Weighing in on Time's "Swampland" blog, journalist Joe Klein opined that the best question of last night's GOP primary debate was the infamous "What do you dislike most about America" question. Klein slammed the candidates' performances, but particularly picked on Romney, whom he mocked as overly optimistic:
I could imagine him doing the Reagan nice-guy, slightly-boggled head
twitch, especially when he was asked the question of the night: What do
you dislike most about America?
Romney's answer: I love America. Great. Good. Great Great. Creative. People. The American People. Love. Great....
This is a basic DNA difference between the parties. Republicans
see the American people as perfect; the American government as an alien
import from France. You put America and Flawed in the same sentence,
and any Republican will go all (faux) De Toqueville--great good great
Romney won, Rudy lost. That's Chris Matthews' take on the GOP presidential debate he moderated on MSNBC last night. Matthews made his views clear during his appearance on this morning's "Today." Meredith Vieira, who interviewed Matthews at 7:09 EDT, seemed to share her colleague's assessment.
TODAY CO-HOST MEREDITH VIEIRA: Winners and losers in your assessment?
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Oh, come on. Well, let me just say I thought that just factually, Giuliani stood out on the issue of abortion rights, clearly. At one point I asked if they would be happy, if it would be a good day for America, if the courts struck down Roe v. Wade, the court decision back in '73 that gave a woman the right to an abortion, and he said 'that would be OK,' Very tentative. And then later on he reasserted his position that he is for abortion rights. So I think that separated him on a big issue.
VIEIRA: Yeah, but Chris, he also said it would be OK if a strict constructionist judge upheld Roe v. Wade. It sounded like he was talking out of both sides of his mouth there.
One great thing about liberal journalists blogging is that without the constraints of editorial oversight, they can let their hair down even more than usual, unleashing their biases as fast as their fingers fly over the keyboard.
Time magazine's Joe Klein is no exception. The journalist and formerly anonymous author of "Primary Colors" shared with readers of the "Swampland" blog today his complaints about a Bush administration that "trafficks" in publicity stunts such as the May 1, 2003, carrier landing. Klein went on to complain that Donald Rumsfeld was the worst Secretary of Defense in the history of the Republic who, along with "the spinners who gave us the Abraham Lincoln stunt" should be "emptying bed pans at Walter Reed."
Klein's ire draws from liberal talking points about the four-year old "major combat operations" speech. You know the meme "Mission Accomplished" and an end of "major combat operations" were impossibly rosy scenarios in light of the ongoing insurgency.
But for the record, Klein himself described the war as having been won shortly after President Bush's USS Abraham Lincoln speech.
From the May 19, 2003, Time magazine, emphasis mine:
CBS’s Bob Schieffer offered commentary on Senator and presidential candidate Joe Biden, but one would think he was describing former President Bill Clinton. On the May 2 edition of "The Early Show" host Harry Smith and Schieffer were ironically discussing a recent gaffe by Senator Biden, when Schieffer stated the Delaware Senator "has a habit of making these boners." Presumably Schieffer meant to say "blunders." For the record, Senator Biden’s gaffe was video of him telling a prospective voter that Democrats were "going to shove [the president’s veto] down his throat."
ABC News apparently sees its role not merely as reporting the news, but acting as advocates on a highly-charged political issue being promoted by a left-wing Democratic presidential candidate.
Check out the graphic from this morning's Good Morning America: "GMA Gets It Done: Taking on Medicaid. Fighting to Treat Tooth Decay."
The screencap shows a palpably emotional GMA co-host Chris Cuomo literally pointing his finger at the head of the federal Medicaid program. The moment came during the course of a segment this morning recounting the sad case of 12-year old Deamonte Driver, who died after infection from an abscessed tooth spread to his brain. The boy and his family were in fact covered by Medicaid, the government health care insurance program for poor people. But the boy's mother [pictured below] had never before taken him to a dentist, and when the abscess occurred it was reportedly difficult to find a dentist willing to provide care, given Medicaid reimbursement rates.
GMA CO-HOST CHRIS CUOMO to the Medicaid official: Why am I wrong to place the blame on the federal government? We give you our tax dollars to take care of kids exactly like Deamonte Driver: the most vulnerable, the most at risk, make sure they get care, and you didn't. This is your fault, don't pass the buck.
Sports Illustrated has this annoying tendency to serve up its sports coverage with a side dish of liberal politics. On its website, basketball writer Jack McCallum wrote of deciding to compare Democratic presidential candidates to NBA playoff teams after watching the Democrats debate on C-SPAN in the middle of the night after some spicy quesadillas.
He began by lauding Mike Gravel's routine of poking Barack Obama about which country America should "nuke" next. "So there you are -- Gravel is the Golden State Warriors. A feisty, combative, in-your-face underdog who loves the public stage." Later, McCallum added to the comparison: "Unorthodox and even a little scary, both are trying to overcome the odds with offense." Here are the other comparisons, enough to ruin the day of a conservative fan of any of these teams:
Actually, Bill Maher didn't add that Seinfeldesque qualifier when describing Republican affection for Ronald Reagan. Maher was a guest on this afternoon's "Hardball." In the course of taking a cheap shot at Fred Thompson, this Cornell alum [what is it about my alma mater, which also churned out Keith Olbermann?] had this to say:
BILL MAHER: It amuses me so much that the Republicans now are talking about the great charisma of Fred Thompson, basset-hound faced Fred Thompson. The Republican party has this campy fixation with Ronald Reagan. It is almost gay about the way they are talking about him and obsessing about him.
In 1995, Bill Clinton said this to a Houston fund-raising audience about the 1993 tax increase his administration is infamous for:
Probably there are people in this room who are still mad at me at that budget because you think I raised your taxes too much. It might surprise you to know that I think I raised them too much too.
John Edwards, on the other hand, must think that the Clinton Administration and the congress at the time raised taxes too little, because he said on Sunday that he wants to go beyond what was done in 1993 (link requires registration; HT Colorado Right):
Just like David Broder's analysis in the Washington Post news section today, NBC Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert offered praise all around for the Democratic field after the Orangeburg debate. The Democratic field are not "pygmies," and everyone, including Mike Gravel, cheered on by Sam Seder on Air America radio this morning for "making Dennis Kucinich look moderate," earned stars on his forehead from NBC:
RUSSERT: Democrats overwhelmingly are very happy with the field. Almost 75 percent of the party members say we like this group. Only 50 percent of Republicans like their group. So I think that if you are stepping back and looking at the 2008 field, it’s not, in past years people say, well, it’s pygmies, they can't possibly step up. I think people can envision several of these people sitting in the Oval Office.
We expect our political pundits to be masters of campaign history, but that isn't always the case. On The Early Show on CBS this morning, newly arrived political correspondent/analyst Jeff Greenfield ended his story on the Democratic debate by telling co-host Harry Smith, "this was, by far, the earliest presidential debate in the history of our political system. You want to know how early? A child conceived last night would be a month old before the people of South Carolina got to vote in their primary."
You don't have to know ancient history to know Greenfield's wrong. In the last election cycle, Democrats held a very early debate in South Carolina just like this one -- on Saturday, May 3, about a week after this one on the calendar. Greenfield analyzed it for CNN on the May 5, 2003 American Morning:
I would never suggest that the presidential campaign isn't Page One material, but it's not exactly a compelling news story when the summary of a Democratic debate (in today's WashPost) is "Candidates Unite In Criticizing Bush." How is that notably different than any other day of the Bush presidency? Readers ought to see in this an undercurrent of It's-Our-Party politeness, as in "we wouldn't want any of our plausible contenders to be nicked up this early."
But the real puffery came in David Broder's "analysis" on page A6, headlined "Democratic Hopefuls Show Political Heft." These were no eight "dwarves," but a bevy of better-than-Bush giants: "the overall impression from the first formal debate from this early-starting campaign is that the Democrats have a field of contenders that, by any historical measure, matches in quality any the party has offered in decades."
To show the feeding frenzy that is the MSM -- as well as the constant inaccuracy -- reports abounded yesterday with rebukes to Rudy Giuliani from Democratic candidates for the 2008 Presidential election over something they all merely assumed he said at a campaign appearance.
Every single paper out there quoted the stern rebukes of each of the front running Dem. candidates and nearly every source of MSM news, from TV to the internet, repeated what it was that Rudy "said" to force the rebukes.
Unfortunately for all concerned, it appears that Rudy never said the phrase attributed to him.
Yet, not a soul in the MSM (except Fox's Brit Hume) took the time to do the research necessary to fact check and assure the story was correct.
New York Times political reporter Adam Nagourney is typically hyper-sensitive to any hint of a Republican "attack" on a Democrat (not so much the other way around). So it was refreshing to read him actually having a little fun needling Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards on Friday as "The Breck Girl" for his preening over his hair and looks when he thinks he's off-camera (most notoriously in a widely seen YouTube video set to "I Feel Pretty")
Nagourney on Friday wrote about the mini-flap over Edwards' two $400 haircuts and brought up the YouTube video while suggesting a perception of hypocrisy.
"John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat, announced on Thursday that he was reimbursing his campaign $800 to cover what his aides said was the cost of two haircuts -- yes, you read that correctly -- by a Beverly Hills barber, though, perhaps, the word stylist is more applicable….Mr. Edwards has presented himself in the Democratic field as an advocate of working-class Americans, lamenting the nation’s growing economic disparity."
Q. How can embrace of a given policy "stall" a candidate's campaign if it helps him with the voters?
A. If the policy in question is the Bush administration's Iraq war plan, and the MSM finds it difficult to admit that support for it can be an electoral plus.
As NewsBuster Geoffrey Dickens and I have noted here and here, NBC reporters, notably including Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory, have repeatedly explained McCain's weak standing in the GOP primary polls by his support of the Iraq war.
The truth, of course, is just the opposite. Republicans are less than enthusiastic about McCain because of his embrace of non-conservative positions on everything from campaign finance to taxes to immigration. It is only McCain's support of the Iraq war that is keeping him afloat in the GOP primaries. Ditch that, and McCain would soon find himself in Chuck Hagel territory -- out of the race altogether.
On this morning's "Today," NBC's Norah O'Donnell impossibly played things both ways, claiming:
McCain's candidacy has stalled with his embrace of President Bush's Iraq war strategy. But one plus for McCain's support of the increased troop surge is that it does play well among Republican voters.
Update at bottom of post: other bloggers reactions.
In a column this afternoon, Politico's Roger Simon took a swipe at Democratic presidential candidate and former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) for giving a public prayer for the victims of the Virginia Tech gunman "in Christ's name.":
Does John Edwards include Jews in his prayers? Or Muslims? Or Hindus? Or any other non-Christians?
He didn’t the other day. The other day, in order to commemorate those killed at Virginia Tech, Edwards led a prayer “in Christ’s name” at Ryman Auditorium, which bills itself as “Nashville’s Premier Performance Hall.”
Edwards has a perfect right to pray publicly or privately any way he wants to. But people who are not Christians often feel left out of prayers like his.
A few sources, not the least of which is Michael Barone, are reporting that the Democrats are ignoring important Iraq briefings conducted by General David Petraeus in an apparent effort to stymie efforts in Iraq. It is well known that they are not supportive of the troops in Iraq and the president's "surge" plan they are currently conducting, but whether they like the plan or not, to skip these briefings is an act of blatant negligence that borders on the criminal. So where is the MSM's outrage? Why are we not being told of this Democrat negligence?
On the April 23 edition of "The View" the co-hosts discussed whether their families discuss politics at the dinner table. Co-host Rosie O’Donnell answered in the affirmative. The comedienne who floated September 11 conspiracy theories and railed against Catholics on the Supreme Court, exemplified how her children are following her down the far left path. Apparently her eldest son agrees with his mother that Bush stole an election.
"It's funny when because when he was in public school in first grade and Bush won, supposedly [laughter] and he went in to school that day and he gets home. I said how was school? He goes fine. He was like five years old. The teacher calls me: ‘Oh hi, Ms. O’Donnell. I just wanted to let you know that today in class Parker announced that President Bush was not the real president because he cheated.’ [laughter] And I said: ‘Well that's known as truth in our house.’"
It's hardly news that sportscasting, MSM-style, offers no respite from liberal politics. Particularly so when it comes to the ABC/Disney owned ESPN, the sports network that pressured Rush Limbaugh to resign from its Sunday NFL Countdown pregame show for saying what was on his mind about media treatment of Eagles QB Donovan McNabb.
Even so, it came as something of a shock to observe that one ESPN personality is turning his on-screen appearances into an opportunity to promote the candidacy of a Dem presidential contender. Many sportscasters have their signature calls. From Stuart Scott's "boo-yah!" to Chris Berman's "back-back-back gone!," several of the ESPN announcers utter idiosyncratic phrases to underline signal athletic accomplishments. Fair enough. But watching ESPN's Kenny Mayne over the course of the last few days, I was surprised to notice that he has coined a new call. Home run at a crucial moment? Three-pointer to take the lead in a basketball game? "Obama!", exclaims Mayne.
If in the wake of the Imus incident the Rutgers women's basketball players had spurned an invitation to meet with President Bush, do you think ABC might have told us about it? Natch. But when those same players blew off a chance to meet Hillary Clinton, ABC managed to put a positive spin on matters.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton finally dropped by Rutgers to meet with the school's women's basketball coach -- but the players themselves skipped the half-hour meeting, citing their studies and Imus fatigue.
"Many of the players were in study hall from eight to noon and some had finals," explained a Rutgers source who said the players were "tired" of all the attention. "These young women need to do their classes, and wrap their spring semester."
It's enough to give a guy flashbacks to co-eds shooting him down for a Saturday-night date because they had to study.
When Republican strategist Michelle Laxalt began to describe the clinical reality of partial-birth abortion on MSNBC this morning at about 10:55 AM EDT, MSNBC host Chris Jansing cut her off, saying she didn't want to get into an "emotional debate." Of course not. Better to focus on the antiseptic "right to choose" without letting the gruesome reality of the matter intrude.
In partial birth abortion, the doctor collapses the near-term baby's skull and its brains are then sucked out. Immediately after stopping Laxalt just as she was about to state that, Jansing herself said that the GOP might welcome the debate on the partial birth abortion issue "after Iraq and some of the other things that have gone on at the White House that have sort of sucked the life out of the Republican party."
Washington Post fashion writer Robin Givhan, who's often slashed at the fractured fashions of Team Bush, and who in 2004 hailed the hair of John Edwards (it "cries out to be tousled"), surprised readers on Friday by finding Edwards guilty of "primping" with his $400 haircuts. She doesn't go the whole way and mock his rich vs. poor "Two Americas" talk, but it's bubbling under the surface. Early on, she notes a "Bush loyalist" called Edwards a "Breck Girl," (um, isn't "Rush Limbaugh" a better tag for who started that?) and then Judge Robin ruled:
Edwards considers triple-digit grooming expenses a part of campaigning. He listed his salon and spa bills under "consulting/events," after all...But there is a line between grooming and primping. Brushing your teeth is grooming. Giving yourself a big Chiclet smile with veneers is primping. Having an adept barber come around to the hotel to give a busy candidate a trim is grooming. Getting the owner of an expensive Beverly Hills salon to come over, knowing full well that the cost is going to be 10 times what the average Joe is likely to pay for a haircut . . . that's a Breck girl move.
If Arnold Schwarzenegger, nominal Republican, wants to be allowed to run for president, why shouldn't Moktada al-Sadr be considered for a spot on the Dem ticket? After all, his views on U.S. withdrawal from Iraq put him firmly in the mainstream of the party of Pelosi The thought occurred to me while reading Moktada al-Sadr’s Gambit, an editorial in this morning's NY Times regarding the resignation of six members of al-Sadr's party as ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Maliki.
And what, according to the Times, was the gambit's goal?
"Mr. Sadr had his cabinet ministers resign in an attempt to bully the government into setting a timetable for the departure of American troops from Iraq."
Hmm. "An attempt to bully the government into setting a timetable for the departure of American troops from Iraq." Bullying the government? You mean like threatening to withhold funding for the military?
Liberal arrogance is parading around in the Sunday funnies again – in Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury strip – misplaced arrogance about how the major Democratic presidential contenders have no "infidelities." How, pray tell, do we know that? How IS the Hillary math done on that – no "infidelities" in the Clinton marriage?
The Sunday comic strip features gay radio host Mark Slackmeyer interviewing religious-right leader Dr. James Dobson: "On the GOP side, the three front-runners, Giuliani, McCain, and Gingrich have five divorces among them, four of them really messy, and all of them involving adultery. On the Democratic side, the three front-runners, Clinton, Obama, and Edwards, have no divorces or infidelities."
For the last few weeks I have been watching two stories that, were they about Conservatives or Republicans, would have been scandals that would have shaken the rafters of the MSM. But, since these stories are about two favored Liberals, one old and one newly minted, we have seen no faux outrage, no shocked commentary, no calls for heads on pikes to be posted at the entrance to Congress, and no calls for resignations. Oh, the stories were reported all right, but all sensationalism was eschewed with the usual extrapolation to the level of a “culture of corruption” cast aside for a straight, newsy style atypical to their normal means against Republicans.
These two stories and the lack of passionate coverage of them by the MSM shows that the MSM employs as much liberal bias in what they chose not to cover as they do in what they chose to go ahead and focus upon.
In 1992, Republican chairman Rich Bond oafishly suggested in public that he was arguing the media had a liberal bias because he was "working the refs," cynically complaining about harsh coverage to get better coverage. But many candidates try to work reporters this way, and on the slightly dated April 4 edition of the PBS talk show Charlie Rose, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter said Bill Clinton's trying that tactic against Barack Obama, who he feels hasn't been challenged or critiqued by reporters:
JONATHAN ALTER: He`s working the refs, as we say.
CHARLIE ROSE: He`s doing what?
ALTER: He`s working the refs....Basketball players understand that.
Long-time New York Times and Washington Post "objective" political reporter-turned-liberal columnist E.J. Dionne on Friday wrote he suspects Fox News chairman Roger Ailes "secretly admires the bloggers and other activists working to keep Democratic presidential candidates from debating on his cable network."
Baloney. If he's secretly admiring Democrats for anything, it's for showing they're thin-skinned spoiled brats who are used to having an army of Stephanopolice reinforcing their every talking point. He's admiring how the Democrats are only building the appeal of the network to an audience of people who are looking for someone who doesn't follow along with the suffocating liberal consensus that lamely claims the mantle of "objectivity" as it throws rose petals in front of the Obamas and Rodhams.
Let's play a quick game of word association. I say "John McCain" and "reform." You say . . . I'm guessing . . . "campaign finance" or perhaps "McCain-Feingold." Am I right? And what's one of the biggest beefs that Republicans in general, and Republican primary-voting types in particular have with McCain? Correctamundo: his championing of campaign finance reform, which Republicans tend to oppose on philosophical grounds [unconconstitutional restriction of free speech] and pragmatic political ones [increases the power of the Dem-friendly MSM].
If further evidence were needed that it's hard for MSMers to understand Republicans, I refer you to Roger Simon's piece from yesterday at Politico.com, The Reinvention of John McCain. For what is Simon's advice to McCain for the reinvigoration of his campaign? You guessed it: that he return to his reformist roots.
One week apart, "The Early Show" provided very different segments about 2008 presidential contenders. The April 2 edition provided a very glowing, positive review of the candidates. The April 9 edition was far more critical of the contenders. Why the difference? The former reviewed the Democrats. The latter reviewed the Republicans.
On April 2 Hannah Storm discussed Hillary Clinton’s "amazing [fund raising] numbers." John Harris of Politico.com agreed noting "they are incredibly impressive numbers." Though Democratic rival John Edwards raised a much smaller $14 million, Storm wanted to know if the former vice presidential nominee saw a "spike in donations" after his wife announced her breast cancer is not curable.
The Media Research Center's Gala has only recently concluded. It will be almost a full year until the DisHonors Awards are again distributed. Even so, Scott Pelley's query to John McCain, aired on this evening's 60 Minutes, has to be considered a strong, early contender for Most Inane Question in next year's running.
Let's set the stage. 60 Minutes had devoted extensive time to McCain's recent trip to Iraq. Particular attention was paid to his visit to a Baghdad market, which, as it turned out, was carried out with very considerable security surrounding him. Even so, McCain acknowledged during the course of the interview that he was in large measure staking his candidacy on the success of the surge.
Immediately preceding his question, Pelley had noted that five generations of McCain's family had attended West Point or Annapolis. McCain was shown in his Senate office pointing out a picture of his father in Vietnam when he was commander of US forces in the Pacific.
Observed Pelley: "Now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son 18 years old, headed toward Iraq."