The DC Examiner has a great editorial this morning reminding everyone of the dramatic failure that McCain-Feingold has been. Not only has it failed to remove the "corrupting" influence of money in elections, it's needlessly promoted censorship:
Well, so much for “getting rid of the corrupting influence of
money on politics” — the basic aim of the Bipartisan Campaign Finance
Reform Act of 2002, aka as McCain-Feingold. That’s Sen. Russ Feingold,
D-Wis., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., the presumptive front-runner for
the 2008 GOP presidential nomination who raised “only” $12.5 million
during the first three months of 2007. The Arizona senator trailed far
behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who raised $21 million
and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who raised $15 million, $10
million of which came in March alone. Among Democrats, Sen. Hillary
Clinton, D-N.Y., raised $26 million, former North Carolina Sen. John
Edwards raised $14 million and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson raised
$6 million. Sen.Barack Obama, D-Ill., has not released his figures but
is estimated to have raised about $22 million. Collectively, more than
$125 million has been raised by the 2008 presidential candidates in
just three months, with more than nine months to go before the first
Think back to the days before McCain-Feingold
became law. The biggest target of the law’s backers was the estimated
$500 million in soft money contributed to political parties by
corporations, individuals, labor unions and others. Just last year,
Fred Wertheimer and Trevor Potter, two of the most ardent
McCain-Feingold supporters, charged that soft money “ultimately turned
into a $500 million national scandal and disgrace.” Now it looks like
the presidential primary contenders will equal or even surpass that
once-scandalous threshold long before the start of the general election
campaign. We know little or nothing about what was promised by the
candidates in return for this unprecedented flood of cash.
Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Boston Globe reports on the "push" to draft Al Gore to run for president in 2008 in the April 4th edition of the paper. The story's starry-eyed subjects launching Gore for president websites and sponsoring web petitions are in for the best fluff treatment lending their claims of a "surge" in support for a Gore candidacy far more legitimacy than it deserves.
The sunny representation of these Gore for president campaigns the Globe gives is almost pathetic in it's obvious wishful thinking. The only qualifying language to downplay the efforts used in the piece is an understated "How big is the effort? Hard to say."
No, it's not really that hard to say even when assessing the fluff the Globe reported. In fact, it's pretty easy to say that there is little interest -- at least far from enough interest to show a "surge" in support for a second Gore run for the White House. Far from "heating up" it seems more likely that there is a flaming out in the offing.
When Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton announced she had taken in $26 million in campaign donations on Monday, "Good Morning America" focused on the "historic," "staggering," and record shattering nature of the total. But on Tuesday, April 3, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney received only suspicion over his equally impressive announcement of a $23 million fund-raising total.
GMA host Robin Roberts repeatedly asked Romney questions such as "where is the money coming from, Governor?" Ms. Roberts also wondered how the candidate’s Mormon faith factored into his fund-raising. She even challenged the Republican hopeful to take a page from John Kennedy and address his faith:
Robin Roberts: "Many are wondering if you will do, take a page from former President Kennedy, who had addressed the nation about his Catholic upbringing. Do you anticipate, anticipate doing the same?"
Would someone please let Andrea Mitchell know that John McCain is competing for the Republican presidential nomination? He's not going up against Obama, Hillary et al. in a race to determine who can surrender fastest in Iraq.
Giving her expert analysis on this morning's "Today" of John McCain's lackluster fundraising results, Mitchell claimed that John McCain is "hurt by his support for the Iraq war."
Could Andrea possibly be more wrong? McCain's support for President Bush's Iraq policy is the only thing keeping him alive, if barely, in the GOP race. Opposition to the war would put McCain in Chuck Hagel territory -- so unpopular among Republican voters that he dare not even throw his hat into the ring.
Chris Matthews attacked campaign fund donations to Mitt Romney last night on Hardball, calling the entire system of political fund raising "unsavory" along with claiming that Romney's contributors in particular are all "rich people" and people who are "loaded". In fact, he didn't seem to understand at all why anyone would even donate to a Romney campaign because he thinks everyone sees him as a "stranger".
In a report that was supposed to be about this first round of fund raising of all the candidates, Matthews found no time in a ten minute segment to even mention the many millions of dollars raised by Democrats, focusing almost entirely on his distrust of Romney, even though Romney raised far less than Clinton.
CNN correspondent Michael Ware appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and gave a live report from Baghdad on Sen. John McCain's visit to the Iraqi capital. Host Soledad O'Brien asked him during the segment if he had, as suggested in Internet accounts, heckled the presidential hopeful:
SOLEDAD O'BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. There was a report that said you were heckling and you were laughing during the senator's press conference. Is that true?
WARE: "Well, let's bear in mind that this is a report that was leaked by an unnamed official, of some kind, to a blog, to somewhere on the Internet. No one is going to put their name forward. We certainly haven't heard Senator McCain say anything about it, or any of his staff have come forward to say anything about it.
Via Greg Pollowitz at NRO's Media Blog, let us reflect on the National Organization for Women issuing a report finding deeply ingrained sexism in the coverage of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The NOW gang resents candidate profiles "that trivialize female politicians by focusing on their clothing, hair, or taste in home décor, and those that position gender as her most important characteristic, playing on gender stereotypes in order to call into question her ability to provide strong, effective leadership."
Let's take the second complaint first. Since when has NOW -- which even endorsed the hapless Carol Moseley Braun for president in the 2004 cycle when she had as much chance of being elected president as write-ins like Ryan Seacrest did -- ever failed to position gender as a woman's "most important characteristic" when deciding between liberal candidates? (We understand they would never vote for Phyllis Schlafly.)
This week, the Media Research Center celebrated 20 years of busting news bias. At the annual MRC 20th Anniversary Gala, Conservative legend Rush Limbaugh brought down the house with his closing speech on the success of the alternative media.
On Monday, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received a gift from "Good Morning America": A 30 minute "town hall" infomercial where a GMA host lauded the New York Senator for being ahead of her time.
MRC's Matthew Balan discovered on Friday's "Today" that the latest conventional wisdom among the liberal news manufacturers at NBC is that Rudy Giuliani's struggling under a wave of forthcoming media frenzies, while John Edwards has made an Elmer's Glue bond with the American people with his "60 Minutes" interview with his wife about her cancer. First, the decline and fall of Rudy:
MEREDITH VIEIRA: “I want to switch gears here, Tim, and talk about the 2008 campaign. Two candidates, in particular making news this week, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards. Let's start with Rudy Giuliani, if we can. Reports today, that when he was mayor of New York City, he knew that Bernard Kerik had a relationship with a company suspected of ties with organized crime, or to organized crime, before he appointed him as New York City police commissioner. He also said in an interview that if he is elected to the White House, he could see his wife Judith having a role in Cabinet meetings. How would assess his campaign at the end of this week? Headed in the right direction?”
On Monday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) got a "town hall" meeting with a hand-picked audience on "Good Morning America."
But the royal treatment Clinton receives in the mainstream media isn't shared by even some staunch liberals who make ink in the nation's newspapers everyday. Including at least one who pays the bills with the cartoonist's pen, generally liberal artist and blogger Darrin Bell, creator of "Candorville."
It's not the first time Bell has lampooned Clinton, but check out the March 30 installment, where he makes fun of Hillary's penchant for trying to be all things to all constituents, envisioning Clinton trying to pander to a Palestinian-American and an Israeli-American at the same time.
Bell's cartoon follows two days after the March 28 "'South Park," in which Clinton was portrayed unflatteringly, sporting rather large hips (calling to mind radio host Mark Levin's label "Her Thighness" ) and speaking in a faux Southern drawl.
Just in time for the 2008 presidential race, a certified "Friend of Bill" is bidding to acquire the Tribune Company, which owns the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. As reported in this New York Times article , FOB Ronald W. Burkle and Eli Broad sumbitted their bid yesterday to Tribune management.
Failed radio mouth and Senatorial candidate from Minnesota , Al Franken, told David Letterman on the set of the "Late Show" that the USA should reconsider approving the Kyoto Protocols because the treaty is good for the economy -- Despite that the ruinous treaty was voted down by a unanimous Senate vote in 1997 for the very reason that it would harm the economy.
To a fawning audience and a rapt host, Franken attacked Bush over the treaty that was voted down before he ever got to office, saying "One of the dumbest things that this president has said -- and that is a high bar -- is that if we abided by the Kyoto agreement, it would be ruinous to our economy. The opposite is true."
This is a developing story, so there's room for it to play out a bit, but the law firm congressional Democrats are hiring to help plow through the U.S. attorney firings, Arnold & Porter, has a history of heavy donations towards Democrats.
On Wednesday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Chris Cuomo interviewed GOP presidential candidate John McCain. In the piece, Cuomo quoted a congressional colleague who called the Arizona Senator’s position on Iraq "arrogant and self delusional."
The ABC host also wondered if McCain needed "rose colored glasses" to see progress in the war and prompted the ‘08 contender to choose which Democrat he’d like to see in the White House. All of this stood in stark contrast to the fawning, sycophantic "town hall" meeting that "Good Morning America" hosted with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton on Monday.
During that event, GMA co-host Robin Roberts told Clinton her plan for universal health care was ahead of its time and generally tossed softball questions. And she certainly didn’t ask the New York Senator if she’d prefer Mitt Romney or John McCain in the White House.
From the moment she participated in an anti-war march in NYC at the time of the 2004 GOP convention, there's been little doubt as to where Meredith Vieira stands on Iraq. Even so, it was something of a shock to hear the "Today" co-host express her opposition in the first person plural this morning.
Discussing the war with Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] at about 7:05 AM ET this morning, she said:
"Six out of ten Americans don't agree [with you]. They want a pull-out from Iraq. So what are we missing? When you say we are succeeding, based on what?"
"We?" Give Meredith credit for candor; but one more reason for NBC to stop pretending it doesn't lean left.
The New York Times cannot make up their mind if Dennis Hastert should be despised or laughed at, apparently. Neither can they decide if he is "rumpled and weary" or if he is "healthier and more relaxed" -- they confusingly say both in the very same article. But one thing is sure, their underlying sentiment toward the former Speaker of the House seems to be one of pity. And this article was simply an opportunity to kick someone they think is down.
But Dennis Hastert is neither seeking nor requiring such special attention or emotion to be wasted upon him. Furthermore, he never has. The pity party thrown for him by the Times is a pointless jab at a man who has given his life to the community. Hastert should be celebrated, not pitied. Least of all from as cynical an organization as the New York Times.
Who says the long sound bite is dead? According to an MRC analysis, "Good Morning America" devoted over 26 minutes of its two hour time slot on Monday to a fawning town hall meeting with Senator Hillary Clinton.
On Monday’s "Good Morning America," co-anchor Robin Roberts hosted a fawning town hall meeting with presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. During the opening segment, which encompassed much of the program’s first half hour, Roberts didn’t bother challenging the New York Senator and, instead, asked her softball questions.
She even told the former Fist Lady that "many people" felt her 1993 universal health care proposal was "ahead of its time." This lead to a question by an audience member who, in ‘93, just happened to have been on the Clinton’s universal health care task force:
Robin Roberts: "What you said then in, in ‘93, many people felt it was just, in some ways, ahead of its, ahead of its time. Somebody that was there, and wants to ask you what is different now, between what happened then, and he is Dr. Steve Eckstat. He is, he works at the free clinic of Iowa. Doctor?"
Town hall or pep rally? Hard to tell, judging from the first half-hour of Hillary's appearance on Good Morning America today. Host Robin Roberts lavished praise on Hillary, suggested there's unanimous support for the Dem Iraq policy, and fielded only one audience question -- which came from someone who worked on Hillarycare in 1993 and beseeched Clinton to try it again as president.
GMA today kicked off its series of Town Hall meetings with the presidential candidates. This one, featuring Hillary, was located in Des Moines, Iowa. During the opening schmooze, Hillary, speaking of Iraq, stated: "I'm very proud that all the Democrats are saying the same thing and that's what we should all be working toward, and that's to begin to change this policy and get us on the right track."
ROBERTS: That is something that I think the country completely agrees on, on both sides about that.
At the end of his 2004 campaign, Howard Dean started Democracy for America, billed as a grassroots Democratic political action committee "dedicated to supporting fiscally responsible, socially progressive candidates at all levels of government."
Last week, DFA staged an online Dem presidential candidate preference poll. As a proud DFA member [meaning that I joined the email list], I just received the results of the poll. Hillary's advisers might want to dust off Hirohito's famous statement at the end of WWII to the effect that the situation "has not progressed entirely as we would have wished." Because Hillary finished in fifth place with 8.7%, behind Dennis Kucinich and barely one point ahead of Bill Richardson. Obama finished first with 28%, John Edwards a close second at 25%.
Now it's true that this is an unscientific poll, and that DFA surely attracts people from the liberal wing of the Dem party. But then again, isn't the conventional wisdom that Dem primary voters come from that same liberal wing?
Was DFA Executive Director Tom Hughes mortified by the results? He buried the mention of Hillary's embarrassingly bad performance in the eighth paragraph of his email!
Today's Edwards announcement is an object lesson in how easy it is for us in the blogosphere to run with something juicy without double-checking the facts and/or being very, very careful to precisely word our posts so that we don't tell readers to take something to the bank that hasn't been confirmed.
It's also a lesson in how to promptly and gracefully face the music and admit error.
Earlier today, Politico's Ben Smith ran with a single anonymous source today at shortly past 11:00 a.m. saying that former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) would suspend his presidential campaign so he could tend to his wife, Elizabeth, as she battles breast cancer.
That source turned out to be wrong. Edwards will continue his campaign and Smith promptly admitted and apologized for his error (his blog post was submited at 12:34 EDT, just after the Edwards announcement). [continued...]
Time's Joe Klein is pleased that Al Gore isn't squishing out on global warming in order to make a 2008 campaign run more palatable for the American people.
As if that wasn't a liberal-enough talking point, Klein's March 22 "Swampland" blog post describes Gore's willingness to resort to the usual tax and spend policies as "putting his [Gore's] money where his mouth is." Portion in bold is my emphasis.:
Yesterday, I wrote--based on incomplete reporting of ongoing testimony
(no criticism of live-blogger Brian Beutler; the hearing was in
midstream when I posted)--that Al Gore seemed to be backing away from
his carbon-payroll tax swap. I haven't seen the complete testimony, and
the press reports are not sufficiently wonky to give all the relevant
details, but it appears that Gore is still up for the tax swap (an idea
I supported in this column last year). In fact--no surprise--he's for a
very tough global warming regime, including a ban on new coal-fired
power plants and an intense cap-and-trade regime.
yesterday that if he stepped away from the tax swap, it might mean that
Gore has political plans--but that speculation obviously was idle and
kind of dumb. In 2000, Gore proposed spending $150 billion on global
warming over the next 10 years (essentially, he wanted to spend the
entire budget surplus on global warming...you remember the budget
surplus). So he isn't averse to putting his money where his mouth is on
this issue, even when running for office. Is he running? Dunno. But, as
Jake Barnes once said to Lady Brett Ashley (or vice versa), it would be
nice to think so.
Cox began her March 21 post by pointing to a post in The New Republic's blog "The Plank":
Michael Crowley makes a point over at TNR's blog about McCain's senior
moment regarding condoms (Do they prevent AIDS? “You’ve stumped me.”)
and how his "old fashioned" bus-tour-talkathon is a bad fit with this
whole "blogging" phenomenon:
As already noted on NewsBusters, Tuesday’s "Good Morning America" defensively investigated an anonymous new attack ad against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Co-host Diane Sawyer even referred to the commercial as "drive-by ad-ing." The spot plugs fellow Democrat Barack Obama’s ‘08 bid at it’s conclusion, but ABC wasn’t buying the Illinois Senator as the culprit.
Reporter Claire Shipman helpfully observed that since the commercial puts both Clinton and Obama in a bad light, "some Democrats think a Republican operative" is responsible:
Claire Shipman: "Now, there still are no real clues about the author, but, Robin, the ultimate conspiracy theory? Some Democrats think a Republican operative could be responsible because it not only makes Hillary Clinton look bad, but Barack Obama look bad since it’s an attack ad."
It was Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards trying to revive his ‘70s disco moves and he danced around every tough question CNN’s Miles O’Brien threw at him. Most notably, how much does it cost to pay for energy in the new 28,000-square-foot mansion Edwards calls home?
“It’s actually not bad.” And followed that up with talk of how energy efficient the home was.
“I’m not telling you. It’s actually, it’s actually not bad. It’s about three or four hundred dollars, the last one I saw.”
Following that claim, Edwards backed off a bit and said “the power bill is several hundred dollars a month.”
Edwards also claimed he and his family operate the house in a “carbon neutral way,” though he wants to put caps on how much carbon dioxide businesses operate. “We have committed to operate this house in a carbon neutral way which means in addition to using energy saving devices in the house itself, to the extent that doesn’t cover it, we’re going to purchase carbon credits on the market,” said Edwards.
MSM-think: when you have no facts on a controversy, offer up the Democrats' anti-GOP conjecture. That was ABC's modus operandi this morning.
Being the astute observers of the political scene they are, most NewsBusters readers have surely watched the YouTube-based anti-Hillary campaign ad that has been making the rounds. It is a take-off on the famous Apple computer ad, which in turn was inspired by George Orwell's anti-authoritarian epic "1984." In the current version, an ominous Hillary, appearing on a wide screen to an audience of automatons, represents Big Brother in the same way IBM did in the Apple original. Barack Obama, represented by a woman athlete of a certain age, plays the hero, hurling a hammer into the screen to smash the state and free the prisoners.
The bold and brilliant Hugh Hewitt doesn't hesitate to ask journalists appearing as guests on his radio show to describe their personal political leanings. Most decline to do so in a self-righteous huff, the typical response being along the lines "that is irrelevant to my reporting, which I play down the middle." There are rare-but-welcome bursts of candor, as when former WaPo political reporter Tom Edsall famously acknowledged to Hugh that he, along with the overwhelmingly majority of his erstwhile WaPo confreres, were indeed Dems and liberals.
I mention this because a few weeks ago, Hugh had as a guest John Harris, one of the founding members of the Politico, the new web-based venture that draws many of its reporters from the ranks of some of the leading MSM institutions. Harris, for example, is the WaPo's former political editor. Hugh posed the who-did-you-vote-for question, and Harris demurred along the lines cited above. After the interview, Hewitt said he suspected that Harris and the rest of the Politco crew were indeed libs. Nevertheless, Hewitt seems to appreciate the Politico's lively and topical reporting. With that as an endorsement, I decided to sign up for the Politco's Daily Digest email, and have been reading and largely enjoying it ever since.
In Monday's Los Angeles Times, reporter James Rainey raised the issue of a conflict between political reporting and family ties: "Some of America's most prominent political journalists are, quite literally, wedded to the 2008 presidential race: Their spouses work for one of the candidates." Rainey made a short list of four of the conflicted:
As NB senior editor Tim Graham and Clay Waters of Times Watch have documented here and here, nothing gets under the skin of Democrats like using "Democrat" rather than "Democratic" as an adjective in referring to them. Thus, for example, the use of "Democrat party" apparently sends the blood pressure of the Pelosi crew skyrocketing.
But on today's Good Morning America, discussing proposals to move up the date of presidential primaries in a number of states, This Week host George Stephanopoulos [file photo] said:
“Just about every campaign strategist I spoke with, on both the Democrat as well as Republican side, said . . . “
What? George Stephanopolous referred to the "Democrat side"? Could the former Clinton aide have fallen prey to a devious GOP mind-control plot? Might he be a deep Roveian mole?
Why is it every time I see a newspulper headline about Barack Obama I envision the editors in near orgasmic delight over the "multiculturalism" they perceive in Obama, or the "connection" he has with all the peoples of the world? Or the near hero worship of his "clean and articulate" abilities they wallow in, for that matter? And how come I get a corresponding feeling that all I am getting is delightful puffs of air but no substance when I'm done reading the piece that goes with the sweetness and honey that is the headline?