With right-wing media fractured, conservatives are descending once again upon Washington this week for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
This year's conference that will include remarks from such GOP luminaries as Joe the Plumber, Roger Simon, Karl Rove, Joe Scarborough, Tucker Carlson, Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN), Newt Gingrich, Ann Coulter, and Pat Buchanan among others. The conference will come to a close with a speech by Rush "I hope he fails" Limbaugh.
Never heard of CPAC?
Here's a flashback to some of Media Matters' items about the 2007 conference in which right-wing scribe Ann Coulter called former North Carolina Senator John Edwards a "faggot" and the controversy that followed:
I wonder what the gathering's tone will be like this year.
The Post is quite clear today [emphasis]:
Many Democrats have expressed trepidation about the lofty expectations that Obama has set and are keenly aware that the party could pay a steep price in the 2010 midterm elections if the promises are not fulfilled.
Number of Democrats quoted in the Post article expressing trepidation? Zero.
Raise your hand if you ever thought the topic of Gov. Bobby Jindal was going to cause a break within the Republican Noise Machine. Yeah, me neither. But in the wake of Jindal's widely panned--and widely mocked--Tuesday night address to the nation, the right-wing media are at odds over the Louisiana governor.
Awful. He walked out like an earnest dork and has a weird inflection, trying to sound upbeat and sunny when it's clearly not his natural metier. It sounds false, and he looks false. I don't care how much of a star Jindal is, America doesn't elect somewhat-off dorks as president.
But then Limbaugh announced that kind of talk was off limits for conservatives:
Because if you think people on our side, I'm talking to you, those of you who think Jindal was horrible, in fact, I don't want to hear from you ever again if you think that what Bobby Jindal said was bad or what he said was wrong or not said well, because, folks, style is not going to take our country back.
GOP bloggers didn't take too kindly to those marching orders. Hot Air thought it was obvious Jindal blew his big night, and wondered what was wrong with admitting that. Over at Riehl World Review, came this:
At only fifty-eight, hopefully [Limbaugh] still has a long way to go. But many of the battles conservatives have to fight and win need to be engaged at age levels that could prove to be beyond Rush's professional reach.
The headline for the Riehl World post: "Is The Limbaugh Era Nearing An End?"
We can dream, can't we?
P.S. South Carolina's GOP governor, Mark Sanford, thinks Limbaugh's an "idiot."
I'll let others dissect Gov. Bobby Jindal's response to President Obama's address last night. After all, plenty of folks have been picking it apart... whether it's for accuracy, messaging or style.
Over the past few days I've seen some in the media describe Gov. Jindal or his selection to deliver the Republican response thusly (emphasis added):
MSNBC's Chris Matthews:
"In every area that was touched on, they had to get an outside guy. They had to outsource the response tonight, the Republican Party. They had to outsource it to someone who had nothing to do with Congress because the Republicans in Congress had nothing to do with the programs he was talking about tonight or the record he referred to." (MSNBC, Post-Speech Coverage, 2/24/09)
Politico's Alexander Burns & Alex Isenstadt:
"Perhaps most importantly for his future national prospects, he hails from outside of Washington -- a strong asset to a party that has been suffered from its close identification with Beltway politics." (Politico, Bobby Jindal's big moment, 2/22/09)
New York Times' Jeff Zeleny:
"Republican leaders in the House and the Senate turned to a rising voice outside of Washington to deliver the party's response to the address. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said Republicans were also focused on trying to rebuild the economy, but he criticized Democrats for turning to government programs — and spending — to deal with the nation's challenges, calling such an approach irresponsible." (New York Times, Obama Vows, 'We Will Rebuild' and 'Recover', 2/25/09)
Get the message? Gov. Jindal is an outsider devoid of any connection to those unpopular Congressional Republicans.
There's one small problem with that description. It just isn't true. If anyone in the media thinks for a minute that describing Gov. Jindal in this fashion is accurate, they should bear in mind the following:
With deep ties like these to Washington, former President Bush and Congressional Republicans, how anyone in the press could infer that Gov. Jindal is an "outsider" is beyond me.
During an online discussion today, Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon touted "the Reagan years" as an example of "low spending by the government":
Indianapolis, Ind.: Is the GOP message of no spending by the federal government, which to some extent rests on the idea that the last eight years didn't happen, working. It would seem to me to be a tough sell, no matter who was the Democratic president.
Perry Bacon Jr.: I think Republicans like that message, and Jindal and others want to make sure base Republicans are fired up. The last eight years weren't a great test of low spending by the government; Republicans would argue the Reagan years were a better example and more politically successful.
This is complete bunk. Federal government spending increased under Ronald Reagan. Increased significantly more than it did under, for example, Bill Clinton.
It's obvious why conservatives tell fairy tales in which the wise and noble Ronald Reagan kept government spending in check: they think it helps their political and ideological fortunes. It's less apparent why reporters like Perry Bacon repeat these myths.
Last night after the President's address to a Joint Session of Congress, we noted the following:
Politico's Glenn Thrush is up with an awfully meaty post following the President's first address to a Joint Session of Congress tonight. It says, in full:
It took President Obama 46 minutes to mention terrorism, the military or foreign affairs.
By Glenn Thrush 09:57 PM
I kid you not. He seems to be saying, "Please Matt Drudge, please link to me, pretty please..."
Well, this morning Thrush put up the following defense:
46 minutes (redux)
I took some heat last night/this morning for a quick blog post noting that it took President Obama 46 minutes to mention foreign affairs or terrorism.
A couple of outlets (Media Matters and the Washington Monthly) interpreted the item as an implicit criticism of Obama's priorities.
It wasn't. I made no judgment, just wanted to point out how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated the speech -- a stark contrast to the Bush years.
But the criticism is worth noting. There's still a lot of concern on the left that Obama might still be attacked, Rove-style, for being soft on terrorism-defense-homeland security. At the moment, it seems pretty unlikely given that Obama's nearly exclusive focus on the economy perfectly mirrors public opinion. But, hey, you never know.
By Glenn Thrush 11:05 AM
As you can see, Thrush denies that his comment was criticism, saying that he "just wanted to point out how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated the speech."
Fine. I'll take him at his word.
But it certainly raises the question of why Thrush has yet to note that Gov. Bobby Jindal's speech did not mention Iraq or Afghanistan, and that his discussion of foreign policy -- which appeared three quarters of the way through his remarks -- was limited to two paragraphs:
As we take these steps, we must remember, for all of our troubles at home, dangerous enemies still seek our destruction. Now is no time to dismantle the defenses that have protected this country for hundreds of years or to make deep cuts in funding for our troops.
America's fighting men and women can do anything. If we give them the resources they need, they will stay on the offensive, defeat our enemies, and protect us from harm.
If it's actually worth noting "how thoroughly domestic issues and the economic crisis dominated" President Obama's address, wouldn't the same hold true for Governor Jindal's response?
H/T B.D. and M.G.
Here's the big one today:
See, when Drudge posted the headline/graph Wednesday morning, Feb. 25, and the graph only showed stock activity between 10 am and 11 am, it was supposed to be a ha-ha moment: Obama addressed the nation about the economy last night and the market opened way down. I guess readers are supposed to see a direct connection between the two because conservatives have decided that Obama's entire presidency is going to be judged, hour-by-hour, by the stock market.
But uh-oh. Look what happens around 2pm. The stock market recovered its losses for the day. Did the rebound have anything to do with Obama or his rhetoric today? No. Just like the early decline didn't have anything to do with Obama. (Unexpected declines in housing prices did, though.)
The truth is, the longer Drudge keeps the graphic up on his site the more people will see the absurdity of the exercise.
Drudge gives in around 3:30 pm and changes the headline to "STOCKS REBOUND"
The comedy continues. At 4 pm Drudge goes back to WAS IT SOMETHING HE SAID? Is he going to do this for four years?
FYI: The graphic above continually updates and is now showing the latest Dow movement, and does not reflect the activity at the time Drudge first posted on Wednesday, Feb. 25.
From the New York Daily News' Kenneth R. Bazinet and David Saltonstall the article headlined, "Shades of inauguration as President Obama begins with gaffe':
President Obama delivered a smooth speech Tuesday night. But just like Inauguration Day, it began with a gaffe. After Obama ended his high-fiving march to the podium, the rookie President started to launch into his address. "Madam Speaker," he began. What he forgot is that the House speaker always introduces the President first. And Nancy Pelosi wasn't about to let her moment pass - she quickly cut him off to give her formal introduction.
Did Obama suffer a gaffe at Inauguration Day when Chief Justice John Roberts messed up the oath? Not really. Was Obama's start to his speech Tuesday night in any way newsworthy? Of course not.
It might seem like nobody liked Bobby Jindal's speech last night. Few seem able to muster higher praise for it than Politico's insistence that Jindal "didn't exactly lay an egg" - and that came in the midst of an article that quoted several people trashing the speech.
In situations like this, the RNC must be relieved it has an in-house newsletter to keep the troops' spirits high. I refer, of course, to the Washington Times. Here's how the Times assessed Jindal's speech:
In an inspirational tone reminiscent of the president's speech, Mr. Jindal tried to assure Americans - and potential voters - that the country has the ability to overcome its current troubles.
But the Times was apparently unable to find anyone else who shared that view. The paper quoted only two people other than Jindal in the article - both conservatives - but neither praised Jindal's speech.
The result was a bizarre article in which a paid Republican party spokesperson offered a relatively neutral assessment of Jindal -- "a rising star and is a part of a new generation of leadership within the Republican Party" -- while a theoretically-neutral newspaper offered praise that even staunch conservatives don't seem to be willing to agree with.