Or at least cracks in the wingnut dominance. First, an editorial in the New York Times says things about the Bush administration that only bloggers have dared to say so far:
A bit over a week ago, President Bush and his men promised to provide the legal, constitutional and moral justifications for the sort of warrantless spying on Americans that has been illegal for nearly 30 years. Instead, we got the familiar mix of political spin, clumsy historical misinformation, contemptuous dismissals of civil liberties concerns, cynical attempts to paint dissents as anti-American and pro-terrorist, and a couple of big, dangerous lies.
Read the whole editorial for more Bush-clearing.
Second, Ted Koppel has now said some critical things about the media. Of course he is no longer dependent on their financial support, but we take what we can get. A quote from Ted:
Fox has succeeded financially because it tapped into a deep, rich vein of unfulfilled yearning among conservative American television viewers, but it created programming to satisfy the market, not the other way around. CNN, meanwhile, finds itself largely outmaneuvered, unwilling to accept the label of liberal alternative, experimenting instead with a form of journalism that stresses empathy over detachment.
"It created programming to satisfy the market" is a very gentle way of saying that Fox is biased. But it is a way of saying that. Of course everybody knows that Fox is biased; what we play here is a game of pretending to know things or pretending not to know things, sort of like the Alito nomination game. Only real politics wonks like the pretending games, but within those games Koppel's statement matters.
Finally, an article assessing Bush's chances of turning his dismal performance around says this:
Bush's approval rating now stands at 42 percent, down from 46 percent at the beginning of the year, although still three percentage points higher than the low point of his presidency last November.
The poll also shows that the public prefers the direction Democrats in Congress would take the country as opposed to the path set by the president, that Americans trust Democrats over Republicans to address the country's biggest problems and that they strongly favor Democrats over Republicans in their vote for the House.
The political stakes this year are especially high. What happens will affect not only the final years of Bush's presidency, but also will shape what is likely to be an even bigger election for his successor in 2008. Republicans have been on the ascendancy throughout the Bush presidency, but they begin the year not only resigned to some losses in Congress but also fearful that, under a worst-case scenario, an eruption of voter dissatisfaction could cost them control of the House or Senate or both.
This looks like a situation the Democrats could use to their advantage. Now, where did they put those spines? Hmmm.