Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Friday blamed the media and "especially" cable television for the nasty tone in politics today.
Such occurred during a discussion with Jay Leno on NBC's Tonight Show (video follows with transcript and commentary):
JAY LENO, HOST: What do you make of this nasty tone of politics? This is about the worst I've ever seen it. Would you agree with that?
COLIN POWELL: Yeah, it's about the worst I've ever seen it. We've reached a situation in our political life where people are so trapped on the Left and the Right of the political spectrum that they're finding it difficult to compromise with each other. And there's an orthodoxy that you're required to follow on the Left and the Right that cuts down on communications between the sides.
I like to point out that when our Founding Fathers were in Philadelphia in 1787, they sat there for four months in the summer and they figured out what a Senate should look like, a House should look like. They had to deal with the issue of slavery, the power of the presidency. And these were men of strong views, but they knew that to create a country and a Constitution, you have to compromise. You have to listen to the other guy, not constantly attack, all sort of amplified by the media and especially by cable television.
And unless we get back to a position in this country where the two sides can have strong views and strong feelings about the principles they believe in, they have to get together and start talking to each other.
They could do the Constitution in four months, and we can't even pass a budget a couple of hundred years later.
There's a problem with his budget observation: the Democrat-controlled Senate hasn't proposed one since February 2009.
Even worse, in the past two years not one member of the Senate including Democrats has voted for the budgets proposed by President Obama. This is why we haven't had a budget in the past two years. And the media are partially to blame, but not for the reason Powell espoused.
Imagine for a moment a Republican Senate with a Republican in the White House, in the middle of a serious fiscal crisis that included the nation's credit rating being dropped for the first time in history, not proposing a budget for well over three years.
The Republicans and said Republican president would be mercilously ridiculed and attacked by the press. Newscasts would likely begin with a countdown clock showing how long its been since a budget was offered by Republicans.
Now consider the haranguing a Republican president would get if every time he offered a budget during this crisis, nobody INCLUDING members of his own Party voted for it.
Said Republican president would be made a laughing stock by the media including folks like Leno.
But because the current president is a Democrat, and the Senate is controlled by Democrats, they're given a pass.
I wonder why Powell didn't bring that up while he was blaming the media for the nasty tone in politics and complaining about us not being able to pass a budget hundreds of years after our Founding Fathers created the Constitution in only four months.
Maybe it's because that finger he was pointing might have to be aimed at the president he supported in 2008 and is likely going to support again this year.
Which means that he's de facto part of the problem he's complaining about.
Don't expect fawning media members like Leno to mention that to him.