Call it 'gotcha' journalism, or perhaps just a revealing look inside the liberal media mind, but Katie Couric just engaged in a stunning leap of logic on this morning's Today show.
She was interviewing long-time Harriet Miers friend and colleague Nathan Hecht, who worked for years with Miers at the same law firm, and is now a member of the Texas Supreme Court. An aside: Hecht is an affable and impressive combination of aw-shucks gentility and acute, articulate advocacy. If W had been looking for an outside-the-beltway Texas pick, he could have done much worse than Hecht himself!
In any case, Katie immediately honed in on the abortion issue. Hecht acknowledged that when it came to abortion, he and Miers have "probably talked about it some," then flatly averred: "she's pro-life."
If you can tell a lot about a person by their friends and
enemies, then it should be revealing to see how people are lining up on the
On the enemies [or shall we say ‘serious doubters’] side: Rush
Limbaugh, George Will, Mark Levin and Terence Jeffrey.
On the ‘friends’ side: Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and, as of
this morning, the Today show.
We put Today in the 'friends' category because friendship, or at least advocacy of the Miers
nomination, can be the only possible explanation for the puff piece Today ran
this morning on President Bush’s support for “strong women.”
A red flag should have immediately gone up when David
Gregory, who normally spends his days antagonizing Scott McClellan in the WH
press room, introduced the segment with this bouquet to W’s feminism:
I've been reading all of the pro and con commentary in the Blogosphere and the MSM from fellow members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy and, while I sympathize mainly with those who believe Bush has missed an historic opportunity by not nominating a Brown, McConnell or Luttig, it appears to me most everybody is missing the fundamental point.
That point is this: As long as the Senate GOP leadership refuses to confront head-on the Democrats' abuse of the filibuster and end it, the Democrats have a veto if they choose to use it. And choose it they will for any nominee short of one with an undeniably perfect record - John Roberts - or one with no record at all, Harriet Miers.
Bush knows all hell would break loose politically if he nominated a candidate from the Old Guard wing of the GOP who would satisfy the Senate Democrats. Such a move would likely spark a revolt among the GOP's conservative infrastructure (note, it's not just "the base"). The resulting Senate GOP majority of one or two and a paltry five or six in the House would mean Bush would twiddle his thumbs for the last two years of his White House residency.
So faced with a certain filibuster, which would quickly become bitter and impassable so long as the Senate GOP continued to shake in its boots and be terrified at the prospect of actually confronting the Democrats, Bush has only two choices.
Nobody expects the GOP majority on the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote the Miers nomination down and barring a miracle, her utter lack of written commentary anywhere in the known world deprives the Democrats of the usual ideological reasons to vote no. About all they have left is arguing that she lacks the appropriate "judicial temprament" or that she is another Abe Fortas presidential crony. Those last two dogs just won't hunt, as Slick Willie might say.
Put simply, with Frist and the Senate GOP leadership, we get a Roberts or a Miers. There is no in-between.
In an article in today’s New York Times entitled “When a President is Not Spoiling for a Fight,” journalist Richard Stevenson practically called President Bush a chicken for nominating Harriet E. Miers to the Supreme Court:
“There is still much to learn about Harriet E. Miers, but in naming her to the Supreme Court, President Bush revealed something about himself: that he has no appetite, at a time when he and his party are besieged by problems, for an all-out ideological fight.”
“By instead settling on a loyalist with no experience as a judge and little substantive record on abortion, affirmative action, religion and other socially divisive issues, Mr. Bush shied away from a direct confrontation with liberals and in effect asked his base on the right to trust him on this one.”
In the Times’ view, the Miers pick is indicative of a president in dire trouble:
There was something of a world-turned-upside down feel to this morning's Today show.
There was Katie, putting WH spokesman Dan Bartlett on the hot seat. Nothing unusual about that. But rather than using allegations or statements coming from the left, Couric threw in Bartlett's face statements made by Rush and Bill Kristol.
Katie ran a clip of Rush's oft-quoted remark that the Miers pick was made "in weakness,' and Kristol's admission of being "disappointed, depressed and demoralized."
Bartlett responded with a litany of defenses. Most were along the line that Miers does indeed share W's judicial philosophy. One defense strained credulity: "during the selection process, many people recommended we look for someone from outside the judiciary." Isn't that convenient?
Even as the news was breaking during the first minutes of the show, Katie Couric wasted absolutely no time in launching the first of what are sure to be many hits on Harriet Miers, who appears to be President Bush's pick to replace Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court.
Katie took her shot under the guise of a question to Tim Russert: "You know, Tim, the Bush administration has been hit recently with allegations of cronyism. Do you think this is going to feed into that?"
And of just what have those recent allegations of cronyism consisted? The widely reported "fact" that former FEMA Director Mike Brown was the "college roommate" of Joseph Allbaugh, the previous head of FEMA.
For five years I've hosted a local, community-access political TV talk show, 'Right Angle.' We've had hundreds of guests, many of them college students, with a good smattering of high school students and even a handful of middle-schoolers.
But for sheer embarrassing, puerile, vapidity, none of them has been the equal of the utterly unwatchable Ellen Ratner, the short, and liberal, half of "The Long & the Short of It" feature on Fox & Friends Weekend.
Try this on, for utterly vacuous 'political commentary,' from this morning's just-completed episode. Responding to conservative counterpart Jim Pinkerton's prediction that Roberts would acquit himself well as Chief Justice, Ratner had this to say:
"Oh, Jim, you just wait. [Roberts] will be so right-wing that you won't even know he has a left-wing."
At 1:41 EDT, CNN's Kyra Phillips interviewed Brooks Jackson, former CNN reporter and current director of the Annenberg Center's Political Fact Check, on his latest issue of Fact Check, which categorizes the anti-John Roberts ad by NARAL Pro-Choice America currently running on CNN during commercial breaks as patently false. Phillips expressed concern over lack of federal laws against false political attacks ads, but failed to ask Jackson whether CNN bore an obligation to cancel the ads altogether.
Jackson noted that NARAL's ad, unlike most campaign ads his group has analyzed recently, was completely false, not just spun here and there to massage the truth to a particular political viewpoint.
Kyra Phillips: “Well, the ad is airing on CNN and other networks and already has some people crying foul. Brooks Jackson of FactCheck.org took a close look at the ad and the facts. He joins us now from Washington. Brooks, great to see you. Well, let’s talk about the ad. You checked the facts, you say it’s false.”
Brooks Jackson, FactCheck.org: “That’s right, and we don’t characterize things as false very often, more often ads are misleading or twisted or distorted or out of context, but, uh, this one is absolutely false...”
Fred Barbash at the Washington Post's Supreme Court nomination blog, shows how liberal letters-to-the-editor at various newspapers from around the country contain a stock talking point found on a MoveOn.org grassroots webpage.
(KRT) - Citing "simple decency," Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison demanded Friday that journalists quit poking around for details on Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' adopted children...
Some have also focused on other aspects of his life. On Thursday, the online Drudge Report revealed that a New York Times reporter had made inquiries about the Roberts children, Josephine and Jack, ages 5 and 4.
The newspaper denied assertions by conservative bloggers that it consulted lawyers about trying to unseal the adoption records. Usnik said the paper dropped the matter after learning that the records were sealed.
Hutchison called the newspaper's actions "reprehensible," saying the inquiry crossed the "fine line between legitimate background inquiries and invasion of privacy."
Despite assertions otherwise, the liberal media in general and the AP specifically continue to make Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’ Catholic faith an issue. In a piece called, “Roberts, Catholics at center of scrutiny,” they titularly admit it.
Richard N. Ostling’s first paragraph:
If John Roberts is confirmed, he will be the fourth Roman Catholic on the Supreme Court, an all-time high that is focusing attention on how faith might influence law on the high court.