Tim Russert Agrees Liberal Bloggers Are Pushing Democrats to the Left

Something interesting is happening between the new and old media: the more Democrats move to the left to please liberal bloggers, the more mainstream press members express disdain.

On Wednesday, following in the footsteps of the Washington Post’s David Broder and Time’s Joe Klein, and just days before Democrat strategist Bob Beckel, NBC’s Tim Russert jumped on the “Netroots Are A Danger to Democrats” bandwagon.

Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity & Colmes,” Russert seemed incredibly at ease with both co-hosts as he made statements that had to shock conservative and liberal viewers alike.

Hannity set up the first interesting exchange thusly (video available here):

I think the Democrats have gone further left than anybody would have anticipated. I think these bloggers have really gotten to them. I think they're really positioning themselves that they're going to have a very difficult time moving center. Do you see that?

RUSSERT: Absolutely, because what has happened -- the Democrats will acknowledge -- for example, on the war. The major candidates were very reluctant to consider voting and cutting off funding. Now, they will -- a year ago. Now, they will say that the circumstances on the ground have changed so much they want to make that vote. It was interesting to me that three senators elected this year, Democrats, Webb of Virginia, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, and Jon Tester of Montana, all voted for the funding, different than Obama and Clinton.

HANNITY: It is pretty interesting.

RUSSERT: And they won in '06. They ran against the war. And yet they consider it at this point not a vote they wanted to make.

Fascinating. Yet, equally surprising was the following exchange with Colmes:

COLMES: That's why -- you know, candidates of both parties should come on this show. They don't. Democrats don't want to go on with him; some Republicans don't want to come on with me. I think that's wrong. And I think Democrats make a mistake not allowing a debate to take place on the FOX News Channel.

RUSSERT: It's a TV show. If you can't handle TV questions, how are you going to stand up to Iran, and North Korea, and the rest of the world?

HANNITY: And Al Qaeda.

COLMES: That's right. How do you stand up to Al Qaeda and the terrorists if you can't face little Sean Hannity or little Alan Colmes?

RUSSERT: Amen.

COLMES: Or big Tim Russert.

RUSSERT: All right.

Shocking? Certainly. However, before we on the right applaud this clash between liberals in the old and new media, we must consider the possibility that folks like Broder, Klein, and Russert are behaving this way to protect their turf.

As such, this could be more of a media issue than a political one. Certainly something to consider before we cheer from the bleachers.

Regardless, what follows is a partial transcript of this segment.

SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: And welcome to "Hannity & Colmes." Thank you for being with us. I'm Sean Hannity.

We get right to our top story tonight. Joining us now in our New York studio is the moderator of "Meet the Press" and author of the number-one best-seller, "Wisdom Of Our Fathers, Lessons and Letters from Daughters and Sons," which, by the way, is available for paperback, and I highly recommend it. A great Father's Day gift.

Tim, good to see you.

TIM RUSSERT, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Great to be here, Sean.

HANNITY: I almost felt like saying, "Our issues this Wednesday"...

RUSSERT: Right, let's do it.

HANNITY: Let me start with a little bit of politics here. For those of us that love politics, this is the Super Bowl, and it runs through November of '08. We love this time.

RUSSERT: Huge.

HANNITY: Yes.

RUSSERT: But what the voters I think should understand is the reason we're covering it with such passion and so aggressively is that, in seven months, we're going to know who the nominees are.

HANNITY: February 5th, probably.

RUSSERT: The first week of January is the Iowa caucuses. That's six months away. And so a lot of people are saying, why are you doing this so early? Number two, this is the first time in 80 years, 80, that an incumbent vice president or president is not running an aggressive campaign to be the next president. It's wide open.

HANNITY: And it gets a little exciting, obviously the Hillary factor.

RUSSERT: Sure.

HANNITY: You've got Barack Obama, who's pretty much come out of nowhere.

RUSSERT: Yep.

HANNITY: Will Fred Thompson get in, not get in? Rudy Giuliani versus Hillary has got a lot of excitement. So...

RUSSERT: Two gladiators. We thought we were going to have them for the U.S. Senate in New York, and then Rudy got prostate cancer. But absolutely. No doubt about it. Fred Thompson looks like he's going to run, closer and closer, and doing very well. He's already second in the polls in the Republican Party.

HANNITY: Yes, it's pretty -- and I've spent a lot of time with all these guys, obviously as a Republican. And I think the Democrats have gone further left than anybody would have anticipated. I think these bloggers have really gotten to them. I think they're really positioning themselves that they're going to have a very difficult time moving center. Do you see that?

RUSSERT: Absolutely, because what has happened -- the Democrats will acknowledge -- for example, on the war. The major candidates were very reluctant to consider voting and cutting off funding. Now, they will -- a year ago. Now, they will say that the circumstances on the ground have changed so much they want to make that vote. It was interesting to me that three senators elected this year, Democrats, Webb of Virginia, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, and Jon Tester of Montana, all voted for the funding, different than Obama and Clinton.

HANNITY: It is pretty interesting.

RUSSERT: And they won in '06. They ran against the war. And yet they consider it at this point not a vote they wanted to make.

HANNITY: You know, I sum up the Democrats' position -- and Alan disagrees with me...

ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: For a change.

HANNITY: But they basically say they want to get rid of the phrase the global war on terror, they're willing to accept a defeat right now in Iraq. They're all on record supporting higher taxes and nationalizing our health care system. Those are pretty left-wing positions for candidates.

COLMES: You're trying to pull him over to your side.

(CROSSTALK)

RUSSERT: But they would disagree with your characterization, obviously.

HANNITY: Well, where would they disagree?

RUSSERT: On the war, they would suggest that the war on terror and the war in Afghanistan and Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda...

HANNITY: No, the term "global war on terrorism"?

RUSSERT: That's John Edwards.

HANNITY: John Edwards.

RUSSERT: But the other candidates have not necessarily agreed with that. But they believe -- they feel they're on very secure ground on the war on terror, that Iraq is so unpopular. The president's favorable rating is now 29 percent, and his handling of the war is 26 percent.

HANNITY: And Congress's approval rating is 7 points lower.

RUSSERT: Well, Congress is very, very high, because the Democrats have not been able to achieve things legislatively. People right now all across the country, what I'm seeing in the numbers and anecdotally, Washington doesn't work. And they want to fix it. And they're not quite sure the best way to fix it yet, but they're going to keep on trying.

HANNITY: By the way, I decided, if I'm ever a candidate, I'm never going on your show.

RUSSERT: Why not?

HANNITY: Because this is what you would do. You'd go, "Hannity, you were born in 1961. On that day, let's put it up on the screen, you said the following"...

RUSSERT: I have a high school picture of you.

HANNITY: Oh, great.

(CROSSTALK)

COLMES: By the way, I'd like to show that picture, if we can.

RUSSERT: Hello, Alan.

COLMES: First of all -- nice to see you, Tim. Thanks so much for being here. Congratulations on the book. We're going to talk about the book in just a little bit.

RUSSERT: Sure, yes.

COLMES: I notice Sean trying to pull you over way over there to the right.

RUSSERT: He's on my right; you're on my left. I'm right here in the center.

COLMES: I could try to pull you away -- you used to work for Moynihan.

RUSSERT: Daniel Patrick Moynihan, yes.

COLMES: People presume you're a Democrat because of that, but yet Democrats go after you on the blogs. You're not liberal enough for them. Conservatives say you're too much on the left side.

RUSSERT: I'm a right-wing mad dog and a left-wing lap dog. I get it from both sides.

COLMES: Is that the way you want it?

RUSSERT: Sure. I mean, whether it's Dick Cheney, or Bill Richardson, or Hillary Clinton, or John McCain, I ask tough questions of all the candidates and the policyholders, because, one simple reason, I don't think you can make tough decisions unless you can answer tough questions.

HANNITY: Great point.

COLMES: That's true.

RUSSERT: And the questions, when you go back and read the transcripts, are not all that difficult. Like, what would you do, if you're for withdrawing from Iraq, then who would replace the American troops, the Iraqi troops or another country? If you're for staying in Iraq, how long would you stay there for? And can you continue to have an army go to war without a country...

COLMES: Basic questions.

RUSSERT: Exactly.

COLMES: That's why -- you know, candidates of both parties should come on this show. They don't. Democrats don't want to go on with him; some Republicans don't want to come on with me. I think that's wrong. And I think Democrats make a mistake not allowing a debate to take place on the FOX News Channel.

RUSSERT: It's a TV show. If you can't handle TV questions, how are you going to stand up to Iran, and North Korea, and the rest of the world?

HANNITY: And Al Qaeda.

COLMES: That's right. How do you stand up to Al Qaeda and the terrorists if you can't face little Sean Hannity or little Alan Colmes?

RUSSERT: Amen.

COLMES: Or big Tim Russert.

RUSSERT: All right.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.