Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bill Press: Stupidest Punditry Of The Week


When I was president of Reprise Records I hired a guy to be the first online promotion man in the music business. People thought it was the funniest, kookiest thing they had ever heard. Online was just some silly gimmick that would never take off. The reaction was as if I had hired someone to be a promotion man for Mars, Venus and the moon... you know, just in case. (The guy I hired eventually went on to help develop iTunes for Apple.) But at the time, everyone was laughing. Still, all the trade magazines handled it delicately; no one was mean or disparaging at all. That's because Reprise spent thousands of dollars a month on ads in those magazines and because we used the consulting services tied to the magazines' owners. Some even said I was foward-thinking for my decision, though no one really thought I was anything but a kook-- like when I spent $400 in student money to hire The Doors for a concert (before they were well-known). But this isn't a post about me being a seer. It's about why the trade magazines Inside the contemptible Beltway treat Steve Israel and other clueless political hacks with kid gloves. They control the multimillion dollar ad and consulting budgets.

Even Nancy Pelosi, in defending her controversial and catastrophic decision to appoint "ex"-Blue Dog Steve Israel to head the DCCC couldn't think of anything more positive to say about him other than the well-known fact in DC that he's "reptilian." Last year while Patty Murray was performing like a champ at the DSCC and wiping the floor with the Republicans in one state after another, shocking anyone who was paying attention, Israel was bumbling and fumbling and making every mistake in the book, starting with atrocious candidate recruitment and ending with Boehner being sworn in for another two years as Speaker.

But Tuesday, Bill Press, writing for The Hill penned a pathetic kiss-ass puff piece on the imaginary Steve Israel of his dreams (instead of the one best explained by the Bravo TV series about his district, Princesses: Long Island). Press insists that the congenital loser from Long Island stands out above all others...[as] most brilliant political strategist" in Washington. No, he really wrote that. He claims Israel's humiliating loss last year was all a part of his (reptilian?) long term strategy "Plan B: win a handful of seats in 2012, while Republicans remain in charge, and wait for the GOP to overplay its hand." The DCCC press department is pushing this meme on clueless and lazy "journalists" and pundits like Bill Press.
And good for Israel. That’s exactly what’s happening. In the last few weeks alone, on three major issues, House Republicans have so marginalized themselves that they have left the majority of their party behind, let alone the majority of American voters.

It started last month, when Republicans forced through the most extreme anti-abortion bill in decades, legislation that went beyond Roe v. Wade by banning a woman’s ability to seek an abortion after 20 weeks. By most accounts, the bill, authored by Arizona’s Rep. Trent Franks (R)-- who famously asserted that the “incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low”-- is going nowhere. It probably won’t get a vote in the Senate. Were it ever to pass Congress, President Obama’s vowed to veto it.

Next, House Republicans thumbed their collective noses at immigration reform. Many leading Republicans, starting with former President George W. Bush, argued the double advantage of comprehensive immigration reform legislation: From a policy perspective, it’s the right thing for the country; from a political perspective, it’s the necessary thing for the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) warned his fellow Republicans: “If we don’t pass immigration reform... it doesn’t matter who you run in 2016. We’re in a demographic death spiral as a party.”

But House Republicans don’t care. Even after immigration reform passed the Senate 68-32, with 14 Republican votes, they caucused and decided to kill any chances for comprehensive reform or anything resembling a path to citizenship for the 11 million people estimated to be living here illegally.

And then, there was the farm bill-- the biggest mistake of all. Since 1973, Republicans and Democrats have joined together on legislation designed to help the nation’s farmers and the poor. But not this year. House Republicans refused to approve a farm bill until it was stripped of any funding for food stamps, which 47.5 million Americans now depend on.

It makes you wonder: Who’s in charge? Is anybody in charge? What was the point of any of these moves, except to further alienate the Republican Party from mainstream America?

OK, I admit-- I don’t know for sure if Steve Israel planned it this way. But if so, he couldn’t have planned it any better. If and when control of the House changes in 2014, it won’t be because Democrats won it back. It’ll be because Republicans gave it away.

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At 12:47 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I actually am a fan of Bill Press i remember his CNN days when he did Crossfire but in this article i don't agree with his views on Steve sorry Bill he's no good.


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