Monday, February 20, 2006

Eric Alterman tees one up

It's not supposed to be this easy, but Eric Alterman just set it up perfectly for us with his latest column. Yea, Yea, I know, it's not a MMFA piece, but he was writing about one of their studies and he falls under the moonbat category so I decided to respond to his article. Below is a copy of the email I sent to him regarding his article about this MMFA study I will break it into two parts because it is so long...but it was sent as 1 email.

Part 1:
Eric,

I just read your article (yes I know it doesn't come out in print for another 2 weeks)...but I just had to respond to a couple of points made in it. ***in here, I had 5-6 lines about the Nation's address/phone number requirement, etc...removed from this post because addressed in another post***

1) "The balance between Democrats/progressives and Republicans/conservatives was roughly equal during Clinton's second term, with a slight edge toward Republicans/conservatives: 52 percent of the ideologically identifiable guests were from the right, and 48 percent were from the left."

Would seem to make sense. Republicans controlled both the Senate and the House but a Democrat controlled the White House. Thus, it would seem logical that guests were pretty much split 50-50 between the two groups. Agree?

2) "But in Bush's first term, Republicans/conservatives held a dramatic advantage, outnumbering Democrats/progressives by 58 percent to 42 percent. In 2005 the figures were an identical 58 percent to 42 percent."

Hmm...maybe that was because Republicans controlled all three branches of government (except for the time from May 2001 to Jan 2003--when new members were sworn in after Nov 2002 elections). During that time period Democrats held a slim margin in the Senate but Republicans had the other two brances. So wouldn't it make sense that there would be more Republicans interviewed because they are the people in power proposing and passing legislation?? Secondly, the reason there aren't that many progressives/Democrats invited on the Sunday shosws is because when they are they refuse to present their own ideas to change America. All they do is attack Bush/Republicans. See the following examples

example 1----Howard Dean on MTP 11/13/2005

DR. DEAN: We have an alternative agenda. We made it very clear. We want a strong national security based on telling the truth to our people at home, our soldiers and our allies. We want jobs in America that'll stay in America, and we believe that renewable energy is one of the areas where we can do that. We want a health-care system that covers everybody, just like 36 other countries in the world. We want a strong public education system. And most of all, we want honesty back in government. I think that's a pretty good agenda.

MR. RUSSERT: But those are words that will appeal to people. But when you go behind them, for example, what is the Democratic position on Iraq? Should we withdraw troops now? What do the Democrats stand for?

DR. DEAN: Tim, first of all, we don't control the House, the Senate or the White House. We have plenty of time to show Americans what our agenda is and we will long before the '06 elections.

MR. RUSSERT: But there's no Democratic plan on Social Security. There's no Democratic plan on the deficit problem. There's no specifics. They say, "Well, we want a strong Social Security. We want to reduce the deficit. We want health care for everyone," but there's no plan how to pay for it.

DR. DEAN: Right now it's not our job to give out specifics. We have no control in the House. We have no control in the Senate. It's our job is to stop this administration, this corrupt and incompetent administration, from doing more damage to America. And that's what we're going to do. We're doing our best. Look at the trouble they're having putting together a budget. Why is that? Because there's still a few moderate Republicans left who don't think it's OK to cut school lunch programs, who don't think it's OK to do some of the appalling things that they're doing in their budget. I saw a show last night which showed a young African-American man in California at the UC of Davis who hoped to go to law school. The Republicans want to cut $14 billion out of higher education so this kid can't go to law school. We're going to do better than that, and together, America can do better than that.

MR. RUSSERT: But is it enough for you to say to the country, "Trust us, the other guy's no good. We'll do better, but we're not going to tell you specifically how we're going to deal with Iraq."

DR. DEAN: We will. When the time comes, we will do that.

MR. RUSSERT: When's the time going to come?

DR. DEAN: The time is fast-approaching. And I outlined the broad outlines of our agenda. We're going to have specific plans in all of these areas.

MR. RUSSERT: This year?

DR. DEAN: In 2006.

example 2) Rahm Emanuel on MTP Jan 16, 2005

MR. RUSSERT: We do know that life expectancy has gone from 65 to 80, so that 80 million people will be on Social Security for 15 to 20 years. Will the Democrats come forward with a specific plan to save Social Security and what will it encompass?

REP. EMANUEL: Yeah. What the Democrats will do is we stand ready to work on the retirement security. I've laid out here just briefly some of the things we are going to deal with helping people establish a retirement plan for themselves in addition to Social Security.

MR. RUSSERT: No, but specifics.

REP. EMANUEL: All right.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me go through a checklist.

REP. EMANUEL: All right.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you consider raising the retirement age?

REP. EMANUEL: Tim, I'm not going to sit here and negotiate it. To quote...

MR. RUSSERT: But why won't the Democrats or the Republicans level with the American people?

REP. EMANUEL: Well, no, we will. Well, first of all, Tim, you talk about leveling with the American people, as you just said, Social Security right now is--in 2042 we face the challenge. He wants to use the word crisis. I think when 80 percent of the workers who work at small businesses have no retirement plan, that to me has an immediacy that uses the word "crisis." When literally nearly 40 percent of the households, 27 million households, have no retirement plan outside of Social Security, that has an immediacy to me. We stand ready to work on that. On the notion of Social Security, on the notion that when you blow all the smoke away, we're talking about raising--borrowing another $2 trillion, cutting benefits up to 40 percent...

MR. RUSSERT: What is your alternative?

REP. EMANUEL: Well, the alternative, as you well know, is we work here, we have an alternative as it relates to retirement plans and helping people develop retirement plans on top of Social Security. I will not tell you what we don't do, and as you know on this show, Tim, and you're smart to what happens in this town, the president proposes and Congress disposes, he'll come forward with his plan. We'll work from there. We stand ready to help strengthen people's retirement security...

So to return to my original question? Why should progressives/Democrats be invited on political talkshows when they refuse to give specific ideas about what they would do differently???

***Read on for Part 2

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