Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Novak's Replacement Might Be Most Callous Man in America

It's painful to watch the maniacal shoutfests that pass for debate on CNN's Crossfire. And it's sad that the show helps legitimize liars like Robert Novak.

But the worst thing about Crossfire is that it helped create a generation of copycat shoutfests, where the spinner who helps loudest and most often wins, facts be damned. As Jon Stewart argued, Crossfire is to debate what pro wrestling is to professional sports.

Because any bozo with a Crossfire microphone can influence a small segment of the electorate, I introduce to you Tony Fabrizio, Republican consultant and pollster. Fabrizio, along with Philadelphia talk show host Joe Watkins, helped fill in for Novak on Friday's show.

Fabrizio knew his marching orders. He was to fill Novak's shoes, support the president, and offer red-meat for Crossfire's audience. And Fabrizio showed he had the chops to be as callous and devoid of facts as Novak and the Republican leadership they so desperately want to keep in office.

The discussion Friday regarded a powerful ad that can be seen at http://www.winbackrespect.org/ads/

Here's a partial transcript of that debate:

BEGALA: There is a new ad from MoveOn PAC that is going to start on Monday that CNN was able to obtain today from MoveOn. It is really quite stunning and stark. And it takes on the president for making light of the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Here's the ad from MoveOn.


BUSH: Those weapons of mass destruction have got to be somewhere.


BUSH: Nope, no weapons over there.

BROOKE CAMPBELL, SISTER OF KILLED U.S. SOLDIER: My brother died in Baghdad on April 29. I watched President Bush make a joke looking around for weapons of mass destruction. My brother died looking for weapons of mass destruction.

NARRATOR: Over 1,000 troops like Ryan have died in Iraq. Yet there never were any weapons. George Bush, he just doesn't get it


BEGALA: Devastating ad, isn't that, Tony?


FABRIZIO: I would agree that it is a very emotional ad. But the ad makes the wrong point. The ad draws the wrong conclusion. When the ad says that her brother lost his life looking for weapons of mass destruction, no. Her brother lost his life protecting America by removing a man from power who was a sworn enemy of the United States.

BEGALA: From weapons of mass destruction that weren't there.



BEGALA: Tony, you do have to admit that it is spectacularly callous for our president to send troops into harm's way for a stated purpose of finding weapons that were not there and then to make jokes about it, when men have died....



FABRIZIO: No, I'll tell you what is spectacularly callous. What is spectacularly callous is that the Clinton administration had eight years to do something about these guys and didn't.

BEGALA: We had them in a box. He was no threat to anybody. What are you drinking?


BEGALA: I want to get a case of it.


FABRIZIO: We had him a box? Oh, really?

BEGALA: Yes. He was no threat to anybody. He had no weapons.


FABRIZIO: I'm drinking the same Kool-Aid that a majority of Americans are, who believe that this president is doing the right thing when it comes to fighting the war on terror. That is the Kool- Aid I'm drinking.



I ask you, when did debate devolve into smack-and-run tactics? When did "coward conservatism" -- the need to insult your opponent's liberalism, rather than defend your own conservatism -- become the preferred method of debate?

In a way, I don't blame Fabrizio. He's taking his marching orders from some higher-up, following the lead of Bush and Cheney, Rove and Hughes. He's following the lead of Novak, too. No news item is too large or sad to divert them from twisting the history and statements of John Kerry in order to make him look like an unpatriotic sloth -- much as they did in 2000 with John McCain.

I have to assume Fabrizio had never seen the advertisement before Friday's Crossfire. And yet, he was able to summon a lethal, politically charged attack that got the crowd cheering.

And what of Brooke Campbell, still mourning her brother? Fabrizio, the true conservative patriot that he is, knew how to respond. He doesn't care about the Campbells, and he damn well wants to make sure you don't either.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the case with most Bush spin and deception, Fabrizio is not even accurate. Most polls that I've read show the majority of Americans DISAPPROVE of Bush's handling of Iraq and do not think the War in Iraq is related to the broader war on terror.
However, it can be said the majority of American sheep appear to have bought into the Karl Rove-style lies as evidenced by the audience cheering at Fabrizio's bullsh_.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ok, so if majority of the public disapproves of the iraq war (i agree- although i am not sure whether that means the handling of post war or whether they think Bush, knowing what he knew at the time, was wrong to go into iraq) and i would have to think the majority also think the economy isnt doing too well---well, how will someone explain it if he wins another term. they either think Kerry will be worse or I am missing something big.

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am curious. has bill clinton ever come out specifically and said the iraq war is wrong. not the handling of post war but the removal of hussein. someone in my office said today he hasnt and that he doesnt agree with the position that Kerry and the democrats have taken but is keeping his mouth shut. find this hard to believe....

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kerry has never said removing Saddam was a bad thing.

He has repeatedly said that Bush's handling of the war, specifically after the "Mission Accomplished" period, has been horrendous.

I just went to the link above and saw the commercial. This guy Fabrizio is a real ass.

5:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

huh? what does JK mean when he says wrong war/ wrong place/ wrong time. seems to me he is saying that based on the evidence, or based on what he now knows, he doesnt think we should have gone into iraq. i still am not sure his position on whether based on the evidence at the time, whether he would have gone in. but i think it is pretty clear that he doesnt think we should have gone-meaning not removing hussein. i happen to think based on the current evidence, that this is reasonable. But I am wondering about Clinton.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above posting brings up a revealing argument. He or she was not sure what Kerry meant by wrong war/wrong time. If you truely want clarification by what he meant go to johnkerry.com.
A huge problem is all these undecideds who walk around fretting to the press, "Doyee, gee I don't know who to vote for this time. Bush is such a blundering idiot. But I'm not certain what Kerry stands for, dah. I wish the press would report something besides spin so we could decide, doyee. dah."
My challenge to such undecideds.
If you REALLY REALLY CARE, there is plenty of spin-free analysis available if you'd only take a few moments to look for it. Many even mainstream media sites like MSNBC have side by side columns representing each candidate's stand on the most important issues, i.e. Iraq, healthcare, the economy. etc.
Simularilly, the Star Ledger is among newspapers now offering a daily series of side-by-side analysis detailing each candidate's positions on the issues and reasons behind their positions.
There would not be such great numbers of undecideds if they would only do their homework.
I think the problem with many undecideds is that they are not informed. They are then too lazy to seek out the widely available objective info that would help them make up their minds.
They fear being spun, but don't want to make an effort to hear or read anything but spin. These undecideds deserve what they get this election.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In hindsite as a footnote to my above posting, I only meant that the above blogger brought up an issue of people desiring clarification on the two candidates. I didn't mean to imply in anyway the individual was one of the confused, undecided voters.
Back on the topic of those undecided would-be voters, I also wanted to add that they should weigh in their read of current events, as well as the objective analysis, in making their decision.

8:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

johnkerry.com is not necessarily an honest means, nor should be, of truly understanding his positions. First of all, it doesnt often give enough depth. The benefit a challenger has is that they need not talk about what has happened on their watch---they can just make promises, empty or not, about what to do in the future. This is what Kerry does as every challenger has since the dawn of time. However, he doesnt sell himself that well. What he is best at is pointing out where Bush hasnt done well (which luckily for him gives him alot to discuss), not what he would clearly do differently, especially on foreign policy. And both candidates' suggested future policies are unnaffordable no matter how you slice it so barring another technology boom, they will increase the deficit (or raise taxes).

I believe that Kerry's position on iraq is as follows and please correct me where i am wrong:
He thought in 2002 Hussein was a threat but not an imminent one. He voted to authorize the use of force because he felt the president needed authority in dealing with the UN and did not authorize him to really use it without continuing down the path of further inspections. When Bush went into Iraq, he disagreed with the move. Although he made statements to the contrary during the aftermath, he seems to be of the opinion that while Hussein out of power is good, we had no business removing him. Of course he now says, based on evidence, that that may not be true since we may not be safer with him out of power. He thinks the war in iraq is wrong but since we are there, we now have to win it. He doesnt see it as the war on terror necessarily but recognizes we are in it to win it. He expects international assistance although none seems forthcoming even if he wins. He is pretty much in the Dean camp on Iraq right now although he wasnt in the primaries (although Deans view may now have been proven the strongest). He sees a need for more troops in iraq and overall, only sees the draft coming if Bush wins, expects we need to spend more for out troops but also thinks we have spent far too much taxpayer money on this wrong war. Hmmmmm....I am getting confused writing this. Funny thing is, my view is not far from his except that Kerry makes grandiose statements that are ridiculous. I believe that knowing what we know now to be the truth about WMDs, we would not have invaded (Bush wouldnt have either no matter what he clings to now). Based on what we knew then, it was debatable but not necessarily wrong to take action. I agree we need to win it and I wish we didnt have to pay for it. I also wish for international help but am more realistic about that. I think it perfectly reasonable to relieve a commander in chief who has bungled the job so far and give someone new a chance. But other than firing a guy for screwing up, i dont see Kerry with any clear plan for how to succeed--but hey, why not give him a shot at a difficult situation.

You cant expect people to read 260 page documents on websites for plans for the country. Also, his own stump speeches dont always follow what the website says are his positions (true of bush also)

As far as me, I am pretty well informed as I follow politics, legislation, spin etc....partly for my own sake and partly for my job. However, I have to say that i believe it is a failing of John Kerry's campaign that this late in the game, people are still confused-even well informed people-over some of his positions on important matters. To direct someone to his website, while informative, should not be entirely necessary when running an effective campaign. I read Kerry's four part plan for iraq some time ago and started laughing. The plans are more like hopes and dreams that we all have. And i think Bush has handled iraq terribly. but johnkerry.com doesnt shed much light on this. where on the site can i get an understanding of the wrong war....comment? Since he uses it all the time, dont you think I should already know what it means? The blame for the fact I am unsure? Either I am an idiot (which my polls suggest is incorrect), the press wont tell the "true" story, or JK has not been effective in selling his message. I vote for the latter. Blame is on him.

The way I look at it is you cant have it both ways. If Kerry believes the war was wrong and wouldnt have gone in period, then fine. Many will agree with that. BUt that means Hussein remains in power. Doesnt mean he thinks Hussein is a good guy-but it does mean he would leave him in power. End of story. I was just unsure if Clinton feels the same way. I dont think it is important and was just curious.

By the way, the most important "issue" to come out in the last few days is that Rehquist is sick. Not enough time has been spent on the fact that the next president will likely reshape the court for many years to come. That, to me, is scary if Bush remains in office.

2:18 PM  

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