'Fiercely Conservative' Protesters Just Parroting Fox News

Plus: Obama's dithering is actually "leadership," and Frank Rich in modes both gruesome and pathetic.

"Fiercely Conservative" Protesters Just Parroting Fox News

"A series of spot interviews suggests that the protesters have come to Washington from all across the country - Texas, Ohio, Oregon and the greater Washington area. It's a generally older crowd, many in their 50s and 60s, predominantly, white, and many self-identified as Christians. They are fiercely conservative and deeply skeptical of the government, many of them adamantly opposed to abortion rights....Jerry Hershberger, a market representative for an automotive company outside Dallas, said he flew up just to protest the health care bill. 'A little expense now compared to a lot of expense later,' he said, explaining why the cost of the trip was worth it to him. Mr. Hershberger, like many of the demonstrators, repeated some of the most common conservative and Republican talking points heard repeatedly on Fox News." - David Herszenhorn in a November 5 post on the "Prescriptions" blog at nytimes.com, on an anti-Obama care rally on Capitol Hill.

The Most Important Fact of the Fort Hood Massacre

"Mr. Obama has made it a goal of his presidency to repair relations with Muslims around the world; in a major speech in Cairo this year, he called for a 'new beginning' with the Muslim world. The shootings at Fort Hood, however, pose a different problem for the president, by shining a spotlight on the tensions Muslims can feel inside the United States." - White House reporter Sheryl Gay Stolberg, November 8.

Seeing Bias Everywhere But Own Pages

"Founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton, The Post has been in business longer than any other American daily. For decades under the ownership of Dorothy Schiff, it was the voice of Eastern liberalism. She sold it to the Australian-born Mr. Murdoch in 1976 - one of his first American ventures - and he quickly made it conservative and racier. He sold the paper in 1988, then bought it back in 1993, maintaining its smart, bare-knuckles sensibility and its doggedly conservative slant." - Richard Perez-Pena, November 9.

Simply Pathetic

"Next to the other hoaxes and fantasies that have been abetted by the news media in recent years, both the 'balloon boy' and Chamber of Commerce ruses are benign. The Colorado balloon may have led to the rerouting of flights and the wasteful deployment of law enforcement resources. But at least it didn't lead the country into fiasco the way George W. Bush's flyboy spectacle on an aircraft carrier helped beguile most of the Beltway press and too much of the public into believing that the mission had been accomplished in Iraq....If Heene's balloon was empty, so were the toxic financial instruments, inflated by the thin air of unsupported debt, that cratered the economy he inhabits." - Columnist Frank Rich, October 25.

Simply Gruesome

"The same could be said of Beck, Palin and their acolytes. Though they constantly liken the president to various totalitarian dictators, it is they who are re-enacting Stalinism in full purge mode." - Columnist Frank Rich, November 1 on conservative activism in the recent special congressional election in upstate New York.

Dithering = Leadership

"But Obama has also demonstrated, not for the first time, two things about his emerging governing style that contrast sharply with that of his predecessor. The first is that he means to draw a distinction between useful campaign rhetoric and the realities of governing, even if it makes him look inconstant. The second is that he doesn't seem especially bothered by the perception that he's dithering. Bush often seemed to measure leadership by the number of seconds it took to make a decision. Obama displays a different kind of spine - the capacity to take his time, even when allies and critics are pounding at the door." - Contributing writer Matt Bai, November 1 in the New York Times Magazine.

Reagan and Bush "Committed Impeachable Offenses Probably"

"Another great conservative philosopher I write about is James Burnham, another mentor to Buckley. And he was one of the first strong critics of what he saw as, called it 'Caesarism,' the presidency that grows so overweening in its power that it violates the strength of the other branches. It was conservatives who first made that criticism. But then once their own politicians got in office, they reversed course. With Nixon, with Reagan, and with George W. Bush - decided there should be no constraints on the presidency at all. And we had three presidents in those three instances - Nixon, Reagan, and Bush - who committed impeachable offenses probably. And we had Democratic presidents who seemed to understand the limitations of power, and we had moderate Republicans who understood that - Gerald Ford, Dwight Eisenhower, the elder Bush." - Week in Review and Sunday Book Editor Sam Tanenhaus on the October 28 edition of Charlie Rose.

Pity Poor Scozzfava

"Exhausted and emotionally drained by the attacks from conservatives seeking to paint her as a liberal who was disloyal to the Republican Party, [Dede] Scozzafava said she needed time to decide whether she could endorse Mr. Owens, said one person with knowledge of the meeting, who spoke requested anonymity in order to reveal details of private conversations." - From Jeremy Peters' November 2 story on the special congressional race in upstate New York.

Do Off-Year Elections Matter? It Depends Which Party Wins

"A referendum on Obama, or isolated local contests?" - Text box to the November 2 preview of the 2009 elections, anticipating Democratic defeats.


"Stinging Defeats for G.O.P. Come at a Sensitive Time." - Headline over a Nov. 9, 2005 story after Democratic wins.

Guess Which Party Was "Embarrassed" on Election Day?

"Republicans portrayed the election outcome as a repudiation of Democratic policies and predicted significant Congressional gains next year despite Tuesday's embarrassing loss in a longtime House Republican stronghold in upstate New York." - Congressional reporter Carl Hulse, November 5.

A Tale of Two Nagourneys

"Remember that we're talking about here are two states, not a lot of voters, one congressional district in upstate New York. Micro-wise, one thing we do want to pay attention to here is, and again, don't overstate this - independent voters who backed President Obama in Virginia and New Jersey last time went to the Republican gubernatorial candidates this time. Now, does that mean that they didn't, that they'll vote for, you know, whoever votes against Obama in 2012, or for Democrats, or Republicans congressional, for Republicans next year? No. I don't think so. Second thing is, obviously the sort of big coalition that President Obama put together last year - first-time voters, African-American voters, young voters - I don't think showed up in either of those states. But you know what? Is that really surprising, that they didn't show up to vote for Creigh Deeds or Jon Corzine? So, my only point - with all due respect to Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine - my only point is let's be careful about over-interpreting this, in any way."- Chief political reporter Adam Nagourney, in a November 5 "Political Points" podcast.


"Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems." - Headline over Nagourney story from June 8, 2006, on a special election won narrowly by the favored Republican.

Why Won't They Just Leave the Black Democratic Mayor Alone?

"Mayor Sheila Dixon went on trial on corruption charges on Monday, the result of a state inquiry started in 2006 that has cast a cloud over Ms. Dixon's administration despite her best efforts to keep the focus on running the city....Leaders of the Maryland N.A.A.C.P. have said they are concerned that a criminal conviction could result in the appointment of a white or Republican leader who may not fully represent the majority black and Democratic city....Despite the distractions, Ms. Dixon can claim some major accomplishments. The city hit a 20-year low in 2008 in shootings and homicides and is on pace to beat that record this year. She put in place a single-stream recycling program in 2008 that increased recycling 23 percent. 'Just Friday morning, the mayor stepped out of her car on a dead-end street in my district, and the neighbors spontaneously applauded,' said Mary Pat Clarke, a City Council member and an ally of the mayor." - Reporter Ian Urbina, November 10.


"As the most gifted orator of his generation, President Obama finds speechmaking perhaps his most potent political tool. It propelled him to national prominence in 2004 and to the White House in 2008. And whenever he needs to calm economic fears or revive stalled health care legislation, he takes to the lectern." - Reporter Peter Baker, November 8.

Oops: Biden Never Supported the Partition of Iraq?

"As the scope of [Peter Galbraith's financial interests in Kurdistan become clear, they have the potential to inflame some of Iraqis' deepest fears, including conspiracy theories that the true reason for the American invasion of their country was to take its oil. It may not help that outside Kurdistan, Mr. Galbraith's influential view that Iraq should be broken up along ethnic lines is considered offensive to many Iraqis' nationalism. Mr. Biden and Mr. Kerry, who have been influenced by Mr. Galbraith's thinking but do not advocate such a partitioning of the country, were not aware of Mr. Galbraith's oil dealings in Iraq, aides to both politicians say." - From a November 12 story by James Glanz and Walter Gibbs.


"The idea, as in Bosnia, is to maintain a united Iraq by decentralizing it, giving each ethno-religious group - Kurd, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab - room to run its own affairs, while leaving the central government in charge of common interests." - Sen. Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb in an op-ed that appeared in the Times on May 1, 2006.