Right-wing media figures -- including National Review Online blogger and Ethics and Public Policy Center president Ed Whelan -- have been baselessly suggesting that judicial nominee Goodwin Liu was trying to hide something by submitting additional writings and statements as a supplement to his Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire.
University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, a former assistant White House counsel during the Bush administration, pretty much destroyed those arguments, noting of Liu's additions, "most of these items are the types of things that law professors do routinely and frequently" and are thus "nearly impossible to keep track of" and stating: "Professor Liu also apparently does not have a photographic memory. It appears to me, however, that his original answers to the questions were a careful and good faith effort to supply the Senate with the information it needed to assess his nomination." Painter continued: "He provided a lot more information than many nominees do in response to these questions. He has now provided the additional information the Senate wants. I doubt the Senators will learn anything new from it."
Since Painter's definitive debunking hasn't stopped the attacks, we thought it was worth remembering that Chief Justice John Roberts omitted his affiliation with the Federalist Society from the questionnaire he submitted as a court of appeals nominee in 2001. That questionnaire asked Roberts to "list all bar associations, legal or judicial-related committees or conferences of which you are or have been a member." Roberts listed several legal organizations but did not list the Federalist Society -- an influential conservative legal organization to which many of President Bush's judicial nominees belonged -- in response to that question. However, according to The Washington Post, the Federalist Society listed Roberts' name in its 1997-98 "leadership directory." The Post reported that the Federalist Society listed Roberts "as a member of the steering committee of the organization's Washington chapter and includes his firm's address and telephone number."
And who was busy excusing Roberts for not listing the Federalist Society on his questionnaire? Ed Whelan.
Back in 2004, then-Fox News VP John Moody reportedly circulated a policy "discourag[ing]," but not banning, employees from donating to political candidates:
Fox anchor Neil Cavuto, the network's managing editor for business, gave $1,000 to a fundraising dinner for President Bush in 2002.
"I wish he hadn't," said Fox News Vice President John Moody, who responded by circulating a policy Friday that discourages such contributions. "I hope our people will follow the advice I've given to them voluntarily. The potential perception is that they favor one candidate over the other." But he said he wouldn't ban the practice.
A Fox producer for Oliver North, Griffin Jenkins, gave $2,000 to the Bush-Cheney reelection committee.
Apparently, lots of people ignored Moody's advice, as numerous Fox employees have done far more than give a donation or two to a candidate they like -- they are busily raising money for Republican candidates and causes.
Four years after advising against campaign donations, Moody reportedly said that newly-hired political analyst Karl Rove would be able to fairly cover the Obama-McCain campaign because he's "on the honor system" and wouldn't want to "cross an ethical line like that."
One wonders if Moody thinks that Rove has upheld that "honor system," given that he is now promoting, and possibly helping to direct, a $50 million GOP slush fund. With some actual rules in place, this sort of ethics crisis could have been prevented.
Fox News' treatment of Karl Rove has been ethically dubious since the former White House deputy chief of staff joined the network to provide analysis of the 2008 presidential election. But the recent revelation that he has been promoting American Crossroads, a political committee that is planning to spend more than $50 million helping GOP incumbents and challengers during the 2010 cycle, should alarm a network that is already desperately fending off accusations that its excessively favorable treatment of the conservative movement crosses the ethical line.
It has been reported that Rove has been "pitching" the group to "wealthy conservative benefactors around the country over the past few months," that he helped provide it with "start-up capital," and that he will serve as an "informal adviser." Will he participate in decisions regarding which races are targeted and not targeted? How much money is spent in each race?
If Rove does play a role in the American Crossroads' targeting, will Fox ban him from discussing races in which the group is spending money? Or will they allow him to echo the message that the group is using in their ads? Will they ask him to analyze those ads on-air?
What about the donors? If Rove is trying to get, say, longtime GOP rainmaker Fred Malek to make a big donation, it seems unlikely that Rove would criticize Sarah Palin, whom Malek has strongly supported.
Unlike CNN's James Carville or Paul Begala, Rove -- who is often introduced as Fox's "political analyst," a term that would seem to suggest some degree of impartiality -- appears on the network without a counterpart from the opposite party to challenge his claims. For Fox, Rove's political analysis is gospel truth.
But given the possibility that Rove may now be helping to direct a $50 million GOP slush fund, Fox News needs to answer the questions swirling around their employee and take action to avoid being mired in another ethical mess.
Rush Limbaugh regularly referred to the "Waco invasion" in 1990s (all transcripts via Nexis):
April 21, 1993: "January 14th that was, where I predicted, You wait. You are going to get blindsided with the fact that there is no character, no soul in this presidency.' And so let's remind you what we showed you on our most recent program. This is during the day on Monday, during the Waco invasion as orchestrated by this administration. Here is this administration, full-fledged character on display, as they attempt to deal with it. Take a look."
May 3, 1993: "Thank you so much. All right. Now we've got to go here. We've got to go. We have a--we have a lot to do in this segment and it--and it's--a lot of it is really already done. We need to go back to last Thursday night, take a look at this and watch it and listen to it very carefully. This is John Conyers vs. Janet Reno, congressional hearing over the Waco invasion, and we're going to just roll the tape from the show as it aired Thursday night with my comments leading in and my comments leading out."
June 27, 1994: "On this program we played tapes of congressional hearings into the Waco invasion--the David Koresh bunch down there."
April 26, 1995: "Now we've got something here by popular demand. As you know, on--on yesterday's program, I referred to John Conyers and Janet Reno going at it during the congressional hearings over Waco. We didn't have time to show you that actual event because it was what happened afterwards that--that was important. People have said, Please, let us see it again. We've forgotten, and Waco is so much in the news.' So we're just get--it takes a couple minutes, but here is how it went with John Conyers and Janet Reno, congressional hearings after the Waco invasion."
May 22, 1995: "It's kind of like--kind of like when the Waco invasion, with all due apology, sir--when the--when--when the Waco invasion occurred--remember that? Clinton said, Well, hey, I--talk to Janet Reno. I didn't know anything about it.' Do you remember? So it's the same thing that happened here. It's identical."
May 23, 1995: "Now take a look at this headline. My friends, I wonder what your first reaction to this is. This is The Washington Times, Tuesday morning. Foster--it says Vince Foster felt Waco debacle was his fault. Widow says Clinton aide expressed regret over his role in planning raid.' Now you read the story and you find out that, for the first time--I mean, it's never been speculated that one of the reasons Vince Foster might have taken his life was that he was involved in the Waco invasion or that he somehow felt responsible for it. But The Washington Times obtained a copy of an FBI interview with his widow named Lisa, and it was--in--in the interview she says that her husband had a great deal of stress because of the Waco standoff and he was horrified when the site burned and all those children were killed. He thought it was his fault."
August 1, 1995: "Now they had some hearings today--continued hearings on the Waco invasion--that was Janet Reno, ladies and gentlemen, and--did you hear that? Did people hear that? Without--I haven't had enough time because her testimony only ended moments ago--I haven't had time to analyze everything that she said today; I haven't even had a chance to kn--to know everything she said, so we'll save that for later a--as far as the analysis of what she said."
(Fun fact: Limbaugh's executive producer at the time was Roger Ailes.)
Limbaugh also referred to the "Waco invasion" in 2006.
From Howard Kurtz' 1996 book Hot Air: all talk, all the time:
In the spring of 1995, Rush Limbaugh began denouncing the notion that the incendiary talk radio hosts were contributing to the ugly climate that produced the Oklahoma City bombing.
I was writing a front-page story that day about President Clinton's denunciation of "the purveyors of hatred and division," and quoted Limbaugh's comments right after Clinton's. My fax machine soon spit out part of a recent transcript from a Limbaugh broadcast, courtesy of the Flush Rush Quarterly. Limbaugh had been talking about growing anger in the west against federal restrictions on property rights and policies pushed by "environmental wackos." He said that "the second violent American revolution is just about -- I got my fingers about a quarter of an inch apart -- is just about that far away. Because these people are sick and tired of a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington driving into town and telling them what they can and can't do with their land..."
Now I don't believe for a second that Rush Limbaugh, whatever his rhetorical excesses, encourages violence. But his prediction of a violent revolution, without the slightest expression of disapproval, was well worth noting.
Limbaugh's comments about a "violent American revolution" came on February 22, 1995, two months before the Oklahoma City bombing. On April 27, two days after Kurtz' article ran, Limbaugh claimed he had been "totally taken out of context" and played audio of his original comments:
You people know about wetlands, don't you? All you got to do is turn on your garden hose in your backyard and they can come in and look at it, say you got a wetlands here. You can't do anything to this. You can't mow it, you can't do anything. You got to leave it alone. It's natural wetlands--a swamp. You can't touch it. I mean, it is one of the most abused regulations. And all of this--I'll tell you something, folks. What is behind all of these things is an attack on private property.
There is a desire by militant environmentalists to, by way of federal regulation, take the use of one's property away from one so that they can--the federal regulators and the environmentalist wackos--can use whatever land they wish to serve whatever environmental purpose they desire, and since they don't own the land, since it's private property, they come up with all these regulations that limit what the private-property owner can do with his own land--ranchers--and when they can and cannot graze and how much they have to pay for the rights to do so. I mean, there is a--out West--you go out to Nevada, parts of California, there is--th--the second violent American revolution is just about--I got my fingers a quarter of an inch apart--it's just about that far away because these people out there are sick and tired of a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington driving into town and telling them what they can and can't do with their land, using all of these federal regulations.
Limbaugh's rant about private property may sound familiar: He has accused President Obama of "seizing private sector property."
As my colleague Kate Conway noted on these pages yesterday, the Washington Times proved yesterday that they will miss no opportunity to attack President Obama, no matter how much of a stretch that attack may be. Today, The Drudge Report has proved the same. Drudge is currently hyping the completely false suggestion that President Obama skipped Polish President Lech Kaczynskis' funeral in favor of playing golf.
Of course, Obama was unable to attend the funeral due to the fact that a cloud of volcanic ash has wrecked havoc on air travel in Europe, a fact which Drudge is clearly aware of if he read his own site. Indeed, his suggestion that Obama "goes golfing instead of attending Kaczynskis' funeral" is directly below this:
Apparently, putting two and two together isn't Drudge's strong suit.
From an April 18 Politico article:
Newt Gingrich, who has toyed with a possible 2012 White House bid, raised nearly $2.7 million in the first three months of the year for his political committee - almost as much as the groups headed by his prospective rivals for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee, brought in combined.
And American Solutions took full advantage of its fundraising flexibility in the first quarter, accepting 10 checks of $15,000 or more, including some from companies whose interests overlap with the issue advocacy portfolio pushed by American Solutions.
For instance, this year, the group accepted $250,000 from Devon Energy Corporation, an Oklahoma natural gas and oil producer, and $100,000 from Arch Coal of St. Louis, according to a filing this month with the Internal Revenue Service, detailing its contributions and expenditures for the first three months of the year. American Solutions has aired ads opposing proposals to limit carbon emissions and establish a market on which pollution allowances could be traded, and also has pushed for increased domestic oil production.
Romney's PAC, Free and Strong America, brought in $1.6 million and contributed $52,000 to federal candidates and committees in the first three months of the year. Pawlenty's Freedom First PAC tallied $568,000 and contributed $27,000. Sarah Palin's PAC raised $400,000 and contributed $9,500, while Huckabee's Huck PAC brought in $273,000 and contributed $13,500.
Gingrich also started a PAC called American Solutions late last year, but it has been relatively inactive, raising only $11,000 in the first three months of the year and contributing $2,000.
At his nuclear conference last week Barack Obama broke the sad truth to Americans,
"Whether we like it or not, we remain a dominant military superpower."
And, he's supposed to be the leader?
He really believes America is the problem not the solution. Whether he liked it or not, this provoked Sarah Palin to pen her latest blog post on his radicalism. The former Alaskan governor nailed President Obama on his open regret for American exceptionalism.
From Allahpundit's April 16 HotAir.com post, titled, "Obama's getting a bad rap on the 'superpower' comment":
"When conflicts break out, one way or another, we get pulled into them." True enough, and I don't always "like" that we're pulled into them. For example, I don't "like" the fact that we have 30,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea as cannon fodder in case the lunatic to the north ever attacks Seoul. But I accept it because I understand it's an effective deterrent that saves millions of lives. I don't "like" the fact that we're forced to take the lead on Iran even though their military capabilities are more of an immediate threat to Europe and the Sunnis, but I accept it because the stick we wield is so much bigger than everyone else's that we're most likely to bring them to heel. I don't "like" the fact that American troops have spent the past seven years dodging - and, sometimes, not dodging - IEDs in Iraq, but I accept it because I think having a democracy in the region will eventually put pressure on local autocrats to liberalize and held deflate jihadism. Disagree with my position on any or all of those if you like, but I don't see how it's controversial or demeaning to suggest that the world's policeman, like any policeman, doesn't always enjoy his job. In fact, less than six months ago, Pew found for the first time in 45 years that those who believe the U.S. should mind its own business abroad outnumber those who don't. I think that isolationist impulse is nutty and a de facto invitation to malign powers to expand their influence, but then so does The One - which, I take it, is why he ordered the surge in Afghanistan, is going slow on withdrawal from Iraq, is stepping up drone attacks in Pakistan, and is keeping the troops in Korea and elsewhere in place. If we insist on playing "gotcha" with short soundbites that supposedly provide some insight into his thinking but aren't even reflected in half of his policies, can we at least provide the full soundbite for context? Geez.