So-called reform conservatives such as David Frum, Michael Gerson, and Ramesh Ponnuru often get relatively favorable attention from liberal journalists -- relative, that is, to Tea Party types, which in turn reinforces the Tea Party's belief that the reformers aren't really conservatives.
Two lefty pundits recently examined the state of reform conservatism. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne penned an article for the spring issue of the quarterly Democracy in which he analyzed the work of certain reformers and discussed how they might pull the Republican party toward the center. He also denounced the GOP's current message discipline in the service of its supposedly extremist agenda -- or, as Dionne put it, "the right’s version of political correctness."
Washington Post "Fact Checker" blogger Glenn Kessler has given "Four Pinocchios" ("a whopper") to a pro-Democratic group's political ad opposing the U.S. Senate candidacy of Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy. The claim: The Koch Brothers, who are prominent financial supporters of the pro-GOP group Americans for Prosperity, want to protect, in the ad's words, “tax cuts for companies that ship our jobs overseas.”
Unfortunately, I have been told that Kessler's post did not make the paper's print edition; to no one's surprise, the Post has a tendency to give Kessler posts which fact-check Republicans greater print edition visibility. Additionally, at least one other Post writer and career race-baiter Al Sharpton have praised the anti-Koch ad and the strategy behind it. The likelihood that either will acknowledge Kessler's debunking is extremely low. Here are the key paragraphs from Kessler's work (bolds are mine throughout this post):
MSNBC had a bit of trouble keeping their guests on-message during Wednesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner. While speculating as to why Democrat Alex Sink lost to Republican David Jolly in Tuesday's special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, Wagner and her MSNBC crew tried to push the idea that low turnout was to blame. [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Addressing Adam C. Smith of the Tampa Bay Times, Wagner wondered:
NPR celebrates political anniversaries – when it likes them. They celebrated the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, when when it had already faded away. This week, NPR aired five stories discussing the fourth anniversary of Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative to get kids to eat better and exercise.
But there was no story on the fifth anniversary of the Tea Party. The closest thing was a Mara Liasson analysis on Thursday of how the Senate races look tough for Democrats this fall – if the Republicans can keep the Tea Party extremists at bay:
While the liberal media may finally be admitting the obvious -- that the ObamaCare rollout has been an “embarrassing,” “botched” failure that has thrown millions off their insurance -- that’s not what they were predicting about the Affordable Care Act when it was first introduced.
Not long ago, they assured their viewers that they could keep their health plans if they liked them; predicted Americans would embrace ObamaCare once they experienced it; and even claimed it would “reduce the deficit.” They also warned any obstruction of ObamaCare by conservatives would result in the death of children and the end of America as a “world power.”
The following is a Top 10 List of the Worst Liberal Media Quotes Pushing ObamaCare: (videos after the jump)
How many times in the past five years have you heard a liberal media member declare the Tea Party dead?
It happened again on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne claiming, "I think that the era of the far right and the era of the Tea Party is over" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation, during a discussion of the government shutdown, MSNBC's Krystal Ball characterized congressional Republicans as "tak[ing] the whole government hostage," and "threaten[ing]" the "constitutional balance."
After host Al Sharpton fretted over the operation of FEMA and the National Hurricane Center during the government shutdown, Ball responded:
On Thursday's The Last Word show on MSNBC, host Lawrence O'Donnell and MSNBC contributor Joy Reid asserted that Republicans who oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants are "haters of" and "don't like" Hispanics as the panel discussed the concerns expressed by Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh about increasing the number of immigrants in the U.S. by tens of millions.
After coining the term "Limbaugh cohort" to refer to those who oppose amnesty, Reid asserted:
For a second night on Thursday, MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on his The Last Word show tried to blame NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre for inspiring the ricin-tainted letters recently sent to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and President Barack Obama. The MSNBC host teased the show:
Eager to reset the political discussion away from scandal and in a manner that promotes Barack Obama as an almost apolitical statesman, MSNBC's Morning Joe this morning turned to a liberal Washington Post columnist who praised the president as a “middle-of-the-road liberal" dominated by Republican who have “gone way to the right” of their own party historically.
E.J. Dionne was brought on the Tuesday edition of MSNBC's morning show to defend his argument in Sunday's Washington Post op-ed that the president “wants to invite the nation to reason together with him.” Defending the president's scandal-ridden administration, Dionne absurdly pouted that:
On Friday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, host Al Sharpton lambasted House Republicans for repeatedly voting to repeal ObamaCare, calling it a "scandal" and an "outrage," as he seemed to cite a questionable study from a left-wing source from 2009 claiming that 45,000 people a year die because they lack health insurance. Sharpton began the segment:
Have any of the liberal journalists who have bellyached over the sequester's supposedly draconian cuts -- which amount to a mere $44 billion -- considered that it pales in comparison to the amount of money that Medicare fraud costs the taxpayer every year?
That would be as much as $300 billion a year, or three times what the U.S. government spends on education, as Chris Parker of the Houston Press noted in an April 25 story:
Given how often such blatant thievery goes undetected, no one's sure how much fraud there really is. Conservative estimates place the bill at $100 billion annually. The more adventurous peg the figure closer to $300 billion — three times what the feds spend on education.
It has left federal health care little more than an unlocked home, where street punks and gangsters, doctors and even states walk right in and help themselves to whatever's inside.
Parker also observed that some people who were involved in Medicare fraud look mighty familiar, like Democratic Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee of Texas. Houston Riverside General Hospital, the medical center she vouched for after it was hit with cuts, was found to have committed $116 million dollars in Medicare fraud – and her husband, Elwyn Lee, was once on the board.
Medicare malfeasance is, alas, a bipartisan fiasco. Florida Governor Rick Scott (R), you may recall, was CEO of a hospital company that also has engaged in felonious Medicare transactions.
While liberal journalists like E.J. Dionne have been squawking about how disastrous the sequester cuts -- in truth they are actually reductions in the rate of spending --are, the fact of the matter is they are a drop in the federal budget bucket, and are significantly less than money we as taxpayers lose every year thanks to fraud in Medicare, a program which needs fundamental reform to prevent insolvency in a few decades time.
Last Friday’s All Things Considered segment on NPR was a real treat because David Brooks was absent, and therefore, couldn’t be his squishy self alongside liberal columnist E.J. Dionne. National Review’s Mona Charen, a real conservative, filled in for the New York Times pseudo-Republican, and effectively countered Dionne’s Obama cheerleading.
The two were asked by host Robert Siegel to analyze the president’s State of the Union address last week, and to no one’s surprise – that Dionne was fawning over the speech, while Charen took a more pragmatic approach.
Early this morning, Pope Benedict XVI announced that he’d abdicate the papal throne at the end of the month, which is the first time a pontiff will have stepped down in seven centuries. Such breaking news was bound to set off rampant media speculation about next month's meeting of the College of Cardinals --which will decide Benedict's successor -- and talk in the media about the outgoing bishop of Rome's legacy.
All that is well and good, but on MSNBC, it was the perfect excuse for the liberal network to feature liberal Catholics Chris Matthews and E.J. Dionne scolding the Church as out of touch with modernity on issues of sexuality and women as priests. And that was on top of laughingly treating the election of a new pope as though it were some presidential primary where candidates work feverishly to line up enough delegates to win nomination. Read the relevant transcript below the page break:
During Friday’s broadcasts of the PBS's NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered, liberals continued with their narrative about the fiscal cliff, and how it’s not all that bad. Previously, Mark Shields and E.J. Dionne agreed with New York Times-style Republican David Brooks that they would go off the cliff. The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne equated it with the “will of the people.”
But now, the Post’s Ruth Marcus and E.J. Dionne insist that the cliff isn’t a cliff. It’s actually a well-defined “slope." But in the words of Joe Biden, “this is a big f***ing deal.”
Last Friday, in his first post-election remarks on PBS and NPR, New York Times columnist David Brooks downplayed his usual bash- conservatives narrative, and actually castigated liberals for wanting to go over the looming fiscal cliff. He said that liberals are more organized, they’ve won the election, and will get most of what they yearn for if we do go over the waterfall: increased revenue, tax hikes, and cuts to defense spending.
Strangely, his liberal colleagues, Mark Shields on PBS and E.J. Dionne on NPR, seemed to agree with this claim – undercutting the notion that this "cliff" is dangerous to both parties.
Meet the Press viewers got to see a classic Left-Right debate Sunday.
In a discussion about which presidential candidate is the most trustworthy, New York Times columnist David Brooks surprisingly teamed up with former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina to school the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow (video follows with NBCNews.com transcript and commentary):
Ted Cruz, Texas's Tea Party candidate for Senate, gave a rather embarrassing education to the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday regarding President Obama's budget proposal.
When Dionne had the audacity to call it "a serious plan," Cruz marvelously replied, "It got zero votes. Not a Democrat in the Senate voted for it. Not a one" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Perhaps the most common justification for government intrusion into people's lives and into the economy at large is the notion that "doing something" is better than preserving limited government.
The usual rejoinder from the right is that capitalism has done more to alleviate poverty and is therefore a more efficient way of helping raise living standards than socialism or its related ideologies. While that answer has the advantage of being true, it is often unpersuasive for those looking for an answer to a moral question. That is the task at hand for Robert Sirico, a Catholic priest and center-right thinker in his excellent new book, Defending the Free Market: The Moral Case for a Free Economy.
MRC president L. Brent Bozell III had his Letter to the Editor published in Saturday's Washington Post. He objected to liberal Post columnist E.J. Dionne trying to make a mountain out of the molehill of one liberal bishop granting an interview to one liberal Catholic magazine. Dionne did not note that this same bishop, so nervous about the bishops being used by political partisans "far to the right," delighted liberals by attacking the Paul Ryan budget.
Dionne wrote the conservative bishops who are "eagerly picking fights with President Obama....have angered more progressive Catholics and led to talk among the disgruntled faithful of the need for a 'Catholic spring' to challenge the hierarchy’s shift to the right." So now the Catholic hierarchy is like Arab dictators? Brent wrote in reply:
Something shocking happened on Friday night on NPR's All Things Considered. "Conservative" pundit David Brooks took the anti-Washington Post position on the Mitt Romney high-school "scoop." Obviously, Post columnist E.J. Dionne stuck with his paper and his liberal guns, insisting more and more stories just like this are going to come out, whether that's a threat or a promise.
Anchor Melissa Block would not use the word "alleged" to describe the Post story which "details incidents of bullying by Romney when he was a senior at the tony Cranbrook boys prep school in Michigan. Five former classmates spoke about an incident when Romney led a posse that targeted a student with long bleached-blond hair, tackled him, pinned him to the ground and hacked off his hair as he cried and screamed for help." Brooks cried it was illegitimate "gotcha" journalism:
Yet more evidence of pathologies that roil the liberal, uh, mind.
MSNBC, America's closest approximation yet to Pravda (though not for lacking of trying, New York Times), did something curious but characteristic Wednesday night during the hour-long hyperventilation known as "The Ed Show." (video after page break)
On Friday night's All Things Considered, the Week in Politics segment could have been titled "Another Horrible Week for Republicans." Helping out enthusiastically was New York Times columnist David Brooks, who is billed as the conservative half of the political analyst team with ultraliberal Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. But the two end up agreeing so much you can't tell which one is the liberal.
When anchor Robert Siegel asked if this week marked the "beginning of the end of the Cain phenomenon," Brooks sneered that Cain was a "TV show that lasted a little while," and Dionne naturally agreed. Then Brooks turned to Romney and insisted he drops the emotional temperature of the room to chilling lows -- and of course, Dionne agreed.
On Sunday's "Meet the Press," Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne wheeled out the typical Democrat talking point that President Obama can't get anything accomplished because of Republican obstructionism in Congress.
Not buying this nonsense was the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan who smartly responded, "A leader leads. Part of the president's problem is that he has never, from day one, been able to really pull in bipartisan support, either make Republicans afraid of him or want to follow him. He's never been able to do it" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
For the second time this month, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough has taken on the extreme liberal bias of Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
On Thursday's "Morning Joe," after Mika Brzezinski read part of Dionne's pathetic "Why Conservatives Hate Warren Buffett," her co-host replied, "I like E.J., but he changes every couple of years depending on who’s in the White House" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Having read E.J. Dionne's Wednesday column in the Washington Post (HT Jim Taranto at the Wall Street Journal's Best of the Web), I am sooooo comforted -- not. Dionne assures his readers that "Al-Qaeda is a dangerous enemy. But our country and the world were never threatened by the caliphate of its mad fantasies." Thus, the last 10 years of the "war on terrorism" (lowercase letters and quote marks are his) have apparently largely been a waste of time and treasure, which is why, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Dionne asserts that "we need to leave the day behind," and relegate it to "a simple day of remembrance."
Dionne is of course entitled to his opinions but not his facts. In addition to dangerously underestimating global jihad's devastating potential, Dionne overestimated what he must believe is a "lost decade" media meme, and completely misinterpreted the meaning of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. What follows are excerptes from Dionne's column (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
I sure hope Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne as well as other unapologetic Obama-loving media members were watching MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday.
After Mika Brzezinski read a snippet of Dionne's "Obama's Paradox Problem" wherein he basically blamed all that ails the nation on GOP obstruction, Joe Scarborough accurately noted, "the President owned – OWNED! – Washington, D.C., in 2009 and 2010" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Right-leaning New York Times columnist Ross Douthat was thrown into the David Brooks chair on the weekly political roundatable on NPR's All Things Considered Friday. NPR anchor Robert Siegel insisted Rick Perry had a whole set of strange and anti-scientific statements that suggest he's "too far right" to be electable. Notice how NPR just rolls up everything they disagree with and loads it into one question for the "conservative" panelist:
"Conservative" PBS/NPR analyst David Brooks was typical on the NewsHour Friday night, insisting strangely that "neither party" has a "growth agenda" and insisting that spending any second of your life talking about Sarah Palin is "temporary euthanasia."
JIM LEHRER: Yes, but, then why is she doing this bus tour?
DAVID BROOKS: She's in the media business. She's in our business, except for she has a bus.So -- and so, you know, I see no evidence she's going to run. I think every second we spend on her is a second of our lives we will never have back. So, it's sort of temporary euthanasia.