Today marks the opening of the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Regardless of where you may stand on internal debates about some of this year's co-sponsors, there's no denying that for nearly four decades its been an enduring legacy of conservative political activism.
But to liberal journalists like Time's Adam Sorensen, CPAC is casually dismissed as a "three-day carnival of Republican ladder-climbers and red meat throwers."
"Tea Party or no, red meat is always the entree du jour at these kinds of events," Sorensen noted later in his February 10 Swampland blog post. "In a year before a presidential election, speeches from potential candidates promise heaping helpings."
This afternoon, the Washington Post's Web site offers readers two looks at how the Democrats and the GOP will proceed following the 2009 elections, but, surprise, surprise, the paper only forsees internecine squabbles for the GOP.
Even before delving into the content of the articles, it's clear by the labeling that the Post sees the GOP's pending "ideological fissures" as a matter of objective news reporting, while the Democratic postmortem is a matter of informed "analysis," not hard news.
For their part, Rucker and Bacon aimed, like others in the mainstream media -- click here, here, and here -- to gin up an ominous narrative for the GOP party-wide from the New York 23rd congressional district saga:
It’s uncommon for newspapers to hype Sunday morning TV interviews in advance, especially if presidents aren’t involved. But Saturday’s Washington Post carries this page 3 story: "In TV Appearance, Powell Plans to Answer Right-Wing Critics." Reporters Michael D. Shear and Perry Bacon Jr. play up a GOP feud: "Under intense fire from the right, former secretary of state Colin L. Powell is preparing to answer his Republican critics this weekend in a television appearance that is likely to add fuel to his long-standing feud with top conservatives in his party."
Message to liberal Post readers: the conservatives are going to get thrashed tomorrow on CBS's Face the Nation, so don’t miss it.
Shear and Bacon didn't tell readers that this "feud" was fueled by the liberal media, by CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer, who asked former vice president Dick Cheney whether Powell or Rush Limbaugh was a better voice for Republicans. They only explained "Rush Limbaugh and former vice president Richard B. Cheney have attacked Powell in recent days as a traitor to his party."
MSNBC host Contessa Brewer derided Republicans for using the word socialist in reference to Barack Obama's economic policies on Wednesday, complaining, "Well, maybe they think Americans are a bunch of idiots." Speaking of an upcoming vote by the Republican National Committee over whether or not to label the current Democratic leadership as socialist-leaning, the "MSNBC News Live Host" worried, "Have we reverted to a bunch of junior high schoolers, 12-year-olds with the name calling?"
Of course, Brewer is on the same network that repeatedly, and gleefully, used the juvenile "tea bag" humor to describe Republican protests over taxes. So, this argument is somewhat hollow. Washington Post political reporter Perry Bacon talked to the host and tried to explain the GOP's anger towards the massive spending that has been going on in Washington. After Brewer played a clip of RNC Chairman Michael Steele on Tuesday slamming Democrats, such as "Barney Frank, who nobody understands," the journalist could barely contain herself. She fretted, "Class and dignity. Was that it?"
You might say nothing could be more unsurprising than a panel of political pundits admitting the obvious: that Barack Obama is playing the race card when he accuses John McCain of saying the Dem candidate "doesn’t look like the other presidents on the currency."
But what makes the punditry panel's unanimity notable is that no one would accuse them of being McCain backers, and what's more, that they turned up on Hardball. Surely Chris Matthews, were he not on vacation, would have found one diehard to deny reality. But with Mike Barnicle guest-hosting, a consensus of truth-telling broke out.
Barnicle began by playing a clip of McCain, interviewed by CNN's John King, saying that it is legitimate to accuse Obama of having played the race card. The video is worth viewing if only to watch McCain end the interview by shaking a surprised King's hand and walking away. Then the panel commented. Perry Bacon of the Washington Post said he would decline to answer directly, but his answer left no real doubt as to his view.
Hardball had some fun this evening at Hillary's expense over the mystery of The Sniper Who Didn't Fire. Credit Politico's Roger Simon with the most devastating remark.
Hillary's heroic claim has been that "we used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady." Simon said what in retrospect might be obvious but something I hadn't previously heard anyone else observe.
ROGER SIMON: She says I was there because it was too dangerous for the President. It was too dangerous--so he sent his wife and only child? It makes no sense.