Prosecute the torture.

February 12, 2007

Ruth Ann Drinks the Conservative Kool-Aid

As the saying goes, sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't.

This morning, P-G Columnist Ruth Ann Dailey showed us all that sometimes she's just nuts.

What am I talking about? Get a gander at today's column.

Ruth Ann begins:

Besides the war in Iraq, last fall's elections, we were told, were supposedly about banishing corrupt representatives and rebuking others who had not adequately heeded the public's wishes. Since Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, a far larger number of the chastened hailed from the right side of the aisle than from the left.
Hmm interesting teaser. She follows that with:

Last week, Rep. Jack Murtha actually made the none-too-veiled threat that his benefactress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, could leverage budgeting for the Department of Defense if the brass didn't give her the bigger, better airplane she was demanding. It's hard to find words adequate to describe the corruption of someone who'd barter military resources, and therefore national safety, for a lavish perk.
The lovely and talented Ruth Ann gets to the heart of the matter a few paragraphs later:

But the original sin was Ms. Pelosi's. Just weeks after promising the dawn of a corruption-free, environmentally sensitive era on Capitol Hill, the new Democratic speaker rejected the 12-seat Gulfstream 3 jet that her Republican predecessor had used and asked for something much larger.

Ms. Pelosi requested the military equivalent of a 757, the most luxurious airplane available for a nonstop coast-to-coast trip. She and her staff had decided that pausing to refuel would be a security risk, having evidently forgotten they can refuel at any of the country's dozens of Air Force bases, the appropriations for which, Mr. Murtha reminded us, Ms. Pelosi controls.

Look carefully at RAD's words. She's a writer who gets paid to write and thus we should assume she chooses her words very carefully. She wrote:
...if [the Pentagon] didn't give her the bigger, better plane she was demanding.
And:
[T]he new Democratic Speaker rejected...
(We should all give thanks, of course, to Ruth Ann for not going with the childish 'Democrat Speaker.")

And then:
Ms. Pelosi requested the military equivalent of a 757, the most luxurious airplane available...
"[S]he was demanding" and "The Speaker rejected..." and "Ms Pelosi requested...." These words were in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dated 2/12/2007. If columnists at the P-G write their columns a day in advance, we can be safe in our assumption that Ruth Ann Dailey at the very least submitted and okayed (if not wrote) those words as late as Sunday, the 11th of February. If it was earlier, the P-G is just a phone call away - more than enough time to fix an embarrassing mistake.

And this is an embarrassing mistake.

In any event, remember that day, February 11.

If Ruth Ann Dailey had read this post from Friday February 9, she would have been able to head over to MSNBC to read this in the article from February 8:

The Air Force transport plane decried by Republicans as an extravagance for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was requested by the House sergeant-at-arms as a matter of security, he said Thursday.

“I regret that an issue that is exclusively considered and decided in a security context has evolved into a political issue,” Bill Livingood said in a news release. He said because Pelosi lives in California he was compelled “to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable. This will ensure communications capabilities and also enhance security.” [emphasis added]

And this:

The White House on Thursday defended Pelosi.

“This is a silly story, and I think it’s been unfair to the speaker,” White House spokesman Tony Snow said.

And here's the same story from CNN (also from Feruary 8th):

House Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood said Thursday it was his decision to request a larger plane that could travel cross-country non-stop for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's use, dousing conservative claims that the speaker herself wanted a larger, more expensive plane for herself and her family.

"The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable," Sergeant at Arms Bill Livingood, who has been at his post for 11 years, said in a written statement.

"This will ensure communications capabilities and also enhance security. I made the recommendation to use military aircraft based upon the need to provide necessary levels of security for ranking national leaders, such as the speaker. I regret that an issue that is exclusively considered and decided in a security context has evolved into a political issue." [emphasis added]

Again, these were from February 8, three days before Ruth Ann finished (or submitted or okayed) the column. Her column.

Aren't columnists at the P-G regardless of their opinions at least required to get the facts straight? Maybe do some research?

Now let's get back to Congressman Murtha. Here's what Ruth Ann Dailey wrote:
Last week, Rep. Jack Murtha actually made the none-too-veiled threat that his benefactress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, could leverage budgeting for the Department of Defense if the brass didn't give her the bigger, better airplane she was demanding. It's hard to find words adequate to describe the corruption of someone who'd barter military resources, and therefore national safety, for a lavish perk.
Since we already know that that last part ("bartering military resources, and therefore national safety for a lavish perc") is complete crap, it's hard not to see the rest of Ruth Ann's column as just another fresh steaming pile of poopie propaganda.

Her original sin is that she's allowing her political opinions skew what she should have known to be factual: Pelosi didn't request, she didn't reject, and she didn't demand any planes. The negotiations were done (and this is from The White House) the Sgt at Arms and the Air Force.

Hey, wasn't it not a few weeks ago that we bloggers were being criticized (on OffQ, Ms Dailey's former stomping grounds, no less) for "making stuff up" and for "publishing lies as the truth"?

Interesting how Ruth Ann is guilty of what we were only accused of. The only difference is that she's in print.

UPDATE: Ruth Ann's Column's made it national!

3 comments:

EdHeath said...

Yeah, you know, taken from the premise she presents at the beginning of her column, that the democrats aren’t any less likely to take advantage of the system than the republicans, from the point of view of a weary cynic maybe that’s not that far from the truth. I mean, so she’s possibly wrong on the facts, and her presentation (as always) has the smug moral superiority that true partisans use when describing the other side. But maybe Ruth Ann’s not entirely wrong about the facts either. Is it possible that the House Sergeant At Arms might be trying to ingratiate himself to the new speaker? Granted, Speaker Pelosi has twice as far to go as Denny did, and she is in the line of Presidential Succession. Might be, though, that the 757 is a bit excessive. RAD’s point appeared to be that those elected as reformers aren’t doing a lot better. Well, the NYT was detailing this past weekend how lobbyists have already gotten around the new congressional rules. And here in PA, I forget where I saw it (some blog somewhere); my state representative, Lisa Bennington, elected as a reformer, has selected a Buick Riviera as her leased car. Couldn’t it at least be an Escape Hybrid? So yeah, Ruth Ann may be annoying, but it doesn’t mean the facsist’s win just because we look with a clear eye at the democrats.

I will say that whenever anyone complains about Theresa Heinz’s remarks at the convention, I think of Dick Cheney’s four words to Pat Leahy. Like I said, it is always the genuine partisans that speak with an air of moral superiority.

Whigsboy said...

The Times article on the lobbying thing makes me sick and it again shows that there need to be serious changes across the board in Congress. On this front, the Democrats are just as bad as the Republicans. And that goes for the Democrats at the state level here in Pa. (Hey, new tobacco lobbyist Mike Veon, go fuck yourself).

But, EdHeath, to say "so [Ruth Ann's] possibly wrong on the facts," and then to try to support that with some speculation about the House Seargent at Arms motives is, IMO, pathetic.

The facts are straightfoward. She did not request a larger plane. She did not demand a decked-out 757. She does not want to fly friends and family all over the place on the taxpayer's dime.

But facts don't matter anymore. Lou Dobbs can flog these lies for 7 days straight on CNN and there are no repercussions. I assume some editor at the PG saw Ruth Ann's column before it went to press and knows from articles that ran in his/her own paper that she has her facts wrong. And, yet, it somehow can still go to print. How is that possible? How can a paper knowingly print lies under the veil of "opinion"?

Hey, D-L, where's your liberal media now? Oh, that's right, when it's somebody from the right who's saying it, the facts *just* don't matter.

Anonymous said...

Ruth Ann is overdue for a good spanking.