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Dorsey, Tobin Smith Find Common Ground Defending War Critics

Reported by Judy - July 3, 2006 -

An odd-couple emerged Saturday (July 1, 2006) to defend critics of the way the Bush Administration is handling the war on terror when both moderate Pat Dorsey and usual Bush-backer Tobin Smith agreed that The New York Times and the Supreme Court are practicing democracy, not threatening it.

Brenda Buttner began "Bulls and Bears" on Saturday with the incendiary question: "Is the war on the war on terror hurting the stock market? From revealing top secret programs in The New York Times to the Supreme Court Gitmo ruling. At risk now more than ever, our lives, our money."

Buttner went first to Bizradio host Mike Norman who, of course, agreed that disaster looms because of freedom of the press and the checks and balances of the judicial branch. Scott Bleier, of hybridinvestors.com, also attacked those who dare to exercise constitutional rights.

"There's a segment of our population that’s gotten so spoiled by our personal freedoms, i.e., the right to privacy, they forget that historifcally sometimes we have to give up some of that freedom in order to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That is the very tenant of our constitution. Confidence is what builds our markets, and if we cannot fight the war the market will lose confidence," he said

And then there was Stuart Varney, a war-mongering wind bag masquerading as a Fox News business reporter, who upped the ante in the fear-mongering department by noting, "If this undermining of the war on terror leads to another attack, yeah our economy really gets hurt, the stock market gets hurt, and we get killed."

Varney also called Americans "soft, and Bleier agreed, adding, "There is a segment of the American public that is against the war, doesn’t want to admit that there is a war. They have their head in their shopping bag and that’s a problem, that’s a big problem."

Could it be that Americans don't realize there is a war going on because the administration hides pictures of the coffins of dead soldiers coming home and that Bush avoids going to military funerals? And could it be that Americans are shopping (consumer spending drives a good share of the market, Scotty-boy) because that is all the sacrifice Bush asked of Americans after 9/11 -- to go shopping?

Buttner attempted to add some balance by asking Pat Dorsey, of morningstar.com, if the nation's system is not just working as it should.

"Yeah, if we’re not going to respect the Supreme Court’s opinions, there’s really no point in fighting any kind of war for freedom or democracy or what have you. They’re (the court) not fighting any kind of war against anything. They’re upholding the law as they see it. Which you may or may not agree with, but that’s their job, and that’s how the constitutional framers set this place up, and it works pretty well, but in any case it has nothing to do with the market," he said, adding that the stock market reacts to Federal Reserve Board moves on interest rates more than to newspaper articles or the court ruling on Gitmo.

That is pretty much the approach Dorsey takes so that was no surprise. The surprise came when Tobin Smith, of changewaveresearch.com, agreed with Dorsey (although he mistakenly referenced someone else).

"If you talk to our men and women who are over there fighting, and I get emails all the time, they say the reason they’re there is for exactly the reason that someone could burn the flag, that absolutely someone could have the Supreme Court have the ability to go against the wing of the executive branch and say no, you overstood your ground," he said.

"It is the sanctity of what our system is and it’s why our men and women are risking their lives. You can argue technique, you can argue ideological issues, you can certainly argue that there’s a whole bunch of liberals that hate George Bush and want to do anything to try to get around him. But what we are watching is our democracy, the American democracy, working the way it was intended. It’s not pretty, but it is working and that’s what we’re defending. We’re not defending some schmo at The New York Times giving up our secrets."

Tobin Smith's position seemed more moderate than ones he has taken in the past. (His last remark about The New York Times is ambiguous, but nevertheless, the thrust of his comments were in the opposite direction.) He may have been stung when Dorsey, a few months ago, accused him of reading from a script for always taking pro-Bush positions.

Dorsey had it right. There's no point in fighting a war for democracy if we're going to surrender all our liberties to do it. That's not being spoiled. That's being American. On the eve of our independence day, Americans should remember that, at least.