Hard Andy Card; Simon vs. Supermarket Scanners; "Bastard" Bush?
1. Newsweek previewed incoming Bush chief of staff Andy Card as "hard as Texas dirt," a man never reluctant to fire people, even at McDonald’s.
2. U.S. News scribe Roger Simon recounted Gore’s bizarre televised claim that supermarket scanners require hand-written corrections. He added that with that "compelling" anecdote, Gore’s TV abilities are now considered "one of his greatest strengths."
3. Some minorities are apparently more equal than others. Newsweek featured an op-ed by black Rep. John Lewis comparing Bush’s lawyers to the violent police assault at Selma, while Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball fussed over the power Cubans may have wielded in Miami-Dade.
4. Newsweek left-wing legend Jonathan Alter continued his campaign to get Gore elected, employing all the DNC spin lines and adding that the new President will be seen as a "bastard."
5. Time’s Jack E. White threatened to exceed Alter in vitriol, suggesting Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are Uncle Toms. John Cloud found vituperative haters at the Supreme Court.
News magazine covers hedged bets again this week, basing their editorial decisions on Friday’s Supreme Court oral arguments. Time featured "The Supreme Showdown", and U.S. News & World Report had "Decision Time." Only Newsweek focused on "Gore’s Last Stand." In another sign of liberal media derision at the oh-so-biased Fox News Channel, comedic Time interviewer Joel Stein asked Bill O’Reilly: "Does Fox News get money directly from the G.O.P. or does it have launder it first for the sake of the FCC?"
Newsweek previewed incoming Bush chief of staff Andy Card as "hard as Texas dirt," a man never reluctant to fire people, even at McDonald’s. Matt Bai and Martha Brant still nursed wounds against heroic Michael Dukakis: "He isn’t into baseball or fishing, Bush’s chief passions. But Card has a few traits that W values above all else: an abiding loyalty to Bush’s father and the ability to get tough jobs done discreetly. It was Card who helped the Old Man savage Michael Dukakis in 1988, who soothed all the egos in the Bush White House and who scripted this year’s feel-good GOP convention. And he can be as hard as Texas dirt. As a close friend tells it, Card was managing a McDonald’s during his college years at the University of South Carolina when he realized someone was stealing money. None of his employees would admit to the crime. He fired them all."
Later, Bai and Brant return to their sore point: "During the 1988 campaign, Card was the one who urged the Bush campaign to go after its opponent, Dukakis, on the pollution in Boston Harbor -- a blow that badly damaged Dukakis on his own turf. Card is mild, but not weak. As Bush’s deputy chief of staff (and later Transportation secretary), it fell to Card -- and not his snarling boss, John Sununu -- to fire most of Reagan’s appointees. He did it with customary steeliness, confiscating their pass cards on the spot."
U.S. News scribe Roger Simon recounted Al Gore’s bizarre televised claim that supermarket scanners require hand-written corrections. "So over and over again on TV Gore used a folksy anecdote to make sure his position was not only understandable but compelling: ‘You know, if you go through a supermarket checkout line...and you put all your items through the scanner, every once in a while the clerk stops and says, 'The scanner–the computer's not picking this one up.' They don't just set that aside and refuse to let you have it or give it to you for free. They write down the amount by hand. And that's because computers make mistakes.'"
Simon added: "There was a certain irony to the TV blitz: Gore's ability to perform in public was once considered one of his greatest weaknesses, but now, after more than a year of campaigning, he and his aides consider it one of his greatest strengths."
Some minorities are apparently more equal than others. Newsweek featured an op-ed by black Rep. John Lewis comparing Bush’s lawyers to the violent police assault at Selma, while Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball fussed over the power Cubans may have wielded in Miami-Dade.
The magazine wheeled out Lewis to recall his beating on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and then proclaim: "It will make a mockery of the memory of the martyrs if all of the people’s votes are not counted...If George W. Bush makes it to the White House, there will be a new rallying cry in many parts of America: never, ever again. We must learn how to vote, and have those votes counted. If there’s a perception that this is not a legitimate presidency, the political climate will not be orderly and peaceful. I’m not making a threat; I just think it’s so. There will be tension. In minority circles a Bush win is going to instill a feeling that people have to organize better and become politically sophisticated. We’ve overcome more dangerous obstacles than clever Republican lawyers. And be assured we will overcome again."
But that’s followed by reporters Evan Thomas and Mark Hosenball’s piece, titled: "Cubans at the Wheel. Intrigue in Miami-Dade: Did the county’s most volatile political faction work to intimidate vote counters – and devastate Gore?"
Thomas and Hosenball apparently spent the week trying to find a Cuban conspiracy to unseat President Gore (right down to investigating Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas’s cell-phone records). They complained: "The local election officials have steadfastly denied that they were intimidated by the Republicans’ alleged 'rent-a-mob.' But the real pressure may have been more subtle: the fear of alienating Miami’s volatile and highly political Cuban-American community." Thomas and Hosenball added that two of the three members of the Miami-Dade canvassing board hired Cuban activist Armando Gutierrez as a consultant. They further betrayed their bias with this late sentence: "There will be surely be some long days in the Florida courtrooms as the Democrats try to rush to justice and the Republicans seek to delay it." Justice is Gore winning, in Newsweek lingo.
Newsweek left-wing legend Jonathan Alter continued his campaign to get Gore elected, employing all the DNC spin lines and adding that the new President will be seen as a "bastard."
First, there’s the fantasy that Bush really won, and liberal recounters will prove it after the election: "If Bush is elected and it’s proved on a hand count that Gore actually carried Florida (not to mention the popular vote), what will the country say? ‘Ooops’ isn’t going to cut it."
Second, he found that black activists don’t have to be accurate, just outraged: "Jesse Jackson’s outrage isn’t enough to change this election, but it will almost certainly change the next one. While he can’t prove his charge that Republican engaged in ‘a voter-suppression scheme on a wide scale,’ he can make plenty of headway in registering the 9 million blacks who are eligible to vote but still unregistered."
Third, he promised Bush would continue to suffer in black opinion: "Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Cheney’s calls for ‘diversity’ in the cabinet (which must make Lynne Cheney, high priestess of the anti-political-correctness crowd, bust a gut) are not likely to pay big political dividends. For all the warm and fuzzy talk of inclusion last summer, Bush ended up doing worse among blacks, Hispanics and even Asian-Americans than anyone expected. And that was before all the recent unpleasantness."
Fourth, it’s too bad felons can’t vote, thanks to racist policies. "If Florida had not been among those few states that bar anyone with a felony conviction from voting, Gore would have won comfortably. (The GOP is angry that 445 such felons apparently voted anyway, mostly for Gore.) It’s not hard to imagine other Republican-controlled state legislatures moving aggressively to disenfranchise ex-cons; felons don’t exactly have a powerful lobby. This will likely ripen as an issue soon, with Bush (convicted of a misdemeanor DUI charge, not a felony) caught in the middle of old-fashioned race politics."
Fifth, Alter seems to know Bush won: "However agreeable and successful he turns out to be, the new president is doomed to be seen by many Americans as a bastard."
Time’s Jack E. White threatened to exceed Alter in vitriol, suggesting Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice are Uncle Toms:
"The word from Austin is that if George W. Bush becomes our next president, he would like to appoint three blacks to high-level positions -- Colin Powell as Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice as National Security Adviser and a third person yet to be named. Powell and Rice would be serving in government posts more important than those held by any other African American -- even in the Administration of a certain Democrat who bragged that he wanted his Cabinet to "look like America." That's a huge irony, considering that 92% of blacks slapped aside Bush's claim to be a different kind of Republican and voted against him...But the strategy won't work if W. follows the cynical example set by his dad and Ronald Reagan. Their approach to racial diversity was to appoint token blacks like Clarence Thomas, whose main credential was being conservative. Many blacks wrote off Thomas and his ilk as turncoats. Nor would it matter how many blacks Bush appointed if they, like Thomas, espouse policies that most African Americans abhor."
White floated liberal blacks as potential appointees (suggesting former Rep. Bill Gray, who’s not interested), and concluded that only liberals are really black: "The big question is whether Bush would be wise enough to add independent-minded blacks of that caliber to his inner circle or would he succumb to the old Republican habit of stacking his government with second raters and Uncle Toms."
Finally, while all the news magazine writers seemed excited to hear the historic arguments before the Supreme Court, Time’s John Cloud couldn’t help but smell conservative rats in the audience, since "warring parties had to cram together in the 400-seat hall....Senator Ted Kennedy sat uncomfortably next to Barbara Olson, wife of Bush lawyer Ted Olson and author of Hell to Pay, a vituperative book about Kennedy’s new colleague Hillary Rodham Clinton. Warren Christopher was there, and so was Clinton hater Bob Barr."
That may seem catty, but it’s the best book plug Mrs. Olson is likely to get from Time.
– Tim Graham
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