Chris Matthews, on Wednesday's Hardball, not so cryptically compared the actions of Republican volunteers to that of Nazi-style tactics from the 1930s as he claimed the restraining of a MoveOn.org activist by a Rand Paul supporter reminded him of what "we saw from hoodlums in the thirties in another country I will not mention" and added: "I mean it isn't far from what we saw in the thirties, where all of a sudden, political parties started showing up in uniform." Matthews, who was joined by Salon's Joan Walsh and the Washington Post's Chris Cillizza, even went on to claim physical attacks against political opponents was something that existed exclusively on one ideological side as he asserted that it was "right wing by its very nature."
This was the second night in a row Matthews advanced this theory and he didn't bother to mention the other side of the story, that a Jack Conway volunteer perhaps had acted violently at the Paul rally as well. The Post's Cillizza, to his credit, actually tried to talk Matthews down as he told the MSNBC host: "I don't think it is right wing by its nature. I would say at the end of campaigns, passions get very inflamed...I do not think it is a right wing thing, I do not think it is a left wing thing." However Cillizza failed in his effort to bring reason to the Hardball host as Matthews challenged Cillizza to "Name the last liberal progressive candidate who hired a private army, the last one that was stomping his political, her political opponents in the street?" before getting on his liberal high horse: "Well we see different kinds of passion here, don't we? We see one passion being reporters trying to get stories in Alaska so they could undercover skull-duggery. We have the passion of a woman who shows up to demonstrate with a wig on and a placard and then we see the passion of the other side, which is to hire armies of paramilitaries and stomp people."
[Update, 12:15 pm Wednesday: See below on CNN's additional coverage of the assault.]
CNN devoted seven news briefs on Tuesday to an assault on a MoveOn.org employee by Rand Paul supporters caught on camera outside the Kentucky Senate debate on Monday evening, but failed to mention a second assault on Rand Paul supporter by a booster of Paul's opponent, Jack Conway. Most of the briefs also omitted how the MoveOn employee was trying to get an embarrassing picture of Paul.
Emily Maxwell of KYPost.com reported late on Monday how "tensions flared at he senatorial candidates' debate here Monday night in two confrontations between Conway and Paul supporters, Lexington police reported. The first involved a woman who is a member of www.moveon.org and who was determined to pose in front of Rand Paul holding a sign that read 'Rand Paul Republicore: Employee of the Month.'" After detailing this first incident, Maxwell continued that "the second occurred after a Conway supporter stepped on the foot of a female Rand supporter, who recently had foot surgery, according to police. The woman was wearing a surgical boot, but after the injury, her incision was cut open. Police say she refused medical treatment and also filed an assault report."
Anchor John Roberts set the example for CNN's coverage of the incidents in his news brief six minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of American Morning, as the video of the assault on Lauren Valle, the MoveOn.org employee played:
Appearing as a guest on Tuesday’s Countdown show on MSNBC, the Huffington Post’s Howard Fineman – formerly of Newsweek – joined substitute host Cenk Uygur in mocking Delaware Republican Senate nominee and the Tea Party as Uygur discussed O’Donnell’s recent comments about the words "separation of church and state" not being in the Consititution. After Uygur asked if the views of the Delaware Republican "speak poorly of the people who elected her, namely the Tea Party voters," Fineman agreed with Uygur’s negative view of the Tea Party and went on to trash Nevada Republican Senate nominee Sharron Angle as he contended that O’Donnell "makes Sharron Angle look like Doris Kearns Goodwin." Fineman:
Yeah, it probably doesn’t help the Tea Party at all. I mean, I suppose you could argue that having Christine O’Donnell around and speaking the way she did today makes Sharron Angle look like Doris Kearns Goodwin or something. But it, you know, that’s the only way she might be useful as a point of contrast. And what’s really killing here, what’s damning here is that the Tea Party is run in the name of rights and freedom. And all of those rights and freedoms are enshrined in the very amendments that she seems totally ignorant of.
Fineman also made no mention of the legitimate debate over the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment and whether the children of illegal immigrants born in America should be considered natural-born American citizens as he mocked conservatives over the Fourteenth Amendment: "And, you know, they’re some of the amendments that they’re also questioning right now because the Fourteenth Amendment basically says that everyone here who’s born here, naturalized here, is a citizen of the United States, and their rights cannot be abridged by any of the states. And yet, the sort of local orientation of the Tea Party, you heard Christine O’Donnell talk about local option. what the local people want to do. You know, that’s something that is protected by the Fourteenth Amendment."
Kentucky Democratic Senate candidate Jack Conway's recent ad questioning the faith of his opponent Republican Rand Paul was so beyond the pale that even NBC's Matt Lauer, on Tuesday's Today show, repeatedly hit Conway with questions about its appropriateness as he pressed, "Did it cross a line? Is it fair, even in the increasingly dirty world of politics?" The ad, which brought up allegations of Paul's behavior in his college days, was so over-the-top Lauer could not let Conway's charges go unchallenged as he questioned Conway's veracity, as seen in the following exchange:
MATT LAUER: This latest ad of yours ignited a firestorm. It clearly ignited the passions of Mr. Paul. Did it cross a line? Is it fair, even in the increasingly dirty world of politics? Do you stand by it?
JACK CONWAY: I stand by it. I'm not questioning his faith, I'm questioning his actions, Matt. The president of Baylor University banned a group that Rand Paul joined. And he banned this group, a few years before Rand Paul went to Baylor. He banned them because they were quote, "Making fun of Christianity and Christ." And, and our question is, why did he join a group that was known for mocking people of faith?
ABC, CBS and NBC all ran full stories Monday night on how an old video clip showed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell talking about how, as a high-schooler, she had “dabbled into witchcraft.” CBS, however, used O’Donnell to pivot to marveling at how other Tea Party-affiliated Senate candidates remain viable despite what CBS considers exotic views.
“Christine O'Donnell's witchcraft comments may have spooked some Republican leaders,” Nancy Cordes related on the CBS Evening News, “but her fellow Tea Party Senate candidates are living prove that unusual assertions are not necessarily campaign killers.” Cordes elaborated with some contestable summaries of positions expressed:
Take Kentucky's Rand Paul who questioned the historic civil rights act, but is still tied with the Democrat in a recent poll. Nevada's Sharron Angle is neck and neck with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, even after she advocated an armed insurrection against the government. And Utah attorney Mike Lee is crushing his Democratic rival even though Lee favors dismantling Social Security and eliminating unemployment benefits. Priorities he shares with Alaska's Joe Miller.
For general discussion and debate. Possible talking point: Sarah Palin and Rand Paul were Judge Napolitano's guests on Saturday's "Freedom Watch" on FBN. First part below (relevant section at 5:20), rest available here:
That's odd, those describing themselves as pro-choice usually aren't this candid when it comes to abortion.
On her MSNBC show Thursday night, Rachel Maddow spoke with Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell about Republican Senate candidates Rand Paul, Sharron Angle and Ken Buck opposing abortion, including for pregnancies conceived through rape or incest.
Harris-Lacewell said this in response to a question from Maddow --
In his Monday Media Notes column today, Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz lays out the latest liberal complaint against Tea party candidates, that they don't submit to more drubbing like Rachel Maddow gave Rand Paul, and somehow they have no respect for journalism:
Some of the most conservative and combative Republicans running for Congress are convinced that the media have it in for them.
But these candidates seem to regard it as an affront when reporters challenge them on their past statements and inconsistencies, which is a basic function of journalism. They are avoiding or limiting interviews with all but the friendliest faces as a way of circumventing the press. And some of them delight in skewering the mainstream media, a tactic that plays well with their base.
The Washington Post published another story dedicated to the proposition that the Tea Party is too extreme and will ruin the Republican Party's appeal to moderate voters. Reporter Shailagh Murray's entire story on Sunday dwelled on how standard-issue Republicans “worry that tea-party candidates are settling too comfortably into their roles as unruly insurgents and could prove hard to manage if they get elected.” Murray began:
So who wants to join Rand Paul's "tea-party" caucus?
"I don't know about that," Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) replied with a nervous laugh. "I'm not sure I should be participating in this story."
With the Gulf Coast oil spill appearing to spin out of control, the Obama-loving media are now working overtime to shelter the President from any possible blame.
Exhibit A: New York Times columnist Frank Rich's pathetic piece published Sunday.
Almost incomprehensibly, "Obama's Katrina? Maybe Worse" is more of hit piece on the Bush administration than a serious analysis of the failings of the current White House to do anything to prevent the environmental disaster slamming the Gulf Coast after that oil well exploded almost six weeks ago.
But that's just the beginning, for Rich actually ends up pointing fingers at Dick Cheney, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin, the Tea Party, and Rand Paul:
A promo for a new Chris Matthews special on the "Rise of the New Right" is pretty much what you'd expect: Rand Paul, 9/11 Truther Alex Jones, and lots of militiamen shooting guns. That is the doctrinaire leftist snapshot of the Tea Party movement, so it stands to reason that Matthews will extrapolate it into some dire warning about our political future.
"There is a rising tide on the right," Matthews's ominously declares. "The tea party is determined to take power, what does that mean for America?" A claim by a militiaman that "the government's too big" is immediately followed by gunshots - a not too subtle way to paint Americans who favor less government (a majority, by the way) as extremists ala the infamous Hutaree Militia.
The promo opens with Rand Paul's "message from the Tea Party: we've come to take our government back." Paul's recent gaffe - he said he would not have voted for Title II of the Civil Rights Act - will probably give Matthews an easy segue into discussion of the horrible racists that make up the movement. The presence of Alex Jones suggests that Matthews will try to paint Tea Partiers as conspiracy theorists as well (video below the fold).
On Monday’s Tonight Show on NBC, Meet the Press host David Gregory appeared as a guest, and, while Gregory seemed to initially defend Tea Party activists against suggestions by Jay Leno that the movement has had a double standard in its treatment of President Bush and President Obama, Gregory also questioned the ability of its members to take part in "governing" as he asked: "How do you have a movement predicated on not governing and then seek to govern?"
Gregory also seemed to agree when Leno asserted that deregulation policies, which he alleged that Tea Party activists endorse, have led to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico:
JAY LENO: Well, to me, BP is a perfect example. BP seems to have done this on their own. They don't pay attention. They essentially make their own rules because they pay off everybody. That's what the Tea Party wants. That's unregulated and look what happened.
DAVID GREGORY: Right, but in this case, right, you have a breakdown of regulations that led to getting contracts and their technology breaking down. But, right, I mean at some point, the government is the only entity that can clean up after a huge mess...
Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Monday, May 24, Tonight Show on NBC:
On Sunday's Face the Nation on CBS, host Bob Schieffer interrogated Republican Senator Lamar Alexander on GOP senate nominee Rand Paul: "Can you see yourself supporting a candidate who takes those kinds of positions, Senator?" However, Schieffer lobbed softballs to Democratic senate nominee Joe Sestak minutes later, who claimed the White House offered him a job to quit the primary race.
In his interview with Alexander, Schieffer focused almost exclusively on comments made by Paul: "...he has had some rather controversial things to say, like the '64 Civil Rights bill may have been too broad. He's questioned the Disabilities Act. He's talking about abolishing the Federal Reserve and the Department of Education." Alexander chalked up some of Paul's remarks to political inexperience, but also noted: "...we’ve got a Democratic Caucus with nearly 60 votes that includes a very nice senator from Vermont who proudly describes himself as a Socialist."
Schieffer pressed on: "...the Republican Party, as I understand it, is trying to broaden its appeal to African Americans, to minorities. Why would any member of any minority group want to vote or want to be for someone who says that, well, you know, maybe that Civil Rights Act went a little too far?...I mean, can you be for that?" Schieffer went on to wonder: "And what about this whole business of the tea party? Is it going to prove to be a good thing for Republicans or is this something that you need to be worried about here?"
Although Sam Donaldson wouldn't go so far as calling senatorial candidate Rand Paul a racist, he did say that he'd be shocked if enough people in Kentucky voted for the Tea Party candidate in November to send him to Congress.
As the Roundtable discussion of Sunday's "This Week" moved to Paul's primary victory on Tuesday, Donaldson said that comments the Tea Partier made about the Civil Rights Act on "The Rachel Maddow Show" were "stupid."
"So who is going to win in Kentucky? I can't predict," he said adding, "But I would be shocked -- I'll say that now -- if Rand Paul gets most of Kentucky's votes and becomes the senator" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Liberal media outlets were quick to pounce on the new Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Kentucky about his views on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, not just Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, but NPR All Things Considered anchor Robert Siegel on Wednesday night. The sharp questioning of Paul is a contrast with NPR's interview with Joe Sestak, the new Democrat Senate nominee in Pennsylvania in the same newscast.
NPR anchor Michele Norris glanced right past an important, newsworthy, unresolved issue in Sestak's race, from much more recent history: did the Obama White House bribe him with a job offer to stay out of the primary, as he claimed last year?
NORRIS: It's been reported that the White House at one point tried to get you to back away from this race. Who told you to back down?
NORRIS: And did that continue even after you started to gain on Arlen Specter?
Kentucky senatorial candidate Rand Paul has struck back at MSNBC for its continuous implications that he is a racist.
In an interview with WHAS-TV in Louisville, Paul said, "I need to be very careful about going on certain networks that seem to have a bias."
He continued, "They went on a whole day repeating something over and over again, and it makes me less inclined to go on a network" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary, relevant section at 2:50, h/t HotAirPundit):
Stop the presses: a fill-in for Rachel Maddow on Friday actually busted the New York Times for misquoting Rand Paul in its article about the Tea Party senatorial candidate published earlier in the day.
As most readers are aware, Paul made some rather controversial statements on MSNBC's "The Rachel Maddow Show" Wednesday.
Two days later, Adam Nagourney and Carl Hulse of the Times wrote: "Asked by Ms. Maddow if a private business had the right to refuse to serve black people, Mr. Paul replied, 'Yes.'"
As the Nation's Chris Hayes amazingly pointed out Friday, that's not what Paul said (video follows with transcript and commentary, h/t Daily Paul via NB reader Russell Davis):
On this weekend's Fox News Watch, panelist Jim Pinkerton cited this NewsBusters item in which Joe Scarborough passed along the comment from an unnamed conservative insider questioning "what the hell was [Rand Paul] doing on MSNBC?", a reference to Paul's appearance on the Rachel Maddow show in which he made comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act that have caused controversy. The irony of course is that Scarborough is himself an MSNBC host. H/t NB reader Gat New York.
Pinkerton and his fellow News Watch panelists got a chuckle out of this NewsBuster's fond wish which concluded the item: "Oh to be an olive when Joe and Rachel sip martinis together at the MSNBC TGIF."
MSNBC continued its attack on senatorial candidate Rand Paul on Friday. News Live host Lynn Berry brought on the Huffington Post's Ryan Grim to smear the Republican's libertarian leanings as possibly leading towards bigotry. At no time did Berry mention to her audience that the Huffington Post is an extremely left-wing website.
Instead, Grim was allowed to give a rambling diatribe in which he suggested that Paul's philosophy could be linked to racism and the post-Civil War Ku Klux Klan. (The Kentucky politician was questioned, Wednesday, by Rachel Maddow about the effectiveness of parts of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.)
Grim theorized, "And this thread goes all the way back to the Civil War." He continued, "Now, there was a campaign of terrorism and it was nothing more, nothing less than terrorism, by the Klan." After describing the effects of the end of Reconstruction, Grim opined, "And when that federal protection left, we had an experiment of what will happen if there's no federal protection against discrimination."
Yesterday I tackled how Newsweek's Howard Fineman was attacking Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Rand Paul for picking a fight that the liberal media, in fact, was whipping up.
Today, it's Fineman colleague Ben Adler and his insistence that conservatives are fixated on smearing both Elena Kagan and softball players everywhere as gay.
Adler made his argument in his May 20 The Gaggle blog post, "What Is With Conservatives, Gays, and Softball" by picking apart a comment Fox Business Network's John Stossel made on Fox News Channel in which he defended Paul's comments regarding the Civil Rights Act of 1964.What annoyed Adler most was Stossel's quip that gay softball leagues, for example, should not be forced to admit straight players:
The gay softball team? The proverbial black student association has long been every anti-civil-rights pundit's favorite shibboleth, but why suddenly gay softball team? Do gay people have separate softball teams that don't allow straight people to play for them? If so, it's still an awfully random example. Oh wait, no it isn't, it's a dog whistle to everyone who thinks that women who play softball are gay, and that therefore Solicitor General Elena Kagan is gay. Stay classy, John.
There are two problems with this. First and foremost, it was gay groups that first made a stink about an innocuous photo by the Wall Street Journal that was clearly selected as a clever tease for a story in the May 11 edition. The headline and caption for the Kagan-playing-softball photo were as follows:
Senatorial candidate Rand Paul appeared on Friday's Good Morning America and aggressively fought back against former Democratic operative turned journalist George Stephanopoulos. The ABC host repeatedly touted liberal spin, prompting the Republican to mock, "Where do your talking points come from? The Democrat National Committee. They also come from Rachel Maddow and MSNBC." [Audio available here.]
Paul appeared in the wake of his guest spot on MSNBC, Wednesday. There, host Rachel Maddow interrogated him about the 1964 Civil rights Act and whether his libertarian leanings would lead the Kentuckian to tolerate bigotry. Stephanopoulos, playing the role of opposition Democratic researcher, quizzed Paul on that, whether he opposes the Fair Housing Act, supports overturning the minimum wage and abolishing the EPA.
After reading from an old Paul quote on housing accommodations, Stephanopoulos pressed, "So, if you feel someone doesn't want to sell their house to someone, based on the color of their skin, that's okay?" The politician first laughed and then retorted, "Well, [the quotes] really come up in the context of the Democrat talking points. For example, I've been trashed up and down one network that tends to side with the Democrats."
Joe Scarborough might not have won any brownie points with his employer, but he gets credit for candor . . .
Commenting on the Rand Paul matter, Scarborough passed along the comments of an unidentified conservative insider who asked "what the hell was he [Paul] doing on MSNBC?" That of course was a reference to Paul's appearance on the Rachel Maddow show in which he made comments on the 1964 Civil Rights Act that have caused controversy.
MSNBC on Thursday went on the offensive against Republican and Tea Party favorite Rand Paul. In a single day, the cable network devoted 37 minutes over eight segments to implying that the Senate candidate might be a racist.
Each piece featured a clip of Paul's appearance on Wednesday's Rachel Maddow program in which the MSNBC host suggested the libertarian candidate would tolerate bigotry because he opposes government regulation.
Throughout the day, MSNBC touted liberal guest after liberal guest to excoriate the politician. The lineup included Jesse Jackson, Democratic Congressman James Clyburn, liberal professors Boyce Watkins and Michael Eric Dyson and Democratic strategist Karen Finney.
A persistent meme of the liberal mainstream media this election year is that the Tea Party is steeped (pun not intended) in racism and/or neo-Confederate sympathies. Howard Fineman is more than happy to breathe new life in that storyline in yesterday's attack leveled at Kentucky Republican senatorial nominee Dr. Rand Paul in particular and Bluegrass State conservatives in general.
In his May 20 "Rand Paul and D.W. Griffith," blog post, the Newsweek staffer not-too-subtly compared Kentucky's Tea Party contingent of 2010 with the more racially-charged elements he perceived among some anti-busing opponents in the 1970s:
If Americans think of Kentucky at all, they tend not to regard it as part of the Deep South on racial matters: no history of water cannons fired at civil-rights demonstrators; the kind of place that gave the world a proud and defiant Muhammad Ali, not a brutal and racist Bull Connor.
But there is another Kentucky, one I witnessed as a reporter starting out there when court-ordered busing began in the 1970s. It is a border state with a comparatively tiny black population, and which, as a result, is way behind the times in accommodating itself to the racial realities of modern America.
On Wednesday’s Joy Behar Show on HLN, Kentucky Republican Senate nominee Dr. Rand Paul appeared as a guest, and, after host Behar brought up examples of people with racist messages who have shown up at some Tea Party events whom the mainstream media have been fond of highlighting as if they were representative of the movement, Dr. Paul recounted that he had never seen such activity at Tea Party events he has attended, and charged that the media are "captivated" by "outlandish behavior"rather than the mainstream message of the movement:
JOY BEHAR: Right, but does it bother you at all, Rand, about seeing those kind of racist images that we`re all seeing that are connected to these Tea Party events?
RAND PAUL: Well, it`s interesting, you know, I`ve seen them on the national media, but I haven`t seen them at any of the rallies I`ve gone to. I`ve probably been to 50, 60 Tea Parties. I`ve been to interview with their inner circle, with their committees. I`ve not met anyone who's racist in the movement. I think when you gather 100,000 people together, there will be a few outliers, and it`s like anything else, I think the media seems to be captivated more by the outlandish behavior as opposed to the 99 percent there that are people who just believe in limited government or believe that deficits are bad.
After Behar did not seem to accept his answer and started to change the subject to Dick Cheney, the exchange continued:
In an interviewing with senate primary winner Rand Paul on Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Maggie Rodriguez asked the Kentucky Republican about Democratic spin: "What do you say to Democrats who actually are happy about your victory in this primary?...ready to pounce on you in the general election, saying that your views are way too controversial and they could take this Republican seat?"
Paul dismissed the idea and noted the unpopularity of Washington Democrats in the state: "I say, bring it on, and please, please bring President Obama to Kentucky. We'd love for him to campaign down here." Rodriguez acknowledged that fact by pointing out: "It didn't work too well for Arlen Specter to have President Obama on his side." Paul added: "the Democrats will really have to run away from President Obama if they have any chance down here."
Earlier in the interview, Rodriguez wondered if Paul could garner enough Republican support: "a lot of people say that you have your work cut out for you in the general election because how will you unite a GOP party...53% of voters who voted for your opponent in this primary don't like you, 43% said they wouldn't vote for you." After Paul discussed efforts to unify, Rodriguez followed up: "Do you think that your victory gives the tea party legitimacy? Will we see this become a legitimate political party?"
Good Morning America's Robin Roberts on Wednesday oddly highlighted Rand Paul's Senate primary victory party at a country club as an indicator that he's not a real outsider. After informing the Republican that voters are "tired of how Washington is," she derided, "Some people find it a bit ironic that your victory party last night was at a private country club in Kentucky. Doesn't that kind of send a mixed message there?"
Former Democrat turned journalist George Stephanopoulos also discussed Tuesday's primaries and again complained that voters were "punishing candidates that do work across party lines."
Speaking to former George W. Bush pollster Matt Dowd, he fretted, "Whether it's Arlen Specter in Pennsylvania or Robert Bennett in Utah. So, Matthew, how do candidates protect themselves in this environment?" Of course, Dowd pointed out that one reason voters defeated Specter, the White House's preferred candidate, was they thought he "switched parties merely to save his own skin."