Friday, October 23, 2009

Nothing they can say . . .

QOTD, Steve Benen
"Honestly, is there nothing conservatives can say that would force them from polite company? Just how nutty must far-right activists be before they're no longer invited to share their ridiculous ideas?"
QOTD2, deputy White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer:
"We simply decided to stop abiding by the fiction, which is aided and abetted by the mainstream press, that Fox is a traditional news organization"
Aravosis: Member of House GOP leadership says Rush and Glenn Beck speak for lots of Republicans 
Good. That's what we've been saying all along. These guys just can't help themselves.
Greg Sargent:  
* Will Robert Gibbs’ pushback against Dick Cheney on Afghanistan (yes, it was very aggressive) earn Obama another series of media comparisons to Nixon? Probably.
Right-wing pundit Frank Gaffney was on MSNBC's "Hardball" yesterday, debating U.S. policy in Afghanistan with Ron Reagan. It didn't go well, but the heated exchange was really only part of the problem. (thanks to reader W.B. for the tip)

After Reagan rejected the neocon approach to the conflict, Gaffney made things personal. "Your father would be ashamed of you," Gaffney told Reagan. The former president's son replied, "You better watch your mouth about that, Frank."
Now, Gaffney probably knows he crossed a line of decency; in fact that probably why he said what he said. Gaffney's a right-wing nutjob whose job it is to say ridiculous things.
And that's really what matters here. Gaffney's insane rhetoric isn't the problem; the fact that he was invited onto national television (again) to share his insane rhetoric is the problem.
Gaffney probably isn't a household name, but inside the media establishment, he's a pretty well known figure, as evidenced by his joint appearance with Dick Cheney on Wednesday night. And when offered a major media platform, Gaffney takes full advantage.
In April, for example, Gaffney appeared on MSNBC to argue that whenever President Obama uses the word "respect" in foreign policy, the word is "code for those who adhere to Sharia that we will submit to Sharia." He wasn't kidding.
In June, Gaffney wrote a column insisting that President Obama might really be a Muslim. In March, Gaffney argued that "evidence" exists connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11, the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, and the Oklahoma City bombing. Last September, Gaffney argued that Sarah Palin has learned foreign policy through "osmosis," by living in Alaska. He's argued that U.S. forces really did find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but the media covered it up. He's used made-up quotes and recommended "hanging" Democratic officials critical of the Bush administration's Iraq policy. He even believes there's "evidence" to support the "Birthers," and once recommended a military strike on Al Jazeera headquarters.
So why is it, exactly, that MSNBC's "Hardball" invited Gaffney on to talk about foreign policy? What is it the viewing public can learn from listening to his unhinged perspective?
To be sure, Gaffney is certainly entitled to believe obvious lunacy, but that doesn't mean he deserves a microphone or the opportunity to convince a national television audience that his lunacy is legitimate.
Honestly, is there nothing conservatives can say that would force them from polite company? Just how nutty must far-right activists be before they're no longer invited to share their ridiculous ideas?
Cheney undeterred by failure, shame  Oct. 22: Rachel Maddow is joined by Ret. Major General Paul Eaton to discuss why former Vice President Dick Cheney is the last person anyone should listen to about successful prosecution of war and productive foreign policy.

Maybe I should start taking this personally.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been booked for yet another Sunday talk show appearance this weekend -- this time on CBS' Face The Nation. Despite a "wildly unsuccessful presidential campaign" last year and his comparative irrelevancy in the U.S. Senate, this will mark the 15th time McCain has appeared on a Sunday talk show since January.
For crying out loud. As of this weekend, there will have been 40 Sundays since President Obama's inauguration in January. With his 15th Sunday show appearance, McCain will have been a guest on one of the programs every 2.6 weeks. No other official in the country comes close.
Since the president took office, McCain has been on "Meet the Press" twice (July 12 and March 29), "This Week" three times (September 27, August 23, and May 10), "Fox News Sunday" three times (July 2, March 8, and January 25), and CNN's "State of the Union" three times (October 11, August 2, and February 15). His appearance on "Face the Nation" this weekend will be his fourth appearance since February (October 25, August 30, April 26, and February 8).
And who, exactly, is John McCain? He's the one who lost last year's presidential race badly, and is now just another conservative senator in the minority. He's not in the party leadership; he has no role in any important negotiations on any issue; and he's offered no significant pieces of legislation. By all appearances, McCain isn't even especially influential among his own GOP colleagues.
Now, I suspect producers for "Face the Nation" will point out that U.S. policy in Afghanistan is a very important topic right now, and argue that McCain represents the conservative Republican perspective on the issue. Perhaps.
But let's not forget a) McCain has already discussed his position on Afghanistan on other programs very recently; b) his understanding of U.S. foreign policy is tenuous at best; c) we already know what he's going to say, making the interview dull before it even happens; and d) there are plenty of other Republicans who agree with McCain who aren't on every 2.6 weeks.
In other words, there's just no reason for the media's obsession with McCain. It's as if the bookers are addicted, and as a first step, I'd encourage them to admit they have a problem.

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