Could Sen. Jim Bunning's desire to pay for extended unemployment benefits with stimulus funds be the result of a serious mental disorder? So suggested Rachel Maddow during her show last night. Maddow based her report on unfouded allegations from a liberal newspaper, and neglected to mention the numerous unstable congressional Democrats that have come unhinged from time to time.
Maddow noted that "even his hometown newspaper has at times questioned his mental fitness," and quoted the Louisville Courier Journal, which in October 2004 asked, "Is his increasing belligerence an indication of something worse? Has [he] drifted into territory that indicates a serious health concern?"
Of course Maddow neglected to mention that Bunning's doctor at the time said his health was "excellent". His campaign manager said the Courier-Journal was spreading false accusations to damage Bunning's election prospects "because he's not a liberal." A political press? Never! (Clips from Maddow's show below the fold - h/t Brian Maloney.)
Liberals who simply cannot understand why Sarah Palin is so popular often attribute her success to her looks. The excuse conveniently allows them to sidestep any discussion of the issues she raises, and allows them to maintain a feeling of intellectual superiority to Palin and her supporters.
Fox News contributor Juan Williams, also a reporter for NPR and the Washington Post, was at a complete loss when Sean Hannity told him last night that he would rather Palin be president than Barack Obama. "Your libido is getting in the way of your thinking," Williams told Hannity.
Hannity and another guest, S.E. Cupp, noted the utter sexism in Williams' remarks. But don't expect to see a press release from the National Organization for Women or any other feminist group. Palin doesn't serve the liberal agenda, so she's fair game for claims that she'd be nowhere without her looks.
Williams thinks his comments are complimentary -- could he really believe it is a compliment to say a woman would not be successful if she weren't a "centerfold"? (Video and transcript below the fold.)
Introducing a story on the latest effort pass health care reform on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez proclaimed: "This morning President Obama is putting health care reform on the fast-track, declaring that it's year-long journey must be completed in Congress quickly."
At the top of the show, co-host Harry Smith had similarly declared: "President Obama says the health care debate is over. He wants a reform bill on his desk in the next few weeks." A Headline on screen read: "Health Care Fast-Track."
White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the so-called "fast-track" plan: "The President yesterday rejected Republican calls to start over, saying that it is time to make a decision on health care....he made it clear that he's willing to get this done with a legislative maneuver requiring no Republican support." At the end of his report, Plante acknowledged things weren't quite so simple: "this is by no means a done deal....Republicans united in opposition, Democrats wavering because of elections this fall."
Why can't President Obama get a health care bill through Congress? Nope, it has nothing to do with the fact that a clear majority of the country doesn't want the federal government overhauling seventeen percent of the economy. The problem is he is just too darn reasonable.
So posits Newsweek's Andrew Romano, who notes that Obama could have gone wholesale-government-takeover on health care and a number of other legislative proposals during the past year. He opted for mandates and regulations rather than single-payer and hundreds of billions of dollars in wasteful stimulus spending instead of a trillion plus.
"Obama has chosen to support what he believes to be the best possible proposal instead of what he believes to be the best imaginable proposal," Romano states. Reasonableness in this context is simply a moderation in the president's march towards statism. He COULD be sprinting towards socialized medicine. Instead, his movement towards government control is more of a leisurely stroll. Unfortunately for the president the American people have rejected that approach as well.
On Wednesday's Morning Joe on MSNBC, host Joe Scarborough pointed out the cover of the latest edition of Newsweek magazine, which proclaimed "Victory At Last; The Emergence of A Democratic Iraq" and featured a picture of President George W. Bush walking the deck of an aircraft carrier. However, the image of Newsweek that appeared on screen cropped out President Bush's face entirely (h/t George Miller).
The magazine cover showed Bush on the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln in 2003, after making his "Mission Accomplished" speech following the successful invasion of Iraq. While Newsweek cropped the picture to include half of Bush's body and face, MSNBC further cropped the image to leave only the arm of the former president visible (See original Newsweek cover below).
One of Scarborough's guests, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haass, reacted to Newsweek's declaration of victory in Iraq: "Too positive....For sure. We're going to take months to see a new government formed and we don't know how well the new government's going to operate....Too soon to take out the champagne, if ever." Show co-host Mika Brzezinski added: "Still a lot of controversy as to why we went in."
On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer ranted against Republican Senator Jim Bunning's opposition to a spending bill: "it's unconscionable what has happened here....this is about politics. It is not – it was not about anything of substance." [Audio available here]
Co-host Maggie Rodriguez began the segment by explaining that Bunning had stopped blocking the legislation and asked Schieffer: "Isn't this just another example of why it takes so long to get things done in Congress?" Schieffer agreed, claiming: "it's another example...of why there is so much anger and disillusionment out in the country about Congress."
Schieffer went on to dismiss the Kentucky Senator's concerns over the rising deficit: "[He] claimed he was doing this because he was trying to get the Senate to go along with the Republican principle and that is pay things...before they approve them but this was emergency legislation." In reality, Democrats, not Republicans, just passed pay-as-you-go legislation last week, mandating that all new spending being paid for before passage. As for the "emergency" nature of the bill, on Tuesday's Early Show, CBS White House correspondent Chip Reid claimed it was simply "routine legislation."
Some faulty memes get repeated so often they get burned in the media's collective memory as fact, even though they are myth. Perhaps the most notable example of that in 2009 was the myth that the New York 23rd congressional district had been solidly Republican since the Civil War until Doug Hoffman's third-party challenge of the liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava ensured a Democrat's victory in a special election. We've a lot of 2010 left to go, but perhaps history will record the greatest political myth of this year as Jim Bunning's "filibuster" that was anything but.
This isnot a filibuster, which is a specific procedure in which Senators force debate to continue indefinitely as a means to block a final vote, denying “cloture” to the majority party. Alternatively, and now somewhat archaically, it also describes an effort by one Senator to just continue talking to stall action. Bunning is using another mechanism altogether, one that won’t block a final vote, although it will delay it:
John Roberts and Kiran Chetry omitted mentioning that Annabel Park, the founder of the so-called Coffee Party, worked as a volunteer for President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, during an interview on Wednesday's American Morning. The anchors also didn't mention Park's past work for the liberal New York Times.
Roberts and Chetry interviewed the Coffee Party USA founder at the bottom of the 8 am Eastern hour. After an initial question about the origin of the name, the two asked about the principles of the nascent movement and if health care "reform" was going to be a major issue for it. In her last question to Park, Chetry did ask if the Coffee Party had any ties to a political party: "[T]he tea party movement really, in some ways, has been a challenge to Republicans to move more toward fiscal conservative ideals. Are you aligned with a party? I mean, as we know, passing health care reform has been a huge goal of liberal Democrats for decades. Are you aligned with the Democrats, trying to get them more to move to the left when it comes to health care?"
On Tuesday's Rick's List on CNN, Rick Sanchez again hinted that Texas Governor Rick Perry is a racist. Sanchez, reacting to the distinct possibility that Perry would win the Republican gubernatorial primary, referenced a comment he made at a tea party rally in 2009: "He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term" [audio clip available here].
The CNN anchor discussed the Republican primary with Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News. He asked the journalist, "Perry's going to win this thing, right?" After Slater noted how Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison lost her early lead in the polls over Perry, Sanchez responded, with some shock, "Why? I mean- you know, when he came out with his comment. Remember, you and I talked about it when he said it. I mean, he was all about secession from the union. He was talking about states' rights. States' rights is, to most people of color, a racist term, and I thought he had hurt himself. Why wasn't she able to, kind of, jump on that and use it?"
Slater explained that the typical Republican primary voter in Texas is "very conservative," and that Perry had actually won the nomination race after he had made his "states' rights" remark at the tea party. This didn't calm Sanchez, however, and he followed up by asking, "Well, but shouldn't we be frightened by that?"
Just days after Rick Sanchez and his producer asked for "hardship stories" online, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 program on Tuesday looked for people who have lost their unemployment benefits due to Republican Senator Jim Bunning's opposition to a $10 billion emergency measure which would have extended benefits.
The unsigned entry on the AC360 blog, which was posted on Tuesday afternoon, first recapped how Democrats attacked Bunning for blocking the unanimous consent of the measure. In the last sentence of the entry, the unnamed author asked readers of CNN.com to reply for their sob stories:
Reporting on Republican Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning blocking spending legislation over deficit concerns at the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith proclaimed: "Congressional quagmire. Democrats blame one Republican senator for preventing thousands of federal workers from working."
In a later report, White House correspondent Chip Reid continued to assail Bunning: "The White House is pointing its finger at a single Republican senator who they say is standing in the way of federal aid for hundreds of thousands of unemployed Americans....he is single-handedly holding up a routine piece of legislation." Rather than address Bunning's spending concerns, Reid declared: "Because of his objection, 2,000 federal transportation workers had to be furloughed without pay. 400,000 Americans risk losing their unemployment benefits over the next seven to ten days. And Medicare fees for doctors suddenly slashed by 21%."
Reid briefly noted: "Bunning wants the Democrats to come up with a way to pay the $10 billion price tag." A couple clips were played of the Kentucky Senator voicing his opposition: "And I'm going to object every time because you won't pay for this....We cannot keep adding to the debt."
You have to feel bad for some journalists. They spend all day struggling to keep up the whole "disinterested reporter" act, only to be undone by their own Tweets. In a moment of weakness, maybe at the end of a long day, something pushes them over the edge - good (they catch a glimpse of the first lady's arms or Sarah Palin suffers some embarrassment) or bad (Obama's latest poll numbers or Sarah Palin enjoying some victory). Their hands go instinctively for the Blackberry and they furiously thumb out their innermost liberal feelings.
Take Ali Velshi. CNN's chief business correspondent tweeted recently that Kentucky Senator Jim Bunning is an "embarrassment 2 the Senate, 2 Washington, & 2 politics." Velshi's tweet linked to a CNN article titled "Lone Senator Blocks Unemployment Extensions," which criticized Bunning for demanding fiscal responsibility before passing a $10 billion unemployment package.
On Monday's CBS Early Show, White House correspondent Bill Plante reported on the possibility of Democrats using reconciliation to pass a health care reform bill and noted how Republicans used the procedure when they were in the majority: "In the past it has helped the majority party push through some controversial legislation. In 2001, Republicans used it to pass a giant $1.3 trillion tax cut."
A Media Research Center special report conducted from January 20 to March 31 in 2001 found that out of 94 judgements of the size of the Bush tax cuts on ABC, NBC, and CBS, "84 percent...labeled it as 'big' or 'huge' or otherwise portrayed it as large." CBS was one of the worst offenders, with various reporters describing the cuts as large a total of 14 times in that ten-week period. Then-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather alone used the word "big" 11 times to describe the tax cuts.
Meanwhile, on Monday's Early Show, Plante did not use the "giant" label to describe the massive ObamaCare legislation, simply referring to it as a "sweeping proposal." According to a Heritage Foundation study by James C. Capretta, the total cost of the bill could add up to $2.5 trillion over ten years.
The Washington Post issued a correction on Saturday in which it apologized for a mischaracterization of the House Republican Whip's use of a printout of the Senate-passed health care bill:
In a Feb. 26 editorial, we said Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was "posturing" during the Thursday health-care summit by stacking the voluminous Senate bill before him. Mr. Cantor says that he had the bill with him, well-tabbed, not for show but so that Republicans could respond if specific provisions of the bill came up for discussion. That makes sense, and we should not have characterized his purpose as we did.
A report on the health care summit on Friday's CBS Early Show featured a clip of President Obama scolding lawmakers for "trading talking points" during the meeting, that was followed by correspondent Bill Plante pointing a finger at the GOP: "But from their first speaker, Republicans never backed down from their opposition to the Democrats' bill."
Plante noted that "John McCain, the President's opponent In 2008, challenged the process by which the Democrats' bill was produced." After a clip was played of McCain denouncing the lack of change in Washington, Plante touted how "the President shot back," playing a clip of Obama proclaiming "the election is over." Plante also highlighted an exchange in which Obama slammed Senator Lamar Alexander, telling the Tennessee Republican to get his "facts straight."
Oddly, after displaying the President's clearly partisan attacks, Plante concluded: "Democrats emerged from the meeting saying they still want bipartisanship. Republicans said they don't see that happening."
On Thursday's CBS Evening News, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how "exasperated" President Obama was with Republicans, who proved they were the "party of no."
Conservative dominance of the talk radio airwaves continues, but liberals are making concerted efforts to get their voices heard through large top-down campaigns.
Organizing for America--the campaign arm of the Obama administration--is rolling out the astroturf in an effort to get liberal voices heard on the nation's most popular (i.e. conservative) talk radio shows. The campaign is called "On the Air."
Visitors at radio.barackobama.com (talk about grassroots!) are provided with a phone number of a conservative talk radio show, and a list of health care talking points. They are instructed to call when health care comes up and reissue these points for the benefit of that station's audience.
OFA makes sure to note that the talking points are "only to provide extra information and suggestions." Tell that to Ellie Light.
CNN, both on-air and on its website, highlighted how Democratic leaders and President Obama spoke more than twice as long as Republican leaders at Thursday's health care summit. CNN.com's Political Ticker on Thursday noted how Republicans "spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time." The statistic was also cited on Campbell Brown on Thursday and American Morning on Friday.
The network's Jeff Simon and Charles Riley put up a six-paragraph article on the lopsided figures on CNN.com at 7:12 pm Eastern time: "A CNN analysis of the meeting shows that Democrats - including President Obama, who helmed the meeting - were granted more than twice the amount of speaking time as Republicans. Democrats spoke for a total of 135 minutes while President Obama spoke for 122 minutes, for a total of 257 minutes. Republicans, meanwhile, spoke for just 111 minutes, about 30 percent of the total speaking time."
Speculation was rampant that today's health care summit could be a trap for Republicans. In fact, Republicans performed as well as they could have, given the hostile circumstances. The best part: the national media was compelled to cover it all.
The concern for the GOP going in was that President Obama, with his supreme oratory skills, would back the GOP into a corner and get them to agree to legislation out of sheer political necessity. The national news media would, of course, be lying in wait, cameras rolling, anticipating a slip up to fill the evening broadcasts.
But none came; at least on the Republican side. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., one of the GOP's fastest-rising stars, laid out the free market health care argument for the nation to see. He told the president and the American people (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript),
Robert Siegel, an anchor of NPR’s evening newscast All Things Considered, had an emotional response on Wednesday night as Pew pollster Andrew Kohut described how young adults voted heavily for Obama and call themselves liberals, are less "militaristic" and less religious: "Who raised these terrific kids, Andy?" The men laughed.
The Pew Research Center studied the "millennials," those aged 18 to 29 who did much growing up in the first decade of the new century. Here’s how the discussion unfolded:
SIEGEL: Give us a thumbnail sketch of the millennials.
KOHUT: They're Democratic. They voted very heavily for Barack Obama. They're a little less supportive of Obama today, but still - compared to other generations - they are more supportive of the Democratic Party. They're more supportive of Barack Obama.
They call themselves liberals. Yes, they use the L-word. Twenty-nine percent of them say they're liberals. Less than 20 percent of all of the other generations say that. They're very tolerant of gays and race...
Speaking to California Governor Arnold Schwarzengger on Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith noted the success of the tea party movement, but spun it as a negative for the Republican Party: "There are winds of change blowing in the Republican Party. The tea party has met. There's a – it feels like a significant shift to the Right. Can the Republican Party exist without moderates?"
Prior to that, Smith asked if Schwarzenegger had any helpful advice for President Obama: "His approval ratings are dropping. He's under fire from all kinds of quadrants. If you're going to give him some advice as to how to stay his course, what would you tell him?" Schwarzenegger initially replied: "I don't think that...he needs advice from me." He then went on to praise the President's efforts on health care reform: "you have to give him credit for taking the risk. You have to give any leader credit for always going out on a limb and to go and fight for something."
Smith failed to wonder if Democrats could survive without moderates following the announced retirement of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh last week.
"I pray God when the Democrats take back control we don’t make the kind of naked power grab you are doing." - Joe Biden, 2005
Few Americans would be shocked to hear that members of Congress are not always consistent, and occasionally outright hypocritical. Very often, however, the liberal media attempts to downplay Democratic double standards and highlight Republican ones.
Each recent change in the congressional majority, it seems has brought calls from the newly dominant party for an end to the filibuster. This Democratic majority is no different.
When noting rhetorical inconsistencies, however, the mainstream media has jumped at the chance to note that Republicans, now using the filibuster as a potential means to block Democratic health care legislation, were ardent advocates of majoritarianism in the Senate only a few years ago (as demonstrated in the video below the fold).
Appearing in the 3PM ET hour on MSNBC on Wednesday, Huffington Post writer Ryan Grim claimed that President Obama's latest version of health care reform was actually a conservative approach: "We actually already have a Republican bill, and it's the one that Obama has proposed....It's all about choice. Everything in it is a Republican kind of free market-based idea."
Speaking to anchor David Shuster, Grim continued his bizarre argument: "The idea that this is a Democratic bill, you know, that this is some left-wing plot, some government takeover that they're going to ram through the Senate, is the part that's the problem. This is a very centrist, leaning conservative health care reform bill."
The segment also featured Sally Pipes, author of "Top 10 Myths of American Health Care," who dismantled Grim's assertions: "I disagree with Ryan that this is a conservative blueprint that the President has put forward. It's very much not what the Republicans are talking about in terms of changing the tax code, portability, reducing mandates. What this is about is getting government more involved in our health care industry."
On Wednesday's American Morning, CNN's John Roberts acknowledged the high abortion rate of blacks as he moderated a debate on a pro-life billboard campaign in Georgia which accuses the abortion industry of targeting the black community. Roberts joined his colleague Steve Osunsami at ABC News in highlighting this billboard campaign.
The CNN anchor brought on Catherine Davis, the director of minority outreach for Georgia Right to Life, and Dr. Artis Cash of Shreveport, Louisiana's chapter of Al Sharpton's National Action Network just after the bottom of the 6 am Eastern hour. He first asked Davis, "Why did you see the need for this campaign?" Davis answered, "The numbers of abortions that are happening in Georgia and around the country are startling....In 2008, the most recent figures that we have from the state of Georgia, over 18,901 of the 32,000 abortions that were done, were done on black women. So, we want to alert the community and awaken the community to the devastating impact that abortion is having on our community."
Roberts verified the accuracy of the pro-lifers numbers: "Those figures that you cite from 2008 would seem to be in line with the CDC findings- Centers for Disease Control findings- from 2006, which found 57.4 percent of abortions in Georgia were performed on black women, even though African-Americans only make up 30 percent of the population."
According to Vanity Fair's Matt Pressman, President Obama's plummeting approval rate isn't just affecting the Oval Office, it has liberal magazines suffering and conservative titles flourishing. "Hate sells," Pressman wrote in his Feb. 23 article, and, with fewer Americans approving of the President, conservative magazines have enjoyed a "boost from the anti-government, tea-party led fervor."
"The most prominent and biggest-selling [conservative magazine], The National Review, definitely seemed to experience an Obama-hatred bump in 2009," Pressman said.
Near the end of the Tuesday 3 p.m. EST hour on MSNBC, anchor David Shuster invoked the riveting “Toyota hearings” currently taking place on Capitol Hill as an excuse to compile a grab-bag of liberal gotcha moments – consisting of Joe McCarthy, Iran-Contra, and Watergate – and ignore historical events unfavorable to liberals.
He also seized upon the opportunity to chide Fox News in the context of Oliver North, who was involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and currently works for the network. “North was convicted of criminal charges, but the conviction was vacated on appeal. Wonder what he’s doing now. Hmmm…” said Shuster.
Update further down in bold recounting thatHouse Democratic Whip James Clyburn once described health care reform as being part of "rectifying effects of past discrimination," which Chris Matthews referred to as "reparations."
On Tuesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann picked up on an item from the far left Media Matters for America to charge that conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh is "putting on his sheet" and "dropping any remaining pretense that the opposition to health care reform is not flat-out racism." Inspired by a quote in which Limbaugh used the terms "civil rights" and "reparations" while discussing health care reform with a caller, Olbermann began the segment on Limbaugh by recounting what he viewed as "race-baiting" against President Obama. Olbermann:
There is no mystery as to why President Obama has been accused more than any other recent Democratic President of being socialist, fascist, communist, take your pick. The ugliest surviving strain and stain in American politics is still race-baiting. But it`s particularly offensive when it surfaces so very blatantly. Maybe it is better this way, though. Rush Limbaugh has declared that the President`s health care reform package is a civil rights bill and constitutes reparations.
It's hardly news that black conservatives are reviled among much of the left. There seems to be a sense among much of the liberal media that they have betrayed their own interests through their conservative principles.
Few, however, would have the (dare I say it) audacity to lump prominent and accomplished African American political figures in with oppressive genocidal dictators and serial killers.
But TheRoot.com, a blog owned by the Washington Post, seems to have no qualms about doing so, as evidenced in its list of 21 "Black Folks We'd Like To Remove From Black History". Among the names are Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele.
Also included on the list: murderous Ugandan military dictator Idi Amin, the notorious "DC Sniper" John Allen Muhammad, Zimbabwean kleptocrat Robert Mugabe and the ruthless father-and-son Haitian dictators "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
At the top of Tuesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith promoted the idea of division within the GOP as he declared: "A controversial vote for brand new Republican Senator Scott Brown, as he sides with Democrats to help push through a jobs bill."
While it's certainly true that some conservatives took real issue with Brown's support of the $15 billion spending bill, Smith clearly saw an opportunity to stir up conflict on the Right: "the senator who broke the Democrats' super majority, Scott Brown, is taking some heat today from conservatives."
Rather than talk to any conservatives about the issue, Smith instead turned to liberal-leaning political analyst John Dickerson and observed that Brown siding with Democrats was a sign of his independence: "It's very interesting, though, because Scott Brown actually showed up at the CPAC meeting, the conservative meeting over the weekend in Washington, and yesterday he was quoted as 'I said I came to Washington to be an independent voice.'" Dickerson replied: "That's right. He said he was going to be independent and he, in fact, voted independently in this case."