Big HT to Larry Elder, who brought this up on his radio show Tuesday (5/5/07). And thanks, Les!
On the May 26, 2007, episode of his syndicated radio show "Costas on the Radio," veteran sports broadcaster Bob Costas asserted that George W. Bush was not even "among the 500 most qualified people to be President." He then stated that it is "an inescapable fact," that "all doubt has been removed," that the Bush presidency is a "tragically failed administration."
Apparently in earlier recent episodes of his show, Costas had hosted guys like Tim Russert, Bernard Goldberg, Bill O'Reilly, and Bill Bradley. So it seems that Costas felt the need to air a few things out on this particular day. (All emphasis mine:)
Some people may wonder about the [political] feelings that I've expressed, and I won't get into all the particulars. I think it is now overwhelmingly evident, if you're honest about it, even if you're a conservative Republican, if you're honest about it, this is a failed administration. And no honest conservative would say that George W. Bush was among the 500 most qualified people to be President of the United States. That's not based on political leaning. If a liberal, and I tend to be liberal, disagrees with a conservative, they can still respect that person's competence and the integrity of their point of view. This administration can be rightly criticized by a fair-minded person smack in the middle of the political spectrum on a hundred different counts, and by now they're all self-evident.
Costas then stated he wanted to make it clear that he "did have" a relationship with George Bush "that dates back a long way." From exchanging words at Mickey Mantle's funeral to talking baseball when the President was with the Texas Rangers, Costas said he finds the President to be an "engaging and genial man. And if he were your next-door neighbor, or if you worked with him on some business project, I'm sure you'd be favorably impressed by him." Costas also remarked that the President "went out of his way to be cordial" to him after the 2001 election, even inviting him to conduct Bush's first interview as President. Bush also invited Costas to emcee the popular t-ball game on the White House lawn.
Costas then added, "I have voted for Republicans at various times of my life, but generally I tend to be a Democrat." With that said, Costas later continued:
Contrary to what Bush defenders now say about "Bush bashers," trying to dismiss or categorize all objections to the Bush administration as coming from some sort of "far left precinct" or people who just have it in for Bush. Contrary to that, witness somebody like me. I didn't vote for Bush, but certainly I had nothing but warm feelings toward him personally. And as a sensible and loyal American, on 9/11/2001, I not only supported George W. Bush, I was hoping that he would be one of the greatest Presidents America had ever had, because it was in the best interest of this country. And if we're honest, if we look back to the way the media covered things, if we look back to the way this country and all points virtually on the political spectrum. There may have been some on the extreme left - Ramsey Clark may have been out there, or Noam Chomsky may have been out there, or Michael Moore. But, by and large, virtually everybody, including the "sensible liberal wing" of the Democratic Party, they all supported President Bush. In retrospect, you may say they rolled over for him. Congress, the media, the vast majority of the American public wanted George W. Bush to succeed, because they saw this as "common cause" - what divided us as Americans, we're united in the notion that we have been attacked, and united in the notion that some action beyond diplomacy, or beyond police action, some aggressive action, was justified and prudent. And we expected that whoever occupied the White House, even if we have other policy differences, would bring to that role some measure of wisdom, good judgment, and competence. And on all those counts, despite extending the benefit of the doubt as much as we could, on all those counts, all doubt has been removed. It is sad to say, this is a tragically failed administration. That is to me an inescapable fact. I wish it were not so, and that accounts for some of the points that I've expressed with some of our guests. It's not a soap box I want to be on, and not something that I want to get to gratuitously, not because it's not valid, but because generally it's not where we're coming from on these programs ...
There's several points that could be made about Costas' remarks, but here's two quick ones:
1. How Costas concludes that President Bush was not "among the 500 most qualified people to be President" is not spelled out. However, Costas might want to be reminded of a few things. The President is a graduate of Yale. (Costas attended Syracuse.) Bush is also the only President to achieve an M.B.A., and he got it at a place called Harvard. He served in the Texas Air National Guard flying the F-102. President Bush also worked several years in different businesses (oil, baseball). He worked on his father's Presidential campaign. The President was also the governor of Texas (re-elected, also). Married (not divorced), father of two girls. I'm wondering what qualifications Costas is looking for.
2. Costas echoes a common Democratic talking point/canard by implying that the media somehow "rolled over" for Bush in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Oh, really? Costas might want to take a look at the book by Bob Kohn, Journalistic Fraud. Kohn outlines at length how the New York Times, right off the bat, crusaded heavily against the United States entering Iraq. Kohn lists over 70 headlines from the Times just between February 2002 and November 2002 that "make up the Times' political campaign against the Bush administration's policies [on] Iraq." And the seventy headlines represent "just a small part" of the Times' large anti-Iraq War campaign, Kohn asserts. ("Our search of headlines containing the word 'Iraq' during this period did not turn up a single one that could be construed as favoring military action," wrote Kohn.) "Rolled over"? What's your proof? (Critics of this view like to point to some articles by Judith Miller as evidence that the Times somehow "cheerleaded" for the war, but Kohn demonstrates that this was not the case at all.)
To hear Costas' words, click here. Then click "Costas Weekend 5-26-07 Hour 1 (WMA)." Then go to about 6:30 into the broadcast.