Friday, May 19, 2006

The Liberal Media . . .

In this Tom Hennessey column, he criticizes the Democratic Party, quite heavily, for failing to make ‘political hay’ out of Republican failures. That’s an easy charge to make, but, it’s not accurate, nor is it fair.

Mr. Hennessy’s first criticism of the Democrats is that they did not seize on a story of a student and teacher in North Carolina who had their first amendment rights shredded in front of their faces. As if this has been the only case of American freedoms being scotched by the Bush Administration. I’m sure if this incident happened in California the story would have gotten a lot more attention. Instead of slamming the Democratic Party, Mr. Hennessey should be questioning the ethics of Wal-Mart and the employee who turned the student into the police.

But, Mr. Hennessey is correct in once sense . . . it seems we hear more from the Republicans than we do from the Democrats. Well, there are some very basic reasons, and none of them have anything to do with the Democrats being “lethargic, languid, lifeless, leaden, [or] lackadaisical”.

For those of you not schooled in American politics, the Republican Party controls the US House of Representatives and US Senate by having a MAJORITY in BOTH houses of Congress. They have a majority on EVERY committee and EVERY sub-committee in Congress, and they Chair ALL of the Committees. Of course, it should go without saying that the Republican Party also controls EVERY facet of the Executive Branch – read: The President of the United States is a Republican. The MAJORITY of the Supreme Court Justices are also Republican. So, EVERY branch of the government is controlled by the Republicans – read: They have ALL the power and control. When you have ALL the power and control, one thing you can do is dominate the media.

Just check out these stats regarding the number of guest appearances by Democrats and Republicans on the Sunday morning talk shows. Elected Republican appearances far outweigh that of Elected Democrat appearances.

2001 R = 65.1% D = 34.9%

2002 R = 62.4% D = 37.6%

2003 R = 59.9% D = 40.2%

2004 R = 53.8% D = 46.2% (note: Presidential Election Year, so ‘equal time’ came into play)

2005 R = 61.6% D = 38.4%

So you can see from these numbers that you are far more likely to hear the Republican point of view over and over and over again . . . and the same goes for the radio talk shows which are overwhelmingly Conservative, and supporting a Republican point of view . . . it’s called the Elephant Echo Chamber. If you want to charge that Democrats haven’t established the institutions (media outlets, and think tanks) at the pace and level that Republicans have, that’s fine and fair. But to charge that Democrats don’t attempt to make ‘political hay’ is a little lot narrow.

So, the story shouldn’t be about what the Democrats aren’t doing, though that’s what Mr. Hennessy chose to dedicate his 543 word column to. Rather, Mr. Hennessy should be discussing the Republican failures (to be fair, he does from time-to-time). Instead, we’re offered up this gem, “For all the opportunities they have had, the Dems show no leadership, no initiative.”

I guess Mr. Hennessey has never heard Representative John Murtha, a one time supporter of the war, and decorated military veteran who is now calling for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by the end of the year. I guess Mr. Hennessy has never heard of Senator Russ Feingold, who made an effort to get the US Senate to censure President Bush for his abuse of power in spying on American citizens. He did that knowing that the Democrats were the minority in the Senate, and that his measure would not pass . . . that didn’t stop him from trying to do the right thing. When we look back on this situation, he will be considered one of the few heroes to emerge. While they may not be enough leadership for Mr. Hennessey, to say there is none, is just plain balderdash.

Since the Democrats do show leadership, and initiative with no power, it does beg the question: What the have Republicans done with the power that they posses? Mr. Hennessey readily admits that Iraq is a ‘mess’, the response to Hurricane Katrina was ‘botched’, that Republicans in Washington are part of a culture of corruption, Republicans have leaked national security documents and information, and that Donald Rumsfeld is incompetent. Personally, I think that’s a mild description of the total and complete failure of the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress. Mr. Hennessey doesn’t even mention the greatest legacy that Republicans will leave behind . . . the largest budget deficit ever laid on the American people. The Republicans have basically maxed out a platinum credit card by buying a bunch of shit we don’t need . . . except they won’t be paying the bill . . . we will.

Mr. Hennessey says, “Democrats or Republicans, neither of us can be terribly proud of our party these days.”

I disagree, my friends.

We most certainly have not yet achieved our goals, and we must admit, we have much work to do if we are to achieve those goals. Nevertheless, we have much to be proud of. We didn’t start this war, we didn’t screw up the Katrina response, we didn’t appoint Donald Rumsfeld (we’ve asked for him to resign), we didn’t run up the deficit (Clinton left them with a surplus), we didn’t create the policies, and appoint the leadership responsible for the international embarrassment called Abu Ghraib, and Democrats aren’t being indicted on a monthly basis for crimes which you and I cannot ignore.

So while, this isn’t the ‘golden age’ for Democrats, the only thing we should be hanging our heads about is that we don’t have the power to stop this madness. That could begin to change this November.

And if it did, what would we have to look forward to . . . According to the New York Times, if “Representative John Conyers Jr. of Michigan, the Democrat who would become chairman of the Judiciary Committee if his party recaptured the House” would call for “an inquiry into the possible impeachment of President Bush over the war in Iraq.” Or take the example of Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont. “Mr. Leahy vowed in a recent interview to subpoena top administration officials, if he got the chance, to answer more questions about their secret eavesdropping program and what he considers faulty prewar intelligence.”

Hopefully, the American people are tired of being urinated on by the Republican Party.

Kosher Ham

PS – I managed to write this without mentioning Randy ‘Duke’ Cunningham, Tom Delay, Scooter Libby, Jack Abramoff, and the mess at the CIA.

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