Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sunday Morning Brings the Dawn in

Perhaps arriving a bit later than others on this blog to the "podcasting" phenomenon, I can nonetheless declare that it has changed my life (or, perhaps simply my commute) much for the better. While the possibilities are endless, its most significant impact has been my newfound ability to listen to the Sunday morning political interviews: Meet the Press, Face the Nation, and This Week. While I have been following politics closely for several years now, I realize that I have only rarely actually listened to what politicians themselves -- rather than pundits, bloggers, news clippings -- have to say, unedited, and unprepared.

Usually, I find the questions (especialy Russert's) to be quite probing. Nonetheless, the exchanges can be incredibly frustrating for any intelligent listener. At least three times per episode, the interviewer asks just the right question to get the politican on the ropes (this week, it was George Stephanopolous asking some terrific questions to White House chief of staff Josh Bolten about Bush being for Donald Rumsfeld before he was against him a few days later), whereupon the politician basically makes up a clever though transparently bullshit answer (...that even though Bush had been for weeks searching for a replacement, he was only going to replace him if Gates turned out to be in the meeting to be "a suitable replacement"), whereupon everyone knows that you can cut the bullshit with a knife, and yet for the sake of civility, nobody screams at him or her, "THIS IS BULLSHIT!"

The quality of these programs do stand out, however, and so I feel obliged to defend them when under attack -- as a young immigrant would defend his new mother country when the going gets tough. Which brings me to a rather simple defense of Meet the Press, which seems to be constantly under fire for even the slightest affront to Democrats. It seems that many hoped that when the Democrats won, Meet the Press would magically overnight turn into a forum for Democratic interests and voices, much as it had sometimes (though not quite to the amount liberal bloggers want you to believe) been for Republicans in the past. Well, when this past Sunday witnessed not a single Democrat, the shit hit the fan.

No matter that host Tim Russert had announced on his show that he had invited "new Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-CA], Majority Leader Harry Reid [D-NV].," and that "both declined our invitation." No matter that the two guests on the show were Joe Leiberman -- who in a 51-49 Senate is perhaps the single most important figure given his wavering "Independent Democratic" status -- and the likely 2008 Republican nominee, John McCain. No, no, no. Old Russert still seemed to be unable to find his testicles, according to Josh Marshall, and get the Kraft to invite some democratic guests.

Why didn't he invite other Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel? Media Matters implored. An excellent question, no doubt, but perhaps one that could be answered by the fact that Chuck Schumer and Rahm Emanuel were on the program the previous week!

It's a rather trifling matter, I recognize, but I already sense I will have less sympathy for this kind of Democratic partisan bullshit now that the Democrats are no longer the oppressed minority. Besides, as several commentators have already pointed out, there's no shortage of praise for Democrats in the MSM -- a very good thing, I might add.

P.S. I feel that because I have already attacked certain liberal blogging institutions I normally love, I might as well take the opportunity to go all out and do the unthinkable: praise President Bush. Getting back to the business of the Rumsfeld firing, I must say that I truly appreciated Bush's honesty when he told reports that he had essentially lied to them earlier in order for them to get off his back. Whether or not at the time it was a politically reasonable move for the Republican Party to keep Rumsfeld on board until the elections (I tend to think it was, given that if he was fired, it would have been even more obvious how much of a failure Iraq was), I think Bush did the right thing (1) to wait until firing him, (2) lying about it, and then (3) admitting he was lying: (1) because it truly does send the wrong message to fire an appointed Secretary right before an election for political purposes; (2) because while telling a lie was perhaps wrong, he had no obligation, given the political implications of (1) to tell the truth; and (3) because it's the first time I can ever remember a politican telling the truth about lying.


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