Left, Right Sharpen Invective on Inaugural Day

Pandagon’s Ezra Klein responds to the new CBS/New York Times poll that delivered some less-than-stellar numbers for the president. A majority of Americans indicated that they disapprove of his handling of foreign policy, the economy, and Iraq, but they do approve of his job on terrorism. Klein writes, “Of all those, terrorism is the only one that occurs theoretically under-the-radar, meaning all Americans truly know of his leadership on terrorism is that 1) we haven’t been attacked again, and 2) he looks like he’s doing a good job on it. It’s also the only one that Bush scores well on. George Bush: ‘Kicking ass when nobody’s watching!’”

Tim Graham, writing over at The Corner, has it in for the usual suspects — CNN and CBS — for their coverage of Condeleezza Rice’s confirmation hearings and Bush’s inaugural. Graham expresses outrage at CNN’s Paula Zahn, who in his view “insultingly degraded Secretary of State nominee Condoleezza Rice” by asking Sen. Joseph Biden if Rice will be her own woman or a puppet in the second administration. Graham’s reaction: “As if there’s something wrong with the Secretary of State carrying out a president’s policies.”

As for CBS, Graham is all upset over a John Roberts report that posed the question, “What did Presidents Clinton, Reagan, Eisenhower, even Nixon, all have in common?” and answered it, “A higher approval rating on the eve of their second inauguration than President George W. Bush.” Graham reports, “As Roberts spoke, viewers saw a screen with pictures of all five presidents with their approval rating at the start of their second term listed below their photo.”

What!? The media reporting actual facts? No wonder Graham is apoplectic.

Meantime, JayReding at Redstate.org has uncovered the most powerful weapon available to the Iraqi insurgency — the Media Weapon. He explains, “The terrorist insurgency in Iraq understands Sun Tzu. They know that direct confrontation with the United States is suicide. … The enemy in Iraq understands that our weaknesses are not found in our military — it’s our media and the sense of self-doubt it fosters. This is the greatest weapon they have, and they’re using it effectively.”

On the opposite side of the ideological spectrum, James Wolcott has been called in for jury duty and, much like Senator McCain and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Bryer, he feels obligated to show up. However, Wolcott writes that he hopes he “won’t be stuck in the jury box and miss the president’s stirring inaugural address, in which he will ask Americans to pay any price and bear any burden to make this a better world for his campaign donors and their demon spawn. Afterwards, Chris Matthews will call the speech Kennedyesque in its cadences, Michael Bechloss will remind us that Andrew Jackson carried a wooden comb in his vest pocket during his inaugural address in 18 oh who the hell cares, and David Frum will be carried out on a stretcher, overcome with Vicks VapoRub. I just hope too many car bombs don’t go off in Iraq to mar the festive mood.”

Thomas Lang

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Thomas Lang was a writer at CJR Daily.