Remember the years of media flak President George W. Bush received for his alleged use for political gain of first the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and then the related Afghanistan and Iraq Wars?
Will the press be as vociferous now? Incoming Obama Administration Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, speaking on Wednesday on and to the Wall Street Journal Digital Network, stated outright his desire to make political hay with the ongoing travails of the U.S. and global economy:
"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before."
Wonder why President-elect Obama resigned from the Senate so early (while Vice President-elect Joe Biden remains an active member) and is hanging back, not wading into the debate over bailouts etc, and naming candidates for nearly every Cabinet post save Treasury (the man or woman who will have $350 billion to dispense when he/she walks through the door)?
Imagine if you will, President Bush or Gov. Sarah Palin saying the following in a sit down interview or a Sunday morning show appearance:
We had a crisis, we kicked it down the can.... These are – just taking those two examples, these are crises you can no longer afford to kick down the can.... The crisis we have here, the American people know we have one and they are ready and willing to start to tackle those problems. You cannot afford now to kick those down the can any longer.
Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would have their share of guffaws at the gaffe. The Daily Show might use it as a "Moment of Zen" and other broadcast and print outlets would be sure to get their licks in.
Yet neither President George W. Bush nor the Alaska governor said those things. President-elect Barack Obama's chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel did, much to Politico's delight. Yet rather than heap scorn on Emanuel, reporter Carol Lee found the Illinois Democrat's "Rahmbonics" endearing, comparing them favorably to beloved baseball icon Yogi Berra's way with words:
"View" co-host Joy Behar seems to have trouble seeing her own hypocrisy when issuing condemnations of other individual’s comments. On the November 10 edition, Behar objected to Rush Limbaugh, whom she baselessly labeled a "terrorist," labeling Barack Obama and Rahm Emanuel "thugs." After Barbara Walters promised to question Rush on that issue in an upcoming interview, Behar exclaimed "he needs to apologize."
Joy Behar, under her own standards, ought to issue several apologies. Beyond the Rush Limbaugh "terrorist" smear, Behar also made such outrageous charges as labeling the Bush administration "liars and murderers," accused Republican presidential candidates of attending "Klan meetings," and called former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a "Hitler type."
Since U.S. troops have been in Iraq, the media instilled baseless fears around college campuses that President Bush would bring back the draft. The Washington Post reported in 2004 the following:
Rumors of reinstating the military draft, which have flourished for months in panicky e-mails, online chat rooms, college dorms and student newspapers, suddenly dominated the House floor yesterday in one of the strangest parliamentary maneuvers in memory. With even its sponsor voting against it, a bill to require young adults to perform military or civil service failed, 402 to 2.
The news, however, remains silent as President-elect Barack Obama rolls out his own plans for conscripting America’s youth.
Obama will have help pushing this agenda from his new chief of staff appointment, Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel proposed conscripting young Americans in his 2006 co-authored book, The Plan:
On Friday’s Newsroom program, as CNN awaited Barack Obama’s first press conference as president-elect, correspondent Joe Johns outlined how Rush Limbaugh was apparently "back on the radio breathing fire, taking Obama and his now-named Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel to the woodshed." He then played a clip of Limbaugh labeling Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug."
Limbaugh actually might not be the first to use the "Chicago thug" label for Obama. The Politico, in an August 27, 2008 article by John F. Harris, cited a "longtime associate" of a certain former Democratic president: "Bill Clinton believes the Democratic nominee, far from practicing a unifying, transformational brand of politics, has the political instincts of ‘a Chicago thug.’" CNN apparently was unaware of this report, since it wasn’t mentioned during the segment.
CNN anchor Campbell Brown introduced a segment on Thursday’s Election Center program by contrasting the "[p]eople all over the world dancing in the streets" over the election of Barack Obama to the "really, really angry" reaction of conservatives, which she then labeled "right-wing rage." A graphic with the same label flashed on-screen, accompanied by a picture of Obama smiling.
During the segment, which aired just after the bottom-half of the 8 pm Eastern hour of the CNN program, CNN correspondent Joe Johns played an audio clip of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh as an example of such "rage." Limbaugh, who reacting to the appointment of liberal Illinois Representative Rahm Emanuel as Obama’s White House Chief of Staff, called Emanuel a "good old-fashioned Chicago thug, just like Obama is a good old-fashioned Chicago thug," and gave an anecdote about how Emanuel used a steak knife to demonstrate his own anger towards Bill Clinton’s enemies after the 1992 election. Johns’ reply after the clip: "So if you were thinking the country is now unified, think again. There are still deep divisions."
"Good Morning America" reporter Claire Shipman continued a time honored media bias tradition on Friday when she mislabeled Congressman Rahm Emanuel, Barack Obama's newly selected chief of staff, as "centrist." Emanuel, who was elected to Congress in 2002, has a lifetime American Conservative Union score of 13.
In 2006, his rank was only four. In contrast, the House member's average from the liberal group Americans for Democratic Action is a very high 96. And yet, Shipman erroneously asserted, "More than anything, the 48-year-old Illinois representative is a pragmatic, centrist politician who likes to get things done. Clearly, Obama wants the same thing." So, can Americans expect Obama to be the same type of "centrist" that Emanuel has been?
Shipman is not the first journalist to try and spin the aggressive Illinois congressman as a moderate. On Wednesday's "American Morning," CNN special correspondent Frank Sesno described Emanuel as someone who is seen to be "on the center to center-right."
Now that Barack Obama has won his bid for the White House, Americans should get ready to learn some inconvenient truths about him and the folks surrounding the president-elect that media have safely hidden from the public in order to promote his messiah-like image.
First out of the gate were revelations about Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), the Obama supporter and Congressional Democratic Caucus chairman Obama has tapped to be his Chief of Staff (please see my colleague Jeff Poor's November 6 report on this subject).
On Friday, ABC's Brian Ross reported that Emanuel was on the Board of Directors of the failed financial institution Freddie Mac, a nice little tidbit conservatives on radio and in the blogosphere felt was important during this campaign, but for the most part mainstream media outlets didn't care about...conveniently until now (emphasis added, photo courtesy ABCNews.com):
The honeymoon is certainly not yet over between the Old Media and Barack Obama. It never really ended for Clinton, so one can easily imagine it won't for Obama. But whatever happens in the future, they are still in love with him now. I can say that because Obama has already broken two promises and the media isn't too interested in talking about it. Two promises broken before he even sets his first foot in the White House.
The first broken promise was the one where the candidate of "change" was going to bring a new tone to Washington. This one has been broken by Obama's choice for Chief of Staff: Rahm Emanuel. Representative Emanuel (D- Illinois) is a hard-core, far left, liberal as well as being an old Clinton hack. Not only that, but Emanuel is not a "new tone" kind of guy but is a Pit bull of epic proportions. The parallel would have been McCain claiming a new tone but picking Karl Rove as his Chief of Staff. Emanuel is little different than Terry MCauliffe or Howard Dean in his vehement and vocal attacks on Republicans. So much for the "new tone" Obama claimed he wanted to foster.
Emanuel, who was a senior adviser for former President Bill Clinton throughout the 1990s, was appointed to the board of Freddie Mac upon his departure from the Clinton administration.
"Clinton's going-away gift to Emanuel was a seat on the quasi-governmental Freddie Mac board, which paid him $231,655 in director's fees in 2001 and $31,060 in 2000," Lynn Sweet wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times on Jan. 3, 2002.
Appearing on MSNBC shortly after 1 p.m. EST with anchor Andrea Mitchell, The Atlantic's Ron Brownstein rebuked House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for drawing a legitimate criticism of President-elect Obama's choice of what he described as the "sharp-elbowed" Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) as his White House chief-of-staff (see video embedded at right, transcript is below page break).
Mitchell dismissed as "warfare" and Brownstein hit as "reflexive partisanship" Boehner's rather mild statement:
This is an ironic choice for a President-elect who has promised to change Washington, make politics more civil, and govern from the center.
NBC political analyst Chuck Todd offered the Quote of the Day in the first few minutes of Today on Thursday, comparing incoming White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to the legendary American generals Patton and MacArthur [audio excerpt here]:
President Clinton chose a childhood friend to be his chief-of-staff, Mack McLarty. What did that mean? That chief-of-staff never knew how to tell the President no. Never was a sort of behind-the-scenes guy. In Rahm Emanuel Obama knows he's gettingDouglas MacArthur, or General Patton. A guy who's a field general, who will keep all of the, keep everything running on time, the trains running on time and will go after Congress.
WLS AM 890 in Chicago hosted an in studio visit from ABC newser George Stephanopoulos this morning in the 8:30 segment. Host Don Wade played an interesting Dick Morris sound clip for Stephanopoulos and then asked for his response. That is when Stephanopoulos came right out and said "Dick is a liar." There was no equivocation, no weasel words, just a straight out "liar."
The discussion was focusing on Obama's request to Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois), a former Bill Clinton senior advisor, to become the new Obama chief of staff. Host Wade was questioning Stephanopoulos as to how the candidate of "change" could go back in time to an old Clinton hack and asked if Emanuel was a good choice for the position.
Just in time for the new James Bond movie, Chris Matthews has earned himself a new moniker: Odd Job. Matthews says he sees his job as a journalist as doing everything he can to make the Obama presidency a success.
Appearing on "Morning Joe" today, Matthews was reluctant to criticize Rahm Emanuel's kabuki dance over accepting Obama's offer to be chief of staff.
The "Hardball" host (and presumptive candidate for U.S. Senate from PA) was equally unwilling to see the Emanuel episode as evidence of a lack of planning and discipline in the nascent Obama administration. Matthews eventually explained why.[H/t multiple NB readers.]
Beware the tendency for media liberals to paint the new Team Obama as a surplus of centrists. Just after 8:30 on CNN's American Morning, Frank Sesno declared that Rep. Rahm Emanuel, projected as Obama's chief of staff, is seen as "on the center to center-right." But that's not what his congressional voting records suggest.
Imagine that Chris Matthews was interviewing the former head of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, someone who helped engineer the election of a Republican House member after the incumbent Dem had been caught in a sex scandal. Now imagine that same Republican was currently stuck in a sex scandal of his own, and just that afternoon a credible report emerged that he might drop out of the race. What are the odds Matthews wouldn't have raised the new scandal with the former RCCC chairman? About as good as Keith Olbermann suddenly endorsing McCain-Palin after tonight's debate, you say? Agreed.
Yet when Matthews had Rahm Emanuel on his show this evening, the Hardball host failed to raise the matter of Tim Mahoney with Emanuel, the hyper-partisan Dem and former DCCC chairman. This despite the Politico's report that Mahoney might be dropping out, he who won Mark Foley's seat after the Republican was forced out of the race in 2006 after sordid details emerged of his text messaging with male House pages.
There was one amusing moment: after defending William Ayers as a "distinguished professor," Emanuel balked at calling him a "good guy" on the grounds he didn't know him. Right.
Heavens to Murgatroyd! Chris Matthews has reduced Hillary Clinton to a cartoon character. Snagglepuss to be precise. "Exit stage left" was one of the Hanna-Barbera animation's catchphrases, and Matthews used it to wonder whether Hillary was prepared to leave the presidential race, given her flagging political fortunes. Here's how Matthews put it at the top of today's Hardball:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Meanwhile, listen carefully. That sound you hear is the slow falling of electoral delegates, of superdelegates, to Barack Obama. Seven more came aboard today. So with Obama way ahead in elected delegates, now trails Hillary Clinton by only four-and-a-half superdelegates. It didn't help Clinton when her long-time supporter and U.S. congressman Rahm Emanuel of Illinois called Obama today "the presumptive nominee" of his party.
As Snagglepuss flashed on the screen, Matthews wondered out loud: "does Hillary have an exit strategy at this point?"
It has become infinitely clear that America's media are deeply concerned former President Bill Clinton's recent antics on the campaign trail threaten Hillary's chances of winning the White House.
Not only was this subject addressed at length on the Sunday political talk shows, but also Newsweek's senior editor Jonathan Alter wrote an article Saturday amazingly titled "Leading Democrats To Bill Clinton: Pipe Down."
While you check that link to verify my veracity - believe me, I won't be offended! - Alter began (emphasis added throughout):
Illinois Democrat Rahm Emanuel and California Republican Duncan Hunter appeared on CNN's American Morning Monday to discuss the Iraq War and anticipated address from General David Patraeus. CNN's John Roberts questioned the congressmen.
During the interview, Hunter challenged his Democratic counterpart (Emanuel) by pointing out that Democrats had previously implored President Bush to "listen to his generals," but now the Democrats were preemptively being critical of General Patraeus. Having heard enough, Roberts switched the questioning to Emanuel, prodding for a response to Hunter's point. But in asking for a response, Roberts addressed the Illinois congressman as "Rahm," as in - what is your response to that point "Rahm?"
Roberts, recognizing his mistake almost immediately, thereafter made a point of addressing Emanuel as "congressman." Roberts, however, never addressed the California congressman as "Duncan."