Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Pat Buchanan


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MSNBC has caused a stir by suspending Keith Olbermann indefinitely without pay for making political donations to Democratic candidates (lated amended to “without prior permission”). The Wall Street Journal reported that Nation editor Chris Hayes was also being punished for donations (these made before Hayes was even under NBC contract), but Hayes denied this. Joe Scarborough made similar donations, as has Pat Buchanan—but as with most such things, it’s okay if you’re a Republican.

It’s likely that the Comcast merger was a factor.

Late last year, Comcast — the nation’s largest cable provider and second largest Internet service provider — inked a deal taking over NBC Universal, the parent company of MSNBC. Comcast moved swiftly to reshuffle MSNBC’s top staff. On September 26th of this year, Comcast announced perhaps the most dramatic shift, replacing longtime MSNBC chief Jeff Zucker with Comcast executive Steve Burke. Burke has given generous amounts to both parties — providing cash to outgoing Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) as well as to Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and other top Republicans. But as Public Citizen has noted, Burke has deep ties to the Republican Party. Public Citizen’s report reveals that Burke served as a key fundraiser to President George Bush, and even served on Bush’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology:

Comcast – the country’s largest provider of cable TV and broadband Internet services – has increased its political giving along with its mergers and acquisitions. CEO Brian Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the 2000 Republican Convention. Comcast Cable President Stephen Burke has raised at least $200,000 for Bush’s re-election campaign. […] Comcast’s political giving has increased along with its mergers and acquisitions. The company was a “platinum sponsor” at the 2000 GOP convention, and Roberts was a co-chairman of the host committee at the Philadelphia event. Burke was appointed to the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology in 2002.

Why would Comcast be interested in silencing progressive voices? Historically, Comcast has boosted its profits by buying up various telecommunication and media content companies — instead of providing faster Internet or better services (overall, American broadband services are far slower than in many industrialized nations). Many of these mergers, as Public Citizen and Free Press have reported, have been allowed by regulators because of Comcast’s considerable political muscle. Comcast’s latest regulatory battle has been to oppose Net Neutrality — a rule allowing a free and open Internet — because the company would prefer to have customers pay for preferred online content.

More on that here. There’s also rampant speculation on Twitter and elsewhere that Comcast may be attempting to curry favor with the incoming GOP-run Commerce Committee, which still has to approve the NBC merger.

I don’t watch Olbermann, but I won’t watch Maddow clips online until he’s back.

Saturday Morning Links

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Saturday morning links!

* RIP, Walter Cronkite.

* Fox is apparently trying to screw the Futurama voice cast, though there are some hints that this may just be an ill-conceived publicity stunt. For what it’s worth Variety seems to think it’s legit. Why does Fox hate nerds?

* I think it would be great to have a Kindle, but Amazon keeps making it harder and harder for me to buy one. Yesterday they unpublished two books by George Orwell without warning, deleting the books from the Kindles of those who bought it.

* On teaching Infinite Jest.

* And Pat Buchanan, it must be said, is a terrible human being.

Last Words on Palin

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Last words for a while on Palin.

* Andrew Sullivan of all people has been absolutely brutal, all day, hitting just about every objection to Palin in order. He’s also pushing the gambling meme, which I’m convinced is the key frame through which to view this very reckless, lunatic choice.

* More gambling: Dan Gerstein, a former adviser to Sen. Joe Lieberman, in the New York Daily News:

“In picking an unknown, untested, half-a-term woman governor from Alaska to be his running mate, John McCain is following in a long line of reckless men who have rolled the dice for a beauty queen. Except in this case, McCain is taking one of the biggest, boldest gambles in modern American political history.”

Sometimes you have to roll the hard six?

* Sullivan and Ben Smith together point out the worst vetting lapse I’ve heard thus far, that Palin supported Pat Buchanan for president in 1996 and 1999. That’s mind-boggling. Was she vetted at all?

* Maybe not: as of Sunday, he’d still wanted Lieberman, and the final decision was only made last night.

* Ezra’s been good today too, particularly on the cable news coverage.

* Robert Elisburg’s verdict: The Worst Vice-Presidential Nominee in U.S. History.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 30, 2008 at 4:06 am

Palin 2

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I must confess, I find myself still pretty agog over the Palin choice. I’m hard-pressed to think of a more cynically short-sighted, purely news-cycle-motivated choice in presidential politics history, and given the events of the last eight years that’s saying a lot.

Consider: John McCain picked Sarah Palin in a desperate bid to win the half news cycle two days before the start of his own party’s convention. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt—except now the former mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, (population: 8,000, or about a third the size of my tiny suburban hometown) could be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Really, has there ever been a more deeply unserious choice in the history of the vice-presidency? It’s not as if they haven’t shown it before, but these people just don’t believe in governance, at all. It’s lunatic. It’s stunning. I am stunned.

I even, amazingly, find myself in agreement with Pat Buchanan:

Biggest political gamble I believe just about in American political history…that is not hyberbole. I can think of no choice of VP that approaches this.

Yes. But I think it’s a bad bet, the sort you make when you’re down $10,000 and trying to break even. The election isn’t this Tuesday, it’s 67 days away—even under the best of circumstances, with the best possible performance from Palin, I don’t see the choice being a net positive for McCain after two months of scrutiny. No way.

Hell, I’m not sure this will still look like a good idea on Monday.

Matt Yglesias is having fun with facts about Alaska, but it’s Kevin Drum who better speaks my shock over this:

Look, call me a partisan hack. Whatever. But I’m just stunned by the cynicism of the whole thing. I’m sure Palin is a fine person, loving mother, devoted wife, learning her way as governor, and so forth. But a heartbeat away from the presidency? Someone with virtually no serious political experience, and no serious experience of any other kind to make up for it? She’s going to shake up Washington?

I don’t know how she’ll do on the stump or in the debates. Maybe she’ll be great. Who knows? But a potential leader of the free world? You gotta be kidding.

Written by gerrycanavan

August 29, 2008 at 5:53 pm

Intelligent Discussion Is Occasionally Still Possible

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You don’t see it often, but intelligent discussion is occasionally still possible in this country. There’s even people managing to discuss the Rev. Wright kerfluffe intelligently, believe it or not—check out this clip from last night’s Bill Maher.

Written by gerrycanavan

March 29, 2008 at 4:31 pm