Monday, March 20, 2006

A Weekend For Must-See Political TV

I strongly recommended that Crooks and Liars receive everyone’s vote for Best Blog in this year’s Koufax Awards and this last weekend is a great example of why John Amato’s site has become such an invaluable resource. Having returned exhausted early Sunday morning from a business trip to Mexico City, I missed most of the Sunday morning talk shows.

Thanks to C&L, I’m caught up and here’s your chance to be similarly informed.

First up was my buddy Christy Hardin Smith – I guess you’re all allowed to know her name now too – aka Reddhedd from Firedoglake appearing on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal. Christy was on with Paul Mirengoff from the conservative Powerline blog to discuss everything from preemptive war to Scooter Libby.

My favorite part: Christy showing Mirengoff that reading spin from the RNC web site designed to minimize the Valerie Plame leak case, is no match for her background as a prosecutor. Outstanding.

Be sure also to check out RNC-TV – Fox News – as Republican spokesman Chris Wallace, carefully disguised as a real news reporter, issues every talking point in the GOP book to try to derail Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) in defending the censure motion brought by colleague Russ Feingold (D-WI) against George W. Bush. Durbin does a great job of keeping Wallace in his place and batting back every attempt to minimize what Bush has done with his illegal eavesdropping program.

Side Note: Do you suppose it’s possible that Wallace’s father, a real reporter named Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes and CBS News fame, can even watch his offspring on television without downing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s? I wouldn’t be able to.

And don’t forget to take a look at Nebraska’s Republican Senator (no, not super-DINO Ben Nelson) Chuck Hagel on ABC’s This Week telling us what the world already knows – that Iraq has indeed descending into an all-out civil war.

Supporting the assertion of Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayed Allawi who said of his country “If this is not civil war, than God knows what civil war is…” Hagel said “I think the former Prime Minister is correct. I think we've had a low grade civil war going on in Iraq for the last six months maybe the last year-our own generals have told me that privately George, so that's a fact.”

Finally, we wrap this weekend’s must-see TV with Congressman John Murtha (D-PA) on Meet the Press (transcript here) with Tim Russert.

Some excerpts:
Well, let me say first, Tim, this is President Bush’s war. When he went into the war, he, he went against the advice of his father and the whole administration. He went against the advice of many of his military commanders. He went in without—with inadequate force for the transition to peace and then he had no exit strategy, so it’s their war. And what, what they’re trying to do is paint it as if there’s progress in order to be able to get out. What I see is not enough electricity, only 10 hours a day. I see not enough water, only 30 percent of the people have clean water. I, I see inadequate oil production. All those things were supposed to be part of, of getting this war under control. They have mishandled it, mischaracterized it.

Now, for instance, they said not long we’re going to have 75 percent of the country controlled by Iraqis. Well, I, I flew for an hour and 15 minutes over desert, wasn’t a soul—and that’s, that’s the territory I guess they’re talking about because in the Sunni Triangle, which is 40 percent of, of the country, the incidents have increased, unemployment’s 60 percent; in Anbar Province, the province that I visited, unemployment is 90 percent. So I don’t see the progress that they’re portraying and I don’t understand how they can continue to say that and the American public understands that and we understand it.
When asked by Russert if the world would be safer with Saddam still in power.
The world would be safer if we kept him under control as we were keeping him under control all during the Clinton administration. And, and to use that as an excuse to go to war, we got, we got dictators in North Korea, we got dictators in, in a lot of different countries in, in parts of Africa. We can’t police the world, and we can’t nation build anymore. We cannot afford to do that. We discredit ourselves and we destroy our credibility and our resources trying to do that.
Finally, here's Murtha's response to a Russert suggestion that the media ignores good news coming out of Iraq:
Well, they said the same thing about Vietnam. They said the same thing over and over and over about Vietnam. They said, “We’re winning the war in Vietnam.” That—you could go back and get quotes from Vietnam, and you’d see the same kind of, of, of reports, “The media’s the one that’s distorting; everything’s going fine in Vietnam.” Well, everything’s not going fine in Iraq. They have to realize that. When the whole world is against you, when our, our international reputation has been diminished so substantially, when all the countries in the, in the region say, “We’d be better off without us being in Iraq,” when the people themselves in Iraq say it, and American people say it, I mean who is right?
In other words, if it walks like Vietnam and sounds like Vietnam, perhaps it is.