Corrected from earlier | "After three years of last-minute deals, delayed decisions, and acrimonious finger pointing, the process for one of Congress's most basic functions—spending money—finally buckled and broke down Monday night," the Wall Street Journal's Damian Paletta sighed in the opening paragraph of his October 1 story, "Breakdown Is New Norm in Spending Fights."
"Since passage of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the House and Senate have been directed to pass annual budget resolutions setting targets for government spending levels and then work out the differences," but "Congress in recent years has abandoned its traditional budget and appropriations process," Paletta noted. Yet nowhere in his 21-paragraph story did the Journal scribe lay any blame at the feet of Senate Democrats and their leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), even though the upper chamber failed to pass a budget in nearly four years, only doing so in March.*
When CBS's Steve Kroft recently asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) some penetrating questions about stock purchases she and her husband made, the internet was abuzz with rumors about an upcoming 60 Minutes installment about the wealthy couple that have been known to use her political interest for their mutual benefit.
Unfortunately, this Sunday's 60 Minutes piece about Congressional insider trading cherry picked from author Peter Schweizer's soon to be released book "Throw Them All Out" to make it look like this is largely a Republican scandal (video follows with commentary):
On Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports, Republican Senator Judd Gregg had to remind Andrea Mitchell that hardworking Americans' money belongs to them and not the government, after the NBC reporter pressed him to "justify" a "larger tax cut for those who really don't need it."
On to discuss the tax cut deal in Congress, Gregg explained to Mitchell that the "problem we have as a government today isn't that we're an under-taxed people. It's that we're an overspending government." However an undeterred Mitchell then went on to cite billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett as saying "at a time of deficit crisis that they don't need these tax breaks," to which Gregg zinged back: "If Warren Buffett and Bill Gates want to send us money, we'll take it."
The following exchange was aired on the December 7 edition of Andrea Mitchell Reports:
During Wednesday's 10AM EST hour on MSNBC, Politico's Mike Allen shared his thoughts on Tuesday's electoral results: "Stop the steamroller. The idea the Republicans were automatically going to be in control going into November, now not true....a Democrat winning the only Democrat-Republican showdown of yesterday in a congressional seat in Pennsylvania. The Republicans should have won."
That despite the fact that the seat has been by Democrats for decades and that Democrats outnumbered Republicans 2-to-1 in the district. Allen touted how "the White House is saying this shows that if you fight district by district that you can win. Democrats can win in a tough district if they have a local message."
Anchor Alex Witt then asked Allen about the victory of Rand Paul in the Kentucky senate Republican primary. Allen continued to spin the news as bad for the GOP: "if he makes it to Washington...He's not going to do what the Republican leaders tell him to do, they fought against him."
Allen even claimed the Paul campaign was modeled after that of Barack Obama: "this is a continuation of the trend that we saw with Barack Obama in 2008. He wasn't the establishment candidate....That's what we're seeing in both parties now."
During Thursday's 11AM ET hour on MSNBC, anchor Tamron Hall asked former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean about Florida Governor Charlie Crist's expected announcement to run as an independent in that state's senate race: "Is this a sign that people, perhaps centrists or moderates, like Charlie Crist, have no place in this new emerging Republican Party?"
That set up the left-wing Dean to bash conservatives and the GOP: "What effect does the tea party have on the Republican Party? And this is a really good example. They've driven another moderate out of the Republican Party....there just apparently is no place in the Republican Party for moderate, thoughtful people anymore."
Hall first asked Dean about an odd rumor: "There is a story online that's being picked up by conservative blogs that you offered to contribute to Charlie Crist's campaign if he left the Republican Party. What happened there?" Dean explained: "That was a joke between me and Joe Scarborough which some enterprising staffer for Crist picked up and pushed it around. It's not true. I'm supporting Kendrick Meek." He then added: "I actually think that the two big winners out of this are the United States, who are hopefully going to get a real senator instead of a far-right person, and I do think, of course, it helps the Democratic Party and Kendrick's candidacy as well."
After Hall introduced Dean at the beginning of the segment, she remarked: "I say it like you're a correspondent now....I love that being a possible segment Governor Dean, you coming on and talking about the top political news of the day."
On the soon-to-be canceled ‘It’s the Economy’ program on MSNBC on Thursday, co-host Contessa Brewer grilled Republican New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on his calls to reduce out-of-control government spending: “Which programs are you willing to cut? Are you willing to tell schools, no money for you?” Gregg shot back: “What an absurd statement to make. And what a dishonest statement to make.”
Gregg called out Brewer for her unfair framing of the issue: “...nobody’s saying no money for schools....On its face you’re being fundamentally dishonest when you make that type of statement.” He went to explain the kinds of budget cuts he would make: “I would freeze discretionary spending, a real freeze, not a – not a freeze plus inflation. I would eliminate the T.A.R.P. money....I would end the stimulus spending effective in June of this year, if not sooner....reform our entitlement programs....I’ve made very specific proposals and I’m willing to stand by them.”
Gregg was far from finished, he described the big government mentality shared by the Obama administration and the liberal media: “The problem is that this administration’s view of governance is that economic prosperity is created by growing the government dramatically. And then it gets misrepresented by people like yourself who say they’re going to – that if you do any of this stuff you’re going to end up not funding education.”
Early in the 1PM ET hour on MSNBC on Tuesday, anchor Norah O’Donnell pressed New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg on Republican efforts to slow down passage of ObamaCare: “You guys are going to probably be there late on Christmas Eve....And a lot of people say it’s the Republicans’ fault, that you could easily go ahead and move forward with this legislation. Are you the Grinch that stole Christmas?”
Senator Gregg rejected that notion and pointed out: “...it wasn’t necessary for the Democratic leadership to back this up to Christmas....We could have come back at the beginning of January and debated this for a week or two in the sunlight. But they don’t want sunlight on the bill, it’s that simple.”
Earlier on Tuesday, during the 10AM ET hour of MSNBC coverage, anchor Contessa Brewer played up the same theme while interviewing Texas Republican Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison: “Is it just, at this point, being mean to keep all the staffers here, to force this thing out until Christmas Eve? Senator McCaskill [D-Missouri] said today, ‘look, if we – if the Republicans would get on board we could get this passed today and let everybody go home for Christmas.’”
But it is also something that some in the financial media are reluctant to support, especially judging from the tone of CNBC "The Call" co-host Trish Regan and comments CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman. On the Nov. 20 broadcast of "The Call," CME Group reporter Rick Santelli made the case that Federal Reserve should be audited. He cited opposition to the Fed audit proposal from Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., which was based on Congress' inability to be fiscally responsible.
"He said, ‘You know, there independence is important to protect the soundness of the dollar,'" Santelli said. "Has he read any papers lately or looked at any charts? Come on. Amen, amen that this process is happening. They're not taking away their independence to make a decision on interest rates. We need to know where the money is going. I remember when Ben Bernanke faced committees of elected officials and said, ‘We can't audit the Fed because then you might look unfavorably on some of the counterparties we deal with. That's like finding paraphernalia under your kids bed and then not asking where he got it."
For the Chicago Tribune, Romney supporter turned Obama man Douglas Kmiec indulged in quite a litany of name-calling, finger pointing and demagoguery against the GOP that would have been amazing from the same man only one year ago. Hopefully questioning "The Death of the GOP," Kmiec has shown that he no longer cares much how he is viewed, going full Democrat Partisan at this point.
In his Tribune article, Kmiec outrageously says that Republicans don't care about "helping" the country, that they denigrate the "values, hopes and planning of others," and have "no interest in family, work or neighborhood." After heaping such calumny onto the GOP, he then does further damage to poor Mitt Romney by happily reminding us that Romney is a "flip flopper" that should join the Obama administration. Some friend he is!
On Saturday’s Fox News Watch, FNC host Bill Hemmer brought up the media’s lack of interest in Barack Obama’s plans to exert control over the 2010 census from the White House, as the show’s panel discussed Republican Senator Judd Gregg’s decision not to accept appointment to the position of Commerce Secretary. Hemmer teased the show: "Is the White House effort to control the census a play to control the vote? And did most of the major media miss this major story?"
Conservative panelist Jim Pinkerton blamed Gregg’s decision on White House Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel’s planned involvement in the census: "What clearly got under his skin was the issue of the census and the clear realization, as Republicans were pointing out to him, that the census, the biggest thing the Commerce Department has to do... And for Gregg to be told that Rahm Emanuel is going to be running that from the White House and changing the numbers around, I think, was too humiliating for him..." On the February 9, Special Report with Bret Baier on FNC, correspondent Jim Angle had notably related: "Lawmakers such as Representative Barbara Lee reportedly yelled at a White House official until he agreed that Gregg would not be left in charge of [the census]."
It’s natural for someone to lose a job and then say it really wasn’t important and desirable any way. That’s kind of the sound of Associated Press reporter Charles Babington made in a defensive news analysis on Friday after Sen. Judd Gregg withdrew his nomination as commerce secretary. "Obscure post gives Obama big headache" was the headline. The analysis began:
Quick, who headed the Commerce Department under President George W. Bush?
No disrespect to Carlos M. Gutierrez, but commerce secretary is not one of Washington's more glamorous jobs. It's overshadowed by first-tier Cabinet posts at Justice, State, Defense and Treasury. Scores of senators, House members, Supreme Court justices and White House aides would draw more attention at a Georgetown cocktail party or Dupont Circle restaurant.
ABC, CBS and NBC centered their Thursday night stories, on Senator Judd Gregg's decision to withdraw as Commerce Secretary-nominee, around his disagreement with the Obama administration's “stimulus” plan -- with only passing mention, if any, of the administration's wish to move the 2010 census count from Commerce to the White House.
CNN's Jessica Yellin reported at the top of the 6 PM EST Situation Room that “sources close to Senator Gregg say the bigger issue for him was the White House's effort to take control of the census,” yet that politicalization of the census wasn't mentioned at all in a full CBS Evening News story from Chip Reid, who found time to relay how “a top Democratic source on Capitol Hill was more blunt, saying Gregg actively campaigned for the job, then 'erratically dropped out without warning,'” nor in a Katie Couric-Bob Schieffer discussion.
On ABC's World News, George Stephanopoulos offered a clause about the census, but couched as merely a GOP allegation: “Since the nomination became public there were two public issues over who would administer the census -- that was getting politicized according to Republican officials -- and also over the stimulus bill.”
On January 25, as noted by yours truly here at NewsBusters ("Obama 'Shifting Power From Traditional Cabinet Posts"), Jonathan Martin at Politico.com reported that President Obama "is moving to create perhaps the most powerful staff in modern history – a sort of West Wing on steroids that places no less than a half-dozen of his top initiatives into the hands of advisers outside the Cabinet." (The picture on the right is at that report.)
I'm not aware that any Old Media outlet besides Politico itself, which is largely a collection of Old Media alums, has covered this development.
The power grab continues. My bet is that Old Media will also maintain its studied ignorance of this development, despite years of whining about alleged Executive Branch excesses during the Bush administration.
Now it looks like Barack Obama's inner circle is going to teach the Census Bureau how to count in 2010. CQpolitics.com this morning reported that the White House is taking the next decennial census away from the Commerce Department, and keeping it for itself.
13:47 CNN cuts to Brady briefing room, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs making opening announcements before questions. Announces Obama event to commemorate 200th anniversary of birth of Abraham Lincoln.
13:52, female reporter: On Tom Daschle, if you could take a step back, we have two nominees paying back taxes. An awful lot of money... what kind of a message does it send?
Robert Gibbs says Daschle discovered a mistake and paid for it, including penalty fees. Says he hopes Senate will examine not just "one mistake in a career" but Daschle's whole career in public service.
In the February 4 USA Today, Richard Wolf treated news of Bush's last budget proposal by alternating between liberal Democrats attacking the president and Wolf's own stark language in characterizing the spending blueprint. What's more, Wolf cited two Democrats attacking the spending plan, compared to one Republican depending reductions in spending in the final Bush budget.