"I mean, the Lord told me it was going to be A, a disaster, and B, messy," Robertson said.
God Bless you Tony Rudy -- are we the only ones with political instincts -- This whole thing about not kicking someone when they are down is BS -- Not only do you kick him -- you kick him until he passes out -- then beat him over the head with the baseball bat -- then roll him up in an old rug -- and throw him off the cliff into the pounding surf.
[ It'll go down in media history as the day The Funny Guy went on Crossfire and — in comments that echoed what people on both the right and left that have mouthed without real public explosure — made the two hosts (particularly one of them) the subjects of ridicule on their own show. In the end, Stewart mercilessly stripped this kind of show's real meaning — and failings — to its basics. You can read the full CNN transcript here for yourself.But first let's give you the less serious but most widely quoted exchange from the program - one between Stewart and Carlson: ]
CARLSON: I do think you're more fun on your show. Just
STEWART: You know what's interesting, though? You're as big a
dick on your show as you are on any show.
[ Here are a few highlights from a show that will have clips from it played over and over in broadcast and journalism classes for many years: ]
STEWART: I think, oftentimes, the person that knows they can't win is allowed to speak the most freely, because, otherwise, shows with titles, such as CROSSFIRE.... Or "HARDBALL" or "I'm Going to Kick Your Ass"...In many ways, it's funny. And I made a special effort to come on the show today, because I have privately, amongst my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad.
BEGALA: We have noticed.
STEWART: And I wanted to — I felt that that wasn't fair and I should come here and tell you that I don't — it's not so much that it's bad, as it's hurting America.
CARLSON: But in its defense...
STEWART: So I wanted to come here today and say... Here's just what I wanted to tell you guys.
STEWART: Stop. Stop, stop, stop, stop hurting America.
BEGALA: OK. Now
STEWART: And come work for us, because we, as the people...
CARLSON: How do you pay?
STEWART: The people — not well.
BEGALA: Better than CNN, I'm sure.
STEWART: But you can sleep at night.
[ So did he leave it at that? No. Stewart zeroes in: ]
STEWART: See, the thing is, we need your help. Right now, you're helping the politicians and the corporations. And we're left out there to mow our lawns.
BEGALA: By beating up on them? You just said we're too rough on them when they make mistakes.
STEWART: No, no, no, you're not too rough on them. You're part of their strategies. You are partisan, what do you call it, hacks.
[ And, indeed. Over the years this kind of political show has shifted, just as the typical TV talk show shifted. Back in the 60s and even 70s, a typical daytime talk show discussed more mundane issues than My Husband Likes Sleeping With Our Sheep. Guests dressed casual, but often a bit "up" for TV. TV had a certain dignity and seriousness to them.
But TV titans soon realized that conflict, anger, rage and negativity is what gets ratings (why do most people stop and gawk at a car crash scene?). The Jerry Springerization of daytime TV — minus a few old-style holdovers — spread. TV political talk shows like Crossfire, The Capital Gang, The Beltway Boys, etc. put a premium on several things:
a)People yelling at and over each other and name calling.
b)People who were put on and the instant you saw them you knew exactly how they
would react to a given issue since they were knee-jerk partisans (with the
emphasis on the second word) of the right and the left. The days of Open Mind
are gone; the days of Open Mouth are here.
The emphasis then is on anger issues, rage, personalities — but serious policy discussion is generally not done (you can't get ratings from it).
This is confirmed by Carlson putting Crossfire — a supposedly serious show — on the same playing field as The Daily Show. Here Stewart lowers the boom: ]
STEWART: If you want to compare your show to a comedy show, you're more than welcome to....
CARLSON: Kerry won't come on this show. He will come on your show.
CARLSON: Let me suggest why he wants to come on your show.
STEWART: Well, we have civilized discourse.
CARLSON: Well, here's an example of the civilized discourse. Here are three of the questions you asked John Kerry.
CARLSON: You have a chance to interview the Democratic nominee. You asked him questions such as — quote — "How are you holding up? Is it hard not to take the attacks personally?"
CARLSON: "Have you ever flip-flopped?" et cetera, et cetera.
CARLSON: Didn't you feel like — you got the chance to interview the guy. Why not ask him a real question, instead of just suck up to him?
STEWART: Yes. "How are you holding up?" is a real suck-up. And I actually giving him a hot stone massage as we were doing it.
CARLSON: It sounded that way. It did.
STEWART: You know, it's interesting to hear you talk about my responsibility.
CARLSON: I felt the sparks between you.
STEWART: I didn't realize that — and maybe this explains quite a bit.
CARLSON: No, the opportunity to...
STEWART: ... is that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity.... So what I would suggest is, when you talk about you're holding politicians' feet to fire, I think that's disingenuous. I think you're.. But my point is this. If your idea of confronting me is that I don't ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we're in bad shape, fellows.
CARLSON: We're here to love you, not confront you. ... We're here to be nice.
STEWART: No, no, no, but what I'm saying is this. I'm not. I'm here to confront you, because we need help from the media and they're hurting us. And it's — the idea is...
BEGALA: Let me get this straight. If the indictment is — if the indictment is — and I have seen you say this — that...
BEGALA: And that CROSSFIRE reduces everything, as I said in the intro, to left, right, black, white.
BEGALA: Well, it's because, see, we're a debate show.
STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great.
BEGALA: It's like saying The Weather Channel reduces everything to a storm front.
STEWART: I would love to see a debate show.
BEGALA: We're 30 minutes in a 24-hour day where we have each side on, as best we can get them, and have them fight it out.
STEWART: No, no, no, no, that would be great. To do a debate would be great. But that's like saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.
[They must have thought: why did we BOOK this guy??? But Stewart was not through — and Carlson was about to get the ultimate "diss": ]
CARLSON: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.
CARLSON: Let me ask you a question on the news.
STEWART: Now, this is theater. It's obvious. How old are you?
STEWART: And you wear a bow tie.
CARLSON: Yes, I do. I do.
STEWART: So this is...
CARLSON: I know. I know. I know. You're a...
STEWART: So this is theater.
CARLSON: Now, let me just..Now, come on.
STEWART: Now, listen, I'm not suggesting that you're not a smart guy,
because those are not easy to tie.
CARLSON: They're difficult.
STEWART: But the thing is that this — you're doing theater, when you should
be doing debate, which would be great.
BEGALA: We do, do...
STEWART: It's not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you're accusing us of partisan hackery?
CARLSON: You've got to be kidding me. He comes on and you...
STEWART: You're on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank
phone calls... What is wrong with you?And it gets worse:
CARLSON: Well, I'm just saying, there's no reason for you — when you have this marvelous opportunity not to be the guy's butt boy, to go ahead and be his butt boy. Come on. It's embarrassing.
STEWART: I was absolutely his butt boy. I was so far — you would not believe what he ate two weeks ago... You know, the interesting thing I have is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
[ And WORSE: ]
CARLSON: You need to get a job at a journalism school, I think.
STEWART: You need to go to one...The thing that I want to say is,
when you have people on for just knee-jerk, reactionary talk...
CARLSON: Wait. I thought you were going to be funny. Come on. Be funny.
STEWART: No. No. I'm not going to be your monkey....I watch your show every day. And it kills me.
CARLSON: I can tell you love it.
STEWART: It's so — oh, it's so painful to watch.
STEWART: You know, because we need what you do. This is such a great pportunity you have here to actually get politicians off of their marketing and strategy.
[ THAT'S THE POINT: Crossfire and shows of its ilk have become the Winking Spin Zones. Haven't you noticed that obnoxious little wink from the newscasters and political yell shows, the half smile that says: "We know this is all B.S. but we and they have to say certain things — and this is the way our game works. Why we'll all go out for a nice dinner and drinks after the show and forget all about this..."
CARLSON: Is this really Jon Stewart? What is this, anyway?
STEWART: Yes, it's someone who watches your show and cannot take it anymore....I just can't.
CARLSON: What's it like to have dinner with you? It must be excruciating. Do you like lecture people like this or do you come over to their house and sit and lecture
them; they're not doing the right thing, that they're missing their opportunities, evading their responsibilities?
STEWART: If I think they are.
[ And when they come back from a break? ]
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE. We're talking to Jon Stewart, who was just lecturing us on our moral inferiority. Jon, you're bumming us out. Tell us, what do you think about the Bill O'Reilly vibrator story?
STEWART: I'm sorry. I don't.
[ And later on Stewart takes up SPIN: ]
STEWART: But let me ask you guys, again, a question, because we talked a little bit about, you're actually doing honest debate and all that. But, after the debates, where do you guys head to right afterwards?
CARLSON: The men's room.
STEWART: Right after that?
STEWART: Spin alley.
STEWART: No, spin alley.
BEGALA: What are you talking about? You mean at these debates?
STEWART: Yes. You go to spin alley, the place called spin alley. Now, don't you think that, for people watching at home, that's kind of a drag, that you're literally walking to a place called deception lane? Like, it's spin alley. It's — don't you see, that's the issue I'm trying to talk to you guys...
BEGALA: No, I actually believe — I have a lot of friends who work for President Bush. I went to college with some of them.
CARLSON: Neither of us was ever in the spin room, actually.
BEGALA: No, I did — I went to do the Larry King show. They actually believe what they're saying. They want to persuade you. That's what they're trying to do by spinning. But I don't doubt for a minute these people who work for President Bush, who I disagree with on everything, they believe that stuff, Jon. This is not a lie or a deception at all. They believe in him, just like I believe in my guy.
STEWART: I think they believe President Bush would do a better job. And I believe the Kerry guys believe President Kerry would do a better job. But what I believe is, they're not making honest arguments. So what they're doing is, in their mind, the ends justify the means.
[ Afterwards there was this from MTV: "In what could well be the
strangest and most refreshing media moment of the election season, 'The Daily
Show' host Jon Stewart turned up on a live broadcast of CNN's 'Crossfire' Friday
and accused the mainstream media — and his hosts in particular — of being soft
and failing to do their duty as journalists to keep politicians and the
political process honest."
And TVNewser had this item:
CNN Crossfire host Tucker Carlson was taken aback by Jon Stewart's rant on the debate show today. "I've never seen a more sanctimonious comedian," he says in an e-mail to TVNewser. "What a boor." I asked Carlson if Stewart had "slammed" the two hosts. "Slammed us? The transcript may read that way," he said. "But I think the tape makes it clear he humiliated himself."
Dear Tucker: Humiliation is in the eye of the bolder...
Posted by Joe Gandelman ]
. . . nothing he tries to do in a big way will be done in a sound way.
DRUDGE REPORT FLASH 2004®: A QUOTE ATTRIBUTED TO PRESIDENT BUSH IN NEXT SUNDAY'S NEW YORK TIMES HAS IGNITED PREPUBLICATION SPARKS, THE DRUDGE REPORT HAS LEARNED. FORMER WSJ REPORTER AND BEST-SELLING AUTHOR RON SUSKIND QUOTES BUSH AS TELLING A PRIVATE LUNCHEON OF TOP SUPPORTERS: 'I'M GOING TO BE REAL POSITIVE, WHILE I KEEP MY FOOT ON JOHN KERRY'S THROAT.'... BUSH MADE THE STARTLING COMMENTS LAST MONTH IN WASHINGTON.
John Kerry and I support a nice, big, fat, fucking tax cut for you, because let's face it, nothing good can ever come from taxes. They're a big pain in the ass! We'll do fine without 'em! There! I'm feeling so cheery, I wouldn't be surprised if a friggin' unicorn stepped out on stage and started humpin' my leg!
"There is no question that Cheney has the financial assets and intelligence needed to pose a threat to our nation," said Peter Bergen, terrorism researcher and author of Threats And Balances: Former Executive Branch Officials And The Danger To America. "After all, this fanatic can call upon the resources of both the Republican Party and Halliburton to aid him in his assault. America would be foolish not to take his warning seriously."
Aboard Bush's plane, [John] McCain's chief strategist, John Weaver, had--without thinking--pulled a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich off the snack cart and eaten it. Bush came aboard the plane and asked the flight attendant for his PB&J. She had to tell him it was gone. "It's gone?" Bush said, disbelieving and suddenly angry. "Who ate my peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich?" After a minute Weaver impishly raised his hand. "I did," he said. "Fine," said Bush. "Don't eat any more of his food," McCain cracked, sotto voce. A few people chuckled, and Bush returned to his seat to pout.
First the Bush administration says that it believes that photographs like this that show a rectangular bulge in Bush's jacket have been doctored and faked:
The New York Times > Washington > Campaign 2004 > The Mystery of the Bulge in the Jacket: What was that bulge in the back of President Bush's suit jacket at the presidential debate in Miami last week? According to rumors racing across the Internet this week, the rectangular bulge visible between Mr. Bush's shoulder blades was a radio receiver, getting answers from an offstage counselor into a hidden presidential earpiece.... First [the White House] said that pictures showing the bulge might have been doctored...
But that didn't work:
...the bulge turned out to be clearly visible in the television footage of the evening...
So the White House switched to Plan B::
"There was nothing under his suit jacket," said Nicolle Devenish, a campaign spokeswoman. "It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric." Ms. Devenish could not say why the "rumpling" was rectangular. Nor was the bulge from a bulletproof vest, according to campaign and White House officials; they said Mr. Bush was not wearing one...
But to say "pay no attention to the bulge under his jacket!" is hardly satisfactory to anyone not on the payroll of the Wizard of Oz.
Wonkette makes a good point:
Wonkette: ...theory that Bush wore an earpiece during last week's debate. Yes, we've seen the pictures. But we also watched the debate. If Bush was listening to some kind of radio signal, it was between stations.
In any case, Salon has seen fit to pick up the story and the Media Channel even got poor Mark McKinnon to go through the trouble making a statement about it:
I love this. Am tempted to say, 'I cannot confirm or deny,' and let the story get some legs. Or, how about, 'Since we put the metal plate in his head, we have had some measure of success with audio transmissions to the President.' Or, 'Yeah, but it clearly broke down during the debate.' Unfortunately, the truth is not nearly as interesting. The answer is, 'The President has never been assisted by any audio signal.'
My instant reaction is that this is another non-denial denial: of course the audio signal did not "assist" Bush: nothing could have helped Bush in that debate. The first interesting question is whether they tried--albeit unsuccessfully--to assist Bush with an audio signal. And the second interesting question is: If it is not a radio, what is it?
I bet it's part of a back brace. Bush's posture was terrible.
Some have attributed Cheney's misstatements to malice, but I suspect pervasive
sloppiness coupled with tremendous arrogance, resulting in a completely skewed
understanding of the world, are likely more to blame. For example, I can't
believe Cheney would have claimed he never met John Edwards if he'd actually
remembered meeting him, but he was so confident of his memory that no one
apparently bothered to vet his claim before he made it, and he wound up with egg
all over his face. The same essential dynamic has been at work over and over
with this administration. . . . They rely too much on what they
already think they know, rather than what they can learn. In short, they're
sloppy -- and, consequently, highly error-prone.
Despite growing misgivings about the violence in Iraq, Bush has held a
commanding lead on whether he would better protect the country from terrorists.
It's easy to get cynical about politicians lying, but last night's debate
was remarkable for the number of times Dick Cheney told flat-out fibs.
Contradicting the main argument for a war that has cost more than 1,000 American
lives, the top U.S. arms inspector reported Wednesday that, etc.
He often seemed to want to say something about the perils of liberal elitism and
social engineering. I wish he had; it would have been worth reading.
Unfortunately, it always came out sideways, as suspicion or resentment of
liberal elitists, personified by Bill, Hillary and friends.
Before the Iraq War began I believed, without evidence and, indeed, contrary to all
available evidence, that George W. Bush was a man of deep integrity and
principle who would strongly prefer to lose the 2004 election rather than
implement bad policy.
Kerry and I have got something else in common: neither of us created the
mess. One man did that, and he has to wear it around his neck.
But let's focus on the positive. You now realize John Kerry did not vote to go to war. Perhaps you grasp the corollary of this, which is that it's pointless to accuse him of being a hypocrite on the issue. He wasn't.
But now you say Kerry "should have said no" to giving Bush war authority. Why?
Back in 2002 intelligence reports indicated that an unfriendly dictator had dangerous and forbidden weapons. The reports did not indicate that he had enough to make this a pressing, top-priority menace. But they did give grounds for thinking the weapons were there.
The president decided to force the issue and turn this matter into the number one
international agenda topic issue of the day. He declared a showdown was necessary to make Saddam come clean. For this showdown he said he needed the power to make war, if necessary.
The United States was in the standoff whether Kerry liked it or not. Should he have voted no and undermined the president in the middle of an international confrontation? Well, maybe -- Bush is not a trustworthy man, and he was clearly playing games with the evidence, hyping it to create a crisis.
On the other hand . . . let's say the president doesn't get his war authority. His
whole attempt at a showdown collapses and the world learns the U.S. will back
off in a crunch. That's not too useful the next time there's a dictator we need to straighten out.
So Kerry votes to give Bush the war authority. Bush deploys forces near Iraq. As a result Saddam lets in the weapons inspectors. The inspectors find out there are no weapons. We've won!
So then Bush invades anyway.
Somebody comes out of this looking very, very bad. And it's not John
When it comes to peace and war, most Americans believe a president deserves the benefit of a doubt. This president has shown he doesn't deserve it. That means he has to go.
You say you want answers. Well, good luck. The only one I've got is this: we have to stop pretending. Bush's games landed us in a mess, and he's still playing games now. Look at how he trots out Allawi to say things are going great (in a speech co-written by one of Bush's campaign officials).You can't deal with reality if you won't face it, and that's a test Bush has failed.
The Bush team got its doctrines mixed up: it applied the Powell Doctrine to
the campaign against John Kerry - "overwhelming force" without mercy, based on a
strategy of shock and awe at the Republican convention, followed by a propaganda
blitz that got its message across in every possible way, including through
distortion. If only the Bush team had gone after the remnants of Saddam's army
in the Sunni Triangle with the brutal efficiency it has gone after Senator Kerry
in the Iowa-Ohio-Michigan triangle. If only the Bush team had spoken to Iraqis
and Arabs with as clear a message as it did to the Republican base. No, alas, while the Bush people etc., etc.
What I resent so much is that some of us actually put our personal politics
aside in thinking about this war and about why it is so important to produce a
different Iraq. This administration never did.
Bush Campaign More Thought Out Than Iraq War
WASHINGTON, DC—Military and political strategists agreed Monday that
President Bush's re-election campaign has been executed with greater precision
than the war in Iraq.
"Judging from the initial misrepresentation of intelligence data and the
ongoing crisis in Najaf, I assumed the president didn't know his ass from his
elbow," said Col. Dale Henderson, a military advisor during the Reagan
"But on the campaign trail, he's proven himself a master of long-term
planning and unflinching determination. How else can you explain his strength in
the polls given this economy?"
Henderson said he regrets having characterized Bush's handling of the war
as "incompetent," now that he knows the president's mind was simply otherwise
"We had him down and we had our foot on his throat," Ron Kaufman, who served as
political adviser to Mr. Bush's father, said of Mr. Kerry. "He got up, but he's
When Kerry, methodically making his case like the prosecutor he once was,
said, "This President has made a colossal error of judgment" by invading Iraq,
Bush looked like a 1960s teenager called on the carpet for cracking up the
family Oldsmobile. At that moment, it was hard not to get the impression that
young George wanted to be anyplace but where he found himself.
The poignancy of a man ill-prepared for and overwhelmed by his job was never more apparent than when Bush said, "I never wanted to commit troops. When we were debating in 2000, I never dreamed I'd have to do that."
The message that Kerry hammered home was that, in fact, Bush did not have to "do that," did not have to send our soldiers -- at least not to Iraq.
But Bush, the onetime black sheep of his family, wanted to wipe away the "wimp factor" stain that his old man had left on the Bush clan. And so he rebelled against the family mantra of prudence in all things. Last night, he looked for all the world like a sputtering screwup -- again.