A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away, Howard Fineman may have been a fine reporter. But for the last 15-20 years, he has been one of the worst GOP suck-ups in the American corporate media.

Fineman specializes in the loathesome art of being a beltway insider who talks about the conventional wisdom of beltway insiders as though it were reflective of the country as a whole.

Consider the following exchange:

CHRIS MATTHEWS (5/30/05): Let’s take a look at where the country stands on this. We’ve got a CBS poll at hand: 58 percent support medical research using embryonic stem cell research. 31 percent oppose it. If you just look at Republicans, half the Republicans polled—50 percent—support stem cell research. 39 percent oppose it. Howard, what’s that say?

HOWARD FINEMAN: It tells you that the president’s in a dangerous position and if the Democrats want to demagogue it, they’re going to be able to.

So sophisticated, so detached. But, in reality, it’s just another way of saying that the Democrats, whose position reflects the opinion of the majority of the American people, and a plurality of the GOP, cannot fight for that position without resorting to rank partisanship.

I hate Fineman, so his latest article is a refreshing surprise. He still resorts to his condescending and cynical analysis, but he absolutely eviscerates Bush while doing so. This indicates that the worm has turned.

Let’s start with the headline:

President doesn’t waver on Iraq
Bush’s implicit message to GOP: Stay course, call Democrats appeasers

Sounds like something I would write. What’s going on? Here’s how he summed up the President’s speech:

As he rallied his own corps, he seemed to imply that anyone who questioned the course he had set was exhibiting traitorous weakness.

We’ve been saying this for three years. Fineman spent those three years running interference for Bush on Imus and Hardball. Now, he’s turned his guns in the other direction. Check this out:

Every time I think the president has exhausted the possibilities of stark rhetoric, I am wrong: Like a preacher with Bible in hand, he keeps coming up with knew formulations of the struggle between good and evil. Strategically, we’re in a giant global game of Texas Hold ‘Em, and Bush, despite a hand that doesn’t look that strong, keeps shoving more chips into the pot.

Or this:

The American people have concluded that we were sold a bill of goods on the original rationale for the war: The weapons of mass destruction Saddam Hussein was about to loose on the world. Turns out, he didn’t have any. Now we need to “complete the mission” there because Iraq will be a failed state if we don’t.

On the surface, this is an easy argument to make fun of. If Iraq risks becoming a failed state, critics say, it’s because we blew it to smithereens in the process of removing Saddam & Co. Our justification for staying now is that we went there to begin with.

And if you think that is bad, check this out:

…the president needs to be careful. In a war fought for and in the name of freedom, he doesn’t want to mimic, however inadvertently and superficially, the theatrical style of the tyrant we went to war to dethrone…

We have to remake the Middle East, not turn into it.

Ouch!! He just compared Bush to Saddam, and accused Bush of turning American into the Middle East. What’s gotten into Fineman?

To be sure, Fineman is careful to say:

“And what alternative are the Democrats really proposing? What would they have us do? Even the Germans don’t want us to leave Iraq, though they won’t pay much to help us stay. Does anyone think that announcing a timetable for withdrawal really is a good idea? Is Osama bin Laden going to see that as a peace gesture? Are the suicide bombers likely to stop strapping on their vests?

I’m struggling to answer these questions. It’s too easy to see in withdrawal some panacea that will solve all the problems the invasion has caused. But it’s very significant that a GOP hack like Fineman has come out so harshly against the President’s speech. The implications of the speech were highly partisan and offensive. And Fineman was offended.

0 0 votes
Article Rating