Eleanor Clift Exhilarated by the President’s New Port Debacle

Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift has never been good at hiding her liberal bias. Whether in her columns that ooze with hatred for everything just slightly to the right of the extreme left-wing politicians she worships, or as a regular on “The McLaughlin Group,” Clift’s partisanship has always been apparent…maybe more so than any other member of the antique media.

Friday’s Newsweek column was a fine example, as Clift’s unabashed bias was in its customarily unprofessional form. In fact, her partisanship was apparent in the title’s subheading: “The controversy over the control of U.S. harbors is pitting Bush against his conservative base. Can the Democrats capitalize on this in the upcoming election?” 

I guess Clift didn’t feel it was necessary to hide her bias by at least waiting until the body of her column to begin strategizing for her party. If only it ended there. Unfortunately, it didn’t, for the following was paragraph one:

“He must have thought last week was bad fending off Dick Cheney’s quailgate. Who would have thought that this week Mr. War President would be preoccupied putting out a firestorm in the base of his party on national security. It is quite a moment.”

Mr. War President? Nice respect for your commander-in-chief, Eleanor. I guess like most of your media cohorts, you conveniently forgot that the first attacks in this war occurred on 9/11. Alas, Eleanor was just beginning: “On Capitol Hill there was an odd sense of exhilaration as Republicans and Democrats came together to bash Bush for letting the deal get this far.” An odd sense of exhilaration on Capitol Hill? Is that how you would categorize the debate that ensued over this issue last week, Eleanor? Or, wouldn’t it be more honest of you to inform the reader that this odd sense of exhilaration was mostly evident in pressrooms across the country?

Of course, as she continued, it was quite clear that this indeed was the case: “An issue that divides Bush from his conservative base on national security is manna from heaven for the Democrats.” More important, Eleanor, this is manna from heaven for you and your ilk. She continued:

“Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow with the Democratic Leadership Council and a former advisor to John McCain, calls the flap over port management the national security equivalent of the crime bill that set the stage for the Republican sweep of Congress in 1994. President Clinton’s crime bill was ridiculed by Republicans for advocating “midnight basketball,” a program that symbolized the administration’s emphasis on prevention over punishment. The phrase became a laugh line on the campaign trail for Republicans to mock Democrats.”

And continued:

“This is blowback for the way the Bush administration exploited Homeland Security in the ’02 midterm elections, Wittmann says. Democrats got morphed into Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden in campaign ads for pushing labor protections for Homeland Security bureaucrats, which the Bushies characterized as putting special interests over national security interests. ‘That’s the way Democrats will use this in ’06,’ says Wittmann. Any downside for Democrats? ‘This is a freebie,’ he says. ‘It’s one of the rare moments where God smiles on Democrats.’” 

And continued, ad nauseum:

“Bush is at an all-time low. Exhorting a crowd of the faithful with a speech in Indiana, he sounded unhinged recycling old campaign lines about “hunting down the terrorists,” and how 9/11 changed him. “It’s hard to be a risk taker when you’re worrying about war all the time,” he said—a statement meant to convey who knows what. Before leaving Washington, Bush posed for a photo op releasing a Cabinet report that assessed, from the administration’s perspective, what went wrong in the Katrina response. His signature bravado is still evident, but events have eaten away at his credibility and left him defensive and weak at a time when the country needs him.”

The hypocrisy in that last line is almost offensive. It’s not the events that have eaten away at the president’s credibility, Eleanor. It’s how you and your compatriots report these events. If the nation learned anything from what you refer to in your column as “quailgate,” as well as the press reaction to terrorist surveillance as opposed to what polls reflect, it is that what outrages you and your colleagues normally differs from what incites the American people.

Of course, if you were truly concerned with what the country needed, Eleanor, and believed that at this point in time, Americans required a stronger leadership figure in the White House, you could always stop writing two articles a week with the expressed purpose of tearing the president down. Or, is such logic only apparent to you when there’s a Democrat in the White House?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.