CNN Special: Democrats Are Too Nice And Too Smart For Victory

As part of its continuing effort to spin the midterm elections in favor of the Democrats, CNN recently aired a special that attacked the Republicans on the issues and portrayed the Democrats as too smart and too principled to fight the nasty GOP. Anchor Jack Cafferty hosted the "Broken Government" program that slammed the Republicans for Iraq, incompetence, lack of Social Security reform and many other issues. The ads for the show, which aired October 19, stated that the CNN host would be "taking on the left, right, and center." Well, maybe just that one in the middle. Prior to handing off the segment to CNN reporter Candy Crowley, Cafferty introduced the theme of the piece:

Cafferty: "Republicans bogged down by scandal, bloody war leading up to these midterm elections. We'll have more on that as we move through the hour. First, the Democrats. History suggests they're perfectly capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Republicans are doing everything they can to hand the Democrats the election. The question is, will they take it? Candy Crowley is in Asheville, North Carolina for us tonight. Candy, you could get rich selling tickets to people to watch the Democrats try to get their stuff organized."

Get it? When Cafferty focused on the Republicans, he mentioned all the terrible things they’ve done. But for the Democrats, the issue is why aren’t they winning and what can be done about it? And thus, you have CNN’s version of balance. Crowley then took to the street to ask voters what they thought of the Democrats:

Crowley: "Free association. I say Democrat, you say-"

Person on the Street: "I don't know if it stands for anything now."

Person on the Street: "Losers. No, I don't mean that like, you know, they are losers. I mean it in a form of they're not standing up."

Crowley: "One may have something to do with the other. Democrats have been the minority in Congress for 12 years. When George Bush leaves the White House, Democrats will have occupied the Oval Office for 12 of the last 40 years, which brings us to the next question -- what's wrong with these people? Number one -- no backbone."

David "Mudcat" Saunders: (Democratic Strategist) "We do not fight back. This wuss factor in the Democratic Party is real."

Once again, they just need to trash the GOP more. That’s the ticket to victory. Crowley’s piece, which aired at 7:07p.m. EDT, then shifted to a new criticism. Democrats are simply too wonky and intelligent!

Crowley: "Two -- all policy, no pulse."

Brian Schweitzer (Democratic Governor of Montana): "They keep talking about these issues in a very complicated way, where all of the money's coming from, where it's all going to go, how long this program's going to last. And people are looking at their watch wondering how do I get out of here?"

Doug Hattaway (Gore advisor): "Democrats need to stop trying to sell people policy papers and start talking people's heart, as well as their head."

In other words, Democratic policy is just too complex and thoughtful for the average voter. It needs to be simplified. Finally, the Democrats problems in Middle America were touched on, sort of.

Crowley: "Every since the tumultuous early 70's when the Democrats got tagged as the party of acid, amnesty and abortion, they have been on the losing side of the values debate, the defense debate and oh yes, the guns debate. Al Gore and John Kerry lost every Southern state and most of the mid and interior West."

Bruce Reed (DLC): "Our biggest problem is that of late we've been losing elections."

Crowley: "Maybe this is the year that proves the exception and Democrats will sweep into power, so when I say 2008 Democrats running for president you say-"

Person on the Street: "Well, right now, they seem to stand for opposing George Bush, so I think they need to figure something else out."

Crowley: "If Democrats do sweep into power this year, Jack, it will be through no fault their own. This time, the fault, dear Jack, lies with Republicans."

So the problem is that they’re losing elections in the south? Shouldn’t there also be some analysis as to why they are losing in that region? Oh, well. At least the Democrats have CNN to advise them.

A transcript of the segment follows:

10/19/06

7:07p.m. EDT

Cafferty: "Republicans bogged down by scandal, bloody war leading up to these midterm elections. We'll have more on that as we move through the hour. First, the Democrats. History suggests they're perfectly capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The Republicans are doing everything they can to hand the Democrats the election. The question is, will they take it? Candy Crowley is in Asheville, North Carolina for us tonight. Candy, you could get rich selling tickets to people to watch the Democrats try to get their stuff

organized."

Candy Crowley: "Absolutely. Listen, Jack, before we start this piece, I want to ask you a question, ask you to do something I think is difficult for you. I want like a one-word answer here. I'm going the say something. You respond with one word -- Democrats."

Cafferty: "Huh?"

(Laughter)

Cafferty: "Huh?"

Crowley: "Well OK, that's not exactly the answer we got, but pretty close. Free association. I say Democrat, you say-"

Person on the Street: "I don't know if it stands for anything now."

Person on the Street:: "Losers. No, I don't mean that like, you know, they are losers. I mean it in a form of they're not standing up."

Crowley: "One may have something to do with the other. Democrats have been the minority in Congress for 12 years. When George Bush leaves the White House, Democrats will have occupied the Oval Office for 12 of the last 40 years, which brings us to the next question -- what's wrong with these people? Number one -- no backbone."

David "Mudcat" Saunders (Democratic Strategist): "We do not fight back. This wuss factor in the Democratic Party is real."

Crowley: "Two -- all policy, no pulse."

Brian Schweitzer (Democratic Governor of Montana): "They keep talking about these issues in a very complicated way where all of the money's coming from, where it's all going to go, how long this program's going to last. And people are looking at their watch wondering how do I get out of here."
Doug Hattaway (Gore advisor): "Democrats need to stop trying to sell people policy papers and start talking people's heart, as well as their head."

Crowley: "Every since the tumultuous early 70's when the Democrats got tagged as the party of acid, amnesty and abortion, they have been on the losing side of the values debate, the defense debate and oh yes, the guns debate. Al Gore and John Kerry lost every Southern state and most of the mid and interior West."

Bruce Reed: "Our biggest problem is that of late we've been losing elections."

Crowley: "Maybe this is the year that proves the exception and Democrats will sweep into power, so when I say 2008 Democrats running for president you say-"

Person on the Street:: "Well, right now, they seem to stand for opposing George Bush, so I think they need to figure something else out."

Crowley: "If Democrats do sweep into power this year, Jack, it will be through no fault their own. This time, the fault, dear Jack, lies with Republicans."

Cafferty: "Candy, let me ask you something. You've been covering these weasels for a good long while, do you get the sense that Congress is aware that most of the people in this country simply cannot stand them and does it bother them at all?"

Crowley: "Usually, let me tell you something. When you say to someone, you know this is a wrong policy or why are you doing this or why are you doing that, generally a congressman or a senator will say to you, well we just haven't been able to shape our message. They generally sort of lay it off on well we haven't communicated it correctly."

Cafferty: "Yes. Well, they're not doing a very good job. But you are and the next time you're in New York, I want a writing lesson. I think you might be the best writer in television."

Crowley: "Bless you. Thanks."

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org