Thursday, May 11, 2006

# Posted 12:02 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

PELOSI PART 2: THE WARMUP. As I mentioned yesterday, there was a lot of negative feedback to my attempted takedown of Future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Before defending myself, I just want to compile some of the more trenchant criticisms that were made, so interested parties don't have to go digging through the comment section to find them:
Game set match?! Are you kidding?You quote over 180 words from Russert's set-up, and 3 words from Pelosi's reply. She went on to point out that 18 months separated those two remarks, and that circumstances had changed enough to merit a shift in her viewpoint...

If you are going to criticize [Pelosi] (and praise Russert, for that matter), at least quote segments of the interview that accurately represent what transpired. What you've selectively included here certainly does not. (Author: Anonymous)

Hey, where's Pelosi's response to the Iraq question? I don't know what she said but the correct answer is simple. We haven't made any progress since 2004. So, even if in theory we should bring stability back to Iraq, if it is found that we are not capable of doing it, why should we stay? (Author: kj)

I don't watch TV, but I heard the interview on the podcast. (Same here. --ed.) I was astonished at how nasty & obnoxious Russert was, cutting Pelosi off repeatedly and trying to twist her words into something she didn't say. I guess he's still trying to get a position at Fox...

[With regard to Iraq] Pelosi's explanation was that 18 more months of Presidential incompetence have changed the facts behind the Iraq debate. If the point where you cut off the quote amounts to "match point", the end of that topic (to mix metaphors) is "checkmate" in Pelosi's favor. (Author: jose in California)

Lord. Russert was trying to put words in her mouth ala Sean Hannity. Russert does a rachet job for Karl Rove and you fellows call this great reporting?! My wife - a moderate Republican - was impressed at how Pelosi fired back at Russert and then asked me to turn him off as she hates Hannity's garbage and was appalled that it was on Meet the Press. (Author: PGL)
A second issue for criticism was Russert's treatment of the Abramoff-Harry Reid connection. No one seems to have thought much of Pelosi's response, but they think the facts may not be on Russert's side:
Abramoff took money from damned near everyone. But he only gave money to Republicans. Only Republicans. Russert's figure of $20M vs. $17.8M was labelled as "lobbyist" giving, not Abramoff giving. It appears that Russert was being deceptive here, and Pelosi, being a bit of a hack herself, fell for it. (Author: Anonymous)

The whole Indian tribe this is fairly simple: the tribes had traditionally been affiliated with the Democratic party, but under Abramoff's direction, they were slowly being diverted to the GOP. It is quite deceptive to describe them as an "Abramoff client" under these circumstances. Furthermore, just what is the allegation here? Are Democrats not supposed to do business with any Indian tribes once somebody who is corrupt starts soliciting bribes from them? I'm confused. (Author: whispers)
I'll comment on the Abramoff issue here, since I haven't followed the scandal closely and don't have much to add. Russert stated that Abramoff's firm hired one of Reid's top legislative aides to lobby for its clients, including Native American tribes. That aide then organized a fund-raiser for Reid at Abramoff's offices.

As whispers points out, one has to be careful here to avoid guilt by association (even if the Democratic strategy for dealing with the Abramoff scandal is to use it to tar the entire GOP via guilt by association). However, it seems interesting that Reid was so close to Abramoff that one of his aides would change sides and then hold a fundraiser at Abramoff's offices. For Pelosi to blithely insist right after Russert points out those connections that her party "is standing for honest leadership and open government" sounds somewhat absurd.
(1) opinions -- Add your opinion

"However, it seems interesting that Reid was so close to Abramoff that one of his aides would change sides and then hold a fundraiser at Abramoff's offices."

There is no scandal here. Many of Abramoff's clients were Indian tribes, and some of those tribes have reservations in Nevada. Are you suggesting that Reid should not have paid attention to what Abramoff was doing for his constituents?

Abramoff never gave a dime to any Democrat, not even Reid. The closest Abramoff ever came to giving money to a Democrat is the deal he made with Reid, letting him use his offices to raise money himself. Russert's (and, I'm afraid, your) attempts to equate this with the grotesque corruption of the Republican party is deceitful.
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