Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Alternate Universe Of Conservative Pundits

On this morning's edition of Fox News Sunday, conservative pundits Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol labeled Democrats who oppose the transfer of six U.S. ports to a United Arab Emirates-owned company "demagogues," but refused to criticize like-minded Republicans.

Kristol added that Democrats were "idiots" for the way they are handling the issue. Krauthammer suggested Democrats were pursuing the issue because they were too naive to make a distinction between "moderate" Arab countries and unfriendly Arab countries.

But even when prompted on the subject, both Krauthammer and Kristol refused to criticize Republicans opposing the transfer. In their alternate universe, the debate over the port transfers is between Congressional Democrats and the Bush Administration.

This hypocritical stance has become a regular spin line for conservative pundits.

On Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes last week, host Sean Hannity questioned Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) as to why he was opposing the port transfer -- not on the merits of the argument, but because it created an opening for the "Clinton, Schumer, Kerry Democrats" to loudly oppose the deal.

Meanwhile, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham last week discussed at length how Democrats were being opportunists, only concerned with improving their collective chances during mid-term elections this November.

This is what passes for "debating the issue" among the conservative media. If Congressional Democrats and Republicans agree to oppose the Bush Administration, Democrats are wrong. Republicans? Nothing to see here ... nothing to see.

22 Comments:

Blogger Jobe said...

Why is this not surprising? And they call the media, liberal. Yea, right, whatever.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"On this morning's edition of Fox News Sunday, conservative pundits Charles Krauthammer and Bill Kristol labeled Democrats who oppose the transfer of six U.S. ports to a United Arab Emirates-owned company "demagogues," but refused to criticize like-minded Republicans."


Just a guess, but I'd say that's because Republicans have a more solid record when it comes to looking out for our national security. Most of the Democrat leadership does not. They've never supported profiling before, so why now? I wrote about that here, under "Consistency, thou art a jewel." :)

http://jabbs.blogspot.com/2006/02/bush-threatens-to-veto-legislation.html#comments

7:27 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity, there's no room here for sweeping, empty Rovian conservative talking points like
"Republicans have a more solid record when it comes to looking out for our national security."
unless you can provide some more convincing historical, objective proof of that claim.
Democrats from presidents Bill Clinton to Harry Truman to Lyndon S. Johnson to Franklin D. Roosevelt have all taken extraordinary tough measures on national security and foreign policy.
We could debate all night on the ultimate effectiveness of those policies, just as we could debate all night on the effectiveness of the alleged tougher policies of Republican-dominated Congress since Bush took office.
But the notion of Republicans as tougher on national security is a baseless, one-sided conservative spin point.
If you care to see the Democrats true, logical approach to national security and terrorism -- on the chance you missed it under the conservative noise machine during the 2004 elections --I found here a good summary:
http://www.collegedems.com/informed/issues/positionpaper/terrorism.php

Educate yourself.

10:34 AM  
Anonymous ABLE DANGER said...

While clearly this is a situation where demagoguery is bound to occur. At least this time there is some substance behind the demagogues. And at least Democrats have finally admitted that some degree of racial and religious profiling is vital to the success in the war against terror. We're finally beginning to heed the warning of Dr. Savage when he says: "Know your Enemy." Let's hope it continues.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

This has nothing to do with racial profiling. Only someone who believes in racial profiling -- which is illegal -- would draw that conclusion.

Democrats believe in facts. The fact is that the UAE has a mixed track record on terrorism. The Democrats believe that there should be oversight (as do many Republicans). Only the simpletons in the Bush Administration, placing politics above national security, are suggesting this is a "routine" deal that doesn't need further scrutiny.

It would be racial profiling if the UAE had a stellar track record of fighting terrorism, had no known ties to Al Qaeda or other terrorists, and still people didn't trust them because they were Arabs. That's not the case here.

11:30 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Just a guess, but I'd say that's because Republicans have a more solid record when it comes to looking out for our national security.>>

That would be a guess based on the spin the Bush Administration and its cohorts in the conservative media have been feeding you, Trinity.

The Katrina debacle proved how poorly prepared DHS is. And the decision by Congressional Republicans -- supported by the administration -- to allow private industry to dictate their security provisions (chemical plant operators, nuclear plant operators) etc., is a decision Republicans favor and Democrats oppose, and I think the Democrats have it right. The decision by Congressional Republicans to not approve spending for rail security, even after the London and Madrid bombings, is a decision Democrats oppose, and I think the Democrats have it right.

And a host of people on the right and the left are baffled by the Bush Administration's continued lack of attention to border security. And, in spite of pledges to the contrary, port security is actually weaker -- fewer containers are examined -- than before 9/11.

So other than spin, how exactly have the Republicans been strong on homeland security?

11:35 AM  
Blogger texasbunch said...

If I am not badly mistaken, a journalist is to be non partisan in their reporting irregardless of their political beliefs! Here you are advocating partisanship because YOU PERSONALLY don't approve of the presidents policies! Your type of journalist is what has given the main stream media a bad name! We the public do NOT give a damn about what YOU think about any particular person, or event; what we do care about is that you stick to the old adage of; WHO,WHAT,WHEN, WHERE, and HOW!!Leave your opinions to the opinion section, not on the front page!!

12:22 PM  
Anonymous Ditto said...

citx: Your point is 100% correct in theory, yet it would be more valid if the Right's primary spokesmen, the Rush O'Hannity's, would make it more clear to their viewers that they are commercial entertainers, commentators, and opinionists themselves and not "journalists".

If the agreement to transfer 21 ports from a private British company to a state-owned UAE should NOT be thwarted because these are "friendly Arabs" and we need to do everything we can for the sake of "Americas reputation" among Arabs - how about starting with fixing our "terrorist" prisons and saying and meaing 'no' to torture as a tool of war. That might ring more clearly to the Arab street than maintaining this secret, shady deal.

12:47 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Concerned in Texas -- this is a blog. This is not the front page of the NY Times. Note the difference.

Why is it that some people have such a hard time with freedom of speech?

12:57 PM  
Anonymous underpants said...

Since when does anything the Dems say or do even register?

I'm sorry weren't the mics cut off at one hearing?
Haven't the Dems had to have TWO hearings (elections and Plame) in the basement of the Capital?
Isn't every single push by the Dems disregarded from the beginning by ALL pundits?
Didn't millions march in the streets to only have "thousands" mentioned in a 10 second news blurb?

The Dems can do and say all they want. None of this got any attention until a Republican or two popped their head up and mentioned how dumb this sounded.

They are basically trying to (for some reason) pull out the Schiavo playbook again and create mythical opposition to a make believe issue.

12:59 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

To clarify my above statement, any one can make a generalization of either political party, but you better be able to support that generalization with specific, relevant facts.
As Rob of Wilmington pointed out here, the facts here just don't reflect Republicans as stronger on national security. Hence, a claim that the Dems are weak would not be adapted by any truely open-minded, well-rounded and intelligent individual.

And, I agree profiling is indeed NOT an issue here. This is the position of the Democrats ACCORDING to the Republicans, which is too lazilly adapted by the MSM in order to obfuscate the Democrats' true position.
Why the MSM does this?
It does not want to offend the Bush Administration too much, so in the name of being "balanced" it stenographs the Republicans shoving a racial profiling argument down the Dems' throad.
Truth and relevancy be damned.

1:48 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

thewaronterrible said...
"Democrats from presidents Bill Clinton to Harry Truman to Lyndon S. Johnson to Franklin D. Roosevelt have all taken extraordinary tough measures on national security and foreign policy."


Thankfully you had the good grace to leave Jimmy Carter off that list, twot. Of course, then you lost credibility by mentioning Clinton. Many people, including myself, would take issue with your characterization of Clinton being extraordinarily tough on national security though.

"But the notion of Republicans as tougher on national security is a baseless, one-sided conservative spin point.

That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. I wouldn't expect a biased, partisan, liberal Bush-basher such as yourself to say anything different.

If you care to see the Democrats true, logical approach to national security and terrorism -- on the chance you missed it under the conservative noise machine during the 2004 elections --I found here a good summary:

Is that the correct URL? If so, please explain to me why I should care what the College Democrats of America have to say? In my post I specifically stated that your party's leadership does not exactly have a solid record on fighting terrorism. People like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, and that ilk. What have they done to enhance our national security?

"Educate yourself."

As for those constant snotty comments you keep directing at me, twot, I'm very close to putting you on "ignore". In fact, I may just already be there.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

ABLE DANGER said...
"While clearly this is a situation where demagoguery is bound to occur. At least this time there is some substance behind the demagogues."


You're right, ABLE DANGER, in the sense that this issue is definitely worthy of debate. Still, knowing that some of the criticism is coming from people who more times than not seem to come down on the side of the terrorists, rather than support this administration's efforts, well, you can understand why conservatives are a little upset.

"And at least Democrats have finally admitted that some degree of racial and religious profiling is vital to the success in the war against terror."

The left's success in promoting their agenda of political correctness has succeeded in making it virtually impossible for anyone to use some time-honored and effective investigative tools. I'm not talking about abuses, I'm talking about plain old common sense.

This is very evident in the "random" manner in which airline passengers are pulled out of line. It's pretty foolish to hamstring security's ability to conduct screening of young, Arab-looking men, and instead focus on little children and old people. It makes no sense.

4:59 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Trinity, I think underpants above clearly stated the difficulties Dems, as the minority party, have encountered in trying to propose improved security measures in a Republican-controlled congress and media.
Why don't you instead focus on the failures of your own parties' leadership -- the party in control -- in the area of national secuity. These include failing grades from the 9-11 Commission for enacting homeland security measures, the recent cutting off of funding to National Guard troops, considered by both parties to greatly jeopardize security at home http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2006/2/27/92119.shtml?s=us, an incompetent Katrina response, failing to capture Bin Laden, signing a ports contract with a country having known ties to Al Queda, the Taliban and 9-11, steering away the focus of the nation's intelligence agencies from Al Queda in the months preceeding 9-11; cutting the budget for homeland security initiatives, etc. I could go on and on with claims finding support in objective facts and mostly bipartisan criticisms.

Focus on your own parties' weaknesses instead of making a baseless unfounded claim that Dems are weak on security.
Also reread the post from Rob of Wilmington above.
It was only an oversight that I didn't include Carter in my list, whom I think deserves as much if not more credit for ending the cold war as does Regan.
I provided a link to the college Democrats only because I think the group does a good job summarizing the overall position of Democrats on national security and terrorism. Once again, you see fit to attack the messenger instead of the message.
This is my last response to Trinity I will post here.

5:14 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

rob of wilmington, del. said...
"This has nothing to do with racial profiling. Only someone who believes in racial profiling -- which is illegal -- would draw that conclusion."


Right. I believe that there are times when profiling is effective, and even necessary. If someone who looked like me and drove a similar car just shot someone, and an APB that went out resulted in a policeman pulling me over to ask me some questions, I wouldn't get all bent out of shape. These are extraordinary times, and I don't think we should be afraid to protect ourselves.

The fact is that the UAE has a mixed track record on terrorism. The Democrats believe that there should be oversight (as do many Republicans).

I agree with you, rob, about the UAE's past spotty record, and also on the idea of oversight. I'm sure the entire secret CFIUS vetting process will now be retooled to better serve our national security.

At the same time, it's entirely possible that the UAE has proven themselves to be trustworthy in their partnership with the U.S. to fight terrorism. If we trust them enough to dock our warships at UAE facilities, and use UAE airfields for support missions to Iraq and Afghanistan, then perhaps we are indeed overreacting to this whole issue.

"Only the simpletons in the Bush Administration, placing politics above national security, are suggesting this is a "routine" deal that doesn't need further scrutiny."

I would agree with your criticism of the Bush Administration to a point, rob. I don't think the DP World deal is routine either. In fairness, though, even the administration's high officials and the President himself were rather blindsided by the way this story broke. It caught them flatfooted without much time to react.

As far as your claim that the President put politics above national security, however, that still remains to be seen. It could very well be that after more extensive investigating, DP World ends up being approved yet again. Then again, perhaps not. We shall see.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Trinity, the CFIUS vetting process should have been targeting national security from the get-go. That's why the DHS and DOD are represented. It's ridiculous that neither Chertoff nor Rumsfeld knew about the deal.

That said, there's no excuse for the story breaking to have caught this administration "flatfooted."

This administration increasingly has a tin ear as to how the news will play -- not by the media, but with the American people. No matter how the media portrayed it, the idea of an Arab anything controlling U.S. ports, with the president and key cabinet secretaries unaware of the deal, sounds foolish.

As for the pros and cons of UAE, I think any entity that flip-flops from one side of the terrorism war to the other in a short period has to earn trust. Oversight is the way to go about that. Or, as you suggested earlier, having a U.S. decision-making board, even with UAE money behind the company.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

rob of wilmington, del. said...
"So other than spin, how exactly have the Republicans been strong on homeland security?"


Rob, you made some valid and specific points in your post. Without getting into the whole Katrina mess, or whether or not it was a good idea to combine FEMA and DHS, I acknowledge that there were mistakes made in the wake of that disaster. It was a tragic, horrendous set of circumstances.

When I get defensive on this site it's because so often when I voice another view of an issue, such as pointing out that local and state governments in New Orleans made their share of mistakes as well, I'm accused of using Republican talking points. Well, if what I say are real facts, why can't they simply be acknowledged as such? Why are they not worth mentioning?

In any case, with regard to my claim that Republicans are stronger on issues of national security than Democrats are, I do not come to that conclusion solely from listening to the conservative media, as you suggest, but rather, from listening to Democrats themselves when they attack President Bush on national security issues like the Patriot Act, the NSA surveillance issue, Abu Graib, Guantanamo, etc. One would think from listening to your party's leaders that this president is our enemy, and not al Qaeda. That bothers me.

That's why I'm suspicious when suddenly I'm hearing Democrats express concern that this port deal might actually make us vulnerable to being attacked. They don't seem to recognize that intercepting communications from al Qaeda types is also necessary if we expect to thwart another terrorist attack. They'd rather accuse Bush of breaking the law.

I've watched the Dems back-pedal on their support of the Iraq war, introducing the word "quagmire" very early on in their efforts to repeat the Vietnam syndrome by trying to turn public opinion against it. I hear them calling Bush a liar, when they've all said exactly the same thing themselves. I see them fighting to give terrorists our own citizen's civil rights and so make it more difficult to hold them accountable.

And rob, I don't remember David ever blogging about the border issue since I've been posting here, but you'll never see me supporting or defending President Bush's immigration policy. It has always been the one biggest issue on which I disagree with him. Not that I've seen any great suggestions coming from Democrats on this.

7:18 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

rob of wilmington, del. said...
"Trinity, the CFIUS vetting process should have been targeting national security from the get-go. That's why the DHS and DOD are represented. It's ridiculous that neither Chertoff nor Rumsfeld knew about the deal."


I agree, but it seems that most of this vetting is done by the deputy secretaries.

No matter how the media portrayed it, the idea of an Arab anything controlling U.S. ports, with the president and key cabinet secretaries unaware of the deal, sounds foolish.

Without a doubt.

I don't think you can include the Cheney hunting accident in that "tin ear" category though, rob. At this point in this administration, considering the constant bashing that goes on, I was fully supportive of the way Cheney handled that incident. We're only human, after all. I liked what he did there. Just being honest. :)

I did take umbrage, however, at the way the President characterized the criticism of the ports that came from his supporters. There IS a difference between a British company and one owned by the UAE. Pretending otherwise is just disingenuous. The reaction of the American people is natural and justified, imo.

7:31 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

underpants said...
"Since when does anything the Dems say or do even register?"


Underpants, right or wrong, that is the consequence of losing elections. God knows, the Dems shut the Reps out of the action for ages when they had the majority. This is nothing new.

The Republicans were shut out for so long, in fact, they still sometimes act like they're in the minority. I feel like smacking someone upside the head when they let the Dems get away with things like threatening the unprecedented act of filibustering the president's judicial nominees.

Conversely, the Dems still forget from time to time that they are not in the majority. :)

7:39 PM  
Anonymous trinity said...

rob of wilmington, del. said...
"As for the pros and cons of UAE, I think any entity that flip-flops from one side of the terrorism war to the other in a short period has to earn trust. Oversight is the way to go about that."


Yes, congressional oversight to make this whole process more transparent is very important. Maybe the secret process was okay in 1988, I don't know, but certainly not in today's world.

Put this back in the hands of elected officials who can be held responsible for their decisions, not unaccountable bureaucrats.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Baseless conservative spin point Number One:
"They don't seem to recognize that intercepting communications from al Qaeda types is also necessary if we expect to thwart another terrorist attack. They'd rather accuse Bush of breaking the law."

No Democrat has EVER EVER suggested the Bush Administration should not spy on Al Quaeda. The argument has been he should do it in the way prescribed under law, i.e. get a warrant under a system of checks and balances, to protect civil rights of innocents who the reports show have gotten caught up in the process, and to prevent the president or future presidents from abusing the practice.

Baseless conservative spin point number Two:
"from listening to Democrats themselves when they attack President Bush on national security issues like the Patriot Act, the NSA surveillance issue, Abu Graib, Guantanamo, etc. One would think from listening to your party's leaders that this president is our enemy, and not al Qaeda. That bothers me."

The Democrats are not favoring Al Qaeda over Bush. This is a complete falsehood pegged onto my party.
The Democrats are again asking the president to obey the law of the land. The Constitution and its systems of checks and balances was designed to protect innocents from historically proven abusive and overreaching governments. The Constitution is the only thing that sets apart America apart from fascist, monarchial, socialist or communist states and all their criminal, murderous abuses of human rights. The Democrats recognize without a strict adherence to the laws under the constitution, a Democracy cannot exist.

And for whatever reasons you find to give President Bush credibility in the areas of security and the protection of human rights, you must remember that the Bush Administration sets an example for all future governments which might not be as cautious.

Baseless conservative spinpoint Number Three:

"I've watched the Dems back-pedal on their support of the Iraq war, introducing the word "quagmire" very early on in their efforts to repeat the Vietnam syndrome by trying to turn public opinion against it. I hear them calling Bush a liar, when they've all said exactly the same thing themselves."

It should be well-known by now that Democrats did not have anywhere near the same access to intelligence as the Bush Administration in the run-up to the war, nor were they given the same intelligence that Bush had. This is a documented finding of the Congressional Review Office.
Many congressional Democrats affirm they would not have taken the same position on the Iraq War had they known what has since become available about pre-War intelligence.
This factual info should not have to be repeated to conservatives, just as it should no longer have to be repeated that no evidence exists of a connection between Sadaam and 9-11.

Baseless conservative spinpoint Number Four:

" I see them fighting to give terrorists our own citizen's civil rights and so make it more difficult to hold them accountable."

No Democrat has ever EVER suggested that terrorists once actually known to be a terrorist should be treated differently than regular citizens. Democrats insist that everyone is entitled to the same due process until proven guilty. Did you ever think it could very well be your own mother or your own best friend swept up in a unchecked government terrorist surveillance or imprisonment net.
Such protections outlined under law once again sets our country apart from China, Russia, Somalia, Iran, North Korea, etc.
Again, Democrats recognize without a strict adherence to the Constitution, no Democracy can exist. Without laws, our country means nothing.

Baseless conservative spin point Number Five:
"When I get defensive on this site it's because so often when I voice another view of an issue, such as pointing out that local and state governments in New Orleans made their share of mistakes as well,"

I think the Katrina report from Congress has emphasized the Bush Administration was to have taken the leadership role in the Katrina response. The buck has to stop somewhere.

I could go on. Baseless, one-sided conservative spinpoints spawned from the likes of the RNC, Rove, Limbaugh, Levin, Hannity, Coulter, etc. rely on preconceived bullshit perceptions of Democrats fatally wrong at their core. These positions fail to seek out or even make an attempt to represent the true position of Democrats.
I agree it can get pretty boring having to reiterated the position of my party to misguided, misinformed conservatives.
But I will fight to the end of my days if I have to to ensure the position of my party is accurately represented.

11:59 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Here it is in the news that the Coast Guard several weeks ago expressed that it could not determine whether the UAE port contract posed a security problem due to intelligence gaps.
The Bush Administration went ahead with the deal anyway.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/ports_security;_ylt=AiR59Lax2VqUX19Hc94WH6ms0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

7:47 AM  

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