The Family Research Council is planning a three-day “Values Voter Summit” this fall that will include “a conservative-liberal faceoff on religion and politics.” The debate “pits Jim Wallis, an evangelical Christian who edits the magazine Sojourners, against Richard Land, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s government affairs arm and host of three syndicated radio programs.”
The United States “has decided to designate” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “specially designated global terrorist,” a move that allows the U.S. to target the group’s finances. “If imposed, the declaration would signal a more confrontational turn in the administration’s approach to Iran and would be the first time that the United States has added the armed forces of any sovereign government to its list of terrorist organizations.”
Karl Rove on his departure: “Somebody else will come and do my job — or several people will do my job. But I’m a cog. I’ve served a useful purpose, I think. I know I have.”
“Despite U.S. claims that violence is down in the Iraqi capital, U.S. military officers are offering a bleak picture of Iraq’s future, saying they’ve yet to see any signs of reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite Muslims despite the drop in violence.”
“Intent on demonstrating progress in Iraq,” the LA Times reports that Gen. David Petraeus “is expected by Bush administration officials to recommend removing American troops soon from several areas where commanders believe security has improved, possibly including Al Anbar province.”
Stephen Hayes writes that in the recent battle over FISA, Vice President Cheney “did not spend much time on Capitol Hill seeking support for the White House-backed changes as he had during the debates over detainee interrogations and earlier versions of the NSA programs. Instead, Mr. Cheney pushed and prodded inside the White House, insisting that the legislative affairs team approach the issue with the same urgency Mr. Cheney feels.” (more…)
On NPR’s On Point today, a caller asked Brookings analyst Michael O’Hanlon to respond to Glenn Greenwald’s recent article which revealed O’Hanlon’s trip to Iraq had been choreographed by the Defense Department. “Well, I don’t have high regard for the kind of journalism that Mr. Greenwald has carried out here,” O’Hanlon said. “I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time rebutting Mr. Greenwald because he’s had frankly more time and more readership than he deserves.” Crooks and Liars has the audio.
Following President Bush and Karl Rove’s joint appearance yesterday on the White House lawn announcing Rove’s upcoming departure, CBS correspondent Bill Plante shouted, “If he’s so smart, how come you lost Congress?” For having the temerity to disrupt the White House’s scripted performance, Plante said he has been subjected to right-wing abuse:
As the President and Karl Rove walked away from the lectern after their emotional announcement of Rove’s resignation, I yelled a question: “If he’s so smart, why did you lose Congress?”
The President, as usual, didn’t answer. That’s OK — he doesn’t have to if he doesn’t want to. But judging by some of the reaction, you’d think I had been shouting obscenities in church!
“Unprofessional;” “Inappropriate;” “Unbecoming;” “Doesn’t show much class;” “you are a total idiot;” “Shill for the liberal Democrats.”
Christopher Hitchens on Rove:
I know something which is known to few but is not a secret. Karl Rove is not a believer, and he doesn’t shout it from the rooftops, but when asked, he answers quite honestly. I think the way he puts it is, “I’m not fortunate enough to be a person of faith.”
Rove, addressing President Bush:
At month’s end, I will join those whom you meet in your travels, the ordinary Americans who tell you they are praying for you. Like them, I will ask for God’s continued gifts of strength and wisdom for you and your work, your vital work for our country and the world, and for the Almighty’s continued blessing of our great country.
Last week, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani angered 9/11 rescue workers when he claimed he “was at ground zero as often, if not more, than most of the workers.” Though the insensitive and revealing comments garnered traditional news coverage, political pundits overwhelmingly ignored Rudy’s gaffe, according to a media analysis by Greg Sargent and Benjy Sarlin at The Horse’s Mouth.
In January, Fox announced that it would begin airing the “Half Hour News Hour” on Sunday nights, the so-called “right-wing answer to ‘The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.‘” “You can turn on any show and see Bush being bashed,” said creator Joel Surnow, producer of Fox’s 24. “There really is nothing out there for those who want satire that tilts right.” As Fox has learned, that’s because no one wants to watch that kind of satire.
TVNewser reports today that the HHNH has been canceled. In a memo to senior producers today, Fox News Corp.’s senior vice president Bill Shine announced:
Joel Surnow and I have mutually decided that we will not continue the Half Hour News Hour beyond its current 15 episode run. The last show will be presented on September 16th.
Shine claimed the reason for the shelving of the show was that Fox is “considering ways to retool the show for future scheduling needs.” He held out the chance that the show would air again: “There is still a chance you will see the program at some point in the future.”
The first show guest-starred right-wing all-stars Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter as President and Vice President. Watch a clip from a preview of the first show:
The reviews for the program were consistently dismal. Its very first review, from the Orlando Sentinel, decried the “[l]aughter, of an awfully canned variety, greets all the gags. Nothing happening on screen justifies these outbursts. … If we’re lucky, we’ll never hear of this dreadful show again.” “Sometimes the humor is so heavy-handed that it seems almost like self-parody,” said the New York Times. “The 1/2 Hour News Hour is slow torture all by itself,” said the Philadelpha Inquirer.
What the right-wing failed to grasp is Jon Stewart is funny not because he spins falsehoods but because he tells the truth.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) delivered a letter today addressed to Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and John Rockefeller (D-WV), urging them to fix the FISA law that was passed before Congress recessed:
I know both of you share my disappointment at the process that led to passage of the recent law, and at the flawed outcome itself, which you and I and many others strongly opposed. […]
When the Senate reconvenes in September, I fully support your committees working expeditiously together and in a bipartisan manner to develop a longer-term statutory change that better serves American national security interests and comports with the Constitution and proper judicial and congressional oversight.
Karl Rove will grant his first post-resignation exclusive to right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh. A press release from Premiere Radio Networks states:
Live on the radio airwaves tomorrow, August 15, at 1:06 p.m. ET, Karl Rove will be a guest on The Rush Limbaugh Show. This is the former Deputy Chief of Staff’s first exclusive interview since his resignation from the Bush Administration.
On his radio show yesterday, Rush lavished Rove with praise, calling him “one of the smartest people you would ever run into” and a “fine, upstanding, cheerful, optimistic person just like the president is.”
With his softball questions and divisive partisan rhetorical attacks on progressives, Rush Limbaugh has made his radio show a friendly forum for the Bush White House. And he has been rewarded for it. While the White House hosted a group of ten top conservative radio hosts earlier this month, Limbaugh was treated to his own private confab with Bush. He described it recently on his radio show in the following way:
The president and I, Ed Gillespie in the room who took over for Dan Bartlett. We had cigars and beverages for a couple hours in the Treaty Room up in the residence. It was so much fun.
Just prior to the November 2006 midterm elections, Bush appeared on Rush’s show to emphasize his call for staying the course in Iraq. Limbaugh has also coddled numerous other administration officials on his show, including Dick Cheney, Tony Snow, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld. Expect tomorrow’s appearance by Rove to be similarly treated as love fest.
“In one of the worst single incidents” in four years of war in Iraq, “three suicide bombers driving fuel tankers attacked a town, home to an ancient minority sect, in northern Iraq” today, killing at least 175 people while injuring hundreds more.
HH: Ought we to be talking to Iran right now, Victor Davis Hanson?
VDH: Yeah, I think that’s way, way overdue. We really need to start doing some things beyond talking, and if that is going into Iranian airspace, or buzzing Iranians, or even starting to forget where the border is and taking out some of these training camps, we need to do that and send a message, because they’re a paper tiger. They really are.
A “paper tiger” is something that seems as threatening as a tiger, but is really harmless.
Five American soldiers died in Anbar province today “when a CH-47 Chinook helicopter crashed during routine post-maintenance test flight near Taqaddum air base, according to a military statement.”
At an event this afternoon at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Gen. George Casey — the former top commander in Iraq and now the Army chief of staff — declared that Iraq will be a remarkable country “in a decade or so” if we maintain the U.S. occupation.
A questioner asked, “What are the prospects in Iraq and how will this war end?” Casey responded:
Right now, there’s so much residual mistrust left over from the time under Saddam Hussein that they’re not quite ready to go forward. But they have an educated population, they have oil wells, they have water, they have some of the most fertile land I’ve ever seen. In a decade or so, this will be a remarkable country, if we stick with it.
Watch it:var flvCaseyIraqDecade32024015463 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/08/CaseyIraqDecade.320.240.flv&autoStart=false', 'em-flvCaseyIraqDecade32024015463', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvCaseyIraqDecade32024015463.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvCaseyIraqDecade32024015463.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvCaseyIraqDecade32024015463.write('flvCaseyIraqDecade32024015463');
Casey’s comments echo those of the current top commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) disclosed that on her recent visit to Iraq, Petraeus told her that the U.S. “will be in Iraq in some way for 9 or 10 years.”
The military does not have the current resources to maintain a decade-long occupation at or near the current troop levels. Recently, White House “war czar” Gen. Doug Lute suggested that there may be a need to put the military draft on the table.
The claim that Iraq will be a “remarkable country” if we stay belies how the Iraqis feel about the situation. Almost 70 percent of Iraqis say coalition forces make “the security situation worse.” Casey said today that his experience in Iraq suggests “when Iraqis want something to happen….it happens.” What the administration fails to grasp is that the Iraqis want the U.S. out.
On the August 10 edition of his radio show, Fox News host John Gibson mocked Daily Show host Jon Stewart, playing a clip of Stewart’s choked-up, heartfelt remarks just after 9/11 while he sarcastically mimicked them. After the clip finished, Gibson’s producer, “Angry Rich,” called Stewart a “phony.” Listen to the clip over at Media Matters.
In the wake of Karl Rove’s resignation yesterday, television talking heads were quick to heap praise on the political strategist, lauding him as a “superstar,” “the mastermind,” and “Boy Genius.”
But this morning, major print outlets exhibited a more careful analysis of Rove’s record of false predictions, scandal, and his failed attempts to engineer a “permanent Republican majority.” In both analysis and editorial pieces today, major papers slammed Rove’s legacy:
[Rove] is quitting his White House job with little likelihood that the political agenda he set will be fulfilled…more recent attempts at major changes in the law — overhauling the Social Security and immigration systems — failed. … Rove’s vision of an enduring Republican majority was dealt a blow by defeats in congressional elections last November. [Bloomberg]
[F]ew people — including his Republican allies — believe Rove succeeded in what he set as his ultimate goal: creating a long-lasting GOP majority in the country. [Washington Post]
Mr. Rove leaves the White House anything but victorious. His legendary reputation…was seriously diminished by the Republican defeats of 2006. He is blamed in Republican circles for many of the political problems President Bush has suffered in a difficult second term. [New York Times]
Strategist Karl Rove’s departure from the White House may signal the official end of an era of ambition. … US political realignment, if it’s happening, appears to favor Democrats. And today, the administration’s domestic agenda is at best stalled — and at worst gone with the wind. [Christian Science-Monitor]
Karl Rove leaves the White House unbowed and unindicted, but also under investigation and unsuccessful in meeting a goal even more ambitious than navigating his friend to the Oval Office. For Rove, the even-bigger picture has been establishing a durable Republican majority. [Austin American-Statesman]
The GOP’s wipeout in 2006 would suggest that Mr. Rove did not achieve this goal, notwithstanding his brave parting words about Republican victory in 2008. And if the manufactured polarization of the Bush-Rove years did not even serve its ostensible purpose, then what was the good of it? [Washington Post]
Mr. Rove has stonewalled Congress’s legitimate efforts to investigate. … Rove failed his own party, as well as the American people, when he counseled President Bush to turn every serious policy debate — Social Security, the war in Iraq, even terrorism — into one more political dogfight. [New York Times]
[I]t’s hard to believe he’d be going home if his grand vision of Republicans forever had held together instead of imploding. [Chicago Sun-Times]
[T]he politics of polarization that once served President Bush so well eventually undermined his quest for a legacy of achievement in office, while deflating Rove’s own dream of a Republican ascendancy at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. On Monday, Rove quit while he was behind. [Los Angeles Times]
Fortunately, reality finally is catching up with Karl Rove. Lincoln famously said that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Rove has pushed those boundaries, but ultimately, he could not escape them. [Salt Lake Tribune]
Last night on the Charlie Rose show, DailyKos found Markos Moulitsas Zuniga discussed Karl Rove’s role in leading up the Iraq war. “I think he saw this is a great way to win some elections, let’s go with it,” Markos said. “He definitely was a chief architect in selling the war. I don’t know if he thought it was the best idea. … I just think he saw it as a great political tool to use to defeat Democrats.” Watch it:var flvkosonrove32024015461 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/08/kosonrove.320.240.flv&autoStart=false', 'em-flvkosonrove32024015461', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvkosonrove32024015461.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvkosonrove32024015461.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvkosonrove32024015461.write('flvkosonrove32024015461');
According to a new CBS News poll, 29 percent of Americans believe that the escalation is having a positive impact, an increase of 10 percentage points from last month. But more than two-thirds remain pessimistic about the general direction in Iraq, and 46 percent believe the U.S. presence in Iraq is creating terrorists. The poll indicates a strong majority of Americans want a drawdown:
About one-third of Americans say that the U.S. should reduce troop levels in Iraq, and another 30 percent say the U.S. should remove all troops from the country. Just under one-third say America should increase troop levels or keep them at the same level they are today.
“Don Imus has reached a settlement with CBS over his multimillion-dollar contract and is negotiating with WABC radio to resume his broadcasting career there, according to CBS and a person familiar with the negotiations.”
On the Daily Show last night, host Jon Stewart challenged Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol’s claim that Brookings’ analysts Michael O’Hanlon and Ken Pollack are “skeptics of the war.”
Stewart pressed Kristol on why actual skeptics of the war should trust war hawks such as him “to undo the terrible thing” they created by pushing for the invasion of Iraq and making failed predictions at every turn. “Don’t trust me,” responded Kristol. “Trust skeptics of the war like Mike O’Hanlon and Ken Pollack.”
“They weren’t really skeptics,” Stewart said. “Ken Pollack would like us to invade Iran, for God’s sake…those are very hawkish guys.” Watch it:var flvKristolDailyShow32024015457 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/08/KristolDailyShow.320.240.flv&autoStart=false', 'em-flvKristolDailyShow32024015457', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvKristolDailyShow32024015457.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvKristolDailyShow32024015457.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvKristolDailyShow32024015457.write('flvKristolDailyShow32024015457');
By challenging Kristol, Stewart has done something that most mainstream news outlets have failed to do, which is correctly label O’Hanlon and Pollack as hawks who supported both the initial invasion of Iraq and the President’s escalation strategy. Much of the mainstream media has referred to the two as “vocal critics” of the Bush administration.
Even though O’Hanlon has admitted that he “was not a critic of this war,” his and Pollack’s op-ed has enabled pro-war hawks like Kristol and Vice President Cheney to claim validation for their opinions from alleged critics. By labeling O’Hanlon and Pollack as critics, the media is giving political cover to the same voices who misguidedly pushed America into war in the first place.
UPDATE: During the interview, Kristol also said “it’s not a bad idea” to invade Iran and that Americans should let Iraq “play…out for the next six months.”
A study by the National Priorities Project finds that “half of the nation’s eligible poor aren’t getting the food stamps to which they’re entitled.” “We’ve got over 35 million people in this country struggling to get enough food to eat, and 50 percent of all low-income people are not receiving the benefit that is intended to alleviate this food insecurity,” said Greg Speeter, the project’s executive director. “While the food-stamp program provides a vital service, clearly too many people are still going without.” See the report here.