"If presidential leadership were only about giving speeches, the jackhammers would already be at work on Mt. Rushmore."
So amazingly said Newsweek's Howard Fineman shortly after President Obama finished his State of the Union Address, but that wasn't the only absurd thing he told MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Wednesday's "Countdown."
"In many, many ways, this is one of the most conservative speeches that a Democratic president has given since I think the middle of Bill Clinton's time," Fineman idiotically claimed.
I guess in all his excitement, Fineman forgot that Obama IS the first Democrat in the White House SINCE Clinton (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
Writing the cover story for the February issue of Newsweek magazine, editor Jon Meacham examined “The Trouble With Barack”, arguing the President: “is accused of being too radical, but he’s been governing from the middle for a year.” Meacham then wondered: “So why all the anger?” Answering his own question: “Because he’s leading with his head, not his heart.”
Meacham began the piece by assuring readers of his own political moderation: “I am a Southerner, a churchgoer, and a swing voter in presidential elections....I have no automatic faith in government’s capacity to solve problems. I share these details to make clear that I am not a reflexive lefty. Far from it.”
Having established his credentials as a “swing voter,” Meacham continued with his assertion that Obama is no liberal: “I hope President Obama does not take the conventional message from the Democrats’ drubbing in Massachusetts...go to the center, Mr. President. Turn right before it is too late....the evidence fails to support the contention that the Barack Obama...was a Chicago Che or even an unreconstructed Great Society liberal. Obama is essentially a centrist.”
Krista Gesaman of Newsweek.com's Gaggle blog could have saved herself from the indignity of making the absurd claim that young women were "missing" from protests marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by merely searching through the past coverage of the March for Life by the Washington Post, Newsweek's sister publication. In past years, the Post has highlighted the "youthful throng," the "large turnout of young people," and has quoted from teenagers participating at the annual pro-life March.
My colleague Ken Shepherd noted Gesaman's beyond faulty conclusion on Friday, and highlighted a recent Marist poll that indicated that "58 percent of persons aged 18-29 view abortion as 'morally wrong.'" Members of this age were all born after the 1973 Roe decision by the Supreme Court, so it's not that surprising of a statistic. He also underlined how "hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life."
Updated [14:30 EST, see bottom of post]: Nearly 6-out-of-10 young adults are pro-life a new survey finds.
Every January, hundreds if not thousands of busloads teeming with teenagers and college students, many of them young women, descend on the nation's capital for the annual March for Life.
But if one were to believe Newsweek's Krista Gesaman, the March is an aging senior citizen affair that is hurting for attendance by young women (emphasis mine):
Today is the 37th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case legalizing abortion, and droves of women are prepared to face rainy weather to support their positions during the annual Washington, D.C., demonstrations. But there will be one major difference with the demonstration route this year—it’s shorter.
“The organizers are getting older, and it’s more difficult for them to walk a long distance,” says Stanley Radzilowski, an officer in the planning unit for the Washington, D.C., police department. A majority of the participants are in their 60s and were the original pioneers either for or against the case, he says.
So this raises the question: where are the young, vibrant women supporting their pro-life or pro-choice positions? Likely, they’re at home.
At this point, Gesaman turned to a feminist professor from the University of Maryland who sees an equal lack of energy among young pro-choice and pro-life women:
In this week's Newsweek, Howard Fineman cracked wise about how Fox News boss Roger Ailes is also "the real head of the GOP." Fineman wrote like an MSNBC loyalist, suggesting Fox and facts don't really go together:
The irony is that Ailes is not in the game to wield political power per se. He doesn't talk to the RNC and he can't stand most elected politicians, even the ones he puts on the air. "It's beneath him to get into politics," says a longtime friend. In his universe, the Washington equation is reversed: political power begets profits, not the other way around. But if politics is a nonstop talk show, being the head booker means you are the boss. If Fox feels Nixonian in its resentments and its sometimes shaky fealty to the facts, well, that is what Jon Stewart is for.
As a probable Coakley loss became apparent over the past few days, the liberal excuse machine has been gearing up to spin away as much as it can to dismiss a Scott Brown victory as inconsequential to the national political climate, despite the crucial nature of the seat to a Democratic super-majority.
It is a strange paradigm among much of the mainstream media that plummeting poll numbers are of far greater import for Republicans than they are for Democrats. That, at least, is the logical conclusion of the relative silence of major media outlets on the steep decline in President Obama's poll numbers compared with the decline in President Bush's.
According to an Allstate/National Journal poll released Wednesday, 50 percent of Americans would vote against President Obama if the presidential elections were held today. Only 39 percent say they would vote to re-elect the president.
But so far, this stunning development--given the President's sky-high approval ratings upon entering office--has gone seemingly unnoticed by the major television networks and most prominent print publications. Aside from some prominent blogs (whose coverage is by no means substandard), the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the Washington Examiner are so far the only major outlets to report on the poll, according to a google news search (as of 2:00 PM).
Lamenting how Nancy Pelosi's archbishop has "slap[ped] her down," in an online statement addressing the House Speaker's excuse-making for her pro-abortion record, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift used a January 15 Gaggle blog post to praise Pelosi, no stranger to pastoral rebuke, as both a good pro-choice Democrat and a good Catholic:
It's anybody's guess whether in the new world of Internet media the archbishop's online commentary rebuking Pelosi falls under his pastoral duties, or public advocacy. Either way, Pelosi remains unshaken in her views, and in her Catholic faith.
"Free will cannot be cited as justification for society to allow moral choices that strike at the most fundamental rights of others. Such a choice is abortion, which constitutes the taking of innocent human life, and cannot be justified by any Catholic notion of freedom."
Yet Clift left out another key excerpt from Neiderauer's "archbishop's journal" column (emphasis mine):
Newsweek has offered President Obama their cover story for next week's issue on Haiti. With this kind of an offer, Newsweek has signaled that it's now gone beyond its repeated gooey cover stories on Obama to actually just offering their pages for Obama to write. But Daniel Farber of the CBS News blog Political Hotsheet applauded the idea:
What better for Newsweek than to have the commander-in-chief of the United States spend his time carefully crafting a few thousand words that put the tragedy in Port-au-Prince in perspective for its readers.
He is a very capable writer, as evidenced by his speeches and books "Dreams of My Father" and "Audacity of Hope." And, Mr. Obama often uses his bully pulpit and the press to build consensus for his agenda.
This is the latest piece of evidence that Newsweek editor Jon Meacham is turning this magazine into "Op-EdWeek." Why send reporters to Haiti when you can just run an article by today's Abe Lincoln?
"We published Bush 41 making the case for his gulf policy; is that the work of a bunch of lefties?" Meacham wrote.
"We've published Ronald Reagan and John McCain, and we invited George W. Bush to write in our pages," Meacham continued. "The occasion for the Obama essay is an international tragedy with humanitarian and political implications. There is nothing partisan about the rescue and relief efforts (Rush Limbaugh disagrees, but I think most reasonable people would agree with my view, not his), and the coming debate over the extent of our rebuilding efforts is one that will shaped by the President.
"Hearing him on our national interests in Haiti is a way to add value for Newsweek's readers and, we hope, to inform the debate about what will inevitably be a long and costly undertaking in one of the world's most blighted countries."
Any conservative who remembers Hurricane Katrina would take issue with the idea that there's "nothing political" about rescue and relief. It's not too hard to dig up Newsweek headlines from, say, the September 12, 2005 issue, with Meacham in charge:
– Yet Another Gulf War; Up Against It: Buffeted by Iraq, gas prices and the fury over his response to Katrina, Bush faces a new storm of his own.
– On the Offensive; Hillary Clinton's criticism of the hurricane relief effort may be a preview for 2008.
– Hurricane Politics; If there's an upside to Katrina, it's that the Republican agenda of tax cuts, Social Security privatization and slashing government programs is over.
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman appeared on Tuesday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s controversial remark that Barack Obama does not have a "negro dialect," and, when asked by host Keith Olbermann why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to comment on the subject, Fineman argued that Republicans are afraid to engage Democrats in a battle over the issue of race relations, charging that they are "going to really look bad." He went so far as to suggest that Americans are nearly unanimous in viewing the Democratic party more favorably on racial issues, and, after citing the low number of minorities at the Republican convention, went on to charge that "fair-minded people" would say Republicans would lose to Democrats in a debate over racial issues.
Fineman claimed that, in addition to African-Americans, "everybody else in the society pretty much" would view Democrats more favorably on the issue:
Republicans don’t want to engage in a long, drawn-out discussion of who’s more committed to equality in this society, and who has done more politically for the African-American community in the last, oh, say, 40 years or so, because that’s an argument and a discussion Republicans are going to really look bad in, and they don’t want to continue it. Yes, Harry Reid made a very unfortunate remark, and, yes, it’s troublesome, but if you attempt to put the Republican party next to the Democratic party, it’s not only African-Americans who are going to look with the Democratic party with favor on questions of race relations but everybody else in the society pretty much, too.
He soon described "fair-minded people" as being those who would side with Democrats on race:
Former Solictor General Ted Olson's Newsweek essay, "A Conservative Case for Gay Marriage," is embarrassing for conservatives -- that is, embarrassing that we had a Solicitor General so willing to publicly use straw-man arguments.
Of course, as it has ever been, when an individual conservative of moderate fame wants some nice press in the mainstream media, he offers up a 'man bites dog' story, to wit, "Neanderthal Conservative Sees the Light [Insert Topic Here]."
Which is not to say a desire for fame is Olson's motivation, particularly; his essay is ardent enough to signal his logic has been overwhelmed and thus it is likely he is sincere, but how many of us, pushed out on a limb of illogic after letting our emotions rule, are rewarded with an essay in Newsweek?
(I daresay even a fashionable liberal, penning "A Liberal Case Against Gay Marriage," couldn't get one.)
Olson lists the "reasons I have heard" against legalizing gay marriage.
The first rule of dinner-table conversation is no hot talk about politics or religion. Apparently there’s a rule regarding the discussion of religion during political talk shows, too.
On "Fox News Sunday" on January 3, the panelists had advanced to that light part of the discussion where they focusing on movies and crime novelists. Venerated news man Brit Hume turned to sports, and predicted Tiger Woods would return to success as a golfer. But if he really wanted to recover as a person, Hume suggested, he should consider Christianity. Woods is a Buddhist, he said, but Christianity offered the forgiveness and redemption that could really make Woods a powerful role model for faith and recovery.
Ka-boom. Oh, what a reaction erupted.
Some in the secular elite acted like Hume had set the national house on fire and broken all the fine china. Some TV talk show hosts quite seriously compared Hume’s comments to those of "Islamic extremists" waging a "holy war."
Appearing as a guest on Thursday’s Countdown show on MSNBC to discuss Obama's latest speech on terrorism, Newsweek’s Howard Fineman charged that, referring to Republicans, "they’re about division and they’re about fear."
At one point, Fineman even made it sound as if President Bush had been obsessed with leaving office before the next terrorist attack just so he could "claim he kept us safe," as if he were more worried about his legacy than keeping America safe in the long term. Fineman said: "And George Bush, even George Bush said that, you know, we could be attacked tomorrow. He didn`t like to talk about it. I knew him well and knew that he was counting the minutes and the days until he got out of there and could claim he kept us safe."
Crediting Obama with "cool, calm, and collectedness," and a "broad gauge and deep sense of the country," Fineman also voiced agreement with Keith Olbermann’s contention that, unlike President Bush, Obama treats Americans like "grownups" by talking to them realistically about the likelihood that some future terror plots will inevitably be successful:
I'm not at all sure why the liberal left is always so shocked that evangelical Christians want other people to become Christians. The outrage that followed Fox News anchor Brit Hume's plea to Tiger Woods to find Jesus has been totally disproportionate to the statement itself. The usual suspects—MSNBC and The Huffington Post—and indeed the whole liberal left blogosphere leapt all over Hume for his arrogance and conservatism.
The word "evangelical" comes from the Greek word for gospel, or "good news." Evangelical Christians are those who want to spread the good news. They aren't pretending to believe in salvation through Jesus Christ. They actually do believe that it—and yours, and mine—comes through him.
The liberal intelligentsia are often all too eager to accuse conservatives of being fear-mongers, purveyors of hate speech, etc. But when they engage in what they accuse conservatives of doing, it's a different set of rules.
"The problem, I think, we have now is sort of crystallized by former Vice President Cheney's role in this debate," Alter said. "And I think that he has actually gotten to a place where he is emboldening the terrorists. If you have a former vice president who is saying that our current president is weak - by the way, that's the first time in American history that's ever taken place, that a former president - a former vice president has said the sitting president is not protecting the country. Never happened before, must end."
The Obama presidential campaign indisputably used new media better than any before it to build a virtual army of grassroots supporters, and to wield that army as a powerful tool for fundraising, rapid response messaging, and boots-on-the-ground campaigning.
But the energy that surrounded Obama and his team after the election, and supporters' expectations that President Obama would be the empowering community organizer that was Candidate Obama, fizzled as it became clear--campaign slogans notwithstanding--this administration represented less change then it would have the country believe.
After the election, commentators buzzed about the potential for a small-d democratic upheaval in the American political process that the Obama camp's mastery of new media could bring about. Newsweek summed up the excitement in the lede of an article in late November:
MAHER: You know, I guess what we need is an independent leader. Maybe you and I should run together on a unity ticket, Joe?
SCARBOROUGH: I think we could do that. [Laughs]
MAHER: The unity ticket of Scarborough and Bill Maher. I'll be happy to be the vice president because you have experience in Congress and I don't really want to get up before noon.
Scarborough tried (without much success) to get Maher to slash Obama from the left. He agreed that it was foolish for Obama to attempt to pacify the right, since he was too young and too black:
MAHER: He was never going to get the conservatives. I mean, I don't know why he spent the amount of time he has so far in his administration currying the favor of people who don't like him. Someone has to give him a memo that says, "They're just not that into you." You are the wrong age, the wrong party, the wrong color. They're just never going to get behind you.
Newsweek's Eleanor Clift clearly suggests a schizophrenic approach in her year-end interview with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She insists conservatives are wrong to paint her as a "far-out liberal," but then turns around and asks how liberals, "your people," are disappointed there wasn't a pullout from Afghanistan, a "public option," and abortion on demand:
CLIFT: You are seen as this far-out liberal, when you actually are quite traditional in your lifestyle. I feel like the country doesn't really know you.
PELOSI: I don't choose to spend my time countering perceptions and mischaracterizations that the other side puts out there. I choose to do my job. Because we are effective, I continue to be the target.
Clift told Pelosi many liberals didn't expect bargaining and pussy-footing, but a full-speed-ahead socialist push.
Newsweek’s year-end "Conventional Wisdom 2009" page recycles the magazine’s usual distilled liberalism in a sentence. In this case, there were two sentences: their version of the CW and "Think Again," which was often just an added puff of praise or an added insult in bolder type. Start with the cable-talk stars.
Jon Stewart (up arrow):
"Fake news" king puts mainstream gasbags to shame. Edward R. Murrow meets Johnny Carson.
Glenn Beck (down arrow):
Weepy wingnut calls Obama racist, un-American. No, that would be you, Glenn.
Isn’t Jon Stewart a snarky wingnut? Yes, but so are the pundits at Newsweek. Their take on politicians is also predictable. The only up arrow to a conservative went to Sarah Palin, perhaps as journalistic penance for their nasty running-shorts cover a few weeks ago:
Flip-flopping quitter gov has best-selling book. Is she running for prez or for Oprah’s seat?
The other conservative "honorees" drew down arrows and hateful prose:
Catching up on the Sunday, December 20, syndicated Chris Matthews Show – during which the panel weighed in on who should be granted various dishonors for the year – panel member Howard Fineman of Newsweek charged that independent Senator Joe Lieberman, formerly a Democrat, had "kicked [Democrats] n the teeth time after time after time and behaved in a completely self-righteous way about it," as the panel discussed Lieberman’s insistence on making Senate Democrats negotiate on universal health insurance. After host Chris Matthews introduced the show’s "Chutzpah Prize" for the year – with nominees being Republican Congressman Joe Wilson, former Vice President Dick Cheney, former Bristol Palin boyfriend Levi Johnston, and Senator Joe Lieberman – Fineman voiced his belief that Lieberman deserves attention. Fineman:
Today, it sounds like the president has finally reached that point with the Senate Democrats and their increasingly aggravating health-care squabbles. He's ready to issue a steely "Enough." And not a minute too soon.
Not a minute too soon? Isn't Connolly supposed to be an objective reporter, not a cheerleader for a political party and its agenda? Oh, that's right, this is Newsweek, the magazine whose editor actually aspires to a smaller (and more liberal?) audience.
There is absolutely no shock in stating much of the Hollywood media tend to lean slightly more to the left than a fuel gauge pointing to empty. This week I read the upcoming Oscar season seems to focus on movies trending towards morose and dark subjects, and therefore it was with little surprise, and a great deal of mirth, that I learned from an entertainment writer that the reason behind this somber subject matter was not the film makers themselves but a rather well-aimed target for the Hollywood left.
These are the sage words from Newsweek writer, Ramin Setoodeh: “You can blame Hollywood's gloom and doom on the Oscars, but I'm not going to. Instead, I think it's George W. Bush's fault. Most liberal directors felt restless under his presidency, and they pushed the envelope with over-the-top, operatic tragedies”.
Adler praised Douthat for saying that conservatives need to "take ownership of prison reform" to "correct the system they helped build" but took strong exception to his suggestion that, even so, Democrats "still lack credibility on crime policy."
As evidence for how Democrats are tough on crime, however, Adler pointed to gun control, Clinton's gimmicky COPS program, Waco, and the Elian Gonzales ordeal:
For Newsweek writer Jenny Block, it's not Tiger Woods who got himself into the trouble he's currently facing, it's his marital vows.
"What should not be tolerated is hypocrisy - and that's where Tiger's vow of marriage got him into trouble," she argued in a Dec. 10 article. "If you want to be monogamous, great - but don't think you can claim it while you sleep around. It's not fair and, quite frankly, it's exhausting."
Block argued that it's not "surprising" to learn of Woods' affairs because his "entire life is based on winning; on having, doing, and being more ... why on earth would anyone think ‘settling down' was even in his vocabulary?"
But Block has a solution to the problem of adultery.
In what could be an advertisement for open marriages, Block explained that she and her husband "jointly decided that monogamy just wasn't for us" after she had an affair with a woman.
Newsweek writer and native Australian Katie Connolly set out to lecture American readers today on the magazine's Gaggle blog yesterday about how Barack Obama's Nobel Peace Prize isn't really about the man or the United States as a country, but rather the U.S. as a lofty ideal -- an ideal she reckons in the eyes of "the collective world" to have been "almost entirely undone" by the Bush administration.
As such, Connolly tells us in her December 9 post that Obama had to show kindly Norweigans that his countrymen aren't such a rude, rabble-rousing lot after all, an impression she insists was given by how many Americans exercised that all-too-American ideal of free speech when they criticized the awarding of the Nobel to the freshman president (emphases mine):
Newsweek writer Kathleen Deveny found a strange way to spin the current economic recession as a blessing in disguise.
In a column published Friday called "Unemployed Families Need to Man Up," Deveny visited the topic of working mothers and the difficulties of raising children while juggling a career.
Conservatives who broach this subject are usually met with disdain from the liberal media for being anti-feminist. But when mitigating a recession under a Democrat president, it was suddenly okay to discuss reasons why a career would be a burden.
Yet Deveny didn't see a troublesome schedule as an obstacle for women - rather, it was a chance to complain that mothers could handle the workload just fine if not for Archie Bunker living at home:
Responding to President Obama criticizing media coverage of the White House jobs summit, on Friday’s Hardball on MSNBC, host Chris Matthews wondered why the President wasn’t more appreciative of all the media’s help: “Why would you ride the ref when he’s calling all the plays for you? What’s he out there bashing the media for?”
During a town hall meeting in Allentown, Pennsylvania on Friday, Obama remarked: “I noticed the press yesterday, because we had this jobs forum at the White House, they said ‘Obama’s finally pivoting to jobs.’ As if what we haven’t been doing for the whole nine months from the day I was sworn in and we start talking about the recovery was all about jobs.”
Matthews skeptically asked Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: “Can he [Obama] credibly say he’s been worrying about jobs all year?” Fineman proved Matthews point about the media “calling all the plays” for the President: “Oh, I think he can in one way or another. Yeah, I think he can because he would argue that the whole health care push is related to the well being of people and so forth.” However, Fineman did point out: “But again, 17% total of people who are – don’t have enough of a job or if you count the people who are underemployed as well. It’s a huge number.”