Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Rochester Turning finds this disturbing nugget on the 2008 Presidential race:Clearchannel just recently went up for auction. Mitt Romney's Bain Capital bought it along with Thomas H Lee Partners, but I'm not sure who owns them. The rumor on the Street was that there might be regulatory problems because the firms own positions in other media companies, but I'm not sure which ones. Article is here and Wikipedia for Bain Capital is here. To prepare for their 2008 runs, most potential candidates stock up on staff, a Leadership PAC, and support from party leaders, advocacy organizations, and grassroots groups. Mitt Romney buys a media empire. I can't argue with what will probably be an effective strategy, but I can fear for American Democracy. Maybe Romney did this in order to match Giuliani's defacto news organization, Bloomberg. Maybe he did it to try and counter Rupert Murdoch's hold over the Bush administration via Tony Snow.

For a long time, many progressives have dismissed much established media as corporate and pro-right wing. However, with the difference between rulers of vast media empires and Republican Presidential candidates quickly disappearing, hopefully that will be a problem that the entire country will start to notice as well. While it may not be possible with Bush in the White House, we have to end media consolidtion and reinstate the fairness doctrine ASAP. Rochester Turning describes just how bad the situation is in the Flower City (that's Rochester, for you non-Upstaters):One of the most distressing political topics of the day is the state of our media. Did you know that of the four major television channels here, one is owned by Sinclair (FOX 31 WUHF, which comes in as Channel 7 on cable) and another (ABC 13 WHAM) is owned by Clear Channel? Sinclair, you may recall, was set to run an anti-John Kerry documentary a few days before the 2004 election until a sponsor boycott forced them to do otherwise, while Clear Channel reportedly led campaigns against the Dixie Chicks following their comments about George Bush a few years ago. Clear Channel also owns seven local radio stations I am sure that cities around the country are facing similar problems--posibly even worse. News Corps, Sinclair, Clear Channel, Bloomberg--tough times ahead for the So Called Liberal Media.

Federal Investigators Start Looking at Romney

Despite the theory by many pundits that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney can successfully position himself as the more party-line conservative alternative to John McCain in 2008, I have generally been skeptical that the Republican Party, which, if my research is correct, has never nominated for president someone outside of a Protestant faith, will change course at this juncture. But leaving that aside, Romney is polling at 15 percent in New Hampshire, according to the latest polling, and remains at least a credible candidate. For that reason, Casey Ross' article in the conservative Boston Herald this weekend should cause real concern for the Massachusetts Governor.

Federal officials are probing scathing allegations that the Romney administration falsely claimed to conduct safety inspections in the Big Dig tunnel that collapsed and killed a woman in July.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is zeroing in on state financial documents from 2005 - cited in a new report by state Inspector General Gregory Sullivan - indicating that Gov. Mitt Romney was reviewing the safety of the Big Dig, when in fact the administration was only checking leaks in the Interstate 93 tunnel.

"Despite repeated assurances to bondholders, (MassHighway and Romney's Executive Office of Transportation) . . . did not inspect the I-90 connector tunnel section where the July 10, 2006, collapse occurred," Sullivan's report states. "It is clear that casual disregard for the truth was grossly inappropriate."

The federal probe threatens to undercut Romney's efforts to portray himself as a white knight for taxpayers on the problem-plagued $15 billion project as he lays the groundwork for a presidential run.

There is more than enough time before the primary season really heats up for Romney to exonerate himself, should he deserve to do so. However, if there was malfeasance under his watch -- even if he is not directly implicated in it -- it's difficult for me to forsee him being able to shake this story. If the lack of oversight led to a fatal crash in the tunnel, it won't matter if Romney covered up or not because the responsibility for ensuring the safety of the tunnel ultimately lies on the Governor as the head of state. And after eight years of this current administration, it's fairly safe to say that the American people are going to prefer politicians who demand accountability rather than shirk responsibility.

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Reminiscing About the Future: Chuck Hagel vs. Hillary Clinton

The diary below was originally posted earlier today in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Richard Nixon manipulated Americans into believing he had an honorable exit strategy from Vietnam. Ronald Reagan successfully convinced voters he championed a Norman Rockwell society that valued hard work and neighborhood generosity. In 1988, oilman George Herbert Walker Bush won in part as the "environmentalist" candidate. Twelve years later his son stole the presidency after campaigning as a "plain spoken" truth telling man of the people with a "humble" foreign policy.

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1960 Redux

Mitt Romney continues to gain traction as a presidential candidate 1in some quarters as people (justifiably) find something less than satisfaction with the options to be had at the top of the GOP barrel.

But there remain concerns about his electability and the Mormon factor - will the nation elect a Mormon, or even take one seriously as a candidate in the long run?  How is it that 46 years post JFK, we still face questions of "Can a (insert denomination of choice) govern a diverse nation?

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The X-Factor: Will there be an Independent candidate in 2008?

Al Rodgers diary "Sunday Talk: MUTINY!!" on the front page of DailyKos had one thing in it that did not make me feel too good about our future prospects. That is the LATimes/Bloomberg poll asking if the 2004 election would be held today, who would you vote for with people responding 49% Kerry and 39% Bush. If I'm not mistaken there were polls in 2004 that had better numbers for Kerry (if not for Bush). In such a poll Kerry should definitely be above 50%. That he's not worries me deeply and just goes to show how divided this country really is. It certainly doesn't bode well for any of our candidates in 2008.


So, here comes the X-Factor: Will there be an Independent candidate in 2008? I believe this to be an important question. Whoever he or she is, an independent run could either be a spoiler for Democrats or Republicans, maybe for both. I can already see the mainstream media touting such a candidate saying that if anyone could unite the country it would be an independent President.

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Diaries

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