Several months ago, based on several far from minor out-of-the-gate mistakes, I characterized the candidacy of the Democratic Party's challenger to incumbent Republican Governor John Kasich as "the wreck that is Edward FitzGerald."
In the past week, FitzGerald has utterly imploded. The latest revelation Tuesday afternoon, namely that he had "no license to drive at all from 2002 to 2008," leaves one wondering whether his party vetted him at all. Former Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial director Brent Larkin calls this "at or near the top of the list" of "bizarre developments" he's seen in 45 years of covering politics. Despite the fact that Ohio is a key battleground state and that Kasich had in some quarters been seen as vulnerable after his attempt at Scott Walker-like reforms went down in flames in 2011, national news about Fall-Apart FitzGerald is sparse — and when it appears, it's often made to look like a GOP dirty tricks exercise.
For the past several days, the city of Toledo, Ohio has been without drinking water following an outbreak of toxic algae blooms appearing throughout Lake Erie.
Despite the seriousness of the issue, on Tuesday, August 5, MSNBC’s Ed Schultz used the opportunity to attack the GOP as being anti-science. The Ed Show host proclaimed “this is the problem politician’s face. Uneducated anti-regulation science-denying Republicans who could care less about the environment.” [See video below.]
During the Friday episode of National Public Radio's Morning Edition, co-host Renee Montagne stated that the past several days had been “a charged week at the Capitol,” which led fellow co-host David Greene to declare: “Still, ObamaCare rolled out as planned.”
Millions of people have shopped for insurance on the new marketplaces called exchanges since opening day on Tuesday, they noted. Officials said it was evidence of high interest. However, others have criticized the fumbling start, which involved computer glitches and errors, saying the Affordable Care Act “was not ready for prime time.”
Hard to believe, but there's actually a left-wing media outlet that makes MSNBC appear sane by comparison.
If you've never visited Daily Kos, I wish I could say you're in for a treat. Alas, that's unlikely to be true. Instead, you'll probably want to shower after dropping by, lest any of its peculiar odor linger.
Appearing as a guest on Monday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, Guardian columnist Ana Marie Cox -- formerly of Time.com -- asserted that "a lot of Republican women out there" are upset over the abortion issue because the GOP "is really taking a step backwards when it comes to women's rights."
Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Monday, July 1, The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC:
On Thursday's The Last Word, MSNBC's Lawerence O'Donnell hosted an all liberal panel to complain about Republican efforts to curtail abortion in Texas and Ohio, with O'Donnell trumpeting that Texas State Senator Wendy Davis "rocketed to political stardom" via her famous 11-hour filibuster.
Guest Ana Marie Cox of the Guardian mocked the GOP's "re-branding" effort and observed that the Texas legislature was "dominated by white men" who were "trying to put down the women in front of them." She went on call Republican behavior "reprehensible" and Texas Governor Rick Perry "ignorant." Cox:
None of these facts about Ted Strickland's record got into Alexander Burns's Tuesday coverage of Strickland's decision at the Politico. Instead, readers were treated to a narrative which made Strickland's fundamentally deceptive attempt to keep his job in the 2010 election seem almost heroic (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Assessing the presidential race in the Midwest with Chris Hayes on Thursday night, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow said Ohio Gov. John Kasich may be the "cockiest of all of the cocky breed of the Republican governors right now," but his loss on union bargaining rights was so stinging "I actually think the Republican establishment in Ohio is pretty wussy compared to what they were like in 2010."
That sounds a lot like a taunt that Ohio Republicans may want to tack to the bulletin board. They were discussing how Wisconsin doesn't look as good as they think it should:
It has become clear what the Obama campaign's strategy for trying to win states like Michigan and Ohio is and will continue to be. In three steps, it's as follows: 1) Pretend that the states' Republican governors, John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Snyder in Michigan, who both succeeded free-spending Democrats who presided over stagnant economies, have had nothing to do with their increased employment, lower unemployment rates, and improved business climates (as well as balanced budgets in fiscal 2012 involving no tax increases, though Snyder may ruin that in Michigan this year); 2) Instead give the credit for all of these favorable developments to Obama and the governments' bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors; 3) Don't say anything about how other states run by Dems, particularly Illinois, North Carolina, and Connecticut, are lagging because they have instead tried to apply Washington's tax-and-spend model to their states' fiscal situations.
Of course the AP, aka the Adminisitration's Press, is all too willing to make the administration's laughable claims appear credible. It did so in two separate items this week, one giving basic details about the job-market situations in Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina, and the other covering Obama allegedly improving chances of winning Ohio, Michigan, and a dozen other "swing" states. There was no mention of the Buckeye State's or Wolverine State's chief executives in either article.
Political analysts across the country were closely watching votes on two key initiatives in Ohio Tuesday to get a sense as to where the nation is on the power of labor unions as well as the President's signature piece of healthcare legislation.
On MSNBC's Morning Joe Wednesday, the failure of Ohio's Issue 2 - which strikes down Governor John Kasich's (R) anti-collective bargaining law by public unions - was raised several times as a major defeat for Republicans, but not once in three hours did the overwhelming passage of Issue 3 - which effectively makes ObamaCare illegal in the state - surface.
Sometimes it's really hard to understand why certain events get heavy national press coverage while others which are arguably at least as significant and serious get little if any notice. This is one of them. Scott Walker, who solved a $3 billion projected deficit in Wisconsin, is a media and leftist (but I repeat myself) arch-villain because much of the balancing was done by adjusting public-sector employee contributions towards health and pension benefits to more closely but still more generously resemble what's seen in the private sector, and by reducing public-sector employees' ability to restore them to their formerly out-of-control levels through collective bargaining. Ditto for John Kasich in Ohio, where the projected deficit was $8 billion.
Meanwhile, the state of Illinois defers billions of dollars of payments to vendors by four or more months because, despite 67% and 46% increases in personal and business income taxes, respectively, it still doesn't have the money to come even close to staying current. Yet virtually all we've seen from the national press on the problem is one Associated Press story conveniently filed on a Saturday. Here are key paragraphs from the report by Christopher Wills (bolds are mine throughout this post):
At the Politico, James Hohmann's biography page indicates that he is "an Honors graduate of Stanford University" who "studied American political history." I hope he skipped class during the time his profs covered the 1990s, because if not, he and many other classmates have been badly misled.
Hohmann covered Bill Clinton's commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of his presidential candidacy announcement at his library in Little Rock, Arkansas, and let the following Clintonian howlers go by without challenge:
In his Friday report covering the June state and local employment report released by Uncle Sam's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Associated Press's Derek Kravitz told readers about the three biggest seasonally adjusted job-losing states (Tennessee, Missouri, and Virginia), but had nothing to say about states which gained jobs. This was a curious omission indeed, given that BLS told us that "nonfarm payroll employment increased in 26 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 24 states."
Only Kravitz knows why he neglected to tell us about the job gainers, but the list of the top eight states in that department should make readers wonder if the wire service reporter's omission was motivated by inconvenient (for liberals and leftists) likely explanations for the improvements in most of them (keep in mind that though it's not an apples to apples comparison, the economy as a whole added only 18,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in June):
CBS's Bob Schieffer took on the role of a left-wing activist on Sunday's Face the Nation, as he pressed all four of his guests from both parties about cuts in state and local spending. Schieffer bewailed how both Republican Governors John Kasich and Scott Walker "cut deeply into education" and asked Democratic Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa if he felt good about making "draconian cuts" [audio clips available here]
The anchor brought on the governors of Ohio and Wisconsin, as well as the mayor of Los Angeles and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, for his half-hour program to discuss the impasse over the federal budget and the debt ceiling and its impact on their states. After an initial question to Governor Kasich, where Schieffer claimed how, apparently, "things are worse than ever" between the two political parties, Schieffer set up his first question to Governor Walker with his lament of the apparent cuts to education in the states of his two Republican guests:
I can't say that I'm up on what every state is doing, but it's hard not to notice contrasts between two trios of states singing decidedly different tunes:
Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey, three states with recently elected conservative Republican governors, have either put their budgets to bed, or are on the verge of doing so, by cutting costs and not raising taxes.
Connecticut, Minnesota, and California, three states with recently elected liberal governors who are Democrats, are on the verge of a shutdown, serious layoffs, or issuing IOUs. All three governors have enacted or want tax increases.
Gosh, after Republican Governors Scott Walker and John Kasich succeeded in championing legislation curtailing many collective bargaining rights of unionized state and municipal employees in Wisconsin and Ohio, respectively, the establishment press had the meme all set. The GOP, conservatives, and Tea Partiers are enemies of labor and the middle class, while Democrats, liberals, and progressives are their champions.
Then along comes bluer-than-blue Massachusetts. As the Boston Globe reports, the Bay State's House "voted overwhelmingly last night (Tuesday) to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns." It's not a law yet, but it seems to be heading pretty quickly in that direction.
The Associated Press's beat reporters and editors must be beside themselves.
Beware the crystal-ball story that predicts a backlash -- a liberal newspaper will constantly find backlashes to predict wherever conservatives succeed. The Washington Post unleashed their clairvoyance on Friday in an Amy Gardner story headlined "Ohio GOP may invite backlash with tough stance on unions." It began:
COLUMBUS -- State Republicans took the toughest line yet against public-sector unions this week, delivering an early and significant victory for a slew of lawmakers elected in November.
Perhaps too tough. Democrats and even some Republicans said that the bold action and the uncompromising way it was carried out could boomerang on Republicans in the next election, in much the same way that the stimulus bill and health-care overhaul haunted Democrats in Ohio and elsewhere last year.
Ohio election officials have unanimously dismissed a complaint by the Democratic Governors Association, alleging that the Fox News Channel made an illegal in-kind contribution of nearly $170,000 to then-gubernatorial candidate Republican John Kasich.
The DGA had alleged that the 90 seconds Kasich's campaign web address appeared at the bottom of the screen during an interview on Fox amounted to a political advertisement. The Ohio Elections Commission ruled 5-0 that it did not.
Fox News's legal counsel said the DGA's complaint ran counter to "the whole concept of press coverage."
It's strange how this "mandate" thing works, at least at the Associated Press.
In Ohio, Republican John Kasich defeated incumbent Democratic Governor Ted Strickland on Tuesday with a victory margin of about 2.5%, or almost 100,000 votes. Strickland is the first incumbent Buckeye State governor to lose a reelection bid since Democrat John Gilligan lost to Republican Jim Rhodes in 1974. In that race, everyone went to bed on Election Night believing that Gilligan had held on -- including Rhodes himself, who conceded the race -- only to wake up the next morning learning that late ballots had pushed Rhodes over the top by a razor-thin margin.
In Illinois, incumbent Democratic Governor Pat Quinn defeated Republican challenger Bill Brady by about 20,000 votes, a margin of about 0.5%.
Below the jump, you'll see who has permission to claim a "mandate," at least according to the Associated Press's headline writers:
During his rant, Democrat Strickland denounced the Republican Party as "overtaken by the zealots, by the extremists, by the radicals"; claimed that "they don’t seem to like Ohio very much, and quite frankly, they act as if they don’t like America very much," in essence questioning their patriotism; and asked the audience to help him fight "the Tea Party radicals."
The fallout has apparently been so severe that ever-helpful veteran Columbus Dispatch reporter, senior editor, and columnist Joe Hallett felt compelled on Thursday to try to help the Governor walk it all back. In an exchange that can only be seen as Hallett begging for Strickland to give him something, anything to work with, Strickland wasn't very helpful, bogusly played the "out of context" card, and in a very real sense doubled down on his disrespect for those who oppose him. He even went into a riff on how opponents (in context, "Republicans," not just "some Republicans") want to repeal the 14th amendment (huh?).
The full 11:36 video of Strickland's discussion with reporters is here (originally posted at the Ohio Capital Blog); the RGA's 2:04 excerpt featuring Hallett is here (HT RightOhio). What follows is a transcript of the excerpt:
It's interesting, and more than a little frustrating, to see how inflammatory words in speeches delivered by liberal and leftist politicians that might cast them in a bad light don't seem to make much news.
One such example occurred in a speech yesterday at Cincinnati's Coney Island, on the occasion of the AFL-CIO's huge annual picnic there. At that event, Ohio Governor Ted Strickland lashed out at the party of gubernatorial opponent John Kasich as, according to one local reporter, "overrun by extremist elements."
I don't know that this is exactly what Strickland said, but it seems highly unlikely that veteran WLWT reporter John London would have strung those words together on his own.
Strickland's characterization of his opposition as relayed by London, which you will find at this Bing video and also at WLWT's own web site, "somehow" didn't make it into the the station's accompanying text report on the event, which, contrary to what I believe is the norm at the station, doesn't in any way follow the script of the London's coverage. The "overrun by extremist elements" reference also was not noted at either of the city's two other news-following TV stations which covered the event (here and here), nor in Howard Wilkinson's coverage at Gannett's Cincinnati Enquirer. Imagine that.
Here is the first 70% or so of the verbiage in the WLWT broadcast:
What do Bill Maher slamming Pope Benedict XVI as the criminal head of a pedophilia ring, Washington Post's Sally Quinn defending anti-American Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and Ted Turner founder prophesying environmental apocalypse have in common?
They are just three of the most outrageous quotes from the mainstream media in 2008 and were featured on the December 23 "O'Reilly Factor" in a segment with MRC's Director of Media Analysis Tim Graham.
You can view the segment in the embedded video at right.
The Chicago Tribune has lurched to the left of Sen. Barack Obama, at least on gun rights, marking the latest point in its evolution from a historically moderate-to-conservative paper to a reliably left-wing broadsheet.
That's how MRC Director of Media Analysis characterized the Trib's decision to issue an editorial last Friday calling for the repeal of the Second Amendment. The editorial board's writers whined that the Constitution's Framers "could have used an editor" in writing the Bill of Rights. [audio available here]
Below is a transcript -- h/t MRC intern Peter Sasso -- from Graham's appearance on the June 30 "O'Reilly Factor" with guest host John Kasich: