The Pasadena Star News yesterday reported on a rally for failing California Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Phil Angelides, at which John Kerry warned students in the audience that if they didn't get an education they would have no other alternative than to be forced into the US Armed Forces.
"Kerry then told the students that if they were able to navigate the education system, they could get comfortable jobs - 'If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq,' he said to a mixture of laughter and gasps."
Rahm Emanuel missed his calling in life. Rather than heading the Dem congressional campaign committee, he should have become a professional in the sport of freediving - holding your breath and diving without any breathing apparatus. Judging by his performance on today's Good Morning America, there's no doubt Rahm would have been a world champion.
In the closely-controlled world of the first half-hour [really 22 minutes] of the morning news shows, hosts keep a tight rein on their guests. Even notorious gabbers like Joe Biden are lucky to get in 15 seconds in before being cut short. Katie Couric, for all her liberal leanings, was a master of the technique.
Viewers of the Maryland Senate debate between Michael Steele and Ben Cardin on Sunday's "Meet the Press" might not have been surprised that the soundbite that "Today" plucked out the next day was the one showing the Republican being pressed about being a Bush-lover. But wait: did Tim Russert balance out that line of questioning with asking Cardin about his fervent support for Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton or Ted Kennedy or even Barbara Mikulski? Why, no. Two weeks ago in a Minnesota Senate debate, Russert caused Republican Mark Kennedy to distance himself from Bush, then pressed Democrat Amy Klobuchar to distance herself from Hillary Clinton. That balance didn't occur yesterday. Here's the snippet of Russert that Meredith Vieira offered Monday:
Lynne Cheney was right. The Vice President’s wife recently attacked a CNN pre-election special as straight out of Democratic talking points. The program in question, "Broken Government: Power Play," aired on October 26 and discussed presidential power. Reporter John King introduced his special that night on location at Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Close your eyes and it sounds like an ad straight out of the DNC:
John King: "Justice, on Mr. Bush's terms, would mean challenge after challenge, test after test of the balance of powers laid out in the Constitution, adopted here in Philadelphia's Independence Hall 219 years ago, written by men, who, for all their brilliance, could not have imagined jet aircraft, let alone jet aircraft used as weapons. Nor could men determined to find the lasting antidote to tyranny have imagined the Internet, spy satellites, other technological advances now so central in the war on terror. But they did warn, in this hall, time and time again of too much presidential power, creating a careful system of checks by the Congress and the courts, lines the Bush administration, in the name of protecting Americans from another attack, has repeatedly stretched, rewritten, and sometimes just ignored."
Monday’s 'Good Morning America' highlighted anti-GOP sentiments from the American heartland during a report in the 7am half hour. Reporting from a diner in Columbus, Ohio, ABC’s Jake Tapper had assembled a group of five "real-life actual voters" to discuss the upcoming midterm elections. Amongst the group of voters in Tapper’s panel: a Republican voter voting Democratic this year; a Democratic Navy veteran who had been against the war; a conservative Christian eager to express "I'm not pro-war"; a new U.S. citizen who believes that illegal immigrants are being treated unfairly; and a cynic who believes that the whole political system is corrupt. Not one of the voters expressed support for the President or Republicans. Furthermore, none of the panel members, except for the cynic, expressed any reservations about a potential Democratic takeover of Congress.
Some highlights from the panel discussion:
Tapper: "You're a Republican voter, but the war in Iraq, among other issues, has you thinking that you might vote Democratic this year. Why?"
Larry [no last name given; Republican voter]: "...I think we're in the wrong place, and I just think it's time for a change, someone who can help us and get out of the quagmire we have."
Tapper: "Now, Kenny, you disapproved of the war from the beginning and you're, you're a Navy veteran...But, you have an issue with the fact that you think that those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right...You're an independent voter. But what struck me was that you said that you don't think, even though you think that there's a lot of corruption amongst the Republicans controlling Congress, you don't think that it's necessarily going to be any different if the Democrats take control. Why is that?"
"I'll see your disgruntled Republican and raise you an anti-war veteran, a pro-illegal-immigrant naturalized American and a Christian conservative who knows others planning to stay home."
That's how you might describe the bidding in the ABC/NBC game of Texas Talk 'Em Down. You might recall that last week I reported here on how NBC's David Gregory unearthed an Ohio bookstore owner, described as a "life-long Republican," who was thinking of voting Democrat.
That all you got, Today? Bookstore-owner high? Good Morning America beat that handily this morning with a full house!
Jake Tapper conducted the folks-in-the-Middle-American-diner segment, an obligatory bit of MSM pre-election shtick. ABC's chief DC political correspondent found himself out at Tommy's Diner in Columbus, Ohio, the same town in which Gregory disinterred his disillusioned Republican. Place must be a hotbed of disgruntled GOPers!
In his syndicated column, political demographer Michael Barone looks at some of the pratfalls of polling. He also makes some important points about how most media polls are overcounting Democrats:
In 2004, the electorate that went to the polls or voted absentee was,
according to the adjusted NEP exit poll, 37 percent Democratic and 37
percent Republican. In party identification, it was the most Republican
electorate since George Gallup conducted his first random sample poll
in October 1935.
But most recent national polls show Democrats with an advantage in
party identification in the vicinity of 5 percent to 12 percent. Party
identification usually changes slowly. Historically, voters have
switched from candidates of one party to candidates of the other more
readily than they have changed their party identification.
The New York Times is sure that voters are losing their rights the country over, in essence yelling "the sky is falling, the sky is falling" for voters this year. They have been ballyhooing that voters are being "disenfranchised" all across the country by voting machines and voting law changes -- their biggest worry being ID requirements. The Times points in horror to the continuing effort of the States to nail down who is eligible and a proliferation of new laws assuring that eligibility before casting a ballot claiming this is proof of such "disenfranchisement". Ridiculously, the Times has decided proving you are eligible to vote is a threat to democracy.
Funny how they don't consider people who vote illegally as being any threat to democracy... of course that is because illegal voting benefits the Democrats, their favored party.
While faux-conservative Democratic candidates like Harold Ford (lifetime ACU: 19) declare repeatedly in public their love for Jesus Christ (a "Jesus-loving, gun-supporting believer," Ford said yesterday), let's remember how the folks at NBC greeted Bush's embrace of Jesus as a philosopher at the dawn of 2000. From our newsletter Notable Quotables, recall how they freaked out on behalf of every religious minority in America:
"Governor Bush, in the last debate when you talked about Jesus being the philosopher-thinker that you most respected, many people applauded you. Others said what role would religion have in the Oval Office with George W. Bush. Fifteen million atheists in this country, five million Jews, five million Muslims, millions more Buddhists and Hindus. Should they feel excluded from George W. Bush because of his allegiance to Jesus?...Would you take an expression like ‘What would Jesus do?’ into the Oval Office?"-- Questions from New Hampshire Republican debate moderator Tim Russert to George W. Bush, January 6, 2000.
I looked around when I heard someone crying, and there was Pollyanna bawling her eyes out. That's how depressing was the one-two punch of pessimism in Paul Krugman's and Bob Herbert's New York Times pay-to-peruse columns of today.
Just in time for the elections, the pair paint a picture of America so dreary you half-expected the Google logarithm to place Prozac ads on the page. Krugman tries to talk down the economy, while Herbert sees a more deep-seated malaise. Annotated excerpts:
Krugman: "Bursting Bubble Blues"
"The housing boom became a bubble . . . the question now is how much pain the bursting bubble will inflict." Guessing Krugman's answer: a lot.
"Some say the worst is already over . . . So maybe this is as bad as it gets. But I think the pessimists have a stronger case." Told you so!
Sunday's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" offered more evidence that Katie Couric's CBS interview with Michael J. Fox was too cozy and unchallenging. She didn't push the celebrity into admitting a common celebrity error: he's speaking without reading. On Missouri's Amendment 2, the center of his ad pushing Democrat Claire McCaskill for Senate, he said, "I have to qualify it by saying I'm not qualified to speak on the page-to-page content of the initiative. Although, I am quite sure that I'll agree with it in spirit, I don't know, I— On full disclosure, I haven't read it, and that's why I didn't put myself up for it distinctly." (AP didn't find that part newsworthy.)
NBC's "Saturday Night Live" featured some fake Republican ads that were either intended as a) a dead-serious mockery of the GOP exploiting the terror threat and socially liberal causes or b) something so over the top it was just funny to everyone -- or maybe a little gross. About 18 minutes into the show came Robert Smigel's "TV Funhouse" cartoon feature, with President Bush discussing GOP ads. First, Smigel had his Bush introduce the authentic RNC Osama-"real stakes" commercial. Then, he had Bush say that if anyone was offended, the new ads were more festive and fun.
The first one had a Ted Kennedy photo mocked up as a vampire, saying with a Transylvania accent "I vant to cut and run!" Then bin Laden came into the picture and Kennedy was tongue-kissing him. Then "Count Obama" rose up (like Kennedy, an Obama pic mocked up with pointy ears and fangs) and said like the Count on Sesame Street, "One gay marriage... two gay marriages...three gay marriages..." Then it had real audio of Ken Mehlman saying this message paid for by the RNC, with his little picture on the bottom, just like the real ad shown first. Video (1:15): Real (2.04 MB) or Windows Media (2.33 MB ), plus MP3 audio (356 KB)
When I first tuned to ABC this morning, I thought there might have been some schedule snafu owing to the switch to Standard Time. But no; I eventually realized I was indeed watching Good Morning America and not a late-night DNC infomercial.
You could forgive me for being confused, because the first half-hour amounted to little more than a love-letter to the party of Pelosi.
First up, GMA staged an "Election Pre-Game" panel, complete with that catchy NFL theme music. Nifty game plan, perhaps, but then ABC fielded an unbalanced team. Liberal lion Sam Donaldson, Cokie Roberts - voice of the center-left DC media establishment - and political reporter Jake Tapper. No George Will or other conservative to dilute Donaldson. To strain the pigskin metaphor, GMA host Kate Snow, whose anti-tax cut antics I noted here back in May, served as coach/referee.
When it comes to using Mafia references for political purposes, Chris Matthews has a one-way sense of outrage. OK for slurring Republicans. Bad, bad, bad when used against Dems.
Matthews is the king of MSM conniption fits over Republican ads. He pounded for days on the RNC ad about Harold Ford, Jr., accusing RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman of "cesspool" tactics and claiming the ad played to white fears of "losing white women to black guys."
Matthews had a similar over-the-top reaction to an ad [see it here] running in NJ that uses a mobbed-up character to mock ethically-challenged Bob Menendez. Here's how Stephen Spruiell at National Review's Media Blog noted Matthews reaction:
"Well maybe because I've spent so much of my life in New Jersey... but you know, I have to tell you Charlie, it's an ethnic ad. Whatever else it is, it's an ethnic ad. It's about Italians in New Jersey, it's about the mob. Tying Menendez into Torricelli. They're closing the loop, they're making their point, and that has been politics in that state for years, between the WASPy people like Christie Todd Whitman and the Keans, father and son, running against the ethnic people, they tied it all together: If you're ethnic, you're a crook, right?"
A month or so ago I would have said that Neal Gabler and I inhabit different planets, but his apparent home has recently been demoted from planetary status. While I'm off searching for another metaphor, let me pass along the latest comment from the decidedly liberal denizen of Fox News Watch that made me reflect on just how distinct a world view we have. In the course of discussing on this evening's show the controversy that erupted this past week over Rush Limbaugh's comments about Michael Fox, Gabler had this to say:
"The media has tread lightly on Rush and his criticism of [Michael J.] Fox. To my mind, Rush is a cancer to America and hatemongers are marginalized, and why the media does not marginalize Rush, I don't know."
The other governor’s race in America with a Mark Foley echo is in Massachusetts, where Democratic hopeful Deval Patrick, a former Clinton Justice Department official, whom the Washington Post profiled on Wednesday in a feature by staff writer Wil Haygood that was so positive, a liberal blogger characterized it as a "sweet send off for him...I hope he can feel the tail wind."
One reason was that Haygood and the Post completely excluded in this long, 77-paragraph piece how Patrick was embarrassed by an October 13 Boston Herald report by Dave Wedge that Patrick’s brother-in-law was an unregistered sex offender: "a convicted rapist who has been notified by officials that he is in violation of laws that require sex offenders to register with the state...Bernard Sigh was convicted in 1993 in San Diego of raping his wife, Rhonda, who is Patrick’s sister. He pleaded guilty, served a short jail sentence and was put on five years probation, officials said. The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board sent Sigh a letter this week alerting him that he is required to register."
One of the maddening things about the Mark Foley scandal is how the media can take one congressman’s creepy Internet messages about masturbating, declare it an issue in 468 congressional races, demand the head of the Speaker of the House, and then decry other people for ruining democracy with desperate negative ads that besmirch honest public servants. It’s exactly how Michael Grunwald’s Washington Post story on Friday began, with the Republican opponent to Rep. Ron Kind (who represents my dear old home town of Viroqua, Wisconsin) mocking his backing of federal sex studies. Grunwald and the Post predictably summarize, with typical spit and polish, the DNC talking points of the day, that it's the GOP that wins the prize for negativity:
Amusingly, some of the names they use to define a "Republican Moderate" are Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. They also mention Mike DeWine of Ohio, but the three they focus on are Snowe, Collins and Chafee... these are the people they call "moderate".
Let's take a look at how the ACU rates the conservative voting record of these three in 2005 (0 being least conservative and 100 the most conservative).
Susan Collins - 32 Olympia Snowe - 32 Lincoln Chafee - 12
These three are FAR from being "moderate". They are more like Democrats -- and far left ones at that -- than Republicans and rarely vote with their national Party on any issue. But, to the NYT "moderate" means voting with Democrats, apparently.
Friday's morning shows offered more of the same election coverage. On ABC, Kate Snow highlighted how everyone Republican is running from Bush (with Rick Santorum touting his work with Hillary, God forbid) and gave Michael J. Fox another huge soundbite. On NBC, David Gregory explored how Democrats would rule. The first rule: hike the minimum wage.
ABC's Megan McCormack took down the Snow report, which is true enough, but has to play to a regular news viewer like the same old news in heavy rotation:
Chris Cuomo: "It's less than two weeks now until the congressional elections and we're seeing a new trend among GOP candidates: putting some distance between themselves and the White House. Here's ABC's Kate Snow."
All that was missing was the theme music from Deliverance. Not content to condemn George Allen for raising the issue of Jim Webb's racy writing, Chris Matthews decided on this evening's Hardball to slur the entire Commonwealth of Virginia south of the DC suburbs.
Interviewing senior Webb campaign advisor Steve Jarding [Chris did indicate that he had unsuccessfully tried to get an Allen representative on the show], Matthews had this to say:
"Not to take sides but they've had this material since the day Jim Webb announced, and they've chosen to use it now with the risk that it implies, because everybody in Northern Virginia, in this area of the country, reads books, they think."
With less then two weeks to go before the midterm elections, two separate programs, on two different networks, speculated that the Republicans are colluding with big oil to lower gas prices. The "Today" show wondered if this indicated "a vast right-wing conspiracy."
Fox’s Geraldo Rivera speculated that America was seeing a case of "gas pump pimping."
Meanwhile, ABC’s "Nightline" weighed in on political commercials and lamented GOP "mudslinging." They also characterized Rush Limbaugh’s comments about Michael J. Fox as a "vicious attack." (They apparently didn’t find any mudslinging or vicious attacks done by the Democrats)
CNN had their own take on Limbaugh’s comments. They wondered: "Could it be a new low?"
Speaking of the cable network, CNN also previewed a new Bush special by noting that "many say" the President has "stretched" and "trampled" the Constitution.
For these people with short memories who think the Jim Webb novel passages with lusty or just strange sexual episodes have no place in political news, clearly they do not remember the Newt Gingrich Bodice-Ripper as it broke to liberal media jokes in December of 1994. Webb’s strange passages drew no attention on the network morning shows Friday, unlike the liberal Gingrich fun in 1994:
-- CNN ended its afternoon show Inside Politics on December 1, 1994 with this exchange between anchors Bernard Shaw and Judy Woodruff on the enterprising New York Times:
Shaw: "Well, Gingrich is taking a sense of history into a new surprising realm. He's co-authoring a novel about World War II at its aftermath. Gingrich describes it as 'historical science fiction,' but others might categorize it as a sexy potboiler, at least based on an excerpt obtained by the New York Times. Now one passage reads - and let me emphasize I'm quoting now - 'Suddenly the pouting sex kitten gave way to Diana the Huntress. She rolled onto to him and somehow was sitting athwart his chest, her knees pinning his shoulders. 'Tell me, or I will make you do terrible things,' she hissed.' What are political watchers to make of this offering from the speaker-in-waiting and a proponent of family values? Well, incoming Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole was asked for his comments today."
CBS’s "The Early Show" followed last night’s Michael J. Fox bonanza on the "Evening News" with more of the same on Friday morning. "The Early Show" aired more than 13 minutes of coverage to stories mentioning Fox, more than 10 minutes of that focused on Fox alone, while just a mere 40 seconds dealt with a response ad starring Patricia Heaton and Jim Caviezel.
Hannah Storm called Fox "courageous" and asserted "you just couldn’t take your eyes off the television last night." Harry Smith thought Fox’s interview was "powerful" and urged all those opposed to embryonic stem cell research to "at least listen to these arguments." Additionally, CBS tried to make Fox out to be nonpartisan, despite the fact that he is running commercials for Democratic candidates. Yet in their awe of Michael J. Fox, there was no exploration of the claims made in his political commercials and whether they are indeed factually accurate. Nor did CBS take the opportunity to differentiate between different types of stem cells. In fact, in a live interview, Katie Couric called Rush Limbaugh, someone who raised questions about Fox’s ads, "heartless."
Newsweek's cover story this week about Rep. Harold Ford. Jr is illustrated in the Table of Contents by a dramatic black and white picture of Ford glancing heavenward in a church under the headline "Racing to the Center." The Ford cover story by Jonathan Darman, framed by an enormous photo of Ford's head taking up two glorious pages, began with 300 people coming out of the darkness to hear "Ford praise the Lord and lecture man" at a historic hotel, as people sang "Amazing Grace" and shouted Hallelujah. "'I love Jesus, I can't help it,' the congressman tells the crowd." On page 33, there's a half-page photo of Ford bowing his head and joining hands with staff in a prayer before a debate. Nowhere, in this 3,944-word story is any mention of this fervent Christian attending that 2005 Playboy-bunny party in Jacksonville on Super Bowl weekend.
Don't think it's because Newsweek was flat-footed and unaware. In the March 27, 2006 Newsweek, Darman related those nasty Republicans were going negative early:
Haven't the MSM been suggesting it's only Republicans who engage in mean-spirited tactics in the closing weeks of a campaign? Yet in her column this morning, the LA Times Rosa Brooks dug deep into the dreck, depicting W as a drunk. She writes:
"When it comes to Iraq, being a citizen in George W. Bush's America is like being a passenger in a car driven by a drunk driver."
Shades of the 2000 campaign, when just days before the election a decades-old Bush DUI surfaced, under circumstances giving reason to believe a Gore aide was behind the leak.
Looking out your window this morning, don't be surprised to find not one but two pigs flying in tidy formation. As we noted here, on yesterday's 'Today' show, Matt Lauer eschewed the Rush-bashing bandwagon that developed in response to El Rushbo's remarks about the Michael J. Fox ad. As Matt put it: "if Michael Fox goes out there politically and puts himself into the fray, he has to expect to be, you know, taken to account."
If that was enough for Hell's equivalent of Al Roker to issue a frost warning, an editorial in this morning's NY Times is enough to send Hades into the deep freeze. For the Gray Lady has . . . endorsed a Republican, Chris Callaghan, for the statewide office of New York Comptroller.