican presidential candidate on NBC's The West Wing, symbolizes for Jim Warren, the former Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune who is now a Deputy Managing Editor for the paper, how real-life conservatives, upset over the Harriet Miers pick, will never be satisfied. On Tuesday's Hardball on MSNBC, Warren admired how the fictional drama's Alan Alda character “confronts a top Christian Right official who insists on a public pledge that Alan Alda, if elected President, will only pick anti-abortion judges to the federal court. And Alan Alda, seeing the world as much more complicated, declines to do that.” Warren asked and answered his own question: “Why is that relevant? I think it's relevant because just like Bill Clinton could never satisfy his left, it seems that Bush can never satisfy a group for whom he has cut taxes, delivered Saddam Hussein on a platter, done what they want on late term abortion and stem cell research, come out against gay marriage and picked a whole lot of conservative judges.”
Full transcript of his proposition, and the West Wing scene, follows.
Wolf: James Dobson's claims about Harriet Miers making it into the Cafferty File today. Jack is in New York, and he's smiling, as only Jack can do.
Jack Cafferty: I love this. I mean, I...this is just going to be one of the great shows, unless she backs away, one of the great shows we've seen in a while. If the Miers nomination to be a Supreme Court justice wasn't in trouble before, it is now. And by the way, it was in big trouble before. With evangelical leader Dobson hinting he might have secret information about Miers' views on such issues as abortion, and with his acknowledgment that he talked with Karl Rove at the White House about her nomination, Miers' opponents have been handed a loaded gun. Even if Dobson is called before the Senate Judiciary Committee and actually testifies, there'll always be a suspicion that we're not getting the whole story on her. Nevertheless, all that being said, I can't wait for the hearing. I mean, I wish they'd start this afternoon. Here's the question. Should evangelical leader James Dobson have to testify, be subpoenaed and be forced to testify at Harriet Miers' confirmation hearings...I hope he does. And I hope she does, and I just...I mean, I just can't wait. This is going to be a dream for people like me.
WB: You might have to wait until early December for those hearings, though, Jack.
Jack Cafferty: Yeah, but I mean, you know, this is going to be like watching those super trains that go from the Tokyo airport into downtown Tokyo, go off the tracks at maximum speed. I mean, you just won't see anything better than that.
So let me get this straight .. the pain, suffering, and death of hundreds of people is equal to the Judiciary Committee's questioning of Harriet Miers? Jack never ceases to amaze me. Download .WMV
What follows is a brief exchange from Friday's edition of the PBS NewsHour, during a discussion with liberal columnist Mark Shields and conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks on the Harriet Miers nomination. Notice that while conservative critics of the Miers nomination are properly labeled as conservatives, Lehrer insists on watering down the liberal label for Justice David Souter:
During the roundtable segment on Sunday’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, ABC reporter Cokie Roberts charged that “I do think there's sexism here” and went on to approvingly cite a left-wing Democratic Senator: “I do think that there is a degree of sexism, as Barbara Mikulski has also said, and I do think that there is a certain Ivy League prejudice going on here.” Roberts contended that Miers’ “experience on the Dallas city council showed her to be a great pragmatist and that's what people are really worried about." Roberts soon gushed: “Praise the Lord she doesn't have a judicial philosophy." She cited Justice O’Connor’s approach as desirable: “You're presented with a case on the Supreme Court instead of an argument, and you decide the case and that's exactly what Sandra Day O'Connor did and that's exactly what makes conservatives angry."
When former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich suggested that “a lot of conservatives are worried that she is going to be another David Souter,” Roberts interjected: "A pragmatist." (So, Roberts sees the liberal Souter as merely a "pragmatist"? Or, maybe she was trying to correct Reich and just meant that conservatives are upset not by how Miers will be another Souter but by how Miers might be another "pragmatist.") She also lamented how “the people who are complaining about this didn't complain about Clarence Thomas, who was hardly a distinguished jurist when he was picked for the bench." To that, George Will shot back: “He was, however, a jurist on America's most distinguished appellate court.” (Transcribed excerpts from the October 9 This Week follow.)
Recent press accounts suggest earlier calls for a unifying nominee were a red herring.
The past few months have been a target-rich environment for America’s press. Between the president’s declining poll numbers, increased hostilities in Iraq, two devastating hurricanes, exploding energy prices, some high-profile political scandals, and a couple of Supreme Court vacancies, the media certainly have had a lot of juicy issues on their plates.
Yet, it seems that the president’s unexpected nomination of Harriet Miers defused the highly anticipated battle over retiring justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s replacement, and the press are so disappointed by the subsequent lack of bloodletting that they are trying to stoke the curiously absent fires of discontent themselves.
With the exception of a few lines, this October 7 Christian Science Monitor story by Warren Richey about Harriet Miers could have been written by the White House. Its thesis is that prior judicial experience is not a reliable indicator of how well an individual will do as a justice if appointed and confirmed for the U.S. Supreme Court. Among a number of reasonably thoughtful quotes from academics, however, this line stands out:
Snobbery is no small part of the debate over Miers, analysts say.
The "analysts" who said this are not identified, however, and the only support for a "snobbery" element to the debate is this line:
The nomination of Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court has produced lots of reaction from the left and particularly from the right. There have been charges that she lacks an education from a top-rated law school, lacks a certifiably conservative background and, since she has never been a judge, might be lax in adhering to the Constitution.
And now she lacks what the Associated Press apparently considers an important factor: the financial wherewithal necessary for the position. That’s right, the AP is questioning whether Harriet Miers is rich enough to sit on the highest court in the land.
In a sneeringly elitist piece titled, “Miers Wealth Shrank During Time in D.C.,” the AP, after years of denigrating President Bush, Dick Cheney and anyone else in the Administration as rich, greedy tools of corporate America, now informs us that:
My favorite supporting character in the legendary strip, “Peanuts,” is Pigpen. His unique trait is raising a cloud of dirt everywhere, even on a clean, dry sidewalk. Pigpen came to mind when I saw the White House Press Corps’ question President Bush Wednesday on his nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.
First, the status of the nomination. Monday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid held a nearly unprecedented press conference with Harriet Miers, just hours after her nomination. Reid said that she was an “exceptional” candidate, and “the sort of person who should be nominated.”
In short, the leader of the opposition all but endorsed the nominee.
What’s the consequence of that? Slam dunk. A home run in the bottom of the ninth. Game, set and match.
On Wednesday's World News Tonight, ABC's Dan Harris highlighted conservative criticism of the selection of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court, but delivered something unusual in network TV news -- story-concluding spin from a conservative perspective. Harris wrapped up his October 5 piece: "The faith angle is tricky for the President. He's argued Miers won't change twenty years down the line. But twenty years ago, before she was born again, she was a Democrat. Which raises the question: If she's changed once, can't she change again?" Earlier, he had relayed criticism from the right, such as former Bush 43 speechwriter David Frum's observation which encapsulated why so many conservatives are disappointed: “If you put someone like Harriet Miers in that room with someone as brilliant and charming as Stephen Breyer, she's never going to win any arguments with him."
Mark Silva, national correspondent who covers the White House for the Chicago Tribune, essentially wrote a 750-worded epithet titled "Hard Times Wear on Bush," that sounded more in sync with the giving of "last rites" than what a national news correspondent would write.
Reporting about Bush's first formal news conference since May 31, Silva opens this way: "Stepping out from the Oval Office on an overcast morning, President Bush appeared browbeaten. He sounded wistful about his party's political fortunes and even his own."
"Browbeaten" and "wistful" being not nearly enough for Mr. Silva, he continues to pile-on with more negativity from events that have nothing to do with what the president called this formal news conference for, namely to talk about Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers:
On his nightly PBS talk show Monday, Tavis Smiley questioned John Edwards about the Harriet Miers nomination. Oddly enough, Edwards, who presumed he was ready to be President of the United States after being in the Senate about the same amount of time Miers was in the White House, suggested the big Miers issue was her lack of experience:
"I mean, the first question about her, of course, is that she has no record. Never been a judge, has no judicial experience. And that is certainly not disqualifying by itself, but what it means is that we don't know much about what her positions are. She has never written an opinion."
When Edwards said Senate Democrats will have to question her with vigor, Smiley wondered: "How vigorous do you expect them to be? There are some who would argue that they weren't terribly vigorous on Mr. Roberts, now the Chief Justice. And the Democrats split voting for the guy." Didn't they know they were supposed to vote 44 to 0 against?
Concluding her Tuesday NBC Nightly News story on conservative resistance to the nomination of Harriet Miers, Andrea Mitchell asserted that while “critics on the right say” that it “leaves them depressed and disappointed," their “opposition may not matter for Miers' confirmation. So far, no Republican Senator has joined the chorus of critics." But those who watched ABC or CBS heard something very different. On World News Tonight, ABC’s Terry Moran reported that “in a sign of potential trouble ahead, Republican Senator San Brownback, a leading conservative on the Judiciary Committee, released a statement today saying: 'I am not yet confident that Ms. Miers has a proven track record and I look forward to having these questions answered.'" Over on the CBS Evening News, John Roberts related how “many members of the President's own party remain perplexed by his choice for this critical swing seat." Viewers then heard this soundbite from the Kansas Republican Senator: "You had a number of outstanding potential nominees who had been or were, or are, sitting judges. And so you look at this one and you say, well, why did you go here when you had so many other opportunities?"
Once upon a time, Editor and Publisher, as "America’s Oldest Journal Covering the Newspaper Industry," had a certain degree of respectability. These days, conspiratorial speculation and advocacy are every bit as important as fact, and the byline "By E&P Staff" means that anything to follow needs to be parsed very carefully to distill facts from wishful, often overtly partisan projection. A prime example of this concerns this August 6, 2001 AP Photo as seen in this MSNBC article.
On its front page Tuesday, The New York Times published a photo of new U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers going over a briefing paper with President George W. Bush at his Crawford ranch "in August 2001," the caption reads. USA Today and the Boston Globe carried the photo labeled simply "2001," but many other newspapers ran the picture in print or on the Web with a more precise date: Aug. 6, 2001.
On this evening’s “NBC Nightly News,” Andrea Mitchell seemed to be advancing a position that would make both Republicans and Democrats angry about the president’s nomination of Harriet Miers to replace Supreme Court justice Sandra Day O’Connor.
Mitchell starts her segment with a statement from Texas Supreme Court justice Nathan Hecht that is clearly designed to raise the ire of pro-choice Americans: “She is pro-life. Harriet and I have attended pro-life dinners in Dallas years ago. She attends evangelical church in Dallas when she's there and has for 25 years that takes a very strong pro-life position.”
Then, Mitchell has a clip from Rush Limbaugh’s radio program today that should inflame conservatives: “The idea that we now have to roll the dice and wait a number of years to find out if this one works out, when it isn't necessary, is I guess the big bugaboo with me.”
What follows is a full-transcript of this report, along with a video link.
Leave it to Keith Olbermann to link the topics of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers and the 9/11 attacks. On his Countdown show on Tuesday night, the MSNBC anchor relayed that Miers was the person who handed President Bush a memo in August 2001 that warned of Osama bin Laden's desire to attack the U.S. This was the same memo that some on the left have used to justify their criticisms that the President should have foreseen and prevented the 9/11 attacks based on the memo's general warnings about bin Laden's intentions.
Olbermann teased his Tuesday night show with a photograph of Miers handing the President a memo. He dated the photograph as "August 6, 2001, the day [President Bush] got the PDB titled 'Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.'"