This Friday evening on a special edition of The Daily Show, wrapping up their own convention coverage, Jon Stewart found a great new slogan for Fox "News" after their "fair and balanced" coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions over the last couple of weeks -- "shut up and watch."
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- America's News Headquarters
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- Barack Obama
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- Eric Bolling
- Eric Massa
- Eugene Robinson
- Face the Nation
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- George W. Bush
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- Greg Sargent
- Gregg Jarrett
- Gretchen Carlson
- Hans von Spakovsky
- Herman Cain
- Hilary Rosen
- Howard Fineman
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- John Ensign
- John Fund
- Jon Stewart
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- Judd Gregg
- Laure Ingraham
- Libby Casey
- Liberal Media myth
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I'm sure by now that everyone who follows politics has had about a belly full of the fake outrage over Hilary Rosen's statement that Ann Romney has “never worked a day in her life," when it should be obvious to anyone that heard her, that she was talking about the fact that because Ann Romney has not worked a job outside of the home, her qualifications to advise the campaign on economic issues that concern women, when worrying about how you're going to pay your bills, has obviously never been an issue for her.
The Romney campaign has been desperate to change the conversation from the "war on women" — unless of course it's Mitt Romney accusing President Obama of waging one — and unfortunately Rosen stuck her foot in her mouth and gave them an opening to get the media to change the dialog to women working outside of the home.
Here's how Romney's surrogates were attempting to frame the debate today: Romney Surrogate Says Hilary Rosen Was Delivering Obama’s Message Against Stay-At-Home Mothers.
In the clip above, Luke Russert is desperately trying to hammer home that same theme, and even initially identifies Hilary Rosen, wrongly, as an adviser to the DNC. Their director, Patrick Gaspard, corrects him, which is followed by Russert literally badgering him about whether Rosen is a paid adviser, or an unpaid adviser, or whether she advises the Obama campaign. And finally he more or less asks if she even talks to them at all.
I'm not sure how many more ways Gaspard could have told Russert no, but after the fourth time, he finally stopped drilling him on her nonexistent ties to either organization. I think this dust up is a big distraction and it makes the Romney campaign look desperate. I would guess most people don't even know who Hilary Rosen is unless you follow politics closely, and as Gaspard stated, she's not working for the Obama campaign or the DNC, but sadly if she were, I think the media would continue to flog this story all the way though the election this November.
On this Wednesday morning's call in show on C-SPAN, Washington Journal, after first listening to a caller who talked about how badly George W. Bush screwed up the economy and that if we have another stolen election like the one that put him in office we might see another revolution, the discussion turned to George W. Bush's appearance at the New York Historical Society this week.
The guests were Sean Spicer, Republican National Committee, Communications Director and Brad Woodhouse, Democratic National Committee, Communications Director, and here's what Spicer had to say in defense of George W. Bush.
SPICER: I think he leaves a great legacy. I mean, in terms of what he did for job creation, getting this country... and obviously our attempts to deal with the war on terror. But I think, ironically, last night I was sitting there trying to do my taxes and thinking “Oh my gosh, the so-called Bush tax cuts are expiring” and how that will actually, you know, for what I owe this year, how much more I'm going to have to pay next year because of that.
So I think a lot of people are having buyers... are looking back saying George W. Bush actually did have some... a strong vision for this country and you know, there's been bumper stickers all over town saying “Miss me yet?” And I think a lot of people are going, wow, he actually, compared to what we have now... you do look and talk about the economy and say, hey, that was probably much better than where we are now.
Remember, the Democrats had a problem when unemployment was at 4.9 percent that Bush wasn't tackling jobs and the economy. Now it's at 8.2 and there's talk about how great the President's doing tackling it so...
WOODHOUSE: I am so glad the RNC just embraced the fall of 2008. That's where we got the Bush economy. That's where we got from the tax cuts. That's what we got from the deregulation of Wall Street. That's what we got from the deregulation of polluters and big oil, is we got the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and the RNC just embraced that as an example to go forward.
It's too bad Woodhouse didn't have a copy of Steve Benen's bikini graph handy to show Spicer since he decided it was a good idea to brag about job creation under George W. Bush. The numbers today aren't great, but we aren't falling off a cliff like we were when Bush left office.
Despite the fact that we're still seeing Republicans pine for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to come be the GOP's latest savior of the day and enter into the 2012 presidential primary race and the fact that it's obvious a lot of them aren't content with their current crop of contenders, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus did his best to put a positive spin on who they have running during CBS's Face the Nation after host Bob Schieffer asked him what he thought about Herman Cain winning the latest straw poll down in Florida.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz did a good job of pointing out that there's really not a dime's worth of difference between their candidates and that every one of them have embraced Paul Ryan's budget plan and want to privatize Social Security and end Medicare as we know it.
Priebus' primary line of attack was to go after President Obama's poll numbers and claim he's already losing some states to Republicans even though it's way too far out for any of those polls to predict what's going to happen before we actually have a named candidate for the GOP and before we've had a single debate between President Obama and the winner of their primary race.
There's no doubt that the terrible economy and joblessness is going to hurt the president when he runs next time around, but he's still got an awful lot of time to point out that a good deal of that is due to, as Wasserman Schultz rightfully pointed out, the Bush left the economy in when he left office and Republican obstruction in the Congress and Republican governors and their cohorts in their state governments sabotaging our economy on purpose for political gain.
Voters may be unhappy with President Obama and rightfully so for some of what's gone wrong with our economy, but the Congress' approval numbers are down in the low teens and those of the Republican governors around the country aren't polling a whole lot better.
I'm actually more worried about the GOP doing their best to steal the next election with voter suppression tactics and the kind of thing we're seeing that may happen in Pennsylvania and that state potentially changing how their electoral votes are tallied, if the next election is close, rather than voters turning to Republicans in hordes thinking that they have anything to offer to get our country out of the economic ditch we're in right now.
What we need right now is an actual progressive majority in the Congress and not one with a bunch of Conserva-Dems doing their best to obstruct right along with the Republicans on getting anything meaningful to get our economy back on track passed and something done about the current filibuster rules in the Senate, but sadly given the money it takes to run for office right now, I'm not hopeful of that happening any time soon. I would love to see Reince Priebus have to eat his words on how wonderful this current crop of GOP candidates are that we've got running because I don't want to see what kind of country we become if any of them get elected.
And last but not least, I cannot watch this man on the air without thinking about Stephen Colbert asking, What's a Rance Priebus?.
Full transcript below the fold.
Could Fox's Gregg Jarrett have found a slimier couple of characters than Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund to throw around accusations that the White House is coordinating with Organizing for America and the DNC to organize the protests we're seeing in Wisconsin and other areas of the country?
Let the games begin with more distraction and drummed up controversies from Fox. Anything to keep us from talking about the real reasons there are thousands of Americans out there protesting.
Organizing for America and the DNC are working with the protesters and Eclectablog at Daily KOS wrote about here -- UPDATED x2 - OFA/DNC in Wisconsin working with protesting public employees. And as they noted, it's not just clips like the one above that Fox has been airing over and over today, but they also posted this at Fox Nation -- DNC Caught Organizing Wisconsin Protests:
The Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America arm -- the remnant of the 2008 Obama campaign -- is playing an active role in organizing protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's attempt to strip most public employees of collective bargaining rights.
OfA, as the campaign group is known, has been criticized at times for staying out of local issues like same-sex marraige, but it's riding to the aide of the public sector unions who hoping to persuade some Republican legislators to oppose Walker's plan. And while Obama may have his difference with teachers unions, OfA's engagement with the fight -- and Obama's own clear stance against Walker -- mean that he's remaining loyal to key Democratic Party allies at what is, for them, a very dangerous moment.
Even though von Spakovsky admitted that there is nothing wrong with OFC or the DNC being involved with these protests, he said if the White House or any of their staff is coordinating with them, they could be guilty of violating federal anti-lobbying act. He didn't offer any proof that they were, but that didn't stop him from throwing the accusation out there anyway. I'm assuming this will be next on Darrell Issa's hit list for subpoenas to issue.
And you've got to love this comment by Fox's Gregg Jarrett:
You know John, the subtitle of your terrific column today, I must say is always very good is, "Who's in charge of our democracy, voters or unions?" Do you think this is sort of an effort by the left to create their own liberal version of the tea party?
This stuff makes my head hurt. Fox is just shameless. Note to Gregg Jarrett, union members are voters you schmuck. I should know, I'm one of them. Here's more from Susan Gardner at KOS on what Garrett is doing here -- Conservatives use divide and conquer rhetoric in Wisconsin union protests.
I don't remember Fox going after the Bush White House when Lurita Doan was using the General Services Administration to help Republicans with reelection efforts, but they're going to go after the Obama White House with no proof they've broken any laws for potentially making phone calls to OFA and the DNC. I'm no lawyer but this looks like grasping at straws to me. Anything to try to delegitimize the union protesters and paint them as some evil pawns of the Obama administration.
Apparently Liz Trotta has dispatched a team of investigators to Martha's Vineyard to check on t-shirt sales and they discovered that Sarah Palin is very popular there, or she's just making stuff up. She also thinks that we shouldn't take any attack ads about George Bush seriously because some of the beltway Villagers that she decides to label as the "far left" said some nice thing about George Bush and his insistence that we don't conflate the religion of Islam with terrorism. It's all an evil plot by the terrible "liberal media" where they're pretending to miss Bush now, only to attack him later when the mid-term elections come around, or something.
What Trotta really doesn't want to discuss here is that Republicans would like to keep George Bush locked away somewhere far from sight until the mid-term elections are over and aren't happy about the timing of the release of his new book.
Trotta: Well, let me give you... in keeping with the spirit of what we've just seen, you know, the president is a... President Obama is vacationing up at Martha's Vineyard and apparently the t-shirt that's selling the most is one that deals with President Bush and it says “Miss me yet?” Apparently the subtitle says, "How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for ya'? " Well we know where that would come from.
But that's the funny part. The serious part is yes, there are invocations to Bush. the Washington Post editorials, their columnists; namely Eugene Robinson " you can't get any more far left than that. And the New York Times and of course Maureen Dowd are all making the case he took the right stand on the... the right Constitutional stand, the right First Amendment stand when it came to separating terrorists from the Muslim... from the Islamic religion.
And so there's what what looks to be a sort of nostalgia at first glance about Bush. What you are seeing from the liberal media is attempt to use his arguments to further their own cause; and that is, that the mosque should be banned. So, I don't think we should take much of it seriously.
Howard Fineman of course of Newsweek did a sort of half serious piece saying that because of Obama's sinking popularity, because of the economy, because of the upcoming elections, there is this kind of wistfulness for Bush and he does have a book coming out.
Jonathan Alter made some good points about why the Republicans are being ridiculous going after the White House and Sestak for this trumped up scandal on Real Time. It's criminalizing politics and if you're going to go after Obama and Emanuel for this, then there's a long list behind them to go after as well.
And Patrick Ruffini's tired line about campaign promises is wearing thin. That's not an excuse to scandalize everything and they obviously don't hold their own politicians to the same standard. As our team member Jamie pointed out to everyone when he was watching this last night "It's funny though that no one mentions how George W. Bush was going to 'restore the integrity of the Oval Office', and we all see how that went." Ain't that the truth.
I like Bill Maher's suggestion for a compromise at the end of the clip.
Alter: George H.W. Bush's political director Ron Kaufman said recently that if this was a crime that every president going back to George Washington, should go to jail. This has been done in politics forever. It will always be done in politics and there's actually nothing wrong with it. Nobody's ever been prosecuted under this.
Ruffini: Here's the problem.
Maher: Do you agree with that.
Ruffini: Wasn't Obama supposed to be different? I mean wasn't the... the Bush administration was hyper-political. They were using their political office to fire, you know, supposedly fire the US Attorneys...
Maher: And they did.
Ruffini: ...and instead, you know, we were basically... when Obama got in we were going to put all the politics over at the DNC, get it out of the White House...
Alter: Who said that?
Ruffini: ...and then you have Rahm Emanuel...
Maher: But that's not really... now wait a second. That's not really (crosstalk) that's not really a good analogy. Firing the federal prosecutors, okay, a federal prosecutor, a non-political job with a very important function, okay? This is, this is politics. This is people on your own team. This is one Democrat saying to another Democrat, "Maybe you'd be better over here and we'll elect this guy"...
Alter: Patrick your man Ronald Reagan about twenty years ago, his political director Ed Rollins actually bragged in the newspaper that they were trying to get Senator Hayakawa from CA to not run for reelection by offering him a federal job. It's just, to politicize, to criminalize politics is insane. (crosstalk)
Ruffini: But Obama had held himself up to a higher standard I think during his campaign.
From Greg Sargent at The Plum Line -- New DNC Ad Rips GOP As Party Of Vitter And Ensign:
The Democratic National Committee is going up with a tough new ad on DC cable hitting the GOP as the party of David Vitter and John Ensign — a response to an earlier RNC spot targeting Dems over Charlie Rangel and Eric Massa. [...]
The ad seems designed to put Republicans on notice that if they use the Rangel/Massa stories as ammunition, the Dems will respond with a howitzer blast. The spot implicitly invites Beltway insiders and media figures to make the comparison — and to call it one way or the other.
It's good to see the Democrats hitting back on this but as I said before, they're not likely to get much help from the media on this. The Republicans put one of these out and they're getting free air time on every one of the cable news shows. I didn't catch anyone showing this one today. I guess we'll see if any of them pick it up next week.
The DNC's Brad Woodhouse makes the same point as Jed over at Daily KOS -- Party of Vitter, Ensign, and Sanford wants Massa investigation Hotlist:
Never mind that within Republican ranks sit the following incumbents:
- David "Diapers" Vitter
- John "I screwed my top aide's wife (and she was also a staffer!)" Ensign
- Mark "Hiking the Appalachian Argentine Trail" Sanford
Never mind that just 48 hours ago Republican House Leader John Boehner's leadership office was embracing Eric Massa's conspiracy theory and telling people to watch Glenn Beck to find out all about it.
Forget all that, because Republicans are now positioning themselves as the voices of truth and righteous indignation on all matters sexual -- as long as they have to do with former members of Congress...from the Democratic Party:
GOP wants Massa ethics probe reopened
WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader John Boehner wants the House ethics panel probe of former Rep. Eric Massa to be reopened.
The Ohio Republican said Thursday there are many unanswered questions surrounding the sexual harassment allegations that were made against the New York Democrat. Boehner (BAY'nur) said he plans to file a House resolution on the matter later Thursday.
As Woodhouse stated in this interview, some of those stones are going to come back at them. Sadly as Steve Benen noted, the media is more than happy to help the Republicans along.
WHERE'S OUR ENSIGN FRENZY?.... Matt Yglesias highlights an important double standard: "sex scandals aren't interesting when they involve Republicans."
Interestingly John Ensign, like David Vitter but unlike Elliot Spitzer or Eric Massa, hasn't yet been driven from public life.
I continue to find the trend fascinating. Sen. John Ensign (R) of Nevada is caught in a truly humiliating sex scandal -- and remember, the media generally loves political sex scandals -- involving a shameless hypocrite, who ran on a "family-values" platform, committing adultery with one of his own aides, who happens to be married to another aide. The scandal involves the immediate affair, plus alleged ethics violations, hush money, and official corruption.
And yet, no media frenzy. No reporters staked out in front of Ensign's home. No op-eds speculating about the need for Ensign to resign in disgrace.
Woodhouse made all the right points here. Sadly they're falling on deaf ears. As the Republicans are howling about Eric Massa with the media's help, it appears John Ensign's troubles are getting worse -- Emails Shed New Light On Ensign's Efforts On Hampton's Behalf.
From The Daily Show Jan. 27, 2010:
Aasif Mandvi unveils the new DNC possum logo that embodies their commitment to surrendering to Republicans.