Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mission Accomplished ala Lieberman and Schieffer

Back in a day not too long ago, Bob Schieffer was one of two remaining television journalists with a hint of spine (the other being Keith Olberman). Every other TV news head in America was afraid of making Condoleezza Rice cry on camera and was just plain afraid of Donald Rumsfeld, but not Schieffer. Schieffer once snapped "let me just ask you to answer the question" at Condi and growled at Rummy, "Well, you really have not directly answered that question, if I may say so, Mr. Secretary."

I don't know what ever happened to that Bob Schieffer, but he was nowhere to be found on last Sunday's Face the Nation McCain campaign ad featuring Joe Lieberman. Last Sunday's Bob Schieffer was Tim Russert reincarnate.

Joe's on First

Lieberman's core message was that his boy John McCain is a better choice for commander in chief than Barack Obama because McCain was right in supporting the surge in Iraq, and Joe couldn't have picked a better straight man to help him get that message out than last Sunday's version of Bob Schieffer.

When Lieberman said "Things are really going well in Iraq today," the old Schieffer would have repied, "But what about the fact that General David Petraeus's vaunted Sons of Iraq program is unraveling?" Old Bob would have noted that the Sunni militants whom Petraeus has paid over $216 million to date to fight al Qaeda in Iraq are threatening to turn against Nuri al Maliki's government if Petraeus doesn’t keep bribing them. The old Bob might also have pointed out that our distraction in Iraq is now not only causing continued strategic and tactical setbacks in the Bananastans (Pakistan and Afghanistan), but is allowing al Qaeda to take a toehold in Algeria as well. The old Bob might have said a lot of things, but the Bob we saw last Sunday didn't say anything.

When Lieberman said, "We're in a war against Islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11," the old Bob Schieffer would have hit the roof and said, "Are you seriously suggesting now that anyone in Iraq, including that gang of sand Webloes who call themselves al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, had anything whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attacks?" Sunday's Bob Schieffer just nodded and smiled contentedly.

At one point Schieffer said, "Well…" and it sounded like he might be ready to pounce after Joe's Freudian slip about how McCain "…puts his party ahead—excuse me, he puts his country ahead of his party."

I thought for sure Schieffer was going to burst out with, "Since when did that vainglorious mother-exploiting Miles Gloriosus McCain ever put anyone or anything ahead of himself?" Instead, Schieffer bailed Lieberman out of a jam with another straight line: "…do you believe Barack Obama is not ready to be president?"

Well I wasn't going to mention that, Bob, but since you brought it up…

It went on and on like that, and I kept thinking, boy, Schieffer has just gotten too old and too tired to do this job any more, but then it occurred to me: Lieberman has his head cross threaded so far up his wazoo it's a miracle he can talk and sit at the same time. He can't get through a five minute interview without castrating himself unless the interviewer carries him the whole way, and darned if it didn't seem like that's what Schieffer was doing last Sunday.

Any doubts I had that Bob was crutching up Joe disappeared when he came back from the break with Obama spokesman Wes Clark. It was as if Schieffer had chugged three cans of Red Bull during the commercials, and when Clark said of McCain that, "I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," Schieffer made the sound of one jaw dropping and his eyebrows shot to his hairline, and his forehead furrowed and his wattles wagged and his baggy eyes bulged and snot ran down his nose and he gasped, "Really?"

Great Caesars ghost, Bob. Being a POW doesn't qualify anybody to organize a circle competition, much less be president of the United States. Come on, now. I mean, if getting himself shot down over Vietnam qualified McCain to be commander in chief, imagine how qualified he'd be if he'd managed to not get himself shot down.

The subsequent accusations of swiftboating and the denials of swiftboating and the apologies for the non-swiftboating and the other ado about Clark's McCain comment were enough to make you reach for the Rolaids, and maybe for that bottle of Zoloft too. It's depressing to realize how many people commenting on this year's election are as addled and anile as Bob Schieffer has become.

It's even more depressing to reflect that nearly all of the news media have fallen, once again, for the pro-Bush/McCain narrative on everything remotely related to the war on terror, especially after they fell so soundly asleep at the wheel in 2002-03. I don’t think there's much to be done about them. Our fourth estate has fallen so far and broken into so many pieces; and all the king's horses and men are likely to do is keep kicking the pieces and making even littler pieces out of them, until the only actual source of news and information and opinion is the king himself.

Schieffer needs to go, though, before he makes an even bigger embarrassment of himself. Let him take Hugh Downs's place hosting that alternative medicines infomercial. It won't be hard to find an acceptable replacement for him on Face the Nation. Heck, at this point, Katie Couric would be an improvement.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword . Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now. Also catch Russ Wellen's interview with Jeff at the The Huffington Post and Scholars and Rogues.


  1. Damn, I glad you said it. When we did a post on that nice old man McCain that questioned his sanity and character is was as if a shoe dropped.

  2. The only question in my mind is if he has a shred of sanity or character.

  3. Anonymous5:55 PM

    Neither rolaids nor zoloft will cut it when you have to listen to the crap that dribbles out of Lieberman.
    It required an OFF switch and several fingers of distilled spirits.

  4. ROFL, Jeg. It's hell when neocons force you to drink hard spirits on Sunday morning, isn't it? ;-)


  5. Anonymous6:07 PM

    My doctor tells me that the application of distilled spirits to the condition of politicus overloadus is considered strictly medicinal and the day of the week is a non-issue.
    Feel free to take that opinion to heart.

  6. Actually, Bob Schieffer's soft-pedalling of Senator Joe Liebermann is not too surprising. Bob Schieffer is a Texan and the older brother of Tom Schieffer. Guess who he was at one time in business with? George W. Bush. The now President "W" appointed Tom Schieffer first as Ambassador to Australia and currently as Ambassador to Japan.


  7. Anonymous11:28 PM

    Thanks for that "little" connection between Bob Schieffer and GWB. There should be a disclosure before each broadcast when there's anything to do with the GOP, 2008 Election, McCain, Liebermann and their representatives.

    Wes Clark has a different perspective, being waist deep in a rice paddy during the Vietnam War.

    Left Coast

  8. Yet another alumni of the 1st Infantry Division (Mech.). Curiously, although it is called an Infantry Division, the "Big Red One" has been for some time an Armor Division (which fits with General Clark's branch). He served with 2nd Brigade, 1st Bn, 16th Infantry (I think he had a command in A Company). Fifteen years later, I was attached to 1st Brigade, 1st Bn, 34th Armor (in D Company as the Company FSO).

  9. Many thanks for the info, John. Hmm. What is in the water in Texas, anyway?


    I'm not the world's biggest Clark fan, but found it amazing that Clark's credentials as a warrior get dismissed while McCain's are universally accepted.


  10. Commander, the reason I read Jason Linkin's "round-up" of all the Sunday talk shows, (on HuffPost) is so I don't have to actually watch them. He does the watching and drinking, as it were. His wife, from time to time, provides "editorial comment" -- sort of on the lines of "what is he/she nuts?"

    That way, I can read a book. Or surf the net.

    I've found the "castigation" of General Clark pretty interesting. Regarding that situation, I did sign the "" petition, in support of General Clark. If folks like VoteVets Jon Soltz are asking Clark not to back down, on his criticisms of McCain, that tells me a lot.

    A query, Commander. How many Navy planes can you crash, before it becomes a "career ender?" (Even if your papa, and grandpapa, were admirals?) What's the limit on that, in the contemporary Navy, anyway? Could be one reason for the development of the UAVs.

    When the networks, and cable news, do not cover a war, the fourth estate is not just broken. It's terminal. (JMHO).

  11. I would echo Elder Lady's question about how many planes you can crash before you're grounded.

    Great idea, putting Schieffer out to pasture with informercials!

  12. There's no set number of crashes you can have, but the limit is relative to how many admirals you're related to. ;-)

    Yeah, as an infomercial host, Bob would only have to open his mouth two or three times.


  13. Anonymous7:48 PM

    And it must occur in the final part of the days [that] the mountain of the house of Jehovah will become firmly established above the top of the mountains, and it will certainly be lifted up above the hills; and to it all the nations must stream. And they will have to beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning shears. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war anymore

  14. I guess that's some consolation: we're nowhere near the final part of the days.


  15. Anonymous11:38 PM


    I read this over at MLW, but the usual cases over there seem to prevent a discussion.

    Everyone face toward Arlington now, and salute, as Robert E. Lee Pruitt plays taps on a borrowed trumpet.

    Lt. General William Odom died on June 2.

    He understood a lot of things.

    He will be missed.

  16. Thanks for the notice. From the WaPo:

    "Among senior military people, he was probably the first to consider the war in Iraq a misbegotten adventure," Brzezinski said yesterday. "He believed that we're just stoking hostility to the United States in that region and developing an opposition that cannot be defeated by military means. He was very outspoken."

    "The president's policy is based on illusions, not realities," he wrote. "There never has been any right way to invade and transform Iraq."

    On Tuesday, he and Brzezinski wrote an op-ed article for The Post in which they stated that the White House's "heavy-handed" approach toward Iran would backfire and "almost certainly result in an Iran with nuclear weapons."

    "Most Americans suspect that something is fundamentally wrong with the president's management of the conflict in Iraq, and they are right," he said. "The challenge we face today is not how to win in Iraq, it is how to recover from a strategic mistake: invading Iraq in the first place."

  17. Happy Birthday America!

    Everybody, have a safe Holiday weekend.

  18. Anonymous11:48 PM

    Nope, there is no limit to how many a/c one can crash and keep on flying. I flew with an officer who had had a previous crash. We were approaching the carrier at night when he commented,"There must have been an accident, all of he landing lights are red." I immediately asked him if the island should be on the starboard side during a landing. He was approaching the bow of the carrier. He immediately pulled up and turned, right into all of the other planes circling in for landing. I saw flashing red lights and aircraft closer than I ever wanted to see, as we actually made it out of this alive. I refused to fly with him thereafter.

  19. It seems like every air wing has at least one of those. Usually a senator's son type.

  20. Anonymous10:34 PM


    All you had to do was watch Schieffer's referring the second Bush-Kerry debate to know that Ole Bob took a permanent dive. When Bush started blurting things out like "let me answer the question" to his handlers in the box mounted on his back and other oddities. Scheiffer never said a word nor did Kerry for that matter. let's not talk about Kerry's dive.

    I see John already mentioned Ole Bob's brother's Texas bidness connection to Weasel.

    Buzz Meeks

  21. Buzz,

    Thanks for mentioning this. I'd forgotten Schieffer was the moderator on the cheat debate.


  22. Anonymous3:45 AM

    Really trustworthy blog. Please keep updating with great posts like this one. I have booked marked your site and am about to email it

    to a few friends of mine that I know would enjoy reading..
    sesli sohbet
    sesli chat