If you thought Al Gore would somehow go away after the 24/7 promotion of his lecture film "An Inconvenient Truth," you couldn't be more wrong. The failed presidential candidate is continuing to build his media empire with a follow-up book entitled "The Assault on Reason." He's going to use its commercial appeal to decide whether he should run for president or not, at least according to the Washington Post:
Although saying he has no plans to run for president in 2008, former
vice president Al Gore has nonetheless left the door ever so slightly
ajar. It's a good bet that door will swing open a good bit wider come
That is when Gore is scheduled to publish his next
book. With no fanfare, he signed a few weeks ago with Penguin Press to
write "The Assault on Reason."
As described by editor Scott Moyers [any relation to Bill?], the book is a meditation on how
"the public arena has grown more hostile to reason," and how solving
problems such as global warming is impeded by a political culture with
a pervasive "unwillingness to let facts drive decisions."
On Monday morning, the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared on the morning shows of each of the three broadcast networks, ABC’s "Good Morning America," NBC’s "Today," and CBS’s "Early Show. While "Good Morning America," and "Today" avoided talk of possible future campaigns, Rene Syler on the "Early Show" looked ahead to the Presidential campaign in 2008 and inquired if Mr. Giuliani would himself be a candidate:
"If I could, sir, ask you about your political aspirations because there's been a lot of talk. You remain a presidential prospect for 2008, will you run for president?"
Matt Lauer gave it the old college try, doing his best to lure Hillary Clinton into some Bush-bashing on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. But demonstrating savvy political instincts, or at least those of her advisers, Clinton held fire, not deigning to swing at the anti-Bush softballs Lauer served up on this morning's 'Today.'
Lauer: "Are we safer today five years after the attacks of 9-11?"
Hillary: "I think it is fair to say we are safer but not safe enough. We have a lot of work to do."
Lauer lobbed a couple questions inviting Hillary to suggest that our war on terrorism has made things worse:
"I am curious how you feel about this. Do you think there are more or less people today, more or fewer people today who want to bring harm to the United States than there were in the days prior to 9-11 and the actions we have taken post 9-11?"
While former President Bill Clinton is angry with ABC over the content of it’s miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," he shouldn’t find much to complain about regarding the network’s news coverage of his wife. The entire Wednesday edition of ABC’s "Nightline" was devoted to anchor Cynthia McFadden’s day of campaigning with Senator Hillary Clinton in upstate New York. The half hour was full of softball questions and Bush bashing. While no Clinton critics were highlighted in her report, McFadden did find a New York Republican supporter of Clinton who gushed:
Unidentified female: "I think she’s fabulous. I think she’s more beautiful in person. But more than her beauty, she’s genuine and very intelligent and well-spoken."
Among political consultants, the general rule of thumb is that a disapproval rating of 40% spells a candidate's near-certain defeat. After all, virtually no one who disapproves of a candidate will vote for him, while approving of someone is no guarantee of a vote.
Hillary Clinton's disapproval rating of 44% in a recent Time magazine poll thus bodes very ill for her presidential prospects. Yet the Sunday Times of London has managed to put a rosy gloss on what would have most politicians looking for another line of work. Pollyannas the Times of the poll results:
"Only 44% viewed her negatively, figures that President George W Bush can only dream of at the moment."
During the course of a conversation with former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin on this afternoon's show, Tucker Carlson described himself as "a real conservative."
But it was just a few minutes earlier, chatting with New Republic editor-at-large Peter Beinart, that Carlson mentioned in passing that he hadn't supported President Bush for president in 2004.
When Carlson stated that he had been wrong to support the war in Iraq [and now opposes it], Beinart retorted:
"You've just made a statement which almost guarantees that you're going to have to support the Democratic candidate in 2008 because there's virtually no chance we're going to have a Republican candidate who says they were wrong to support the war in Iraq. So I congratulate you on flipping over to the other side."
Replied Carlson: "Well I doubt I'm going to support the Democratic candidate. Whether I'll support the Republican candidate is a whole separate question. I didn't last time, I may not this time."
If once is an aberration, and twice a trend, what's three times?
The first time Joe Biden told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace that he was "praying," it got my attention. By the third time - using the variant "I pray to God" - I was thoroughly curious. Then something happened at the end of the interview that might provide a clue as to Joe's sudden bout of religiosity.
By the way, Biden claimed to be 'praying' in response to various pieces of evidence that Wallace confronted him with suggesting that, at long last, the security situation in Iraq might be improving. Biden repeatedly responded that he was 'praying' that Wallace was right, all the time suggesting that in fact there was no real reason for optimism.
NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell continued the skewed media reporting of the Middle East by noting the important social work that Hezbollah does and how the rest of the world has a very supportive take on the terrorist organization.
Liberal TV critic Bob Laurence hypothesized that the scant coverage of the kidnaping of two Fox News journalists was due to the frequency of abductions and the network’s "insulting" attitude towards other media outlets. (According to Laurence, nobody, not even terrorists, like FNC.)
On this evening's Hardball, Matthews pleaded with Buchanan to take back the Republican party from neo-conservatives. In closing an earlier segment with guest Joe Biden, Matthews had taken a shot at neo-cons: "Unfortunately we have been carried into Iraq by the dreams of the ideologues."
When Buchanan came on, Matthews took that same notion one step further:
"Pat, when are the traditional conservatives in this country who believe in less government, less role in the world, like yourself, though you might be more extreme than some, George Will, Bill Buckley, when are you guys going to retake your party from the neo-conservatives and stop these overseas campaigns?"
"He's a role model for all of Africa," a Kenyan playwright effuses. The story is typically glowing as is much of the coverage Obama has gotten about his trip from the American media.
Yet Charles Thomas, a reporter for Chicago's ABC affiliate WLS-TV who is accompanying the senator, sees less enthusiasm in Kenya than here: "Producer Janet Hundley and I spent all of Wednesday in Nairobi and were somewhat surprised by the lack of 'buzz' surrounding the only African-American U.S. Senator's visit to his ancestral homeland. As the newspapers make little mention of it the television news programs make even less."
What does Maureen Dowd want? Her column of today is the latest evidence of a woman torn between the imperatives of modern feminism and a not-so-secret longing for more traditional domestic arrangements.
The topic of Ring-a-Ding-Bling [subscription required] is marriages in which the husband plays a decided second fiddle to the wife. You might think that Dowd-the-feminist would celebrate marriages in which women play the leading role. But, with one notable exception, she expresses little but scorn for husbands whose wives have the upper hand.
Mo's Exhibit A is the Britney Spears/Kevin Federline couple. Dowd begins by professing that "to make fun of Mr. Spears [would be] too easy — shooting tuna fish in a can, as they say." By referring to Federline as "Mr. Spears" Mo has of course mocked him already. Then, utterly ignoring her own precept, she proceeds to ruthlessly ridicule him, describing his recent attempt at rap music as "even more deliciously atrocious than anticipated," also letting us know that "the hip-hop community reacted with amused disdain."
This week is shaping up as the MSM's kick-off of its Hillary for President campaign. Using Time Magazine's 10th cover of Hillary as a springboard, this morning's Today show convened a liberal coffee klatsch on Clinton's political future. Dem pollster Peter Hart summed up the segment's zeitgest nicely: "I think Americans are ready for a female president. I think they are definitely ready for Hillary Clinton."
Not a discouraging word was to be heard, as 'Today' found it unnecessary to invite to the party anyone who might have a negative view of Hillary
Talk about your party pooper! Like a disgruntled waiter spitting in the champagne back in the pantry, The NY Times editorial this morning, Hold the Champagne, approaches parody status in its attempt to find the cloud on the silver lining of the economy's good performance.
The Times began by comically scolding investors for "almost certainly overreact[ing], pushing up stocks and bonds as if all was right with the economy" in reaction to the news that inflation had been lower than expected. And if anyone should know about stocks going down, it's the folks at the NY Times who have watched the Times' own share price droop steadily downward over the last year.
Imagine Bill Clinton in the setting shown here. Would he be standing at arm's length, tentatively extending a finger? Never! He'd be right down there hugging the child, probably - for that matter - getting an arm around Mom too.
That,in a nutshell, captures the problem campaign ad makers have in softening Hillary's frosty image.
There I was on the couch this morning in full pajamahadeen mode, searching for nuggets of MSM bias with which to titillate NB readers, when for the first time a Hillary campaign ad popped up. It's standard stuff. The theme is Hillary 'Standing Up': standing up for jobs, for military bases, for health care - seems the senator never sits down! As I type this, a freeze frame shows a nicely-coiffed Hillary in a striped pink shirt and sporting a single strand of pearls. On a desk in the background you can discern family photos: Bill, Hillary and Chelsea in one, what looks like a young Chelsea as a ballerina in another.
Given the shock by media members over how many Americans still believe Saddam had WMD before the March 2003 invasion as reported here and here, doesn’t it seem odd that there hasn’t been an MSM article scolding folks who still believe George Bush stole the presidential election in 2000? After all, if the Associated Press can suggest that Americans are deluded for not believing its WMD "facts”, shouldn’t it also question the sanity of the people who, despite the number of media outlets that counted the votes for themselves in early 2001, still believe Al Gore carried Florida?
To be sure, sometimes actor, sometimes radio talk show host, and sometimes radical left-wing blogger Alec Baldwin would be part of that group who believes Gore won, and he made that clear in a post at HuffPo on Sunday: “Gore, who limped off of the American political stage after the 2000 election after being gang raped by Dick Cheney, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor and James Baker, as well as their election-stealing goons in Washington and Florida, returns to face public gatherings to discuss his unbending assertions about global warming and the urgent need for America to take the lead in combating its causes and, perhaps, its effects.”
Honestly, I love the smell of Alec Baldwin in the morning. Don’t you? From there, Baldwin moved into full global warmingist mode (emphasis mine):
Something amazing happened on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday: Cokie Roberts practically floored host George Stephanopoulos with the political truth that most impartial individuals already know (video to follow). The discussion centered on what it would mean for the Democratic Party if Ned Lamont beat Joe Lieberman in Connecticut next week. Stephanopoulos asked Roberts, “How did this happen?” After a somewhat lengthy explanation, Roberts said, “But it's, I think, a disaster for the Democratic Party, and it's going to be very interesting to see what happens as a result of it.”
Stephanopoulos looked stunned, and asked: “Disaster for the Democratic Party? Why?” Roberts elaborated:
A Gallup Poll shows that former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary on global warming has had little effect on his popularity with voters.
The poll was taken between June 23-25, a month after the release of "An Inconvenient Truth," which showed surprising strength at the box office, especially immediately after its release.
Gallup found that 48 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of Gore, while 45 percent had an unfavorable one. His favorable ratings were about the same as they were in 2002 and 2003 -- and below those during most of the time he was vice president and campaigning for the presidency.
'Wishin' and hopin' and 'Thinkin' and prayin', 'Plannin' and dreamin' 'Each night of his charms, 'That won't get you into his arms.' - Dusty Springfield, 'Wishing & Hoping'
If E.J. Dionne's wishes were horses, Democrats would ride them to the White House. In his WaPo column of today, The End Of the Right?, the liberal pundit foresees the fall of conservatism. The immediate springboard for his prediction was yesterday's failed vote for an increase in the minimum wage. According to Dionne:
"The most obvious, outrageous and unprincipled [conservative] spasm occurred last night when the Senate voted on a bill that would have simultaneously raised the minimum wage and slashed taxes on inherited wealth.
Was Matt Lauer showing balance in criticizing Hillary Clinton along with Donald Rumsfeld this morning - or was his skepticism about Hillary simply voicing the view of the Murtha/Lamont wing of the Dem party?
Interviewing all-purpose commentator Howard Fineman, Lauer seemed insistent that it was time for Rumsfeld to go.
Lauer: "[Clinton] said the president should accept Rumsfeld's resignation. He lost credibility with Congress and the people. It's time for him to step down. This is not the first person to call for his resignation, but at some point, do you think it's a possibility especially in the near term?"
Fineman held his fire: "Well, the Democrats will try to make it that."
On the 4pm hour of Monday's The Situation Room, anchor Wolf Blitzer highlighted several political news stories, including Republican candidate for president, Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA)'s use of the term "tar baby". To some, the term is a racial epithet, however the true meaning of the word is a "sticky situation," hence the term 'tar'.
CNN's Jack Cafferty joined the program Blitzer was finished reading the headlines with his 'Cafferty File' segment. Cafferty, who is known for his unscripted remarks, opined on the 'tar baby' situation and applied Romney meant the comment in a racist sense. However, Cafferty did not make the audience aware of his racist past (video link to follow):
All those millions the taxpayers have lavished on the Public Broadcasting System over the years haven't gone for naught. They've achieved at least one significant thing: given Bill Moyers a base from which to launch a presidential campaign. At least in the mind of Molly Ivins.
While Molly doesn't expect Moyers to win the election or even the nomination, she believes his candidacy would have a salutary effect on other Democratic contenders. Here's the essence of her thesis:
"Just get him into the debates. Think about the potential Democratic candidates. Every single one of them needs spine, needs political courage. What Moyers can do is not only show them what it looks like and indeed what it is, but also how people respond to it. I’m damned if I want to go through another presidential primary with everyone trying to figure out who has the best chance to win instead of who’s right. I want to vote for somebody who’s good and brave and who should win."
Although many of them live 3000 miles from New York, and are certainly not her constituents, stars and dignitaries from Hollywood, California, are lining up to open their wallets and pocketbooks to Sen. Hillary Clinton’s reelection campaign. In fact, as reported by the Associated Press (hat tip to Drudge), the donors list reads like a virtual Who’s Who: “Top stars such as Tom Hanks, Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson donated to the New York senator in recent months, generating the kind of cash usually associated with a major box office opening - or a potential presidential bid in 2008. Clinton, who doesn't face much of a challenge in her re-election, received $4,200 from ‘The DaVinci Code’ star Hanks, the Academy Award- winning actor, and his wife, Rita Wilson.”
As the AP reported, the Clinton war chest continues to grow:
“Hardball” host Chris Matthews was Jay Leno’s guest on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday, and did more Republican bashing than even he usually does (grateful hat tip to Greg Tinti at Outside the Beltway with video link here). One of the first zingers was directed at former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Leno asked Matthews what he thought of Gingrich’s claim on Sunday that what is going on now in the Middle East is World War III. Matthews responded, “I think Newt is World War III.”
A bit later, Leno asked about the recent expletive that President Bush was caught saying to British Prime Minister Tony Blair at the G8 summit, and what Matthews thought about the press feeling that they needed to cut the word out of their broadcasts. Matthews saw this as a great opportunity to swipe at the Bush administration about a totally irrelevant issue: “I wish they'd cut out the 16 words that got us into Iraq, however, but they didn't cut those 16 out.”
The next interesting vignette was when Leno asked Matthews his opinion of Rudy Giuliani. Matthews began with something that will strike many conservatives as the height of hypocrisy:
The Washington Post puts Hillary Clinton on the front page today, a story by Lois Romano headlined "Beyond the Poll Numbers, Voter Doubts About Clinton." This could be read as a bad-news story for Hillary. But it's mostly just a forgettable speculative bubble about 2008. Here's what sticks out to me in the Post poll:
A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll highlighted the paradox. Fifty-four percent of those responding view her favorably, and a significant majority give her high marks for leadership (68 percent), strong family values (65 percent), and being open and friendly (58 percent). At the same time, only 37 percent of Democrats in the poll say they would definitely vote for her for president.
If she was watching 'Today' this morning, you can imagine Hillary Clinton using her best North-Korean-parliament rhythmical clapping in response to what she saw. It might be 'ronery' in her Georgetown or Chappaqua spreads, but it's always heart-warming to know you've got friends at the highest-rated morning show.
The premise was that while Hillary has been a long-time bogeywoman of the right, "these days Clinton's biggest critics aren't necessarily in the GOP." It was noted that "she was recently booed by Democratic audiences for arguing against timetable to pull US troops out of Iraq."
The segment also noted her "split with liberals" in her support for an amendment prohibiting flag burning."
When it comes to cutting and running, John Kerry, Jack Murtha and Nancy Pelosi take a back seat to no one. But what if - quelle horreur! - the terrorist insurgents in Iraq beat them to the white flag punch?
Amidst the news of the day, from plots to bomb the Sears Tower to more Dem disunity, Jim Miklaszewski let slip this little bombshell, coming from a press conference by the top U.S. commander in Iraq, General George Casey:
"On the positive front, Casey revealed for the first time the Sunni insurgency has reached out to both the U.S. and Iraq to find some way to end their terrorist campaign."
Maybe it was just tough love, but NBC's "Today" gave the Democrats a rather rough going-over this morning. And cast in the role of flip-flopping heavy was none other than John Kerry. The subject matter was Democrat disunity over plans for Iraq, and co-host Campbell Brown set the tone by suggesting that the internal debate could be evidence of "a Democratic party at war with itself."
Norah O'Donnell began the segment she narrated by observing that "Republicans are working to exploit Democratic divisions in November elections." After noting that Kerry has a proposal to pull all troops out by 2007, she cut to a clip of Sen. Mitch McConnell [R-KY] on the floor of the Senate pointing out "the junior senator from Massachusetts has had four positions on Iraq."
Outgoing CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer is a man who's never been ashamed to portray himself as not always the first guy to get the news -- or stay with the news as it happens. (Remember how he took a nap as Trent Lott destroyed his career? It's the last quote here.) MRC's Brian Boyd reports it happened again this morning on the Imus simulcast on MSNBC at 7:42 AM EDT:
Don Imus: “Hey, how about Hillary Clinton getting booed at this liberal gathering in New York for her stance on Iraq. Did you hear about that?”
For the second day running, Chris Matthews has run a Hardball segment entitled "Does Hill Fit the Bill?" It's his way of asking whether Hillary Clinton would make a good presidential candidate, and, presumably, by play-on-words, whether she's up to the political standard set by Bill.
While Matthews hasn't squarely answered his own question, he clearly seems skeptical about Hillary's personal and political qualities.
His first guest on the topic this evening was the urbane Roger Altman, Hillary adviser and a Deputy Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration. Matthews grilled Altman on Hillary's hawkishness.
Matthews: "A lot of people in her party, maybe four out of five Democrats, especially New York Democrats, are against this war. Think we never should have gone into Iraq. Hillary on the other hand OK'd the president's authority to go to Iraq and has subsequently stuck to that position, that that was a decision that she still honors, believes in, is by most standards a hawk. How can she lead a doveish party as a hawk?"
The topic was the disconnect between Hillary Clinton's support for the Iraq war and the fact that her coterie is composed of hard-core, anti-war liberals. In discussing it with guest Dee Dee Myers on this evening's Hardball, Chris Matthews let slip that he equates liberalism with 'caring' for peace and human rights.
Here's how it went down. Discussing Hillary's inner circle, Matthews suddenly interjected:
"Here's something I find to be a mystery, and it just came to me, Dee Dee. You can answer it, you can solve it. When I think about the people who are really loyal to Senator Clinton, they're all pretty much liberals - and I mean liberals - I don't mean just on big spending programs at home, but they really care about peace, and they care about human rights, and they're very suspicious of foreign policy intrigue and overreach. And yet Hillary Clinton is for that. She was for the war with [sic] Iraq. She still is. How can she build a campaign for president on the backs of people who don't agree with her on the central issue of our time?"