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Democrat-bashfest on The Big Story

Reported by Chrish - January 12, 2006

Most of the Big Story hour today 1/11/06 was live coverage of the Senate confirmation hearings on nominee Sam Alito, but during a twenty minute break host John Gibson had on Republicans Ed Gillespie and Newt Gingrich, Alito friend Judge Andrew Napolitano, and conservative columnist Katie O'Beirne. It was twenty minutes of Dem-bashing and hyperbole. Democrat Charles Schumer made an appearance at the end of the hour but was cut off as the program changed to Brit Hume's Special Report.

The vitriol and indignation against the questioning Senators was a spectacle in itself. The "analysis" was focused almost entirely on the perceived "attacks" on Alito and offered no substance of the questions or answers. Here are some but not all of the phrases and terms used to describe the Democrats' and the questioning of Alito:

"Impartial host" John Gibson: (To Gillespie) Democrats more frisky in questioning today, but have they scored any points on him? Why do Democrats keep harping on (CAP)? (To Gingrich) What do you think of harping on abortion and CAP?

Advisor to Alito and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie, on Alito: brilliant legal mind...huge asset to SC...incredibly fair and open-minded...balanced...can't be touched on mastery of law, so opponents raising tangential, silly issues...most experienced in 70 years...one of most solid jurists ever...

Advisor to Alito and former RNC Chair Ed Gillespie, onDemocrats: want to defeat because of "outside groups that drive agenda and fund campaigns" (um. I think he means we voters)...abhorrent...worst kind of demagoguery...

Long-time Alito friend Judge Andrew Napolitano: Kennedy allegations born of political necessity and not grounded in truth...

Former House Speaker Republican Newt Gingrich: bitter ideological frenzy...(most Americans think is) inappropriate...spirit of Joe McCarthy alive and well in Democratic Senate Caucus (see seperate post)...liberal Democrats smearing Alito...one-sided standard...Schumer litmus test...hard-left liberal...arrogance...trying to humiliate...nastiness...losing hand...husband defamed, good name drug through mud...agony...painful, humiliating...human sacrifice by television,,,uncalled for...will not work.

Gingrich characterized the two sides of the so-called abortion issue as "pro-abortion" and "pro-life", which drives pro-choice supporters nuts and makes the anti-choice gang - Bush's base and presumably FOX viewers - feel righteously smug.

Conservative columnist Kate O'Beirne: disgraceful...attacks...uncivil...unjust...gauntlet of character assassination...
throwing anything they can think of...

Gibson also provided Napolitano with an opportunity to defend CAP: Concerned (sic) Alumni of Princeton got beat around the head and shoulders today; was it an anti-integration, anti-feminist group? Napolitano replied absolutely not, it was a traditional, conservative, mainstream organization whose purpose was to give conservatives a voice in a very very liberal university administration, etc etc.

Additionally, much was made of Mrs. Alito leaving the hearing room in tears, apparently overcome with emotion as Republican Senator Lindsey Graham lauded her husband and took it upon himself to "apologize" for the behavior of his colleagues. Napolitano called the apology touching, poignant and direct. Gibson was indignant, saying the Senators! US Senators were trying to make Alito out to be a member of the Klan! in this CAP group of yours, Judge. Napolitano was indignant too, and said the Senators cannot attack Alito's record so they tried to make him out to be a closet racist, like he had a Klan outfit in the closet of his house. "He doesn't." "He had no involvement with that organization, and if he had, I think he would have been proud of this traditional mainstream conservative organization."

Comment: That's twice Napolitano has used that exact same phrasing, which is rehearsed to my ears. Someone less devoted to the nominee could easily be skeptical of the contradiction here...Alito denies memory of membership, yet listed membership on a job application. It's a bit of a mystery and a puzzle, and it is not unreasonable for Senators to try to figure out the contradiction.

Senator Schumer did appear in the final two minutes, as the hearings were reconvening, and said the Alitos seemed a nice family with background similar to his own, and the questions being asked have to be asked, reminding viewers it's a lifetime appointment to a powerful position, and he has an obligation to answer.

Gibson asked Schumer if he felt it was appropriate to ask if he (Alito) was racist or anti-feminist, and Schumer replied that as Alito was a member of a group with such leanings he felt it an obligation to ask. When Gibson said that he was being asked repeatedly, wasn't his response satisfactory? Schumer said no; Alito has said he doesn't recall much about the group yet it was one of only two memberships he listed on an application during the Reagan administration. The organization is widely repudiated to be racist; not asking about it would be outrageous. He suggested putting the shoe on the other foot: if a nominee was a member of a group that advocated abolishing all guns, wouldn't Republicans be asking questions about the candidate's membership? Gibson sys that if Alito keeps claiming to not remember, yet senators continue to press the issue, all it seems to do is underscore that he has some kind of connection to a group with some kind of nefarious ideals. Schumer bluntly said that Alito has a terrific memory, rcalling details from twenty and thirty years ago, and sometimes when people say they don't remember it's because they honestly don't, and sometimes it's because there's something they don't want people to know, and it's an obligation of the committee to find out. This is a lifetime appointment...

Cue music, time's up.
Comment: I don't know what the four earlier guests expect from these hearings but the indignation and high defensivenes makes me think they doth protest too much.

As for FOX, well, ha. Fair and balanced? Their agenda is clear as a bell - promote Alito, smear anyone who questions his qualifications, and smear the questions too just for insurance.

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