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Daily Howler: That script will work in Campaign 08--thanks to Kirsten Powers
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CAREER LIBERALS REFUSE TO TELL VOTERS THE TRUTH! That script will work in Campaign 08—thanks to Kirsten Powers: // link // print // previous // next //
FRIDAY, APRIL 28, 2006

THEY WEREN’T BOOING, THEY WERE JUST YELLING “COOP:”He could have gone to prison to protect his sources. But he wanted to spend more time with his family! No, Matt Cooper didn’t say that when he returned, triumphant, to the comedy stage at last night’s DC Improv charity event. That was us—when “Coop” wasn’t listening. But the masterful Cooper was on-form, as always—just as if the sainted Fitzgerald hadn’t chased him all over town. Meanwhile, Uncle Walter—Shapiro, that is—regaled the throng with the sad tale of the way his recent book, One-Car Caravan, was reduced to the status of pulp non-fiction. And Rep. Linda Sanchez (CA-39) authored her latest memorable performance, getting her usual big, hearty laughs. (As we’ve long said—the public’s view of the Congress would change overnight if they could just see Rep. Sanchez on stage!) But who was the evening’s biggest surprise? A bright newcomer named Jamie McIntyre, CNN’s Pentagon (Rumsfeld) correspondent. Simply put, “Mack” is no longer a “known unknown.” In just his third comedy outing, he showed that he has some real throw-weight.

Of course, Bread for the City was the real winner—a point that should not be ignored.

CAREER LIBERALS REFUSE TO TELL VOTERS THE TRUTH: We drew one thought from that Matthews Show segment—here comes that Treasured Old Script once again, down the pike for Campaign 08 (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/27/06). Dem White House hopefuls are fake, “inauthentic”—and the voters can spot it right away. By contrast, Republican hopefuls are straight-talking straight-shooters, just reeking of pure authenticity. You’d think this script would lie in tatters after events of the last five years. But the Matthews panel was rehearsing it proudly—and the script is employed in puzzling ways in Joe Klein’s new Politics Lost. (More on that book all next week.)

Republican candidates are the straight-talkers. Dem White House hopefuls are fake—inauthentic. The theme was active during Campaign 04—and it formed the backbone of the press corps’ war against Candidate Gore during Campaign 2000, the war which changed our history. But as we’ve told you—again and again—career liberals simply refuse to discuss this. This was acted out in a remarkable way when “Democratic strategist” Kirsten Powers appeared on The Factor last night, paired with tough-talking Michelle Malkin.

Mr. O was complaining about liberal bias; he said the press has shown such bias in the way it has treated security leaks. (They criticized the leak about Valerie Plame—but they cheered the leak about secret prisons.) But near the end of the segment, it happened. Omigod! What an opening! Mr. O directly asked Powers about the coverage of Campaign 2000:

POWERS (4/27/06): I'm worried about the press, but I don't think it's ideological. I think it's more a corporate agenda or a salacious agenda. There are other things that drive them.

O'REILLY: You don't think the New York Times is ideological?

POWERS: The mainstream media was behind the Bush administration, locked up 100 percent, up until the war. They're not liberal. That's not liberal.

O'REILLY: But that's because of the war on terror.

POWERS: No, it's not.

O'REILLY: That's what skewed it out. In 2000, when he won the election, come on! You're telling me that the mainstream media was happy about that?

Omigod! Finally—at last! The perfect chance to tell the world about Campaign 2000! In 2000, the press corps pandered and fawned to Bush—and conducted a twenty-month war against Gore. And here was the chance to tell two million viewers about this important recent history! At last, “the folks” could hear all about it! But good lord! Here’s how Powers replied:
POWERS (continuing directly): I worked in the Clinton administration, and I don't remember the press being that nice to Bill Clinton. And I've worked on Democratic campaigns, and really think there is a problem with the media. I don't think that the problem is that they are pushing for an ideology. I just don't think they are invested in that.
Pathetic. I've worked on Democratic campaigns, and really think there is a problem with the media! But as we’ve long told you: For reasons only they can explain, Career Liberals simply refuse to discuss this part of our recent history. More specifically: Even when directly asked, Career Liberal Elites completely refuse to discuss Campaign 2000.

What an insult—and what an injustice—to those two million viewers.

Gore was slammed as fake, inauthentic; Kerry was subjected to the same scripts. And last weekend, a Matthews Show panel began to rehearse the script for applications in Campaign 08. And guess what? The script will keep working, again and again; it will work because of people like Powers. When will citizens get to hear the truth about their actual history? When will “progressives”—career liberals like Powers—condescend to tell voters the truth?

ON THE OTHER HAND: On the other hand, here’s Eric Boehlert at the Huffington Post, discussing the coverage of Candidate Gore. And here’s Kevin Drum at the Washington Monthly, discussing that New Republic profile of George Allen. It’s very unwise to go back to events from Allen’s high school days. But Kevin jumps, quite correctly, at the Allen campaign’s statement about “authenticity.” We ask a slightly different question, of course: In 2008, do we plan to let the mainstream press corps beat us to death with that old stick again? If not, we’ll have to push back hard—and we have to start pushing back now.

ON THE THIRD HAND: Mr. O gave Michelle the last word. Unlike Powers, she didn’t pull punches:

O'REILLY (continuing directly from above): All right. And I know—Michelle, I'm going to give you 15 seconds, because I know you disagree with that. You wrote a book about it.

MALKIN: I certainly did. I think it's dealing in unreality to deny liberal bias in the media.

O'REILLY: Ladies, always a pleasure.

As we’ve long told you: The other side keeps saying things which are false. We refuse to say what is true. Result? That script will work again in 08. It will work due to people like Powers.

Malkin pounded Powers last night. Due to the pitiful way we perform, it only took 15 seconds.

WE’VE BEEN GOOD ALL WEEK: All week, we held our counsel about that segment on last Sunday’s 60 Minutes. But what was wrong when Ed Bradley interviewed former CIA honcho Tyler Drumheller? In a nutshell, the problem is here, as Bradley discusses Bush’s 16 words—and that “uranium story:”

BRADLEY (4/23/06): So, let me see if I have—have it correct here. The United States gets a report that Saddam is trying to buy uranium from Africa, but you and—and many others in our intelligence quickly knock it down. And then the uranium story is removed from the speech that the president is to give in Cincinnati because the head of the CIA, George Tenet, doesn't believe in it?


BRADLEY: And then it appears in the State of the Union Address a short time later?

DRUMHELLER: As a British report, yeah.

BRADLEY: You oversaw all of the intelligence operations for the CIA in Europe?


BRADLEY: Do you think that the British had something that we didn't have?

DRUMHELLER: No, I don't think they did.

BRADLEY: The British maintain they have intelligence to support the story, but to this day, they have never shared it.

D’oh! Can you spot the logical problem? Drumheller—who has never seen the British intelligence—doesn’t think it’s any good. But the Brits—who have seen the British intelligence—still insist that it’s valid. And what does Bradley want us to do? He wants us to accept the view of the guy who hasn’t seen the British intelligence! Drumheller’s judgment might be right, of course. But given the logic of this odd situation, there’s no real way that we can know that. Or, if there is a way to know, Bradley didn’t ask what it is. Handed the conclusion he wanted, he simply moved ahead.

But then, we thought Bradley’s report was just awful throughout. Have you ever wondered how 60 Minutes was dumb enough to air that report about Bush and the National Guard—the bungled report which helped Bush so much in the fall of 2004? Watching Bradley blunder and spin, we thought we finally understood. Was there any part of this report that didn’t seem to come from a Gong Show out-take? For example, the “uranium story” that was removed from Bush’s Cincinnati speech (see above) was different from the “uranium story” in the 16 words. But you wouldn’t know that from Bradley’s presentation—in fact, he implies just the opposite. And his work was that bad throughout. Consider this segment with Joe Wilson—a segment which is not Wilson’s fault:

BRADLEY (taped interview): If Saddam Hussein had acquired 500 tons of yellowcake uranium in violation of UN sanctions, that would be pretty serious, wouldn't it?

WILSON: Absolutely, certainly. And the fact that he was—there was an allegation out there that he was even attempting to purchase 500 tons of uranium was very serious because it essentially meant that they were restarting their nuclear programs.

BRADLEY: Wilson spent eight days in Niger looking for signs of a secret deal to send yellowcake to Iraq. He spoke to government officials who would have known about such a transaction. No one did. There had been a meeting between Iraqis and Nigeriens in 1999 but Wilson was told uranium had never been discussed. He also found no evidence that Iraq had even been interested in buying uranium.

WILSON (taped interview): I concluded that it could not have happened.

BRADLEY: And at the end of that eight-day stay, did you have any lingering doubts?

WILSON: No, no.

BRADLEY: Absolutely none?


“I concluded that it could not have happened,” Wilson says, in the taped segment. But what exactly “could not have happened?” From context, it seems that Wilson concluded that there could not have been “a transaction” which sent that uranium to Iraq. But Bush didn’t claim, in his famous 16 words, that Iraq had ever completed a purchase—and Wilson didn’t claim, in his famous Times column, that Iraq could never have made an attempt. (He said it was highly unlikely that a purchase could have been made, due to international supervision.) Sought vs. bought! The millionaire press corps—people like Bradley—have been flummoxed by this distinction right from Day One. How could they have so dumb in the fall of 04? Just watch Bradley last weekend.

What was comic about this report? In this report, we’re essentially asked to accept the judgments and narratives of a single source—Drumheller—because we agree with his conclusions. But that’s exactly what Drumheller says the Bush Administration was doing! (As a general matter, he’s surely right.) Meanwhile, our analysts started a bit when Drumheller played some Hardball on Tuesday (guest host, David Gregory). Here’s his assessment of Saddam’s WMD. He refers to information obtained surreptitiously in the fall of 02 from Naji Sabri, Iraq`s foreign minister:

GREGORY (4/25/06): So you get this pipeline of information—what did [Sabri] tell you?

DRUMHELLER: He gave us a report in the middle of September of 2002 that was—this came to us through an intermediary, but we were able to verify it—that the, that Saddam had no—had, wanted nuclear weapons but didn’t have, was at least 18 months to two years away from nuclear weapons if they were able to get the fissile material to produce them. So they didn’t even have the fissile material at that point, so they were at least 18 months to two years away. And then—

GREGORY: So, bottom line, summer of 2002, Saddam does not have a nuclear weapon. Does he have an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction?

DRUMHELLER: No. And the biological weapons that were described to us as basically a chemistry set-type of capability, that was all destroyed after the first Gulf War.

GREGORY: But nothing that could threaten U.S. troops, nothing that could threaten our allies, nothing that could threaten the United States.

DRUMHELLER: There was no immediate threat to U.S troops. There were chemical weapons that he described as gas, but they were distributed through the political leaders around the country. And so—and the army, the military didn’t have access to them. And those were not found after the war, so we don`t know what happened.

Good grief! According to Drumheller, Saddam did have chemical weapons—we just don’t know what happened to them. And in theory, he could have had a nuke in as little as 18 months. We haven’t heard that gloomy an account of Saddam’s WMD in the past several years. The Bush Admin should sign this guy up. To our ears, he makes them sound brilliant.

MEANWHILE, IS THIS GUY EVER NOT WRONG: On April 10, two major journalists—Shuster and Olbermann—made a truly amazing statement (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/11/06). Each said that the 10/02 National Intelligence Estimate did not include the claim that Iraq was “vigorously trying to procure uranium.” (Translation: Neither guy had bothered to read it.) This week, it was Larry Johnson’s turn. See sentence one in paragraph 3. But then, paragraph 2 is wrong as well. (From the National Intelligence Estimate: “DOE agrees that reconstitution of the nuclear program is underway.”) Paragraph 4, and enjoy a dark chuckle: “Of course, Bush ignored these hard facts.”

What was common about these reports? At The Lake, they approvingly linked both times! Remember the rule, so widely accepted: When sources agree with our conclusions, we rush to applaud things they’ve said.