CBS's Hughes Lauds California's 'Trend-Setting' Liberalism

On Monday’s CBS "Evening News," correspondent Sandra Hughes highlighted "trend-setting California" for "tackling ground-breaking issues the federal government won’t touch." She listed liberal policies enacted by California, such as funding embryonic stem cell research, raising the minimum wage, providing discounts for prescription drugs, and for enacting "the nation’s most restrictive law on greenhouse gas emissions." Hughes further noted that California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s "saving grace" has been his decision to work with Democrats instead of against them.

"Evening News" anchor Katie Couric introduced the segment calling the Congress do-nothing, and portrayed California as a trail blazing state:

"You know, over the years, so many trends have started here in this state: Tax revolts, anti-smoking laws, the Beach Boys. And now California is leading the way in the battle against what's been called-- fairly or not-- a do-nothing Congress. In a CBS News/‘New York Times’ poll, two out of three Americans said this congress has accomplished less than the House and Senate typically do. Now California is starting another trend saying, hey, if you can't handle it, we will. Sandra Hughes has tonight's ‘Eye on Politics.’"

Ms. Hughes began her report by focusing on California’s fourth district, and played on the "do-nothing" theme:

"In northern California's fourth district, Republican Congressman John Doolittle's own name points to his biggest problem. His challenger can't say it enough."

Everyone get it? John Doolittle is an incumbent in what CBS describes as a "do-nothing" Congress. Hughes claims Congressman Doolittle’s name is his biggest problem, but what about his opponent? His opponent is named Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown is a gullible and inept cartoon character. Seems the Democrat would have a problem with his name as well, but Hughes doesn’t mention that.

But Hughes’ description of this race in California pales in comparison to her acceptance of the liberal agenda. She praises California’s adoption of leftist measures such as funding embryonic stem cell research, raising the minimum wage, and limiting emissions of "greenhouse" gasses. In the process, Congress is chastised as "do nothing" for not enacting such legislation. But, is there any proof that raising the minimum wage will improve the economy or the lives of workers? Is there sufficient evidence that reducing so called greenhouse gasses will have any effect on the climate in the future? Has any patient been aided by embryonic stem cells? And are tax dollars best spent researching this or would the money be better spent further studying the promises of adult stem cells? Though these issues may make good talking points, they often make for bad legislation. Is it not better for Congress to pass no law than to pass a bad law?

However, Hughes does attempt to offer a bit of balance to her piece, she offers a sentence about Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue cracking down on illegal immigrants:

"In Georgia, Governor Sonny Perdue signed a tough law restricting services to illegals."

And the expert she cited, political scientist Jack Pitney, tilts to the right. However, one sentence and one expert are hardly enough to balance a liberal Democratic fluff piece, particulary when Hughes potrays working with Democrats as a "saving grace":

"Well, it certainly did. You know, he was in trouble because he took this sort of maverick go it alone attitude and that's when he had the crushing defeat in the special election of 2005. But once he decided to work with the Democrats instead of against them, it's been his saving grace."

Schwarzenegger didn’t just work with Democrats he adopted their agenda, and apparently that is what CBS would like national Republicans to do as well.

Transcript of the segment follows:

Katie Couric: "You know, over the years, so many trends have started here in this state: Tax revolts, anti-smoking laws, the Beach Boys. And now California is leading the way in the battle against what's been called-- fairly or not-- a do-nothing Congress. In a CBS News/’New York Times’ poll, two out of three Americans said this congress has accomplished less than the House and Senate typically do. Now California is starting another trend saying, hey, if you can't handle it, we will. Sandra Hughes has tonight's ‘Eye on Politics.’"

Sandra Hughes: "In northern California's fourth district, Republican Congressman John Doolittle's own name points to his biggest problem. His challenger can't say it enough."

Charlie Brown, Democratic Congressional Candidate: "It's been a do-nothing Congress and John Doolittle has done very little to change that."

Sandra Hughes: "But Doolittle's home state has done a lot to change it. Trend-setting California is at it again, leading a host of other states in tackling ground-breaking issues the federal government won't touch. It began in 2004."

Arnold Schwarzenegger, California Governor: "So, a big hand to the people of California."

Sandra Hughes: "When voters here thumbed their noses at federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and approved a $3 billion initiative. At universities around the state brand-new labs will soon be up and running."

Dr, Arnold Kriegsten: University of California, San Francisco: "We're lucky to be in California where there's a majority of the public that supports this work."

Sandra Hughes: "Now six more states are following California, funding stem cell research the feds won’t. Here's another example: Global warming. As Washington argues and does little or nothing, California has passed the nation's most restrictive law on greenhouse gas emissions."

Arnold Schwarzenegger: "This will lead to us leading the way for other states and for other nations."

Sandra Hughes: "And the list goes on, from prescription drug discounts to a new minimum wage that will rise to $8 an hour in 2008. Congress hasn't raised the $5.15 federal rate in a decade."

Arnold Schwarzenegger: "We don't wait for anyone on the federal government to tell us which direction to go. We sit down in our capitol and we say ‘this needs to be done.’"

Sandra Hughes: "In state after state, governors are taking political credit for that can-do spirit."

Campaign Ad for Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue: "Someone had to do something about illegal immigration, and Sonny did."

Sandra Hughes: In Georgia, Governor Sonny Perdue signed a tough law restricting services to illegals. In Massachusetts, Republican Governor Mitt Romney tackled universal health insurance, a problem Washington won't even think of dealing with. So are we talking conservative or liberal legislation?"

Jack Pitney, Politial Scientist: "It works both ways."

Sandra Hughes: "Political scientist Jack Pitney says states will continue to drive the agenda on the big issues as long as Washington remains gridlocked."

Jack Pitney: "It's a great time to be governor. Governors are the people who can get things done and this is a time when there are a lot of domestic issues where the states can take the lead and where governors can make a name for themselves."

Sandra Hughes: "And California's governor certainly made a name for himself and the polls say he'll coast to reelection. Congressional incumbents hoping to do the same might want to take a page from his script, Katie."

Katie Couric: "And it seems, Sandra, that not that long ago Arnold Schwarzenegger was in some political trouble. Did this new approach help him turn things around?"

Sandra Hughes: "Well, it certainly did. You know, he was in trouble because he took this sort of maverick go it alone attitude and that's when he had the crushing defeat in the special election of 2005. But once he decided to work with the democrats instead of against them, it's been his saving grace."