A week-and-half before he'll moderate the third and final presidential debate, CBS's Bob Schieffer opened Sunday's Face the Nation by calling a foul on one team as he took sides and denounced Sarah Palin's daring to say, that “our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country,” as a sign of “a campaign that's turned down and dirty,” as well as “nasty,” thanks to John McCain's “new attack dog” who “took after Barack Obama in a style reminiscent of Spiro Agnew when he was Richard Nixon's running mate.” In the Washington press corps, a comparison to Agnew is no compliment.
Later in the program, he fretted to New York Times columnist David Brooks: “Do you think it's going to get nastier and nastier? It does look as if McCain is really going on the attack. You saw what Sarah Palin said.” Brooks, whom Schieffer labeled as a “conservative columnist,” assured Schieffer it would be an ineffective tactic since “Republicans have been using this attack -- too dangerous, too liberal” for “too long” and “you can't win that way anymore.”
Sunday night, ABC reporter David Wright described Palin's reference to Bill Ayers as “incendiary” as he asserted on World News: “Today, in San Francisco, Sarah Palin defended her incendiary comments that Barack Obama has been 'palling around' with terrorists.” Earlier in the day, ABC's This Week host George Stephanopoulos had scolded guest Tim Pawlenty about Palin's charge: “When Governor Palin says of Obama 'this is not a man who sees America as you do,' it sure does sound like she is questioning Senator Obama's patriotism.”
A few days ago, columnist Kathleen Parker outraged many conservatives with a column suggesting Sarah Palin should resign her vice-presidential nomination because she's clearly out of her league: "If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself." Parker's outraged that someone would suggest she's not conservative. But in trying to protest in a new column, she's only digging a deeper hole by comparing herself to the Dixie Chicks and conservatives to Stalinists:
The picture is this: Anyone who dares express an opinion that runs counter to the party line will be silenced. That doesn't sound American to me, but Stalin would approve. Readers have every right to reject my opinion. But when we decide that a person is a traitor and should die for having an opinion different than one's own, then we cross into territory that puts all freedoms at risk. (I hear you, Dixie Chicks.)
New York Times columnist David Brooks is supposed to be the house conservative of PBS’s NewsHour and convention coverage, but he dripped contempt for conservatives from Mitt Romney to Rush Limbaugh on Wednesday’s night live coverage. He decried Romney’s speech as extreme "He drifted so far right, I’m sort of, my mind is boggling." But he said the rhetoric wasn’t genuine, just a "strategic choice" in case McCain loses. When one panelist said the Sarah Palin speech would be "a huge hit among Rush Limbaugh Republicans," Brooks insisted Palin’s humor was light with a common touch, not "biting, belittling" Limbaugh humor. Earlier, he lamented the presidential choices didn’t include someone who hated tax cuts: "There might be a candidate who says ‘Actually, at this time in our country we can’t afford these massive tax cuts anyway,’ but that candidate is not running for president."
UPDATE: On the Charlie Rose show, Brooks grew even wilder, saying of Romney's speech: "I thought it was borderline insane," and proclaiming Palin was "not ideological in a Rush Limbaugh sense."
The gloves came off and the punching of Republican vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin began early in the night on PBS. Just after the Pledge of Allegiance, the analyst team of Mark Shields and David Brooks got into a squabble over Sarah Palin's pregnant daughter Bristol. Shields insisted a callous Gov. Palin chose national ambition over "love and consideration for her daughter...By accepting John McCain’s offer she guaranteed that her daughter would be known globally as the best known 17-year-old unwed teenager in the world, and that decision many people question."
Brooks suggested we don't know enough to judge the Palin family values, and even suggested that the children of vice presidents have had problems, and that the media that usually lays off the children are covering this story in a "big massive way."
Shields began by suggesting that people in both parties can agree that making an issue out of candidates' children is "really out of bounds." He then turned around and made the mother's allegedly unseemly ambition an issue:
What pundit uttered the following liberal canard that makes it sound like Republicans don't care about poor people?
"He's [John McCain] a conservative. The way he breaks out of it, though, electorally, is to be Teddy Roosevelt, and this is gonna be the toughest thing for his campaign. He's got a group of people around him, and frankly a group, a party that doesn't want the government to do anything to help poor people. And he has to break out of that."
Update | 3-26: I wasn't the only one to be impressed by Brooks' column. This morning he was accorded the honor, rare for a Republican pundit, of a solo Today show apperance, and followed it up with a Morning Joe visit.
Sometimes you read something so simultaneously insightful and eloquent that you just have to share it with others. That's how I feel about David Brooks' column in today's New York Times, The Long Defeat.
Brooks begins by convincingly making the case that Hillary's chances of winning the Dem nomination have dwindled to a paltry 5%.
Yet all signs point to her soldiering on to the bitter end. As Brooks puts it: "Hillary Clinton’s presidential prospects continue to dim. The door is closing. Night is coming. The end, however, is not near." By protracting the fight, Clinton would seriously harm Barack Obama's general election prospects. Brooks asks: "why does she go on like this?" and gives this, in my opinion brilliant, answer:
In his "Final Word" at the end of Sunday’s Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer made the cliched charge:
Candidates now race to tell us what we want to hear. They load us down with spin, tiptoe around controversial issues, and give us tortured explanations of how a change in their position really wasn't a change at all.
This pandering to popular public sentiment toward politicians was brought on by Schieffer quoting a November 20 Op/Ed piece by "New York Times" commentator David Brooks, who wrote of Rudy Giuliani’s recent shift to a tougher stance against illegal immigration. Schieffer took the last line of the "Times" article, where Brooks lamented how "Some day Rudy Giuliani will look back on this moment and wonder why he didn't run as himself." How dare Giuliani pander to those right-wingers who want secure borders.
Times columnist David Brooks blew a hole into the left-wing myth of Ronald Reagan appealing to Southern racists to kick off his 1980 presidential campaign. What makes Brooks's Friday column doubly valuable -- it's a bank-shot sinking of fellow Times columnist and Republican-hater Paul Krugman.
Brooks's "History and Calumny" defends then-candidate Ronald Reagan from leftists like Krugman who have long slurred his 1980 campaign kick-off in Philadelphia, Miss. as a racist appeal.
"Today, I'm going to write about a slur. It's a distortion that's been around for a while, but has spread like a weed over the past few months. It was concocted for partisan reasons: to flatter the prejudices of one side, to demonize the other and to simplify a complicated reality into a political nursery tale.
When it comes to health care, could there be anything more antithetical to the American ideal than Big Government being completely in charge? Actually, yes. It would be big government creating a system that requires private-sector entities whose interests inherently oppose to "come together" to form "partnerships" for the greater good.
Yesterday I wrote here about the way in which Hillary's plan forces all Americans, willing or not, to obtain health care insurance, and in an Orwellian twist calling it "choice."
More details about Hillary's plan emerge in Davd Brooks's New York Times column [still p.p.v., but free along with the other columnists as of Wednesday when Times Select goes the way of New Coke.]
You better put down your drinks, and make sure there's nothing in your mouths, for the New York Times's David Brooks made a comment on Friday's News Hour that is guaranteed to evoke uncontrollable fits of laughter from those on the right side of the aisle.
*****Updates at end of post include similar opinions from conservative bloggers, as well as a video of a CNN correspondent saying roughly the same thing, and a response from the Kos Kidz.
After introducing regular guests Brooks and Mark Shields, host Jim Lehrer asked their opinions concerning the just-released Osama bin Laden video.
Brooks was second up with this absolutely marvelous observation (final warning to put down your drinks, video available here):