Following major electoral defeats, it has become a bit of a tradition for people on the losing side to try and figure out what went wrong and how to return back to political favor. Oftentimes, these books tend to devolve into laundry lists of issues rather than explore some of the broader themes of politics itself.
Last week, I spoke to one author who avoids those problems, I’m pleased today to offer a conversation with another one, Donald Devine, a man who has spent decades in public service in academia, in government in the Reagan Administration, and outside as a conservative commentator.
On Monday's All In show, MSNBC host Chris Hayes accused Republicans of "pandering" to an "increasingly self-lathering conservative base" in trying to defund ObamaCare, as he predicted that doing so would spell an "unmitigated disaster politically" for Republicans.
Hayes mocked Republicans as uncaring as he referred to millions of people who might be affected by ObamaCare by rhetorically asking, "Though really who cares about them?"
On Monday's Morning Edition on NPR, Cokie Roberts did little to hide her feelings about the Republican National Committee's recent decision to exclude NBC and CNN from hosting future debates between would-be GOP presidential candidates. Roberts asserted that "some might think it's a little bit childish."
Roberts also brushed off the impact of the RNC's move, stating that it's "not likely to play much one way or the other" with voters.
On Friday's PoliticsNation show, during a segment in which host Al Sharpton linked the Obama rodeo clown in Missouri to alleged GOP extremism, MSNBC contributor Joy Reid declared that "the people who were whooping it up at that rodeo clown show are going to be all" the GOP have "got left," and went on to predict that the party is "shrinking down to its most extreme elements."
After clips of from past GOP presidential debates, Reid responded:
Imagine a generally conservative evangelical figure switching his party affiliation from Republican to Democratic because in his view the 2012 Republican Convention's array of speakers and the party's platform convinced him that he could no longer in good conscience be affiliated with a political party which he believed steadfastly aligned itself with sinful positions on say care for the poor or immigration reform. Network news media would surely fall all over themselves to book that preacher on their morning and Sunday shows and print publications would scramble to get an exclusive interview.
Well, that sort of treatment has not greeted the Most Reverend Thomas Tobin, the bishop who oversees the Catholic diocese of Providence in Rhode Island. At a Young Republicans event last Tuesday, Tobin noted he joined the Democratic Party in 1969, but can no longer remain one, not after the 2012 Democratic convention's war-on-women/abortion-heavy confab. Providence TV station WPRI broke the story on August 13 (emphasis mine):
At the end of Sunday's NBC Meet the Press, moderator David Gregory excitedly announced to his panel of guests: "We're coming up on an anniversary that is going to give the President an opportunity to highlight some – a presidential leadership moment." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Gregory was referring to the upcoming 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech and teed up Democratic Congresswoman Donna Edwards: "President Obama going to recreate that moment, in effect, on the – on the Washington Mall. How significant is it?" Edwards replied in part: "I think he's going to speak to economic inequality....give him an opportunity to follow up on the Dr. King dream, saying it's social equality."
One thing which is arguably worse for one's health than Obamacare is the act of reading a Paul Krugman column at the New York Times.
In his latest equivalent of a DNC press release on Thursday published in Friday's print edition, Krugman lambasted GOP Senator Rand Paul and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as "politicians who gleefully add to the misinformation" the general public allegedly has about "the deficit" (more on that shortly). But "somehow," he a delusional statement made by Democratic U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu to a veteran earlier this month, as recounted by Army Lieutenant Colonel Andre Dean Benton (bolds are mine; note the weak headline more than likely chosen by the paper and not Benton):
MSNBC host Alex Wagner appeared to tie Boston bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev to ObamaCare opposition and libertarianism on Wednesday’s Now, with liberal guests Jared Bernstein and Mark Potok taking part in the anti-conservative argument. Wagner suggested that ObamaCare “extremism would seem to be of a piece with this radicalized rhetoric” that influenced the terrorist Tsarnaev.
Bernstein, a former economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, argued that one “could draw a line” connecting the terrorist attacks in Boston to “vehement opposition” to the president’s health care law. And Mark Potok, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, added:
Talk about a hypocritical, mealy-mouthed non-apology apology . . . On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough condemned Republicans who "support[ed] George Zimmerman before they even knew the facts of the case." Scarborough then added: "you know, I got out early, said some things about George Zimmerman myself, I shouldn't have said, perhaps. I got overly emotional. But I'm not in office. And if I were in office I would have apologized."
Scarborough didn't reveal to viewers the "some things" he had said about Zimmerman. In fact, early on in the case, long before the facts were on the table,Scarborough branded Zimmerman a "murderer." But Scarborough doesn't feel the need to apologize because he's not a politician. Is that Scarborough's standard? The host of a major national show can go on the air and cavalierly and unjustly accuse someone of murder. But because he's not in public office, he has no need to apologize? View the video after the jump.
CNN's Chris Cuomo had a sharp message on Thursday's New Day for Republicans looking to get re-elected simply for opposing Obamacare.
"Any jackass can kick down a barn. But it takes a good man or woman to build one," Cuomo lectured Republicans. "The politics of 'they stink' is not enough anymore. You need to get better than that," he added before noting that "both parties" are to blame. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Politico’s Glenn Thrush attacked RNC chairman Reince Priebus last Friday for Priebus’s threat to withhold 2016 GOP primary debates from NBC and CNN. Priebus was upset because NBC and CNN are planning to run a miniseries and a documentary, respectively, about presumed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Appearing on PBS’s Inside Washington, Thrush dismissed Priebus’s criticism as mere Hillary-hating: “[W]hat he’s doing, and what a bunch of these other ancillary Republican groups are doing, is they’re doing everything they can to sort of degrade her image, to get in early, so that you can – so it’s OK to criticize Hillary Clinton again.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
USA Today's "breaking news" email ("Ex-Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. sentenced to 30 months") opened with the following opening sentence: "The nine-term Democrat from Illinois and son of the former civil rights leader had pleaded guilty in February to using $750,000 in campaign money to pay for living expenses, clothes and luxury items."
So it seemed like it would be a waste of time to click through to confirm that Jackson would be tagged as a Democrat in the story itself, right? Wrong. (UPDATE, Aug. 15: USAT revised the story and included a couple of Democrat references later in the day. The original as it appeared when this post was written is here.) USAT's Fredreka Schouten applied the "Democrat" tag once — to describe Mel Reynolds, the disgraced Congressman Jackson replaced in 1995, in her 18th paragraph. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
ObamaCare is set to hit all of us this October, and Susan Page of USA Today is already blaming the Republicans in the likely case the law turns out to be an abject failure. Appearing on MSNBC’s Weekends with Alex Witt on Saturday, Page made a confession that has been hard for the liberal media to make: “[W]e are entering this really critical period when we’re going to find out if [ObamaCare] works the way it's supposed to work or not.”
A previous Democratic Congress passed the Affordable Care Act so we could find out what was in it, as Nancy Pelosi infamously quipped. But we won’t truly know how it works – or if it works – until it is implemented. It was courageous of Page to admit that ObamaCare is still a question mark. But she may sense that the health care law will fail to work as it was intended, because she quickly blamed Republicans for the potential failure of the law: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Appearing as a guest on Monday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC, Washington Post political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson voiced agreement with comments by Hillary Clinton that a voting bill recently passed by the legislature in North Carolina is "the greatest hits of voter suppression." Henderson:
While NewsBusters really doesn’t target op-eds, especially ones that are printed in the New York Times, egregiously absurd arguments merit exposure and ridicule. Enter Frank Bruni's August 14 column, wherein the Times scribe discussed how our culture facilitates the objectification of women.
Curiously, Bruni buried longtime Democratic politician Bob Filner, who saw women as objects he could grope, towards the end of his column. The decay occurring in our popular culture is a valid point Bruni makes, but he hurtled off the rails when he had this to say about ultrasound laws:
John Blackstone promoted Hillary Clinton's potential 2016 presidential run on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, and minimized the ongoing questions about her leadership before, during, and after the September 11, 2012 Islamist attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. For opposition, Blackstone merely noted that "a new ad, just released by the GOP, criticizes Clinton's handling of the terrorist attack in Benghazi", without further explaining the issue.
The correspondent also buried the staunchly pro-abortion and partisan stance of Emily's List. He vaguely labeled the pro-Democratic PAC a "group that promotes women candidates."
On Friday, Eric Holder's Department of Justice gave the memory-hole treatment to wildly inflated statistics released last October about the number of cases and the amount of money involved in DOJ's mortgage fraud enforcement efforts.
Bloomberg News reporters who had discovered that the original numbers were suspect had been getting stonewalled for months in their efforts to get answers to their queries, and finally got them through the document-dump route. The differences are stark.
On Monday's CBS This Morning, Major Garrett played up how President Obama has vacationed "less than his predecessor, President George W. Bush – 14 trips and 92 vacation days, compared to 50 trips and 323 for Mr. Bush." Garrett cited colleague Mark Knoller's presidential vacation figures, but overlooked Knoller's emphasis that whatever the amount of vacation time, "the burdens and responsibilities of the office" travel with the President.
Garrett did point out that the Mr. Obama is "confronting some of the diciest poll numbers of his presidency." Anchor Norah O'Donnell also stated that "the President's approval rating is taking a nosedive."
Appearing as a guest on Friday's PoliticsNation, Washington Post political reporter Nia-Malika Henderson declared that President Obama had "framed it very nicely" when he asserted that Republicans "want to shut down the government so that they can deny 30 million people health care." Henderson:
Oftentimes on the Right, there is a tendency to see a tension between being strategic and being principled. Primarily, this is because many of the people who often speak of strategy have evinced a willingness to jettison principle too readily. But is there necessarily a conflict between these two objectives? Not really.
One person who understands this point very well is W. James Antle III, the author of a new book called Devouring Freedom: Can Big Government Ever Be Stopped? There have been many books written in recent years pondering the question of what conservatives can do to better succeed in the political marketplace, Jim’s work is one of the few that provides a high-level look at what has worked in the past for the Right and puts it into a broader strategic framework for today’s challenges. I had the pleasure of discussing it with him at length recently. A transcript of our conversation follows.
ABC's Jonathan Karl admitted "it's hard to take Trump seriously," yet he spent almost a minute of his report on Monday's Good Morning America playing up Donald Trump's possible 2016 candidacy amidst Trump's birther questions. He also hyped Hillary Clinton's potential candiacy.
In contrast Karl gave just 7 seconds to 2012 GOP candidate Rick Santorum, who appeared at the Iowa State Fair over the weekend and roused speculation of a 2016 run. Almost a whole minute of Karl's report focused on Trump. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Thursday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton touted the pro-abortion group NARAL's deceptive attacks on "crisis pregancy centers" in Virginia which try to encourage pregnant women not to have abortions, as NARAL accused these pro-life groups of "lying." Picking up on an article posted by the far left Think Progress, the MSNBC host gave NARAL President Ilyse Hogue a sympathetic forum to promote her agenda.
In trying to prove these pro-life groups wrong, Sharpton quoted the CDC's Web site in describing condoms as acting as an "impermeable barrier," although he ignored the first line of the CDC document which concedes that condoms merely "reduce the risk of STD transmission," as the site displays the words "though not elminate" in parentheses, as the MSNBC host gave the impression that condoms could be considered infallible.
While MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell admitted that the planned NBC biopic of Hillary Clinton was a "bad idea," on her Thursday 1 p.m. ET hour show she and her guests scolded Republicans for refusing to allow the biased network to moderate GOP primary debates: "That's where you get debates where the audience is cheering because they were all hand picked by local or state parties, that's where you get candidates like Mitt Romney talking about self-deportation to try to play to the crowd." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Mitchell made that observation while discussing the topic with former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, not exactly someone with the best interests of the GOP at heart. Gibbs ranted: "If you're only going to do debates in front of diehard Republicans that 100% agree with you, you're going to end up pushing yourself farther and farther and farther to the right....you're not going to win any national elections."
The fix applied to the original story by Russ "Nobody's Fool" Bynum's is at least as weaselly as the original, especially when one realizes what will and will not end up in the historical record. The full correction, which based on the related video gives Obama a benefit of the doubt to which he is clearly not entitled, followed by the relevant portions of the story's revised content, are both after the jump.
The Washington Post’s Josh Hicks can’t be living under a rock, so his piece of the IRS’ postponement of their August furlough day is probably just fluff to fill space on the website. His August 8 story had no mention of the fact that the agency is under a congressional microscope from its past activities of targeting both conservative and progressive groups. This, along with the analysis done by NewsBusters’ Geoff Dickens, is another example of the news media giving the agency political cover.
Frankly, any interesting piece of news coming from the IRS should be about the scandal, especially since Hicks quotes Colleen Kelley, the president of the National Treasury Employees Union, who has a tenuous connection to the scandal itself. Last May, Jeffrey Lord at the American Spectator wrote that Kelley could be the “smoking gun” in the IRS scandal. She met with the president on March 31, 2010, and the alleged targeting began the next day. As Lord noted:
There’s nothing liberal media members love more than a Republican who attacks other Republicans in front of the TV cameras. That probably explains the media’s rediscovered fascination with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the 2008 GOP presidential nominee. ABC’s Jeff Zeleny interviewed McCain last Friday for the ABC News / Yahoo News online series The Fine Print, and he used the veteran senator as a weapon against some of the younger, more conservative senators.
Zeleny set the tone right from his opening script, in which he proclaimed, “[McCain] is drawing sharp criticism from some of his new Republican colleagues, like Senator Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, but he’s throwing that criticism right back, saying they make him worry about the future of the Republican Party.”
As regular readers of NewsBusters are well aware, the Washington Post's Style section has a habit of frequently ginning up puffy human-interest stories about all kinds of liberal politicians and celebrities. It's rare that they do a positive profile of a conservative or libertarian.
So it's worth pointing out when they do just that. In a 26-paragraph profile, Post staff writer Megan McDonough highlighted Arlington, Va., resident Remy Munasifi, a libertarian conservative YouTube sensation, whose most recent parody video "Blurred Junk" takes a swipe at Democratic New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner (that video embedded below). Here's a taste of McDonough's article. For the full thing, go here.
It's not just conservatives who think it's a horrible idea for NBC to run a Hillary Clinton miniseries before the 2016 election. Network anchor Chuck Todd worries about the perception of bias, even as he insists that there's a tall wall of separation between his network's news and entertainment divisions.
What's a little Justice Department spying between friends? Or, more accurately, between a master and his lapdogs?
In May, Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder admitted to obtaining phone records involving 20 business, residential, and personal lines used by over 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press during April and May 2012. After some lawyerly whining for appearances' sake, the wire service more appropriately known as the Administration's Press is back to its old tricks, and then some. On Wednesday, as will be seen after the jump, reporter Russ Bynum disgracefully covered up a geographic gaffe by President Obama during his Tuesday appearance on Jay Leno's show.
RNC chair Reince Priebus went on CNN on Tuesday and castigated the network for "promoting" Hillary Clinton and her "cult of personality" before the 2016 election. CNN films will be producing a documentary on Clinton, who may run for president in 2016.
On OutFront, Priebus explained, "we ought not have moderators and companies that are in the business of promoting a Democratic opponent three years before an election." He later told host Erin Burnett that the GOP could "move on" without partaking in a 2016 primary debate hosted by CNN. "The sun doesn't rise and set with CNN and NBC," he asserted. [Video below the break. Audio here.]