When a “debate” is reduced to one of the participants sarcastically complaining about getting the first question and offering her opponent a pillow…
That was more easily tolerated than the utterly absurd “gotcha” questions asked by Russert. “If Al Queda established a base would you reinvade…” I’m surprised he did not ask “Have you yet stopped beating your wife?”
The thing I found most offensive came from Senator Clinton, who decries the sexism card being played by others. Obviously Senator Obama cannot say “If I am elected I will be the first Black president so I can change the things that get done and who gets to do them.” But she can say that about being the first woman president.
She’s certainly not one to seek a level playing field. And I do rather wish she would be more specific about what it is that she is going to let women do after she is elected. As a man, I find her promise a little bit frightening. My wife is a charter member of the National Organization of Women, so I'm used to that sort of thing to a degree, but coming from the White House...
And… Did she just promise an all-female administration?
Back to Russert's atrocity. I extracted the following from a letter posted at Eric Alterman's Media Matters blog.
But plenty of time for a three-rail shot about Obama, his pastor, and Farrakhan, whose name I swear I have not heard twice in the past decade. (Marty Peretz hears it through the fillings in his teeth, but that's another matter.) That stuff was truly rank. What in the name of god does the relationship of Obama's pastor to Louis Farrakhan have to do with being president of the United States? (...) The only reason to bring up Farrakhan was to play the Scary Negro card. At this point the lines between hackery and shillery form a perfect right angle and stretch on to infinity. And, by the way, it would help MSNBC's campaign to become the Scourge Of Public Bigots if it didn't keep putting Pat Buchanan on my TV screen every 11 seconds.
And all of this was coming from an alleged tough-guy who admitted to Bill Moyers that he got suckered on Iraq because NOBODY CALLED HIM. A guy who anyway said under oath that, if a government official calls him, he presumes the conversation is off the record. A guy of whom the vice-president's aide said under oath that his show was the administration's best platform for launching bullsh*t into the media stratosphere.
Tim took his cue from Richard Cohen in the Washington Post column:Barack Obama is a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan.
Except, Tim got the facts wrong on top of it. Wright didn't say Farrakhan epitomized greatness, that was a part of the Trumpet Magazine award to Farrakhan. Wright is the CEO of the magazine, but his daughter Jeri is the publisher. While those ties might be relevant, it's very different from Jeremiah Wright saying that. And, in fact, the magazine split off from the congregation in September of 2005.
So. Obama has to anyone's knowledge never said a kind or complimentary word about Farrakhan. A magazine which was formerly part of Obama's church, but no longer is, gave an award to Farrakhan and part of the award citation says that the recipient "truly epitomized greatness." Somehow that translates in Tim Russert's little brain to an assumption, which must be three times denounced by Obama, that Obama believes that Farrakhan "epitomizes greatness."
No wonder Bush & Co. rely on Russert to disseminate bullfeathers.