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The LiberalOasis Blog
The daily view from the oasis

April 8, 2005 PERMALINK
Open Letter To The Media
(posted April 8 12 AM ET)
(minor edit April 8 3:45 PM ET)

To: The Media

From: LiberalOasis

Subject: Know Your (Blogging) Enemy

LiberalOasis knows you media types out there followed the Schiavo “talking points” story with great interest.

And you justifiably shared the self-satisfaction felt by W. Post’s Mike Allen (one of the reporters who originally broke the story) when he debunked right-wing speculation that the political memo was fake.

But please, resist the temptation to crow: Big Media 1, Punk-Ass Bloggers 0!

Because, you must understand, we’re not all out to get you.

Yes, you get serious flak from the liberal blogosphere and the conservative blogosphere.

But that is not cause to use the old crutch, “if we getting criticized from both sides, then we must be doing something right.”

Which implies that there is something wrong with “both sides,” namely, liberal blogs and conservative blogs.

As far you’re concerned, as far the media’s long-term survival is concerned, there is only one “wrong” side.

The side that wants you destroyed.

The conservative side.

When conservative blogs criticize reporters and media outlets, their long-term goal is to permanently wreck your credibility.

So when you get real scoops, like the Schiavo memo, your reporting – your word – will not be considered good enough.

As the right-wing blog Powerline said last month, “what is the evidence that the memo is genuine?”

In their echo chamber, the fact that a professional journalist at one of the most respected newspapers in the country said it was authentic is not good enough to be evidence. Just the opposite.

And they want their world to be everyone’s world, where any attempt to uncover truth (so long as they’re in power) is deemed suspect.

(As you probably already know, being proven completely wrong hasn’t stopped some right-wing blogs from continuing to use this episode to malign your credibility.)

The goal of liberal media criticism is completely different.

At the risk of inappropriately speaking on the behalf of the liberal blogosphere, we don’t want to hobble you.

We want to help you.

We are customers begging for better product.

We want a media that reports, not regurgitates.

We are Paul Reveres desperately trying to warn you that you are under siege.

We want you to realize that caving into right-wing pressure is what will truly destroy your credibility, especially with the politically engaged customers you rely on most.

We want you to know that you don’t need them. They don’t care about your well-being. We do.

With the Schiavo memo story, you did stick it to those who wish you ill. You should feel good about that.

But don’t lord it over bloggers in general. We're just as happy as you are. More please.

April 7, 2005 PERMALINK
DeLay = Conservative
(posted April 7 12:45 AM ET)

This is an attack on the conservative movement. It is not just about Tom DeLay.
-- Rep. Eric Cantor, House chief deputy whip, 4/6/05 (via The Stakeholder)

The Republican Party has not only decided to stand by Tom DeLay.

It has explicitly embraced DeLay’s view that the attacks on him are the equivalent to attacks on conservatism itself.

It has explicitly rejected the Wall Street Journal-David Brooks-Lindsey Graham view that, for the sake of the movement, conservatism must be kept far, far away from the whiff of ethical transgressions.

It has implicitly sent the message that the DeLay way is the conservative way.

Not only that creating a seamless relationship between Congress and corporations -- foreign or domestic, through legal or illegal means – is ideologically in sync with conservatism.

But that pragmatically, the conservative movement does not have the popular support to survive without the kind of well-financed corporate network that DeLay has built.

In classic projection mode, House Majority Whip Roy Blunt said Dems were attacking DeLay because they have “no competing policy ideas.”

But of course, DeLay is not cherished because he’s the GOP’s idea man.

He’s cherished because he’s the GOP’s bag man.

And if the GOP’s ideas were as politically potent as they like to claim, then they wouldn’t so badly need a bag man, and wouldn’t so badly need to protect him at all costs.

Apparently, selling our government to the highest bidder is the greatest idea conservatives got.

But the GOP has done the country a great service by making their deepest principles crystal clear.

And they are helping the nation make an informed choice about the kind of Congress they want in 2006.

April 6, 2005 PERMALINK
Fat Cats vs. Fringe Fundamentalists
And the Nuclear Option Loses
(posted April 6 1:15 AM ET)

The Dems won on “Clear Skies.” They’re winning on Social Security.

And it looks like they’ve won on the “nuclear option.”

Last night on Fox News, Bill Kristol said that while there was once talk that the GOP would end filibusters of judges this month, instead, “the Republicans have backed down for now” as “the Democrats called Frist’s bluff.”

Kristol’s Fox colleague Charles Krauthammer concurred, lamenting that “the Republicans might have missed a moment” by not doing the option “after the inauguration when they were at their peak strength.”

Now, he noted, “the Republicans are weakened … and if they don’t act, they’re going to get stymied on judges.”

Krauthammer didn’t say why they are weakened, but this piece in The Hill sheds light.

Basically, it’s the coalition between corporate conservatives and the social conservatives that is continuing to weaken.

Last month, LiberalOasis discussed how the social cons were complaining that the corporate cons were getting their goodies, and the social cons were getting squat (leading to intense pressure to prolong Terri Schiavo’s vegetative state).

Well, according to The Hill, the corporate cons are impatient for more.

So even though the social cons want the nuclear option; and even though the corporate cons want anti-regulation, anti-civil rights judges quite badly; the corporate cons want more corporate-friendly legislation too.

And the nuclear option, by definition, would indefinitely stall the GOP’s pro-corporate agenda.

In turn, the corporate cons (the cons with the money) appear to be getting their way again, while the social cons (the people power) will feel like they’ve gotten the short end again.

As these two key GOP factions continue to publicly squabble, unintentionally raising the coalition’s profile, the long-term challenge for Dems is to show how the GOP only seems to care about stroking fat cats and fringe fundamentalists.

In the meantime, Dems can pat themselves on the back for stifling the nuclear option.

There’s no guarantee the nuclear option won’t return, but in the short-term, Dems likely have prevented Bush from easily ramming an extremist Supreme Court nominee through the Senate this summer.

QUICK HIT

Whose Nuclear Option?

Yesterday, ABC’s The Note said it’s “liberals” that “call it” the “nuclear option.”

How soon they forget.

Much like it was Republicans who coined the phrase “Social Security privatization,” it was Republicans who coined “nuclear option.”

The 4/7/03 New Republic reported:

[Sen. Trent] Lott [said] that he had a plan of his own that might allow Republicans to circumvent a filibuster ...

... Lott wouldn't give details but ominously warned that his plan would mean going "nuclear."

One month later, the W. Times gave the details (via Demagogue):

Republicans could immediately break the current filibusters against two of President Bush's judicial nominees with a rarely used parliamentary procedure that would confirm them through a simple majority vote, according to a plan under consideration by Senate Republicans.

The tactic would be so drastic in the usually congenial Senate that Republicans refer to it as their "nuclear option."

April 5, 2005 PERMALINK
Grousing, Grumbling, Fracturing
(posted April 5 8 AM ET)

The Republicans are getting increasingly nervous, which is always a great time to jack up the pressure.

Today’s W. Post lays out the angst, the jitters and the grumbling.

Sen. Lindsey Graham strongly implies he’s in the (still pretty small) Dump DeLay camp.

While Sen. Trent Lott, Rep. Jack Kingston and GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio all suggest they’re worried that pandering to the social conservatives is getting in the way of serving the corporate conservatives.

Fortunately, the Dems jacking up the pressure.

Unlike the PlameGate scandal, when Dems largely kept quiet and allowed the story to remain on the back pages, the House Dems can’t shut up about DeLay and outside groups are already running anti-DeLay ads.

Impressive pressure is being applied on the John Bolton nomination to be UN Ambassador, enough that GOPers are scrambling to prevent it from being killed in committee.

For example, after a bipartisan group of diplomats slammed Bolton, GOPers were worried enough about the impact to organize a counter-letter from right-wing anti-UN diplomats.

And the latest example was the quick response to Sen. John Cornyn’s disturbing comments that violence against judges is partly because “judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public.”

(Daily Kos has the blog commentary roundup)

The quick response helped push the comments into the mainstream media, putting Cornyn on the defensive and making it harder for the GOP to employ their judicial strategy.

If we see more of this, if Dems seize this moment of GOP insecurity, we can keep the GOP off-balance up through the mid-term elections.

Yet old habits die hard.

Anonymous House Dem staffers recently whined to the Beltway newspaper The Hill that the Senate Dems weren’t coordinating well with them on message and strategy.

Their complaints sound like nothing more than petty gripes (anyone whose argument rests on how great the coordination was in the glory days of Sen. Daschle and Rep. Gephardt has no argument).

For the millionith time, whatever friction that exists does not need to be spoon-fed to the press.

The Republicans, struggling with the burdens of one-party rule, are finally letting their spats and fissures find daylight.

See how awful it makes them look?

Let them take the squabblers’ mantle. We’ve held it long enough.

The Blog Wire
Tracking the liberal blogosphere

AmericaBlog: "Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) gave an astounding account of the recent spate of violence against judges, suggesting that the crimes could be attributed to the fact that judges are 'unaccountable' to the public"

Political Strategy: Deconstructing DeLay

The Night Light: New govt website effectively tells kids "join the Christian right or kill yourself"

Blue Mass Group: "It's not worth it to try to keep [DeLay] around so that the Democrats can run against him. If we can't make a national case for reform -- with or without having Tom DeLay to kick around -- then we don't deserve to win."

The Washington Note: "10-8 Bolton So Far: Lots of Progress Made and a Week Yet to Go"

Salon's War Room: "Whatever Terri Schiavo might have wanted out of her life and her death, it wasn't what she got"

Altercation: "If Kofi Annan's critics demanded the same level of accountability from George W. Bush they profess to want from the UN General Secretary, he would have been impeached in his first week of office"

Bush V. Choice: Take action against pharmacists refusing to fill women’s prescriptions!

The Agonist and dozens of bloggers contact the National Press Club: "Gannon's presence on [your] panel will allow him to once again air his side of the story. Who will air the other side?"

Roger Ailes: "A message from the Boy Scouts of America, no longer on their site ..."

Echidne of the Snakes on the latest Supreme Court ruling regarding Title IX

Body and Soul: "the American press has taken on the task of reminding us daily of the importance of every human life. In that spirit, I'd like to return to one loss of life they've apparently forgotten about ... the Italian intelligence agent who American soldiers shot and killed early this month ..."

The SEA-EAT Blog has information about resources, aid, donations and volunteer efforts for victims of the SE Asian tsunami

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