Monday, September 10, 2007

The Opinionator

September 10, 2007, 5:10 pm
Tell Us How You Really Feel
By Chris Suellentrop

Better red than Fred? “Now that Fred Thompson is officially in the race, it is appropriate to say that he is, on the face of it, by far the weakest potential president of the top tier Republicans,” National Review’s Richard Brookhiser writes at The Corner, the magazine’s staff blog. Brookhiser adds:

Fred Thompson came to the offices of National Review some years when he was still in the Senate. I liked him fine. He has done nothing, anywhere, ever. The Hubble Telescope could not find what he has done, because he has not done it.

It would be unwise to put such a man in the White House at this moment in history.


September 10, 2007, 2:30 pm
Is ‘Equal Time’ Obsolete?
By Chris Suellentrop
Tags: ,

The Wall Street Journal editorial page hopes that Fred Thompson’s presidential bid won’t mean an increase in the size of the royalty checks written to Steven Hill and Dianne Wiest, Thompson’s predecessors on “Law & Order” in the role of the district attorney. “Citing federal requirements that force television broadcasters to give all political candidates equal exposure, NBC has stopped airing reruns of “Law & Order” that feature Fred Thompson,” the Journal editorial notes. “But we were glad to learn that the cable channel TNT, which airs more than 20 “Law & Order” episodes each week, has no plans to follow suit.”

Equal-time regulations should be junked entirely [$], the editorial suggests. “The ostensible justification for equal time provisions is that, in a world of media scarcity, broadcasters need to provide a political platform for everyone on an equal basis, lest one candidate gain an unfair advantage through more exposure.” It continues:

This might have made sense when these rules were written by Congress in the 1930s, but it’s a hard policy to defend in today’s media-saturated world. The sheer volume of media outlets today not only renders these regulations obsolete but also makes fair enforcement all but impossible. Should the FCC ban Netflix and video stores from renting Mr. Thompson’s old films? Or how about monitoring YouTube to make sure the number of Barack Obama video downloads matches Hillary Clinton’s?

As long as the equal time rules live, so will the temptation to expand their scope to cable, satellite television, the Internet and who knows where else. Congress should give them a proper burial.


September 10, 2007, 10:00 am
Dowd’s Two Cents on Iraq
By Chris Suellentrop
Tags: ,

The chief strategist for President Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004 writes in The Huffington Post that the American public wants the United States to withdraw from Iraq and that “the best leaders are those who trust the will of the public, even if that means changing direction or admitting a mistake.” Matthew Dowd, who previously revealed his dissatisfaction with President Bush in an April interview with The New York Times, writes:

I share these thoughts as neither a Republican nor a Democrat. While I did serve as Chief Strategist for President Bush in the 2004 campaign, I now consider myself an independent and feel it is a good time to offer what I hope you will find is a measured, reflective and objective analysis of where Democrats and Independents and a large portion of Republican voters stand on the Iraq war today.

Dowd lists four statements that he believes sum up public opinion on the war in Iraq: 1) “In the public’s mind, the Iraq War was a mistake, and continuing the status quo is simply continuing on with a mistake”; 2) “The public does not see withdrawal from Iraq as a signal America doesn’t support the troops”; 3) “The public is waiting for leaders from both political parties to stand up to the president and say enough is enough. They would like this situation resolved — and soon — and there is no other solution acceptable to them other than bringing the troops home”; 4) “The war in Iraq is now seen exclusively as a foreign policy concern, and the American public no longer supports the initiative as part of national security. This is in stark contrast to the war’s beginning — at inception, the public perceived it as directly related to fighting terrorism, and thus it was seen as a domestic policy issue connected to homeland security.”

Dowd adds, “I hope this analysis helps bolster the leaders who are ready to stand up for the troops and for the vast majority of Americans in this country. Not only is truth on those leaders’ side, but politics is as well.”


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