Monday, April 18, 2005


Looks like condemnation of ABC News' The Note may be spreading - spurred on by Josh Marshall and myself. To be clear, it's not that I believe The Note intends to conspire against Democrats, at least not consciously, it's that their cynical view of politics as simply being about the 'game' and their desire to detail the winners and losers on all issues means that, when in doubt, they will favor the past winners - the GOP. However, the GOP has clearly not been winning these last few months, yet The Note doggedly sticks to its defense of the bugman and highlights any movement on Social Security which seems to favor Bush. Then there is their constant questioning of Chairman Dean and what he "means" for the party. Add to this their woeful behavior during last year's presidential election (spreading false rumors during the Republican convention that Kerry intended to shake up his campaign team) and one begins to suspect a lot of what The Note says as reflecting a bias towards the winning team.

It probably wouldn't matter so much, except that The Note is the leading daily political brief and the people that read it are the same people that write the stories The Note comments on. This kind of cyclical Washington 'group think' has certainly not favored the Democrats these last few years. More importantly, this kind of 'group think' is a threat to the accuracy of our press and by extension the viability of our democracy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

So much love to give

Judging by today's edition of The Note, they still don't get it. They spend their opening remarks highlighting a WSJ story that reportedly ( I don't have a WSJ subscription and don't plan to ever get one since some tiny percentage of my money would end up in John Fund's pocket) details the number and frequency of corporate sponsored travel for Congressman and their families and close aides. They seem to want to treat DeLay's transgressions as if it were just one of many but that misses the point.

First of all, there is only 1 Majority Leader. Therefore, DeLay is in a unique position to do the bidding of his corporate paymasters. Secondly, there is almost no evidence that DeLay has ever done anything but his best to fulfill the wishes of his corporate benefactors. Lastly, the amounts of money involved ($100,000 here, $5,000 a month to his wife over there) are truly eye-popping and if this leads to a full airing of all such corporate sponsored travel for members of Congress, even better. However, DeLay put blood in the water long ago by screwing with district lines in Texas and only made it worse with his recent comments about Terri Schiavo and the judiciary. With several close aides in Texas already under indictment, there is little to hold back Democrats looking for a convenient symbol of GOP overreach heading into the midterm elections.

ABC's The Note spent the first months after the November election joking about the Democrats' lack of focus and confusion over who should lead the party. It's unfortunate that they can't at least give props to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi for giving the Republicans and President Bush a pretty thorough drubbing so far - something they can hardly contend they expected.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Note Hearts Delay

Sickening, why do I read them anymore?

    1. There is an iron triangle of liberal interest groups, Democratic congressional staffers, and media jackals (both investigatively minded and liberally oriented) who have never identified with or liked Tom DeLay (and what he stands for) and are enjoying every minute of their conspiring to bring him down.

    2. Almost every accusation swirling around DeLay involves actions by him that have exact analogues among other members of Congress of both parties (See, for example, today's front-page Los Angeles Times page-turner about MOCs employing relatives to do campaign work.).

    3. If having close ties to self-interested and restaurant-owning lobbyists disqualified someone from a leadership position on Capitol Hill, it would be a body of all Indians and no chiefs. (Note Note: we refuse to indulge in the little boy game of being super excited about the return of the National Pastime to the Nation's Capital, but, yes, that "Indians" thing was for y'all and not meant to offend Native Americans. It was also an Abramoff reference.)

    4. And/but without a functioning House ethics committee, there is no natural forum in which Leader DeLay can clear up the legit unanswered questions about some of his conduct. And/but his unwillingness to do it in the feeding frenzy of a packed press conference seems reasonable. May we suggest an interview with The Note, Dan Allen?

The fact is, many of Delay's more serious actions don't have "exact analogues among other members of Congress of both parties." What Delay did was to take money from businesses, foreign governments, Indian tribes and the like, dress it up to look like it was a donation to the generic sounding National Center for Public Policy Research, and then use the money to go on lavish, all expenses paid trips abroad. This is against the law. What he did in Texas, which has lead to several indictments against longtime Delay aides, was essentially the same thing: dressing up money from corporate sponsors and funneling it through the state party in Texas to the RNC and to individual House candidates. Not only that, but he likely used some of this money to stack the Texas State House so he could win approval of his redistricting plan. It's not just that he's a friend of Abramoff's, or employed members of his family. Delay sells his influence in Congress to the highest bidder. Whether the money is used to gerrymander the congressional map in Texas or whether it's used to enrich him personally, Delay finds a way to make them pay.

And for The Note to suggest that this is really all about not having a "natural forum" to clear up some "unanswered questions" when it was DeLay who destroyed the legitimacy of the House ethics committee to begin with...

..JMM has more.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


It must say something about the current state of affairs in this country that The Note is so consumed by just who will be brought along, with the Bushes, to the Pope's funeral. They spend their column speculating.

Meanwhile, we have Tom DeLay and John Cornyn supporting the murder of federal judges, a GOP majority clearly out of control and over reaching on issues like Social Security, the "Nuclear Option, " and Terri Schiavo and doing themselves real, poll-proven political damage in the process. We Democrats don't mind doing the work of pointing these things out to the press, but let there be no mistake that the GOP crack-up is the real story in American politics today, not who's flying with the Prez to Rome.

...The WaPo sees the light.

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Pope loves Bush

According to The Note, Bush had a close relationship with the Pope while Clinton's was strained due to the past President's views on abortion and safe sex. Never mind that there was at least as much disagreement between Bush and the Pope over the war in Iraq as there ever was with Clinton over abortion. Never mind that there have been more abortions since Bush became president than there were during Clinton's last four years. And never mind the fact that if you added up all the words about helping the poor that appear in the Bible they would far outnumber the words concerning abortion and gay marriage.

Monday, September 06, 2004

An open letter to The Note

You conveyed (i.e. Charlie Cook, The Note) in mid-August that this election was Kerry's to lose. At that point the Swift Vets controversy was all the rage on cable and Kerry's campaign was aggressively hitting back, yet the candidate had not responded directly. 40,000 people showed up in Oregon to cap the Kerry-Edwards post-convention tour. With his cross-country trip complete, and mounting evidence of the Bush's campaign's encouragement of the swift vet controversy, Kerry came out several days later with a forceful denunciation of the "smear and fear" tactics used by BC04' in front of an audience of sympathetic firefighters. Media reports confirmed his case, and fully half of the voters believed the ads were the work of BC04' in a survey after Kerry's speech. The cable nets then went to all swift vets, all the time coverage of the campaign. Several days later, Kerry comes to New York's Cooper Union and offers a speech to try and "turn the page," to the real issues of this campaign - peoples' lives. It was painted overwhelmingly by the media as a defensive gesture, not the true sign of a strong candidate it should have been. Kerry used the Bush campaign's refusal to denounce the ads to illustrate their unwillingness to talk about the "issues that matter in this campaign."

You can blab all you want about a candidate losing control of his public image, and the slow direct response from the candidate to the swift vets, but neither of those things bothered you in mid-August when the most vicious ad had already been running for over a week.

Don't play the impartial observer here. The reason Kerry is hurting now is because you made a couple polls that showed a miniscule shift in the President's direction before the convention an excuse to decry the state of the Kerry campaign on the eve of the Republican convention. You decided that the swift vet thing had worked and anyone who read the papers and certainly those watching on cable last week, would quickly have been lead to believe that Kerry was fucked, and was "shaking up " his campaign to boot. Chris Matthews saying, "God help John Kerry" after Tuesday's (!) speeches comes to mind. Of course it didn't matter that none of this was true, you drove the story, hard.

Now you sit back and ask "what happened" and revel in all these real-people-couldn't-care-less political process stories. You want to know what happened? Ask yourselves.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

GOP looooooove

Despite the fact that this convention has been "silent" on the economy, to quote David Gergen, despite the embarrassment that were the Bush daughters last night, despite the blatant ridicule of those living troubled lives in America (i.e. Guiliani's ridiculing of John Edwards' "Two Americas" message and Arnold's "economic girlie-men" slur) and despite the fact that it is only the third day, ABC's The Note sees fit to offer a long litany (31) of what has gone right and a shockingly short (2) and what hasn't worked, "yet" as they put it.

In contrast, The Note waited until the Friday after the Democratic convention to commend the DNC on 11 different items, and criticize them on 9 and offer a list of 6 things "we still don't know."

By all accounts the DNC was rated a success and it addressed a host of issues - domestic and WOT/Iraq related - not just Kerry's service in Vietnam. By contrast the RNC is a little like 'Johnny one note' citing the war on terror as the one and only issue. So what is it about this convention that gets ABC so hard and wet?

Answer: The attacks - the purple heart band-aids, Rove's criticism of Kerry's 1971 testimony, George H. W. Bush calling the Swift Boat ads "compelling" and all the "politically poetic" ways in which the GOP has managed to continue their smear effort of Kerry's service.

Kerry has not directly attacked Bush's service in the National Guard, but when his supporters do The Note makes an issue of the campaign's "inconsistency". When Republicans attack Kerry's Vietnam service, despite Bush's praise of Kerry's heroism in Vietnam, The Note refers to it as "good cop/bad cop" (and they mean it in a good way!).

When counting conservative media, you can happily ad ABC News' The Note to the list.