Meredith Vieira stopped short of breaking out the pom-poms, but the 'Today' crew otherwise did its best to cheer Barack Obama and his appearance on last night's Monday Night Football. For those who missed MNF, the broadcast opened with a deadpan Obama seemingly on the verge of announcing his candidacy for president, before simply endorsing his home-state Chicago Bears.
Call me a grump, but watching it live last night my first reaction was "how's this for millions in free advertising, courtesy ABC-ESPN?"
But the folks at NBC clearly weren't troubled by a little politicking by their rivals at ABC. Nary a discouraging word was heard, and to the contrary, the Today cast tried to outdo each other with their praise for Barack and his performance:
Jack Cafferty, a vociferously anti-Bush CNN contributor, on Monday spoke approvingly of an impeachment bill introduced by outgoing Congresswoman, and fellow Bush hater, Cynthia McKinney. He found it "strange" that, unlike McKinney, so many Democrats are unwilling to consider impeachment. What’s strange is that Cafferty would cite McKinney as a rational source of information. This is, after all, a woman who previously wondered if President Bush knew about 9/11 before it happened, attacked a Capitol Hill police officer and whose supporters blamed Jews for the Congresswoman’s 2006 primary defeat:
Jack Cafferty:"...Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney introduced a bill to impeach President Bush. It’s strictly symbolic and has no chance of going anywhere. She lost her congressional seat and is on her way back to civilian life. But McKinney isn’t the only person who thinks President Bush may have done things that rise to the levels of high crimes and misdemeanors. And yet, the incoming House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has said that impeachment of the President is, quote, ‘off the table.’ It’s all kind of strange."
MSM types and their soulmates in the Dem party like to profess their deep and abiding respect for average Americans. But in an unguarded moment this afternoon, MSMer-in-good-standing Jonathan Alter pulled back the curtain on his disdain for them.
Discussing the wildly enthusiastic reception that Barack Obama received in New Hampshire yesterday, Alter -a Newsweek writer and NBC consultant - told host Joe Scarborough:
"If you had been there you wouldn't have been under any illusions about the extent of interest in him. this was a huge crowd. It would have been a huge crowd by any standards even right before an election. 1,500 people. Very, very enthusiastic. Very interested. So he's not going to have to do this 'Joe Schmo's living room' thing in New Hampshire. He's way past that."
It was an all-Obama Monday as each of the three network morning shows highlighted the Illinois Senator’s weekend trip to New Hampshire. NBC, ABC and CBS all hyped the prospect of a potential Barack Obama presidential campaign as the senator made his rounds through the state, host of the first presidential primary. The trip was hailed as a successful venture by all the networks. ABC’s Jake Tapper on Good Morning America declared Obama’s appearance to be "very successful", while Norah O’Donnell over on Today, as the MRC’s Geoff Dickens noted, stated that Obama was "mobbed by supporters" and "ignited excitement," among New Hampshire Democrats. CBS’ Harry Smith on The Early Show went further, calling the buzz surrounding Obama’s trip a "sensation," during a question to political analyst Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report:
Harry Smith: "Front page USA Today, Barack Obama right there, front page, Washington Post, Barack Obama right there. I could go on and on and on and on and on. Why is this single appearance causing such a sensation?"
Monday’s edition of "American Morning" featured a decidedly one sided segment that advocated for Democratic legislation, generously highlighted Ted Kennedy and promoted San Francisco as the wave of the future. Correspondent Alina Cho used the piece to boost a bill that would require employers with more than 15 workers to give seven sick days a year. Disparaging America’s primitive stance on the issue, she noted that "139 countries provide paid sick leave for workers. The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that does not pay." Cho almost entirely ignored opposition to this plan. Her segment also highlighted a supposed victim of this problem who is actually on the board of directors of a group that lobbies for similar laws. (Somehow, this didn't come up.) The entire story sounded like something taken straight from a DNC press release:
Alina Cho: "...For many Americans, taking a sick day is not a big deal. You take it for granted. But by most estimates, more than half of all Americans who work in the private sector do not get a single day of paid sick leave. Not a single day. Well, all of that could change now that the Democrats are about to take control of Congress. And for some families, it could make all the difference. Rachel Sobel, mother of two, quit her job last December when she was forced to make a choice: her job or her son. Leo had broken his arm and needed her care."
Proving he's moving on with post-Senate life, George Allen gave an interview to his journalistic tormentor, Michael C. Shear of the WashPost, but Shear plays it cute in Saturday's paper when he pretends not to know who the "referee" is when Allen suggests he was wronged by the refs (including the Post, I have zero doubt):
He declined to talk specifically about the controversies that turned what was supposed to be his warm-up for a presidential campaign into a losing bid to hold on to his Senate seat. "You can't brood and dwell" on the loss, he said.
But it's clear -- especially from the football analogies he uses frequently to describe the sudden turn in his political life -- that Allen regrets the mistakes he and his campaign staff made during the past several months.
Those looking for a true conservative to enter the Republican presidential field might be feeling a bit perplexed in the wake of Sam Brownback's performance on this morning's Fox News Sunday. The senator from Kansas:
Endorsed the ISG report and appeared to strongly support negotiations with Iran and Syria.
Called for a timetable for US withdrawal.
Spoke approvingly of a Bidenesqe division of Iraq into three ethnic regions.
Declined to swing at the softball host Chris Wallace lobbed at him regarding Mitt Romney's flip-flops on abortion and gay rights.
Seemingly described himself as a "compassionate conservative."
Invited by Wallace to comment on the ISG report, Brownback was surprisingly supportive: "I think [Pres. Bush] really should look at these recommendations very seriously as well. And it seems to me that what Baker-Hamilton provides us is a chance to kind of reset the table and get a bi-partisan buy-in and not just a bipartisan buy-in, a global buy-in to what we can do to move forward in Iraq and get our troops out of harm's way and out of the sectarian violence. I think this is an important moment, like senator Dodd identifies as well"
Let's be generous and chalk it up to the early-morning hour. Otherwise we'd have to come down hard on radio host Mike Gallagher, who as a guest on this morning's Fox & Friends Weekend went ga-ga for Barack Obama. It's one thing to acknowledge as did Mike that Obama has appeal as a candidate. But, interviewed by Keran Chetry, it was Gallagher's praise for Obama's substance that shocked, coming as it did from a putative conservative. Said Gallagher:
"He's got some pretty solid ideas. He's a moderate."
Obama - moderate? If Mike would check Obama's record, as we did here, he'd find that in addition to having received a perfect 100% rating last year from the paleo-liberals at Americans for Democratic Action, a host of other ratings Barack has received screams "cookie-cutter left-wing Democrat":
What is it about leaving a network gig that makes news anchors even more biased? Ex-host Tom Brokaw told a "Harball" audience that Barack Obama is a "rock star," lavished praise on Jon Stewart, and claimed that Ronald Reagan neglected "Mother Earth."
Speaking of NBC stars who suck up to environmentalists, Matt Lauer recently encouraged Al Gore to run for president and "save the planet." Way to stay objective, Matt!
The "Today" anchor continued his global warming obsession in another segment, lauding actor Leonardo DiCaprio for "standing up to get people thinking" about the issue. (Funny, I don’t recall the "Today" host complimenting many pro-life activists for "standing up.")
Lobbying for global warming can be tiring work, as NewsBusters editor Matthew Sheffield noted when he pointed out that CNN host Miles O’Brien fell asleep during recent hearings on the subject.
This week, the "mainstream" media continued lobbying for a complete acknowledgment of total failure in Iraq. "Time" magazine likened the Iraq Study Report to a drug intervention. Discussing the same subject, "Hardball" guest host Mike Barnicle wondered if President Bush is "delusional," " isolated" or "stubborn." Those are certainly some great options to chose from!
I told you that watching the Dems' internecine battles was going to be fun. The slap the NY Times took at the Dem leadership today for backing away from its pledge to reform Congress as part of implementing the 9-11 panel recommendations was just an hors d'ouevre. In a column in today's Los Angeles Times, Arianna Huffington serves up a heaping main course, feasting on Hillary's foibles.
All you really need to know about how Huff feels about Hil is to have a look at the photo here from the LA Times that accompanies Arianna's column. But let's plunge on with these excerpts from Hillary's too vane to be president:
"While the country is urgently engaged in finding a way out of the quagmire in Iraq, Hillary Rodham Clinton is busy holding private dinners for key Democrats from primary states."
"A politician more comfortable following than leading."
For those of a Republican bent, Election Day wasn't much fun. But that's not to say that defeat doesn't bring with it certain muted pleasures of its own. Such as watching the liberal media take the Dem congressional majority to task as it begins to moonwalk away from various campaign promises. Chief among those pledges was this one, part of the DNC's official 6-Point Plan for 2006:
"We want to close the remaining gaps in our security by enacting the 9/11 Commission recommendations."
One of the most important 9/11 panel recommendations called for Congress to reform its own house when it comes to the oversight of intelligence. This might sound like inside baseball, but it's important. The basic notion is this: intelligence agencies will be most responsive to those congressional committees that control their budgets. The way Congress is currently organized, the various committees on intelligence - those with the most expertise in the area - are effectively toothless. They have no budget control over the intelligence agencies they theoretically oversee. Instead, budgetary control is in the hands of the armed services committees and the appropriations panels' defense subcommittees.
It is amusing to me that the South was always considered by Democrats as "the people", the salt of the Earth, and the so-called rank and file in the "solid South" when the they had a lock on their votes from 1820 all the way until 1980. The South was the all-American region and the Democrats loved them dearly. Yes, for over 160 years the Democrats counted the Southern states as stalwarts and they loved them like brothers. But, now that the Southern states more often vote GOP they are a "problem" and are filled with Bible- brainwashed racists who pine for a return to slavery as far as the left is concerned.
Is there nothing negative to say about the presidential aspirations of Sens. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, and Barack Obama, D-IL?
From following recent media coverage, you'd hardly know that many leading Democrats have serious concerns that Clinton is unelectable, opposed as she is out of the gate by 4 in 10 Americans, according to polls.
Or that Barack Obama has admitted trying marijuana and cocaine in his youth (acknowledged in his beautifully-written autobiography "Dreams From My Father")and has a scant two years in the Senate to his name, with little to claim credit for legislatively.
In all my years of Today-watching, I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like the display Matt Lauer put on this morning. In beseeching Al Gore to run for president, Lauer literally portrayed him as the planet's potential savior.
"If you were to run for president, you could take this issue to the next level, even if just during a campaign. And if you were fortunate enough to win the presidency, you would sit in the most powerful office in the free world with a real chance to make . . . " Matt stopped himself at the immensity of the prospect before exclaiming "you could be in a position to save the planet!"
In its zeal to undercut the presidential ambitions of its home-state governor, the Boston Globe engages in some blatant intellectual dishonesty this morning. Last week, the Globe breathlessly broke the story that a lawn care company that provides services to Mitt Romney has employees who are illegal immigrants. As the Globe archly put it: "as Governor Mitt Romney explores a presidential bid, he has grown outspoken in his criticism of illegal immigration. But, for a decade, the governor has used a landscaping company that relies heavily on . . . illegal Guatemalan immigrants." The Globe headlined its story: "Illegal immigrants toiled for governor." Toiled. Nice touch. Tote that rake, lift that lawnmower.
Here comes the 2008 presidential cycle, and on cue, Associated Press reporters are finding "centrists" in the race whose voting records are NOT a 50-50 mishmash of conservative and liberal. This cycle's "centrist" contenders are Hillary Clinton (actually strongly, staunchly liberal) and Evan Bayh (liberal most of the time.)
AP reporter Beth Fouhy stressed that Hillary Clinton won "even the most conservative areas of her adopted home state of New York," but there are drawbacks: "Despite her centrist six-year Senate voting record, Clinton's reputation remains deeply rooted in her polarizing eight years as first lady. Skeptics say she may still be too liberal for many voters, who recall her husband's scandal-plagued presidency and her own audacious effort to reform the nation's health care system."
ABC's Kate Snow is apparently no fan of Larry David's HBO original series. On this morning's GMA Snow was unable to curb her enthusiasm at the prospect of a presidential run by Hillary Rodham. In to discuss an indication that Hillary might soon be announcing her candidacy, Snow, literally wriggling with excitement, gushed to Robin Roberts:
"It’s the latest sign that maybe, just maybe, we might have a woman trying to run for president of this country.”
Snow claimed that by the end of the week Hillary would be calling on all top New York Dems "not to tell them that she's running, but to get their advice and support, if she goes for it." Right. Shy, retiring Hillary, not telling her Dem minions anything. Just asking advice. Say, why not call it a "listening tour"? Video clip: Real (2MB) or Windows (1.3MB) Plus MP3 (204KB)
The gist: those mean Republicans are trying to tar the rising star of the Democratic party [legally-mandated descriptor] by making malign associations with his moniker. The GOP's latest mischief - letting people know that the middle name of the junior senator from Illinois is "Hussein."
Bunk. Any possible shock value in the Barack Hussein Obama handle has already largely faded. And this being a nation that likes to see itself as open and accepting, I'd say that, should he stay in the race, by election time his name will be an absolute advantage. Predicted opening line at the 2008 DNC Convention - if it comes to that - "I am an American. And my name is Barack Hussein Obama." Cue the wild cheering on the floor as Katie Couric gets all misty up in the booth.
I'm confused. Doesn't the MSM abhor the mixing of religion and politics? Isn't it quick to invoke the specter of theocracy and decry the crumbling of the [non-existent] "constitutional separation of church and state"? Well, yes, in general. But there is an exception to the MSM rule. Turns out it's OK to mix religion and politics, when it's Dems in general - and Barack Obama in particular - who are making the merger.
On this afternoon's Hardball, guest host David Shuster played a clip of Obama, in church, explictly calling for his Christian religious faith to "guide us to a new and better politics."
Asked Shuster of CNBC chief political correspondent John Harwood: "Your reaction - mixing religion and politics in that way?"
Harwood: "It's smart. Democrats need to do more of that."
George Will turned heads yesterday with a brutal column on Senator-Elect Jim Webb, scouring him for being rude to President Bush at a reception, and then -- in a critique sure to outrage Webb, the literary lion in his own mind -- assaults Webb's hyperbolic use of English, as in saying the rich are "infinitely" richer than the poor. Will proclaimed Webb is a "subtraction" from civility. But perhaps Will should have used a disclaimer: before the election, Will aided this "subtraction" by scouring Sen. George Allen (he "makes no secret of finding life as a senator tedious") in a Post column seven days before the election. As with the Weekly Standard and their George Allen-bashing cover this fall, when you help make the “Macaca majority,” then you should look in the mirror before despairing over the man you helped usher in.
Thanks to former President Clinton and victories in the recent midterm elections, Democrats are now launching a full out attack on Fox News, the only television news outlet that holds them accountable. Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) appeared on Wednesday’s The O’Reilly Factor to explain his recent attack on Fox News and once again lashed out on Bill O’Reilly when he issued him challenging questions. O’Reilly asked Congressman Frank what his position is on income redistribution.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): "Bill, will you please stop interrupting if you want a serious discussion?"
Bill O’Reilly: "No. I'm not going to interrupt. When you say something dopey, I'm going point it out. What do you think you are, the czar of the interview?"
It's a competitive bout of conservative-bashing out of the Michael Richards N-word rant at the Laugh Factory. Newsweek had two columns from black staffers, both mentioning George Allen and "Macaca." Time just had one, by the white TV critic James Poniewozik, but in referring to Richards, Mel Gibson, and the canceled O.J. Simpson special, he works in Allen, the RNC Harold-Ford-mocking ad, and Rush Limbaugh's alleged hate for Michael J. Fox:
All this followed an election whose lowlights were the macaca incident, an ad playing off miscegenation fears and a radio host mocking a disabled man. It's as if the U.S. were experiencing collective Tourette's, regurgitating decades of dutifully sublimated hate--Borat, with real people. As disturbing as the bigotry was the role of the people expressing it. Politicians and entertainers, after all, succeed by knowing our hearts and minds. We are, in a real way, implicated in their achievement and their disgrace. So you'd think this explosion of public ugliness might spur some kind of national soul searching. Did we somehow encourage their bigotry, by ignoring softer forms of it in our pop culture? Did they think on some level, conscious or not, that they spoke for us? Were they right?
The winner of the 2008 presidential election will be the candidate who uses the internet the best according to Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
After listing several examples of politicians who were victims of highly effective internet campaigns, Schmidt elaborated on why the web is important:
"This is going to happen over and over again as people use these new media to communicate," Schmidt said at a speech to the Republican Governors Association in Miami. "The ones that take advantage of this most effectively will be the ones that will be the winners of the next election.
Appearing on the Monday edition of Comedy Central’s "Colbert Report," PBS host Jim Lehrer dismissed any hint of a liberal agenda, declaring himself "bias-free." The "NewsHour" anchor also indicated that the real problem is the distorted viewers, not slanted reporting:
Stephen Colbert: "Now, um, do you believe that you have a liberal bias?"
Jim Lehrer: "I know I do not have a liberal bias."
Colbert: "You know you have a liberal bias?"
Lehrer: "No. I do not have a liberal bias. I do not have--"
Colbert: "You don't have a liberal bias."
Lehrer:"I don't have a conservative bias either. I don't have any bias. I am bias-free."
Colbert, in his faux conservative tone, continued to press the PBS anchor, leading to Lehrer’s claim that the audience is at fault for perceiving bias:
Colbert: "Oh come on, come on now."
Lehrer: "No, no, no. Bias is what people who hear or read the news bring to the story not what the journalist brings to the reporting."
The Michael Richards N-word outburst at the Laugh Factory drew not one, but two columns in Newsweek from black staffers. Both praised praising society for coming to the point of outrage over such remarks. Both mildly mocked the obligatory "Kramer" trip to Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson (while not mocking Sharpton and Jackson). Both revisited a long history of racism. Ellis Cose recalled a South African woman who was beaten, raped, subjected to electric shocks, and strangled within an inch of her life. Raina Kelley went big-picture: "The politics of black and white really began 400 years ago, when, in 1619, Virginia settlers took ownership of slaves from a Dutch man-of-war." And both worked in George Allen’s Macaca remark (only one worked in the RNC ad against Playboy-party man Harold Ford.)
Barbra Streisand not yet having weighed in with her advice to the Republican party as to how it might regain power, we'll have to settle for the counsel that WaPo columnist E.J. Dionne, Jr. generously offers in his column of today, Can the GOP Find Its Center?
His advice boils down to a two-part program: forget about conservatism already, and Be Like Bill.
Dionne begins by proclaiming that "this fall's election defeat . . . revealed that the Barry Goldwater-Ronald Reagan political settlement has expired," by which he apparently means that conservatism as a winning political philosophy has gone the way of the parrot in A Fish Called Wanda. E.J. thus goes on to deride Republican leaders such as John Boehner and Mike Pence who in the wake of the GOP's defeat call for a return to traditional conservatives principles, chief among them that of limited government.
Sunday's Washington Post Magazine carried a story on how Democrats can close the "God gap" in national politics, or more precisely, it publicized the man trying to close that gap for liberals. It's titled "The Gospel According to Jim Wallis." The subtitle is meant to be amusing: "For Democrats to win back the White House, they may well have to rely on the power of the Almighty. And it's not Bill Clinton." On the opposite page is an illustration of a Christ-like figure pulling open his vestments to reveal a red-white-and-blue Democratic donkey.
The most outrageous part of David Paul Kuhn's article comes right at the beginning, as Wallis presents himself as the defender of the Bible against all those conservative Christians who want to scissor its integrity to bits:
The Des Moines Register headline focuses on Barack Obama's enlistment of Iowa-savvy aides. But along the way, the article by Tom Beaumont, Obama talks with top advisers in Iowa, offers up some delightful Midwestern understatement.
First, in reviewing the potential Dem field, Beaumont writes of "Kerry, a Massachusetts senator." You can imagine him fuming: "Don't you know who I am? And why didn't you mention that I'm . . . a Vietnam veteran?"
With caution even more delicious, Beaumont notes "New York Sen. Hillary Clinton is believed to be weighing a campaign for the Democratic nomination." Indeed. And in tonight's Nature documentary, a ravenous crocodile
Fox News Watch led this week's show with Brent Bozell's condemnation of the press' coverage of the just-concluded congressional campaign. Host Eric Burns noted that Bozell is "head of an influential conservative media watchdog group called the Media Research Center" - which also happens to be the parent organization of NewsBusters.
FNW played a video clip of Bozell stating:
"In 25 years of looking at the national media I have never in my life seen a more one-sided, distorted, vicious presentation of news and non-news by the national press. The national press ought to be collectively ashamed of itself. They might as well take up membership in the Democratic national party. They were the simple microphones for the party. They need to be ashamed of themselves for what they did."
If a Democratic uttered something even close to this the media would be all over it like white on rice:
“White rednecks” who “didn’t show up to vote for us” partly cost GOPers their cong. majorities, Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL) told fellow Republicans today. And Putnam, seeking the post of GOP conference chair, chided ex-Chair J.C. Watts (R-OK) for ruining the conference’s ability to serve its members.
Three Republicans in the room independently confirmed to the Hotline the substance and context of Putnam’s remarks.