July 30, 2004
"Is the New York Times a Liberal Newspaper? Of course it is." - NYT Public Editor Daniel Okrent, July 25, 2004.
Hussein's Downfall "Disillusioning" for Iraqi Artists?
"The war in Iraq has been especially disillusioning for young Iraqi artists, many of whom believed the American promises of freedom. As the old order fell, they sat in their cracked-window studios and at paint-splattered easels and dreamed of an Iraqi renaissance. They dream still. At the Baghdad Academy of Fine Arts, which Mr. Abbas attends, the school play last semester explored the humiliation of the American occupation and began with the sounds of helicopters and machine guns.The amount of violence has stunned these artists. It has robbed them of business, killed classmates and made it difficult to work and live. But the war has also given them a lot to think about." - Jeffrey Gettleman, July 25, 2004.
Republicans Impugning Kerry's Patriotism?
"Of course, the Republicans have spent months seeking to impugn Mr. Kerry's character, patriotism and integrity. They have called him a flip-flopper and complained that he 'looks French.' There is a tincture of crocodile tears in their current protests and of fuzzy math in their calumny count." - Todd Purdum, July 29, 2004.
Democratic "Coherence and Harmony"
"John Kerry was nominated here on Wednesday by a Democratic Party that is as united as any in years-awash in money, crackling with partisan energy and invigorated by polls that suggest that President Bush can be ousted.Nagourney closes the story on the same optimistic note: 'As the convention moved to its last two days, Democrats, and even a few Republicans, noted its unusual display of coherence and harmony and suggesting-should it last-that that could influence the campaign." - Adam Nagourney, July 29, 2004.
Selling John Kerry's Foreign Policy for Him
".advisers to the Democratic candidate believe that even a change of tone, with a limited change in substance, will have a dramatic effect on the nation's international standing. This now suffers from the wide perception of American arrogance, dishonesty and ineptitude in the preparation and conduct of the war in Iraq.He has chosen to give his acceptance speech under the slogan 'Stronger at Home, Respected in the World.' The second clause reflects a conviction that Mr. Bush has destroyed the nation's moral authority through a might-is-right mixture of hubris, carelessness, bullying and incompetence. 'We have lost the good will of the world,' Mr. Kerry said late last year. There are signs that more Americans now share this view. Support for the war in Iraq, where more than 900 Americans have died, has eroded sharply.Rather than a system of fealty and punishment, Mr. Kerry hopes to emphasize cooperation even when there are differences." - Roger Cohen, July 28, 2004.
Republicans "Control Wealth in This Country"
"The Republicans are now the champion panderers in American politics and have been since they discovered the demagogic value of what Rupert Murdoch's Weekly Standard disingenuously calls 'cultural populism.'.Rupert Murdoch's kept journalists at the Weekly Standard deserve much of the credit. The journal attacks economic populism as 'condescending' and 'patronizing,' because it implies that the masses require government protection from the military-industrial, investment banking and petroleum complexes. But 'social,' or 'cultural,' populism is praised as a genuine expression of national values. Thus acceptance of the agenda of Bush social policy-abortion, gay marriage, school prayer, guns-is required, even by people who know better.As long as affluent, educated Republicans are allowed to control wealth in this country, they're willing for the rednecks to pray in the public schools that rich Republicans don't attend, to buy guns at Wal-Marts they don't patronize, to ban safe abortions that are always available to the affluent, and to oppose marriage for gays who don't vote Republican anyway." - Former NYT Executive Editor Howell Raines in the July 26 Washington Post.
Fox's Natural Constituency
"Among cable news channels, CNN, which now routinely loses to Fox News on normal nights, had more viewers for the Democratic convention on Monday night, a result almost certainly to be reversed when the Republicans, Fox's natural constituency, take the stage next month." - Neil Lewis and Bill Carter, July 28.
More Max Cleland Mythology
"And there was Max Cleland, the triple amputee and former Democratic senator from Georgia whose defeat in 2002-by an opponent who ran commercials linking him to Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden-has become a rallying point for Democrats determined not to let Republicans who avoided combat bludgeon them with patriotic symbols." - David Halbfinger, July 27.
The commercial from Cleland's Republican opponent (now senator) Saxby Chambliss did not link Cleland to Hussein and bin Laden. (Watch the actual ad.) Over montage of four photographs, one each of bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, two others of the U.S. military, a narrator reads: "As America faces terrorists and extremist dictators, Max Cleland runs television ads claiming he has the courage to lead."
"So-Called Liberal Records" of Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy?
"At the Democratic convention, the Republicans' war room was decorated on Monday with the so-called liberal ratings of Democrats' voting records." - Photo caption to a Katharine Seelye story of July 27. The four "so-called" liberals: Sens. Frank Lautenberg, Carl Levin, Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy.
No True Moderates in the "Far Right" Republican Party
"Forty years on, it is getting increasingly difficult to find a true moderate in the Republican Party, let alone a liberal, so far to the right has the party's equilibrium tilted. This was in large part-if not entirely-a consequence of the kind of political philanthropy that Stein and Rosenberg have come to emulate. The culture of the party came to reflect the ideology of the men who subsidized it, and the national dialogue, as a result, has grown less temperate and less tolerant.Every time I talked with someone about the Phoenix Group, I posed these questions: even if you succeed in revitalizing progressive politics, might the Democratic Party, like the G.O.P., be pushed toward extremism?" - Matt Bai in the Times Sunday magazine on a new left-wing fundraising group, July 25.
Bush's LBJ-style Credibility Gap
"But there are some ominous signs that Mr. Bush is beginning to suffer from a Johnson-style 'credibility gap' after sending the country to war to root out weapons of mass destruction and links to Al Qaeda, and being unable to prove either one. When asked by The New York Times and CBS News in June whether Mr. Bush was being completely honest about the war in Iraq, 20 percent of voters said he was mostly lying and 59 percent said he was hiding something. Only 18 percent thought he was telling the entire truth." - Michael Oreskes, July 25.
Social Conservatives vs. Inclusion
"The stakes are high, as the Republicans found in 1992, when the party gave social conservatives like Patrick J. Buchanan a major share of convention airtime, and the battle cries against abortion, gay rights and feminism alienated moderates and contributed to the defeat of President George Bush. His son famously applied that lesson in 2000 by emphasizing 'compassionate conservatism' and images of inclusion over conservative views on social issues." - David Halbfinger, July 26.
Jenna Bush Ruins Bush's Image as a Terror Fighter
"This was supposed to be the new Jenna Bush. Fresh out of college, ready to shed the 'Jenna and Tonic' image she earned as a partying undergraduate, she posed for Vogue in a couture gown and declared an interest in working with charter schools.her off-message gesture may also have reminded voters of her father's reputation as a frat-boy prankster, which may not be the image that his campaign wants to rekindle in a time of the war on terror." - Katharine Seelye, July 25, after Jenna Bush stuck her tongue out at some cameramen.