Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 26, 2008

LEACH GETS THE SHORT SHRIFT.... Last night, DDay asked a very reasonable question: "If a 30-year Democrat spoke at the RNC, excoriated his former party, and endorsed the Presidential candidate of the opposite party, would the media cover it?"

DDay was referring, of course, to former Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa, a respected, long-time Republican lawmaker who not only endorsed Barack Obama, but appeared at the Democratic convention last night to urge others to follow his lead.




This development barely generated any attention at all. When Zell Miller appeared at the Republican convention, it was a key development. When Joe Lieberman, who isn't even a Democrat anymore, announced his own appearance at the GOP convention, this was a major story. Some former Democratic delegate in Wisconsin moved inexplicably from supporting Clinton to backing McCain, and her switch is treated as exceedingly important.

Leach, however, is getting the short shrift. He's a credible, serious guy, who was part of the House Republican caucus for decades, and this year, Leach concluded that Obama is the leader the nation needs.

Maybe he's too mild-mannered to generate more attention (he did not, for example, mention "spitballs" during his speech last night). Maybe if he'd challenged Chris Matthews to a duel, news outlets would have taken his remarks more seriously.

But that's a genuine shame, because Leach had a message worth listening to: "As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic.... Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.... I stand before you proud of my party's contributions to American history but, as a citizen, proud as well of the good judgment of good people in this good party, in nominating a transcending candidate, an individual whom I am convinced will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president: the senator from Abraham Lincoln's state -- Barack Obama.... This is not a time for politics as usual.... Obama will recapture the American dream and be a truly great president."

Steve Benen 11:16 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (56)

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Comments

In fairness, Zell Miller was giving the keynote address, and Joe Lieberman was the former Democratic VP candidate. That makes their crossovers more newsworthy.

So when Republican Jim Whitaker speaks at the DNC, nobody will care because he's just the mayor of the flippin' Fairbanks North Star Borough.

Posted by: Grumpy on August 26, 2008 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, thanks for bringing this to the forefront. I don't tink I would have heard about it if not for your mention of it.

Posted by: MDK on August 26, 2008 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

my theory is that roughly 5-6% of americans are honest conservatives (basically, 20% of the republican party), and i've felt for a while that the dems best chance in 2008 was to win over their votes in a coalition of the sane (against right-wing authoritarianism and stupidity).

leach represents that honest conservative faction, and while, of course, it's distressing that narrative-blinkered media figures can't come to terms, i'm more hopeful for the voters.

Posted by: howard on August 26, 2008 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. Trivia note: The Fairbanks North Star Borough has a greater land area than New Jersey.

Posted by: Grumpy on August 26, 2008 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

threatened Chris Matthews to a duel

I think 'challenged' is the word you want here

Posted by: neil on August 26, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

We all lament the IOKIYAR nature of the media, but I just wish more Democratic leaders would call this phenomenon for what it is - all out, comprehensive Republican bias. Anyone who has worked for a large corporation knows that loyalty and discipline are very very important. Journalists are part of this kind of corporate media culture and think the same way.

With this mindset, why would Leach be newsworthy? It's bad news for the company. You don't dwell on it.

Posted by: The Lucky Sea Men on August 26, 2008 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

We watched the convention last night on the Dish Network high-definition feed, with no network gasbags. So we heard every word of Leach's excellent speech, and Sen. Tom Harkin introducing him.

It was a great speech - thoroughly positive in tone, but ripping into the present maladministration just below the surface. While watching, I was thinking: "This guy is too intelligent and humane to have been a Republican for so long."

Tune out the networks tonight and see the real deal. If a high-def feed isn't available to you, there's still C-Span.

Posted by: OkieFromMuskogee on August 26, 2008 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Read it and weep, wingnuts:

"...what frustrates so many citizens is the lack of bipartisanship in Washington and the way today's Republican Party has broken with its conservative heritage.
The party that once emphasized individual rights has gravitated in recent years toward regulating values. The party of military responsibility has taken us to war with a country that did not attack us. The party that formerly led the world in arms control has moved to undercut treaties crucial to the defense of the earth. The party that prides itself on conservation has abdicated its responsibilities in the face of global warming. And the party historically anchored in fiscal restraint has nearly doubled the national debt, squandering our precious resources in an undisciplined and unprecedented effort to finance a war with tax cuts..."

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/2008-democratic-national-convention-remarks/story.aspx?guid=%7BB3E1CDBD-476F-4066-B590-DF651622FE3D%7D&dist=hppr

Posted by: Racer X on August 26, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

Ass hat Blitzer last night apparently thought that echoing that the Dems weren't attacking and listening to the vacuous Anderson Cooper complaining that he was bored were more important than airing Leach's entire speech, which was really quite good.

Posted by: Chris Brown on August 26, 2008 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

FYI... CNN actually cut away from Leach's speech halfway in and went back to their gasbags. Gergen made some snide comment that implied the speech was boring (which is presumably why they cut away.) So anyone watching on CNN did not even get to hear Leach endorse Obama.

Love that liberal media.

Posted by: AJL on August 26, 2008 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

If I were Jim Leach the next time I encounter Paul Begalia I would probably punch the asshole in the nose. Frankly I have never heard any professional talking head speak so ill of anyone on television before.

Hey Paul, Jim Leach has actually done something with his life. All I can say about you is that you knew how to suck up to Bill Clinton and know how to procure a "job" as a professional blowhard on CNN.

Posted by: Ron Byers on August 26, 2008 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, certainly you realize Democrats DESERVE to have their party adherents abandon them and tout the benefits of electing a Republican. Since this is an admirable position, a rational awakening if you will, the press is equally deserving of covering such defections. It's for the good of the homeland after all. Now, when Republicans defect they're merely misguided cranks that have lost their way in the world. They're akin to the mumbling, alcoholic homeless guy huddled beneath a bridge. Everyone sees him if they look hard enough, then quickly averts their eyes and quickens their pace, hoping not to get entangled in some sort of lunacy they can't escape. Proper people just don't talk to such denizens, save professionals trying to extricate them from their sick, sad plight.

Posted by: steve duncan on August 26, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Rep Jim Leach (R-IA) chaired the original Whitewater hearings, and so allowed his sober, deliberate persona to be the public face of that disgraceful witch hunt. The Whitewater farce was really the beginning of the cycle that culminated with the disaster of the Bush presidency, which in turn resulted in Leach's defeat at the polls in 2006. So you might say Leach has a fairly unique perspective on what went wrong in this country the past decade and a half.

Posted by: kth on August 26, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Leach was wonderful but soft-spoken and scholarly is not what our wonderful media care about. However, I think he'd be great in a tv ad for Obama.

Posted by: democrat on August 26, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Jim Leach is a good guy and one of the few Republicans I've ever voted for, and it should be simple enough to put some of his more notable remarks from last night to use during the campaign. Especially in Iowa, where the wingnuts have taken control of the GOP to the extent that they've even denied their senior U.S. Senator, Charles Grassley, a spot in the Republican delegation to the RNC in St. Paul, Leach can help bring some of the sensible ones around to be Obama Republicans in 2008.

Posted by: David W. on August 26, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

AJL wrote: "CNN actually cut away from Leach's speech halfway in and went back to their gasbags ..."

Hell, NPR cut away from Leach as soon as he got to the podium and devoted the whole time of his speech to a couple of their nattering, chirpy-cheerful airheads reciting RNC talking points about disunity in the Democratic Party.

Can we please stop pretending that the corporate-owned media (and NPR is most definitely corporate-owned) is supposed to be performing some kind of public service, such as informing the American people about what's actually going on in the world?

The corporate-owned media is the propaganda arm of America's Ultra-Rich Ruling Class, Inc., and everything it prints or broadcasts or sends over the cable is intended to advance their agenda of class warfare against everyone else. And that agenda is best served by putting reactionary right-wing Republicans like Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and John McCain in the White House.

The corporate-owned media is doing exactly what it did with the goring of Al Gore in 2000 and the swiftboating of John Kerry in 2004: doing its part in close collaboration with the RNC and the openly partisan right-wing media to get the Republican candidate close enough to steal the election.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on August 26, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

I think 'challenged' is the word you want here.

Good point. I made the change.

Posted by: Steve Benen on August 26, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Okay, guys, if you can't get CSPAN or NPR (I think MsJoanne mentioned last night that she was in a hotel and could only get CNN and FOX), you can complain about clueless punditry in convention coverage. Otherwise, you really can turn off the talking heads and actually hear what the speakers have to say. I promise you won't miss anything worthwhile in the realm of critical analysis.

Posted by: shortstop on August 26, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Leach is just another Republican scumbag. Sure he was known as the most liberal Republican scumbag, but he's still a scumbag. He was the House Representative for my district, and I was proud to vote against him, selecting Any Democrat rather than him (I don't even remember the name of the winning Dem I voted for).
Leach presided over the do-nothing House Banking Committee during an era when the S&L's failed and the odious Bankruptcy Bill was passed, and as others have noted, his committee initiated the "politics of personal destruction" with the Whitewater investigations. He was a dupe for neocons, putting his mild mannered face on their most destructive programs.
Using Leach in the convention is a deliberate slap in the Clintons' faces. That's the only good thing that can be said for his appearance, the Clinton Wing of the Democratic Party needs to go away forever.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on August 26, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

We're so screwed. Everything is stacked against us. The media is in the tank for McCain. The GOP has gotten Premier (formerly Diebold) to do some vote shifting. Rove has implemented voter caging across many, many areas (hello, 90 year old nuns who cannot vote now!!) and this is just more of the same.

Everything is in place to have elections like Zimbabwe - only with no hand or head chopping off (yet).

I am as disgusted as I could possibly be with this turn of events in our country. These gasbags on television are rigging the election as much as Diebold/Premier are.

We are so seriously fucked.

Posted by: MsJoanne on August 26, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

In a mild defense of the networks, Leach doesn't have a particularly inspiring delivery. They may have cut away because they were bored and would rather gossip, but that may have done the Democrats a favor.

A low-information voter who tuned in during Leach's speech most likely wouldn't have known who this guy was, and just be turned off by the bland tone. I don't think the actual content of his speech would have mattered.

Posted by: PapaJijo on August 26, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, I think the speech should have been covered, but leach was always a 'workhorse' not a 'showhorse.' To anyone who followed Washngton closely, this was BIG news, but to the avergae viewer it was "Jim Who?" on a night when the big news was expected to be Pelosi, Teddy and Michelle. On MSNBC it didn't even get shown, but a lot of Midwest Republicans who knew who Leach was and would be affected by it, I'm sure heard about it.

More importantly, Leach had such respect that it may provide 'cover' to sitting Republicans who want to follow his lead.

And RacerX MarketWatch is proving fascinating. Not only did they print the speech in full, but Rex Nutting, their Washington editor, wrote a scathing blast towards McCain earlier in the month.

http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/why-mccain-would-mediocre-president/story.aspx?guid=%7B4914192B%2D12AF%2D4623%2DAB18%2D5EFE91204B04%7D&dist=msr_3

A couple of quotes:
"The son and grandson of Navy admirals, he attended Annapolis where he did poorly. Nevertheless, he was commissioned as a pilot, where he performed poorly, crashing three planes before he failed to evade a North Vietnamese missile that destroyed his plane. McCain spent more than five years in a prison camp."

"McCain hasn't accomplished much in the Senate. Even his own campaign doesn't trumpet his successes, probably because the few victories he's had still rankle Republicans."

"McCain says he doesn't understand the economy. He's demonstrated that he doesn't understand the workings of Social Security, or the political history of the Middle East. He doesn't know who our enemies are. He says he wants to reduce global warming, but then proposes ideas that would stimulate -- not reduce -- demand for fossil fuels."

"McCain has done one thing well -- self promotion. Instead of working on legislation or boning up on the issues, he's been on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" more than any other guest."

"Living in the Sixties
McCain is still fighting the Vietnam War. But he's not fighting the real historic war, which taught us the folly of injecting ourselves into a civil war that was none of our business. ... Instead, McCain is fighting an imaginary Vietnam War, where a sure victory could have been achieved with just a little more bombing, just a little more "pacification," just a little more will to win at home. This fantasy clouds McCain's judgment on foreign policy.

"After years of honing a reputation as a guy who'll say the truth regardless of the political consequences, McCain has crashed the Straight Talk Express. On almost every issue where he took a principled stand against the Republican line -- taxes, immigration, oil drilling, the Religious Right -- he's changed his views."

and "But is that true? Does McCain have the right stuff?

A careful look at McCain's biography shows that he isn't prepared for the job. His resume is much thinner than most people think."

This isn't a Democratic site. It's owned by the Wall Street Journal and the author is Washington editor, not a guest columnist. And the people who read it are the corporate community and investors -- sorry, SOV.

This, with the military.com article we've mentioned so frequently, are the two pieces that people should have printed out to hand to the more intelligent McCain supporters.



Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on August 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

I watched the Democratic Convention on PBS last night. The convention was presented in it's entirety with integrity and wihout the usual mudslinging, smearing pundits.

The Speeches were all inspiring. Mr. Leach's speech was flavored with history Republican Party accommplishments. His speech was balanced with historically Democratic Party accomplishments. He was effusive in his comments against the current state of Republican Politics of today. He spoke with accuracy, intelligence, integrity and TRUTHFULNESS. I cannot think what Republican Convention speakers will say that will be as inspiring. The paid political pundits and "experts, strategists" will smear and slander Mr Leach's words because it was the TRUTH.

Posted by: ml johnston on August 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

I watched the Democratic Convention on PBS last night. The convention was presented in it's entirety with integrity and wihout the usual mudslinging, smearing pundits.

The Speeches were all inspiring. Mr. Leach's speech was flavored with history Republican Party accommplishments. His speech was balanced with historically Democratic Party accomplishments. He was effusive in his comments against the current state of Republican Politics of today. He spoke with accuracy, intelligence, integrity and TRUTHFULNESS. I cannot think what Republican Convention speakers will say that will be as inspiring. The paid political pundits and "experts, strategists" will smear and slander Mr Leach's words because it was the TRUTH.

Posted by: ml johnston on August 26, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

It's good to see that there's some historical memory left, i.e., that so many people remember how Jim Leach prostituted the House Banking Committee to pursue the Clintons-- even after his star witness, L. Jean Lewis, was caught in perjury (by chief Dem counsel Richard ben-Veniste) and collapsed at the stand.

However, I think Charliedon'tsurf is wrong to think that this was a slap at the Clintons. This is politics. When your opponent offers his sword in surrender, you accept it.

Posted by: Charles on August 26, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

With his demented Sen. Claghorn Leghorn-on-acid impression in front of the RNC in 2004, Zell Miller set a bar too high for anyone else to get over. Leach could have bitten the head off a live chicken and it wouldn't have gotten that kind of press coverage.

Posted by: Peter Principle on August 26, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Leach's speech was typical of the man: understated, heartfelt, wonky as all get out, and therefore a little dull. but substantive, positive, professorial. just not great TeeVee. (Except, I thought, the portion Racer X quotes above, which was excellent.)

I have to think Leach is high on the list of possible non-Dems in a "post-partisan" Obama Cabinet, and he would do well in that role.

unlike charlie at 11:58, while I agreed Leach, like anyone else voting "R" on the House organizing resolution, had to go, I still found it sad and wished that he had been willing to buck his party on that vote (or even switch to D - he is to the left of current Iowa Democratic Rep. Boswell) so we could have kept him. I'm sure Dave Loesbeck is a fine guy and decent rep, but having moderate Republicans exist does a service to the body politic.

Posted by: zeitgeist on August 26, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

A single defecting dumbocrat is worth 10,000 defecting republicans. Our republican owned corporate media decides what is news and what is not and they consistently make the 'right' choice.

You airhead progressives and liberal wienies seem to think that elections are about issues and policies and governance. Wrong - airheads - it is about power. We have it and we will keep it.

So what if our policies screw over the working class of america. We own the Low Information Voters (LIV) because we own the corporate media that provides them will all of the character knowledge that they need to know. We provide the LIV with enough contradictory information about issues and policies to keep them confused. Does not matter if it is true or false - we get to set the storylines for the campaigns.

Our storylines for this campaign are that it is all about character and that it is a referendum on Obama. What we say about Obama's and McCain's character does not need to be truthful. We said it - therefore it is!

Obama is an arrogant, elitist, Afrikan Muslim and John McCain is an authentic white American Hero. No more needs saying to our voting base - the stupid white trash.

Posted by: RepublicanPointOfView on August 26, 2008 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

The backwards Miller and the traitorous Lieberman, were both in power or recently out of power right? Jim Leach lost his seat almost two years ago.

Posted by: MNPundit on August 26, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

I watched on PBS, too, last night. I strongly endorse PBS for all of your convention viewing. They presented all of the major speeches in their entirety. The only coverage they stepped on was the "town hall meeting" that even the convention audience tuned out.

Leach's speech was heavy on content, and is likely better reading than it was viewing. But that is absolutely no excuse for the corporate media not to cover it.

Posted by: Taritac on August 26, 2008 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

There are hundreds of United States Representatives. There are thousands of former United States Representatives, just about all of which would love to be on national TV.

That is my theory as to why Leach is not being treated like a Zell Miller or a Joe Lieberman.

Posted by: Brick Oven Bill on August 26, 2008 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

The whole night was a disaster for the Republicans. (I had thought McCain's slide to "Landonhood" would start with Obama's speech, but it will have been seen to start with Monday night.)

Look at the following:

The Leach speech, which will not hit the LIVs, sure, but will hit the financial community hard. because they know him.

Pelosi's speech, not a great one, sure, but with a perfect 'bumper sticker moment' in "McCain -- experienced in being wrong." (I don't drive, but I want some buttons with that on it.)

Teddy Kennedy. Teddy is older than McCain, sicker than McCain, but he was clear, forceful, and powerful -- and everybody watched. And, if McCain uses "POW," well, yes, McCain gave five and a half years of prison, two years of being tortured, but Teddy saw his three brothers being killed 'in the service of their country.' And he's never used it as an excuse, never whined about it. And he's been consistent -- as Ken Burns' documentary made clear -- in his fight for a lot of things people care about, most importantly health care as a 'right' not a privilege.

And finally Michelle, who single-handedly dispelled all the myths about her and her husband and connected to anyone who saw her as an intelligent, modern woman who could both be important in her work and her family -- and both her brother and especially the kids were wonderful. (I've raely regretted I was a childless 'only child' but I did last night.)

[And, for those who worry that the MSM didn't cover parts well enough, hey, this ain't 1998, when only a few of us heard about that Internet thinggy -- and sometimes we act like we regret this, because it made us feel so smart and superior. Everybody knows about it, everybody uses it, and these speeches -- unlike past Convention speeches -- aren't ephemera, lost in the aether. A lot of people who missed them will hear about them and check them out at their own times.)

But gotta give McCain credit for the first smart political move he made -- getting Cindy out of the country before Michelle's speech came down. If he hadn't sent her on a mission to Georgia (?????) every news organuization would have been asking her for a comment, and juxtaposing her to Michelle would have been deadly.

The Obama Presidency started last night.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on August 26, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately America is full of low-information voters. We need to blast them over and over and over again with the facts, the truth, etc. to try to drown out the trashy press, which at this point is a majority of them, with only a few exeptions.

Here are a few things I heard from low-information CSPAN callers last night:
Obama has no policies, he just has a pretty speech
Obama hasn't done anything - no resume
McCain is a maverick
Michelle Obama was hiding her angry black woman self in her speech
Michelle and Barack are phonies

Some of those were from Republicans but some were from Hillbots (who need to wake the h*ll up).

Posted by: Hannah on August 26, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I get the strange sense that many in the media do in fact lean to the left, but that their end products (articles, commentary, etc.) really don't lean to the left.

In fact, I think that the media are very willing to pick up whatever meme the GOP is pimping on a given day and air it for the public, while they resist furthering Dem memes.

There are a few obvious anti-McCain memes that have gone nowhere lately:
1) His response to the Georgia crisis was belligerent, presumptuous and bordered on interfering with the work of the State Dept.
2) He is using his POW status in increasingly ridiculous situations (i.e. as a response to his house gaffe)
3) That despite his claims to Straight Talk, and being Maverick politician, he's embracing the unsubstantiated slimeball attacks of Corsi and now some very well-funded 527's.

These are all stories out there that the Dems would love to shine some light on, but the so-called "left leaning" media don't pick them up.

"Republicans of Obama" is a worthy story. Ironically, I'm starting to feel some of the resentment towards the media that the Right has always felt.

Posted by: Beebs on August 26, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

I also watched C-SPAN last night because I'm sick of the networks deciding what's worthwhile and what can be ignored so we can listen to their blowhards spin what just happened. While Leach isn't the most electrifying speaker, I loved what he had to say and wish more people had heard him. Thanks for the post, CB - um, I mean PA.

Orange

Posted by: gypsy moth on August 26, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

I had to switch from CNN to C-span to hear Leach. Unfortunately, the audience wasn't paying any more attention to the speech than the talking heads on CNN. The Dems should have let Leach give the keynote, as the Repubs used Miller.

Posted by: alibubba on August 26, 2008 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

The thing that I noticed about Jim Leach's speech (and, yes, I second the recommendation above that you just watch C-SPAN if you want to actually see the convention, rather than seeing media personalities talk about the convention) was that it was utterly unlike Zell Miller's speech in that it was respectful of both parties; and that it was contemplative, even as it laid out a clear case for Obama and against the current GOP.

It wasn't a fire-breathing red meat speech; and if you're the type of person who has always despised Republicans and always voted exclusively for Democrats, there were a lot of things in that speech that were going to sound peculiar to you. But if you were someone in Jim Leach's shoes — a lifelong Republican (from habit, perhaps) who was nonetheless reachable by appeals to reason — it was perfectly modulated to communicate to you.

That's the big difference between Leach and Miller: Zell was preaching to the choir in his speech, whereas Jim Leach was preaching to the hesitant independents and curious Republicans who might have been loitering just outside the tent. It wasn't as dramatic, and it may not have been great television, but it was probably more effective.

Posted by: Ray Radlein on August 26, 2008 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

In 1983 Leach tried to warn the Republican Party and the nation that evil had infiltrated the GOP and the media. Unfortunately, thanks to Reagan's 11th Commandment which is the most evil empowering political tool ever devised - not to speak ill of a fellow Republican - Leach was shouted down by Grover Norquist.

Read about it hear.

And here is a quote from the first editor of the paper which has been the vehicle for this infiltration of our political system.

Quoting James Whelan first editor of the Washington Times who quit the paper saying he had "blood on his hands" for helping the Moon organization gain credibility:

"They (the Moonies) are subverting our political system. They're doing it through front organizations--most of them disguised--and through their funding of independent organizations--through the placement of volunteers in the inner sanctums of hard-pressed organizations. In every instance--in every instance--those who attend their conferences, those who accept their money or their volunteers, delude themselves that there is no loss of virtue because the Moonies have not proselytized. That misses the central, crucial point: the Moonies are a political movement in religious clothing. Moon seeks power, not the salvation of souls. To achieve that, he needs religious fanatics as his palace guard and shock troops. But more importantly, he needs secular conscripts--seduced by money, free trips, free services, seemingly endless bounty and booty--in order to give him respectability and, with it, that image of influence which translates as power."

It is done.

Posted by: Ned Flanders on August 26, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure how much credibility Leach has. He acted like a total buffoon, using convoluted pretzel logic to justify the hearings he was holding regarding HRC's billing records, or whatever that nonsense was, back in the 90s.

Posted by: mocasdad on August 26, 2008 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

Posted by: Ned Flanders on August 26, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, is that you?

Posted by: shortstop on August 26, 2008 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

charlie don't surf wrote, Leach is just another Republican scumbag. Sure he was known as the most liberal Republican scumbag, but he's still a scumbag. ... He was a dupe for neocons, putting his mild mannered face on their most destructive programs.

Aside: I grew up in central IA. Leach wasn't my rep, but I knew about him.

In general, I completely agree with this analysis. That's why I was happy to give Chris Van Hollen $$ when he took out Connie Morella, with the aid of some redistricting.

But there's one big caveat. Leach voted against the AUMF in Oct 2002. We can't take that away from him.

Posted by: liberal on August 26, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

It seems like the corporate media does and says whatever it has to to bolster the establishment candidate/position on issues.

Joe Lieberman and Zell Miller were tacking towards the Fascist position, which is where the corporate media wants this nation to go, hence they received ample airtime.

In this case, Leach is moving towards the party that is currently opposed to the resurgence of American Fascism, and as such he was ignored.

Once the revolution starts, the media talking heads should be the first heads to roll.

Posted by: malcontent on August 26, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Truth and sincerity and courage are boring? I must be a POW on planet Earth.

Posted by: Goldilocks on August 26, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, is that you?
Posted by: shortstop on August 26, 2008 at 1:14 PM

No, I am the ghost of mw from MediaWhoresOnline.

Posted by: Ned on August 26, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

As a former republican, I'm going to print out Leach's speech and circulate it to the many republicans I know - who are not religous zealots or "values voters" - along with Benen's McCain flip-flop list. He hit all the right notes for these voters. The repubs I know don't do independent in-depth research to fact check the BS the media and polital ads spit out and still hold on to the "tax & spend liberal" meme. Pointing out the falsities in that meme as well as showing this repub administration's total disregard for the constitution and individual liberties (that these repub voters hold dear), and showing that Obama is the one most likely to protect their rights, and, just as important, McCain won't, may sway some of them, I hope.
Orange!

Posted by: liberal republican (now Dem) on August 26, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

i always liked jim leach. he was real. i was sad to hear he lost. can he run against crazee grassley?

Posted by: pansyoo on August 26, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

i always liked jim leach. he was real. i was sad to hear he lost. can he run against crazee grassley?

Posted by: pansyoo on August 26, 2008 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

i always liked jim leach. he was real. i was sad to hear he lost. can he run against crazee grassley?

Posted by: pansyoo on August 26, 2008 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, the Washington Monthly has finally figured out that the media are a Republican asset. Imagine that!

Posted by: Fightin' Democrat on August 26, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

zeitgeist, there is one thing better than a moderate Republican in the body politic: any Democrat.
Leach had a consistent record of caving in to GOP political interests and corporate interests (especially in the Banking Committee) and acting against the interests of his constituents. This is why he lost.
Leach would make a horrible cabinet member (despite what some here have said). He's old and shaky, and on the verge of senility. His speech was an attempt to reclaim relevance for himself, an impossible task. I will not condone the rehabilitation of our enemies in the pursuit of election results. Leach is the enemy.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on August 26, 2008 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

SecularAnimist:

"Hell, NPR cut away from Leach as soon as he got to the podium and devoted the whole time of his speech to a couple of their nattering, chirpy-cheerful airheads reciting RNC talking points about disunity in the Democratic Party."

Yep, nicely put. I was thinking of firing off an indignant e-mail to NPR, but I had turned the radio off soon afterward and I was afraid of being uninformed about subsequent coverage of the Leach speech. So I guess that never happened, eh? Depressing.

I still rely on NPR for morning news, but the creeping Broderism of the political coverage has been all too apparent over the last few years.

Posted by: Astigmatist on August 26, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

lib rep (now Dem): I have a feeling your friends will be doubly impressed if you print out the text with the Market Watch header. And PLEASE include the other Market Watch article I linked to above. It's more devastating to McCain than anything you'll hear at the Convention.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on August 26, 2008 at 3:39 PM | PERMALINK

They'll hear about it in Iowa, and that helps.

Posted by: BJ on August 26, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

BJ:

But will they hear it in PA, VA, NH and CO and all the other places chock full of nominally republican moderates. This was an important speech that decisively lays out the case for change. If you want to take our country back from substanceless spin then spread his message. shame on CNN for proving beyond a doubt that they are part of the problem. Thank you Mr. Leach for putting your principles into action. I just wish that more people were listening.

Posted by: Beauregard Janglez on August 26, 2008 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

The people who saw or read about Leach's speech today are going to be WSJ readers or voters in Iowa. That's okay.

And like zeitgeist, I think you have to look at the long-term health of the body politic. It's one thing to run against the wingnuts, but it's better to have old-school Republicans like Leach and Chafee with strong voices on the other side.

I have to think Leach is high on the list of possible non-Dems in a "post-partisan" Obama Cabinet, and he would do well in that role.

Steve Clemons floated his name as UN ambassador after Bolton was booted, and you could imagine Leach getting the nod for that in an Obama administration. That's not to forget his role in the Whitewater witchhunt or the impact of his legislation on the banking industry today, but it's smart politics to cast moderate Republicans as in touch with the popular mood.

Posted by: pseudonymous in nc on August 26, 2008 at 6:10 PM | PERMALINK

I watched him last night and, while the message was -- mostly -- OK (he seemed to have a bit of a problem finding examples of those great traditions of his party), the delivery *stank*. He barely opened his mouth while talking and he exhibited all the enthusiasm of a 3-day-dead carp.

Back in Poland, we used to have, periodically, "mini-thaws", when some things normally on the black list were suddenly allowed for a year or so. That included permission to make and (selectively) screen films which, sorta, tried to "account" for the past mistakes of The Party.

Leach's speech reminded me of nothing more than some of the characters portrayed in those films: the party members who, publicly, renounced their "heretical" views. The same kind of stiffness. The same kind of "aroma" of "I'm saying what I've been ordered to say, I ache in every bone of my body from the interrogations and I can't stand it any more. I know I'll be dead soon but, at least, perhaps my family will be spared"

I know this is not the case here; if anyone would put such a pressure on someone to "recant", it would be the Repubs, whose philosophy is much closer to the authoritarianism I grew up with. All the same... That's *exactly* what it sounded like. Totally unconvincing.

Posted by: exlibra on August 26, 2008 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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