NBC's Kelly O'Donnell, over the last three days on the Today show, has refused to acknowledge Scott Brown's success as something for the GOP to celebrate. On Tuesday she accused Brown of ducking the GOP label throughout his campaign, then on Wednesday's show she noted that in Brown's victory speech "Interestingly, Senator-Elect Brown did not talk about being a Republican, instead, he framed this all as being about independence." Finally, on Thursday, O'Donnell cast Brown's win as him merely "riding a populist, anti-Washington wave." Somehow the fact that Democrats are in charge in Washington had escaped O'Donnell's attention.
The following O'Donnell report of Brown's arrival in Washington was aired on the January 21 Today show:
On Thursday’s CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith introduced a segment on the future of ObamaCare in the wake of Scott Brown becoming the 41st Republican senator: “Democrats are trying to figure out their next move after Tuesday’s stunning loss of Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat. The big question continues to be what will it mean for President Obama’s agenda? Especially health care reform.”
In the report that followed, White House correspondent Chip Reid described how: “The President says he still wants Congress to move forward with reform, but in an orderly way.” Citing political analyst and executive editor of The Hotline, John Mercurio, Reid declared that: “not passing health care would be devastating for Democrats.” Mercurio added: “I think without that, they satisfy no one and they discourage a lot of their base voters from turning out in November.”
Following Reid’s report, Smith conducted an exclusive interview with Senator John McCain, asking: “Is health care...as the Democrats understand it right now, is it dead?” The headline on-screen read: “Capitol Hill Chaos; GOP Victory Could Halt Health Care Reform.”
On Wednesday’s Countdown show, MSNBC host Keith Olbermann defended his recent attacks on Massachusetts Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown by insisting that some of the incorrect claims he made are true when, in fact, two are factually without merit while the third represents one of Olbermann’s typical episodes of distorting the words of a target. Among other complaints, Olbermann on Wednesday claimed that Scott "swore at" high school students at an assembly in 2007, that he has refused to renounce a vulgar threat made against Attorney General Martha Coakley by an audience member at a Sunday rally, and that he demonstrated racism in once suggesting that he wasn’t sure if Barack Obama’s parents were married at the time of his birth.
The Countdown host repeated a myth promoted by the liberal blog bluemassgroup.com that, in February 2007, then-State Senator Scott "swore at a hall full of high school students" as he appeared before a group at King Philip Regional High School in Wrentham, Massachusetts. In reality, Scott was not alleged to have "sworn at" the students, but rather, he angrily responded to and complained about vulgar comments that some students had written about him and one of his daughters – comments which had been posted on the Facebook page of a pro-gay rights teacher at the school – as Scott read the uncensored comments from the site, naming some of the students, in front of the assembly. His actions sparked criticism because he read aloud the profane words as they appeared on the Facebook page, but he was not alleged to have "sworn at" the students.
The super-sized, take-out-a-second-mortgage-to-pay-for-it bushel basket of movie popcorn just might not be big enough. War is breaking out among liberals, and the entertainment value might make Avatar look like a test signal.
Just make yourself comfortable, sit back, and watch Chris Matthews and Howard Dean go after each other on this evening's Hardball. Dean was floating the absurd argument that by choosing Scott Brown over Martha Coakley, voters were sending a secret coded message that they really wanted a health care bill . . . more liberal than the current Obamacare version.
Matthews calls Dean out on his lack of logic, and the pair wind up trading accusations of craziness.
One might think a start would be to tone down some of the rhetoric, take a step back and consider retooling the strategy, instead of lobbing more bombs. But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has employed the same protocol as some of the radical fringe elements on the left in attacking Richard Hanna, a candidate for New York's 24th district (h/t Ben Smith of Politico). [emphasis added]
"While making today's announcement that he will once again run for Congress in New York's 24th district, Hanna also launched a new campaign website where he shamelessly touts his ties to the CATO Institute, a right wing extremist group that has long been a vocal advocate for extremist, unfair trade policies that would allow companies to ship American jobs overseas," the Jan. 20 release said.
A small group of liberal talking heads may be realizing that opposition to Obama is not, in fact, wholly irrational. Though it would be a bit too hasty to proclaim it a trend among the mainstream media, it has been a refreshing break from the smears usually hurled at the right by the nation's pundits.
First was Chris Matthews, who stunningly turned right and voiced his concern about an excessively large federal government, as Noel Sheppard reported this morning. NBC's David Gregory also came to his senses today, and admitted--his prior statements notwithstanding--that the Tea Party movement has been advocating the same principles that led to Scott Brown's victory yesterday (h/t Mary Katherine Ham).
Speaking on this morning's Morning Joe, Gregory characterized yesterday's special election as a sincere populist backlash against unpopular policies. The election was "about incumbency and whether government's working for you," he said. "That's what really cuts through all this is whether government is working for the people. That's what's fueling the Tea Party movement."
There are times when speaking in a stream of consciousness is a good and wholesome thing. None occur in front of a camera, as evidenced by the public escapades of MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch.
The former ad-man took to today’s “Morning Joe” set yesterday morning to offer the following wisdom in reference to the impending Massachusetts electorate:
He is a traditional-looking middle-aged white male. We’re going back to basics, we’ve obviously had our first African American president we’ve had the female candidates and what-not – you look at him, he looks like the candidate, the traditional view of the candidate, and is there a visceral comfort in that for people? I’m just curious from real kind of sociological point of view.
I heard Rush reading from a newspaper column during his first hour, but missed the first couple of paragraphs. So I didn't know its origin. Given what I was hearing, I thought that El Rushbo was surely reading the latest from Maureen Dowd at the New York Times.
Nope. It turns out that it was written by the Boston Globe's Brian McGrory (pictured at right; original is at this link). McGrory wants to tell us that the Bay Staters who voted for Scott Brown over Martha Coakley did so because of the self-importance thrust on them by the national media spotlight and not out of any real conviction.
But his bawdy treatment distracts from his intent, as you will see in the excerpts that follow, which in this case are no substitute for reading -- or actually enduring -- the whole thing:
Seduced by our new senator
I’m going to need some Advil and a cold compress, please. I’m the Massachusetts Electorate, and I have what is bar none the absolute worst hangover of my entire voting life.
Speaking to political analyst John Dickerson on Wednesday’s CBS Early Show about Republican Scott Brown winning the Massachusetts Senate race, co-host Maggie Rodriguez lamented: “When it comes to health care, I think it’s so ironic that the late Ted Kennedy’s passion was health care. He dedicated his career to it. And the man who will replace him could be the one to derail it.”
Rodriguez wondered: “Do you think that’ll happen? Do you think that Senator Brown will be seated in time to vote no?” Dickerson replied: “I think so. It looks like there’s not any appetite to try and rush something through quickly. Health care is already unpopular in Massachusetts and across the country. It’s a very tricky thing indeed to take an unpopular bill and then sort of sneak it in through this back door way. So that’s politically too painful.”
Interestingly, Rodriguez’s concern over Kennedy’s health care legacy was almost identical to a question NBC’s Meredith Vieira asked Senator-elect Brown on Wednesday’s Today: “...you plan to do whatever you can to derail what Ted Kennedy called, called ‘the cause of his lifetime,’ which is health care reform?”
"I look at the numbers and I`m worried. I`m worried about this government committing itself to so many entitlement programs and committing itself to such a level of taxation that support those entitlement programs."
So surprising said MSNBC's Chris Matthews to colleague Rachel Maddow on Tuesday night just moments after Martha Coakley's concession speech to newly-elected Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.).
As they sat in a bar in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, Matthews sounded more like a conservative than the devout liberal he's admitted being.
"The country wants something better than what it has," said the "Hardball" host.
"That dissatisfaction has been overwhelmed by bad politics and smart politics on the right by a complaint about fiscal overkill," he continued. "And that is the problem the Democrats face right now -- a sense not that their values are wrong...The debt is too big. The government`s taking on too many responsibilities" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, file photo):
NBC's Meredith Vieira, on Wednesday's Today show, rained on Scott Brown's parade as she wondered if the Senator-Elect's post-victory call to Ted Kennedy's widow Vicki was an awkward moment since, as the Today co-anchor pressed, "You plan to do whatever you can to derail...the cause of his lifetime?"[Audio available here]
MEREDITH VIEIRA: You know on a personal note, you said last night the first call you made after your victory was to Ted Kennedy's widow, Vicki.
SCOTT BROWN: That's right.
VIEIRA: How comfortable was that for both of you, knowing that you plan to do whatever you can to derail what Ted Kennedy called, called "the cause of his lifetime," which is health care reform?
It sure didn't take long for someone to blame Martha Coakley's defeat in Tuesday's Massachusetts special election on sexism.
If you thought it was because of the economy, or a backlash against Obama's agenda and/or healthcare reform, think again, for Jeannie Cummings and Erika Lovley of Politico claim Scott Brown won because he's a man and his opponent was a woman.
As their piece was published only a few hours after Coakley's concession speech, you've got to figure Cummings and Lovley were well-prepared to point this predictable finger if the woman who even Democrats admit ran an absolutely lousy campaign -- can you say "Curt Schilling is a Yankee fan?" -- lost (h/t Jennifer Rubin):
CNN analyst Paul Begala stuck to his Democrat guns, or elbows on Tuesday night's Anderson Cooper 360. He urged Obama to keep pushing a liberal agenda and challenge Scott Brown: "Let's see if the president can throw him an elbow under the hoop." Brown made a pledge to get along and work together, and Begala said lay him out:
BEGALA: The one thing I might counsel them, though, if I was still working there, would be, you know, you show your character in defeat sometimes a lot more than you do in victory. And this is a moment, I think, perhaps the president can show his character. Does he really believe in this stuff, or does he just sort of folds his tent and go home? Watching him in the campaign, I think there's a lot more steel in that spine than perhaps Mr. Obama's critics think.
I saw senator-elect Brown saying he wants to play basketball with the president. The first thing I thought of it, yes, good, and let's see if the president can throw him an elbow under the hoop. Barack Obama is going to have to shift into a much more tough-minded fighting mode there as a populist mode. If he wants to sort of answer this very strident [Brown] speech we saw...
While it is well known that MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann is the most viciously liberal voice to host a news program within the mainstream media, even he normally tones down his anti-conservative, anti-Republican vitriol when anchoring special events like election results. But during MSNBC’s coverage of the Massachusetts special Senate election, Olbermann’s presentation was more rabidly partisan than if the Democratic National Committee itself were producing the show.
As he anchored a special 10:00 p.m. edition of Countdown, Olbermann not only used one of his "Quick Comment" segments to repeat his infamous attack from the day before on Republican Senator-elect Scott Brown, but he also impatiently interrupted Brown’s victory speech, and, while Brown was still speaking, went on to give a second "Quick Comment" blaming Tea Party protesters and Fox News for the vulgar "tea bagger" term being attached to the Tea Party movement.
At 10:19 p.m., Olbermann delivered a "Quick Comment" in which he sarcastically pretended that he would apologize for his attack on Senator-elect Scott Brown from the previous day in which he had called Brown an "irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea bagging, supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees."
Amidst the innumerable excuses we're bound to hear for Martha Coakley's defeat, credit Keith Olbermann with likely the most loathsome. The Countdown host would explain away the Scott Brown victory by accusing his supporters of . . . racism. [H/t reader Will H.]
Olbermann floated his despicable theory to Howard Fineman: "the Republicans and the Tea Partiers will tell you what happens with Scott Brown tonight whether he wins or comes close is a repudiation of Obama policies. And surely one of Obama's policies from the viewpoint of his opponents is it's OK to have this sea-change in American history—to have an African-American president. Is this vote to any degree just another euphemism the way 'states rights' was in the '60s?"
I was hoping Howard would have the honesty and guts to immediately tell Olbermann where to go. To the contrary, Fineman initially played along: "wow, that is a good question." But by the end of the segment Fineman screwed his courage to the sticking point and proclaimed that he didn't see racism as a big factor.
Less than two hours before the polls closed in Massachusetts, CBS News political analyst John Dickerson argued that if Republican candidate Scott Brown wins tonight, “it's just going to get a lot uglier in Washington,” declaring that Republicans “feel excited and they see glory in attacking the President.”
After talking about prospects for the Democrats’ unpopular health care bill, CBS anchor Katie Couric asked Dickerson: “Finally, if this seat goes Republican, how will it change the political climate in Washington?”
Dickerson warned: “It's going to get uglier. Republicans, no matter what the outcome is, feel emboldened, they feel excited and they see glory in attacking the President. Democrats, on the other hand, have to really fight hard against that sentiment. The President's getting into that fight, pushing a populist message, and so in the end it's just going to get a lot uglier in Washington.”
We don’t yet know the outcome of the Jan. 19 Massachusetts Senate special election. But the very fact that the Democrats could lose the seat formerly held by Sen. Ted Kennedy to a conservative who’s made blocking healthcare reform a centerpiece of his campaign, has liberals sputtering implausible explanations.
On Jan. 19, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and liberal radio host Nancy Skinner appeared on CNBC with Larry Kudlow to discuss the ramifications of the election for healthcare. Both suggested that Democrat Martha Coakley was in danger of losing to Scott Brown is because Democrats hadn’t been liberal enough on health care.
Although he predicted Coakley would hold Brown off, Dean said, “Let me agree with something Larry said (far be it from me to ever do such a thing). But I do think this is clarity – about clarity of message and I think the Democrats haven’t had a clear message.”
The problem, from Dean’s perspective, was that compromise had watered down and complicated the health care bill. “Look at what we’ve done. We’ve passed this health care bill, which has, you know, just been a very messy, ugly process – or we’re about to pass a health care bill,” he said, predicting it would pass with or without a Coakley victory. “The best way to [have a bill that works and can refute GOP arguments] was to pass an extension of Medicare to people below 65. Everybody knows what Medicare is, it’s easy to understand, you don’t have to make deals with the health insurance industry. So this is about clarity of message, and Scott Brown has a clear message and the Democrats don’t.”
Chris Matthews left no doubt for Massachusetts voters what was at stake with their vote in today's Senate election as the MSNBC host, on Tuesday's Hardball, underlined, in graphic terms, that a vote for Republican Scott Brown was a vote to kill health care. Matthews, on the 5pm edition of his show, blared: "If they go for Republican Scott Brown it's deliberate, premeditated murder for health care!"
The following depictions of health care's imminent demise at the hands of Brown were aired on the January 19 edition of Hardball:
As a probable Coakley loss became apparent over the past few days, the liberal excuse machine has been gearing up to spin away as much as it can to dismiss a Scott Brown victory as inconsequential to the national political climate, despite the crucial nature of the seat to a Democratic super-majority.
New York Times reporter Liz Robbins provided an excellent case study of liberal bias Tuesday, profiling both candidates on the eve of the special U.S. Senate election in the deep-blue state of Massachusetts. Robbins's stories appeared side-by-side on page A22 of Tuesday morning's newspaper, and Democrat candidate Martha Coakley clearly got the better of the deal.
The text to the Coakley story was highly flattering:
Even during a fierce campaign for Senate, Martha Coakley speaks with quiet fervor, a serious woman who has been arguing issues since she was a standout on her Western Massachusetts high school debate team.
Ms. Coakley, the state's attorney general, gained international recognition as a methodical county prosecutor during the 1997 trial of Louise Woodward, a British au pair convicted of killing a baby boy in her care. Her composed television appearances helped her become the first woman elected district attorney in Middlesex County, the state's most populous, a year later. In 2006, just as easily, she swept the race for attorney general. Since then, she has won settlements from Boston's Big Dig contractors and from Wall Street firms that engaged in deceptive practices.
On Monday’s AC360, CNN’s Jessica Yellin spun the rise of Republican candidate Scott Brown as coming from “folks here in Massachusetts [who] are feeling angry and scared. They’re angry and scared about the economy, about jobs...and especially in this state, about health-care reform....[Brown] has tapped into that fear and sold himself essentially as a man of the people who will fight big government” [audio clip from the segment available here].
Anchor Anderson Cooper, reporting on location from Haiti, brought on Yellin 41 minutes into the 10 pm Eastern hour of his program to discuss the potential effect of the Massachusetts special election on the Democrats’ push for ObamaCare. He addressed the liberal conventional wisdom on the senate race in his first question to the CNN national political correspondent: “Jessica, you have a well-known, well-funded Democrat in Massachusetts, running to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Ted Kennedy. At first glance, you’d assume she’d win that with a walk. What’s happened?”
Yellin pinpointed the apparent cause of Martha Coakley’s (the “well-known, well-funded Democrat”) difficulty as coming from voter discontent:
On Tuesday's Today show NBC's Kelly O'Donnell -- apparently reaching to find something negative to say about the surging Scott Brown -- accused the Republican Massachusetts Senate candidate of running away from his own party as she questioned: "You don't mention the Republican Party much in your campaign. Why is that?" To which Brown quickly asserted: "I think people know I'm a Republican. That's never been a secret."
However O'Donnell didn't let Brown have the last word on the topic, as she elaborated: "Not a secret, but clearly not on display. No mention of being a Republican on Brown's bus, signs or campaign ads. So Coakley made it a point in hers." O'Donnell went on to run a clip from a Martha Coakley ad, the first of two clips from ads produced by the Democratic candidate.
Incidentally O'Donnell never aired a clip from a Brown ad. She did, however, air a radio show clip of Coakley embarrassing herself by identifying Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling as a "Yankee fan," but she then quickly introduced a clip of Vicki Kennedy defending the gaffe: "To Coakley's defense came Ted Kennedy's widow Vicki, who told NBC News there are bigger issues at stake."
The following is the full O'Donnell segment as it was aired on the January 19 Today show:
There has been something of a debate over whether the Senate can properly delay seating Republican Scott Brown if he wins today’s special election, giving the Democrats time to ram through their unpopular health care bill. The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes has neatly summarized the arguments of GOP lawyers that the temporary Senator Paul Kirk’s term expires today with the election of a successor (either Coakley or Brown).
But Democrats are even now preparing the media to accept the idea that Kirk can remain at his post for up to two more weeks while the formal certification process proceeds at the pace chosen by officials in Democratically-controlled Massachusetts. Yet just two months ago, the lack of certification for two Democratic winners of congressional special elections was no barrier to their quick swearing in for a health care vote in the House — and it drew no complaints from the news media (and was enthusiastically received by MSNBC’s left-wing hosts).
The special election in Massachusetts is sure to be a close one. Should Republican Scott Brown prevail, however, the liberal media will have a host of ways to explain away the election as an anomaly and by no means a referendum on either the president or his legislative accomplishments (or lack thereof).
Perhaps one of the most absurd instances of this thinking came on last night's "O'Reilly Factor" where Washington Post veteran writer Sally Quinn actually attributed Brown's meteoric rise to, wait for it, a semi-nude photo shoot he did for Cosmopolitan magazine--a full 28 years ago (video and partial transcript below the fold - h/t Jim Hoft).
Quinn postulated that the shoot gave the "hunk" Brown a boost in name recognition before the election. O'Reilly, for his part, called Quinn out on how outlandish she sounded.
On Tuesday’s Good Morning America, former Democratic-operative-turned-journalist George Stephanopoulos appeared glum about the prospects of Democrats in Massachusetts’ special Senate election. He intoned, "And White House and congressional Democrats are hoping for a miracle but they're expecting, right now, the Democrat, Martha Coakley to lose."
In a previous segment, reporter John Berman spun, "And, finally, perhaps, civility is at stake" in the Senate election. As videos of health care protests appeared onscreen headded, "President Obama promised to reach across the aisle to govern. Yet, Scott Brown has been able to tap into voter anger and frustration that seems so prevalent." [Audio available here.] So, would the election of the Republican somehow create incivility? Would a victory by Coakley prevent more? Berman didn’t say.
Not that they were BFFs before, but Joe Scarborough has now definitively de-friended Keith Olbermann . . .
As NewsBuster Noel Sheppard reported, Olbermann last night unleashed an absurdly over-the-top Special Comment at Scott Brown, calling him "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees."
Joe Scarborough thereafter tweeted that Olbermann's Special Comment was "reckless and sad." On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough fired similar remarks at his MSNBC colleague on live national TV . . .
ABC on Monday night again empathized with the Obama White House’s disbelief that they could lose “Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat” -- and thus ObamaCare -- if Republican Scott Brown beats Democrat Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special election in Massachusetts. George Stephanopoulos saw a “Shakespearean” tragedy just over a week after PBS’s Judy Woodruff, on ABC’s This Week, described such a scenario as “a tragedy of Greek proportions.”
Stephanopoulos conveyed on Monday’s World News how “Democrats in the White House and Capitol Hill are braced for a shattering loss. And it's really hard for them to wrap their head around it, the idea that...health care reform may be in peril because Democrats can't hold the seat that Teddy Kennedy held for nearly half a century. You know, one White House official summed it up in a single word: ‘Shakespearean.’”
During the roundtable on the January 10 This Week, CNN and NBC veteran Woodruff despaired: “I was just going to say, quoting somebody in the White House, a tragedy of Greek proportions if Ted Kennedy's successor is the one, is the one who was responsible for the death of health care.”
UPDATES AT END OF POST: Joe Scarborough calls Olbermann out for these disgusting remarks -- now including video!
"In Scott Brown we have an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, teabagging supporter of violence against woman and against politicians with whom he disagrees."
Such was actually said Monday evening -- on national television!!! -- by a person currently employed by one of America's largest corporations, General Electric.
If the following "special comment" by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann is considered acceptable discourse on a cable news network today, there really is something very wrong in our nation (video embedded below the fold with transcript, h/t Story Balloon):
This is the end Beautiful friend This is the end My only friend, the end Of our elaborate plans, the end Of everything that stands, the end No safety or surprise, the end I'll never look into your eyes...again.
Break out the hankies! Andrew Sullivan has gone into deep melodrama mode over at The Atlantic and is now mourning the "looming landslide for Brown." For the gloomy Sullivan tomorrow could signal not only the loss of an election but also the loss of health care and, ultimately, the loss of socialist America itself. Enjoy the act from the Sullivan Theater as Andrew presents his version of The End: