Category Archives: Politics

Shepherd Smith Strays from the Talking Points

Sometime last year, I remember when Shepherd Smith, Frank Luntz (the guy who does the focus groups), and some political consultant were the guests on a Fox News show. They were talking about Guantanamo Bay. Smith and Luntz both spoke very strongly against keeping people imprisoned indefinitely at Gitmo. Smith said it was a violation of the US Constitution.

Well, that really surprised me.

Now there’s a video in which Shepherd Smith talks about the email he receives from Fox viewers. He describes it as really scary stuff.

Shepherd Smith better watch himself. He’ll get himself fired.

There’s another video on Youtube in which Chris Wallace really goes after those three brainless anchors on Fox & Friends, whom I affectionately refer to as Gomer, Legs, and Squirrelly. He criticizes them for what he describes as two hours of Obama-bashing over something he felt they were taking out of context. Wallace, fortunately, has stature and credibility to spare, and could easily land somewhere else. I’m not so sure about Shep.

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Sotomayor and the Character Assassination Follies

We’ve launched another game of “Assassinate the Supreme Court Nominee’s Character.”

Nobody plays this game better than the Democrats. Just think back to Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas. They went after Samuel Alito pretty hard and unjustly, too, though nothing stuck. 

But what Republicans are doing right now is way over the top, in my book. It disgusts me, in fact. They’re not attacking Sonia Sotomayor’s decisions, but her basic character.

  • She’s a racist.
  • She’s a bigot.
  • She’s an angry woman.
  • She’s treats other people badly.

Sotomayor is no racist. Republicans are taking one quote out of its context. If you read the whole text of what she said, it’s exactly what you would want someone in her position to say. But the right-wing pundits lack intellectual integrity. They aren’t interested in helping viewers get a true picture of this woman. They just want to destroy her reputation. And for no good reason. Because in the end, she WILL be confirmed. Yet both parties always feel duty-bound to destroy a nominees character and distort his/her record.

I wish we could just stop it.

None of the justices are bad people. They rose through the ranks because of their brilliance and competence (with or without help from political connections). They’ve distinguished themselves. All of them have issued rulings that angered people on the right and on the left. 

Sonia Sotomayor is not a conservative, certainly. But I’m not afraid of her, either (like Rush et al want me to be). I’m not afraid of any of The Nine. When you’re one of nine, any radical leanings get averaged out. I want diversity on the court. I would be afraid of having nine conservative justices, or nine liberals, or nine moderates. That wouldn’t be good for America. We’re a diverse country. The Court needs to reflect that diversity–not only in politics, but in gender and race. 

The Democrats won the election. One of the spoils is the privilege of nominating Supreme Court nominees. The lunatic left fringe of the Democratic Party wants a flaming liberal on the court. Instead, we’re getting a moderate liberal. I think Republicans should be content with that (and privately, they probably are).

And yet, we still go through this character assassination charade. Most Supreme Court nominees emerge relatively unscathed. Ginsburg, Breyer, Kennedy, Alito–they all endured fierce attacks from the opposition party, but who, now, can even remember what the charges were? I can’t. 

It would be nice if the Republicans could just say, “We’re okay with Sotomayor. She’s not who we would have picked, but it’s not our choice, because you won the election. Thanks for not choosing a radical liberal. We can live with this pick.”

But that’ll never happen. Instead, Sotomayor will endure months of unfair criticism from Republicans, who will make her sound like the absolute Worst Person in the World. But in the end, she’ll WILL become a Supreme Court justice, and she will serve my country well for many years. She won’t represent my views all of the time, but she will represent the views of many other Americans in this richly diverse country. 

But for now–she’s evil and must be destroyed. And when Republicans regain power and nominate someone, Democrats will do the same thing. 

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Keith Olberman in a Minute

I am not a fan of partisan “news” shows. And I use “news” in a very loose way, because too much of what we see on the TV news channels is not journalism, but punditry. That seems to be the future of journalism, unfortunately, as print media subsides in popularity. 

Actually, there’s still a lot of good TV stuff in the general news realm. “60 Minutes” and “Dateline” and “Anderson Cooper 360” and most of the Sunday morning programs deal more in news and information than in punditry. But then there are shows like Keith Olberman, which are unabashedly partisan and, therefore, totally lacking in credibility with me. They will show only one side of things, and only what shines positively on their political end of the spectrum.

This Youtube video pretty much sums up Olberman. Now we need one for Sean Hannity.

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Rummy in Retrospect

Excellent article online from GQ about Don Rumsfeld and the problems he caused within the Bush Administration. Most interesting was his resistance to helping out with Hurricane Katrina. He didn’t want to deploy anything but National Guard troops, and kept a whole fleet of nearby helicopters idle, while the pilots wondered, “Why aren’t we being sent in to rescue people?” Finally, George Bush basically read him the riot act–good for him–and got things moving. The article tells about another time, involving Abu Graihb, when Bush called Rummy on the carpet.

I’m reading similar things in “Fiasco,” Thomas Ricks’s book about the Iraq war. Rumsfeld wanted to disprove the Powell Doctrine–go in with overwhelming force. So while the generals said we would need several hundred thousand troops, Rumsfeld started the “negotiations” by saying we would need just 10,000 troops to conquer Iraq. Rumsfeld’s stubbornness and arrogance cost a lot of lives, and led to the chaos which soon engulfed us in Iraq.

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Who to Believe?

Nancy Pelosi? Or the CIA, who surely would never mislead anyone.

Who is telling the truth?

Maybe, uh…neither? We’re not talking Good Guys and Bad Guys here, but full-blown Gray Folks. But it’s sure fun watching Nancy twist in the wind. Makes life worth living. 

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The Noose Tightens

The conservative stranglehold on the Republican Party tightens. Now Colin Powell, once a star in the party whose name regularly came up as a Presidential candidate, is persona non grata.

Rush Limbaugh said, “What Colin Powell needs to do is close the loop and become a Democrat instead of claiming to be a Republican interested in reforming the Republican Party.”

If you don’t hold the approved views, the Republicans don’t want you. I predict that John McCain and Olympia Snowe will soon be ushered to the door. And no doubt others. I guess I might as well get in line. If Powell doesn’t meet the litmus test, then I certainly don’t.

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The Handicapped White House Communications Office

Michael Scherer posted about “The White House’s Low Tech Secret.” As the world embraces social networking, those sites are off-limits to White House officials, at least from their work computers. No Twitter, no Facebook, no MySpace, etc. All blocked. So Robert Gibbs is unable to participate in, and exert influence in, these conversations.

I’m sure they’re working on bringing the 1978 Presidental Records Act into the 21st Century.

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Uh, Maybe I Should Switch Back….

Senator Specter: Welcome to the bottom of the barrel, the lowest rung of the ladder, the ground floor, the rookie room, irrelevance, powerlessness, Death Valley. Happy now?

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The World is Upside Down

A Pew poll shows that: 

  • 62% of white evangelicals believe torture can sometimes or often be justified. That is the highest of any religious group in the survey. The number is 40% for people unaffiliated with a religious group. 47% of white evangelicals said torture can rarely or never be justified, so that’s something to celebrate.
  • People who attend church at least once a week are far more likely to justify torture (54%) than people who who seldom or never attend (42%). What’s with that? 

Which group do you think Jesus would vote with? 

Are the teachings of Jesus just not sinking in? 

Imagine how out of sync I must be with the white evangelical denomination I work for.

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The First 100 Days, by the Numbers

Here’s a fascinating statistical run-down of Obama’s first 100 days–trips, states visited, proclamations, bills signed, visits to Camp David–everything you do and don’t want to know. 

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