"Miers is Undoubtedly a Conservative," Declares NYT Reporter
Documenting and Exposing the Liberal Political Agenda of the New York Times.
By: ClayWaters

"Miers is Undoubtedly a Conservative," Declares NYT Reporter

Reporter Richard Stevenson's front-page "news analysis" of Bush's selection of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court (a pick greeted with grumbling from many conservatives) delivers Stevenson's thinking behind why Bush made the seemingly non-ideological pick:

"The White House is still struggling to recover from its faltering response to Hurricane Katrina. The Republican Party is busily trying to wave away a scent of second-term scandal. The relentlessly bloody insurgency in Iraq continues to weigh heavily on his presidency. And no president can retain his political authority for long if he loses his claim to the center. Looked at another way, the choice is much harder to explain. In selecting Ms. Miers, Mr. Bush stepped deeper into a political thicket that had already scratched up his well-tended image of competence, the criticism that he is prone to stocking the government with cronies rather than people selected solely for their qualifications."

A familiarbird again rises from the ashes: "On Monday, weakened and struggling to avoid premature lame duck status, the administration had to defend itself against suggestions from the right that it has not lost just its way but its nerve."

Then Stevenson dubiously insists: "Ms. Miers is undoubtedly a conservative. Mr. Bush has worked closely with her for more than a decade, and on Monday he made clear his belief that she meets the standard that he most frequently sets out for his judicial nominees, that they faithfully interpret the Constitution and not legislate from the bench. There is nothing in her background that suggests she would stray far from conservative doctrine in her thinking, and some indications, including her involvement in an evangelical church and a dispute about abortion she was involved in when she led the Texas Bar Association, that she is very much part of the social conservative movement."

Working with Bush and being involved in your local church makes one "undoubtedly a conservative"? It could well be true, but shouldn't the paper of record be a bit more rigorous in its fact-finding?

The paper's front-page profile of Mierscontradicts Stevenson's breezy certainty: "What she is not known for are her personal views on the hottest legal and political issues of the day. She has never been a judge and appears not to have written any legal articles espousing a point of view. Her friends and acquaintances say they are genuinely at a loss to describe with certainty her political, judicial or philosophical leanings."

To read the rest of Stevenson's analysis, click here.

Kirkpatrick, Bumiller OD on "Conservative" Label

"Conservative beat" reporter David Kirkpatrick's story on the Bush's nomination of Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court is titled "Conservatives Are Wary Over President's Selection" certainly isn't wary of overusing the term "conservative," employing it as a descriptive phrase an impressive 19 times in a 950-word story (not including the headline). By comparison, the conjunctions "and," "but" and "or" make a total of 16 appearances in non-quoted material.

Elisabeth Bumiller's Tuesday lead story on the Meier nomination is also stacked, with six references to political conservatives compared to zero liberals. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is simply a Democrat, but Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas is called a conservative.

To read the rest of Kirkpatrick, click here.

For more Bumiller, click here.

Hillary's "Conservative Leanings"

The huge Sunday magazine compendium on politics in New York City claims: "What do neoconservatism, liberalism and the gay rights movement have in common? They were all born here. In the policy salons and street protests of New York City."

Part of the ambitious series is "Mrs. Triangulation," a profile of Sen. Hillary Clinton from contributing writer Matt Bai, an article the cover describes as "Hillary's Centrist Crusade."

Apparently Bai has been taken in by Clinton's centering propaganda, as has the Times in general, whose coveragehas largely consisted of portraying the senator as a safe centrist while accusing those who call her liberal as guilty of "caricature."

While Clinton has perhaps not been the vociferous anti-war opponent of MoveOn.org fantasies, she's hardly been quiet about her loathing of the Bush administration, as when shecompared Bush to Mad Magazine's moronic cartoon mascot: "I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Neuman is in charge in Washington."

As in several stories byHillary-approving reporter RaymondHernandez, Bai on Sunday doesn�t identify Hillary as a liberal, instead claiming she's a centrist and even has "conservative leanings."

That spin is at odds with reality. The American Conservative Union gives Hillary Clinton a rating of9 out of a possible 100 points. Meanwhile, she garnered a 95% rating from the liberalAmericans for Democratic Action (it should be said that 17 of the 45 Democratic senators had perfect 100% records in the ADA's 2004 survey, based on their position on 20 significant votes).

"Clinton�wants nothing to do with ideological crusades, and she has thus far resisted the pull of rising antiestablishment forces -- bloggers, donors and activists -- who are fast becoming today's equivalent of the 60's left. Instead, Hillary (as she is universally known) has navigated with extreme caution through the party's fast-changing landscape, and if she has evolved as a public figure, it is in a way that has distanced her from the party's more liberal base."

Typically, Bai sees unfavorable views of a liberal Clinton as "caricatures," and expands the thought: "Hillary the war-protesting, Joni Mitchell-loving feminist has now been transformed into Hillary the calculating Lady Macbeth who will deliver any speech handed to her if it helps reclaim her husband's throne. Neither stereotype, in fact, is especially credible, and neither helps to resolve the puzzle of where Hillary Clinton actually wants to take her party -- beyond, perhaps, returning it to the White House."

In fact, Bai indicates she's a secret conservative in some respects: "The truth that emerges from talking to many of those who have worked closely with the Clintons is that Hillary's ideology is best understood through the prism of her upbringing. She was raised as a Republican and a devout Methodist in suburban Chicago, and these influences, particularly in the turbulence of the 60's, created two philosophical impulses that were commonly linked in that era. The first is an unshakable notion of right and wrong and an almost missionary zeal for imposing it on others, mainly through political action. The second is a strand of moral conservatism that borders on prudishness."

The centrist spinning churns on: "When I asked one of Hillary's closest policy advisers, Neera Tanden, why Hillary seemed more comfortable with the Pentagon brass than a lot of her colleagues are, she thought for a moment before replying. 'She's not authoritarian,' Tanden said, 'but she has a deep respect for authority.' In this sense, Clinton is very much a Southern Democrat like her husband (or, for that matter, an Eisenhower Republican like her father) and less of a social liberal than she is often portrayed."

"Among the Senate as a whole, according to National Journal's latest rankings, Clinton's voting record on foreign policy last year was more conservative than all but five current Democratic senators. Overall, she ranked among the dozen most conservative Democrats now in the Senate, although the bulk of her record is still comfortably within the parameters of party orthodoxy."

Before the election the Times cited National Journal's ranking of Sen. John Kerry as the most liberal senator. Yet at the time reporter ToddPurdum was dubious and suggested Kerry wasn't really that liberal: "Based on his roll call votes in 2003, The National Journal ranked him the most liberal member of the Senate. But his lifetime voting -- and speaking -- record is considerably more complicated than that ranking would suggest." Yet when the same magazine positions Hillary favorably toward the center, skepticism disappears.

More repositioning: "It would be na�ve to think that Clinton doesn't have a national campaign very much in mind as she stacks up one centrist credential after another."

And there are more citations of the "conservative" and "centrist" instincts of a woman who a first lady would have nationalized U.S. health care (a fact Bai fails to mention): "As first lady, it was Clinton's job to placate the party's base, even if that meant obscuring some of her more socially conservative instincts. Now, as a prospective candidate for president, she is operating in reverse, emphasizing the parts of her ideology that would not have served her in her former life."

The Times grooms Clinton for '08: "Assuming that Clinton is serious about a 2008 campaign, it's never too early to begin redefining her image in the minds of independent and conservative voters. And the thinking among her closest advisers holds that unlike other prospective candidates with conservative leanings, like Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana or Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, Clinton doesn't have to worry about winning over more liberal base voters; she's an icon of the left, and short of climbing into a tank and invading a country all by herself, she couldn't do much to change that. By this theory, Clinton gets to have it both ways: her consistent centrist record will convince general-election voters that she is not the archetype they thought she was, and Democratic-primary voters will forgive her more conservative positions because, in their minds, she is saying such things only to make herself 'electable.' It's a strategy so elegant that even Karl Rove would have to smile in appreciation."

For more of Bai on Hillary, click here.

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