On Thursday's CBS This Morning, anchor Charlie Rose spotlighted the apparent "the disappearance of political moderates" in Congress in the context of Republican Senator Olympia Snowe's retirement. Correspondent Nancy Cordes gushingly asked Snowe, "Was it just getting too lonely to be a moderate Republican in the Senate?" CBS also listed several "moderate" senators who are actually liberals.
After Cordes gave her report on the Maine senator's retirement, Rose turned to Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill and introduced her as "one of the few moderates left on Capitol Hill." In reality, McCaskill is a solid liberal, given her low rating by the American Conservative Union and her high rating from the left-leaning Americans For Democratic Action.
Retired U.S. Senator Evan Bayh has landed a gig as a Fox News Channel contributor, the Huffington Post reported Monday afternoon. The Indiana Democrat also served as governor from 1989 to 1997.
Bayh's new digs will likely elicit long lists of his departures from liberal orthodoxy from the left's ubiquitous Fox-haters. But another Democrat - and one who agreed with the American Conservative Union only 23 percent of the time - in the channel's lineup certainly won't help in ongoing efforts at, for instance, the New York Times to tar Fox as uniquely partisan.
Kicking off the panel discussion segment of last night's "Special Report," Fox News anchor Bret Baier aired a clip of Democratic Sens. Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Evan Bayh (Ind.) warning about the need to reform entitlement spending in order to preserve America's long-term financial solvency.
Baier then contrasted the frankness of the admission from the "two moderate Democrats" with the scary campaign rhetoric weeks earlier from liberal Democrats about Republicans and their ideas -- real or imagined -- to rein in entitlement spending.
Sasseen answered in the negative, saying that although polling data shows, as it often does, that Americans want bipartisan cooperation, the electorate is moving in a quite different direction as evidenced by the way the November midterms appear to be headed:
On the Wednesday edition of her self-titled MSNBC show, Andrea Mitchell actually hit a Democratic Senator from the left on tax cuts. Democratic Indiana Senator Evan Bayh appeared on Andrea Mitchell Reports to offer his support to extending the Bush tax cuts as a way to stimulate the economy but a skeptical Mitchell pressed: "Senator, given the deficit and the wealth of the upper class, and the fact that they sit on their money and put it into savings, why give them this tax break?" Bayh went on to tell the NBC correspondent that raising taxes "will lower consumer demand at a time we want people putting more money into the economy" and pointed out "the people you're referring to, in those upper brackets, are the ones that make decision about hiring and making investments."
The undeterred Mitchell responded with the Obama administration line that "you should extend the tax cuts for the middle class but not for people making more than $250,000 a year." Bayh, delivering a basic economics lesson, reminded Mitchell that while "middle class taxpayers are using the extra money to pay down debt, credit card bills, mortgages, things like that...It's the people in the upper brackets who continue to spend at a higher rate, propping up consumer demand" and insisted "If we want people to hire more individuals, if we want them to make business investments, raising burdens on them probably doesn't improve their optimism, confidence and discourages rather than encourages them to do those kinds of things." However, Bayh did relent when he offered to Mitchell that eventually the tax rates "are probably going to have to go up but it ought to be as part of a comprehensive deficit reduction package."
The following exchange was aired on the August 4 edition of MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports:
Not the biggest deal, but emblematic of how the Washington press corps consider anyone to the right of center, no matter if barely so, to be a “conservative,” while anyone who strays at all from a perfect liberal line is not worthy of an ideological label.
Setting up Sunday’s Face the Nation, CBS's Bob Schieffer described guest Evan Bayh simply as “the Indiana Democrat” while tagging Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is every bit, if not more, off the conservative reservation as Bayh is off the liberal one, as a “conservative Republican.” Schieffer:
Today on Face the Nation: Is Washington broken? We'll talk to Evan Bayh, the Indiana Democrat. He's become so disillusioned with the Senate he's leaving, but he's still trying to find a way to ease the partisan rancor by teaming with conservative Republican Lindsey Graham who’s also here to talk about that...
George Will said Sunday that people only talk about the government being broken when the Left is having trouble enacting its agenda.
During the Roundtable segment on ABC's "This Week," "Nightline" host Terry Moran brought up the recent announcement by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) that he would not seek reelection in November because "Congress is not operating as it should."
When the baton was tossed to him, Will said, "[W]ith metronomic regularity, we go through these moments in Washington where we complain about the government being broken. These moments have one thing in common: The Left is having trouble enacting its agenda."
Will followed by noting, "No one when George W. Bush had trouble reforming Social Security said, 'Oh, that's terrible - the government's broken'" (video embedded below the fold with transcript and commentary):
If there was an award for the journalist least skeptical of the official reason Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) has given for his decision to retire rather than seek reelection in November, I'd nominate Jonathan Alter for it.
On Tuesday, both CBS Early Show co-host Maggie Rodriguez and ABC Good Morning America co-host George Stephanopoulos lamented the announced retirement of Democratic Indiana Senator Evan Bayh and proclaimed that his reelection would have been a virtual certainty. Rodriguez described it as "a lock," while Stephanopoulos asserted that it was "almost assured."
In reality, A January 25 Rasmussen poll showed Bayh losing to Republican Congressman Mike Pence, 44% to 47%. While Pence has since decided against running, the poll also showed former Republican Congressman John Stutzman, who has formerly announced his candidacy, getting close at 41% to Bayh's 44%. Numbers like that certainly do not suggest Bayh's reelection was anywhere close to being "a lock."
Both Rodriguez and Stephanopoulos made those comments in interviews with Bayh on their respective shows. Only a brief sound bite of the Senator was featured on NBC's Today on Tuesday.
On Good Morning America, Stephanopoulos almost pleaded with Bayh not to retire, claiming that if "centrists" like him leave, "doesn't that make the problem [of partisanship] worse? Why not stay and fix it?" While Rodriguez did not label Bayh as centrist, she did fret over his decision to retire: "What do you say to critics who say you did leave the Democrats high and dry at a time when they can't afford to be losing anymore seats?"
Since the announcement of his resignation from the Senate the common label (from CNN to MSNBC) of Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh seems to be that of a "centrist." On Monday's Hardball both Chris Matthews and his guest panelist NBC News' Chuck Todd called Bayh a "centrist," which is an inaccurate label for someone who, as NB's Matthew Balan pointed out, has a lifetime ACU rating of 20 and ADA of 70.
During the 5pm Olympics-shortened edition of Hardball, Matthews and Todd spinned that Bayh is leaving the Senate because "there's no room for centrists." [audio available here]
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Okay let's talk turkey here. Let's go to Chuck Todd on the big picture here. Just a year or so ago, Arlen Specter of my state quit the Republican Party saying, there's no room in it for centrist politicians like himself. Is this a sign that there's no room in the Democratic Party for centrist politicians like Evan Bayh? He seemed to be saying that today.
On Monday's Rick's List, CNN's Rick Sanchez and Jessica Yellin both tried to portray liberal Indiana Democrat Evan Bayh as a centrist. Yellin insisted, "Republicans should be sad to see Evan Bayh go because he is one of the centrists who worked very hard to work with Republicans." Sanchez replied, "Evan Bayh is no liberal!"
Before the CNN anchor raised Bayh's retirement with his colleague 18 minutes into the 3 pm Eastern hour, he brought up Congressman Joe Wilson's response on Twitter to his Democratic colleague's decision. Wilson wrote, "Great news of Senator Bayh's retirement, good prospects of change in Indiana has now become much brighter! I am happy for Hoosiers." Sanchez all but condemned the Republican's Tweet: "It's not like he's dancing on his grave because the guy's not dead. He's...just retiring. But wouldn't you think, just from the standpoint of being collegial, that, most of the time, somebody would say something like- 'boy, I hate to see Jessica Yellin leaving CNN. She really was good'- as opposed to- 'boy, am I glad Jessica Yellin's leaving. Now, we can get a competent reporter in there.'"
George Will on Sunday accused the media of manufacturing the return of government mandated healthcare to the current reform debate.
Discussing the subject on the recent installment of ABC's "This Week," Will said it was highly unlikely Democrats actually have the votes for what they call a "public option," but the media are assisting them in "cleverly and skillfully manufacturing a sense of inevitability that they hope will be self-fulfilling."
In effect, although it is quite doubtful the votes are currently there for any form of government run healthcare, the press are doing their darnedest to change that (video embedded below the fold with partial transcript):
While hosting the 1 p.m. EDT hour of MSNBC News Live, Brian Williams interviewed Democratic Senators Evan Bayh and Jack Reed as well as former Republican presidential candidate and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. However, the differences between the discussions were stark.
Williams whipped out Democratic talking points during his interview with Giuliani. The host asked:
[W]hat can the Republicans tell Americans who are concerned about having troops on the ground in two nations overseas, concerned about a rather dire financial outlook, the list of banks that are in trouble yesterday that in the last reporting period went from 90 to well over 100, the environment, all of the issues that have been on the plate of the current administration for eight years, all the stuff they're hitting you with from this podium?
Also during his discussion with Giuliani, Williams brought up that "the area where your candidate, Senator McCain has admitted weakness has been famously economics" to bring up the subject of McCain’s Vice Presidential choice. The Nightly News anchor also asked: "Mr. Mayor, now that Senator Clinton has spoken to this gathering and President Clinton tonight and presumably the Democrats will leave here Thursday after Obama’s speech saying they are united as one, for how long is Senator Clinton going to be a fixture in Senator McCain’s ads?"
An ABC affiliate in Kansas City, Missouri, is reporting that a printing company in Lenexa, Kansas, has already started creating bumper stickers promoting "Obama Bayh '08":
After weeks of speculation and days of intense rumors, the answer to who Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama would name as his running mate may have come down to a bumper sticker printed in Lenexa.
KMBC's Micheal Mahoney reported that the company, which specializes in political literature, has been printing Obama-Bayh material.
Is it "wishful thinking" for Republicans to imagine that Obama will take Hillary as his running mate? CNN's Ed Henry thinks so. He made the comment to anchor Heidi Collins in a report on the veepstakes during CNN's 9 AM EDT hour today.
HEIDI COLLINS: Another name keeps bubbling up: Hillary Clinton. Ed Henry is on the VP watch yet again today. Alright, so what do you think today, Ed? Because I know yesterday it might have been different.
ED HENRY: Well it's interesting. You mentioned Hillary Clinton. This name has been surfacing over the last 24 hours. Some Democrats, but frankly I've also heard it from some Republicans. Because they, strategists in both parties, are saying wait a second. We thought Barack Obama was going to roll this out a couple of days ago, maybe a little sooner. Now it seems to be getting closer to the convention. Is it a surprise? Is it someone with a lot of name ID? Someone he doesn't need to spend a lot of time rolling out and introducing to the American people. Frankly I think some Republicans are spreading this because it's some wishful thinking on their part. Because they know she's also a lightning rod. She did get 18 million votes in the primaries. She brings some real strengths to the table, but she also could really rally conservatives if she was on the ticket and could give conservatives sort of a spark to turn out for John McCain. So there might be some wishful thinking there. We have gotten no new reporting suggesting she's vaulted to the top of the short list.
Yesterday's New York Times carried the story, "Indiana Senator Offers Obama Risks and Rewards." The article focuses on Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, described as "one of the leading candidates to be the running mate of the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, Senator Barack Obama."
There's no current wisdom more conventional than that which has Hillary Clinton entirely out of the veepstakes. Take the opening of yesterday's Hardball, for example, with Mike Barnicle sitting in for Chris Matthews.
MIKE BARNICLE: It didn't get much notice in the media and it didn't show up in any newspaper obituary pages, but the idea of a Democratic ticket of Obama and Hillary Clinton died a very quiet death this week. How did the dream-team ticket disappear so fast and so quietly?
Introducing a later segment, Barnicle displayed a statement from a group that had been pushing the idea of Hillary for veep now saying that it's abandoned its effort "because it seems that Senator Obama has made his decision to offer the slot on the ticket to another candidate." The subsequent schmoozefest with Dem consultant Steve McMahon and Air America honcho Mark Green took it as a given that Hillary would not be the VP candidate, focusing instead on what other role she might play in the campaign.
Aren't southern gentlemen supposedly chivalrous? Yet Joe Scarborough, son of the Florida Panhandle, today exploited Mika Brzezinski's less-than-encyclopedic knowledge of sports to lure his Morning Joe colleague into agreeing that the famous former coach of the Indiana University basketball team was none other than . . . Bear Bryant.
The jumping-off point was Joe's wearing of a red sweater today, which as a running gag he claimed was in solidarity with the workers of the world on this, May Day. But when Indiana Senator Evan Bayh, a Hillary supporter, came on toward the end of the show, Scarborough pressed the sweater into double duty.
On March 9, my colleague Tim Graham pointed out the delicious hypocrisy of a Hillary Clinton supporter advocating using electoral votes to decide the Democrat presidential nomination.
On Sunday, another Hillary backer, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), made a similar recommendation, even though he's on the record as having been against the Electoral College in the past (pictured right courtesy AP).
In fact, since George W. Bush's victory over Al Gore in 2000, wherein the former had more electoral votes despite the latter's popular vote advantage, the Electoral College has been a common whipping boy of Democrats and liberal press representatives.
With that in mind, as this talk likely heats up in the coming months, will the Electoral College haters in the media flipflop on this issue as well? While you ponder, here's the New York Times' take on Monday (emphasis added throughout):
Those Clinton campaigners sure know how to slip the "subliminable" shiv in. Yesterday, chief Hillary strategist Mark Penn managed to work "cocaine use" into his comments while supposedly disassociating the campaign from charges of Obama drug use made by Hillary's New Hampshire chairman. See video of Penn in action here.
Today, it was the turn of Hillary supporter Evan Bayh to whack Barack while pretending to take the high road. A bit after 3 PM ET this afternoon, the Dem senator from Indiana with the Eagle Scout aura [who might well have his eye on the VP slot] was being interviewed by MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell about the current turmoil in Camp Clinton.