GMA's Diner-ful of Disgruntled Voters

October 30th, 2006 11:45 AM

"I'll see your disgruntled Republican and raise you an anti-war veteran, a pro-illegal-immigrant naturalized American and a Christian conservative who knows others planning to stay home."

That's how you might describe the bidding in the ABC/NBC game of Texas Talk 'Em Down. You might recall that last week I reported here on how NBC's David Gregory unearthed an Ohio bookstore owner, described as a "life-long Republican," who was thinking of voting Democrat.

That all you got, Today? Bookstore-owner high? Good Morning America beat that handily this morning with a full house!

Jake Tapper conducted the folks-in-the-Middle-American-diner segment, an obligatory bit of MSM pre-election shtick. ABC's chief DC political correspondent found himself out at Tommy's Diner in Columbus, Ohio, the same town in which Gregory disinterred his disillusioned Republican. Place must be a hotbed of disgruntled GOPers!

First up was Larry, described by Tapper as a a Republican voter who, because of Iraq among other issues is thinking of voting Democratic this year. Larry came through, big time:

"Because we've been so bogged down on Iraq. I agreed with the war when we started it. Now we have no exit plan. I think we're in the wrong place. I just think it's time for a change to get out of the quagmire we have."

If that wasn't good enough, meet Kenny, a Navy veteran who disapproved of the war from the beginning. Said Tapper: "You have an issue with the fact you think those who have questioned the war, their patriotism has been challenged, right?"

Kenny didn't disappoint:

"First of all, I used common sense before going in. I never did think it was a threat. If you speak out, they went out to everyone who spoke out against the war. It's not against the president or anything. It's just the policies of the war. And the administration says, well, we're going to march to victory. Well, what's the victory? Define victory for me? You have the Sunnis and Shia fighting over there."

Tapper: "That's very important to you at the polls?"

Kenny: "Yes, it is."

Next we were introduced to Diane, a Christian conservative. Said Tapper: "Republican officials in Washington are very concerned about you, Larry, but also you, Diane, because you're a Christian conservative and they're very worried that people like you, who have been loyal Republican voters in the past, either might not vote Republican this year or, more importantly, might be so disappointed with what's going on in Iraq and in washington that you might not vote at all. Do they have reason to be concerned?"

Diane: "I intend to vote. I intend to exercise my right to vote. I have talked to some people who are disenfranchisized to the point where they might be thinking in those terms."


Next, Lily, a naturalized citizen voting for the first time who thinks "they're" not being fair with immigrants - and we know who she's talking about! Said Lily: "I think they're not being fair with the immigrants. I believe they need to accept that, you know, they're already here and they are helping. I think they should do something to help. Because if we are spending a lot of money on war and things that doesn't make sense to me, why not to help the people that is here?"

Got it, Republicans? They're here, they're illegal, deal with it!

Finally, Kate, an independent with a pox-on-both-your-houses point of view: "I think that to the core our government is corrupt." She did agree with Tapper's characterization of her view that there would Democratic scandals if they were to take over.

Let's review the bidding:

  • A Republican thinking of voting Dem.
  • An anti-war vet.
  • A Christian conservative who's voting but knows fellow Christians who might vote Dem or stay at home.
  • Someone who wants illegal immigrants to receive better treatment from the government; and
  • A voter who believes Republicans are corrupt but Dems could be just as bad.

Someone hide the sharp objects from Ken Mehlman.

As I suggested in the item about the Today show's renegade Republican, these anectdotal segments are worse than meaningless. They're pernicious. I think it's fair to assume ABC didn't just scoop up the first five people sipping coffee at Tommy's. This panel was assembled to make a point: big trouble for the GOP. But again, it was assembled. Give me time and I could probably find a Hassidic rabbi who supports Hamas. So what?

Time for ABC to throw in this hand and start with a fresh, fair & balanced deck.

Finkelstein lives in the liberal haven of Ithaca, NY. Webcasts and podcasts of Mark's award-winning TV show 'Right Angle' are available here. Contact Mark at