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Heckuva Job, Brownie and Elmendorf!

Reported by Ellen - April 18, 2008 -

It was another night of disgraceful Democrats on Hannity & Colmes last night (4/17/08). Maybe I should stop complaining about Democrats not getting their fair share of time on the show. Last night’s balanced panel of two Republicans and two Democrats might as well have had four Republicans. Neither of the two Democrats bothered to do much advocacy. Each spent more time joining the right wing attacks on Barack Obama than offering any constructive argument on behalf of their Party. It wasn’t until Alan Colmes suggested, at the end of the third and final segment, that Democrats might prefer to focus on John McCain that the two “strategists” agreed with Colmes and coughed up some enthusiasm for their own side. With video.

The two Democratic guests, Michael Brown (son of former Clinton cabinet member Ron Brown, not the former head of FEMA) and Steve Elmendorf seemed to think that the only strategy worth pursuing was one that proved that they were not “too” liberal.

In his scripted introduction to the three-part discussion about the Democratic debate the night before, Sean Hannity said, “Because (the left wing’s) favorite candidate came off looking smug and unprepared, they’re going nuts today.”

Neither Brown nor Elmendorf objected to either the slur against Obama or the one against the left. In response to the first question lobbed his way, Elmendorf said, “(Obama’s) campaign’s been whining all day that they got asked hard questions.” Elmendorf is a Clinton supporter who created a bit of a stir about two years ago when he said, "The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections… The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."

It’s not as though Colmes didn’t try to move the subject from Obama’s insignificant association with former 60’s radical Bill Ayers to the important issues – which just happen to be the same ones in which the Democrats are vastly favored – such as Iraq, the economy, health care, etc. Colmes, also a Clinton supporter, said in Part 1, “I think (Obama) put it very well last night. (Ayers is) a guy who lives in his neighborhood. He hasn’t endorsed Obama, they don’t regularly talk. They happen to know each other. Their kids may have gone to the same schools. (Ayers) did something detestable 40 years ago, when (Obama) was eight and somehow, that’s supposed to reflect on Obama’s values and should have anything to do with this presidential campaign?”

I couldn’t find anything to indicate that Brown is supporting Clinton but, as is often the case with Brown, I have to wonder how much he supports any Democrat. Brown answered with this incomprehensible response: “I think this is a two-fold issue. First of all, it’s interesting how the press all of a sudden is now trying to knock Senator Obama down. For months, if not for almost a year and a half, he’s kind of been the angel and the darling of the media. Now, all of a sudden, the conservative press want to take real big shots at him. The other problem is, is that when you’ve had that kind of honeymoon with the press, it’s very difficult to deal with tough questions at the end of the game. And that’s I think what you’re seeing now.”

Colmes pressed on. “But is this a real issue? Should this be a real issue, Michael, in the campaign?”

Brown declined to catch the pass. “Well, it’s one of those things,” he said. “Senator Clinton gets tough questions every day. Even Chelsea Clinton gets tough questions every day and that’s part of running for president. It’s a tough business. It’s a tough life and that’s what you sign up for.”

Other than Brown and Elmendorf standing up and declaring that they had just had a change of heart and recognized the noble glories of President Bush, John McCain and the Republican Party, it’s hard to imagine that Hannity could have been any more satisfied with this crop of Democratic panelists.

Colmes moved on to address one of the Republican guests, Ari Fleischer. Colmes noted that the debate moderators took about 50 minutes before getting into substantive issues “like health care, Iraq, the economy and things that I would believe the American people are concerned about in terms of who should become the next president to deal with those issues. Isn’t this Ayers thing a diversion from that?”

Fleischer, of course, thought otherwise. He misleadingly opined that Obama’s “friends” define who he is.

It was Colmes, not either of the Democratic spokesmen, who corrected Fleischer. “They’re not really friends. They’re acquaintances,” Colmes said.

“Well, they serve on a board,” Fleischer responded.

“So what?” Colmes replied.

There was no comment from either Democratic strategist.

In Part 3, the conservatives continued their attacks on Obama with little to no resistance from the Democrats. Neither of the Democrats seemed to know or care that while Hannity railed about the significance of Obama’s associations, he has yet to convincingly explain his own suspect association with Neo-Nazi/white supremacist Hal Turner. Unlike Obama’s tenuous connection to Ayers, Hannity’s connection to Turner was prolonged and direct.

Neither Democratic guest objected when the other Republican guest, John Kasich, said he thought Obama would win the nomination because the Democratic establishment hates Hillary so much. “I think Democrats would rather lose than give it to Hillary Clinton.” (Kasich elaborated more on this point in Part 2, which is not included below)

Finally, Colmes said to Elmendorf, “As a Democrat, aren’t you preferring we actually focus on, what’s John McCain going to do about Iraq? What’s he going to do about the economy? What about McCain saying he never really understood the economy to the Wall Street Journal? What about the fact that he would probably, like, represent a third Bush term and Bush has a 28% approval rating? Isn’t that what Democrats ought to be talking about?”

“Yes,” said Elmendorf, though he never explained why he had not done so until now. Elmendorf added, “Either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton are going to beat John McCain and the reason they’re going to beat John McCain is all the things you just said, the war in Iraq, the fact that John McCain has nothing to say about the economy and it’s clear he doesn’t.”

Colmes asked for Brown’s response. Assuming Obama is the nominee, Colmes said, “What do Democrats do to surround him with the kind of support he needs?”

Brown answered, “You want to talk about your vision. But more importantly, we have to just stay on the fact that John McCain wants to run on Bush’s record. And if that’s what he is going to run on, this race is not going to be that close. Remember, the Bush administration took over an economy that was robust and we were at peace. Now we’re at war and in a recession. I don’t know why anyone would want to vote for Senator McCain.”

Now he tells us.