Media in Trouble: All the news thats UNfit to print!: MTP redux

"The information of the people at large can alone make them safe, as they are the sole depositary of our political and religious freedom." --Thomas Jefferson 1810

Monday, May 23, 2005

MTP redux

If I were Howard Dean on Sunday's Meet the Press, here is how I would have responded to some of Tim Russert's Questions:

MR. RUSSERT: In your home state of Vermont, there's a vacancy for the United States Senate about to occur. Bernie Sanders, the congressman from Vermont, wants to run for that seat. He is a self- described avowed socialist.

DR. DEAN: Well, that's what he says. He's really a populist.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there room in the Democratic Party for a socialist?

I would have said, if the Republican Party had room for Strom Thurmond all those years, the Democratic party has room for Bernie Sanders. Next question:
MR. RUSSERT: The Republicans say the filibuster rules being changed would apply to judicial nominations not to legislation like Social Security.

DR. DEAN: That's what they say now. What possible indication is there they won't change their mind later. We could not have predicted when the Republicans were killing 25 of President Clinton's judges when President Clinton was in office, we couldn't have predicted that they were going to resort to this when they got into office. The problem with this, frankly, for the Republicans, is, first of all, Congress is at its lowest popularity rating since--actually since 1993 when we were in power. And secondly, this is an advertisement to the American people, who suspect it--suspect something may go wrong when only one party is in charge. And one party is pretty well in charge in Washington. This is the last opportunity the Democrats have to say anything about public policy. It is a very big mistake, I think, for America. But it's a huge mistake for the Republican Party to do this.

Me: Promises Promises. They always promise things like WMD, "we will be greeted as liberators", fiscal responsibility.

Next question:
MR. RUSSERT: Republicans will say that the Democrats are speaking a different tune now than they did when they were in control. Robert Byrd, when he was a majority leader in '79, said, "Now, we are at the beginning of Congress. This Congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past."

And the filibuster used to need 67 votes. They changed it to 60.

DR. DEAN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: Pat Leahy, your colleague from Vermont, said, "I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don't like somebody the president nominates, vote him or her down. But don't hold them in this anonymous unconscionable limbo, because in doing that, the minority of Senators really shame all Senators."

Me: Well Sen. Cornyn said Violence towards judicary is understandable, and just Friday Rick Santorum compared Democrats to nazis. Why don't you ask them those questions when they come on your show. Don't ask me to answer for something a Democrat said in the 60's Tim. I am chairman of the Democratic party as of 2005. Let's live in the now.

DR. DEAN: Well, here's the problem. Look, I have nothing against up or down votes on people. I think that's a good thing. The problem is that--I'll give you an example. When I was governor, I felt like everybody was my boss, whether they voted for me or against me, they paid my salary, and they wold participate in the hiring process. So when I went out to town meetings and so forth and so on, I heard from everybody, all takers, whatever they wanted to lay on me. President Bush, for example, goes to these town meetings and doesn't allow Democrats or Independents who disagree with him into the town meeting. He has a crew of people who keep them out. This is a little bit like that. Don't those of us who didn't vote for the president, the 48 percent of Americans, don't we have some say? When the Republicans were in power, they kept a much larger percentage of President Clinton's nominees to the bench. They didn't do it with the filibuster, they did it by bottling them up in committee and not allowing them to move forward.

MR. RUSSERT: The numbers are pretty similar actually.

DR. DEAN: OK. They're similar. Now, the Democrats are doing the same thing. I think of course the party in power is going to argue against it. But if you look at what's good for America not what's good for the Republican Party, what the Republicans want to do is not good for America. I would argue that it's not very good in the long run for the Republican Party either. You can't cut the minority, especially if the minority is a very large one like 48 percent, totally out of everything.

Me: No the numbers are not similar. 95% of Bush's nominees got passed compared to 71% of Clinton's (during Republican dominated Congress).

Next attack:
MR. RUSSERT: But, Governor, you did on May 14 say something about Tom DeLay that raised a lot of eyebrows. Let's watch Howard Dean on Tom DeLay.

(Videotape, May 14):

DR. DEAN: I think Tom DeLay ought to go back to Houston, where he can serve his jail sentence down there courtesy of the Texas taxpayers.

(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: "Serve his jail sentence"? He--what's he been convicted of?

DR. DEAN: He hasn't been convicted yet, but he is also, in addition to the things that I just mentioned, under investigation in Texas by a district attorney down there for violating the campaign finance laws of Texas by funneling corporate donations, which is illegal, into certain campaign activities. This gentleman is not an ethical person, and he ought not to be leading Congress, period. And it is endemic of what happens in Congress when one party controls everything.

MR. RUSSERT: You said in December of 2003 that we shouldn't prejudge Osama bin Laden. How can you sit here and have a different standard for Tom DeLay and prejudge him?

DR. DEAN: To be honest with you, Tim, I don't think I'm prejudging him. The things that I just read off--offering the congressman's son campaign money, providing Westar, the energy company, with a seat at the table in exchange for contributions, using the Department of Homeland Security to track down the private plane of political enemies--those are things that he has already been adjudicated for. Now, the question is: Where is this going to end up? I think there's a reasonable chance that this may end up in jail. And I don't think people ought to do these kinds of things in public service. I do not think they ought to do these kinds of things in public service. And I don't think Democrats should, either.

MR. RUSSERT: But shouldn't that be for a jury to decide and not you?

Me: Tom Delay said:
"I tell you what-to be the keynote speaker for the NRA’s annual meeting in my hometown, Houston- Houston, Texas (a concealed carry state, by the way, that we’re very proud of) is truly an honor." During the same speech he said: "As I was walking up here to the dais, Chris Cox, who’s a very dear friend, and so’s Wayne LaPierre, who was telling me to hang in there, said that Sarah Brady said that when a man’s in trouble or a good fight, you want all your friends around you, preferably armed."

So, if you are asking me to rescind my inflamatory comments about a man who believes a right to bear arms means you should be able to conseal them inconspicuously so that you and your friends can be ready for a good fight, then I am sorry but I shall not bow to your command. I will admit to being inflamatory, but I will remind you also that concealing weapons is how some terrorists blew up the World Trade Center.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me talk about some of the things you have said about the Republicans. Here's Howard Dean in January: "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for..."

Howard Dean in February: "This is a struggle between good and evil and we're the good?"

Do you really hate Republicans? Do you consider them evil?

Me: Like I said, Rick Santorum just called us a bunch of Nazi's perhaps you can ask him about that.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me stay on your rhetoric. January, I mentioned that "I hate the Republicans, what they stand for, good and evil, we are the good." In March, you said, "Republicans are brain dead." You mentioned you're a physician--and this is April. "[Dean] did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh. `I'm not very dignified,' Dean said."

DR. DEAN: Well, that's true. A lot of people have accused me of not being dignified.

MR. RUSSERT: But is it appropriate for a physician to mock somebody who has gone into therapy and the abuse for drug addiction?

DR. DEAN: Here's the point I was trying--as most of these things are taken by the Republicans, spun around Washington saying this in a one sentence, which I generally had said. But then they're sort of manipulated around, saying this is the kind of thing he said. The Rush Limbaugh comment was one that I made about Rush Limbaugh, and I also said something about Bill O'Reilly. The problem is not that these folks have problems. They do, and they have problems in the case of a drug addiction. That's a medical problem. And I respect those who clearly, in my profession, who are trying to overcome their problems.

The problem is it is galling to Democrats, 48 percent of us who did not support the president, it is galling to be lectured to about moral values by folks who have their own problems. Hypocrisy is a value that I think has been embraced by the Republican Party. We get lectured by people all day long about moral values by people who have their own moral shortcomings. I don't think we ought to give a whole lot of lectures to people--I think the Bible says something to the effect that be careful when you talk about the shortcomings of somebody else when you haven't removed the moat from your own eye. And I don't think we ought to be lectured to by Republicans who have got all these problems themselves.

Rush Limbaugh has made a career of belittling other people and making jokes about President Clinton, about Mrs. Clinton and others. I don't think he's in any position to do that, nor do I think Bill O'Reilly is in a position to abuse families of survivors of 9/11, given his own ethical shortcomings. Everybody has ethical shortcomings. We ought not to lecture each other about our ethical shortcomings.

MR. RUSSERT: But should you jump in the fray and be mocking those kind of people?

DR. DEAN: I will use whatever position I have in order to root out hypocrisy. I'm not going to be lectured as a Democrat--we've got some pretty strong moral values in my party, and maybe we ought to do a better job standing up and fighting for them. Our moral values, in contradiction to the Republicans', is we don't think kids ought to go to bed hungry at night. Our moral values say that people who work hard all their lives ought to be able to retire with dignity. Our moral values say that we ought to have a strong, free public education system so that we can level the playing field. Our moral values say that what's going on in Indian country in this country right now in terms of health care and education is a disgrace, and for the president of the United States to cut back on health-care services all over America is wrong.

Democrats have strong moral values. Frankly, my moral values are offended by some of the things I hear on programs like "Rush Limbaugh," and we don't have to put up with that. Our problem in this party is we didn't stand up early enough and fight back against folks like that who thought they were going to push us around and bully us, and we're not going to do it anymore.

Actually, on this one, I wouldn't have changed a goddamned word. Atta boy Govna!

MR. RUSSERT: The USA Today on Friday had a big piece. "A Dam Sure Based GOP Goes Rating." They compare your schedule to that of Republican chairman Ken Mehlman. He's going the Hispanic route, Catholics groups, reaching out. Your schedule is primarily with Democratic activists, labor unions, gays, the core, the base of the Democratic party

Me: Um, gays are people too while they are a part of our party they are not the core. Also, I can think of many gays in the Republican party. Last I checked there was a whole faction of them called the Log Cabin Republicans.