Posts Tagged ‘Harry Reid’

Kiran Misses Mark

March 29, 2010

And Klein’s CNN “opinion-free, middle-of-the-road alternative”? Palin (and Tea Partiers) escapes unscathed. Today American Morning co-host Kiran Chetry seemed loaded for bear, or another moose predator, Sarah Palin. In a political segment (with Republican stalwart Mary Matalin and Democratic strategist Lanny Davis) entitled “Sarah Palin on the Stump,” Kiran a la Carol Costello seemed to be salivating for some piping hot minced Palin meat for breakfast. However, the big trophy game seemed a mite much for her to take down.

Before the discussion, Kiran commented, “Love her or hate her, it’s hard to ignore Sarah Palin. The former Alaska governor VOP [sic] vice presidential candidate is certainly a political lightning rod and she struck again over the weekend when she introduced Senator John McCain at a campaign event.”* Kiran continued, “After a year of sort of sniping between Senator John McCain’s camp and Sarah Palin’s camp, they’re back together….What’s going on, Mary?”

Countering Kiran’s clear implication, James Carville’s better half replied, “Well, the Senator and Governor Palin were never at odds. Campaigns…tend to get tense at the end there and that one did….But, the Senator has always been loyal to her and vice versa.”

Turning to Davis, Kiran persisted, “Well, Lanny,…John McCain was asked several months back to name some GOP…hopefuls that could run for President and he didn’t mention Sarah Palin, his former GOP running mate.” Then noting Palin’s popularity with “these crowds” and citing various polls that indicated that a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents did not want her to run for President, Kiran asked, “What to make of that division there, Lanny?”

Unswayed by Kiran’s spin, Davis responded, “[N]ice to be on with Mary, and we usually agree which is a disappointment to your audience that loves partisanship. I agree with Mary…that John McCain has always taken a gracious high road and so has Sarah Palin….[D]espite the sniping among the staffs, it did not happen between the two of them.”

Then, the Clinton diehard added, “I give Sarah Palin a lot of credit. First of all, she’s always impressed me as a political performer and also a political talent, and I think any Democrat that underestimates her is making a mistake. Secondly, I give her credit for standing up to this Tea Party movement that is opposing John McCain, and… [her] going there tells me…that she’s willing to stand up to what she might consider her base: And, that is a good definition of political courage.”

Seemingly surprised by Davis’ positive evaluation of Palin, Kiran remarked, “Yeah, it’s a little bit confusing, though, because a lot of the things that she said are the exact things that the Tea Party wants to happen: I mean from less government, lower government. In fact, let’s listen to what she said. This is at a rally in Senator Harry Reid’s hometown of Searchlight, Nevada, on Saturday.”

[On the tape, Palin proclaims, “We’re not inciting violence. Don’t get sucked into the lame stream media’s lies about conservative America’s standing up for freedom as inciting violence. Violence isn’t the answer. It’s a bunch of bunk what the media is trying to feed you. Don’t let them divert attention from the debate.”]

After the footage aired, Kiran continued, “So, she [Palin] seemed to brush off the media and brush off the violence and sort of point the finger at the media. She also…said it was ‘ginned up’ and she referred to the media as the ‘lame stream media.’ Mary, does that work, blaming the media, instead of talking more seriously about some of these quite credible threats that have happened in the wake of health care reform passing?”

Matalin retorted, “Well, I don’t know that they’re necessarily credible. All of that was videotaped, and they’ve yet to appear to be any credible appearances filmed. But, that’s not the issue here. The Tea Party activists, we should be careful not to paint them with a broad brush: They’re not monolithic: They are largely pulled together by their constitutionalism….They want less government or government closer to the people that’s more accountable. And, the main stream press was slow to come to cover them.”

Then, underscoring her disagreement with Kiran’s claim of “quite credible threats,” Matalin asserted, “But, these notions of violence and threats that that has happened, I don’t think is credible. And, secondly, that it never happens to Republicans or conservatives or by the hands of liberal activists is nonsense.”

Appearing to seek some support, Kiran queried, “Lanny, do you take the same thoughts as Mary when it comes to whether or not this is a bigger deal what we’ve been talking about?”

Offering little solace, Davis declared, “I’m sorry to disappoint your audience that wants some fireworks here. But, I do agree with Mary….[T]he Tea Party movement does represent conservative thinking but there are extremists in both sides that both parties need to repudiate, including Sarah Palin. There was evidence of some nasty behavior and she should repudiate that the same way Democrats should among the haters on the left of which there are many.”

Apparently disappointed, a slightly smiling Kiran concluded, “Alright, Mary Matalin and Lanny Davis, great to get your take this morning. Appreciate it.” As Mary and Lanny bid each other adieu, Kiran’s co-host John Roberts sympathetically chuckled in the background before he took the reins again. In response, Kiran’s seemingly forced smiled briefly broadened.

Clearly, Kiran missed her mark this morning. No kill: ergo, no meal. Hunting hint: Reload and shoot straight.

*American Morning – 03/29/10 (@8:11 a.m. ET)

Obama: “Look Under the Hood”

January 17, 2010

Did President Barack Obama obliquely compare MA Republican Senatorial candidate Scott Brown to a Klan member today in Boston as he tried to fire up floundering Democrat Martha Coakley’s base? After lauding Coakley as being independent, he stated, “I hear that her opponent is calling himself an independent. Well, you got to look under the hood.” After a slight pause, the crowd laughed heartily and some audience members behind him looked at each other and appeared to exchange knowing looks.*

To be fair to the President, thereafter, he continued, “[B]ecause what you learn makes you wonder. As a legislator, he voted with the Republicans 96% of the time, 96% of the time. It’s hard to suggest that he’s gonna be significantly independent from the Republican agenda.” It is quite possible that the President was using the trope “under the hood” a la Ross Perot as to checking out someone or something as one would an auto.

N.B. The President’s health care plan, other items of his ambitious agenda, and even his future legacy may all be at stake in this special election in one of the bluest states of all. In fact, Brown has promised to be the 41st Senate vote to sustain a filibuster to block the Obama’s signature legislation. Liberal MA U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D) acknowledged, “If Scott Brown wins, it’ll kill the health bill.”

Just eight days after absolving House Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV-D) of extolling Obama’s chances of electoral success because he was a “‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one,'” let us hope that the President himself is not succumbing to such an abhorrent racial calculus.

FNC: Live broadcast of speech (01/17/10) – @4:15 p.m. ET

Sharpton: Reid Forgiven, Clinton Next

January 11, 2010

On Fox & Friends today, Reverend Al Sharpton gave Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid a much needed boost and put former President Bill Clinton on notice. First, he defended Reid’s 2008 anachronistic-at-best description of then Senator Barack Obama¬† as a “‘light-skinned’ African American ‘with no Negro dialect'” as “clearly a misstatement.” [This detail is contained in Game Change authored by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.] Second, Sharpton contrasted it with those of former GOP Majority Leader Trent Lott and former President Bill Clinton. Further, unexpectedly, he indicated that he would be calling President Clinton to account (which would probably take the spotlight off of Reid).

In his interview with F&F co-anchor Steve Doocy, Sharpton contended that Reid’s statement paled in comparison to that of Lott. He stated, “To say that what he [Reid] said is near anywhere comparable…to what Trent Lott said is insulting to the American people. Trent Lott commended a Dixiecrat [1948 prez nominee Senator Strom Thurmond] for running for office, who left the Democratic Party to run to fight integration. How do you compare Trent Lott (saying that I wish this guy Thurmond we’d had those days where blacks would have been at the back of the bus, because that’s what the guy was running on) to a guy [Reid] saying why a guy could be elected President?”

Subsequently, Steve asked Sharpton about a former President Bill Clinton’s controversial quote contained in Game Change. (Clinton allegedly tried to solicit an endorsement for his wife Hillary Clinton during the 2008 Democratic prez primaries from Senator Ted Kennedy: in doing so, Clinton allegedly commented, “A few years ago, this guy [Obama] would have been getting us coffee.”) Sharpton responded, “That is far more disturbing to me than even the comments that were made by Mister Reid….If someone said that he would have been getting us coffee like that in the context they said he said it, that would be very offensive to me. And, I would definitely take Mr. Clinton on as I did in South Carolina [when] he made some statements that I felt was wrong.”

As a follow-up, Steve queried, “I remember. It was in the news. You gonna call him up?” Sharpton replied, “He hasn’t call me so I guess that I will have to make the call.

Carlson: Senator Landrieu “Bribed”

November 23, 2009

This morning Fox & Friends co-anchor Gretchen Carlson made an incredibly inflammatory accusation against Senator Landrieu of Louisiana: Bribery. Yes, you read right. Bribery!

Carlson asserted, “There is a lot of bribing going on, specifically, in the state of Louisiana for Senator Mary Landrieu.” She explained, “Why? Because, apparently, [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid was able to get her $300 million to help fix up stuff from Hurricane Katrina. And, that is what bought her the vote, or, bought him, the vote. By giving her $300 million of pork, she then decided to vote for health care reform for his bill.” Carlson continued, “And a lot of people this morning are saying, ‘Yeah, we know these kind of political things happen all the time on Capitol Hill.’ But, for health care reform, something that’s this serious to this country, should we allowing these kind of bribes for votes?”*

Even with that caveat, from this Louisiana author’s perspective, Carlson’s rhetoric bordered on the reckless. When one uses the term bribery in the same breath as a public official, the listener often envisions its primary dictionary denotation. E.g., the first definition in Webster’s Third International Dictionary is “A price, reward, gift, or favor bestowed or promised with a view to pervert the judgment or corrupt the conduct esp. of a person in a position of trust (as a public official). In that context, “bribery” is a serious offense and a federal crime.

While “bribery” has a secondary sense, a more benign definition, i.e., an inducement to grant a favor, it does not resound as resonantly in the listener’s ear. Obviously, any Senator or Representative would be “guilty” of this “crime.” As any politico worth his/her salt knows, such wheeling and dealing is de rigueur in the legislative process on both the state and federal level.

Landrieu’s “deal” has been derisively dubbed, perhaps, aptly, the Louisiana Purchase by opponents of the Democratic bill. However, to go one step further and use the incendiary term “bribery” seems clearly over the line. Especially, for one employed by the “Fair and Balanced” news network.

*Fox & Friends (11/23/09) – @8:02 a.m. ET