Pontificator: News and Commentary

Saturday, December 21, 2002 :::
Yes, "the Note" broke the Lott story.

Yes, Josh Marshall and Atrios were the first bloggers to arrive at the scene of the accident, blogging fiercely and frequently.

But that's not why the Lott affair became a total shit-storm.

When Instapundit and Sullivan jumped on board, followed by Kristol, Brooks and the rest, the story turned from "dog bites man" to "man bites dog," and the rest is history.

As evidence, look at what's happening with Ashcroft -- Josh Marshall and Atrios (and many, many others, including the Pontificator), have been aggressively exposing Ashcroft's history of race-baiting, including his links to Bob Jones and Southern Partisan.

However, not a peep from Insty and Sullivan, and, thus, not a peep from the mainstream media. The story is, alas, still "dog bites man."

So much for the "liberal media."

So here is a proposal. We're looking for a few good lefty bloggers, but double-agent, David Brock types. They will start blogging now, pretend they're right right-wingers, and attract an audience. Maybe even get a favorable mention in the Weekly Standard.

Then, about four months before the 2004 election, the mask will come off and they'll ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK!!!!!!!!

Then maybe we'll get the mainstream media to focus on Republican foibles for a change.

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:40 AM

Friday, December 20, 2002 :::
The infamous Bob Jones III of Bob Jones University is on Larry King tonight.

Perhaps this is a good time to contact Larry and tell him that, after the Lott affair, Mr. Jones is no longer welcome in civilized society

::: posted by Pontificator at 4:28 PM

Time to stop blogging about Trent Lott. Perhaps, if this happens, time to stop blogging period.

I assume Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Reynolds, etc., are going to protest this?

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:20 AM

Thursday, December 19, 2002 :::
Bill Clinton isn't the only one who gets it.

Jim Hoagland also nails it:

"Lott has committed the unpardonable Washington political sin: He has called attention to the obvious. Lott has unlocked the door to the attic that contains a family secret no one is ever supposed to acknowledge.

The priority for many of the Republicans calling for Lott's leadership scalp is to get that door locked again, and fast: Personalize this problem to Lott, and move him and the problem off front pages and television screens that had been all too content to rush past who Lott was and how he got here in the first place.

That's the Unspeakably Obvious in this case: The roots and electoral core of the highly successful post-1960 Republican Party lie in the South's country-club mix of soft racism and self-enrichment -- a mix that Lott now embodies too visibly for comfort. His varnish has come off in a thoughtless moment. He has become the Tin Man without an oil can."

::: posted by Pontificator at 6:50 PM

Assignment desk.

Get the videotape of GW Bush speaking before the Council for National Policy.

For those who have already forgotten Krugman's article:

"George W. Bush gave a closed-door speech to the council in 1999, after which the religious right in effect endorsed his candidacy. Accounts vary about what he promised, and the organization has refused to release the tape. But it's notable that he appointed John Ashcroft as attorney general; Mr. Ashcroft gives every appearance of placing his biblical worldview above secular concerns about due process."

Oh yeah, Don Nickles is a member of the Council. So is Tom DeLay.

Do we really want both majority leaders coming from this organization?

If you're having trouble answering this question, The Council for National Policy was first exposed by a watchdog group as follows:

"Great Barrington, Massachusetts — Clothed in secrecy since its founding in 1981, the Council for National Policy (CNP) is a virtual Who's Who of the Hard Right. Comprised of the Right's Washington operatives and politicians, its financiers, and its hard core religious arm, the CNP's membership list, until today, has been highly confidential.

Starting today, "The Council for National Policy Unofficial Information Page" went on the Internet through the web site of the Institute for First Amendment Studies (IFAS), publishers of Freedom Writer magazine. Freedom Writer publishes information on religious political extremists.

According to Freedom Writer publisher Skipp Porteous, "Hard core conservatives use the CNP's three-times-a-year secret meetings to plan strategy for implementing the radical right agenda. It is here that the organizers and activists meet with the financial backers who put up the money to carry out their agenda."

For example, televangelist Pat Robertson met Amway's Rich DeVos at the CNP. Then, this year, they launched a scheme for broadcasting the Republican National Convention on Pat Robertson's Family Channel.

Last September, the CNP sent a confidential memo to its members outlining how religious conservative freshman in Congress planned to stand up to Speaker Newt Gingrich and shut down the government to force implementation of the conservative's social agenda.

Because CNP rules state that "Council meetings are closed to the media and the general public," and "Our membership list is strictly confidential and should not be shared outside the Council," the mainstream press knows very little about the CNP. Through this site, and the Freedom Writer, the Institute for First Amendment Studies is, for the first time, revealing the activities and current membership of the Council for National Policy.

The IFAS home page lists the more than 500 CNP members both alphabetically and by state. In most cases, the member's affiliation or company is also listed. The web site also includes several articles about CNP from recent issues of Freedom Writer magazine. "New information is being added regularly," according to Porteous.

A private promotional video obtained by Freedom Writer reveals the purpose of the CNP as described by some of its members. "It isn't often in life that reality is better than the dream. That's the way it is with the Council for National Policy," according to the Rev. Tim LaHaye, CNP co-founder and the group's first president.

"The Council for National Policy allows people to know each other, and by knowing each other they can integrate one movement with another," said Judge Paul Pressler.

"I've often thought back that when we launched this organization with prayer and some very good men, and it really seemed like the Lord was with us that day in Dallas," remarked right-wing fund raiser, Richard Viguerie.

Amway head, Rich DeVos said, "I got inspired by the people who spoke here, who shared their stories, got thrilled by not just talking about being a conservative person, but by the number of people in this organization who are doing things to make the country a better place."

Christian Coalition founder Pat Robertson said, "If you want to be in the know about the real scoop, that you don't read about in the newspapers, this is the organization to be part of."

One of the group's few women members, Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum said, "I was a charter member of the Council for National Policy, and it is a great organization. It has all the best people in it."

"CNP is an organization which has been effective in developing links among people who ought to know one another, who are moving in the same direction. But who, but for the fact that these meetings occurred, would simply by ships passing in the night," according to Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus and The U.S. Taxpayers Party.

Former U.S. Attorney General and current CNP president, former, Ed Meese, said, "Council encourages it's members to be activists. And, that is not just to learn something about the issues, but do something about it. It is so important to get involved."

Other leaders, such as Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family, said, "There are very few organizations left that say 'yes, we believe.' And, we're out to implement that policy in every way we can. We need those people out there who are considering linking hands and arms with us in this battle.

Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed, who originally joined CNP through its Youth Council, said, "I think the Youth Council for National Policy has been a critical part...because what it has allowed us to do is to sit at the feet of our elders and to learn from them."

Former senatorial candidate, Oliver North, said, 'The kind of people that are involved in this organization reflect the best of what America really is.'"

::: posted by Pontificator at 1:43 AM

Wednesday, December 18, 2002 :::
Anybody ever consider that our unpopularity overseas has more to do with this than with this?

::: posted by Pontificator at 11:39 PM

The conventional wisdom is that the blogosphere is dominated by right-wingers.

It's a myth.

About six weeks ago this link by Pontificator was "instapundited." It got about 150 hits.

A couple of days ago, this link was "Atriosed" (Pontificator's term). We're at 650 hits and counting.

Pontificator reports, you decide.

::: posted by Pontificator at 1:57 PM

Tuesday, December 17, 2002 :::
Any anti-Lott right-winger not calling for Attorney General John Ashcroft to resign is acting hypocritically. As Senator Leahy pointed out during Ashcroft's confirmation hearings, The Missouri Malingerer (The Pontificator's term) has a record on race relations at least as troubling as Lott's. But why no outcry?

Could it be because taking on Ashcroft would be just a bit more harmful to the Bush/Rove machine then even the most supposedly principled (but secretly partisan) right-wing punditocrats can bear? When it comes right down to it, Trent Lott was expendable. The leading Republicans, many of whom never liked Lott much anyway (for reasons wholly unrelated to race), aren't really bothered much by tossing the junior Mississippi Senator over the side.

Ashcroft, however, hits much closer to home. Taking him down would be the first Bush debacle (O'Neill, Lindsey, and Pitt don't really cut it), and a potentially mortal wound to the Rovocop (Pontificator's new nickname for President Bush). While Republicans may think they're principled, the plain truth is that they tend to stop before reaching Regicide. (Unlike Democrats. . . Nader anyone?)

Let's see if I'm proven wrong by the likes of Bill Kristol, Andrew Sullivan, David Brooks, Glenn Reynolds, and whatever monkey pounds the keyboard at the National Review Online.

::: posted by Pontificator at 1:14 AM

Birds of a feather.

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:46 AM

Monday, December 16, 2002 :::
The Senate Republicans may be about to fight a Civil War.

Or, as Trent Lott would call it, a War of Nickles' Aggression.

::: posted by Pontificator at 12:48 AM


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