Notable Quotables - 10/10/2005
Tom DeLay, Worst Leader Ever
“I don’t have a clue as to whether [former House Majority Leader Tom] DeLay violated the law or not, this very old Texas statute that he’s been indicted on, but I do know it’s the first time in 200 years that the House of Representatives has been run for a whole decade, or almost a decade, by a corrupt zealot.”
— Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning, October 3.
“Congress over the years has seen dozens of sex scandals and dozens of members brought low by financial improprieties. But never before has the leadership of the House been hijacked by a small band of extremists bent on building a ruthless shakedown machine, lining the pockets of their richest constituents and rolling back popular protections for ordinary people....What next for the House of Shame? If DeLay’s acquitted, he’ll be back in power. If he’s convicted, his proteges will continue his work. Reform efforts by fiscal conservatives determined to curb their borrow-and-spend colleagues are probably doomed. The only way to get rid of the termites eating away the people’s House is to stamp them out at the next election.”
— Alter in an article headlined, “Tom DeLay’s House of Shame,” published in Newsweek’s October 10 issue.
Smirking at DeLay’s Indictment
CNN’s Jack Cafferty: “It was one week ago today that Wolf and I were talking here in The Situation Room about whether or not the transportation bill should be revisited and some of the pork cut out in order to start paying for Hurricane Katrina. There was an interesting little exchange that went like this:”
Wolf Blitzer [September 21]: “All right, Tom DeLay says there’s no pork. Everything is essential. I don’t know if you heard him say that.”
Cafferty: “Has he been indicted yet?”
Blitzer: “Well, we’ll leave that alone. Jack Cafferty, thank you very much.”
Cafferty, back live: “You can’t make this stuff up. I can assure you I had no inside information on DeLay’s upcoming indictment. A lot of you laughed out loud. It was an off-hand comment. Some of you wrote and were highly critical of what I said. But it’s probably a piece of videotape that I’m going to hang onto.”
— CNN’s The Situation Room, September 28.
Ignoring Senator’s “Nazi” Smear, Touting Talk Show Host’s Gaffe
“We start tonight with a story that everyone seems to be talking about, and you have to ask, ‘Just what was the man thinking?’ The White House today disavowed comments made by the well-known Republican party activist, Bill Bennett. They called it ‘inappropriate.’ That was mild compared to what other critics called Bennett’s remarks about African-Americans. For his part, Bennett said today he was quoted out of context. Well, context and all, here’s Wyatt Andrews.”
— Bob Schieffer beginning the September 30 CBS Evening News. The CBS Evening News never covered Democratic Senator Dick Durbin’s June 14 floor speech likening U.S. interrogation tactics to those of “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime, Pol Pot or others.” CBS also failed to report Howard Dean’s February 11 racial slam: “Do you think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”
Bennett, “Poster Child for Racism”
Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor Colbert King: “Bill Bennett is the poster child for racism. There’s no way you can parse his words and get away from what he said. What he said was morally reprehensible. He has said, in effect, that blacks have a predisposition for being criminals. There’s no way to get around that....”
Columnist Charles Krauthammer: “I don’t think Bill Bennett’s a racist, though.”
King: “Well, I do. I think that statement is as racist as you can possibly produce one. There’s no way to get around it. Now, he can pull it back, he can try to change it, he can offer an apology — I wouldn’t accept it — but you cannot say that statement that was made by Bill Bennett is not a racist statement. It starts out with a judgement about black people. That's what he said.”
— Exchange on Inside Washington, October 1.
“It really speaks to a deeply racist mindset, to imagine America somehow as better off if we didn’t have those black people around....To have someone with that credibility on the right speak in that way, I think it suggests a mindset and it’s indicative among many black conservatives of why you can’t get black people to trust the Republican Party as a home.”
— NPR senior correspondent and former Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, October 2.
Clamoring to Cancel the Tax Cuts
Charles Krauthammer: “Our crisis of today is Katrina, probably a couple of hundred billion. I think you start by canceling every earmark, all 6,371 earmarks, special pork spending, in the newly-passed transportation bill. It’s only $24 billion, lunch money, but it’s a rather ample lunch.”
NPR’s Nina Totenberg: “It’s lunch money, but if you canceled the tax cuts, you’d get $225 billion....We can’t take it out of the hides of poor people, which is what the conservative group that is actually in Congress that’s put out earmarks of what they think we ought to cut, Medicaid, Medicare. That’s money we, you know, for the poorest segment of our society.”
— Exchange on Inside Washington, September 24.
“The obvious solution is to roll back the tax cuts. It’s going to cost $500 billion over ten years to relieve people, couples, with estates of over $5 million. Do they really need that money? I don’t think so.”
— Eleanor Clift on the September 24 McLaughlin Group.
Get Out of Iraq, Into Amtrak
“The United States — our United States — is spending $5 billion, 600 million a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into. We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today. Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what? Now we have the hurricanes to pay for. One way our government pays for a lot of things is by borrowing from countries like China. Another way the government is planning to pay for the war and the hurricane damage is by cutting spending for things like Medicare prescriptions, highway construction, farm payments, Amtrak, National Public Radio and loans to graduate students. Do these sound like the things you’d like to cut back on to pay for Iraq? I’ll tell you where we ought to start saving: on our bloated military establishment.”
— Andy Rooney on CBS’s 60 Minutes, October 2.
“Unabashedly for the Democrats”
“The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear liberalism on our sleeve and are intolerant of other lifestyles and opinions....We’re not very subtle about it at this paper: If you work here, you must be one of us. You must be liberal, progressive, a Democrat. I’ve been in communal gatherings in The Post, watching election returns, and have been flabbergasted to see my colleagues cheer unabashedly for the Democrats.”
— Washington Post “Book World” editor Marie Arana in a September 29 contribution to the Post’s “daily in-house electronic critiques,” as quoted by Post media reporter Howard Kurtz in an October 3 article.
“The Story Is Accurate”
Dan Rather: “My principal problem was that I stuck by the [Memogate] story, I stuck by our people for too long. I’m guilty of that. I believed in the story, and the facts of the story were correct. One supporting pillar of the story, albeit an important one, one supporting pillar was brought into question. To this day no one has proven whether it was what it purported to be or not....You know, I didn’t give up on my people, our people, I didn’t and I won’t.” [Applause]
Marvin Kalb: “Dan, thank you. You said, I believe you just said that you think the story is accurate.”
Rather: “The story is accurate.”
— From The Kalb Report, an interview series produced by the George Washington University and the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University, and shown live on C-SPAN Sept. 26.
Dan Rather, “Fair and Balanced”
“As was the practice in all he did, Dan was meticulously careful to be fair and balanced and accurate. When did we stop believing that this is indeed how we all perform our jobs or try to? When did we allow those with questionable agendas to take the lead and convince people of something quite the opposite? It’s shameful. But I digress.”
— MSNBC President and former ABC and CNN news executive Rick Kaplan praising ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather on September 19 as the latter received a lifetime achievement award from the National Television Academy, a ceremony televised on C-SPAN on October 1.
Bush: Lies, Lies and More Lies
“All their reasons for waging war on Iraq have been proven to be manipulation of facts, untruths, and lies, lies and more lies....Not one military funeral has been attended by George Bush or his Cabinet. [boos from audience] This disregard for human life only reinforces the knowledge that this man has no heart.”
— Actress Jessica Lange at an anti-war rally in Washington, D.C. shown live on C-SPAN on September 24.
Helping Rapists and Plunderers
“When I was a kid, you always had somebody that we called the little guy. And the little guy was the guy that when you wanted to burglarize the house he’d climb up on the roof and jimmy his way through the little attic window....That’s Bush. Bush is the little guy that snuck into the theater and he popped the window open so that all these other hooligans could come in and just rape and rip off and plunder the government.”
— Actor Alec Baldwin on Comedy Central’s Too Late with Adam Corolla, September 22.
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