I know I sound like a broken record, but that's what happens when the Beltway press corps embraces crushing uniformity; everybody just keeps repeating themselves.
-Fact: There are three key off-years elections today, with contests in N.Y., N.J., and VA. According to the polls, Dems could win one or two of those races.
-Fact: There are three key off-years elections today in N.Y., N.J., and VA. According to the polls, Republicans could win one, two, or three of those races.
So why do media elites only ponder the implications of Dems losing?
From the AP [emphasis added]:
In a very early test of President Barack Obama's political influence, two states are choosing whether to continue Democratic rule while voters elsewhere elect a handful of congressmen and big-city mayors.
Elected just a year ago, the president has spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to ensure that Democrats win governor's races in Virginia and New Jersey and pick up a GOP-held congressional seat in upstate New York.
In doing so, Obama raised the stakes of a low-enthusiasm off-year election season -- and risked political embarrassment if any lost.
All three could.
Do you follow? If three Dems "could" lose, than that's news. If two Republicans "could" lose, that's irrelevant.
As a bonus, the AP Liz Sidoti's election analysis is just plain dumb:
Of the two races, a Republican victory in Virginia would be the most telling about potential trouble ahead for Democrats as they compete in swing states next fall.
Long reliably Republican in national races, Virginia is a new swing state. It's home to a slew of northern bellwether counties filled with swing-voting independents who carried Obama to victory last fall, the first Democrat to win the state in a White House race since 1964. Rapidly growing counties like Loudoun and Prince William swung toward Democrats in the 2005 governor's race, previewing an Obama win three years later.
Conversely, New Jersey is a traditional Democratic-leaning state with an incumbent Democratic governor. As such, it's the trickier of the two for Republicans to win -- and yet the GOP just might.
The GOP just might! Nice touch, Liz.
And by claiming that a GOP victory in traditionally GOP-leaning VA "would be the most telling about potential trouble ahead for Democrats," Sidoti gets is pretty much exactly wrong. Republicans are expected to win the purple state. The real trouble for Dems would be if the GOP won the governor's race in blue-trending NJ.
Honestly, can't anybody here play this game?
UPDATED: What's also astonishing, and this is absolutely ignored by the press, is that the NJ race is only close today becuase the GOP candidate has lost a double-digit lead in recent months. It's only close because the GOP candidate's campaign has imploded since the summertime. But the press doesn't care about that, or what that might say about the GOP. The press only cares if Dems lose.
Here was the weekend headline, which we criticized as being monumentally dumb for suggesting a statewide race in VA. would indicate whether Obama wins a second term three years from now:
Virginia Race Tests Obama's Staying Power
Here's the Journal's election headline today [emphasis added]:
Republicans Are Poised for Gains in Key Elections: Outcomes in New York, New Jersey and Virginia Are Unlikely to Forecast Much About National Races in 2010, History Shows
That's the good news. The bad news? For the second time in several days, the Journal's only interest in Tuesday's election is pondering the possibilities of Democratic losses:
A Republican sweep in Tuesday's key contests would at minimum show that Democrats face much tougher political terrain than they did a year ago. GOP victories would also help the party's fundraising and candidate recruitment for 2010, providing backing for arguments that Republicans have the momentum, and that voters are turning against the Obama agenda.
There's nothing inaccurate in that paragraph. The astonishing thing is that today's elections feature two close races (according to most polling data), yet the daily only examines the political implications of Democrats losing.
Newsmax has now completely removed Pat Boone's "tenting" column, in which he called for, "figuratively, but in a very real way," a fumigation, or "tenting," of the "varmints" in the Obama White House. This comes after Newsmax took the half-measure of removing links to the column from its website but keeping the column itself live. Newsmax has thus far not explained to its readers why it deleted Boone's column, which it similarly failed to do regarding the John L. Perry column advocating a military coup against Obama.
Meanwhile, Boone's column is still alive and kicking at WorldNetDaily. But given that WND writers have repeatedly likened President Obama to both Nazis and the Antichrist (and even defends such smears) -- not to mention restored an attack by Ann Coulter on Helen Thomas that Coulter's syndicators edited out -- Joseph Farah and Co. likely see nothing particularly egregious in Boone's eliminationist rhetoric.
Perhaps Farah might want to explain why he allows Boone's column to remain on his website when his fellow right-wingers have determined it to be too offensive.
On Monday's show, Limbaugh picked up on a story hyped by Drudge about Guantánamo detainees being offered the H1N1 vaccine. Limbaugh claimed:
LIMBAUGH: The detainees at Guantánamo Bay are going to receive a swine flu vaccine? Kids in the Midwest, parts of North Carolina, can't have the swine flu vaccine, but detainees at Club Gitmo are going to get the vaccine. I don't know. We're just out of whack. Everything is just surreal.
Limbaugh is ignoring that military personnel will be vaccinated before detainees and that vaccinating detainees can help protect military personnel and their families.
But Limbaugh is obviously thinking of the children.
Apparently, Limbaugh is upset they're not getting a vaccine that may have been developed to kill them.
That's what Limbaugh said after all:
LIMBAUGH: Checked the email during the break: "Rush, sounded like you didn't think [Louis] Farrakhan's kind of loopy here for saying that the swine flu is developed to kill people." Folks, it's hard to disagree with him on this. I mean, after the stories we have discussed just this week on cancer testing now being no good, We've -- cash for no babies -- carbon credits for not having babies, that's the only way to save the planet.
We've got death panels in Florida. We have an administration in love with the teachings of Chairman Mao. So Farrakhan comes along and says that the swine flu is developed to kill people -- oh, no, the vaccine, I'm sorry -- swine flu vaccine developed to kill people, and he seems perfectly within the realm of reality to me with all the other news that's going on out there.
He said that the people who won't take the vaccine are wise, which includes me. Minister Farrakhan has unknowingly, probably, pronounced me as wise. Now, at any other point in my life I would think, well, this guy's lost his marbles. He's a true fruitcake, gone over the edge; and an order of fries short of a happy meal. But how can you, with everything else going on in the country today, how in the world can you just discard this?
Limbaugh has been fomenting hysteria over the H1N1 vaccines for weeks now. Not only that, he's also downplayed and even mocked reports of the number of children who have died from H1N1. And now he's suddenly concerned about those children getting the vaccine?
Mediaite's Steve Krakauer defends Howard Kurtz's glaring conflict of interest, arguing that Kurtz's (tepid) criticism of CNN for not paying more attention to a controversial comment by Rep. Alan Grayson shows that Kurtz "doesn't hold back when giving his take on the network airing his show." Here's Krakauer:
The segment is one small piece of evidence that the CNN host doesn't hold back when giving his take on the network airing his show - there are many more. In this media environment where so many networks have partnerships and sharing deals with other outlets, these types of questions are bound to come up. (For example - here's CNBC correspondent and MSNBC anchor John Harwood writing about Fox News in the New York Times.) The questions are likely to continue and increase, but Kurtz has done a good job serving as a model of someone put in a position to balance two separate jobs.
I think Krakauer has this whole question backwards.
When assessing how someone deals with a conflict of interest, the approach shouldn't be to say that everything is ok as long as they sometimes don't let that conflict affect their reporting.
If a politician casts 99 votes that don't seem to unjustifiably benefit her spouse's business, and only one that does, would Krakauer praise her for "model" behavior? Probably not. Nor would most people. Most people don't hand out credit for being ethical most of the time.
Likewise, the question with Kurtz isn't whether he ever criticizes CNN. It's whether he ever seems to let his role at CNN compromise his reporting at the Washington Post (and vice versa). If Krakauer -- or anyone else -- wants to assess whether Kurtz "has done a good job serving as a model of someone put in a position to balance two separate jobs," he shouldn't be looking for examples of Kurtz criticizing CNN; he should be looking to see if there are glaring examples of Kurtz giving CNN a pass. And there are, as I explain here.
A couple other quick points: First, the primary question with Kurtz has always been whether his employment by CNN compromises his ability to cover CNN for the Washington Post. But in defending Kurtz, Krakauer didn't point to anything Kurtz wrote for the Post; he pointed to something Kurtz said about CNN on CNN.
And second, Kurtz isn't "someone put in a position to balance two separate jobs." Nobody's forcing him to work for both CNN and the Washington Post. He chose to. He put himself in that position. And he did so after having lectured other print reporters about the perils of being "seduced by the affluence and adulation that comes with television success" and warning about the danger of "those who pontificate for a living" being "in financial cahoots with the industries and lobbies they analyze on the air."
From Anita Moncrief at Hot Air, with a breathless exclusive that I doubt would pass the smell test at a high school newspaper:
Multiple sources on the ground in New York's 23rd Congressional district confirm that ACORN is expected to be actively protesting the election results in Clinton County, New York tomorrow. This move comes on the heels of a legal win for the Hoffman camp today as it was ruled that all poll watchers would have to be registered voters of NY 23.
"Is expected"? Ugh, massive red flag since right-wing bloggers have zero credibility when it comes to straight reporting. The idea that this scoop "is expected" to unfold makes me highly dubious. But we'll soldier on.
"Actively protesting the election results"? What does that even mean? The item was typed up Monday, which means "tomorrow" refers to today. According to this blind item with no sourcing from a site that has zero sources within ACORN or progressive politics (although the site does dutifully type up whatever conservative politicians ask them to), the urban community organizing group, which is not exactly synonymous with rural, Adirondack districts like N.Y.-23, is going to be "actively protesting the elections results."
But again, what does that mean? A) How does anybody actively protest election results during Election Day? Results, of course, only come in at the end of the day, which means there are no results to protest during the day. B) How would ACORN "protest" results? Does Hot Air mean they're going to picket outside polling districts or something? Is ACORN going to legally challenge the results? Readers have no idea, because Hot Air has no idea.
And lastly, C) so what if ACORN is somehow is "actively protesting the election results"? There's a legal process for that and if ACORN has some sort of legitimate challenge, post-election, they'll take it to the courts, as has occurred in countless other elections around the country.
But keep in mind, Hot Air provides zero proof ACORN is going to be "actively protesting the election results" today, because it's not even clear Hot Air knows that that phrase means. I think Hot Air just likes the sound of it, which of course, is what passes today for right-wing "journalism."
UPDATED: In case, readers had any doubt, it appears Hot Air's "sources" were officials with the campaign of conservative Doug Hoffman; officials who held a conference with mostly right-wing bloggers yesterday to push the dubious ACORN line.
Again, so much for right-wing "journalism."
UPDATED: According to a New York Daily News report, it's right-wing supporters who are causing Election Day chaos in N.Y. 23.
UPDATED: More bogus Election Day "journalism." Funny, if it were't so sad.
Favorite reader comment:
i am a staunch conservative, but this is a little too convenient… worried about election fraud and then this shows up on election day?? NO sources? with holding cops name?? since when is a cop afraid to go on record? where is the smoking gun of a police report? this makes no sense and I am not buying it...You need more facts and it is ridiculous that a journalist like Breitbart would attach his name to something so tenuous. I could be completely wrong, but you need to back some of this up with something other than anonymous quotes. Democrats rely on deception, conservatives are supposed to be better than that.
Remember Marc Rudov? He's the frequent Fox News guest who thinks Hillary Clinton deserves to be called a "B-word," ridiculed a study on housework as the product of a "gyno-versit[y]," insists that "girls just love to expose themselves," among other things.
Maria Shriver, you have two sons and two daughters. Do your sons like hearing from you that they're growing up in a woman's nation? I doubt it. What will their friends say? Nothing flattering. What will your daughters think about their brothers - and all men? Isn't your TV program just as destructive as those that once prompted mothers to teach "life in a man's world" to their daughters?
Rudov is just getting warmed up. He then declares that all "laws and policies that confer upon women unilateral rights and protections in rape, reproduction, abortion, custody, child support, domestic violence, workplace practices, and immigration" are "unconstitutional" because "[o]ur legal system is designed to be blind to specific groups," yet such laws get passed anyway because "spineless men fear retribution from feminists and sexual retaliation from their wives for writing, passing, enforcing, and adjudicating gender-neutral laws."
Rudov then blames American women for the current state of American men:
Men are fast becoming slacker dudes and permanent blue-collar workers. This is because highschool programs favor girls; college-enrollment stats prove it. Not only are women dominating at the undergraduate level, they are receiving more than 50% of degrees in law, medicine, and business. At UC Davis 80% of veterinary grads are women. The trend of female domination is growing unabated.
Is this a problem? You betcha. A society of marginalized men is a weak society. Whom will these highly educated women marry? Slacker dudes? I don't think so. Given that 40% of American children are born out of wedlock, marriage isn't a big concern for many women. Too bad. Every study of teenage pregnancy, drug usage, alcoholism, gang membership, crime, and school dropouts points to the lack of fathers at home. Women file 70% of divorces and choose single motherhood as a lifestyle.
Then, it's back to bashing Shriver, claiming that she's "compounding the omnipresent wedge between men and women" and that "any men who rally your cause are pathetic eunuchs - proof of your thesis."
Yet Rudov did find one bright spot in his alleged emasculation:
In canonizing women as strong, smart, talented, and self-reliant - and they are - you have done men a big favor: terminated all justification for women to receive alimony and child support. You are the alimony terminator. We love you. This is fantastic, as Arnold would say.
And so, America is now a Woman's Nation, a matriarchy, a gynocracy. Women are in control. They no longer need, and therefore cannot require, men to support them financially - at any time, in any way, for any reason. Otherwise, they'd be hypocrites, wouldn't they?
Sounds like Rudov needs to decide whether he's upset that women are taking over or relieved because he's no longer expected to do anything for them.
CNBC's Darren Rovell has some funny ideas about what it means to be an American.
Over the weekend, Meb Keflezighi became the first American to win the New York City Marathon since 1982. But CNBC's Darren Rovell isn't impressed. Darren Rovell doesn't think Keflezighi is really an American.
On his Twitter account yesterday, Rovell wrote "NYC Marathon winner Keflezghi may be a citizen, but can't count as American."
Rovell explained his bizarre views in an article on CNBC's web site:
It's a stunning headline: American Wins Men's NYC Marathon For First Time Since '82.
Unfortunately, it's not as good as it sounds.
Meb Keflezighi, who won yesterday in New York, is technically American by virtue of him becoming a citizen in 1998, but the fact that he's not American-born takes away from the magnitude of the achievement the headline implies.
"Technically American"? No: Keflezighi is American. Not on some technicality or by virtue of a loophole. He is, simply, an American -- and he isn't any less American simply because he did not share Darren Rovell's great good fortune to have been born in the U.S.
Keflezighi's country of origin is Eritrea, a small country in Africa. He is an American citizen thanks to taking a test and living in our country.
Nothing against Keflezighi, but he's like a ringer who you hire to work a couple hours at your office so that you can win the executive softball league.
Well, actually, he isn't anything like that at all. Keflezighi is an American. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1987, when he was 12 years old, and became a citizen in 1998. He has lived in America for 22 years and been a citizen for 11.
You know many "ringers" who start at age 12? You know many people who consider 22 years of residence the equivalent of working "a couple hours at your office"? I didn't think so.
The positive sign was that some American-born runners did extremely well in yesterday's men's race.
If any of them stand on the top step of the podium in Central Park one day, that's when I'll break out my red, white and blue.
Now there's a guy who loves his country.
Here's an excerpt from a 2005 Sports Illustrated profile of Keflezighi:
Meb's story begins in Eritrea a quarter century ago. Russom Keflezighi was the father of five young children (Meb was number 4), husband to a pregnant wife, Awetash, and a hunted member of the Eritrean Liberation Front, a civilian organization seeking independence for Eritrea from Ethiopia. "By 1981 the enemy was very close," he says. He would often sleep in the woods outside his village to avoid detection.
His wife urged him to leave the country rather than be jailed or killed. In July 1981 Russom walked out of his village in tears and headed for the border with Sudan, nearly 100 miles and seven days away. Two years later he moved to Milan, Italy, with the aid of an Eritrean woman who had borne him a daughter, Ruth, before he married Awetash.
Russom worked as many as four jobs at once and sent money back to Eritrea. At home the Keflezighi boys dodged violence every day. "We saw body parts on the highway," says Meb. "But it was the only life we knew." In 1986 Russom brought his family to Milan and then--14 months later, sponsored by Ruth, who was 19 years old and living in the U.S.--to San Diego.
In California, Russom worked tirelessly. He did not let his children take jobs. "I told them, 'You will have a better life if you study,'" he says. The family grew to 11 kids. Today the six oldest have college degrees, and the seventh is a freshman at Stanford.
UPDATE: Rovell apologizes. Sort of:
I said that Keflezighi's win, the first by an American since 1982, wasn't as big as it was being made out to be because there was a difference between being an American-born product and being an American citizen. Frankly I didn't account for the fact that virtually all of Keflezighi's running experience came as a US citizen.
This is where, I must admit, my critics made their best point. It turns out, Keflezighi moved to the United States in time to develop at every level in America. So Meb is in fact an American trained athlete and an American citizen and he should be celebrated as the American winner of the NYC Marathon. That makes a difference and makes him different from the "ringer" I accused him of being. Meb didn't deserve that comparison and I apologize for that.
In other words, Rovell wrote a column smearing Keflezighi without bothering to do 20 seconds of research to find out if his central premise was correct. That's some good journalism!
Rovell also writes:
I never said he didn't deserve to be called American.
Oh, really? What about when Rovell wrote that Keflezighi "can't count as American"? How about when he wrote that Keflezighi is only "technically" American? Or when he analogized Keflezghi's American-ness to a "ringer" who works "a couple hours" in an office?
UPDATE 2: Keflezighi's fellow UCLA alums over at Bruins Nation are not amused:
The first point I'd like to make is that Meb did more than just "live" in the country. For the most part, he grew up here. Last time I checked, the University of California, Los Angeles contains three words that identify itself with the United States, so he was educated here. And being a citizen thanks to "taking a test" is no small feat, considering that there are reports circulating that a mere 3.5% of American High School students would be able to pass that same test. I'd like to know if Rovell could pass. I know I have my doubts.
What I'm really wondering what ... Revell would say to the parents and wives and children of dead American soldiers who died in battle defending this country after becoming naturalized citizens. I wonder if they would tell them "Thanks, but it's not as if they were real Americans who were actually born here."
I not only rejoice in Meb's win because we are both Americans. I rejoice that I live in a country that allows great men like Meb to become citizens and then proceeds to treat him no differently than those whose families came over on the Mayflower.