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‘Thoughtful Discourse’? Pawlenty Says U.S. Tilts ‘Everyday, A Little Bit More’ Toward Tyranny

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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The shootings in Tucson last weekend happened to coincide with former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty’s (R) media tour to promote his new book. In various interviews, Pawlenty has discussed the role violent rhetoric played in Tucson and in politics. While the former governor said that the Tucson shooter is solely responsible for his actions, Pawlenty acknowledged that political rhetoric could be toned down. “I think we can all benefit from a more thoughtful discourse,” he said on Fox News. Pawlenty even criticized Sarah Palin’s now infamous crosshairs graphic. “It wouldn’t have been my style to put the crosshairs on there,” he said on ABC. “There’s a line there as it relates to, you know, basic civility, decency, respect and, and not trying to invoke violence.”

Last night on the Daily Show, host Jon Stewart picked up on this theme, telling Pawlenty, “It feels like to me, Barack Obama’s critics are reacting to him as if as though he is something this country hasn’t seen before,” he said, adding, “very prominent Republicans talking about, ‘This is a fundemental change in our society. A march to tyranny.’” Pawlenty confused the point, claiming that both sides engage in vitriolic rhetoric, but Stewart clarified:

STEWART: If the defense is, “They’ve got people who do it too.” That doesn’t appear to be much of a defense. And the other thing is, I don’t think you can conflate 18-year-olds who’ve written a lawyer’s name on their arm running around with bandanas with Newt Gingrich, with Rush Limbaugh, with the leaders of the Republican Party. I think that that is a cop-out that I don’t think is fair. And I’m not talking about their side did it, your side did it; what I’m asking you is, fundementally does the Republican Party believe we are as close to tyranny and socialism as the tone of their rhetoric would insinuate?

Shockingly, Pawlenty, who has been calling for civil discourse throughout the week, said that the U.S. is indeed creeping toward tyranny:

PAWLENTY: I think there’s a lot of us in the conservative movement who view government, whether it’s personalized to Barack Obama or anyone else, as government crowds into more space that used to be for individuals, that used to be for private markets, that used to be for charity, that used to be for entrepreneurial activity, that used to be for faith organizations and they push in and say, “We’ll do that now.” And they take over one more piece of what used to be reserved for, say, individuals?

There’s a lot of us who say, you know that feels kind of like government stepping on us, pushing us to the side, and there is a continuum between liberty and tyranny and it sometimes happens very incrementally so is it about throwing stones and taking over by force? Maybe just incrementally everyday a little bit more gets nudged out of the way and you got to at least acknowledge John it is a continuum and in my view, we’ve moved down the continuum.

Watch it, starting at 5:56:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive – Tim Pawlenty Extended Interview
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

ThinkProgress

Lebanon Update: President Suleiman Says Negotiations On New PM To Start Jan 17-18

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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The political crisis in Lebanon took a new turn as pro-Hezbollah President Michel Suleiman announced that Saad Hariri will function as a ‘caretaker’ prime minister until a new one can be appointed to take his place, with negotiations starting next week.

This means that Hariri is definitely out as soon as the various factions agree on a replacement…which means someone acceptable to Hezbollah who will disavow the results of UN tribunal on the assassination of Saad Hariri’s father, former PM Rafik Hariri in 2005.

The U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon is reportedly set to indict high-ranking Hezbollah operatives for the murder, as well as high ranking members of the Syrian government close to Syrian dictator Basher Assad.

Hezbollah had warned any such accusation would have ‘grave repercussions’ and had been pressuring the Western-backed Hariri to disavow the tribunal in advance.When he wouldn’t Hezbollah and their allies pulled their ministers out of the government, causing its collapse.

My sources tell me that certain political figures like Druse leader Walid Jumblatt will name Saad Hariri as their choice to continue as prime minister. If Hezbollah agrees, it’s a sure sign thatHariri has caved in to their demands.


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Quote of the Day: New Jersey’s Gov. Christie Says Palin Must Go Unscripted to be 2012 Contender (UPDATED)

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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Many writers here at TMV and elsewhere have noted how former Gov. Sarah Palin — now looking like she’s gearing up to run for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination — is sticking to a press strategy where she issues statements via Facebook, Twitter, does prepared videos and in all but a few instances avoids questions from the mainstream media or even the growing number of critics in her own party (her response a few weeks ago was to call some Republicans who are criticizing her “limp”).

Rather, she operates by issuing forth zingers and attack lines but is not showing herself to be able to handle unscripted moments — let alone a VARIETY of scripted moments. She also has repeatedly criticized Barack Obama for using a teleprompter and her in her latest Facebook video various journalists and bloggers noted she was using…a teleprompter. Now a prominent GOPer has come out and said that Palin doesn’t have a future as a 2012 contender if she doesn’t start doing some unscripted moments. New Jersey’s Gov. Chris Christie, who in one poll was the only Republican polled would could beat Barack Obama. Christie was quite blunt:

He argued that unscripted, even adversarial exchanges with reporters and the public are essential to judging a candidate, and that if Sarah Palin continues to avoid them, “she’ll never be president.”

At a lunch with New York Times journalists and the newspaper’s publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., Mr. Christie was asked about the Sarah Palin video, released earlier in the day, that had caused a stir. He said he had not yet seen it, but he doubted that it would shed much light on her character.

“I think people need to be judged by the way they conduct themselves in the public arena, in a way that is as minimally staged as possible,” he said. “That’s where you really get to know people.”

When it was noted that Ms. Palin has preferred communicating with the public in ways she can control, Mr. Christie said that “rightfully has been criticized.”

He described his town hall-style meetings – videos of which have made him a rising star among Republicans nationally – where attendance is not limited to supporters, and he routinely takes questions ranging from fawning to hostile. For presidential candidates, he said, moments like that are probably inevitable.

“You have to look at it and see, what are they like when they’re tested, what are they like when they’re not scripted, what are they like when they’re pushed,” he said. “And I would contend to you that if Governor Palin never does any of those things, she’ll never be president, because people in America won’t countenance that. They just won’t.”

Take bets now on whether he’ll be raked over the political coals by talk show hosts (Palins big reservoir of support comes from Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck) and whether he feels compelled to walk these comments back.

But what he says is likely true: American politics and media have indeed changed considerably over the years, but it still seems unlikely that someone who issues statements, Tweets, and puts up Facebook postings cannot go beyond the (narrow) constituency he/she already has.

On the other hand, Palin has shown a)no ability to be able to do that b)virtually no desire to do that.

Hey, wait: Can they hold an election for President of Facebook?

UPDATE: One prominent Democrat says he believes Palin has hit the end of her political ride:

Thursday’s papers have been filled with largely unfavorable contrasts for the former Alaska governor. And at least one Democratic member of Congress has decided to declare that the Palin trajectory is now firmly in downturn mode, her brand tarnished.

“I think that the president’s message is going to prevail,” Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) told the Bill Press Show on Thursday. “In fact I think Sarah Palin may be looking at the end of her political ride. I think she may be at the end of her ride right now. If Sarah Palin would have said ‘you know what, I probably have been responsible for overblown rhetoric and I’m going to watch myself,’ that would be different. But she is completely unrepentant. And the enormity of this tragedy, I think, put a very, very clear damper on her prospects. And her reaction even dampers her political ride more.”

UPDATE II: MSNBC’s First Read’s crack team of analyists’ take on how Palin now looks given her Facebook video of yesterday in comparison to Barack Obama after his speech last night:

** The Incredibly Shrinking Palin? The president’s speech made Palin’s response look very small by comparison. While Obama tried to uplift, Palin tried to settle scores. While the president called for more civility, the former Alaska governor talked about duels and “blood libel.” And while Obama’s message was, well, presidential, Palin’s was not. We’ll say this: If Palin has ambitions for the White House — and we’re still not sure she does — then her tone, message, and timing from her eight-minute video was a serious miscalculation. Is this what happens when you live in a bubble? Is this what happens when you don’t have advisers you trust that live outside her bubble? Palin’s speech struck as a natural response only if she spent the last three days reading every nasty email and Tweet she received, and didn’t extract herself from the story.


The Moderate Voice

Tim Pawlenty Says He Would Reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla points out that former governor and potential presidential contender Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has moved to the right of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, telling anti-gay radio host Bryan Fischer yesterday that he would support reinstating the ban:

FISCHER: One last question, got about forty five seconds left, put you on the hot seat one more time: we just saw the ban on homosexual service in the military repealed, overturned. Conservatives will be working over the next couple of years to see that that ban is reinstated. If you become president in 2012, will you work to reinstate the prohibition on open homosexual service in the military? Would you sign such a prohibition if it got to your desk?

PAWLENTY: Bryan, I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I would support reinstating it as well.

Watch it (starting 4:05):

Pawlenty’s position is surprising since even McCain — who led the Republican opposition to lifting the ban in the Senate — has said he would support implementation of repeal since it’s now the law of the land. “I think I have to do everything I can to make sure that the impact on the morale, retention, recruitment and battle effectiveness of the military is minimized as much as possible,” McCain said on Fox Business. “It is a law and I have to do whatever I can to help the men and women who are serving, particularly in combat, cope with this new situation. I will do everything I can to make it work.”

It’s also unclear how reinstating the policy would work operationally. Bringing back the policy would require gay servicemembers who come out after repeal is certified to suddenly go back into the closet or face discharge. Straight soldiers would also have to pretend they did not know about the sexual orientation of formerly-out gay members.

Cross-posted on The Wonk Room.

ThinkProgress

Gingrich Says South Carolina is the Key State

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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As Newt Gingrich prepares for another South Carolina visit, he told McClatchy Newspapers about “the state’s historic importance in backing GOP presidential nominees — and his interest in becoming a White House candidate.”

Said Gingrich: “South Carolina has picked the last five Republican presidential nominees. So it’s clear that along with Iowa and New Hampshire, it’s a key state in the presidential nominating process. There’s no question it will retain that importance in 2012.”

He’s says he’ll make his decision on whether to run for president by the end of next month.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Tim Pawlenty Says He Would Reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla points out that former governor and potential presidential contender Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has moved to the right of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, telling anti-gay radio host Bryan Fischer yesterday that he would support reinstating the ban:

FISCHER: One last question, got about forty five seconds left, put you on the hot seat one more time: we just saw the ban on homosexual service in the military repealed, overturned. Conservatives will be working over the next couple of years to see that that ban is reinstated. If you become president in 2012, will you work to reinstate the prohibition on open homosexual service in the military? Would you sign such a prohibition if it got to your desk?

PAWLENTY: Bryan, I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I would support reinstating it as well.

Watch it (starting 4:05):

Pawlenty’s position is surprising since even McCain — who led the Republican opposition to lifting the ban in the Senate — has said he would support implementation of repeal since it’s now the law of the land. “I think I have to do everything I can to make sure that the impact on the morale, retention, recruitment and battle effectiveness of the military is minimized as much as possible,” McCain said on Fox Business. “It is a law and I have to do whatever I can to help the men and women who are serving, particularly in combat, cope with this new situation. I will do everything I can to make it work.”

It’s also unclear how reinstating the policy would work operationally. Bringing back the policy would require gay servicemembers who come out after repeal is certified to suddenly go back into the closet or face discharge. Straight soldiers would also have to pretend they did not know about the sexual orientation of formerly-out gay members.

Wonk Room

Tim Pawlenty Says He Would Reinstate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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Right Wing Watch’s Kyle Mantyla points out that former governor and potential presidential contender Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has moved to the right of Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on his support for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, telling anti-gay radio host Bryan Fischer yesterday that he would support reinstating the ban:

FISCHER: One last question, got about forty five seconds left, put you on the hot seat one more time: we just saw the ban on homosexual service in the military repealed, overturned. Conservatives will be working over the next couple of years to see that that ban is reinstated. If you become president in 2012, will you work to reinstate the prohibition on open homosexual service in the military? Would you sign such a prohibition if it got to your desk?

PAWLENTY: Bryan, I have been a public and repeat supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. There’s a lot of reasons for that, but if you look at how the combat commanders and the combat units feel about it, the results of those kinds of surveys were different than the ones that were mostly reported in the newspaper and that is something I think we need to pay attention to. But I have been a public supporter of maintaining Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I would support reinstating it as well.

Watch it (starting 4:05):

Pawlenty’s position is surprising since even McCain — who led the Republican opposition to lifting the ban in the Senate — has said he would support implementation of repeal since it’s now the law of the land. “I think I have to do everything I can to make sure that the impact on the morale, retention, recruitment and battle effectiveness of the military is minimized as much as possible,” McCain said on Fox Business. “It is a law and I have to do whatever I can to help the men and women who are serving, particularly in combat, cope with this new situation. I will do everything I can to make it work.”

It’s also unclear how reinstating the policy would work operationally. Bringing back the policy would require gay servicemembers who come out after repeal is certified to suddenly go back into the closet or face discharge. Straight soldiers would also have to pretend they did not know about the sexual orientation of formerly-out gay members.

Wonk Room

Gohmert Says FBI ‘Stonewalled’ On Shooter Profile To Avoid ‘Embarrassing’ Obama’s Constituents

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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Yesterday morning, FBI representatives briefed House Republicans on the tragic shooting in Tucson. Unsatisfied with the level of detail provided by the FBI, the ever-hyperbolic Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) took the divisive fingerpointing to an absurd level. Believing the FBI was “stonewalling” him on its profile of gunman Jared Lee Loughner, Gohmert suggested the FBI was playing politics to avoid admitting Loughner’s “a liberal” and “embarrassing” President Obama’s liberal supporters:

“It may be if the things he was reading, that he’s a liberal, hates the flag, supports Marx, if those type of things turn out to be true, then it may be embarrassing to the current administration’s constituents, and heaven help us we wouldn’t want to embarrass the president’s constituents,” Gohmert said.[…]

“You could tell us a personality profile: what this guy believes in, what he doesn’t,” he said. “I’ve been part of a prosecution, I’ve been a prosecutor, I’ve been a judge. I know what they can do, and they’ve stonewalled on being specific.

Joining the company of fellow conspiracists Newt Gingrich, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Tucson Tea Party founder Trent Humphries, Gohmert is not only insisting that Loughner’s left-wing allegiance is a foregone conclusion but implying that the FBI is involved in “an elaborate partisan ruse, orchestrated by Democrats, the White House, and Justice Department” in order to cover it up. But should anyone like Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik express concern regarding his preferred right-wing hyperbole, Gohmert says he can just “tone down his rhetoric.” But at least Gohmert is consistent in his paranoia. Fearful “to walk home from the Capitol,” Gohmert is drafting a 535-person exception to Washington’s gun ban to “deter” people from “attacking members.”

ThinkProgress

New Hampshire Republican Leader Says Party Won’t Push For Marriage Repeal

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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After Republicans won control of the New Hampshire House and Senate with enough votes to override a veto by Democratic Gov. John Lynch, LGBT groups became concerned that conservatives may overturn the states’ same-sex marriage law, which was enacted in 2009. But yesterday, House Republican Leader D.J. Bettencourt confirmed to The Associated Press that “jobs and the economy will be the top priorities on an agenda” and said that “there’s widespread agreement that social issues will have to take a back seat.” The party is expected to introduce its priorities later today. The Advocate has more details:

“The social issues must take a backseat,” said Bettencourt.

Bettencourt did say an abortion issue will be on the agenda, but declined to elaborate. […]

Republicans declined to say whether they plan to delay a bill to repeal marriage equality until next year. Under the rules, committees cannot kill bills but can hold them for the first year of a two-year session.

“We hope press accounts are accurate that House Republicans have decided not to pursue a repeal of New Hampshire’s gay marriage law this year,” New Hampshire Freedom To Marry, the state-wide LGBT advocacy organization, said in a statement. “If so, we applaud the Republican leadership for listening to the people of New Hampshire.” An April 2009 poll by the Rockefeller Center at Dartmouth College found that 44.8 percent opposed same-sex marriage, while 40.8 percent supported it, but a more recent survey from 2010 put support for same-sex marriage at 55 percent in the state

Republicans have filed at least four anti-marriage bills, including two to “return the marriage law to exactly what it was four years ago.” The right-wing ‘Let New Hampshire Vote‘ group is also pushing for “a constitutional amendment to take up a vote on the law in 2012.”

Wonk Room

Aide Says Palin Death Threats on the Rise

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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An aide close to Sarah Palin says “death threats and security threats have increased to an unprecedented level since the shooting in Arizona, and the former Alaska governor’s team has been talking to security professionals,” ABC News reports.
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Christie says Palin needs to let loose

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 13-01-2011

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(CNN) – Sarah Palin is getting some unsolicited advice from another popular Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Christie, who has never expressed particular affection for the former Alaska governor, says Palin needs to engage with the media and voters in settings less staged than those she currently utilizes.

“You have to look at it and see, what are they like when they’re tested, what are they like when they’re not scripted, what are they like when they’re pushed,” Christie told the New York Times Wednesday. He added the former vice presidential nominee “rightfully has been criticized” for her refusal to go less scripted.

Christie – who’s no-nonsense and tough-guy governing style has won the hearts of many Republicans – has a communication strategy that differs markedly from that of Palin, often venturing into hostile territories and openly combating with critics.

“I would contend to you that if Governor Palin never does any of those things, she’ll never be president, because people in America won’t countenance that. They just won’t,” Christie added.

Christie’s comments came the same day Palin broke her silence on the Arizona shootings with an eight-minute video posted on her Facebook page that was criticized by Democrats and Republicans for its charged language.

During his 2009 campaign for governor, Christie said point blank he was not interested in having Palin campaign for him, telling reporters that an appearance by her in the traditionally blue state of New Jersey would not “do me, or frankly the state, a whole lot of good.”


CNN Political Ticker

Webb Says Obama Made Mistake on Health Care

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) told a town meeting the Obama administration “did a really terrible job handling health care reform” because the president relied on Congress to draft the plan, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

Said Webb: “You can’t turn something that complicated loose on the United States Congress. People got scared. People got mad…. We lost an enormous amount of time on health care… Both sides made bad mistakes.”

A Webb spokesman e-mailed Politico to clarify the senator “was bipartisan in his criticism, saying that Republicans decided to stall everything in the Senate.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Webb Says Obama Made Mistake on Health Care

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) told a town meeting the Obama administration “did a really terrible job handling health care reform” because the president relied on Congress to draft the plan, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

Said Webb: “You can’t turn something that complicated loose on the United States Congress. People got scared. People got mad…. We lost an enormous amount of time on health care… Both sides made bad mistakes.”

A Webb spokesman e-mailed Politico to clarify the senator “was bipartisan in his criticism, saying that Republicans decided to stall everything in the Senate.”
Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire

Financial adviser says he never lied to Fort Lauderdale officials

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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Fort Lauderdale’s financial adviser is defending himself against accusations that he lied to city commissioners during a recent refinancing of $ 27 million in bonds.

Frank Hall, who works for Fidelity Financial Services, said the questions are a politically motivated attack by City Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom. Hall is a longtime supporter of former Commissioner Carlton Moore, a political rival of Rodstrom’s husband – County Commissioner John Rodstrom.

“It’s a concerted effort to push me out of business opportunities,” Hall said. “No one can say with a straight face that I’ve done anything wrong or dishonest.”

City commissioners said last week that they want Hall to come to their next meeting and explain whether he deceived them. Charlotte Rodstrom has been pushing for an investigation, suggesting the city might want to take her concerns to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The fight began in mid-October when Hall arranged for BB&T to refinance two bond issues to save the city $ 3.5 million in interest costs. While the rest of the commission voted in favor of the deal, Rodstrom said the city should instead seek public bids from banks on who could offer the best rates.




Broward Politics

Roger Ailes Says He Told Fox News Anchors To “Tone It Down”

Posted by admin | Posted in The Capitol | Posted on 12-01-2011

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The man responsible for making Fox News the biggest cable news network in the country says he thinks everyone needs to calm down in the wake of the Arizona shootings:

Roger Ailes, the president of Fox News, on Monday embraced the idea of a more civil public discourse in the wake of the shootings in Arizona.

In an interview with the hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, which was posted on his Web site, Mr. Ailes said that his network would try to cool the heated rhetoric.

“I told all of our guys, shut up, tone it down, make your argument intellectually,” Mr. Ailes said. “You don’t have to do it with bombast. I hope the other side does that.”

We’ll see if it actually happens, or how long it lasts if does. After all, it was bombast that put Fox News Channel at the top.




Outside the Beltway