Tuesday, September 06, 2016

What's Rove Got To Do With?

From USA Today, September 9, 2003:
Poll: 70% believe Saddam, 9-11 link

WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists' strike against this country.

Sixty-nine percent in a Washington Post poll published Saturday said they believe it is likely the Iraqi leader was personally involved in the attacks carried out by al-Qaeda. A majority of Democrats, Republicans and independents believe it's likely Saddam was involved.

The belief in the connection persists even though there has been no proof of a link between the two.

President Bush and members of his administration suggested a link between the two in the months before the war in Iraq. Claims of possible links have never been proven, however.

Veteran pollsters say the persistent belief of a link between the attacks and Saddam could help explain why public support for the decision to go to war in Iraq has been so resilient despite problems establishing a peaceful country...
In case you're too young to remember, 70% of the American public did not arrive at the opinion that Saddam Hussein was "personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks" in a vacuum.  They reached that conclusion because they were systematically lied to by the Bush Administration, and their flunkies in the mainstream media every single day.  With the federal government at their command and virtually the entire Beltway media in their pocket, the Bushies and their stooges performed their dirty work very efficiently:  just ask anyone who had to bear the brunt of being called dupes and traitors by the war's well-respected media stooges and cheerleaders, all of whom are still gainfully employed and well-respected for no explicable reason.

In fact, their tidal wave of treasonous bullshit that the Bushies and their media stooges unleashed was so mighty that, ten years later and despite being slapped in the face every day with overwhelming evidence that they had been lied to, the good people at PIPA found:
Despite the various commissions that concluded that Iraq was not providing support to Al Qaeda and did not have a WMD program, a “large and undiminishing minority of Americans continues to believe these were both the case.” Among those surveyed:

– 38% believe that the US has found clear evidence in Iraq that Saddam Hussein was working closely with Al Qaeda.
– 31% believe that Iraq gave substantial support to Al Qaeda but was not involved with the September attacks while an additional 15% believe that Iraq was directly involved in carrying out the September 11 attacks.
– 26% believe that Iraq had WMDs just before the Iraq War.
– 16% believe that WMDs were found in Iraq.

Additionally, among those polled, the beliefs that Iraq was connected with the 9/11 attack and that Iraq had WMDs immediately prior to the Iraq War were highly correlated with support for the Iraq War.
PIPA calls them a "large and undiminishing minority".  You and I know them as the Republican party base -- the meatheads who checked out of reality 20 years ago, booked a forever-suite at the Fox News Hotel, and are never, ever coming back.

So why bring this up now?

Because we here in the land of the free have some very recent and terrifying experience with how radically public opinion can be warped when you start with a base of, say, 30% of the public who are already brain-dead, believe-anything-Hannity-says, Conservative meat-puppets, and then you pile on top of that a Beltway media deeply committed to pounding Conservative talking points home day after day after day, regardless of how nonexistent the underlying facts may be.

And so when you read --
Poll: Clinton just as unpopular as Trump with voters

Hillary Clinton is now just as unpopular as Donald Trump among registered voters, according to the results of the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, released Wednesday after another month of headlines about her email scandal and increased scrutiny about the relationship between her family's foundation and work at the State Department.

Approximately 46 percent of registered voters said they had a favorable opinion of Clinton in early August. That figure dropped 8 points, to 38 percent, in the latest survey, with nearly 6 in 10 (59 percent) holding an unfavorable opinion of the former secretary of state, an increase of 7 points from earlier in the month. Clinton's favorability among all women surveyed swung dramatically negative over the past month, going from a net positive 11 points (54 percent to 43 percent) to a net negative 7 points (45 percent to 52 percent), while her standing among men also decreased, to a lesser degree.
-- in the 100th straight article which somehow forgets to mention the publicly-stated Republican strategy of driving down Hillary Clinton's poll numbers with witch-hunts and fabricated scandals --

-- what you are really watching is the Beltway Fake Outrage factory turning out its most important election year product: a political horse-race manufactured out of...nothing:  From Media Matters:
Joining a long list of concerned media voices, The New York Times' editorial page this week linked up with the Beltway chorus to express alarm over the Clinton Foundation and the “question” it presents for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Surveying the well-trampled ground of supposed conflicts of interest and insinuations that Clinton sold State Department access to donors, the Times announced a pressing “need for major changes at the foundation now, before the November election.”
As part of its declaration, the newspaper dutifully noted, “‘Pay-to-play’ charges by Donald Trump have not been proved.” But the Times, like so many other lecturing voices, was quite clear in claiming that the Clintons have to address concerns about optics even if that means shutting down their landmark global charity. That’s how important it now is for the do-good foundation to be spotless and pure: Optics trump humanitarianism.
Or, there’s no proof anybody did anything wrong, therefore drastic actions must be taken to fix the problem.
The meandering foundation story has become a case study for the Beltway media’s double standard: holding Clinton to a higher mark that’s based on optics, not on facts. Unable to prove misconduct or anything close to it (just ask the AP), the press relies on the comfy confines of “optics” and the “appearance” of conflict to allow them to attack Clinton and the foundation. 
Remember that Hillary Clinton's likey-likey numbers were up in the 60s back when she wasn't running for anything yet.  Back when the same Republicans who condemn her now as the devil, were praising her to the heavens.  Back before the Republican party and the Beltway media decided that

All that remains is to elevate an inherently ethereal and media-driven metric "likability and trustworthiness" above competence, intelligence, toughness, mastery of policy details, respect around the world, experience and endorsements from 100 Republicans of the first water as the Single Most Important Thingie Any President Must Have in order to govern the land of the free.

Take it away Beltway Both Siderist disease vector, and born-again "Independent" Matthew Dowd:
DOWD: She is judged -- she is judged a little bit, I have to say, all of the controversy surrounding her and they're both -- Donald Trump and her, she's judged a little bit on a Ginger Rogers standard, which is, is that the bar is so low for him. I mean, Ginger Rogers, the famous like she did everything Fred Astaire did but backwards and in heels.

The bar is so low for Donald Trump that we let it pass that his foundation mistakenly, or did whatever, a contribution to the attorney general of Florida that actually in the end she dropped a suit against him on his university. Both of them have problems.

Here's -- Martha, I want to make one point in this, do they each need to solve their likability problems and their trust problems in this election? Yes. But more importantly, I think they need to solve them.

And if Hillary Clinton get elected in this election with the majority of the country not trusting her and not liking her, it is going to be very difficult for her to govern as president of the United States.

RADDATZ: Either one of them.

DOWD: Either one. 
Not for nothin', but would someone within arm's length of Mr. Dowd please remind that we have have a very recent and appalling example of a President of the United States who came to office during the worst period of national crisis in 70 years: America mired in a disastrous war while the global economy was in free-fall.  A president who came to office overflowing with the trust and respect of non-Fox-News-drunk idiots everywhere, with a clear, unequivocal mandate from the American people to save them from the multiple catastrophes which his predecessor had precipitated.

Someone please remind Mr. Dowd just how much ice all of that trust, respect, likability and electoral mandate cut with the Republican party Mr. Dowd spent his adult life creating.  From Norman Ornstein in the Washington Post:
We know that Republican congressional leaders, on the night of President Obama’s inauguration in January 2009, chose a deliberate policy of uniting in opposition to all of his initiatives, even before he served a full day in office. Now we have a pair of blue-ribbon establishment Republicans fundamentally suggesting the same approach — one that has contributed to the decline of the Republican brand, the rise of Donald Trump, the weakening of GOP leadership and the growth of know-nothing radical anti-government sentiment — months before the election of a president.
To be sure, that delegitimizing approach had big payoffs in the historic midterm gains of the Republican Party in 2010 and 2014. Hamstringing government while trashing any policies that actually get enacted almost inevitably works against the party of the president, which is held responsible for action and inaction in Washington...
Without a corrupt and deeply complicit Beltway media working hard every day on behalf of the worst people in America, George W. Bush would never have made it into the White House, the Iraq Debacle would never have been launched, the Great Republican Tea Party Re-branding Scam would have been laughed off the stage, the seditious lunatics who clawed their way to the top of the Party of Lincoln would have been tagged and released back into the wild, Donald Trump would have ridden his Escalator of Destiny right back up and disappeared into the footnotes of American crackpot history, and the concatenation of bullshit and bigotry that undergirds the GOP's 30-year project to destroy America's capacity for self-government would have been dead before it got it's slippers on.

And so I leave you with Jeff Jarvis, former journalist who looks back at his former profession aghast at how sketchy it has gotten:
Journalism is a lousy mirror.
I don’t see myself in any of the coverage of the campaign. All I ever hear from media is that nobody likes or trusts the one candidate who has an 89 percent chance of winning the presidency. In media, I never hear from voters like me who are enthusiastic supporters. I never see reporters wading among eager backers at Clinton rallies to ask them how much they like her and why. I don’t even hear her surrogates (what a ridiculous beltway/TV invention that is, by the way) asked about their support of Clinton, only their defense of her. In media, I never hear echoes of the voices I heard last week when I met people on the porches of West Philly, who told me their families were all in to vote for Hillary. (Only when I continued the conversation did they also agree we must defeat Trump. Like me, they are voting for, not against. )
I’ve been able to use Twitter to call journalists on this failing. When The Post’s Post’s Chris Cillizza labeled Clinton a “deeply flawed” candidate on CNN once too often, I tweeted a challenge and, to his credit, Cillizza answered. He said polls show that two-thirds of Americans don’t trust her. But compared to whom? Four-fifths of Americans don’t trust journalists. When media keep hammering again and again how untrusted Clinton is, couldn’t that become a self-fulfilling prophecy?


Neo Tuxedo said...

Someone please remind Mr. Dowd just how much ice all of that trust, respect, likability and electoral mandate cut with the Republican party Mr. Dowd spent his adult life creating.

As a friend of mine likes to say, about as much as a soap hacksaw.

bowtiejack said...

"Four-fifths of Americans don’t trust journalists."

My crystal ball is no better than anyone else's but one possible dynamic does occur to me.
Our noble ink-stained wretches of the fourth estate could keep pushing this horse race bullshit until there is a full-on panic among the general populace that indeed the Great Talking Yam could actuallly be given the keys to the nuclear locker.
As a result the Democratic GOTV people go to work with the messianic fervor of the Inquisition while ignorant but disgusted GOPers decide to sit on their hands and skip the whole thing, ending in
An authentic landslide win for Clinton
The Democrats taking the Senate, and
Devastating GOP losses in the House.

I believe it was for situations such as these that the term "ironic" was invented.

John Taylor said...

The media constantly pound Hillary Clinton on whatever is the right-wing talking point of the day. Then they'll ask her why she's so unpopular. No wonder she's not keen to appear on air.

dinthebeast said...

First of all, to me the whole "likability" and "character" charade is just so much bullshit. Remember how W was presented as "affable" and "someone you'd like to have a beer with"? And, again, to me, LBJ proved that "character" is beside the point. I don't give a rat's ass what you are, I care about what you do. The presidency is a hard job, and W wasn't any good at it. Do you think that if LBJ had wanted to privatize social security he would have failed like W did?
Anyone who wants the presidency bad enough to get within reach of it is going to have personality defects. LBJ's were legendary. But, as Molly Ivins said about him, he knew how to get the whole unwieldy Rube Goldberg machine of government to crank out things that helped people. Barack Obama spent his first term figuring that out, only to have it be a moot point after the Democrats lost the house and his agenda was stopped in its tracks. But even while he was still grappling with the learning curve, he managed to save the economy, regulate Wall Street, and pass a healthcare law, which among other things, made it possible for me to get cataract surgery last year when I was going blind.
What I don't hear from the media covering this election is anything about the actual, real, known consequences of Trump being elected. While they're nattering on about walls and immigrants and other things Trump lacks the political skill to actually accomplish, I don't hear a single syllable about the supreme court, and Trump's vow to appoint a justice who would overturn Roe v Wade, or the thousands of Republicans he would appoint to positions in government who would then do what Republicans in government do, leaving us to repair the damage for the next decade, just like last time, or the time we don't have left to waste on not doing anything about climate change. Witness Trump spending 90 seconds unloading Play-Doh off a truck in Louisiana as his response to a storm which killed thirteen people and did billions of dollars of damage in a state with a bankrupt budget. He might as well have been using that Play-Doh to plug up the sky for all the good it did in dealing with what is happening more and more frequently now, and even more so in the future.
I actually like Hillary. Even if I didn't, I would do everything I could to get her elected and elect a Democratic congress for her to work with, as that's our only hope at this point. California is on fire, for fuck's sake.

-Doug in Oakland

trgahan said...

Considering Javis's comments based on his experience and the demographics of traditional news audiences, I can't help but wonder how real Clinton's un-likability is or how much this is the media's daily assurances to their shrinking, marginalized audiences that they aren't a shrinking, marginalized anachronism of America that would have been in the dustbin of history already IF Republicans hadn't controlled the 2010 redistricting process in 2/3rds of the nation.

Remember how much "Unskewed Polls" was forced down our throats until election night, then suddenly only Karl Rove was surprised when it went exactly like real analysts said it was going to go back in August?

Regardless, I think it is pretty obvious from the media reporting that a Hillary Clinton Presidency scares the conservative oligarchy in ways President Obama never did. That makes me support her because she is scaring the right people.

RUKidding said...

Reporting from overseas at the moment. The main reports on Clinton is about her coughing. Coughing! This is treated as Very Serious News. I understand Clinton gave a good Labor Day speech that touched on the economy, unions and other important topics. But what do we hapless rubes need to know? Coughgazi! Clinton is old & sick!

Fortunately I'm spared the worst of this shit as I'm mostly off the grid & far away. It's clear even from brief blips on foreign tv that the Oligarchs are reeeeeaching to push Clinton's negatives as much & as witlessly as possible.

Good luck to us all.

Frank Stone said...

I think the headline is incomplete. Likewise the sentence about halfway down which starts, "Back before the Republican party and the Beltway media decided that". Other than that, boom!