President meets with conservative talk show hosts, Andrew Sullivan characterizes it as “toadies” awaiting their “talking points”

Take a look at the below photo, and the caption beneath it.

President Bush discussed his policies with conservative radio hosts last month at the White House, including, from left, Mike Gallagher, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved. (WH photo by Eric Draper)

Here’s the article describing the meeting and why it took place.

Then read Andrew Sullivan’s reaction. Not surprising, but annoying all the same:

Who are these people called in to meet the president for a pep talk? Here are the toadies awaiting instructions and talking points: Mike Gallagher, Neal Boortz, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and Michael Medved. It forces one to ask the question: what is the difference between journalists fawning on a president, taking spin directly from him, cozying up to him – and paid propagandists whose job it is to advance the interests of those who already wield power? Some of these “journalists” have been critical of Bush policies. Which is why they have been summoned. You want the party line? You now know who to listen to.

There are so many things wrong with the above paragraph that I don’t know where to start, but I’ll give it a try. If Andrew wasn’t so busy trying to paint the President as a modern day version of Hitler (it all started after the President declared he’d seek a Constitutional amendment defining marriage as that of one man and one woman, now the man could discover the cure cancer and AS would still hate him), he’d have the time to listen to at least an hour of any of those hosts (or visit their websites) to see where they’ve been very critical of the admin as of late, especially on the issue of immigration. Some of them have also been critical about how the House Republican leadership handled Foleygate. There was round the clock criticism of the nomination of Harriet Miers to the USSC. Outrage from some of those Republicans over the UAE port deal. They’ve no need to be given “instructions” or “talking points” from the President. What’s clearly happening is that the President is trying to win back support from conservative talk show hosts who are wavering in their support of him and other Republicans.

Those talk show hosts didn’t get out of bed the morning of that meeting with the President and say “ok, time to get my daily talking points memo.” They establish their own “talking points”, Andrew. You know, what you do everytime you blog, or write a column? This is just another typical example of someone who can’t stand the Bush administration and Republicans in general trying to paint them all as mindless Bush cultists, standing in line to get their daily dose of propaganda to use on the air, in print, etc, because they ‘can’t think on their own and need special guidance from the WH.’ What utter bullsh!!.

Secondly, these people aren’t “paid propagandists whose job it is to advance the interests of those who already wield power” – AS makes it sound as though these people were hired by the Bush adminstration to host talk show hosts on various radio and TV stations and spout off RNC talking points, which as we know is not true. Thirdly, it’s not their “job” to “advance” the interests of anyone in power, or anyone who wants to be elected to serve in Washington. Their job is the same as Andrew’s job, and that’s to talk about the current issues of the day, give their take on them, and (in some instances) invite comments from the audience. I think Andrew’s just jealous because he, a journalist/blogger, hasn’t been invited to the WH to talk with the President.

Lastly, Andrew’s “You want the party line? You now know who to listen to” is laughable, simply because most of the time when you listen to talk radio, whether it be left or right, what you hear is sometimes similar to what you’d find in a talking points memo, and that’s mainly because most conservatives and liberals are respectively on the same or similar side of most issues and of course are going to be saying similar things. It’s the same way in the blogosphere. A lot of us write about issues that are important to us, as being a part of the Republican party, and we oftentimes unwittingly bring up the same points you may find repeated by the Prez, the admin, or on another blog. That doesn’t mean I’m “toeing” the party line anymore than any other conservative is. When you have similar interests, oftentimes the content of what you say on the radio or on your blog or in your editorial is going to sound similar to what you may read on the RNC website. BFD.

Posts like these are one of the reasons I stopped reading AS long ago (which is disappointing, because Sullivan was one of my original inspirations for starting in the blogosphere). The only reason I happened to catch this one was because it was linked up at Memeorandum.

Blogger Joe Gandelman, someone I do highly respect (and still will, even after referencing his post on the issue), echoed a similar theme to Andrew’s when he wrote the following about the meeting of conservative talk show hosts and the President:

You have to ask yourself: who ever would have thought 30 years ago that talk radio would evolve into where three hour “shows” would essentially become propaganda strips for political parties — and if the hosts wavered from the party line the President would meet with them to get them back “on message?”


Indeed, Limbaugh and Hannity provide a vital role for the GOP: they have become talk show hosts who can be relied upon on most issues to broadcast The Party’s and The Leader’s talking points so that no scandal is deemed too outrageous, no change in previous position is seem as dismaying, and the discarding of a conservative value held dear years before is not seen as at variance with deeply held principles.

I posted this in the comments section there:

Joe, did you ever consider the possiblity that the WH is not trying to make sure talk radio hosts “stay on message” but instead to try and win back their support, which is wavering? If you’ve listened to some of the people in that picture lately, they’ve been very critical of the President and the admin. The WH needs their support, and I think they are trying to shore it up.

No need to try and turn this into some meeting of brainwashed conservative cultists salivating over the President’s every move.

There are some truly brainwashed fruitcakes on the right out there who would not criticize the President at gunpoint. The conservatives pictured in that photo are not among them.

Update: My liberal friend Michael Stickings gets it wrong, too:

All spin, no substance. In desperation, with sagging approval ratings and the prospect of Republican defeat next month, Bush energizes his talk-radio propagandists, the purveyors of mis- and disinformation to the faithful and thoughtless, those drooling clones who either don’t know any better or refuse to know any better.

Me, as a drooling talk radio listener: “Where’s the drool-wiper guy with the tissues when ya need him?” x(

Bush signs Military Commission Act of 2006 into law , and the ACLU predictably flips out

Stop the ACLU has the details.

Greg Tinti has a recap of what the President said at the signing ceremony, and provides his own spot-on analysis of the Military Commission Act.

Bob Owens’ channels liberal reactions with this humorous spin on today’s signing: Bushitler Signs Pro-Torture Bill, Opens Concentration Camps in Pasadena ;)

Quick links

News and notes from the MSM and the blogosphere:

— The talented RightWingSparkle is leaving the blogosphere, to pursue volunteer work, which is – as you’ll see from her post – something she finds immensely rewarding. Here’s wishing her all the best. She’ll be missed. (Hat tip: MKH)

— Did you know that the EU is trying to stifle videobloggers? Michelle Malkin has the details.

Captain Ed is staying on top of the latest developments in the Harry Reid non-disclosuregate scandal. Of course, it’s a scandal to us, but not the MSM. Sweetness and Light is also on the case.

— The liberal ACLU now has some competition out there: the conservative PJI. Read more about it here.

— This will make him even more unpopular with the Nutroots (which is a good thing): Joe Lieberman has endorsed John Bolton for permanent US ambassador to the UN. Good for him.

— Former President GeraldFord, 93, is back home at his Southern California home after being hospitalized for five days while undergoing medical tests. Here’s hoping he feels better soon.

Caption this (scroll) ;)

— Watch the video on the political junk in Hillary’s trunk (heh). Speaking of Hillary, the “named after Sir Edmund Hillary” claim has finally been put to rest.

— Chris Hitchens has a different take than most Iraq war supporters on those highly questionable Lancet numbers. (Hat tip: Decision ’08)

— How would you like to live in a chocolate igloo?

Another attempt at a whitewash of North Korea’s actions during the Clinton admin

I blogged last week about Jimmy Carter’s opinion piece in which he flat out lied about North Korea’s activities under the Clinton administration.

Well it would appear that Senator John “F” Kerry was inspired by Carter’s whitewashing because he’s attempting to do it himself:

Kerry criticized the Bush administration for blaming the North Korean nuclear test on former President Clinton.

“That is a lie. North Korea’s nuclear program was frozen under Bill Clinton. When George W. Bush turned his back on diplomacy, Kim Jong Il turned back to making bombs, and the world is less safe because a madman has the Bush bomb,” he said.

*SIGH* To recap what I wrote from my prior post on this topic:

[LINK]Aug. 31, 1998: North Korea fires a multistage over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean, proving it can strike any part of Japan’s territory.

May 25-28, 1999: Former Defense Secretary William Perry visits North Korea and delivers a U.S. disarmament proposal.

Sept. 13: North Korea pledges to freeze long-range missile tests.

Sept. 17: U.S. President Bill Clinton eases economic sanctions against North Korea.

December: A U.S.-led consortium signs a US$4.6 billion contract for two safer, Western-developed light-water nuclear reactors in North Korea.

July 2000: North Korea again threatens to restart its nuclear program if Washington doesn’t compensate for the loss of electricity caused by delays in building nuclear power plants.

June 2001: North Korea warns it will reconsider its moratorium on missile tests if the Bush administration doesn’t resume contacts aimed at normalizing relations.

July: State Department reports North Korea is going ahead with development of its long-range missile. A Bush administration official says North Korea conducts an engine test of the Taepodong-1 missile.

December: President Bush warns Iraq and North Korea that they would be “held accountable” if they developed weapons of mass destruction “that will be used to terrorize nations.”

Here’s more:

Although the sanctions against North Korea were largely lifted and oil deliveries began in early 1995, the development of the LWRs became more complex. The U.S., South Korea, Japan and several other countries came together to form the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) to build the reactors. KEDO soon pushed back the deadline for completing the reactors from 2003 to 2007. Bureaucratic wrangling over contracts and the establishment of KEDO slowed the process even more so that the foundations for the two reactors were not poured until August 2002.

North Korea also slowed the process by making new demands on KEDO, including that the consortium cover the costs of modernizing the North’s electricity grid. KEDO rejected the request and the North countered with a demand that the U.S. cover the costs associated with the delayed reactors, which the U.S. has refused to do.

Even as the nations were debating implementation of the Agreed Framework, North Korea, the U.S. argues, was breaking the spirit, if not the letter, of the pact. Within months of signing the framework, North Korea and Pakistan reportedly cut a deal to trade missile technology for Pakistan’s uranium enrichment techniques — the Agreed Framework had banned plutonium enrichment programs.

For more than three years, the North Koreans worked quietly on their uranium project while urging the U.S. to fully implement the Agreed Framework. According to a Chinese government report that was leaked to a Japanese newspaper, the project included a secret uranium processing facility located inside Mount Chonma, near the Chinese border.

The Clinton administration apparently learned of the secret program in late 1998 or early 1999, and by March 2000, President Clinton informed Congress he could no longer certify that “North Korea is not seeking to develop or acquire the capability to enrich uranium.”

Heightened tensions in the peninsula

Over the next two years, the United States continued to compile evidence on North Korea’s uranium project. It was this evidence that prompted President Bush to label the Kim Jong Il government part of the “axis of evil” in his 2002 State of the Union address.

The MSM, of course, never examines the statements Kerry or other Democrats who have flat out lied about the activities of Kim Jong-il during the Clinton administration which, to me, makes them complicit in deliberate distortions of the facts.

Anything to win elections, eh?

Hat tip: The Sundries Shack

What a Dem Congress would look like

Jason at Texas Rainmaker linked up yesterday to a must-read piece written by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in which Gingrich explained what Republicans need to do to win this election and what a Democratic Congress would look like if they don’t. It’s lengthy, but well worth the time it takes to read it. Print it out and read it later today if you can’t examine it in depth right now.

On a related note, Dan Riehl channels Karl Rove by examining some – shall we say ‘noteworthy’? – liberals that have made headlines recently and makes a visual case for voting Republican this fall.

More: Matt Margolis writes about who “gets it” when it comes to understanding the threat we face in the WOT, something important to remember going into the fall elections.

Related: John Hawkins blogs about the Democrats top 20 pick-up opportunities in the House.

Related II: Karol at Alarming News points to some comments made by Rep. Tom Reynolds’ opponent Jack Davis, who thinks shaking hands with voters is ‘old politics.’ Via Bob McCarthy at Buffalo News:

Reynolds will be out shaking hands and kissing babies; Davis will let his ads do the talking.

“That’s old politics,” he said last week about retail campaigning. “I’d rather spend my time working or answering e-mails.”

Yeah, who needs to go out and meet with the common folks, when dishonest campaign ads and a willing MSM will do your talking for you?

Related III: Tom Maguire says this election is ‘far from over’ – and provides links to comments being made by worried Democrats.

(Hat tip for the Texas Rainmaker link: ST reader sanity in the comments here)