Sunday, February 10, 2008
[. . .]
Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they're not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo), who can't indentify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking "what if she's not electable?" or "maybe it's post-feminism and whooosh we're already free." Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, "I could have saved thousands -- if only I'd been able to convince them they were slaves."
I'd rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary and all the brave, smart men -- of all ethnicities and age -- who get that it's in their self-interest, too. She's better qualified. (D'uh.) She's a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let's hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)
-- Robin Morgan, "Goodbye To All That (#2)" (Women's Media Center).
-- C.I. on how 'independent' media dismisses the 'masses.'
We had to a break this morning due to losing the typed version of the roundtable and being extremely frustrated. Here's who participated on this edition as well as Dallas who locates links, acts as a soundboard and much more:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ.
Here's what we got:
Truest statement of the week -- Robin Morgan -- the pick for truest. Read her entire column. Amazing.
Truest statement of the week II -- This section by C.I. was requested repeatedly by readers throughout last week.
Editorial: State of 'Independent' Media -- This was supposed to be the feature and an editorial would be done solely on Iraq. Didn't work out that way. Ava and C.I. had to work at least an hour on their commentary this week. Dona said, after Ava and C.I. left, when the rest of us were supposed to be focusing on roughing out the editorial, "I don't see any work going on, I'm taking a nap." I (Jim) swore there was plenty of time for work and conversation. I was wrong. We never got the editorial roughed out. When the hour was late this morning, Dona's the one who said this feature could be bumped up to editorial which we all agree with.
TV: What's the measurement? -- This went up by accident again. Like last week. They were in the middle of typing up the redraft and hit the space bar and the thing posted. They quickly put it back into draft but those were among the many blogger problems. They are Ava and C.I. who wrote this. At five this morning, when we were already tired and considering packing it in, there was concern about the edition. We didn't have an editorial (this was before Dona suggested a feature article be turned into an editorial) and we weren't sure about what we had (we knew we had short features). Whether we wrapped up the edition then -- as everyone really wanted -- or not depended upon the strength of this piece. After I read this out loud we were all in agreement that Ava and C.I. pulled it off. Last week's commentary, by the way, was huge with our longterm readers. Ava and C.I. tackled a Bully Boy speech as if it were a sitcom, something they've done before. I wasn't sure how that would play even though it had been popular before. They've been doing these epic commentaries (like this one) and it's brought in even more readers. But longterm readers loved it. Ava and C.I. were right about those readers needing some fun after nothing but commentaries of news & public affairs programming week after week since November (due to the Writers' Strike -- and bad news there, if the Screen Actors Guild goes on strike, Ava and C.I. will honor that strike as well). Surprisingly, many new readers who've come on board during the writers' strike also enjoyed it. Three people complained, however, that it wasn't 'serious' enough or 'up to standard.' Ava and C.I. reply, "We don't write for you and we're not a juke box."
Roundtable -- This was murder to reytpe and murder to start retyping. More time was spent avoiding retyping than in actual retyping. We really hate typing up roundtables. The audio excerpt for Hilda's Mix audio version will be about resistance which we pulled from this. A very long roundtable. Long to do, long to edit. Long to type and then long to retype. Rush transcript, remember. Also no illustrations. If C.I. or Jess has time, they'll add them by Tuesday. As it is, everyone wants this note done and the edition finished.
What you didn't hear on Pacifica last week -- The first feature we did. We thought we'd be moving along smoothly after this. We were wrong.
Reality check -- In the roundtable, I argue for this as a truest. C.I. said no and stuck to it. As a compromise, we offer it as a stand alone.
Women, you're her third choice! -- Short pieces! Always Dona's cry. As we did them, we still thought we were moving along quickly. We had no idea of the roundtable to come.
Philip Roth, stuck on stupid -- Maybe some people shouldn't speak in public? I wrote all headlines so blame me if you don't like them; however, I need to give Betty's oldest sister credit. She has some wonderful sayings and one of them is, when someone tries to play her, "You must think I'm stuck on stupid." So I've borrowed one of her phrases for this headline.
Katrina vanden Heuvel kind of remembers she's a woman -- for at least one moment in time.
Highlights -- Mike, Kat, Cedric, Elaine, Rebecca, Betty and Wally wrote this and picked all highlights unless otherwise noted. We thank them for this. Also, there was a problem with this feature last week in posting. As Mike explains in "Barack Lovers, they love Miley Ray too," a few sentences were lost. C.I. went in Sunday night and fixed that. Mike wanted to be sure that was credited.
Note -- Our note explaining we'd be up by 8:00 p.m. EST. We lied. It was 8:15. We wanted to sleep. Then we took forever waking up and spent a great deal of time griping about having to retype the roundtable.
So that's it. We'll run the marathon next weekend.
-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.
If the argument sounds familiar (and we're not disagreeing with it), you may have found it non-stop in publications such as The Nation. In fact, let's name a few of the bulls**t artists of the past years with the magazine: Katrina vanden Heuvel, Laura Flanders and John Nichols. (Not named but a bulls**ter? You must be a coffee fetcher. That would be the Airs and Chrissy among others.)
In one way or another, all have argued that the Democratic Party needs to stop running from its base. They've argued many things but it's all bulls**t. They're not just whores, they're horny whores. Listen, we can hear them singing now.
When I say I'm in love
You best believe I'm in love
Here comes my guy
Walking down the street
Look how he walks
With a dancing beat
Lay one on him, girls.
We're not sure if it's love, but we won't argue that they've got major Bambi Lust. It's why they don't give a damn about Democrats as they rush to embrace Independent Courter Barack Obama.
From "Roundtable" (January 13, 2008):
Jim: C.I. made a point on Tuesday and I claimed it in the name of The Third Estate Sunday Review. On Tuesday, Hillary had won the New Hampshire primary, for anyone who missed that last week. And C.I. was looking at the exit polls with a friend with the wire service and I'll turn it over to C.I.
C.I.: I think this has been reported at length but I don't know that people are grasping it. It was true in Iowa as well. And this isn't an endorsement of any candidate. But what I was explaining to Jim over the phone was that the smartest thing for the Democratic Party -- strategically -- would be to nominate Hillary Clinton. Her base continues to be the Democratic Party and what's showing up is that her base is lower income Democrats who are not always prone to voting. There's a great deal being made about how Bambi's bringing in 'independents' and Republicans and that's actually not a good thing. I'll get to that in a moment. What Hillary's doing is bringing in lower income Democrats in larger numbers than is generally expected in a primary. Having voted for her in the primary, one could expect them to show up in at least similar numbers in the general election.
That trend has continued. Hillary Clinton remains the choice of working class Democrats. That group is what as known as a "base" for the Democratic Party.
It's a base that 'alternative' media has a really hard time connecting with and that's never been more true than this election cycle. Professor Patti Williams signaled what was to come in 2007 when she appeared on KPFA and couldn't stop raving about Bambi being qualified because he was the former president of the Harvard Law Review. You could almost picture her polishing her tiara in anticipation of the 2009 inauguration.
In the real world that 'qualification' means nothing. In the elitist world on independent media, it means so much. And they drove home how much it meant to them as they churned out one piece after another praising Bambi's 'educated' support, his 'well off' support.
If you've forgotten independent media's public embarrassment following the 2004 election, it included buying into the myth of 'value voters' and going over board to court religious people, to court gun owners, and hula hoops that would help them 'speak' to 'regular' people.
Along comes Bambi and his yuppie supporters and they get so giddy they forget about all of that.
They don't care a damn about the working poor. Or as C.I. so aptly explained in Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot," "See, Frances Fox Piven likes to talk about the poor and working poor, she just doesn't like listening to them."
The working class turns out in droves, over and over, and makes Hillary Clinton their choice. The response from 'independent media' is snit fits. And wait until after the election when they again fret over how to connect with 'regular' people.
Turning to In These Times (which gets a link though the article in question will not), we find Sad Sirota whom most readers will remember justified and minimized War Hawk David Obey's attack on Tina Richards. Sad Sirota likes Dem-lite and has tried real hard to fit in with the 'working class' but never will as he stomps his feet in anger over the fact that, "But Clinton, the person whose globalization policies helped shutter those factories, is winning blue-collar strongholds." Sad, Sad Sirota showed up pompous and pissed at the end of last week to announce a discovery: a class distinction (he termed it a "war" -- and maybe it is to him -- maybe it is a war when the working class won't do as 'independent' media tells them). Late Wednesday night Air Mebler also discovered the class distinction. We think it's amazing the power of one one-liner and how it suddenly prompted 'independent' media to deal with reality. Welcome, Late To The Party Boys, but let's fall back to January 27th when the topic was already being discussed truthfully:
The second thing is all the elitism going on. Let's remember that following the 2004 election, 'independent' media and its leaders had strategy sessions about how to appeal to 'average voters.' They bought into the 'value voters' myth (which never existed -- Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder invented that by distorting the paper's own polling -- we covered it in November of 2004) and were in a panic. They needed 'devices' and 'hula hoops' and ways to reach the 'average voter.' That's really pathetic and goes to how out of touch our indymedia 'leaders' are. But note who is voting for Hillary and, to a lesser degree, for John: low income workers. That's been true in every state. And if 'independent' media wonders why they are so 'out of touch' with average voters -- it may be due to the fact that they are so damn insulting to them.
They've told them that they are idiots for supporting Hillary (and if they support John, they see him ignored over and over). They are told that they need to follow a craze (one that indymedia created and still works over time to prop up). Did they ever consider the fact that when you're struggling just to put food on the table, you're not going to be taken in by a con artist offering a lot of hot air? Did it ever enter 'independent' leaders' minds that workers know better than most that hot air never translates to their benefit? They hear the 'family' talk at work and then see the layoffs and the non-raises. So Bambi's 'inspirational' speeches don't reach them. It's a lot of fluttery words and they've heard that over and over as they punch in and out on time clocks. Maybe it's past time for 'independent' media to get its head out of the clouds (or out of its ass) and stop disrespecting the working class?
That's from "And the war drags on . . ." and C.I. makes the point now (and in the entry) to credit the community "which always is ahead of the curve." And they are. Which is why C.I.'s citing Heather on the treatment of women voters. Women voters, remember them? Another Democratic Party base. They've gone to Hillary as a group over and over. The response, lots of lectures and a lot of ignoring. The lectures came from crap-sites like BuzzFlash where, after Hillary won in New Hampshire, the froggy voiced editor felt the need to write a column admonishing the "little ladies." Apparently women aren't smart enough to pick their own candidate, they need lectures from old male farts. And goodness if the lectures didn't pop up all over the place.
Ignoring? While lectures popped up all over the place, did you see Robin Morgan's "Goodbye To All That (#2)" (Women's Media Center)? BuzzFlash offered no link (they only like women who insult Hillary -- see, if they can hide behind women using sexist language then they can pretend it's not sexism). Common Dreams didn't repost Morgan; however, they did offer the Uncle Tom of the lesbian set (Laura Flanders) responding to Morgan -- or responding as best as a half-wit* can. Common Dreams posted a response to Morgan but not Morgan's actual column? If that pattern seems familiar, you may remember when Jess pointed out here that Common Dreams refused to post Gloria Steinem's "Women Are Never Front-Runners" but were happy to post a 'rebuttal.'
Let's stay on Common Dreams for a second. From last Sunday through Saturday (a period that they couldn't be bothered with re-running Morgan's piece), we're counting 20 columns run on the Democratic race for the party's presidential nomination (we're ignoring the "news" reprints which all favor Bambi). Of that 20, 2 are for John Edwards who had left the race before last week had started. That leaves 18 articles. Four don't argue for candidate (Rosa Brooks, Derrick Z. Jackson, Matt Taibbi and Danny Schechter). That leaves 14 articles. One wants to pretend he's not arguing for a candidate and wants to say the peace movement needs to hold Hillary and Obama's feet to the fire but Tom Hayden's column is weakend by the fact that he endorsed Barack Obama before Super Tuesday. That leaves 13 articles. There are two major candidates -- Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton -- fighting for the nomination. There is also Mike Gravel who has stayed in the race while everyone else has dropped out (Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson and Dennis Kucinich). None of the articles were about Gravel. So, 13 articles, what's the split? Two candidates fighting it out for the Democratic nomination but all 13 articles are for Barack Obama.
Kind of the way Amy Goodman's offered non-stop testimonials on Barack Obama (Cornell West, Michael Eric Dyson, Grace Lee Boggs, etc.), those endless segments where the Bambi supporter yacks on and on solo without ever once offering that to a Hillary supporter. In fact, from 2007 through last Friday, only three Hillary supporters have appeared on the show: Gloria Steinem (see Ava and C.I.'s commentary) who was pitted against just-out-of-the-closet Bambi campaigner Melissa Harris-Lacewell; Dolores Huerta who was pitted against not one but two Bambi supporters; and Ellen Chester who was on with an Edwards supporter and an Obama supporter. It's not that Hillary doesn't have supporters, she has many. She has supporters, in fact, who've been guests on Goodman's show including Joe Wilson. When Wilson came out in support of Hillary at the end of December, you didn't hear about it at most sites or on Democracy Now!
Joe Conason, who is an actual journalist (unlike the majority claiming that title in 'independent' media) has been a guest on Democracy Now! just not these days. He's not endorsed anyone. But he has attempted to tell the truth and he explained the response to those attempts at the end of January, "A surprising number seem unable to tolerate so much as a skeptical word about Barack Obama". Of course they can't and it's because Conason doesn't work in a vaccum. When he attempts to show healthy journalistic skepticism about Obama, the Bambi groupies hit the roof. (He's expressed similar skepticism about Clinton and notes no similar response for that.) They do so because 'journalists' at The Nation and Democracy Now! don't express skepticism, don't practice journalism and slant all their coverage to Obama. Don't kid that it's otherwise. That is what has happened over and over since 'independent' media jumped on the presidential election cycle as soon as the mid-term elections were over (John Nichols was actually writing about the 2008 presidential contest days before the mid-term elections took place).
That's why the LGBT community was trashed by the Obama campaign's decision to put homophobes (plural) on stage in South Carolina and 'independent' media couldn't call it out, couldn't even note it. (The Progressive ran an article on it in their January issue. Democracy Now! has never mentioned it -- even when interviewing the co-author of the piece in January.) LBGT is a base of the Democratic Party.
It's why non-journalist Paul Rogat Loeb (and his little buddy the increasingly Looney Stephen Zunes) can write that Hillary voted for war with Iran and Obama was opposed to it. Well, the truth is, Obama didn't vote. If you're opposed to something, you vote against it. That is hard for Bambi to grasp apparently and, no doubt, he misses that option of voting 'present' which he utilized in Illinois whenever the going got tough. These days, he just skips out on votes -- repeatedly.
'Independent' media has truly gone insane. They have not probed Rezco or even covered it (Amy Goodman finally got it into one headline, a single sentence, recently). That would be Tony Rezco, Antoin Rezco, now under federal indictment. The same Rezco that Bambi did favors for. He did favors for Bambi as well. Bambi wanted a mansion. Bambi couldn't afford it. The mansion and it's tiny strip of land were split in two. It was very fortunate that Michelle Obama sat on the city committee that allowed that Chicago landmark to be split in two -- although some might not say 'fortunate,' some might say 'unethical.' It was very fortunate that the Rezco's bought -- on the same day -- the 'land' while Bambi could afford the house -- as long as a couple of hundred thousand was knocked off the sale -- though the Rezco's did pay full price. Bambi bought a sixth of the property to park his car on. Prior to that, the man he claims at various points to barely know (though he's returned over $100,000 worth of donations because they are connected to Rezco) was kind enough to let him park on the land. Well, with that tiny space, next to a sprawling mansion, it's not like you build anything on it anyway. The sixth of the land was bought 'at cost' The link goes to Larry Johnson who, for the record, was a guest on Democracy Now! . . . in the past. As a Hillary supporter, there's not much chance Johnson will be invited on anytime soon.
He's one of the many guests cut out by the program and it's really all of 'independent' media (defined as print and broadcast) that are pulling this crap over and over. David Brock was a member of the right-wing echo chamber in the 90s. We're not attempting to insult him or trash him. But we do wonder what he thinks of the left-wing echo chamber? Does he notice how fairness is being tossed aside? Does he notice the shift we're seeing? Does it frighten him?
If a network reporter stated it was "hard" for him to be impartial to Dick Cheney, wouldn't FAIR be issuing one of their action alerts?
January 13th, Ava and C.I. wrote the following:
As many laughs as Gibson provided, it was more shocking what was going on at NBC/MSNBC. Correspondent Lee Cowan confessed on air to Brian Williams that it was "hard" for him to be objective about Barack Obama, whom Cowan was assigned to cover. Now in the world of a functioning mainstream press, Cowan would have immediately been reassigned. And should have been. Reporters are supposed to be objective and just the hint that you aren't, forget confessing on air that you find it "hard," is enough to damage the credibility of the news organization.
We got a huge response on that from journalism professors agreeing with the sentiment and the bulk of them couldn't believe that they hadn't heard about this elsewhere. As a journalism professor in Ohio wrote, "Isn't this right up FAIR's alley?" Well, if the candidate favored was a Republican, maybe so.
We think 'independent' media has disgraced itself repeatedly this election cycle. We think they picked their favorite and tailored the coverage. We think they excluded voices that didn't support their candidate. Worst of all, we think they are out of touch with many who make up their audiences. Made up their audiences?
And no one's done more to lecture than The Nation. Prior to Bambi Mania, their lectures regarding the Democratic Party revolved around the need to support the base, the need for Democrats to be Democrats and not issue right-wing talking points. But the candidate they selected in 2007 and ran with ever since has not been supported by the base. Obama actually hasn't even had the overwhelming support of Democrats. If he couldn't count on his independent base, he wouldn't be in the race right now. So desperate to support Bambi is The Nation that they support a candidate who trails Clinton in Democratic support.
Remember that when, after this election cycle, they're pissing and moaning about the Democratic Party not standing up for its own, when they're decrying the latest shift to right, the latest refusal to stand up for core Democratic Party values.
Remember too that in 2000 they screamed "Count Every Vote!" but in 2008, they don't want Florida or Michigan's delegates seated. We don't like Bambi. But we argued in favor of both state's delegates prior to the primaries -- we argued in favor of their inclusion in 2007. (And, in 2007, Wally, Cedric and C.I. hit on that topic harder and more often at their sites than we did here.) Our argument isn't based on who won. Hillary won but we made our arguments long before the primaries were held. Thing is, if Obama had won, independent media would be making the argument to sit the delegates right now. The same way Katrina vanden Heuvel is screaming for Howard Dean to 'solve' the 'crisis' of the nominee before the Democratic National Convention. Katrina wants rules and guidelines tossed out and as she screams for that, she sounds an awful lot like the MSM commentators citing a non-existent 'crisis' when Al Gore wanted recounts. There were rules then and if no one could decide, the election would be tossed to Congress. But the Supreme Court stepped in (via a warning that said 'time's up'). That was wrong and we argue illegal. By the same token, Katrina's screaming is idiotic. Maybe if she knew a little more American history (not a little less Russian history, just a little more American history), she'd know this isn't a 'crisis' and that the rules on how to address outcomes were written (and agreed to) long ago? Maybe she'd know that a real battle on the convention floor would get media coverage?
Does she not grasp that 2004 saw the least party convention coverage by the MSM? Does she not grasp that news outlets said it was because the whole thing was a pre-planned pageant? A heated battle -- like the country's seen before -- on the convention floor might mean the MSM gives it prime time hours.
What's going to be really interesting is following 'independent' media if Hillary wins the nomination. Bambi won some caucuses yesterday and no one was surprised. The states aren't rich in electoral college votes (as is true with most of his wins). Look for the usual spinners to pen their "Bambi's is God" columns. But something happened last week that's of interest and telling.
Tom Hayden endorsed Bambi -- whom he'd praised non-stop even while Bambi was trashing the 60s and 70s and "Tom Hayden Democrats" specifically. Then came Super Duper Tuesday and Hayden quickly showed up -- apparently hoping that not many knew of his endorsement -- claiming that we needed to hold both Obama and Hillary's feet to the fire and make them fight for our votes. Was endorsing Bambi holding his feet to the fire?
No. But Tom Hayden knows a little about winning and a hell of a lot about losing. As possibly the most addicted to polling of any state legislator ever, he knows a great deal about shifting winds as well. He wasn't worried about the upcoming results from the weekend, he was worried about the 'big prizes' (including Texas where Hillary trounces Barack in the polling) and he grasped that Obama might not be such a sure thing. So suddenly he flip-flops on his endorsement of Bambi and beseeches the peace movement to hold both candidates' feet to the fire and make them compete for your vote.
Hillary could win the nomination. That's something that others in 'independent' media do not appear to have grasped yet. It will be very interesting to watch them line up if that happens, to watch them encourage everyone to vote Democratic in the general election, to insist that John McCain, Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul must be stopped. That will be very interesting -- and possibly worth re-subscribing to The Nation for, it'll be like The Onion version of The Nation.
But what we see right now is an 'independent' media that pushes and, yes, pimps Bambi and has done so non-stop. Several NPR stations are closely following Democracy Now! currently to determine whether or not it has a slant. One manager of a NPR station called C.I. too late for the Wednesday snapshot but wanted it noted that, in headlines, there was no 'equal time.' Hillary Clinton's speech on Tuesday was less than two minuts and Barack Obama's was over two minutes**. It's being tracked. 'Independent' media has hurt itself with the rush to push a candidate. They've proven they are not journalists. And it is effecting their audiences (and may end up effecting Democracy Now!'s reach). That's a lot to risk to pimp one candidate, especially one who wants to 'embrace' and 'reach out' to the right.
*Half-wit? Lupe Valdez, despite Flanders false claims in Blue Grit, did not campaign as an open lesbian. She was out before the election, she was out after. During the campaign, she avoided the fact that she was a lesbian. That is the reality and why most voters in Dallas County who voted for her were surprised (not necessarily offended) to learn after the election that she was a lesbian. Flanders, take a trip to Oak Cliff (we went there when we spent a week in a Texas) and speak to Latinos. Visit Pleasant Grove and do the same. Visit Oak Lawn (commonly called "Gay Town" -- all of these are areas of the city of Dallas) and ask people if they voted in that election. If they say yes, bring up that Valdez is a lesbian and watch their shock, years later. Maybe clippings don't pass for actual research? It was a nice little myth in Blue Grit, the open lesbian running as a lesbian for the sheriff of Dallas County, it just wasn't reality.
**We didn't track the headlines, C.I. says, "If ___ says, it was X for Barack and Y for Clinton, you better believe ____ was listening with a stop watch."
*** Originally this article addressed the elderly -- overwhelmingly for Hillary -- and Latinos. The Latino section was weak -- we all agreed. It was weak because Ava and C.I. refused to assist on that noting they were tackling that in some form in their TV commentary this week. So they excused themselves from that section. The two core groups overlapped in the article and in editing, we decided to pull both. While Latinos will most likely be addressed this edition -- via Ava and C.I. -- the elderly most likely will not. We will attempt to do so at some point in the future (which isn't a promise, just a 'we'll try') and would encourage to read Robin Morgan's article linked to earlier.
***Lyrics are from the Shangri-Las' "Give Him A Great Big Kiss" written by George Morton.
We also were reminded of so many reasons why we don't like Charlie Gibson. Such as when he was speaking to George Stephanopoulos but calling him "Matthew." We loved the look Diane Sawyer shot to Steph when that happened, raising her eyebrows and darting her eyes as if to say "What a loser." Charlie didn't catch it because he was too interested in pontificating -- throughout, but at that point, the pressing issue was his wondering, "Can I call it Carolina blue?"
He was referring to the blue representing Hillary Clinton on the map of the US ABC was displaying to show which candidates won which states. Another highpoint on the entertainment meter (and one that led to students booing) was when Charlie, full of smirks and hot air, felt the need to correct Steph (who is surprisingly popular with young people on that campus -- who knew?) that Steph meant, several minutes prior, "superstitious" and not "suspicious." Steph's sentence had flown past everyone watching but it was apparently a big deal to Chuck (after it was pointed out to him in his earpiece).
"How did that loser get put in charge?" asked one student to no one in particular and the comment was really more shouted at the television. We'd say it didn't respond but, as if hearing the audience, Charlie went on to smirk how it was "very hard to get used to, very hard" Diane Sawyer being on his right because, in the days of Good Morning America, she used to sit to the left of him. The look on George Steph's face as Charlie finished that nonsense was priceless and the pro-George crowd erupted in applause.
A more minor look, that got a smaller but still vocal response, was given by Steph when Charlie was attempting to calculate delegates and getting it wrong so he finally said, "I'll follow you George because I trust your numbers." You really needed to hear Full Of Himself Chuck say that line and see the look on George's face to appreciate it.
Some of you may read this and think, "This was a news special! Don't you think you should treat it more seriously?" If you're thinking that, we'll assume you didn't watch. This was, after all, Gibson's anchoring prime time presidential primary elections -- a prelude to what he will offer when November rolls around -- and we weren't surprised he was bad, we were just surprised he was that bad. Shout outs to former teachers? Pleased with how quickly he could add numbers, he declared, "I thank my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Lansing."
Is this what we have to look foward to? And, excuse us, but don't most children learn addition long before fourth grade? By fourth grade, haven't most mastered addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? Apparently adding two and three rows of figures was something Charlie didn't learn until he was nearly out of elementary school.
That actually explains a great deal.
Charlie appeared to be testing out a new catch phrase. We're not sure it will become the new "Whatcha you talking 'bout, Willis?" but we'll offer it up just the same: "Sorry to cut you off, Diane." He said that repeatedly. "Sorry to cut you off, Diane." Leaving aside the fact that he never appeared "sorry," just the fact that he did so constantly was enough to indicate that, no, he wasn't sorry.
Sawyer knew she was second banana on the broadcast. She wasn't going to attempt to outshine Charlie (though she easily could) but she also wasn't going to be ignored. Which is why, when her gas baggery resulted in her being cut off (and Charlie turning to George -- for some locker room gas baggery?), Diane quickly went to numbers. Numbers are the power on those broadcasts because if you toss out enough data, the mind reels and, certainly, with Charlie Gibson, it wouldn't take much. Equally true is that Charlie couldn't memorize the numbers.
Why is that important? Before she headed to hard data territory, Diane attempted to contribute to the gas baggery by citing Barack Obama's big speech in Kansas ("Kenya gave me my name . . .") and Charlie rushed in with something else, something he thought was far more important. Then, only a little while later, he was citing the same quote but acting as if he'd just thought it up. Any woman who's ever made a point only to have a man blow her off but then later steal it right in front of her face, would marvel at Diane's ability to keep her composure.
Going with the numbers meant Charlie would have to let her speak some (and let her complete her sentences). It did not mean she'd be treated with any respect. That was apparent when Diane was citing data that showed voters who made up their minds at the last minute went for Hillary. "I don't believe it," declared Charlie. And that was the end of that.
On ABC anyway. The day prior to Super Duper Tuesday, Thomas De Zengotita wrote at The Huffington Post of a trend he was seeing in his circle that he labled "buyer's remorse" regarding Obama and had voters switching to Clinton at the last minute. And Zachary Coile (San Francisco Chronicle) reported on Thursday this about the California vote, "She had a narrow edge, 49 percent to 46 percent, with those who made up their minds in the last three days, but held a 17-point advantage among voters who had decided earlier." (For those not following the election cycle -- you lucky, lucky people -- California was part of Super Duper Tuesday.) On Thursday, Adam Nagourney (New York Times) would explain:
But one of the most intriguing findings in the surveys of voters leaving the polls across the nation on Tuesday was when they arrived at their final decision. Throughout a week when Mr. Obama was campaigning with members of the Kennedy family, when there was a sense that he was creating a movement that cut across racial and generational lines, there was a steady movement of Democrats toward Mr. Obama, the survey suggested. But those who reported making their decisions on the last day bucked the trend, tending to vote for Mrs. Clinton, of New York.
"I don't believe it," Charlie said dismissing the topic on live TV Tuesday.
If you'll remember, when we last checked in on Charlie, he was praising the polling ("The polling is so good!") . . . on the night New Hamshire results demonstrated that, no, the polling wasn't so good. What Diane Sawyer was looking at was data on something that had taken place, not a predicition. It didn't fit with the polling, so Charlie immediately dismised it. He can disbelieve all he wants -- and we'd certainly encourage more skepticsm on his part -- but we found it strange, while watching, that Diane was shouted down and the hard data was so quickly dismissed. But that dismissal fit right in with the jocular nature Charlie was trying to project -- so much so that he appeared under the impression he was hosting a Dean Martin roast.
Just when we were thinking back to ABC's past coverage a little fondly, Kooky Cokie Roberts and George Will The Pill showed up. Though her face looked like the head on a Chinese dragon in a San Francisco parade, we were more shocked that Cokie actually had something worth sharing and we'll put that up there with snow in southern California as a once in a generation moment. The results of the Latino vote (which we'll get to shortly) were much cited throughout the broadcast -- Clinton won the Latino vote -- and Cokie pointed out that this wasn't just Latinas, it was Latinos as well -- something unheard of, Cokie rightly explained, during the 80s when that voting segment was more resistant to female candidates.
As if to make up for Cokie's temporary lucidity, George The Pill felt the need to fuss and moan and, naturally, attack and distort Social Security. It was the tired (and false) argument he's been making since ABC added him as an affirmative-action hire. The only thing that was shocking was that no one bothered to call him out. Even on This Week, where he's spat out those lies repeatedly for decades, he is greeted with at least token resistance. Instead, it was like he was the crazy uncle and everyone agreed not to say a word -- which would explain the silence that followed.
The Latino vote. In California (New Mexico is still counting), Clinton won it overwhelming. She won it among men and among women. She won it among older people and younger people. Yes, the youth vote. B-b-but Bambi's the youth candidate!
The moment we enjoyed most during ABC's coverage was when the correspondent for their 'partner' showed up: a young woman with Facebook. The youth vote was supposed to be behind Bambi and the youth vote was supposed to rock the elections. (The youth vote actually includes 18 to 24-year-olds who are non-college students so we might need to clarify that college students were supposed to rock the world for Obama.) We saw a glimpse of the Facebook correspondent early on but apparently nothing was happening. (Nothing was happening in Chicago at Obama's meet up either which demonstrates his campaign hasn't grasped that when live cameras are transmitting, you get the crowd active. Kate Snow, reporting from Clinton's New York event, had trouble hearing the questions Charlie was asking due to the noise and, at times, viewers had trouble understanding Snow over the lively crowd of Clinton supporters.)
"Finally!" exclaimed a college junior (male) when the Facebook correspondent was tossed to. What's the haps on the peeps? Well they weren't peeping. She ended up noting some posts from Clinton supporters (Bambi supporters were MIA, according to her.). She ended up begging young people who voted to go to Facebook and post something, anything. There were a few groans in the student lounge but that was drowned out by the cheers. It was not an Obama crowd. (At the end of the three hour broadcast, we asked for a show of hands on who voted. All but three had. In random discussions, the bulk had voted for Clinton -- not surprising since she won the state.)
In their special election section on Wednesday, The New York Times wouldn't go as far to note the reality that the Facebook segment did on ABC, but Jodi Kantor's "A Sizzle Among the Young (at Least Some)" would note, "The campaign of Senator Barack Obama had been riding a surge of interest from young people, but whether that would translate into support at the polls was one of the great unknowns of Tuesday's voting. Interviews across the country on Tuesday produced anecdotal evidence that some younger people did carry their enthusiam into the polling places." Some. By Thursday, even that qualifier was lost. (Maybe they had caught ABC's Facebook report?). On the front page, Adam Nagourney's "Obama Is Making Inroads, But Fervor Fell Short at End" began and would wonder, "Is this campaign a series of surges of enthusiasm, often powered by the younger voters who form long lines waiting to hear Mr. Obama speak, that set expectations that are not met at the voting booth?" Ted Kennedy would admit to Nagourney that he was "mindful that crowds don't always turn into votes." That puts Ted several up on the media. Or, as Jodi Kantor put it on Tuesday, "And at the computer bank of the DePaul University student center in Chicago, the nonvoters outnumbered the voters, for a variety of reasons, they said, including failure to register, lack of time and apathy."
Which brings us to Bill Moyers Journal on PBS and we really hadn't thought we'd be including it. Let's get our praise out of the way: Yes, Dr. Kathy, that is how to dress on camera. You looked better than you ever had. Professional and the color scheme worked. Having said that, let's focus on one problem area.
Dr. Kathy's concerned that the two front runners in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination are hurting someone with their remarks. She's bothered that Clinton says she's ready from day one. Dr. Kathy says if Clinton doesn't get the nomination, Republicans will seize on this to paint Bambi as not up to the job and that Clinton can't make Barack her v.p. choice if she wins (Dr. Kathy assumes Hillary wants to do that or would consider it) because what does that say? On the first point, throughout history, many primary candidates have asserted that they were ready for the job and, if they didn't get their party's nomination, there's no evidence that the claim hurt the victors. (Dr. Kathy also pushed the nonsense from The National Journal that Janine Jackson demolished on last week's CounterSpin -- for those who require text, Jackson is quoted in full of that topic here.) When it was time to offer how Obama might be damaging the party, she offered this mild (note the qualifiers) statement, "When Senator Obama, sometimes carefully and with nuance, sometimes much less so, suggests that the Clinton years were not years of great accomplishment, and he doesn't look back to them as a result in those moments, as moments the Democrats can be very proud of, he makes it far more difficult to create an alliance back to that part of the party, and it denies him some of the intellectual ballast that comes with suggesting that Democrats can lead on the economy, in a way that's fiscally prudent."
Clinton, according to Dr. Kathy is doing damage to the party (damage to Obama if he gets the nomination, damage to herself if she does and wants to pick Obama as her running mate), Obama's only damaging himself (and apparently his attacks, by Dr. Kathy's statements, don't hurt Hillary if she gets the nomination). Which of the examples offered is worse?
The reality is Dr. Kathy -- intentionally or not -- came to the table with a stacked deck. What is Obama doing that might hurt the party's chances if Hillary is the nominee?
The most obvious would be Obama's suggesting that Hillary can't be trusted with national security. That's a pretty damning thing to float, Dr. Kathy, and one that not only smears Hillary, it also feeds into the Republican talking point of "Dems weak on national defense!" But we're a little more media savvy and grasp that, especially if McCain is the nominee, they probably won't go wonky. The GOP will go for the 'red meat' and find something that they think has the widest appeal.
Well we know the media likes nothing better than an angle they can play up as a "catfight" and we know that Michelle Obama said on MSNBC last week that she didn't know that she could vote for Clinton if Hillary got the nomination. If we were going to try to pick out the GOP ad buy right now, we'd go with that. It feeds into the desire on the part of some for a catfight, it feeds into the Bash-the-Bitch national pastime and the likes of Peggy Noonan and Chris Matthews have certainly spent this decade putting forward the lie that women don't like Hillary. We could continue but we think we've established that Barack only hurting himself (by Dr. Kathy's calculations) is a bit of piffle.
Dropping back to the ABC prime time special, among the guests (via satellite) were Bill Richardson. Richardson has grown (is growing) a beard. Diane Sawyer felt the need to compare it to Justin Timberlake which was questionable but Charlie Gibson (who must have the last word) declared it reminded him of Abraham Lincoln. What any of that had to do with the primaries they were supposed to be addressing, we don't know. But Richardson actually made it onto TV. A Latino actually made it on TV to discuss politics (not that anyone seemed interested in politics -- the questions were seeking gossip). On Friday, another Latino made it on TV to discuss politics. It was not a pleasant picture.
First off Bill Moyers, we know you love to talk faith and talk it again and again and we grasp that we're all expected to be enthralled with broadcasts of that topic. We know you'll never get that not all of us care for it -- especially considering the way the deck is so often stacked. But grasp this, there are so few Latinos on air that we don't need a chunky. Get it? The stereotype of Latinos is "lazy." Fat and lazy. We don't need Mr. Chunky grabbing up one of the few moments of air time a Latino will ever have on the Journal. We don't need it, we don't want it. It's offensive. Yes, there are some hefty Latinos out there. But when Latinos are trying desperately to be heard and seen, we don't need one of the few slots going to someone who fits the stereotype and who isn't even smart enough to sit on the tail of his coat jacket -- which made the suit and the person look even worse.
The person? Samuel "Sam" Rodriguez. It figures, doesn't it, that the show that still hasn't addressed gender this year, would invite on a Latino and not a Latina?
On top of that we were force-fed a conservative -- though Moyers didn't point that out. Christianity Today has had no problem pointing that out. Not that anyone listens to Ted Haggard since his 'not' gay incident but, in 2006, Haggard was salivating over Rodriguez, "He is the Karl Rove of the Hispanic-Anglo evangical strategy."
Moyers did feel the need to offer that there are "at least eight million" Latinos who define as evangicals. That number might have seemed less impressive if the most recent cenus estimate for Latinos had been included (44.3 million). It would have been even less impressive if Moyers had brought on a Catholic Latino or Latina. They could have clearly stated whether they considered themselves "charismatic" -- a loose grouping that they could have then defined. Because the reality is that the eight million figure is apples and oranges. It's including Catholics with a wide variety of experiences outside the Catholic Church and they may or may not go with "born again" (which would allow them to be seen as 'vangicals'). What is known, and you can check with PEW which did a study on this, over 68% of Latino and Latinas in the United States identify with the Roman Catholic Church. That puts Rodriguez in the minority. (The fact that he's Pentecostal even more so.) Considering that the previous "Catholic" segment we remember Moyers doing (non-priest scandal) was on the 'gnostic gospels' (Elaine Pagels), we do have to wonder if there is some hostility to the Catholic Church in the program?
The Pew Hispanic Center found that:
The Democratic Party holds a nearly three-to-one advantage among Latino Catholics who are eligible to vote (48% vs. 17% for Republicans). Because the Latino electorate is overwhelmingly Catholic (63%), Catholics represent the core of Democratic support among Latinos. Indeed, 70% of all Latino eligible voters who identify as Democrats are Catholics. Party identification among Latino evangelicals is more narrowly divided and appears to slightly favor the Republican Party. Among Hispanic eligible voters who are evangelicals, 37% say they consider themselves Republicans and 32% say they are Democrats.
So why a Republican Latino was brought on, we have no idea. (And don't try to split hairs on his party affiliation. It's well known throughout the Latino community. It's why, after Christ, Ronald Reagan is the first name on his list of heroes.) But that's what happened. The community was insulted (the overweight stereotype which translates as lazy when it's a male under forty) and the community was distorted. Booking Rodriguez guaranteed that would be the case.
He repeated a falsehood and Moyers either didn't know or didn't give a damn. "Forty-four percent of Latinos," he declared, "voted for George W. Bush in the 2004 elections." No, they didn't. We'll repeat ourselves from last month, where a false claim about the 2004 number was made on another PBS show:
Equally disturbing was to hear that Bully Boy got 40% of the Latino vote in 2004. That figure is contested, as was the original inflated claim of 44%. NBC put out the 40% figure. We had to wonder why PBS was using that mainstream figure instead of the Velasquez Institute's finding of 35%? When there's a difference wouldn't a Latino organization most likely be the best source for information on Latinos?
Even NOW on PBS, last month, didn't offer up 44%. Apparently, there's so little interest in the Latino vote that people can just make up numbers, or repeat disproven ones, and it will air on PBS without question. That's highly insulting. So is allowing a conservative (the only Latino to appear this year, thus far, remember) to characterize a "Black Brown Divide" -- a highly controversial subject and one that Bill Moyers program allowed to be presented to non-Latino communities as a genuine divide. Can we expect to (quickly) see other Latinos on the show to offer another perspective? Probably not because Moyers already invited this ASSHOLE back on the program.
In one of the more embarrassing moments (there were many), Rodriguez was allowed to claim that Hillary Clinton's comments on abortion (from 2005 but not noted by him or Moyers as being that old) swung her support from the Latino community. That's when she argued that we needed to work towards less abortions. He then maintained her comments in New Hampshire this year were hurting her. Clinton's winning the Latino vote. We could disprove another lie he offers (but he'd weasel out by insisting "I only said I 'believe' it was in Time magazine!") but we'll just focus on that aspect of it.
We saw the program Friday and took to the phones. Community member Miguel lives in Chicago, community member Francisco lives in New Mexico, community member Maria lives in the Bay Area (all three do the community newsletter El Spirito -- and all locations noted are the ones they were comfortable with), community member Lupe lives in Houston, community members Diane and Sabina live in Dallas, community member Raul lives in Los Angeles, Ramona lives in Tyler (Texas) and community member Henry lives in Florida. All are Hispanics. We asked all to speak to 30 Latinos or Latinas at random and ask if they were aware of Hillary's 2005 statements? While they did that, we covered Boston Saturday morning (with 22 -- all at the airport, we were leaving Boston that morning), 49 in San Francisco, 30 in Oakland and 19 in San Jose. (And no, we didn't do 49 due to the San Francisco 49ers. We didn't even think of the team until Mike pointed it out.) Out of 400 Latinos and Latinas selected at random in various cities (Diane spoke to forty and not thirty, for those attempting to do the math), only one person knew of Hillary's remarks -- a 49-year-old, pro-choice Latina in Florida.
Rodriguez had no backing for the tale he told but it was pleasing to him and that's why he told it. It was pleasing to him to run with the inflated figure of 44% as well. It was all pleasing to him.
But it sucked to be a viewer. It sucked to grasp that Latinos and Latinas -- so regularly shut out of the Moyers universe and most TV programs -- were being 'represented' by a man who did not represent them. And it sucked to know that, yet again, when it was time to put someone on the program, it was time to go conservative. For those who missed it, when we last tackled NOW on PBS last month, our complaints were the same: those speaking were conservatives and they were Latinos -- no, Latinas. Moyers had a lengthy sit-down interview with one guest, one non-representative of the Latino community guest, and it was time to go with a conservative and with a male.
Barbra Steisand used to provide a grant to Moyers' religious program. If he wants to do that program, have at it. But if he's doing the Journal and if he's reporting on elections and Americans, we think it's wrong to repeatedly allow these conservative Christians -- of all faiths and of all races and ethnicities -- to dominate. (Especially when their statements are not called out.) We see it over and over and when it comes to an ethnic or racial group that's barely on the program to begin with, we think it's flat-out offensive to allow a conservative to speak to America on behalf of an under-represented group. On Saturday's plane ride back, we found two people who had watched Friday's Journal. Both were Anglo. Both spoke of how 'interesting' the segment was and felt they learned a lot about Latinos. That's the message they took away, that Rodriguez was your typical Latino. He's not representative and it's as dishonest to allow people to believe that as it is to pretend that Alan Keyes' beliefs and positions are typical of African-Americans. But that's exactly what happened.
If there was a reliable People Meter of some form, we might know how many watched and be able to figure out the racial and ethnic breakdown. From there we might be able to estimate the damage done. But there's not a reliable meter so for now it's just "garbage out" -- even in the interactive age. And we consider it very telling that, were it not for Cokie Roberts, women voters wouldn't even have received a few minutes of discussion on what passes for public affairs programming last week. They certain didn't receive time on Democracy Now! (see Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot.")
Elaine: Yes, I did. And though Corey's not asking, I think it's likely there were questions or statments put to Corey about wasting the vote. I know there were a number of e-mails coming into my site on that so I wrote about it in "Green Party, Robin Morgan." Your vote is your vote. If you are happy with the way you voted, that's what matters. Or if you didn't vote as a protest and you're happy with that, that's all that matters. The choices in that primary were Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Mike Gravel. Only Gravel is against the illegal war and only Gravel wants the troops home immediately. And before someone rushes to split hairs, the most generous one can be to Bambi is that he is against the 'dumb' war, not the illegal one. As a supposed lawyer, as Ava and C.I. have noted, he knows about legalities and his refusal to call it illegal must mean he doesn't think it is. He just thinks it's "dumb." Well maybe he can work on a bill to implement standardized testing for future wars? No War Left Behind?
Jim: I'm glad you noted that because reader Krystal specifically asks about the war. She wants to know how anyone could vote for Hillary Clinton after her 2002 vote and this question is tossed to those who voted for her: Betty, Cedric, Wally, Mike, Ruth and Marcia.
Betty: Well, Elaine's happy with her vote and I'm not insulting her for it. If I was going to just vote regarding the illegal war, in the Democratic primary, I would have voted for Gravel. While I am opposed to Barack Obama, I voted for Hillary because I support her. I think she'd make the best president of the three and I feel that way for a number of reasons that I can outline at length but I'm pretty sure Cedric's going to tackle one aspect because we've discussed it on the phone at length last week.
Cedric: So I'll jump in. What was the name of the 2002 resolution is Bambi's big question? Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002. At which point, Bambi, who feels that he can finesse his "present" votes in the Illinois legislature, acts as if the discussion ends. That's a lie and his uninformed groupies can glom on it all they want but it's not reality. First up, that vote is October of 2002 and the illegal war starts in March 2003. If that was Congress giving Bully Boy the green light to go to war, why does it start five months later? Congress declares war, not a president. So you're telling me Congress declared war in October of 2002 and Bully Boy didn't get around, in his commander-in-chief of the military role, until following up on it in March? We knew he was inept, we had no idea he'd wait five months after Congress told him. "Start the war!" to get around to doing it. The resolution was seen by many as a way to slow the march to illegal war. Anyone who's paid attention to what's gone on in the UK is fully aware of how the UN was then used as a cover to make it look like what was happening? Inspections. Inspections was the result of the authorization, the intended result. Bully Boy did not go to Congress for an authorization of the Iraq War -- among the reasons it is an illegal war -- and he did not let inspections finish. He lies about that a lot and that's probably because if he repeats the lie then maybe others will too? The reality is inspections were supposed to take place and, before a war started, he was supposed to come back to Congress and get authorization.
Mike: Which he didn't. I supported John Kerry in 2004 and Kerry also voted for it. And on Meet the Press, Tim Russert asked Obama about that and Bambi hemmed and hawwed and offered excuses. Bambi supported Kerry in 2004, after the illegal war, so he obviously didn't feel that the 2002 legislation was a 'big deal' then. Today, he insists it's a big deal. Today, he insists it indicates 'judgement.' Well if it's so important, one would assume that John Kerry and Tom Daschle, who both voted for it, wouldn't be campaigning for him today. If it's important to him and if it goes to judgement, it's surprising that he's allowing people with such lousy judgment to campaign for him. Kerry's been all over the map on that vote but I've never heard Tom Daschle apologize for it and, before anyone forgets, Daschle wasn't just a Senate voting in favor, he was the Senate Majority Leader. He was in charge of the entire Senate. He didn't want it to go through, he could have buried it. He ran the Senate, the Democrats still controlled the Senate at that point. So maybe it's past time for Bambi to call Daschle out? Let's remember too that for the bulk of Ned Lamont's race for Senate in 2006, Bambi was supporting Joe Lieberman. No tears for Lamont who sold out after the primary and brought on party hacks like David Sirota as he rushed to water down his already tepid 'anti-war' stance, but if Bambi thinks this is such an important issue, he never should have endorsed Joe Lieberman in that primary or campaigned for him. If we're talking about 'judgment' and Bambi's saying Hillary is lacking because of that vote, then Joe Lieberman's judgment was lacking and yet on this "I was right" position, it didn't stop him from endorsing someone who voted for it in the 2006 Conn. Democratic primary. Ned Lamont, up to that point, was loudly against it. So apparently sometimes Bambi thinks it's a judgement issue and sometimes he doesn't.
Ruth: He could have not endorsed. There was nothing binding that required him to endorse. It was a Democratic primary and he could have stayed out of it. He chose not to. He chose to endorse one Democrat over another and the one he endorsed was someone who voted for the 2002 resolution. Where was his judgment? And do not fall back on the 'incumbent' argument because, to hear him speak, Obama is all about change.
Marcia: And bottom line, Bambi wasn't in the Senate and didn't have to vote. He told The New York Times in 2004 that he didn't know how he would have voted if he'd been in the Senate. Confronted by Tim Russert he appeared to be arguing that he had to support the party with his remarks in 2004. With remarks? If he can't even, according to him, speak for himself about a vote that's two-years-old at the time, I think it's fair to guess that he wouldn't have stood up in the Senate in 2002 and voted against it. If he's using the 2004 ticket as his excuse for staying silent in 2004 -- John Edwards and John Kerry both voted for the resolution -- what's his excuse for repeating the same comments to The New Yorker in 2006 -- that he didn't know how he would have voted?
Ty: As someone who's opposed to the Afghanistan war, which was going on when Bambi gave his speech on October 26, 2002, I think it's interesting that he never mentions that war in his speech. He speaks an awful lot of al Qaeda and his support for the fight against it, but he never mentions that ongoing war in his speech. I'd like to see someone pin him down on that. Sorry to jump in there.
Ruth: Since we are talking about the speech specifically, it should be noted that Mr. I Was Right gave that speech weeks after Congress voted. Did he make any public statements before the vote?
Betty: Good point and I want to expand this just a bit. Mad Maddie Albright supported sanctions and you've got a number of left commentators going after Hillary today because of the sanctions in the Clinton era. Does Bambi support sanctions? Here's Bambi speaking October 26, 2002 -- 15 days after the US Senate voted, "But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history." The country is in shambles, he notes, but he's for containment. What did he mean? More sanctions, stricter sanctions? What did he mean?
C.I.: I'm jumping in. Betty needs to clarify her remarks because e-mails are going to come in misunderstanding her otherwise. Betty, explain your feelings regarding sanctions and containment.
Betty: Thank you. I forget not everyone who drives by has read everything we've talked about. I wasn't for the illegal war. And before Bambi was giving his speech, I was already saying it was illegal and murder. So, hey, vote for me this November. I'm a Black woman raised by a Black family and I never changed my name to "Barry" in school. In terms of 'containment,' I didn't believe in it. I didn't believe it was a goal that should be pursued. Iraq was no threat and the people of Iraq were dying and suffering under sanctions. I was for aid, not containmenet, not punishment. That's why I ask the question. Bambi needs to define what "containment" means and the lefty and 'lefty' types slamming Hillary for sanctions and air bombing during the Clinton era need to know exactly what sort of 'containment' Bambi was arguing for in 2002. Ty's right, by the way, he avoids Afghanistan in that speech. It's avoided carefully. It's never named and there's just enough for anti-Muslim types and for pro-Muslim types to feel he's speaking for them. He's got no declared position but he winks at both sides. He needs to be forced to answer not just where he stands on the Afghanistan War today but where he stood then. And, for drive-bys, we are all opposed to the Afghanistan War.
Marcia: Betty raises an important point regarding the Afghanistan War. Barack Obama is avoiding it and doing so at its one year anniversary. In a public speech that he wants a lot of credit for. Was that a "dumb" war? Where did he stand on that? There's enough there for those supporting that war to think he's on their side and for those not supporting it to feel the same. That's not bravery. He can't even speak up, at the one year anniversary of the Afghanistan War, at a peace rally, on where he stands one way or another on the Afghanistan War.
Dona: I just want to clarify something. Ty jumped into that, which is fine, but Ty, Jim, Ava and I are not stating who we voted for. We all voted in California's primary -- Ava and C.I. by absentee ballot -- and we're not declaring who we voted for. So until Ty says, "I voted for" whomever, no one should read that as "Ty voted for Hillary!"
Jim: Good point. Jess also voted in the California primary and he voted Green. Rebecca voted for Cynthia McKinney on Tuesday. So we'll go them --
Dona: But note that Wally had to put his phone down and he voted for Hillary. When he's back with us, we'll let him speak.
Jim: Jess, are you comfortable saying who you voted for?
Jess: I am. It was between Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney for me. As I said last week, I was bothered by Nader's refusal to announce "I'm running" or not. Some will say, "He's got an exploratory committee!" So? The press has played this as, "Ralph's running if Hillary gets the nomination!" In Monday's snapshot, C.I. included Nader's statements regarding Bambi but, if you notice, 'independent' media played dumb. Statements made Sunday on CNN. So as they play dumb, I have to wonder, do they know something about Ralph that I don't? They keep insisting he's only in if Hillary gets the nomination. What I did know was Cythia was in. What I did know was Cynthia was opposed to the Iraq War -- not from outside Congress, Bambi, from inside it. Cynthia can say she showed judgment and leadership. So Cynthia was my vote. Rebecca?
Rebecca: When the results started coming in --
C.I.: To be clear, results are not in and are not official for the Green Party. People can refer to Kimberly Wilder's On the Wilder Side for the latest results and discussions of them. The Massachusetts Green primary results are not expected to be in until the end of this month, that is where Rebecca voted. Other states are noted here. Just making that clear.
Rebecca: Thank you. The impression we are left with from the coverage of the results thus far is that Nader beat McKinney repeatedly. I was and am disgusted. That's nothing against Nader, whom I could vote for, that does have to do with the fact that, as Jess pointed out, Cynthia's not thinking about running, she is running. And running required her to change her membership from Democratic to Green. That anyone, Nader or anyone, who was not declared as running could beat her was insulting. And it honestly has me wondering if I'll vote Green in the fall.
Jess: And I agree with what Rebecca's feeling. I'll vote Green in the fall, I'm a Green. Jim'll vote Democratic in the fall, he's a Democrat. Both of us are very big for our party. Rebecca and I were on the phone all last week talking about this and we were talking to someone Jim seems to have forgotten.
Jim: Oh, jeez! Sorry. Kat voted for McKinney. I'm so sorry Kat.
Kat: That's okay. Ty mentioned an e-mail that's supposed to come up later in the roundtable that's basically to me so I just assumed I was being saved for that.
Jim: No. And grab this because we may not get to that.
Kat: Okay, well Jess and Rebecca have pretty much expressed it. It's the way we all felt on the phone when we'd call each other. C.I. was explaining to me, because I was pretty depressed, that the primaries mean very little in the Green Party since most states do not hold them. So the candidate will really be selected at the convention. But I couldn't help but feel that it was a slap in the face. I'm remembering a lot of "Run Cynthia!" blog posts around the web and I'm also fully aware that, before last Tuesday, a number of people appeared to have forgotten they authored those posts because the second Ralph announced his plans to explore a run, they were all about Nader. I found it insulting. And I think it goes to what we see in the Democratic primary as well. Cynthia has a record as a law maker. Cynthia has stood up for the stands that matter -- whether it's opposing Iraq, pro-impeachment or real peace and real solutions in the Occupied territories. I'm not trying to take anything away from Ralph Nader here but he is not officially a candidate and won't be unless/until he gets off his ass and declares. But notice the giddy rush to the man and the rush away from a woman with a proven record who did declare her run. Like Rebecca, I don't know how I'll vote in the general election. If Bambi gets the nomination, you can bet money that I'll be voting Green.
C.I.: Democracy Now! is a topic somewhere on the list Jim's working from. Monday's snapshot addressed the nonsense of that program with regards to McKinney because the community -- Greens, Democrats, whatever -- were all outraged by the broadcast. So with three who did vote for McKinney speaking right now, it might be a good time to jump to that. And I'm injecting it in because if time runs out and this isn't covered, I will hear from community members asking why it wasn't?
Jim: That's fine. We'll start with Monday's broadcast of Democracy Now! and with just Kat, Jess and Rebecca commenting -- if they want to -- and then move to the show throughout the week.
Kat: I can't get too heavily into that topic without cursing. So I'll just do the set up and let Jess and Rebecca comment if they want. On Monday, weeks after Ava and C.I. pointed out that Cynthia McKinney had not been interviewed about her run for the Green Party presidential nomination, Amy Goodman finally shows up. She interviews her the day before Super Duper Tuesday.
Jess: Which was pathetic. I mean, last Sunday in this roundtable, Mike was talking about how he didn't realize his state had closed primaries. He was planning to vote for Cynthia but couldn't because he found out too late that he needed to switch his registration. So to do a day-before interview with Cynthia was of no help to anyone. In some states that had Green Party primaries on Tuesday, Cynthia voters -- and remember, she was an elected Democrat so she presumably has some support there -- wouldn't have known that they needed to switch their registration in order to vote for her. Finally covering her run the day before the election was of no help to her. It might have helped the day before a general election, which is open to all, but in terms of helping Cynthia, this would have needed to have taken place back when Ava and C.I. were calling for it, when there was still time for people to switch their registration.
Rebecca: I agree but I want to back up to Kat's comments for just a second. Jim said a word in this roundtable that will run as "jeez" or "golly." That's normally what he says in the place of the word. I want to talk about that for just a moment. "Good Lord," "Oh my God," etc. are not generally used at sites in the community. That's a C.I. thing started at The Common Ills that we all try to follow. The reason for it is that it is offensive to some people and if you're using those phrases regularly then, at some point, someone's going to be saying, "Well the way you use the Lord/Creator/whatever's name all the time, you should be talking about religion." And we all avoid that because we don't want to hide behind religion to make ourselves palatable. As noted before, everyone participating believes in a higher power except for one person. I'm a little more free flowing at my own site and I use "Oh my God" in real life more than a One Day At A Time marathon. I use "OMG" at my own site many times. Last week, I was really pissed -- about Cynthia, about Hillary, about a number of things -- and used it in full and two readers -- and remember I've used the f-word with no censorship plenty of times at my site -- were hurt by that. Not offended, but hurt. So I apologized to them and told them I would stick with "OMG" or avoid it. But I know how these things go when it's time to type up and Jim's attitude's going to be, "That's what I said," and C.I.'s attitude is going to be "I can't have any member offended on something very dear to them." So C.I.'s going to argue that it's changed to another word or it's edited out and Jim's going to play stubborn -- which both he and I can do and usually do -- so I just want to put it out there on record that from my experience last week, C.I. is correct. The two have read me using the f-word, the s-word and much worse, spelled out in full, and never been hurt. They were hurt, not angry or screaming at me, last week so I want to just say that it will offend some people.
Jim: You are correct that I would argue for it to stay as is and C.I. would argue that it be changed or pulled. And we'd probably spend 20 minutes on that argument before Dona would tell me, "Pull it." There's like this whole maze of what's allowed and not. I'm not slamming it. But, in a short story here, for instance, we could use the phrase.
Ava: That's because short stories are about characters. There's a world of difference between someone reading a short story in one of our summer fiction editions and hearing a character using a name in vain and hearing you, Jim, someone they like, do the same. And we are off topic but I'm glad Rebecca brought it up because that is one of the most repeated and dumbest arguments week after week. You will try to squeeze that into an editorial or another piece -- it will just come out while we're writing -- and you'll insist it stay in and you know C.I.'s not going to stand for it for the same reasons that Rebecca's outlined a few second ago. It is hurtful to some people in the community. If we're saying a curse word, they don't care. It's "Oh they've got a potty mouth" and they may laugh along. But with those phrases, where you're seen as taking a name in vain, it isn't about 'bad language' but goes to, for some, a disrespect of their beliefs. If an e-mail comes in, your reaction is, "That's how I talk." And for you that's the end of it. On the community's side, it's not the end of it. And it will get dumped on C.I. Both in terms of your dismissal of it and in terms of, "Why didn't you object?" being asked of C.I. It's not a minor point and we can't take the position of people's beliefs are their own and we're not going to hide behind religion to make ourselves 'respectable' and also offer statements that could be read as insulting to someone's beliefs. And we have this go-round every week it seems like.
Jim: On my end, it's just how I talk. In transcript pieces, I try to catch it.
Betty: If I could jump in because it's Cedric, Ty and myself that have talked about religion. It's not an issue with us, whether Jim says that. And I've certainly used the phrase myself but get a pass because people know my background on religion. But for those who haven't talked about their positions, it could be seen as insulting. If it's seen as insulting, you're offering the need for an explanation. When you have to explain, you have to figure out whether you're going to say "I believe in ___" or "I don't believe in ___." It opens a door and I agree with Ava. There are things I can say online at my site and no one bats an eye at -- because it's characters -- but if I say them as Betty, it's a different thing. By the same token, Wally and Cedric are doing humor posts and they can get away with anything. That's due mainly to the humor but it may help some that Cedric's background is known. Ava and C.I. -- with their TV commentaries or any feature they do by themselves -- can say pretty much anything. But that's not true for them in a roundtable. I mean, I've talked to Ava about this at length, about what I can say and what I can't and what they can and what they can't. And we're all aware that certain pieces, especially transcripts one, are taken differently than other pieces. And I hate having to have this conversation --
Jim: Because I am someone who believes in Jesus and Betty knows that and it's what's on the tip of her tongue that she's having to repeatedly avoid saying. And the fact that I'm having to state that publicly goes to Betty and Ava's points so yes, Rebecca's correct that C.I.'s right. We won't bring it up again. Back to Rebecca on Cynthia and Goodman.
Rebecca: Well Amy Goodman did no favors. In fact it was insulting. It was too late to do any good but it's the sort of thing that allows her to now claim, "I'm not partisan, look I interviewed Cynthia McKinney." Yes, when it was too late for some who would have voted for her to switch their registration. It was disgusting and it will be her claim now, she'll refer to it. But the reality is, and Ava and C.I. pointed this out when they tackled the show last month, the Green Party had a debate and Amy Goodman reduced that to a single headline. A few sentences. The same week, Dennis Kucinich, who did not participate in the Democratic primary debate, was brought on for the full hour to give the responses he would have given if he had been allowed in the Democratic primary debate. An entire party is a headline, one individual gets a full hour.
Jess: Yeah, that's what we get. "We" being the Greens and it is disgusting. Think about how many times Dennis has been brought on since the start of 2007. He's brought on to comment on what the Dems are doing in Congress or not doing. How hard is it to book a Green Party spokesperson to offer their take on what's going on in the same segment? It's not hard, it's just something that Goodman avoids doing. Over and over.
C.I.: I want to bring up an issue that community members who are Greens were raising in e-mails last week. In 2004, Democracy Now! expanded to two hours during the party conventions. During the Democratic and Republican party conventions only. That was a full week of coverage -- ten hours -- for each convention. That's not done for the Green party. They're lucky to be invited on with other third party candidates in the fall -- as happened in 2004 -- for a 'debate.' One debate. While there are four or so debates between Democrats and Republicans aired on the MSM and covered as earth shattering, let's devote the entire program to it, by Democracy Now! Green members are making very clear that they feel they are being tossed crumbs by Amy Goodman and they aren't happy with it.
Kat: Well that's true. I didn't get that on my own, but listening to that right now, it is very true of how 2004 played out on Democracy Now! And that isn't fair. And it really does send the message that they aren't a real party and they aren't important. I wish I'd caught that on my own but it's very true. And I don't know if anyone else heard it, I'm closest to the speaker phone, but it sounded like Wally just picked up his cell phone, either that or we have static on the line.
Wally: No, it's me.
Jim: Okay, Wally, here's what's going on. We're currently discussing Democracy Now! and how they cover the parties and candidates. We earlier addressed Hillary voters in the community due to a question from a reader about how anyone could vote for her after the 2002 resolution. So if you want to jump in somewhere on that, go for it.
Wally: Sure. Mike?
Mike: I didn't steal your point and no one else brought it up.
Wally: Mike and I were talking about this last week and, by Thursday, I was saying I was bringing up something. Barack Obama spoke out against a 'dumb' war in 2002, after the Senate voted and he wasn't a member of the Senate. If he sees that 2002 authorization as an authorization for war -- which it was not -- would war with Iran be a "dumb" war? If so, he had a chance in the summer of 2007 to stand up and he didn't. He didn't vote on the Iran resolution -- which did not give authorization for war though Bambi likes to claim it did. That vote that he chose to miss -- even though he knew it was taking place and was in DC, he had a heads up to that vote -- could have at least allowed him to say, "Here's what I did in 2007 so that backs up my bragging that they were wrong and I was right." When presented with that opportunity, he elected to duck. I don't think we can afford a president who runs off every time a difficult decision is made. I don't think there's anything in his record that suggests he can take a stand as a Senator. He couldn't even stand up for MoveOn. For Betty, Hillary's comments about if you don't feel she's saying enough regarding her vote, look for another candidate -- that's a paraphrase -- was reason to step away from Hillary and I respect that. But as I leaned more and more towards Hillary, I went back to what our 'independent' media was saying in 2002 and in 2004. They've all swallowed the Bambi Kool-Aid and act today like a vote for the 2002 resolution was a vote for war. That was not how it was taken in real time by many in 'independent' media and it's not how it was taken in 2004 when you had candidates who voted for it. I think the 2002 vote is being distorted. That was a way to slow the march to the war and a dumb decision in my mind, but there's a difference between what some of them stated then and two years later and what they're stating today. 'Them' is independent media. I'm shuffling through some papers trying to find some stuff I printed up but not having any luck. C.I.?
C.I.: I don't know which articles you looked at, but in terms of The Nation, in March of 2003, before the illegal war started, John Nichols was writing about challenging the rush to war and noted John Bonifaz's federal court argument, then being presented, that no war could start without authorization from Congress. Clearly at that moment, people such as Bonifaz and Nancy Lessin did not believe the 2002 resolution was an authorization for war. I think Bambi plays fast and slick with the title of the bill and think 'independent' media's a joke since it's just as easy to use his 'logic' to claim that the legislation billed as "The P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act" was about patriotism. When you've got Bambi saying, "What was the title?" and allowing discussion to end there you're arguing that the Patriot Act, by it's title, must also be about patriotism. This is a paraphrase, from memory, of Nichols March 2003 article, before the illegal war started, he's quoting Bonifaz who states, "We aren't saying that the war cannot occur if Congress declares it. Our position is that the Constitution requires the president to go to Congress before launching a premeditated, first-strike invasion of another country. This is precisely what the framers of the Constitution intended to prevent. They placed Article I, Section Eight in the Constitution to assure that the President of the United States would not have the power that European monarchs had held in the past in matters of war and peace." Clearly, Bonifaz was arguing, in 2003, that the 2002 authorization was not an authorization for war and since Nichols is repeating it without question, one would assume Nichols either agrees with it or is choosing to stay silent. Now Nichols could argue that in October 2002, he was portraying it differently. He certainly was in an article entitled "Five Ways to Help Win The House." That's right, Nichols is among the commentators who couldn't seriously address Iraq before the vote or immediately after. It was more important to Nichols to find a way to "win" the House. In that column he lays the blame clearly on Richard Gephardt's doorstep noting that Gephardt, a Democrat and the leader of the Dems in the House, co-authored the legislation. And his big complaint? Nichols big complaint in October immediately after the resolution was voted on? That there were only a few campaign weeks left and Gephart was, this is a direct quote, "Gephardt was still testing themes in Washington". He's not sounding alarms about the resolution, he's arguing ways for Dems to take back the House. So maybe The Nation needs to get off their high horse about that resolution because their position and how much emphasis they placed on it in real time has been all over the map. Prior to Paul Wellstone's death, in a column that ran in October, Nichols again wasn't concerned about the resolution itself, he was concerned about electability declaring that, "The 'regime change' Rove is most focused on is not in Iraq but in the Senate, where the defeat of a single Democrat would give Republicans control." He argues Wellstone must vote against it and then explain why to his voters as he did on the 1996 so-called 'welfare reform' vote. This not a column opposing impending war, it's a column on how to finesse your vote. So it's really funny that Nichols -- who doesn't write about Iraq and really hasn't since 2006 -- has such a big problem with Hillary's vote. Where was Nichols when it mattered? Arguing ways to finesse, not taking a stand. In fact, the only one the little pisher really took to task was Barbra Streisand in an October 3, 2002 piece. Elected Congress members he wanted to counsel, Barbra Streisand -- who had no vote in Congress -- he wants to rip apart. Well, he's not that fond of women. "Babs-land"? Did Nichols really use that insulting phrase? Yes, he did. The little nothing who's made nothing with his life and tried to hop the impeachment wagon with a bad book that he then dropped like crazy when the magazine decided impeachment was a no-go -- there's a reason Elizabeth Holtzman's pieces on impeachment these days appear elsewhere and we addressed that after the 2006 elections here -- has the nerve to criticize Barbra Streisand for anything? Oh the petty jealousies of the pettiest of nobodies. He goes on to write, in that piece, after getting his fangs into Barbra and tasting blood, "It is no secret that on Capitol Hill, many Democrats are motivated to vote for the resolution out of political calculation. They do not believe war against Iraq at this time is a good idea, but they fear looking soft or being caught on the wrong side of what might be a popular war. They are hoping to buy security--their own-- with blood." That was probably his strongest pre-vote statment and he had to tear apart non-Senator, non-Congressmember Barbra Streisand to get there. How proud he must be. After the 2002 elections, Nichols penned a column, "Failed Midterms," that sprinkled in a little about the authorization vote but was equally taking the Dems to task on their response to the White House's tax cuts. He wrote, "The election of 2002 has taught two lessons that should not be lost as the 2004 presidential contest begins: Bush is a relentless and effective campaigner; and the only way to beat him and his party will be for Democrats to distinguish themselves as a relentless and effective party of opposition." Which does not explain Nichols current support for Bambi. But it does make clear the Iraq War was never a huge issue for him when it came time to write. Then, as now, he wasted all of his time playing advisor to the Democratic Party. Again, how proud he must be. The Democratic Party's own little Rona Barrett. That would explain the hairstyle.
Jim: That's a truest. I'm serious. That's going to be a truest for the week today. I'm kind of surprised you haven't brought any of it up before.
C.I.: As Elaine and Rebecca often point out, tick me off and I will stop playing nice. There's not anyone in 'independent media' whose hands are clean on that illegal war. If they did a good job in the lead up, they dropped the ball after the illegal war started. Strike a pose and you're begging to be knocked down. And 2008 is not about playing nice. We're trying to end the illegal war and we're not going to take part in the lies. The lies then, the lies today.
Rebecca: And no one has a memory like C.I. You do not want to be in a disagreement. I remember a moot court exercise in college, where C.I. was assigned a difficult position, and I wanted to see that. C.I. was assigned the conservative position. And, even not supporting that position personally, C.I. ripped apart the other arguments and moved the students playing the Supreme Court judges -- a majority of which were lefties -- against their own judgements. It was amazing. And scary.
Elaine: Rebecca's laughing. But we were both present for that because we knew C.I. didn't agree with the position assigned and couldn't tell us the argument ahead of time, kept saying, "I'm going to have to hear the other side's argument to figure it out." So it was pretty amazing to watch C.I. do that just off the cuff. The research was done ahead of time but C.I. had no idea of anything but the assigned position. The argument was made on the spot and it was so powerful Rebecca whispered, "Gee, am I wrong about this?" Sorry to jump in but Dona always says I need to talk more.
Jim: No, that's fine. We've got an e-mail that's probably to C.I. but I'm going to toss to Ava to give her a chance to respond because we all know what one of them -- Ava or C.I. -- says the other agrees with. Matts, that's not a typo, Matts, e-mailed to point out that no one highlighted Cindy Sheehan's column on Hillary Clinton -- she was against Hillary Clinton to put it mildly -- and wonders why that didn't get noted and if it means that Cindy Sheehan's no longer supported?
Ava: First, it didn't appear everywhere and there are some sites we just aren't noting. That's true of all her columns by the way, if you see a drop off. For instance, if someone passes on an e-mail Rebecca wrote and then lies about it, we're not interested in highlighting their site so right away anything that goes up there -- Cindy or anyone -- isn't going to be highlighted. An organization that continues to e-mail this site isn't highlighted because the e-mail was passed on to them. A few months back, C.I. wrote the 'head' directly and said, basically, "We need to know if you asked for that to be forwarded or not. If not, we can highlight you. If so, don't bother us." The 'head' refused to respond. We no longer note him. He does however continue to bother all sites with e-mail announcements. We're not interested. Go away. Second, putting it as nicely as possible, our support for Cindy is over her positions. We're not really interested in her personal reflections on people. If that's not clear, it will be to community members, Cindy Sheehan was used. She herself grasped that in her goodbye column. So she should be asking herself why she met with Hillary and not with Obama. Why wasn't a meeting with Obama set up for her? He was in the Senate by the time she was meeting with the Senate. He was the alleged 'anti-war' Senator. It would appear some people didn't want her meeting with him. With Obama and Clinton fighting for the Democratic nomination, we're not really interested in a third party candidate's thoughts on only one of them. That doesn't change our support or admiration for Cindy Sheehan. We're not even saying she's wrong in her judgement of Hillary -- we don't know, we didn't read it. We're saying that we don't see a great deal of difference between Hillary and Barack on the illegal war and we're not interested in any column that buys into the Bambi myth either by repeating it or omitting him from the equation.
Jim: Next question was from Keira who says she's voting Green in the general but feels like "you're too hard on Bambi's celebrity supporters." Jolene also wrote in about Bambi supporters and mentions Joan Baez and Bright Eyes.
Mike: I'll jump in there in terms of defending Wally and Cedric who have taken on Oprah and George Clooney. I'm not remembering anyone else. George Clooney hasn't been a big deal at other sites because he's a bad actor, a really bad actor, and he's a fake. We all now that and bite our tongues. So Clooney's really gotten a pass. He's a fraud, just another schill for the Democratic Party and someone who's been pushing for war with Darfur for years now.
Ruth: In terms of Oprah, and I do not believe I have said anything about her, you are talking about a woman who wants to falsely claim Senator Bambi was right. That is a problem coming from the woman who used her daytime program to sell the illegal war and brought on Judith Miller as a respectable and trusted source.
Marcia: Exactly. She broke from her book clubs, cheating husbands and diets to sell the illegal war.
Kat: In terms of Joan Baez, I know no one said a word against for her for her endorsement. No one trashed her. No one said a word.
Jess: I did pack up her CDs at C.I.'s house and put them in a closet. I don't want to hear her. For me, it's not about she chose Barack over Hillary. It's about she finally endorses and you've got Nader and McKinney who are against the illegal war and Baez, who has never endorsed a candidate, endorses a War Hawk. I'm not interested in listening to her CDs and doubt I will be before November. After I may feel differently. I did call C.I., by the way. I called first. I didn't just say, "I'm packing up all of C.I.'s Baez CDs and hiding them in the closet." I checked to make sure it was okay.
Kat: And I understand that. In terms of California, Baez's home, I especially understand it. Greens are the ones she encounters most often when she's engaging in protest and it was a slap at them to endorse a Democrat. But we haven't attacked her.
Mike: And we've never attacked Mia Farrow for her work on Darfur. We disagree strongly but no one doubts that she is sincere or mistakes her for someone like Clooney who is calling for an armed conflict.
Wally: On Bright Eyes, Kat liked the last album. I didn't. The way I see it, he made a one-off statement with "When A President Talks To God" and that's it. It's his most widely known song and he's failed to release a studio version on a full length CD. I think he's a little cowardly. I thought the last CD was crap and hard to listen to. I enjoyed Kat's review, but I felt she and I were hearing two different CDs. And I'm not attacking Kat. Her take on the CD was that he'd finally found a way to bring his live sound to a CD. That's a big deal. But my take was that he was lost in love, like the song says, and avoiding the illegal war.
Cedric: I'm jumping in to save Wally who's furious. I know because we've discussed it. So I'll point out the obvious, John Kerry was good enough for Connor to endorse in 2004. He wasn't going to end the illegal war. Maybe that's not a big deal with Connor? Who knows? But, like Wally, I can't listen to that CD. If you'll note, when we did CD lists here of what we were listening to, it only made a few lists and immediately after it came out. It was never our number one pick to listen to and I doubt anyone, even Kat, has listened to it in sometime.
Betty: When Jim's tossing out questions or e-mails quickly, we're usually about to wind down, so I'll go to endorsements in general. MoveOn, the joke that just won't quit. Tom Hayden? Pathetic. I see why Jane Fonda always refers to Ted Turner as her favorite of her ex-husbands. It wasn't enough that Bambi insulted the battles fought and won to make our country better, he also insulted Tom Hayden personally. He's also a homophobe and Tom's down with all that if it let's him be a 'player,' a 'king maker.' Too many of our 'leaders' spend too much time being cozy with DC. CODEPINK has a DC house and maybe that's where all the Iraq action springs from today but the Iraq War isn't a pressing concern to Medea Benjamin when it's time to write a column. When the 4,000 mark is hit and all the silent come forward to suddenly note Iraq, I will take them about as seriously as I do now. Which is not very seriously at all. And, let me be real clear, the sixties were about progress for Black people. You damn well better believe I don't dismiss that time period as easily as Tom Hayden did to endorse Bambi. But he's a White man who hungers to be an insider and I'm a Black woman who speaks my mind. I haven't sold out my beliefs for anyone and I'm not one of the Bambi groupies repeating, "He says 16 months after he's elected that troops come home!" No, he doesn't. Maybe you idiots read Tom Hayden's misinformation column. As C.I. would point out, don't read what Michael Gordon wrote up, read the actual transcript of that interview. It's not the rah-rah Hayden presented it as and it's really shocking that Hayden didn't think to check the transcript -- which the paper provided -- before weighing in.
Jim: Well said. And on that note, we're wrapping up.
[Note: Illustration by Betty's oldest son.]