Friday, August 18, 2006

The Politics of Newsweek

It's been a while since I last visited the Newsweek site. What with its bogus Koran-in-the-toilet scandal, anti-administration pundits like Howard Fineman, and story lines utterly consistent with Democratic talking points, I could always get pretty much the same content by reading Howard Dean's blog.

Take Fineman for example. Newsweek's Fineman Archive is nothing less than a feeble collection of Democratic Party press releases disguised as analyses. Take a gander:

• To Win, Dems Must Forget D.C.
• If Not Hillary, then Who?
• How Enron Tarnishes Bush Era
• Gore as Selfless Oracle
• The Political Unpopularity Contest
• Rove's 'Nightmare' Election Strategy
• Carville Test-Markets a Hillary Message
• Fineman: Four Challenges for Tony Snow
• Bush Shuffles Staff, But Policy Unchanged
• Iran's New Hostages Are Bush and the GOP
• White House Shuffle Isn't a Shake-Up
• White House Calls in Script Doctors
• Is Hillary Taking a Page From Bush's Playbook?
• Port Deal Highlights Bush's 'Explanation' Problem
• Winners and Losers in Abramoff Saga

Rather than demonstrate even a scintilla of balance, literally every article in the Fineman Archive is uncanny in its ability to: (a) demean the Bush administration (that's right, Bush has done absolutely nothing right over the last six years); and (b) pump up the minority party's ostensible presidential candidates.

Consider this thinly-disguised infomercial for Hillary Fineman penned in May:

...It’s true that Hillary Health Care was a political disaster. Still, the pitch will go, she knows how to get things done...

...She’s the one who kept her family together—its finances, its marriage, most of its parenting function—and that is the role she will cast herself in as she tries to win the White House. After eight years of what she will call the perhaps worthy but disastrously administered dreams of George Bush, it’s time to restore some discipline. Think of the iron-willed mom in “Malcolm in the Middle...”

Yes, that's exactly what most of want in a war-time President: not Teddy Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan, no -- not them, we want the iron-willed Mom from Malcolm in the Middle.

If we need a poster-child for the unseriousness of the Democratic Party, one need look no further than the feeble Fineman.

Given all that, the last time I linked to a Newsweek article, Herbert Hoover occupied the White House, Betty Crocker had her own radio show, and Jack Dempsey was the heavyweight champ. Despite all that, Michael Gerson's "How 9/11 Changed Bush" is well worth delving into.

Gerson offers an utterly clear-eyed view of the war on terror; he thereby grabs the rare and coveted linkage from this site. Money-quote:

...the promotion of democracy in the Middle East is messy, difficult, but no one has a better idea... We may have limited time to take the side of democratic forces—not merely as an act of altruism, but as an act of self-defense...

Gerson's piece, though, is an anomaly.

Let's review some of yesterday's headlines from Newsweek's august (or shrill, take your pick) "Politics" section:

• Could Terror Help Lieberman? - The politics of terror may just keep Joe Lieberman in office
• Congress: A Gang Under Siege
• Clift: Holding Pattern on Iraq
• U.S. Plans for Post-Fidel Cuba
• How Bush Handled Mideast Crisis
• Congress: Leveraging the 'Corruption Issue'
• Is the U.S. Screwing Up the World?
• Hirsh: How U.S. Makes Enemies

Detecting a theme in those last two?

• Wolffe and Bailey: Karl Rove Tries to Shore Up GOP in Ohio
• A New Crackdown on Immigrants
• Politics: A Test for Stem Cells—And for Senator Talent
• Clift: Stem-Cell Veto Will Factor in Close Races

My theme-detector just went off again...

• Samuelson: Washington Has No Shame About Unbalanced Budgets
• Bush Unscripted: What It Means
• The Gitmo Fallout
• Wolffe: Bush’s Mideast Balancing Act
• Clift: How Far Will Israel Go?
• Bush Must Act on Mideast


• Wolffe and Bailey: Will Gitmo Reversal Help Bush in Europe?

I just knew Gitmo had to be in here somewhere.

• Can the United States Trust Russia’s Putin?
• Can Daily Kos Control Dems?
• Right Marries Talk Radio, Web
• Alter: How to Beat 'Cut and Run'

Try 'Stand and Fight'?

• Bush’s Cautious Response to N. Korea
• Clift: Behind the GOP Media Bashing
• Rove on the Warpath
• Clift: Profit and War Debate in D.C.
• America’s Bad Rep in Europe

And my favorite (from Newsweek's partner site), MSNBC:

• Do Democrats need an Iraq plan?

Hey, it's 2006, the Dems have plenty of time!

Bottom line: If you're looking for an exceptional collection of Democratic Party press releases, look no farther than the pages of Newsweek. It's Dem-tastic!

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