Weekend Watchdog:Letting Newt Slither Away

Bill Scher

Once again, the Sunday shows go 0 for 3 on our Weekend Watchdog questions. Here’s the questions we were hoping to get answered.

• For Newt Gingrich (NBC’s Meet The Press): You’re one of the intellectual architects of the current foreign policy strategy in the Gulf, and President Bush is following your advice on Iraq by naming a “war czar.”

Yet in May 1999 during the NATO campaign in Kosovo, you said that:

…the elite news media, the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton, and I accuse you in Kosovo, of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for the things that you have done, and instead foisting on the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don’t have the courage to look at the world you have created…

…I don’t know why none of the Joints Chiefs have resigned because this campaign is a violation of every rule I know of in how you design a campaign…

… We are wasting our resources. Our prestige is diminishing. And all over the world we look like a violent, helpless, pathetic country.

Few now see the Kosovo campaign as a failure, but most of the American people believe the Iraq war is a failure that’s not worth our resources.

Our prestige is greatly diminished, most recently manifested by our inability to control the presidency of the World Bank.

World opinion of the U.S. government has plummeted as many see the current foreign policy as “violent” and hypocritical on democracy.

Shouldn’t you take some “responsibility” for the current “mess” in Iraq? And shouldn’t the Joint Chiefs resign in protest?

• For Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (Fox News Sunday): You support the immigration compromise because it’s about “America being competitive.”

As the deal devalues family ties in favor of work skills, and creates a new temporary worker program that would not allow new immigrants to stay and earn citizenship, is “being competitive” just a euphemism for maintaining a steady flow of cheap labor?

• For Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. (CBS’ Face The Nation): You have called for a no-confidence vote on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

But aside from the merits of removing Gonzales from office, would his ouster “put this behind us” as some have argued? Or would we still need to find out who put names on the prosecutor purge list and why?

On Meet The Press, Gingrich was not asked about his 1999 speech. Not being pressed to take any responsibility for the mess in Iraq, he was able to articulate his flawed, dark view that we are currently in a “worldwide war”—an attempt to set the stage for an expanded war beyond Iraq’s borders—without being challenged on his foreign policy inconsistencies.

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was not asked if his belief that the immigration compromise will make America “competitive” means he believes the bill would maintain a steady flow of cheap labor.

Overall, the focus on the immigration bill was the nativist conservative criticism that granting a path to earned citizenship is “amnesty,” with less attention of how the deal would impact those struggling to feed their families.

Though Katrina vanden Heuvel made the critical point during the ABC This Week pundit roundtable:

…there is no attention in this city or in this Congress to the root causes of immigration. They’re about to pass a trade bill which is going to increase the flow of immigration to this country because there’s no attention to economic development assistance to Mexico or Central America.

Finally, on CBS’ Face The Nation, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., was not asked if ousting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would “put this behind us” or would important questions about the Prosecutor Purge still need to be answered. But Face the Nation’s other guest, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Penn., seemed eager to have this be put behind us, speculating that Gonzales would resign if a Senate no-confidence vote was scheduled.

Bill Scher does the Weekend Watchdog Wrap-Up 4 p.m. ET on the “Seder on Sundays”  program on Air America Radio.

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