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4.02.2007

Are the Only Republicans in the New York Times' Rolodex Liberal Republicans?

Sure looks that way:

Why are the views of Matthew Dowd a surprise?

To the New York Times, the one-time "top strategist" for President Bush who has now turned on the President because of the Iraq War is a predictable hero, fodder for a front page story ("Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President").

Yet in reading of the defection of one-time Bush loyalist Matthew Dowd, the fact that Dowd "in a wide ranging interview" with Times reporter Jim Rutenberg "called for a withdrawal from Iraq and expressed his disappointment in Mr. Bush's leadership" should come as no surprise at all. Why?

As Rutenberg's article makes clear, Dowd was once "a top strategist for the Texas Democrats" who was "impressed by the pledge of Mr. Bush to bring a spirit of cooperation to Washington." Says Dowd of Bush: "It's almost like you fall in love, I was frustrated about Washington, the inability for people to get stuff done and bridge divides. And this guy's personality -- he cared about education and taking a different stand on immigration." Now, the man who, as a Bush strategist in the 2004 Presidential campaign, criticized Democratic nominee Senator John Kerry for proposing "a weak defense" believes that "Kerry was right" about Iraq.

In other words, Matthew Dowd did not support George W. Bush because Dowd was himself a principled conservative. No, Dowd signed on to the Bush effort because, by his own admission, he "fell in love" with Bush's personality. Whatever else all of this tempest in a teaspoon demonstrates, one major point is surely that when you support a candidate because you love the way he -- or she -- "cared" you are headed to an inevitable political disillusionment.

What is particularly striking in this incident is the way both Dowd and Times reporter Rutenberg present Dowd's views as if they themselves are ideology-free. In fact, both subject and reporter reveal a fierce devotion to the liberal ideology that defines "getting along" and "bridging divides" as, well, being a liberal. Notice Dowd's musings on how much the "only candidate to appeal to him" is Senator Barack Obama. By now the cat is out of the bag that Obama's soothing rhetoric is being deliberately used to hide the most liberal Senate voting record of any candidate in the Democratic field. A candidate who gets a 100% thumbs up from liberal stalwarts Planned Parenthood, the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, and Americans for Democratic Action and a healthy 92% from the AFL-CIO may be many things, but someone seeking to bridge the philosophical divides in the country or the nation's capital is not one of them.

Particularly troubling is the Times' -- and Dowd's -- assertion that the President refused to meet with anti-Iraq war protestor Cindy Sheehan, when both certainly are aware Bush declined not a first but a second meeting with the woman who has plainly presented herself as a fierce anti-Semite with an admiration for fascists like Venezuela's Hugo Chavez.


One of the reasons the Left-Wing Media pulled so hard for Democrats to win back Congress in 2006 is surely that they were sick of going to meetings that didn't matter. Hard to impress Hill interns with your access when all you know are disgruntled Democrats.

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