There's no rest for the politically weary. We'll have to keep a weather eye on '06 and '08, but there's a lot to do long before they arrive. There will be no respite while Nurse Ratched builds her campaign for the White House, and there's enough SGO this week to keep us busy. The RINOs are rampaging, the legacy news media are wounded but not dead, Yassir Arafat is dying, and the next most important election — the January election in Iraq — is fast approaching.
We never should have left it to 007 to deal with SPECTRE. Despite his guile, good looks and all the cool stuff Q gave him, Commander Bond blew it. We should have given the job to Pat Toomey. Sen. Snarlin' Arlen Specter (RINO-Pa.) survived a primary challenge by real Republican Toomey only because the White House helped him. Spectre is repaying the President's generosity in a manner that Gen. Omar Bradley would have characterized as French. Bradley once said that the French never forgive a favor. Apparently, neither can Specter He's made it quite clear — in an October interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and again in a statement last week — that if he becomes chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee he won't allow any conservative Supreme Court justices to be confirmed. If this awful man is allowed to take the Senate Judiciary chairmanship, one of the main opportunities of Mr. Bush's second term will be lost. While there is hope that Spectre will not be allowed to take the Judiciary chairmanship, there is no hope that the media will learn the lesson of 2004.
Among the legacy media, the mood is what it must have been inside the Kremlin the day after the Berlin Wall fell. Lost power, diminished influence, and the sinking feeling that a lot of people can now ignore you. The term “legacy media” is a precise one. In the computer biz, “legacy systems” are old, outdated, and must be replaced if their purpose is to be served. It's happening in the media, and the process is accelerating. The legacy media — CBS, the New York Times, and the rest — are rapidly losing their Red State market share to Fox, the Washington Times, and the Internet. Advertisers will cling to some of the legacy media because their audiences remain large. But their power to sway opinion has become so small that the migration of audiences to alternate media will soon deprive them of their financial strength. It's hard to keep your market share when you forfeit peoples' trust, when you look down on your audience, and when you hate a large number of your audience and the pols for whom they vote.
Hate? Can we dare apply such a strong and unqualified term to the media? In short, yes. The legacy media — both here and abroad — hate Mr. Bush and all who support him. Throughout the campaign, they used terms of utter contempt to describe the President, accused him and his advisers of every form of deceit and dishonesty, and gave his opponent immunity from investigation and criticism that is unparalleled in American electoral history. (I hope the RNC polls on the effect of the media bias. My hunch is that it backfired big time, and incidents such Gunga Dan's “forged-but-accurate” docudrama helped Mr. Bush.) Now — having failed utterly to change America's mind — they're still at it.
Exhibit 1 (as usual) is anti-testosterone NYT columnist Mo Dowd who wrote that, “W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq.” That these people disdain the American voter is equally obvious. Exhibit 2 is the Harold Meyerson column in the Friday Washington Post. Hyperlib Meyerson gives credit for Mr. Bush's victory to evangelical Christians, and says that to compete in '08, the Dems need, “candidates and a language that even the worst good old boys recognize as American.” Worst? The legacy media think that we poor, ignorant slobs — at last count over 59 million of us — should be following our betters' orders to vote for John Kerry and his ilk. We just aren't listening, Mr. Meyerson. And neither are you.
THE OUTRAGEOUS BIAS in the Post, the NYT, and the others — against Mr. Bush, against conservatives, and conservative principles — forces them to praise America's enemies, and the enemies of our allies. The future of the Palestinians after Yasser Arafat is the subject of much conjecture in the media, and — at least in the Post — some bizarre reporting. The editors of the Sunday Post ran a piece by Glenn Frankel, reporting from Paris on Arafat's near-death condition. Frankel describes Arafat as a “peripatetic revolutionary, a man without a home who for four decades has embodied the aspirations of a people without a homeland.” He makes no mention of Arafat the career terrorist, but gives currency to, “a claim that French doctors had discovered toxins in the leader's blood that suggested he had been poisoned back in Ramallah, presumably by Sharon's nefarious operatives.” Frankel, so hypnotized by the old terrorist's minions, reporting from “this elegant, overstuffed antechamber of a grand dame hotel where…Cokes go for $8 a bottle,” makes no mention of the war, death, poverty and corruption the “leader” has brought to “his” people. His Sunday report should be an embarrassment to the Post, but it won't be. The
The only weekend report that's worse comes from the Saudi government daily, Arab News. American forces are poised to take Falluja and capture or kill the insurgents there. In a Sunday report, Arab News said that twenty-one “prominent Saudi religious scholars” issued a statement and a religious fatwa calling on Iraqis to attack Americans, refuse cooperation with American forces, and — though the wording is unclear on this point — apparently calling on Saudis and other Muslims to go to Iraq to join the insurgency. That the Saudi government supports this is proved by the publication of it. The clock is ticking down in Falluja, and it should be in Riyadh as well. (More on Falluja later this week.)
The President said he wants to spend the political capital he's earned in the election. He'll have two years to do it, and maybe more. And there's not a moment to lose.
TAS Contributing Editor Jed Babbin is the author of Inside the Asylum: Why the UN and Old Europe Are Worse Than You Think (Regnery Publishing).