On James Carville

I learned yesterday that James Carville, the noted if controversial Democratic strategist with close ties to the Clintons, is the main political consultant to the Juan Manuel Santos campaign in Colombia. When I think of James Carville I think that somewhere a pond is missing its scum.

This isn't the first time that Mr. Carville has chosen to back dangerous right-wing candidates in Latin America over more progressive forces. In 2002, Mr. Carville went to Bolivia to support a notorious right winger Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and was instrumental in his win. The Sánchez de Lozada administration turned out to be a catastrophe in Bolivia and instead of a thoughtful centrist pragmatist like Manfred Reyes Villa winning the stage was set for the advent of left-wing populism four years hence.

I'm finished with the Democratic party. I will no longer support any Democrats for any office. The time has come to build a progressive movement outside the Democratic party. I cannot support a party whose membership includes people like James Carville whose ideology is frankly indistinguishable from neoliberalism and the reactionary right. From here on forward, I will advocate only for candidates outside the two mainstream parties. The task is arduous but the imperative of starting down this road is clear to me. To support the Democrats is to support a militaristic Empire, a noxious foreign policy and to defer social justice at home because too often we have to contend with the likes of neoliberals like James Carville, Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin, Blanche Lincoln, Jane Harman among so many others. In short run, this likely means handing over power to the GOP but in the long run, I honestly believe, that it will lead to a more fruitful environment for progressive politics.

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CNN: Bring Back Crossfire!


Mainstream news channel ratings come out, and normally there isn't a distressing situation afterwards.  This time, however, CNN faces a 40 percent drop in viewership since 2009.  Pretty large huh?  Say what you want about mainstream media news outlets, this isn't what this diary is about.

CNN has been in the bottom of the big 3 for awhile now.  Fox News Channel has been the leader for quite some time, and we are constantly reminded of this by Mr. Bill O'Reilly and other prominent noise-makers on that network.  MSNBC normally takes the second highest spot on the podium, however the difference in viewership between number 1 and number 2 is quite significant.  And then there is CNN.  Since the departure of Lou Dobbs, CNN has lacked any significant program along the lines of advocacy journalism

The lack of non-objectivity seems to be hurting CNN significantly.  Politico has noticed this (and this is where I pulled the stats for this btw) and has outlined a few tactics for Ted Turner's cable news creation to increase viewship.  One of these that I took notice to was advising CNN to bring back crossfire.

James Carville, Geraldine Ferraro, Pat Buchanan, and of course Tucker Carlson and his ridiculous bow ties. If anyone remembers Crossfire, chances are it's because of a Mr. John Stewart.  The youtube sensation of John Stewart ripping apart Tucker Carlson on air marked seemingly the end of Crossfire


Stewart had a point.  His claim of partisan-hackery was certainly an issue, but I personally found Crossfire to be entertaining nonetheless.  I think its important to have open debates live on air between pundits, but talking points consuming the show over real issues unfortunately plagued the show in its past.

In my opinion, there is no show (with the exception of Meet the Press and other sunday news shows) that really allows for open debate with a slew of different individuals on both sides of the political spectrum, at least in the 3 big mainstream outlets.  Keith Olbermann seems to never bring anyone on his show for a serious and intellectual debate, Rachel Maddow does but not very often.  Chris Matthews and Harball normally has a decent track record of open debate, but still lacks a lot of consistency in my opinion and viewership from more right-wing sources are less likely to watch MSNBC... because its MSNBC.

Fox, on the other hand, as well all know is obviously truly fair and balanced.  Its hard to properly emphasize sarcasm via typed words so bear with me.

Glenn Beck's biggest stride in bringing on bi-partisan debate was having the esteemed guest Eric Massa on to talk about snorkeling and fondling men.  Of course, this actually was a big stride for Beck.. sadly enough.  Bill O'Reilly can sometimes have a decent guest in which to "debate" but that normally involves O'Reilly yelling louder to prove a point, to the degree of nearly soiling himself.  And of course, there is Sean Hannity and his "Great American Panel."  You can guess who is on this "Great American Panel."  Normally the token Reagan worshipers to the equivalence of Liz Cheney's and Bill Kristol's. 

I love watching open and fair debate.  Not constructed partisan ploys done by the other "debate" shows.

If CNN could craft Crossfire to actually contain a Fair and Balanced debate show, yes thats making a mockery of fox news, then they could potentially increase viewership significantly.

At least, I know I would be watching it nightly. 

Luke Russert is my favorite journalist!

He's NBC's "youth correspondent", and will be co-hosting New Year's Eve from Times Square!

Luke is the son of the late Tim Russert and Vanity Fair's Maureen Orth.

Luke graduated from the tony, elite St. Albans School in Washington, D.C. in 2004.  While still in college, and totally on his own merits, and without the help of any family or friends, Luke co-hosted a sports talk program on XM radio with James Carville, and snagged a job with ESPN's Pardon the Interruption.  Obviously, Luke was the most gifted college journalist of his generation.  Otherwise, he never would have nabbed those jobs!

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Media Matters Gets Help from Clinton, Carville

Media Matters is one of the most important cogs in the progressive movement today, one without which progressives and Democrats would not likely have had the successes they have had in recent years. The pushback against misinformation, whether from conservatives or from lazy or ill-informed reporters, has done a great deal to ensure that all sides are heard in the public discourse, not just the most shrill on the right. It's for that reason that it's so good to see the organization receiving some big institutional support.

Democratic strategist James Carville, using Secretary of State nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton's e-mail list, sent out an e-mail Friday trying to recruit supporters and donations for Media Matters for America, the liberal media watchdog group.

With the subject line "It's happening again," Carville compares the scandal of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and his relationship to President-elect Obama to the scandals that followed the Clintons into office and proved a distraction througout both of President Clinton's terms.

Carville wrote that the Clintons "hadn't even unpacked their boxes before the right-wing noise machine started hyping phony scandals and inventing gossip."

"Too many in the media played a key role in spreading these smears, forgetting their responsibility as journalists and repeating fiction as fact," Carville wrote. "Now it's happening again. The same far-right fanatics and those in the media who disseminate their attacks far and wide are trying to derail the new Democratic administration before it's even gotten off the ground. They spread gossip and suggest scandal where there is none, all in the interest of generating controversy instead of communicating the facts."

Hillary Clinton has been a supporter of Media Matters from some time, and went so far as to tout her support for the organization while trying to court the netroots at the 2007 Yearly Kos convention. Using her immense email list to raise money for Media Matters -- in a way, I might add, that she might not be able to in the future as Secretary of State -- is an important continuation of this support, and will help sustain the organization so that it can help protect both the incoming Obama administration as well as the Democratic Congress from the type of multimillion dollar disinformation effort we are likely to see in the coming months and years.

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Carville says Obama will win

James Carville, one of Bill Clinton's top strategists in 1992, an election where Clinton was in third behind Perot and Bush for awhile, says that Obama will win the election.  

In an interview with Greg Sargent
http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsm emo.com/2008/05/carville_on_obama_i_thin k_he_w.php

Asked if he thought Obama would beat McCain, Carville said: "I think he will. I think Democrats will win in November...There's a crushing desire for change in this country. No one has seen a party or brand held in such low esteem" than the Republicans.

And what about those working class whites?  Well, for one thing, the composition of the electorate won't be the same as it was in 2004.

Asked about claims that Obama has a problem with non-college whites that could hamper his electability, Carville said that thanks to changes in the electorate, to win Obama merely has to match the performance of Kerry, who underperformed with that group.

"I would argue that if he gets what Kerry got he will still win the election, because the dynamics have changed," Carville said, pointing to likely larger turnout among young voters, African Americans and other demographic changes. Carville joked, however, that he'd be loath to see Obama fall below Kerry's performance.

Carville's analysis of the voting preferences of working class whites dovetails with another analysis of that bloc published today.

As Mark Mellman pointed out
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/29/opinio n/29mellman.html?_r=1&ref=opinion&am p;oref=slogin

Democrats running for president have been losing white, non-college-educated voters since before Mr. Obama was elected to the Illinois legislature. Al Gore and Mr. Kerry each failed to win a majority of this bloc in the general election. With these voters, the size of the losing margin is what matters.

Mr. Gore lost them by 17 percentage points while winning the national popular vote. Mr. Kerry lost them by 23 points and the country by fewer than two and a half points. The last Democrat to win white, non-college voters was Bill Clinton, who carried them by a single point in the three-way races in 1992 and 1996.

By comparison, Mr. Obama is only two percentage points behind John McCain among these voters in the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Another recent survey shows him down seven points.

In other words, Mr. Obama is faring better today with the white working class than did either Mr. Gore or Mr. Kerry.

And what about the argument that losing a state in the primary matters in November?  Mellman says

There is no relationship between how candidates perform among any particular group of voters in primaries and how they do with that segment in the general election. In 1992, Bill Clinton lost college-educated voters to Paul Tsongas in the early competitive primaries, but he went on to win that group in November by the largest margin any Democrat ever had. Similarly, John Kerry lost young voters in the competitive primaries in 2004 before going on to win them by a record margin in the general election.

Personally, I think that once Hillary Clinton endorses Obama, his numbers will go up.  And with Obama's phenomenal field operation, the turnout will be high among those who want to turn the page on the Bush administration and want to put a Democrat in the White House.

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