In one of Newsweek’s online chats, political reporter Howard Fineman is floored by the hard-left harangues the chatters are offering up. (It’s par for the course for this site, but let’s hope Fineman doesn’t think of this gang as representative of public opinion in general. It might be representative of Newsweek subscribers in general.) The headline: Fineman’s circle thinks the GOP is toast in ‘06, and a little puzzled that Newsweek is being mistaken for a Republican shill sheet :
Las Cruces, NM: Why are there not calls for Mr. Bush's resignation or impeachment?...Could there be a public referendum—an open election with no Republican-led Electoral College—by the people, for the country's future?
Howard Fineman: I've been hearing impeachment stuff for a few months or more now. I doubt that it will come to that, but the consensus here now is that the Repubs are going to get whacked next year.
Savannah, GA: How much corruption is needed for an administration to be labeled corrupt?
Howard Fineman: Did you read our cover?
Sunapee, NH: Is Katrina the moment that the progressive movement finally gets its mojo back, and regains lost ground?
Howard Fineman: Sure looks like a good possibility
When a reader said "Frankly, in my opinion the media is partly to blame for the mess in Iraq because you have been so lax in your duty to challenge the president," Fineman cried uncle:
"I could dance around defensively and make all kinds of excuses, but I won't. You have a valid point in many ways. We are Americans, too, believe it or not, and there was a natural rallying effect after 9/11 that was perhaps even amplified after the relatively successful, and surprisingly short, take down of the Taliban. Also, a lot of Clinton-era experts — some of whom I relied on — were just as convinced as the neocons that Saddam had all those weapons. I'm the political reporter, not the CIA-Intel or State dept or pentagon guy, but I did ask around. One key guy from the Clinton era — he was very close in to the NSC — told me that the weapons certainly were there. But I agree that we were rather credulous at times, and wartime is no excuse for forgetting the skeptical spirit that we need to be driven by at all times."
Fineman also insisted "Everyone remains very much interested in the Plame case," sensed "a turn of the wheel from cowboy individualism" in our national "ethos," and said of Harriet Miers: "her key virtue has been her assiduous work protecting Bush's legal rear end for more than a decade."