Gibson & Stephanopoulos Fret About Bush as Obstructionist at G-8 --7/7/2005
2. Morning Shows Push Bush to Pick Moderate to Replace O'Connor
3. Time: SCOTUS Has "Staunch Conservatives" and "Moderate Liberals"
4. Hardball's Chris Matthews Tosses Softballs to DNC's Howard Dean
5. Boston Globe Columnist: U.S. Not Worthy of July 4th Celebrations
6. USA Today's Neuharth Regrets "No Cronkite to Call Bush's Bluff"
Editor's Note: Though this is being distributed after the bombings in London, today's items were written on Wednesday and because of my vacation I'm just now getting to sending/posting this edition of CyberAlert. The MRC's Tim Graham wrote the first four articles in this CyberAlert, I put together the fifth and sixth items. -- Brent Baker
On Wednesday's Good Morning America, Charles Gibson and George Stephanopoulos formed an anti-Bush tag team on the downfalls of the G-8 summit in Edinburgh, Scotland. The former Clinton spin artist presented Bush as a Lone Ranger obstructionist, saying "no way" to the Kyoto global-warming treaty. British leader Tony Blair wants more Africa aid and energy curbs, prompting Gibson to worry: "You say President Bush isn't cooperating?" And: "So how does Mr. Bush function? Is it seven [leaders] and then this one man over here in the corner, President Bush?" Stephanopoulos claimed leaders would paper over the differences, but they could not avoid "the real deep unhappiness with President Bush across Europe right now, especially among young Europeans," citing a Pew Global Attitudes poll. Unmentioned: the Pew Trusts are a major player in driving for dramatic regulation of America's energy to prevent global warming.
During the 7am half hour of the July 6 show, George Stephanopoulos explained the problem: "Tony Blair and the other European leaders looking for about four times as much aid to Africa as President Bush is willing to give. Second big issue, as Jessica Yellin mentioned, global warming. The Europeans want much tighter controls on carbon dioxide emissions, they want the Kyoto treaty to be implemented. President Bush has said, basically, no way."
Gibson continued the anti-Bush push: "So, how does Mr. Bush function? Is it seven and then this one man over here in the corner, President Bush?"
Here again, ABC was leaving out important information: the Pew Global Attitudes poll began in 2001. The project is chaired by former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Bush ambassador and moderate Republican Senator John Danforth. Their first poll results were issued on August 5, 2001, with the headline "Bush Unpopular in Europe, Seen As Unilateralist." See their poll page and project information at: pewglobal.org
But more importantly, the Pew Charitable Trusts, which fund this project, are a major player in driving for dramatic regulation of energy to prevent global warming. As the Pew Trusts Web site explains: "With 5 percent of the world's population, the United States emits approximately 25 percent of the world's greenhouse gases. Clearly, global efforts to address the root causes of climate change must include the United States in a major role. The Trusts promote public policies and business practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout all sectors of the U.S. economy." See: pewtrusts.org
Gibson continued pushing for liberal change: "So, is there anything -- you say they'll paper over their differences on African aid and on global warming. Does anything get signed at this thing that means anything?"
Gibson also asked if Bush would apply an explicit litmus test on abortion. On NBC, Katie Couric wondered why Clinton's nominations, which she identified as liberal, sailed through, and former Clinton aide Mack McLarty claimed they were in the center, and President Bush should do the same. So Couric asked former Bush I aide Ken Duberstein: "Do you agree with Mack's assessment that President Bush is gonna have to find someone who's more on the moderate side and possibly risk his, his right wing base?"
Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson, the MRC's Jessica Anderson noticed, asked Senator Orrin Hatch: "You said a moment ago you suspected that the President would choose a very conservative candidate and you said, 'I think that he ought to do that.' Should he, or should he try to find somebody who would be more acceptable to all spectrums? And is that possible in this day of age?"
Over on NBC's Today, the MRC's Geoff Dickens observed, co-host Katie Couric interviewed former Clinton chief of staff Mack McLarty and former Bush I aide Ken Duberstein, who helped with Supreme Court confirmations.
Couric puzzled over why conservative nominations were hard-fought, unlike liberal ones: "And Ken you mention Robert Bork, of course that was back in 1987. He ran into a firestorm of criticism. He was defeated 58 to 42. With the Bork nomination, it seems to me Ken, we saw the beginning of the currently charged political battle that ensues every time a Supreme Court nominee is up or at least actually it, it sort of predicted it because things settled down, I think, with President Clinton, in a way. But what was it, what happened during the Bork nomination process? Was it that he had too significant or too clear a paper trail to be, you know, accepted by his opponents?" Duberstein said Bork was his own worst enemy, the cause of his own defeat.
Later Couric turned to McLarty: "Meanwhile during President Clinton's term, Mack, he nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and both were on the liberal side, confirmed rather easily. Why were things so easy back then? Was that because the Democrats controlled both the White House and the Congress? Because you would think the opposite would be true today?"
Duberstein said Bush would be looking for someone who could pick up about 75 votes. That's awfully optimistic, since the media's favored pick, Attorney General Al Gonzales, only was confirmed with 60 votes.
Both network interviewers danced around the fact that Republican Senators felt that confirmations were not solely based on ideology, that if a liberal, pro-abortion judge has good character, qualifications, and temperament, they should be approved, while liberals vote as if anyone who is conservative should not be confirmed. In suggesting Bush should pick a moderate to replace a moderate, the media did not insist when Byron White retired in 1993 that President Clinton should nominate a pro-lifer to replace White, who was one of only two votes against Roe v. Wade.
Powder blue versus blood red. Time magazine this week featured a chart on the Supreme Court titled, "A Simplified Ideological Palette." The magazine suggested that "the court lacks a deep-blue liberal in the mold of, say, Thurgood Marshall or even Harry Blackmun," identifying the entire liberal bloc of the court as "moderate liberal," with their names in powder-blue boxes: Justices Ginsburg, Souter, Stevens, and Breyer. Justice Kennedy was powder-red, a "moderate conservative." Justices Scalia, Rehnquist, and Thomas were blood-red "staunch conservatives." Time pulled the same no-staunch-liberals trick back during the Bush vs. Gore court fight in 2000.
Under the above-cited title of "A Simplified Ideological Palette," Time's caption writer claimed: "In now standard red vs. blue political shorthand, the court lacks a deep-blue liberal in the mold of, say, Thurgood Marshall or even Harry Blackmun. It lost another gradation last week: Sandra Day O'Connor's neutral (or flickering) gray. The forecast is for more red, but nobody knows how deep."
In Time's view, the Supreme Court is composed of four powder-blue "moderate liberals" (Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter, John Paul Stevens, and Stephen Breyer), one "moderate conservative" (Anthony Kennedy) and three blood-red "staunch conservatives (Antonin Scalia, William Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas). The liberal bloc can favor (or at least enable) "gay marriage" and partial-birth abortion and they're still "moderates." Amazing.
See the picture, in the July 11 edition, online at: www.time.com
This, unfortunately, is par for the course at Time.com. In 2000, staff writer Jessica Reaves pulled the same no-staunch-liberals trick during the Bush vs. Gore court fight. As I (Tim Graham) laid it out in an article for National Review Online, Jessica Reaves found a rigid, constipated conservative bloc, which doesn't much like individual rights:
-- "Rehnquist is a strict constructionist (he interprets the Constitution in very narrow terms) who leans conservative."
By contrast, Reaves suggested the liberal bloc of the court cannot be dismissed as predictably liberal, but are independent, individualistic, and sensitive to the needs of real people, as opposed to "hypertechnical" legal arcana:
Read the original NRO article at:. www.nationalreview.com
Catching up with an interview from last week: MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews mocked his show title again with his June 29 softball-filled interview with DNC Chairman Howard Dean, looking for reaction to the President's Fort Bragg speech. Matthews asked: "Was the President right to use the military people at Fort Bragg, those soldiers, in camouflage and berets, as backdrop?" He repeatedly asked Dean questions from the left opposing the war as a mistake, fussing that Dean "inspired a lot of young people" when he was clearly anti-war, but now "you seem to be in that muddy middle right now, with Hillary and Bill and John Kerry and the rest of them." Matthews suggested that Dick Cheney's mockery of Dean "seems almost, I don't know, unbalanced." Near the end, Matthews blatantly prompted Dean to use the MSNBC airwaves for a free fundraising commercial: "Governor Dean, Democracy Bonds. Here's your chance to sell some."
Last year, Chris Matthews drew attention for using his Hardball platform to go all wobbly over John Kerry. A few months ago, he was tremendously soft with Jane Fonda. On June 29, MRC's Geoff Dickens found DNC Chairman Howard Dean had his turn in the warm glow of Matthews' softball questioning. Matthews seemed to be reading anti-war questions as if they were written by MoveOn.Org.
-- "Governor, back in buildup to the war in Iraq, a lot of Americans got the wrong information. They were telling us in polling that they thought it was Iraq that attacked us on 9/11 and did so much harm to this country, in Pennsylvania, as well as in New York and in the Pentagon. And more recently, I want to ask you this. Do you believe the President is still trying to perpetrate the, the notion that it was Iraq that attacked us on 9/11?"
-- "Last night was a policy speech. Some could argue it was a political speech, because the President's poll numbers are down. But it certainly was a policy speech. Was the President right to use the military people at Fort Bragg, those soldiers, in camouflage and berets, as backdrop?"
-- "What's changed with you, Governor, about the war? I think you inspired a lot of young people when you were campaigning for the nomination for President of the Democratic Party, because you were a clear voice of saying, and, in the wilderness, I must say, that the war was wrong. It was bad policy. It wasn't based upon the facts. In fact, we were getting wrong facts. And now, as party chairman, you seem to be in that muddy middle right now, with Hillary and Bill and John Kerry and the rest of them. You seem to be saying, well, we're not fighting the war the right way. Do you still think you have the strength of voice you had as a candidate, when you were clearly against this, this expedition to Iraq?"
-- "No, the leaders, the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense says we may be in there 12 years. On the other hand, the Vice President of the United States, who's the former Secretary of defense and many people think may be one of the top people in this administration on security, says, the enemy's in its last throes over there. There's a big difference, isn't there, Governor, between somebody at the vice presidential level saying last throes, and the other guy saying they've got 12 more years of fight in them? Who's right?"
-- "Well, let's try to sharpen the debate here, make it clear to people. When the President stood on the rubble of 9/11 that Friday and gave probably the best speech of any presidencies, when he said, 'we're going to get the people that knocked down these buildings. They're gonna hear from us.' Did he lose track of who he was after by going to Iraq, rather than pursuing with all his strength the capture of Saddam Hussein, of Osama Bin Laden?"
-- "Okay. Let me bring you back to the speech last night. And thank you for coming on here to give your first big TV reaction to this thing. The President was moved, everyone knows, by the poll numbers, which showed a deteriorating support for the war in Iraq, exemplified by the number that said that a majority of the people now say it was a mistake to get into that war. Do you believe his speech last night will move those numbers in another direction?"
-- "If the war in Iraq was a blunder, why don't the top Democrats join you in saying so?"
Then Matthews picked up the Dean spin line that Dick Cheney was attacking Dean's mother, when he was only suggesting Dean wasn't very popular beyond his mother. "This talk about what the Vice President said about you, Governor, quote, 'I think Howard Dean's over the top. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does.' Well, I know people that love you. 'He's never won anything.' I guess he doesn't think Governor counts. 'He ran for President and lost all the primaries. And now the Democrats have seen fit to make him their national chairman. I think he's probably helped us more than he has them. That's not the kind of individual you want to have representing your political party.' Your response?"
-- "You know, I think it was on a Philadelphia subway, where you are right now, in Philadelphia, my hometown, the last time somebody brought up my mother in trying to attack me. Do you find that a little discourteous of a, of a political leader like the Vice President to go after your mother in a conversation? It seems odd to me. It seems almost, I don't know, unbalanced. How do you describe that comment by the Vice President?"
At the half-hour mark, Matthews reached the low point, prompting Dean to use the MSNBC airwaves for a free fundraising commercial: "Governor Dean, Democracy Bonds. Here's your chance to sell some."
Once the pitch was over, Matthews asked one concluding question on Dean's statements against Republicans: "Well, about half the people watching this show may be Democrats, but I bet the other half are Republicans. And they've come home from a day at work, and it's about 7:00 on the East Coast, and I just want to know if you want to revise your remarks, because I do believe that when people watch this program in the early evening, they have put in a hard day's work. And that includes all the Republicans. Do you want to revise your remarks about how Republicans have never spent a, spent an honest day's work?" Dean suggested he was misquoted by the "print press," that he was talking about Republican leaders, not Republican voters.
The Dean interview makes it obvious that when Democrats tried to keep Dean from appearances on national television, it wasn't the interviewers they were worried about. It was the reckless mouth of Dean.
Happy birthday America, you suck. That seemed to be the sentiment of National Book Award winner James Carroll in a July 5 Boston Globe column. "After the fireworks, the music, the rhetoric of freedom -- what then? The party is over. Can we think about what, exactly, we were celebrating?" Carroll asked. "Today's date puts the question of how high-flown American ideals square with the quotidian reality of what the nation is becoming." Carroll ended by wondering: "What kind of nation does our flag fly over now?" He answered: "Not a less innocent one, because American innocence was never the truth. Not one less reluctant to go to war without a good reason, because we have foolishly credited bad reasons in the past. But now the nation lacks even that. As our President demonstrated last week, we have become a people who wage unending war -- killing and maiming our young ones and theirs -- without being remotely able to say why." In between, he declared: "The American fighters of the Pacific War were not heroes."
This isn't the first time that Carroll, a former Catholic priest and the son of a Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has penned a column disparaging heroic Americans and the implementation of American ideals.
The November 28, 2001 CyberAlert recounted: Boston Globe columnist James Carroll argued in a November 27 column that "the broad American consensus that Bush's war is 'just' represents a shallow assessment of that war." Carroll complained: "This 'overwhelming' exercise of American power has been a crude reinforcement of the worst impulse of human history." See: www.mediaresearch.org
An excerpt from Carroll's July 5 Boston Globe column, "The day after the fireworks," starting after the first paragraph quoted above:
....But what about today? In assessing post-celebration realities of the national moment, it may help to recall that America has never been an innocent nation, which is seen in its having constantly sought to appear as one. Indeed, the planting of the flag in self-affirming virtue is how the hallowed standard comes most readily under fire. The most poignant honoring of the flag of which I know is the US Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, the magnificent bronze rendering of the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of five weary leathernecks and a Navy medic raising the flag on Iwo Jima....
The Iwo Jima image is sacred precisely because the men lifting up the fallen flag are all but unable to do so. The extremity of their exhaustion, their nearness to defeat, the horrors of what they have been through and of what awaits them are all implied in the painful stretch of limbs, in the rough gear of armored clothing, in the absolute investment each has made in a symbol of something better than himself. Even as the valor of what they did on one beachhead after another is properly honored, the American fighters of the Pacific War were not heroes. The desperation of island combat included exchanged barbarities of which no one would willingly speak for a generation. On the American side, there were foul racism, vengeful refusals to take prisoners, a generalized brutality that extended to a savage air war. To raise the flag at Iwo Jima was to lift the transcendent symbol out of the total hell that the war had become. Few if any men who survived it came home speaking of virtue.
As much as the defeat of militarized Japanese fascism was a victory, the war was also a tragedy, and the Iwo Jima image of desperate men around the flag acknowledges that, too. A new American tragedy is unfolding in Iraq. Not even its supporters pretend to see glory in this war now, and who imagines anything like "victory" any more? But if an iconic American image of the Iraqi struggle emerges, it will probably not resemble the Iwo Jima statue because amputation and mutilation have become hallmarks of the GI experience of the "improvised explosive devices" that ambush them....
The "bursting in air" of July 4th is an implicit glorification of war. On the day after, can we think of those combat survivors who will carry the real cost of the Iraqi war in their bodies forever? And how can we think of those American daughters and sons without thinking of their even more numerous Iraqi sisters and brothers?
What kind of nation does our flag fly over now? Not a less innocent one, because American innocence was never the truth. Not one less reluctant to go to war without a good reason, because we have foolishly credited bad reasons in the past. But now the nation lacks even that. As our president demonstrated last week, we have become a people who wage unending war -- killing and maiming our young ones and theirs -- without being remotely able to say why.
END of Excerpt
For Carroll's July 5 column in full: www.boston.com
We need Walter Cronkite's wisdom? In his weekly USA Today column last Friday, July 1, USA Today founder Al Neuharth argued that "the most important similarity between Iraq and Vietnam is that both Democratic and Republican Presidents lied to us in wartime." After admiringly recalling how following a "tour of Vietnam in 1968," CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite had declared, "There is no way this war can be justified any longer," Neuharth argued that "the crucial difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that there is no Cronkite to call Bush's bluff. Without a strong, trusted, non-political voice, too many of us remain Bush-blinded. Bush tried keeping the wool over our eyes again Tuesday on national TV by repeatedly tying Iraq to 9/11. That charge is as phony as his discredited prewar claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."
This wasn't the first time Neuharth promoted Cronkite as a bulwark against Bush. The November 15, 2004 CyberAlert quoted Neuharth: "If Walter Cronkite was around today," USA Today founder Al Neuharth proclaimed in a speech in South Dakota last week, "I think John Kerry would be President" because of "the trust the people in Middle America had in Cronkite, when he returned from Vietnam opposed to the war, public opposition soon followed." As recounted by the Daily Republic in Mitchell, South Dakota, in addition to boasting of the influence of Cronkite's bias, Neuharth "said he thought if McGovern had won the presidency in 1972, U.S. troops would have pulled out from Vietnam a lot sooner with a lot fewer casualties, the Cold War could have ended sooner and there would have been a compassionate Democratic leadership." Neuharth seriously maintained: "The seeds for ending the Cold War were sown by George McGovern." For more, go to: www.mediaresearch.org
Earlier last year, Neuharth urged Bush not to run for re-election. The May 18, 2004 CyberAlert recounted: Blaming President Bush's "cowboy culture" for the "biggest military mess miscreated in the Oval Office and miscarried by the Pentagon in my 80-year lifetime," USA Today founder Al Neuharth urged a withdrawal from Iraq and that Bush "should take a cue from a fellow Texan, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson" who did not run for re-election as he "turned tail and rode off into the sunset of his Texas ranch." www.mediaresearch.org
President Bush went on the air this week to pretend again that things are OK in Iraq. Shades of President Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam nearly 40 years ago.
The most important similarity between Iraq and Vietnam is that both Democratic and Republican presidents lied to us in wartime. To refresh your memory, here's how we got out of the Vietnam quagmire:
Walter Cronkite, CBS-TV news anchor known as "the most trusted man in America," after a combat tour of Vietnam in 1968 declared, "There is no way this war can be justified any longer."...
The crucial difference between Vietnam and Iraq is that there is no Cronkite to call Bush's bluff. Without a strong, trusted, non-political voice, too many of us remain Bush-blinded. Bush tried keeping the wool over our eyes again Tuesday on national TV by repeatedly tying Iraq to 9/11. That charge is as phony as his discredited prewar claim that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction....
[W]e must fully support our servicemen and women and put their lives at risk only for honest and just and noble causes.
That's why I'm convinced the best way to support our troops in Iraq is to bring them home. Sooner rather than later.
END of Excerpt
-- Brent Baker in NH, with Tim Graham in Alexandria