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Steve Forbes: "Republicans themselves have done nothing to give the people positive reasons to vote for them"

Reported by Marie Therese - June 17, 2006

In the FOX News Live update that aired at 11:00 AM EDT this morning, announcer Janice Dean reported that "the military has launched a massive search outside Baghdad for two soldiers who disappeared after an attack on a traffic checkpoint." In addition she noted that seven explosions in that city, aimed at police and soldiers, killed at least 23 people. Immediately afterwards, FOX News' perpetual pollyanna, David Asman, opened Forbes on FOX by saying "Well, Democrats and liberal pundits calling the Iraq war a huge debacle for President Bush but what if we told you that Iraq is why President Bush's party and the stock market will win big this year?" Welcome to Wonderland, folks!

Somehow, in just one day, the Iraqi insurgency managed to disappear two American soldiers and kill 23 people in a city under martial law enforced by 75,000 police and security forces. Did David Asman, Steve Forbes, Rich Karlgaard and Jim Michaels - the Forbes on FOX rah-rah boys - let this tiny little detail stop them from gushing out the GOP "Iraq is getting better" talking points? You might as well ask if the Pope is catholic!

As we News Hounds have repeatedly pointed out, trying to glean real economic data from a FOX News financial show is like digging for gold in quicksand. Over and over and over again, using the same tired old schtick, FOX News financial hosts and guests blather on, many of them making inane comments and predictions based on a script handed down from the White House via the FOX News management team. Of course, they always book one or two contrarians, to give the illusion of balance. However, these voices are frequently younger and generally outnumbered and overpowered by the pro-GOP crowd.

This morning's Iraq segment started with a typical maneuver. David Asman asked Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard if he believed that a turnaround in Iraq "could turn into a victory for Republicans and stocks." Rather than simply answering the question, Karlgaard launched into an almost verbatim rehash of the current GOP talking points:

KARLGAARD: "Boy, what a difference a week has made. The death of Zarqawi, Bush's trip to Iraq and even here at home this little bounce back of the stock market. Rove has escaped indictment. And you know what really impresses me is that Josh Bolten, the new White House chief-of-staff, is really keeping this White House on message. He's reinvigorated it. They're not bragging excessively about these good events in Iraq. The war in Iraq has always gone better than the media has projected it, but now, I think, they're back on the communications message. It's good for Republicans."

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman himself could not have stated the talking points more succinctly.

Quentin Hardy made an excellent rebuttal, saying "We'll set aside the kind of crazy notion that this lobbyist-ridden, spendthrift Congress is good for the stock market and just talk about Iraq for a second. This week the President flew in for six hours. That was great. You know, he didn't actually notify the government that he was going. The U. S. could fly in. The Prime Minister heard on five minutes notice. What does that tell you? That the U. S. is still the de facto power in the state and the government has no sovereignty yet. We hope it does but it's a work of months And I think the Republicans are kind of setting up these expectations that everything's swell again and they're gonna disappoint the American people if they do that, because this war is far from over." At this point he was interrupted by Asman, whose script required him to turn to an opposition viewpoint, that being Jim Michaels, who accused Hardy of mimicking "desperate anti-Iraq war people" like Rep. Jack Murtha. "Of course the President has to have intense security," Michael said. "He has to have it everywhere he goes. Look, even the media is coming to realize that we're winning in Iraq."

"Moderate" Elizabeth MacDonald countered by saying that she did not think the final formation of a new government and the death of al-Zarqawi were enough of a "pivot point for the GOP" because, in her words, "the Republican Party is heading into a perfect storm in November." She noted that immigration and out-of-control spending will impact the mid-term elections as well.

Steve Forbes, who usually tips the scales in favor of the conservative viewpoint, was less than enthusiastic about Republican chances in 2006, claiming that the economy will appear to be weaker than it is in November 2006.

FORBES: "... But the fact of the matter is what I think is going to hurt the Republicans is, one, the feeling they've been in power too long and they need to be punished but also, the economy is gonna look worse than it really is and that's what's gonna bite them in November."

Asman then turned to the topic of Friday's non-binding vote in support o the war on terror, the war on Iraq and the trrops. All but three Republicans voted in favor joined by 43 Democrats. Quentin Hardy called it a "set-up" and, rather than disagreeing with him, Asman dubbed it a "pretty effective set-up" to which Rich Karlgaard responded "Yeah, pretty good set-up." He went on to agree with Steve Forbes' points, saying "People are pretty tired of Republicans" then summoned up the images of Speaker Pelosi and powerful Committee Chairs John Conyers and Charles Rangel, whom he called the "hard-left dream team." Forbes quickly dispelled this argument noting "the sad fact" that to the average American these names mean little or nothing and that American voters will cast their ballots based on "what the Republicans have done and have not done."

When Asman prompted him for clarification, Forbes said he thought it was going to be "tough" for Republicans to keep the House of Representatives, because "Republicans themselves have done nothing to give the people positive reasons to vote for them."

David Asman called on Karlgaard to end the segment on a "positive note." Karlgaard obliged, with a complete rehash of the same talking points he began with.

COMMENT
If a Republican big-wig like Steve Forbes has capitulated on Election 2006, there must panic in the RNC's inner sanctum.

I wondered if FOX News was sending a signal that, in the lead-up to Election 2006, the Democrats had better be prepared for Republican swift-boating of Nancy Pelosi, John Conyers and Charles Rangel?

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