February 4, 2005
Media's "Credibility-Damaging Kinship With Soldiers" in Iraq?
"A nostalgic insider turned outsider can still offer insights, however, and the most useful is that cable news outlets were ludicrously rah-rah during the invasion of Iraq and that embedded reporters felt a credibility-damaging kinship with soldiers." - From Ned Martel's February 4 review of a documentary from left-wing media critic Danny Schechter.
Bush Budget "Brutal In Its Cuts"
"The view among a number of White House officials was that the big news would come on Monday, when the president is to unveil a budget described as brutal in its cuts in domestic programs." - Elisabeth Bumiller and Anne Kornblut, February 3.
Hitting Bush Hard on Social Security
The proposal would amount to one of the biggest changes in government social policy in history. But just as remarkable is what was not addressed. The president did not say what benefit reductions he favored. The official who briefed reporters spoke only of unspecified 'benefit offsets' and did not say what the cuts would entail or how large they would be. The president did not address the cost to the government of paying full benefits to retirees for decades while tax money was being diverted into private accounts. Nor did he say how much this would increase the annual budget deficit." - David Rosenbaum and Robin Toner on Bush's State of the Union references to his Social Security reform plan, February 3.
Nice Speech, But What About Those Funerals?
"The most dramatic moment occurred when he acknowledged a dead marine's Texan mother in the balcony. As she handed what appeared to be her son's dogtags to an Iraqi woman, the president bit his lip and looked like he was about to cry - a poignant tableau that superseded all the flag-covered coffins the Pentagon has shielded from cameras and all the soldiers' funerals the president has not attended." - TV-beat reporter Alessandra Stanley watching Bush's State of the Union, February 3. Sitting presidents almost never attend the funerals of soldiers during wartime.
Churchgoing Hillary "Caricatured" by Conservatives
"Conservatives have long caricatured Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York's junior senator, as the sort of Democrat whose positions on social issues are out of step with Americans deeply concerned about religious and moral values. But while Mrs. Clinton has been strongly identified with polarizing issues like abortion rights, the picture that conservative Republicans paint of her is at odds with a side of herself she has lately displayed as she enters a new phase of her public life.A churchgoer for years, Mrs. Clinton also joined a prayer group led by Republicans when she took office in the Senate in 2001, her associates and aides note. " - From a February 1 profile of Sen. Hillary Clinton by Raymond Hernandez.
We Love Christie Whitman, But She Doesn't Bash Bush Enough
"On this score, [Christie Whitman] is in full cry, laying about her against the 'fundamentalists,' the 'social conservatives' and the 'ideological zealots' whose views on abortion, race and other big social issues she battled tirelessly as governor of New Jersey. This is a call to arms to the remaining moderates of the Eisenhower/Rockefeller school, and a timely reminder in this age of bitter ideological combat that there was once a Republican mainstream, before the mainstream flowed right. Yet she is maddeningly coy about the reactionaries who determined the Bush administration's environmental policies." and ultimately did her in." - From a February 1 editorial by editorial board member Robert Semple profiling liberal Republican and former Bush cabinet official Christie Whitman, whose new book criticizes conservatives.
Bush's "Chipping Away at Inner Peace" of Americans
"The focus on money over grooming makes sense. The economy may be rebounding slightly, but American confidence does not seem to be quite as buoyant - other factors, like the war, the deficit, and a President intent on altering Social Security, keep chipping away at inner peace. Why else would poker and casino gambling have such explosive appeal right now?" - Alessandra Stanley, January 30 Week in Review, reviewing the new crop of reality shows.
It's Official: Iraq = Vietnam
"Not quite 38 years ago, enmeshed in a drawn-out war whose ultimate outcome was deeply in doubt, Lyndon B. Johnson met on Guam with the fractious generals who were contending for leadership of South Vietnam and told them: 'My birthday is in late August. The greatest birthday present you could give me is a national election.' George W. Bush's birthday is in early July, but his broad goals for the Iraqi elections on Sunday are much the same as the Johnson administration's in 1967: to confer political legitimacy and credibility on a government that Iraqis themselves will be willing and able to fight to defend, and that American and world public opinion will agree to help nurture." - Reporter Todd Purdum, January 29, a day before Iraq's successful vote, in a story headlined "Flashback to the 60's: A Sinking Sensation of Parallels Between Iraq and Vietnam."