On Wednesday's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, MSNBC.com Executive Editor Richard Wolffe credited Hillary Clinton with a "monumental effort" in "recovering from" the Bush administration's alleged mistakes as he responded to conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer's assertion that the former Secretary of State had no significant accomplishments she could point to in a presidential run. Wolffe:
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this government shutdown has been the inability of the average person to get a handle on what's really going on.
Outfits like the network evening news shows, the Associated Press, the New York Times and others compose their spin, and almost invariably tilt their coverage towards the Obama administration and Democrats; developments favoring the GOP and conservatives, if mentioned at all, get washed away. Two examples from today of shutdown settlement ideas President Barack Obama rejected will prove the point.
In a bizarre writeup which alternates between harsh criticism and a pity party about President Barack Obama's "toughness" or lack thereof in the wake of the withdrawal of Larry Summers from consideration as the next head of the Federal Reserve, Politico's Jonathan Allen unleashed a ridiculous assertion about the history of the administration's Syrian adventure: "In another debate that never came up for a vote the White House could have easily lost, Obama was led into asking Congress for approval to bomb Syria."
One wonders how the leader of the still most powerful country on earth can be "led" into anything, but especially in this case, given that it was Obama who came up with the "brilliant" idea of asking for Congressional authorization even though he said he didn't need it.
In anticipation of Jesse Jackson Jr.'s indictment on Friday afternoon, Jonathan Allen and John Bresnahan at the Politico seemed all too willing to hand out sympathy cards to Jackson and his wife, both of whom stand to do time in prison for offenses relating to their raid of the congressman's campaign funds.
Specifically, the Politico pair wrote: "It’s a story of a Chicago power couple that lost track of the line between campaign cash and personal funds in a spiral of money troubles." Gosh, I didn't know that line was so blurred. Excerpts from the write-up follow the jump:
Fast forward to January 3, 2013, when five percent of House Republicans failed to vote for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) to be speaker of the House in the 113th Congress. Covering the story this afternoon, Bresnahan and colleague Jake Sherman sought to simultaneously argue that Boehner faced an uphill struggle to hold on to power and that he never really had a credible challenge to the speakership in the first place (emphasis mine):
There has been no shortage of deceptive ads, factually-distorted statements, and outright fabrications from the political left over the campaign year to choose from, but leave it to the Tampa Bay Times's PolitiFact to give its "Lie of the Year" award to the Romney campaign. The now infamous "falsehood" in question was Romney's claim that Jeep was planning on moving production of some of its vehicles to China. This was in fact technically true, but PolitiFact trademarked it as its "Lie of the Year."
In a fit of glee, multiple left-leaning news outlets have promoted the proclamation, including of course, MSNBC. [video below, MP3 audio here ]:
While Allen refused to be as gaga over Joe Biden as liberal co-host Krystal Ball was, he failed to do any fact-checking of the vice president and suggested that Biden won on the substance of the debate:
Politico edged ever closer towards total parody on Tuesday with a headline that seriously wondered, "Joe Biden: Sex symbol?" Senior Washington correspondent Jonathan Allen gushed, "Joe Biden’s bringing sexy back — to the Medicare-eligible set."
The journalist, who touts his "National Press Club’s Sandy Hume Award for Excellence in Political Journalism," rhapsodized, "The vice president, who turns 70 in November, has been on a tour of diners and delis in swing states, charming as many white, blue-collar voters — and their mothers — as possible."
In a recent article on Politico.com, Jonathan Allen laughably labeled two out of three soon-to-be retired Democratic senators -- Joseph Lieberman(I-Conn.)* and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) -- alongside Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe (Maine). Allen did correctly label the retiring Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) as a moderate, a tag that makes more sense given his voting record. [h/t e-mail tipster James Harper]
Reporting in the wake of Tuesday's announcement that Snowe is retiring, Allen created the illusion that along with Lieberman, Conrad and Nelson, centrism in the Senate is being dealt a blow.
West coast viewers got to see a July 4 CBS Evening News on Sunday, and those who tuned in saw CBS's interim "report card" on Congress's performance so far. Under the headline of "unfinished business," correspondent Wyatt Andrews and his sole expert, Politico's Jonathan Allen, both fretted how Congress is now "paralyzed" due to a "growing fear of the deficit."
Many Americans are probably wishing Congress had become "paralyzed" a few trillion dollars ago.
Andrews rued that supposedly job-creating "stimulus spending" may be sacrificed if enough congressmen feel deficit spending is now "political Kryptonite."
Many members of Congress especially those in tough re-election campaigns are home right now, trying to figure out the spending issue: Will voters support more stimulus spending if it directly leads to jobs, or has deficit spending itself become political Kryptonite?
For nearly a year, the allegations of scandalous activity in former Rep. Eric Massa’s office were kept quiet — by the congressman, by male aides who accuse him of sexually harassing them and by other congressional staff.
But with two aides coming forward last week to announce that they had filed harassment claims against the New York Democrat, charges and countercharges are exploding into full public view, ensuring that the Massa saga will not simply go away.
Instead, it will raise old questions about whether Congress is able to effectively police its own members and staff, and the degree to which staff members are responsible for — or even capable of — reining in lawmakers who are accused of abusing their power.
Of course, while I've no doubt that more sordid details of the scandal will drip out into the public consciousness between now and Election Day, I'm not anticipating that the mainstream media, at least the broadcast networks, are that interested in making hay of this matter, which doubtless may reflect poorly on the Democratic Party's management of the House of Representatives.
Here's another entry for the revolving door file: Politico's Jonathan Allen (pictured at right), formerly of Congressional Quarterly and former Sen. Paul Sarbanes' office, will take over as the top staffer at Debbie Wasserman Schultz's DWS PAC, according to Roll Call (h/t e-mail tipster Bob Foster).
For his part, Allen, whose wife works as the communications director for freshman Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), found it an offer he couldn't refuse:
"I wouldn't go work for just anyone," Allen said. "She wanted me to come work for her, and it was impossible for me to say no. She has a heart of gold and resolve of steel. ... I find that inspiring."
Roll Call's Steven T. Dennis has the story here, but only the lead paragraph is available to non-subscribers. Below is an excerpt, courtesy of Foster:
"The clergy should stay off Capitol Hill," MSNBC's Chris Matthews flatly declared on the November 10 "Hardball." Matthews fumed with disgust as Politico's Jonathan Allen told him that Catholic bishops lobbied Democrats to pass the pro-life Stupak Amendment to the Democratic health care reform bill last week.
"I understand the [pro-life] argument" that the bishops brought to the table, Matthews added, but huffed that they should not "show up" on the Hill.
After the commercial break, Matthews took to the air again to clarify that it was not in fact bishops but staffers with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) who lobbied the Democrats. Such a distinction, he insisted, was important.
As Kathleen Sebelius was sworn in as Secretary of Health and Human Services on April 28, the media continued its biased coverage of her controversial appointment. News outlets ignored the reason GOP senators had delayed her confirmation - her pro-abortion extremism - and focused instead on the importance of having the Secretary in place to combat swine flu.
But the media failed to note that since the creation of The Department of Homeland Security epidemic-fighting efforts are no longer headed up by HHS. Homeland Security is supposed to work with the Center for Disease Control. The CDC is led by Acting Secretary Richard E. Besser since the Obama Administration has yet to nominate anyone for the top job, something the media, with exception of CNN's Ed Henry, haven't reported.
An interview with Former Secretary of HHS Donna Shalala on "Fox and Friends" April 29 asks if having no director at the department had an impact on the swine flu crisis. Shalala said, "If you remember we transferred the emergency powers for this kind of outbreak to the Department of Homeland Security when it was created. So that power is no longer in HHS. There is no question though that the CDC plays a lead role here and it's very important to get a CDC director as well as the Secretary sworn in."
Despite his war wounds, can Bob Kerrey still kick Chris Matthews' butt? We might soon find out, because on this evening's Hardball Matthews lumped Kerrey into a group of Clinton sycophants he derided as "castratos" and a "eunuch chorus."
Chris was kvetching about the way a variety of Hillary Clinton supporters including Kerrey have lined up to take shots at Barack Obama. In endorsing Hillary yesterday, the former Nebraska senator went out of his way to draw attention to Obama's Muslim background.