Can you recall the last time the Today show invited a major conservative commentator on to opine on the issues of the day? Neither can I.
But there was Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol this morning, under Today's 'hopeful' graphic "Is Bush Losing His Base?", being treated deferentially by David Gregory.
Why? It's the old MSM maxim: conservatives are only welcome when they're willing to take shots at fellow conservatives/Republicans. We saw the same phenomenon in play earlier this week as Katie Couric gave respectful treatement to Rush Limbaugh, playing a clip in which he described the Miers appointment as having been made "in weakness."
Kristol began by observing that some recent White House political errors can be attributed to the fact that Karl Rove has been "distracted" in recent weeks by his multiple grand jury appearances.
Gregory then moved to the meat of the interview, the Miers nomination. It was striking that Gregory amicably addressed Kristol as "Bill." I guess first names are in order when, even if for different reasons, "Bill" and "David" are on the same side: attacking the Bush administration.
Gregory: "You have suggested she should and even might even step aside. Why?"
Kristol: "I think she should consider it. I think her nomination is a mistake. She doesn't have the intellectual distinction or the track record to really justify putting her on the Supreme Court. I think she should consider withdrawing her name, going to the President and saying 'thank you for the honor but I can serve you as WH counsel and there are plenty of other qualified people to go to the Supreme Court.'"
Added Kristol: " I think she's going to have to think about this."
Gregory: "Are you not open to charge among other conservatives that you're being overly sensitive here? The President has a pretty good record of conservative nominiees to the district court, the appellate court and with Roberts to the Supreme Court. When he says 'trust me on this, I know her heart,' why don't you?"
Kristol: "Because you don't judge with your heart, David, and his record is a good record because he nominated people with proven records. It's not a good record because we all trusted George W. Bush, with all due respect. He's a good president but he's not a great constitutional scholar."
Gregory then tried to lure Kristol into even more inflammatory rhetoric: "Is this a betrayal [of conservatives] by this President who calls himself a conservative?"
"Who calls himself a conservative"?? Wait, isn't this the same president whom the MSM routinely portray as a frightening arch-conservative, motivated by his fundamentalist religious views and controlled by a neo-con cabal? Yet when it suits the liberal media for purposes of accusing W of betrayal, suddenly his conservative credentials are brought into question.
Kristol wouldn't fall into Gregory's "betrayal" trap, classifying the appointment merely as "a mistake," that can be "rectified by Ms. Miers deciding that it might be for the good of her president to step aside."
Kristol concluded by opining that if the vote were today, Miers would be confirmed, but added that the vote isn't today and "she's got tough hearings to go through and I don't think it's a sure thing."
If only Today and its MSM confreres would occasionally invite conservatives on to comment on the trials and tribulations of liberal politicians!
Finkelstein has degrees from Cornell University and Harvard Law
School.He lives in Ithaca, NY where he hosts "Right Angle," a local
political talk show. Finkelstein specializes in exposing liberal bias
at NBC's Today Show.