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Blinders Come Off

Reactions to Bush-Miers. Mean media in trouble. Iraq up close and winnable. Plus much more.

By 10.4.05

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MIERS TO THE COURT
Re: Discussion at AmSpecBlog:

From what I'm gathering on the blog, no one is very happy over this latest Bush nomination. I'm beginning to think that she is a compromise candidate in exchange for Roberts' confirmation. Bush seems to be happy keeping the status quo (5-4) on the bench but then again, maybe we're in for a pleasant surprise. I say this from past experiences where we thought we had a good conservative nominee and ended up with a closet liberal. Maybe this time we have a born again conservative candidate who has seem the error of the liberal mindset and will help bring the bench back to what it was intended to be. Could it be George has blown it or is this one of the shrewdest political moves he has ever pulled? Whatever the case may be, it promises to be interesting.
-- Pete Chagnon

President Bush had a chance to change history for the better. Instead, he chose a poorly qualified political pal who contributed to Al Gore's 1988 campaign, spent money on Bentsen, and never served as a judge or legal scholar.

Bush's presidential career will be summed up as: giving the store away in education to please Ten Kennedy, passing an ill-defined and unlimited-cost Medicare prescription benefit shoring up the sagging career of Senator Specter paving the path of Hurricane Katrina with gold -- our gold, and wrecking the U.S. Supreme Court just as effectively as daddy Bush.

I trust we can elect a genuine conservative president in 2008, one who will undo the damage of the two Bush administrations. Conservative financial support for more Dukakis clones will be unlikely.
-- Gregory L. Jackson, Ph.D.
Glendale, Arizona

Let's give G.W. a second chance -- defeat Harriet Miers and let him choose a known conservative such as Judge Janice Rogers Brown and then "go for broke!"
-- Ken Wyman

PRESSING OUR LUCK
Re: Jed Babbin's Role Reversal:

Jed Babbin's piece is amazing. He hit the nail right on the head (though wrong on the Supreme Court nominee -- only time will tell if it was a good choice or not). Bush and the Republican Party must take on the mainstream media. Slowly but surely people are recognizing the utter biased coverage by the media against this president and Republican Party. I constantly challenge leaders of the Chicago Tribune regarding columns, news reporting and the Tribune's participation in the ACLU lawsuit to release more Abu Ghraib photos. While I have cancelled my subscription and am campaigning people I know to do the same (to some success), I still monitor the paper at work and on the web.

The Republican Party and Bush administration have to realize that people are willing to take on the MSM. I am actively doing so in any way I can and seek more opportunities to do so. It's not that MSM is so biased to the Dems that riles me, it's that it's become more anti-U.S. The media must be challenged. Tim Russert must be challenged. David Gregory must be challenged. Terry Moran must be challenged, and so on and so on. Even Joe Scarborough, a conservative who in the past I have admired. Recently on his show a series of "facts" flashed on the screen. One item implied that FEMA denied the Red Cross access to New Orleans when in fact and according to the Red Cross, it was Louisiana that denied Red Cross access. I called Mr. Scarborough on this saying that even though he may not control what information is flashed on the screen, during his show he is responsible. Never heard from him. It seems he is more interested in being accepted by his MSM "friends" than reporting the truth.
-- John Dyslin
Streamwood, Illinois

I had never thought of the MSM as a political party, but the shoe does fit in many ways. Fact it fits so well, that considering the new mood at the FEC why isn't there and investigation vis a vis McCain-Feingold?

But you know, I don't have a lot of concern for their long term effects. Here is the reason why:

Knight-Ridder

New York Times Company

Hearst

Hollinger Intl

Every one of these publishing companies stocks is headed where? Right... in the dumpster. NYT has announced and additional 500 person cut in staff. If most of these cuts come from the national desk could it be that NYT might go regional? And if that is the case can they claim to be the "paper of record"? Hearst is in a similar situation on the balance sheet. Hollinger, parent of the Chicago Sun-Times, is in a nasty takeover bid and their cash position is down right anemic. Only Knight-Ridder is stable, due to their larger holdings in electronic properties, but even their stock is dipping.

You hear stories from time to time about the fear in the news room from many liberal pundits. The assumption is that the Bush era is fostering the fear. Sorry, but the fear is coming from 40- and 50-somethings looking at flat 401K's, a flat industry and headcount cuts wherever they turn. They are facing the hard truths of their irrelevance. Welcome to the real world ladies and gentlemen. As a reader should I be concerned? Well if reports from Iraqi like those posted by Michael Yon or a Soldier's Perspective are any indication of what we can suspect in the future from non-MSM providers, then no.

Could we expect improvement for MSM anytime soon? Well go to the wellspring of the MSM, Columbia School of Journalism. Read the Carey quote. "...Not the news business." If not that then what? The curriculum vitae for the MSM concentration include such gems as Covering Emerging Communities, The Art of the Profile, and New York as a Foreign Country. The suggested summer reading is of particular interest for both its New York orientation and leftist slant. It is no wonder than this J school consider the fly over states a foreign entity -- it is from their view. With such scholarship, the demise of the industry is assured.

We need not, Mr. Babbin, worry too much. When the Internet media and blogs have taken over as surely they must, we can all attend museums of the print media in places like N.Y., Chicago, and L.A.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

Mr. Babbin is 100% correct in his assessment of the role of the MSM. His methods to counter same also make sense. One big problem.

The President has given up any attempt at leadership (how about that dynamite choice for the Supreme Court?), and coupled with the less than courageous Republican House and Senate (I am being too nice here), the door is wide open for the Dems, lefties, and MSM to feed on the corpse of conservatism like carrion in the veldt.
-- T. A. O'Reilly
South Portland, Maine

It is possible that the MSM have reached the high water mark in their criticism of all things Bush and DeLay. Even avowed liberals of my acquaintance are coming to the conclusion that the MSM cannot be taken at face value. The fairy tale coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the oppressively bad news out of Iraq day after day after day, and the neurotic blaming of President Bush for virtually every negative thing that happens in the world have taxed the gullibility of even the staunchest compassionate liberal. As a teacher for many years, I have met about every stripe of liberal in existence. Even many of them have had to grudgingly admit that the MSM has gone overboard in its coloration of events and its pursuit of Bush, the Father of All That Is Evil. That is not to say that the most rabid of them don't still blame President Bush for thunderstorms and volcanic eruptions. However, we cannot worry about those folks, as they the ability of cognitive thought. These liberal marionettes will think what they think until God comes on a cloud. In fact, even then, they will probably argue that the end of the world was a Republican plot hatched by Karl Rove, and carried out by George Bush.
-- Joseph Baum
Garrettsville, Ohio (Yes, I have moved!)

Mr. Babbin is indeed correct about the ascendancy of the MSM to political party status. He however comes to this realization way too late. Perhaps if he read TAS more carefully, he would have known what his many readers (outside the beltway) have opined for years. We have called this phenomenon by many names and descriptions, mine was the Agenda Party. Be that as it may, Babbin late than never.
-- A. DiPentima

Jed has a good point that the MSM now leads the charge against the Republicans (though this is hardly news). I have two problems with Jed's article:

-He does not propose a specific mechanism by which the MSM may be countered.

-He does not admit that President Bush and the country club Republicans who inhabit the Senate are a big part of the problem because they refuse to fight the MSM but instead pretend that the MSM is not that biased.

Bush is also vague about the war that the USA is involved in. He says that it is against terrorism. Isn't it really against Islamic militarism? Bush's inability to speak clearly may simply be the result of unclear thinking. Though I vote Republican, There are only a couple of elected Republicans who I admire. The remainder seem weak, stupid, and greedy.
-- Steve Koch

It hasn't gone as unnoticed as you might think. Many conservatives thought the Democrats owned the MSM but have come to realize that it is in fact, the MSM owns the Democrat party. How did we come to that conclusion? By following reporting by the Associated Press. That is where your first indication comes from. The media is in lock step just like Hitler's goosestep. The Fox News Channel is also guilty of this. The gradual shift of ideology on that 24-hour channel is really quite interesting.
-- Ruth Skidmore
Plymouth, California

Mr. Babbin is right. Three to four years ago, before last election, I heard on a Washington Journal moment the Assistant Editor of the Times and others discuss cutting their overseas budget to concentrate on influencing the political situation back home. So help me.
-- Bill Dukas

Reading both "Role Reversal" (Loose Canons/Babbin) and "'Yes' on October 15" (At Large/Walsh [more below]) made me see the parallel of two out-of-power minorities: Sunnis in Iraq and liberals in U.S.

Without their Baathist thugs to keep the Shiites suppressed, the Sunnis are desperate, and think that if they cause enough terror and pain, everyone will give them their way. It sounds like a five-year-old child's strategy, but it seems to work with France and Spain.

Without a majority in the House, and inconsistent control of the Executive, liberals are beginning to lose their advantage in the judiciary. The liberals in the minority party are providing ever increasing levels of violent rhetoric and legal attacks. They seem to think that if they complain enough, and forestall the majority party, then the folks who elected the majority will change sides. That sounds like the five-year-old child's strategy again.

A big question is what will liberals do as their time in the minority lengthens? Will their frustration push them to escalate? Will liberals follow the example of the minority party Sunnis in Iraq and use improvised explosive devices? Some liberals did that during the large riots and demonstrations of the 1960s and 1970s.

I hope that they do not. They should leave that to the eco-terrorists, who aren't trying to be elected... are they?
-- Newt Love
Annapolis, Maryland

IRAQ FROM THE SOURCE
Re: John Connly Walsh's "Yes" on October 15:

It appears we approaching the beginning of the end-game in Iraq. Most big picture indicators are positive. In the early months of 2006 there will likely be a voter-approved constitution, recently completed national elections, a new popularly elected government, and an increasingly battle hardened Iraqi Army supported by American strength.

The terrorist insurgency is in trouble.

Mr. Walsh's commentary is important. It is far better that MSM reporting. Mr. Walsh is one of only a few in-country people (some others include Michael Yon and a few mil blogs) that provide reliable, non-agenda driven information.
-- Doug Santo
Pasadena, California

Which Senate Democrat will try to de-rail this election like Dick Durbin did the one in Iran last June? What preposterous lie will be told to discredit the military and the President and bring hope and courage to the terrorists? A successful election in Iraq is a win for President Bush in Durbin & Co.'s eyes and they can't let that happen. They would rather continue to prolong the war and endanger American military personnel. Durbin, Kennedy, Kerry, Schumer, et al., are responsible for the rising death toll in Iraq but know their allies (or is it masters) in the press will blame President Bush. October surprise, anyone?
-- W. G. Wheatley

Sure would like to see you on Fox News. If you have been, I missed it. Even in their on-line version would be a start. They sure must have a news camera in Baghdad somewhere. Your insight is better than anything else we're getting from over there.

Stay safe,
-- John P.
Elmhurst, Illinois

CREATIVE TARGETING
Re: Christopher Orlet's Emboldening Terrorists:

A wise Egyptian counterterrorism expert once commented that, by going after members of al Qaeda and other terror groups, the Americans are going about the business of stopping terrorism the wrong way. Muslim terrorists care little about death, and if they are killed, more always can be recruited, either with fiery sermons or money. Terrorists do care, however, about their families back home. Therefore, the Egyptian concluded, Americans should take out the families of terrorists. Once word gets around that, by committing a terrorist act, terrorists would be sacrificing their families, the flames of terrorism would likely burn much lower. The Egyptian said, though, that he didn't think American civilians or soldiers had the stomach for what needed to be done, so America would eventually be forced to withdraw with its tail between its legs, as in Vietnam. Is he right?
-- unsigned

FLEXING FIREARMS
Re: James Bowman's review of Dear Wendy:

Mr. Bowman's review of Dear Wendy reminds me of an incident that happened to me ten years ago. I took a friend/business associate from Denmark who was visiting me in New York to a N.Y. Giants football game. He had been very keen to go since the European U.S. football league was just starting to become popular in Europe. During half time we started talking about politics and culture in the U.S. and he blurted out that he could not understand the "gun culture" in the U.S. I volunteered that I indeed owned a couple of shotguns since I was a keen duck and pheasant hunter since the age of 14. I also shocked him with the notion that I and every other American had the right to defend our families from violent intruders or a tyrannical government with deadly force if necessary. Well my friend was shocked. He went into a rant about the superiority of European civilization, etc., etc. I pointed out to him that the Second Amendment was put into the Constitution to put government on notice that an armed citizenry would prevent any type of mischief from occurring. I also pointed out that had the Danes and other enlightened Europeans had similar provisions (like the Swiss) then their countries might not have fallen to the boot of fascism so quickly. That seemed to quiet him down a bit. Went back to the second half of the game -- I believe the Giants even won!
-- Ron Pettengill
London, United Kingdom

SEND RONNIE TO JERSEY
Re: John Tabin's The DeLay Opportunity:

Read with great amusement the article on Tom DeLay. By New Jersey, standards he's a piker! A recent audit found an $8 billion school construction bond fund broke! Money's gone, no one knows where! A former Democratic assemblyman gets $1 million annually to, get this, teach doctors how to speak to patients! Corzine paid through the nose to anyone and everyone to get himself elected. He's paid, pardon me, donated money to black ministers in the state to get their endorsements! At a local function, I asked a Democratic luminary, "Where's Jim McGreevy hiding"? That was greeted with howls and screams like you've never heard. One woman, the mayor's wife, used barnyard epithets to describe the question and then accused me of being a "bully." Nice touch! And of course the 300 hours of conversation taped by a disaffected Democrat haven't been released as of this date by our Attorney General. What do they show? Could our esteemed senators be in the pocket of a banker?
-- Bob Montrose

ATTACH THE WELFARE STIGMA
Re: Steve's letter (under "Conservative Welfare") in Reader Mail's Friendly Persuasion:

Even more basic than Steve's comments, here is another thought:

If my memory serves me correctly, the so-called poverty level is an artificial number which was dreamed up by LBJ and company when they found that in order to declare a "War on Poverty," we needed a number to shoot at! Do away with the poverty level number (upon which all giveaways are based), and the problem is automatically
solved.

I was raised in the 1940s by a widowed mother and had seven siblings. We knew we were poor, but had no idea that we lived in poverty. Each of us worked at what we could, based upon our age and contributed to the family coffers and well-being. My mother worked nights so that she could be home with us during the day and the older children took care of us when she was not home.

Welfare was a dirty word and accepting welfare carried a stigma that most Americans did not want.
-- C.D. Lueders
Melbourne, Florida

A DOSE OF THE CLASSICS
Re: Joe Minkiewicz's letter (under "Re-Remembering Rita") in Reader Mail's Friendly Persuasion:

Just an aside to Mr. Minkiewicz's letter. I too, raised my kids on the old movies, songs, etc. They know Charlie Chan, Warner Oland, Sidney Toler, Great Gildersleeve, and all those virtues from that era. They too have rejected popular culture, are quite stable in their outlook on life, and have an appreciation for the America that was. (Rita Hayworth played in a Charlie Chan movie from 1935 called Charlie Chan in Egypt as a sarong clad house servant.) I'm happy to see that someone else thought the way I did on that. From what I've seen of the "popular" culture of today, I would say his daughters are way ahead of the game by being exposed to these older movies and music, just as mine were.
-- Pete Chagnon

HAPPY SPECTATOR ON THE SIDELINE
Re: Chuck Lazarz's letter ("Reader Mailer Extraordinaire") in Reader Mail's Friendly Persuasions:

When one has the excellent foil of Tyrrell, Neumayr, Stein, and Babbin to comment on the job is easy. I peer over the shoulder of giants. That Wlady gives freely of his red pen to obscure my grammatical missives is pay enough.

Writing a weekly or daily column is a very tough occupation indeed, to which I fear I am not up to the task. That American Spectator offers the column inches for my occasional pontifications, and that a fellow reader enjoys them is ample reward. Thank you.
-- John McGinnis
Arlington, Texas

WHEN CONSERVATIVES REACT
Some Reader Comments on AmSpecBlog:

Chill people. My God, our side sounds as shrill and overreactive as the left. From what I heard today from so called "civil" conservatives, I thought I was at a Move on dot org rally. It is true -- we have just as many shallow reactives on our side as they have on theirs. You folks are spoiling for a fight, but why fight ourselves. Bush gets to pick his nominees, not us. Live with it and quit your whining and playing right into the hands of the left!
-- Clermont Jim

Bush has gone overboard on the Reagan inclusiveness. RR must be rolling in his grave. The Dems look like pikers in government spending. The Republican Party has left me! Hopefully a true conservative party will emerge that I can support. I would welcome Forbes and Fred Thompson, however Thompson's personal life would generate a lifetime of press. Amazed, though, that the new Chief Justice had Thompson as his liaison man in Congress.
-- Gordon Vinson

George H.W. asked us to "Read his Lips," George W. said he would nominate someone in the mold of Scalia and Thomas. Shame on us -- we bought a Bush's line again!
-- Charles E. Umhey, Jr., M.D.

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About the Author

James Plummer, a native New Orleanian, is an Adjunct Analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.