Conservative commentator Mary Matalin hailed Mitt Romney's "47 percent" line on CNN as good news for Republicans.
"There are makers and takers, there are producers and there are parasites," she said. "Americans can distinguish between those who have produced and paid in through no fault of their own and because of Obama's horrible polices who cannot get a job or are underemployed. That's what the campaign is about."
Matalin really needs to put down the Ayn Rand novels and find somewhere else to get her talking points if she wants to stop alienating everyone in the country other than the extreme right-wing, libertarian leaning Republican base. Most people don't believe poor are causing our problems in the United States, or that they don't pay enough in taxes. Quite the opposite, in fact. But if you listen to Lady McCheney here, it's those lazy, mooching, welfare recipients that refuse to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps that are destroying America.
As Hilary Rosen reminded her, it's not the 1960's any more.
Every time I hear one of these pundits on cable television use the word "spin" I try to remind myself that it's just a polite term for the word they ought to be using, which is "lie." Which is exactly what Will Cain was doing here on CNN's "The Situation Room." Republicans like Cain are desperate to try to downplay the huge gender gap they have right now, where as Dave already noted here, they're looking at a 2-1 deficit among female voters in swing states.
And before I go any further, just a little reminder that Will Cain is a contributor to Glenn Beck's site, The Blaze, a site run by someone who was thrown off of Fox News for their over-the-top rhetoric and being too extreme for that network. Why he, or his fellow Blaze contributor, Amy Holmes, who is also a CNN regular on Howard Kurtz's show, or Dana Loesch and Erick Erickson for that matter, should be regularly polluting the airways at CNN is beyond me, but having any of them on is just another example of how that network has decided the best way to get ratings is to become Fox-lite.
We're fair and balanced don't ya' know. We've got your right wing flame throwers up against Democratic establishment types like Carville who could be considered center-left in their views at best. Actual liberals, or progressives are shut out of these "debates" too often because god knows we wouldn't want to allow any of them to embarrass the likes of Will Cain. That might be considered "uncivil" and we can't have that.
If Will Cain actually believes, and isn't just trying to "spin" the audience at CNN, that there is no "war on women" then I've got some reading for him to do.
Blue Dog Democrat Heath Shuler appeared on CNN's State of the Union and said he would challenge Nancy Pelosi for leadership post in the House if she doesn't step aside.
The Booman Tribune did an excellent breakdown on why Blue Dogs like Shuler have been so horrible for the Democratic Party and why their caucus took a beating this last midterm election: Blue Dogs Don't Get Why They Lost:
It's kind of amazing that the New York Times can write an article about Heath Shuler and the Blue Dogs without ever trying to analyze why so many of them lost. Shuler actually won reelection, but he doesn't seem to know why. [...]
That's not what happened. Heath Shuler and the Blue Dogs did things to make sure that the Democrats' achievements were unpopular in their districts. The first thing they did was water down many of the more popular aspects of the reforms so that true-blue Democrats would be less than enthusiastic about them. Did this matter in Shuler's district? [...]
I've gone over this before, but most Blue Dogs lost because they chose the worst of both worlds. They took away parts of the Democrats' agenda that people supported, like giving them an alternative to for-profit health insurance and a financial bill that really put the screws to Wall Street, and they supported the unpopular stuff like the bank and auto bailouts. Shuler was smart enough (politically) to vote against TARP and against the Stimulus Bill, while voting for Cap & Trade and Wall Street reform. But Blue Dogs who took a less populist approach and had less fame and charisma were not able to survive.
In the end, though, Blue Dogs lost because money couldn't save them this time.
Go read the rest, but it boils down to the fact that when Democrats chase after corporate money and act like Republicans and don't look out for the interests of the working class in America, given the choice, a real Republican is going to beat them every time, especially when they get out gunned with the corporate contributions like we just had this last election cycle. The question is whether the party is going to learn any lessons from this, or double down on their third-way policies where they think the voters are going to like Republican-lite.
I don't know about the rest of you but I get really tired of the media helping the Republican Party pretend that their lobbyist and corporate-funded astroturf Tea Party is anything other than a way to get the Bush stink off of the GOP brand. What's ironic is they're now having discussions about how to get rid of the crazy, wingnut, racist, nativist brand that has always been the extreme right wing base of the Republican Party -- since they're closely associating with this Tea Party "movement", the stink is coming from the Republicans as well.
What they'll never admit is that this is just more of the same from the GOP, which has had little other than fear, race-baiting and division of one sort or the other, where they pit working-class people against each other for electoral advantage for ages now. Instead we get treated to conversations like this one on John King's show on CNN, which isn't short of its usual hackery even when he's gone on vacation. Jessica Yellin has jumped right in to fill King's shoes while he's been gone.
CNN seems to be trying to figure out how they want to brand themselves lately. So far it looks like the strategy is just to be a kinder, gentler version of ClusterFox. MSNBC during the day and right up through Tweety's show is just about as bad. The only person in the media I've seen any honest reporting on with just what the "Tea Party movement" is and who is paying for, riling up and busing in those protesters is Rachel Maddow, God bless her.
I don't think I've seen a single show on CNN or most of cable or network news for that matter other than Rachel's show tell their viewers about who is funding the movement and what their industry ties are. They'd rather keep up with the perception that this is some real grass roots movement that has broken off from the Republican Party when that could not be further from the truth. The Tea Party movement is the Republican Party and they're tied at the hip with their corporate backers and their leaders and their agenda.
Any attempt to paint them as otherwise is just propaganda. Sadly, this conversation on CNN is just one more example of what we see day in and day out out of most of our corporate media, and it's not even one of the worst examples. The downright cheerleading from Fox with their coverage of the rallies and CNN not being too far behind with riding along with them on their tours had to be some of the worst.
There have been much bigger protests from the left on the Iraq invasion among other things and those received nothing short of a collective yawn from our "mainstream media". I guess covering issues that actually have millions of Americans rightfully upset with their government just isn't as interesting to them as pushing their latest Drudge/Politico/right wing talk radio/Republican talking point of the day.
Well, it looks like this is one of those times that Andrew Breitbart's nonsense is actually getting some push back from the Villagers and they're pointing out how ridiculous it was for the White House or Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack or whoever decided to push Shirley Sherrod out with this extreme rush to judgment before all of the facts were in. It's too bad they didn't act as diligently when Fox was attacking ACORN.
Earlier Chris Matthews was pretty harsh with the administration. Rachel Maddow tore into them for being silly enough to buy into Fox News' and the likes of Breitbart's attacks and now we have David Gergen and Professor Boyce Watkins saying what they did was ridiculous as well.
When CNN reporter Joe Johns gave Tom Vilsack's lame excuse for why Shirley Sherrod's forced resignation should stand, watch David Gergen's reaction right after this portion of the clip.
Cooper: Joe you've been chasing down the Department of Agriculture side of this story which is that the White House didn't make the call on this. Does that actually hold up though?
Johns: It does. I mean, frankly from what you can... I can tell in talking to various individuals inside the department and also on the record, it seems pretty clear that Sec. Vilsack looked at this thing and said it doesn't matter what she said in the portions of the tape that I'm not hearing.
What she said there... state of mind... is the kind of thing that affects a department that has had literally thousands of discrimination law suits. This department is notorious for that kind of problem and he's trying to clean it up. He says this doesn't help. This is going to affect her job. I don't think she's a racist but she's got to go because... ah... it's a problem. And that's what he did. Good or bad, right or wrong he got rid of her because it was an administrative decision.
David Gergen just physically demonstrated what it looks like when someone's head is literally spinning at the end of that statement.
I don't always agree with David Gergen and have had a lot of issues with some of his hackery on CNN. This wasn't one of those times. What he said during the segment about Sherrod is right. The White House should bring her back. Here's what he had to say about Sherrod and how the White House should handle it during the interview.
I am happy that CNN and Anderson Cooper have decided to go down to Haiti to shine a spotlight on just how dire the circumstances there are with their coverage over the last few days. That said, this "Keeping Them Honest" segment left a lot to be desired. They failed to note some of the reasons for the extreme poverty there that Susie wrote about here at C&L--Let's Talk About Haiti's REAL Deal With The Devil: Exploitation By The Western World.. They failed to talk about how so much of the intervention in that country has been nothing but destructive as covered by Democracy Now. And no mention of the coup in 2004 that The Nation reported on--Coup in Haiti.
I'm no expert on Haiti but you don't have to be one to see how horrid the mainstream media has been with telling us what has caused this natural disaster to be even worse. While this segment hit at some of the real problems in that country, they really just whitewashed the underlying causes and the role The United States and other countries have had in making their misery as horrid as it is now.
CNN's Joe Johns apparently decided that their viewers didn't need to know just how much money has been raised for Rep. Joe Wilson's opponent for his House seat in 2010 during this segment from AC360. While it is true that Rob Miller raised $200,000 overnight, at the time this segment aired, Miller was already right about at the half million mark, and it's now pushing $700,000 and rising.
If he hits a million in a day or two maybe these guys will be forced to finally report it.
Boss Limbaugh disses the GOP's listening tour and all but gets dissed himself by the panel on AC360. He thinks the GOP needs a "teaching tour" rather than a listening tour. That's almost as ridiculous as the idea that the GOP is going to listen to anyone to begin with during these town halls. As they note during this discussion, the religious right isn't going away any time soon, so it's obvious none of them think that strangle-hold over the party is going to change. And despite all of David Gergen's happy talk about Jack Kemp, what does he really say about him? He wasn't "grumpy". And even though most of his ideas were about tax cuts, he managed to make the poor and the down and out believe he cared about them. He doesn't actually say that he cared about them at all. Just that he managed to get them to believe he did. I thought Gergen's parsing of words here was rather odd if he does actually believe Kemp cared about the poor.
What Limbaugh fails to realize is that the public has pretty well figured out the GOP for themselves with no need for any "lessons" from Limbaugh or anyone in the GOP, and their actions as well as his are already teaching us all we need to know about them. Anyone that's buying the snake oil they're selling already listens to his radio show, or one of his buddies' radio shows, or they're watching Fox Noise, or reading Michelle Malkin and her ilk, or they are getting their political views from their church where they're fed a healthy dose of right wing propoganda each and every week.
This is what CNN thinks passes for "news". Let's see...repeat John McCain campaign attack ad that didn't work...check. Pretend you're concerned with Obama's security and that's the reason you're covering this story...check. Ignore important things going on that you should be covering....check. Scrutinize Obama in a way that you never even gave a thought to doing with George Bush before he took office...check. These guys are trying to compete with Fox News for who can make me want to throw a shoe at my TV more frequently.
HILL: Who cares if he smokes? The President-elect, clearly not in Chicago where it's 31 and snowing -- he is in Hawaii at the beach doing the vacationing Presidents do but with a lot less flab. The picture -- and it is everywhere, trust me -- is a reminder that it's really been a while since we've had a camera-ready President-elect and first family.
But the question tonight, just what does glamour and charisma buy you as a President? And how could it hurt?
The "Raw Politics" from Joe Johns.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Take a good hard look, a bare-chested photo that made its way around the world hours after it was taken. At first, a big question, did the photographer breach security to get the shot? Turns out, the answer is no.
But there was lots more to talk about. Here's the front page of today's New York Post. "Fit for Office" is the headline and there are plenty more lines about Ab-bama and Beach Barack. Is this just more of the so-called rock star treatment some say Obama had during the election? The celebrity McCain used against him?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's the biggest celebrity in the world. But is he ready to lead?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: And during the campaign, Obama certainly used magazines like "US Weekly" and "People" which regularly features celebrities on the cover to help him win the election.
He appeared on the cover of "Time" magazine 14 times this year. Now the election is over and the questions remain. Is Obama getting great coverage because of his celebrity status?
It's not like he hasn't courted the coverage and generally the star treatment benefits a politician who can handle it.
ALEX CASTELLANOS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: It's such a great gift. Reagan had it, John F. Kennedy had it. And it's become very valuable to a country when it's uncertain about its future.
How does he use it? Look at the way he's using it now; you inspire, you don't stop campaigning just because the campaign is over.
JOHNS: But on the other hand, right here in the New York Post next to the beach photos is a report that 45 percent of Americans believe either Obama or one of his top campaign aides is tied up in the Illinois governor scandal. That's no political honeymoon.
Being a celebrity President really cuts both ways. When you compare the kind of media Obama's gotten to say, Bill Clinton, his saxophone made for some sexy shots, but you'll probably find that the guy appeared on the front page of the tabloids a lot more than Obama, particularly when Monica Lewinsky surfaced.
So given all that, why did this photo generate so much fascination? Pretty simple, unlike some other Presidents or Presidents-elect, this guy is young, fit, trim, and he looks pretty good in a bathing suit.
Joe Johns, CNN, Washington.
HILL: Yes, but is it ever really that simple?
More on celebrity and the Presidency when we come back with Ed Henry who as the country is finding out, looks fine in shorts himself, doesn't he? David Gergen and Roland Martin also with us.