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Parsing the Polls: Politics Among Least Respected Professions

It's no secret that politicians crave public approval. In fact it is an essential part the job -- lose the affection of the voters and you won't spend much time in office. But aside from the job requirement, the need to be liked (and respected) seems to run stronger in the personalities of politicians.

So, a new poll from Gallup is sure to cause considerable agitation in the world of elected officials. The survey, testing 1,009 voters from Dec. 8-10, asks people to rate the "honesty and ethical standards" of a variety of professions. The results are somewhat dismal (even for the most cynical observers).

Let's parse the polls!

Members of Congress should be thankful that car salesmen exist since they belong to the only profession rated lower than Congressmen in the poll. Fifty-five percent of those tested gave car salesman a low or very low rating on their ethics and honesty, while 40 percent gave that same low or very low score to House members. A paltry seven percent said car salesmen had very high ethical standards; 14 percent rate Members of Congress that way.

The Senate fares only slightly better. Thirty-five percent said the institution had low or very low standards on ethical issues. That number ranks senators as slightly more trusted than car salesmen, their colleagues in the House, lawyers (38 percent low/verylow) and HMO managers (37 percent). They are tied with advertisers.

Governors are the most respected of public officials with 22 percent rating their ethics and honesty as high or very high and 26 percent scoring it low or very low. Journalists nudged out governors with 26 percent rating their ethics as high or very high and 25 scoring them low or very low (We'll take it.)

Not surprisingly, the most trusted professions remain those related to healthcare. Eighty-four percent of the sample rated nurses as possessing high standards for honesty and ethics. Druggists/pharmacists (73 percent), doctors (69 percent), dentists (62 percent) and engineers (61 percent) rounded out the top five.

While Congress came under fire in this election for its ethics travails, a look back at responses to the same question over the past 14 years shows little change in the poor image of politicians.

Fourteen percent thought House Members carried high or very high ethics in the most recent Gallup poll, which is right on the average all the way back to 1992. The apex for Congressmen came in 2000 (21 percent high or very high) and 2001 (25 percent high or very high). In 1994 and 1995, Members had back to back 10 percent years -- their lowest ebb.

Senators, too, enjoyed a time of relative respect in 2000 (24 percent high or very high) and 2001 (25 percent). The upper chamber has fallen on tougher times of late with 16 percent rating senators high or very high in terms of ethics in 2005 and just 15 percent saying the same in 2006.

While Gallup has not polled the public on their respect for the ethics of governors nearly as much -- four times since 1992 -- the chief state executives have consistently polled better than their federal colleagues. Twenty-two percent gave governors high ethical ratings in 2006 -- slightly below their 25 percent average.

None of this should be terribly surprising as voters every two years are subjected to loads of negative ads from each party seeking to sully the other. There aren't a lot of other professions that have a regular accounting of their misdeeds or alleged misdeeds placed before the public. And, politicians collectively haven't done themselves any favors in the realm of high ethical standards -- especially over the past few years.

On a totally unrelated note, Gallup decided to include several baseball questions in the poll -- an early Christmas present for a fan of the national pastime like The Fix. Let's parse the (baseball) polls!

Read a list of players, the subsample of 423 self-identified baseball fans were asked which one belonged in the Hall of Fame. Former Baltimore Orioles shortshop Cal Ripken led the way with 86 percent saying he should be elected to the Hall. Two-thirds of the sample said ex-Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa, who is contemplating a return to baseball, belonged in the Hall of Fame. Voters were slightly more split on Mark McGwire (57 percent in favor of him in the Hall/35 percent opposed) and much more split on San Francisco Giant slugger Barry Bonds (48 percent/44 percent). Amazingly, Gallup did not test the chances of election to the Hall for former Yankee first baseman Don Mattingly. Well, there's always the next poll.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 14, 2006; 9:32 AM ET
Categories:  Parsing the Polls  
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Next: More Good News for Edwards in Iowa


I am a Latino who has seen the rise of crime in every town. One of the major factors is popular teen culture in America now endorses criminal active as "cool", especially in the minority community. Gangster rap, and the culture that is associated with it has been very popular, yet most people don't want to acknowledge that it exists. Guns, violence, incivility, drugs and drug dealer, anti-social behavior is now considered normal and by many children as "cool". Most people living in "suburbia" in the United States have not this trend. It is because many community leaders of our minority groups, including mine, have not addressed this fact. They are too busy blaming everybody but the true causes of this, Music and Media corporate interest. Being a "gangsta", criminal, big-mouth, a-moral is considered something to be admired by children, because the media has not denounced it. I think it might even be too late. Low rider and Vato culture has now been exported to other countries to through their respective ethnic communities. You can know find low riders, American style hip-hop 'gangstas' in Vietnam, El Salvador, Mexico, Laos, and other countries. People, especially the white intelligentsia have never discussed this because they don't want to appear 'racists' or live in a safe bubble. It is now destroying many different communities and it is growing. Many whites, like those who live in the suburbs have children who have never been exposed to this, but it is growing so fast that it is spreading wildly though out all communities and even into the suburbs. It has been going on for years since the early years of rap. Guns, violence, rape, murder, drug dealing is being glamorized and young people are now brainwashed to believe it is very 'hip' to be stupid and a criminal. They see education for "whites" and 'weak nerds'. VH1, MTV, videos, music and movie industry and even games push that being a low life criminal Gangsta is what is cool now. This is only going to get worse unless something is done. This not only affects the crime rate, but business, housing and other things. Many of the drugs being sold are by 'gangstas'. They are destroying us from within. We reap what we sow.

Posted by: Jose | December 19, 2006 3:19 AM | Report abuse

'Some liberals' disdain for the military is more than I can stomach though.'

I honestly don't know what 'disdain' you are talking about. Is wanting to make sure that our troops are risking their lives for a meaningful cause, disdain? Because that's all I'm advocating. I don't see that many people that differ from that view. So where is the disdain? Or is this just something that you hear on rightwing media? Can you show me actual examples of it?

Posted by: drindl | December 14, 2006 7:37 PM | Report abuse

proud - I think that you will find that Sen. Clinton's ill-fated plan had nothing to do with whatever HMO's have done.

Remember her plan never got anywhere; because of the arrogance of her, Ira Magaziner, etc. The plan actually may have good elements, but their arrogance and "Harry and Louise" stopped it cold.

You can blame her for a lot of things, but HMO's are not one of them.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 14, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

"Journalists once again do not score real well in the annual Gallup survey on how the public ranks various professions in terms of "honesty and ethical standards."

I knew it was there. error of omission or shame?

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 14, 2006 3:27 PM | Report abuse

"Federal prosecutors unsealed another indictment against Bronx Democratic State Senator Efrain Gonzalez Wednesday, charging that he and three other conspirators funneled more than $400,000 of state money to various charities then into his own pocket"

Just another day in Dem politics.

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 14, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I know, jump all over the non-PC ghoul. but why are you all afraid of free speech.


I for one will defend to the death the right for your free, albeit premature and inappropriate speech.

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 1:49 PM | Report abuse

No I don't believe all the crap drindl. but we have to support our military during war or conflict or "an iniquity created by our own malfeasance"... all of which are accurate. no doubt, it's a very complex situation, we shouldn't be there, and it's the problem of this generation now.
Some liberals' disdain for the military is more than I can stomach though.

Posted by: deludedGOP | December 14, 2006 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"Back to the issue - the low ratings of politicians."
Senators only slightly more trusted than HMO doesn't get much worse than that.
By the way, wasn't the whole HMO/managed -care trend an offshoot from Senator (then first lady)Clinton's brilliant plan for a revamped health-care system in 100 days? Double negative for her on the Respectability Rating.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | December 14, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Kingofzouk, I wouldn't get my hopes up too high if I were you. By the way, what specifically is this "reign of terror" that you associate Sen. Reid with--wanting to raise the minimum wage, attempting to less partisan than the other side, if not that, then what?

Posted by: Jason P | December 14, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Ethics? Let's see. After a thorough investigation of the Foley scandle, even though wintnesses told the investigating committee that they had informed the House leadership of Mr. Foley's "odd behavior"...a bipartisan committe found no evidence of wrong doing. Ditto, of course!, for Mr. Jefferson's being caught on tape taking bribes and a feeezer full of cash. And, our Vice President can deny on national television and before Congress that he receives money from Halliburton any longer and later investigations show he receives more than 2 million dollars a year from them. Our idiot President has business ties that are awarded no bid contracts in Iraq. Iraq has more contract workers, more than 200,000 in fact, than U.S. soldiers - the train wreck that is Iraq is a dead horse upon which the flies of U.S. corporations feed. And the Clinton's ties to WalMart and Tyson aren't even looked at. Oh, and don't forget the money flowing to both parties from the outsourcers - Boeing, handling the new border security contract with *all* of the work being done in India, IBM, Apple, the "Big Five", Microsoft, etc. all tossing cash into the hogs trough our politicans feed in. Oh, and don't forget our religious leaders, Eangelicals caught in homosexual liasons, liberals preferring protecting illegal immigrants to the cost of American poor and involvements in their own sex for favors scandles, the press (and including thie Washington Post) who writers publish utter crap, completely made up stories, about illegals only taking jobs Amercian's don't want and ho-rah nonsense about invading Iraq (later changed to blame anyone else for this mistake), and businessmen who are more concerned about money and profit than they are about the very existence of this country. And those same businessmen sell our most sensative technology, our most stategic weapons and security technologies, to foreign governments. Have I forgot anyone? Oh, yes, American consumers demanding gas hogging SUV's, inefficient plasma screen televisions, who vote in greater numbers for candidates in Dancing With The Stars than they do for Presidential elections, turn on the pronography after the kiddies are in bed, and demanding bargain prices so they encourage the outsourcing of even more jobs. Ethics? Please, just give us all a break. We live in a ceasepool, a stinking open outhouse pit of a culture, where no one genuinely cares about anyone else, citizens don't know the meaning of the terms "citizenship" and "community" and "sacrifice" and "right" and "wrong". The succor in all of this is that it is about to come crashing down around their ears, and unfortunately around me ears, too, becasue a service economy, a society that simply consumes, a society without morals or standards, cannot survive. Hell is too good a place for what Amercia has become.

Posted by: MikeB | December 14, 2006 12:50 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked Captain Cal only got 86%. Talk about a no brainer.

Posted by: RMill | December 14, 2006 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Looks like dirty Harry's reign of terror is going to be short lived. It is too bad this didn't result from actual voters making their statement, but God protects drunks and the USA. the pity meter for this sad excuse for the Senator from searchlight is going off the scale. too bad for Sen Johnson though. I hope he has a long and happy retirement and lives to be over 100.

I know, jump all over the non-PC ghoul. but why are you all afraid of free speech. I can't wait to see Dick Cheney vote for R control and watch all those Lib Senators cry over their spilled committee chairs. Maybe those dinosaurs will retire and let some light into that chamber. It is the only hope for the Dems. hope is all you have with hillarity waiting in the wings to lose another election. Pelosi is going to send you so far down a wormhole, you may never find your way back.

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 14, 2006 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I remember seeing somewhere that the press is held in even less esteem. It is easy to complain about pols, they are an easy target and don't fight back. what does anyone think about that poof-da Gergory who thinks he is God's gift to the thinking world?

Posted by: kingofzouk | December 14, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse


Murdoch megalomania

By Jerry Mazza

James Murdoch, the son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, has settled into being not only a mogul, i.e., BSkyB Chief Executive, but is guilty of the same megalomania he accused (with a sweep of his "unseen hand") the BBC of exhibiting.

Reuters via Yahoo reported young James delivered a "withering attack" on the BBC in a speech in London, hosted by UK media regulator Ofcom, the analogue of our FCC. James was trumpeting how "the triumph of the free market surely indicates that broadcasting should be more like other industries."

Well, media is not quite like other industries. Bottom line, media is about winning hearts and minds, not to mention pocketbooks. And the Murdoch family megalomania most often swings opinion to the neocon far-right and/or whatever is lowest common denominator "entertainment." There's nothing free about that.

Nor, given the scope of Sky's activities, does it seem inhibited or a slave of regulation. In fact, it seems to be inhaling the British airwaves in a variety of media enterprises, much like papa's increasing menu of media delectables, which make it the third-largest U.S. media company and growing. And that makes papa a billionaire.

How BSkyB fits in the Murdoch broadcast empire

For starters, Google tells us BSkyB stands for the blend of Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting. "Sky is a leading provider of sports, movies, entertainment and news -- whose channels are received by almost 10 million households in the United Kingdom, including 5 million digital satellite subscribers. Sky's majority owned company, Open, is also developing the network's interactive services.

"British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB -- formerly two companies, Sky Television and British Satellite Broadcasting) is a company that operates Sky Digital, the most popular subscription television service in the UK and Ireland. It also produces TV content, and TV channels. It is controlled by 35 percent shareholders News Corporation, an American company chaired by Rupert Murdoch."

In fact, a recent side deal with Liberty Media Corp will help Rupert Murdoch's News Corp as well avoid literally billions in capital gains taxes on their investments in News Corp and DirecTV, respectively. You can hear the gobbling from here.

What's more, papa's Fox Network was acquired in 1995 when the FCC somehow ruled in Murdoch's favor, stating that despite the fact that Fox was owned by News Ltd.'s Australian base (which should be illegal), that it would be "in the public's interest" for Murdoch's ownership to continue in the U.S. I don't personally think watching neocon news and bad sitcoms with a dash of brash episodic TV is really in the "public's interest." I think it's in the interest of the Murdoch cash register.

Wikipedia further reports that "In 1996, Fox established the Fox News Channel, a 24-hour cable news station," which I would consider in the vanguard of reactionary news. "Since its launch it has consistently eroded CNN's market share, and it now bills itself as "the most-watched cable news channel." This is due in part to recent ratings studies, released in the fourth quarter of 2004, showing that the network had nine of the top 10 programs in the 'Cable News' category." By the way, all of this "yellow journalism" licks the boots of administration policies.

"In 1999, Murdoch significantly expanded his music holdings in Australia by acquiring the controlling share in a leading Australian independent label, Michael Gudinski's Mushroom Records; he merged that with Festival Records and the result was Festival Mushroom Records (FMR). Both Festival and FMR were managed by Murdoch's son James for several years." That is until James wanted to expand his horizons. Like papa like son.

In 2003 SKY Italia was acquired. Once again, "free" is the stand-in word here for devouring markets with conservative to reactionary programming. Not unlike our own religious televangelists, notably Pat Robertson, bombarding public consciousness with his world-wide Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). Begun in 1960, it comes with Robertson's own private brand of conservative and political Christianity, a story unto itself, Rapture et al.

The venerable BBC

Returning to James, his railing about being inhibited by the public service BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), which has earned itself a world-wide reputation for quality programming, from news to comedy, drama to documentary, seems disingenuous.

The BBC was established in 1926 (with a current charter running until 2007) as the national public broadcaster of the United Kingdom, and is the largest broadcasting corporation in the world, with a staff of 26,000 in the UK alone and a budget of four billion pounds a year.

True it is a state-owned system, run by a board of governors chosen by the queen on advice of government ministers. Yet the BBC's mandate according to its charter is to "be free from both political and commercial influence and answers only to its viewers and listeners." Is it perfect? No. Is it better than the banality of Sky or Fox and their conservative ideology? Yes, by far.

Sky as super network

In essence, Sky is a would-be super-network stretching towards every venue. Its latest move in the broadcasting market, according to a Reuters/Yahoo article, is "BSkyB's purchase of a 17.9 percent stake in commercial broadcaster ITV . . . currently being examined by Ofcom. Cable operator NTL, which is set to rebrand itself as Virgin Media, had considered making a bid for ITV, a move that was effectively blocked when rival BSkyB bought the stake.

"NTL's leading shareholder, Richard Branson, said this week he would fight the BSkyB move. 'The Murdoch Empire was, I think, absolutely terrified at the idea of Virgin taking over, because we would have given Sky some real competition . . . '" So there's Murdoch calling the kettle black.

As to Ofcom, let's hope it doesn't go the way of our FCC, particularly during the reign of Michael Powell. FCC regulations were relaxed on the purchase of stations by media empires like Rupert's, and this ended invariably in the sole rule of point of view in any given market. Ofcom at this time does not seem to share that problem.

Ofcom, according to James

Yet, James on his soapbox said "Ofcom should operate with a strong and undiluted bias against regulation because this would allow more innovation . . . We often think of broadcasting as a special case." It is special as I said earlier. But James continues, "Too much regulation resulted in a reduction in human freedom, a corrosion of enterprise and all at a huge cost, estimated in the UK at around 10 to 12 percent of GDP." Rhetoric as empty as his programming.

I don't see Murdoch's empire as a force for human freedom, but rather a potent reactionary force. In England, the Murdochs were censoring the US-imported Simpsons' episodes of any shadow of sexual or drug mention -- to the point where the shows were senseless and viewers complained. That is until the original cuts were returned to the air. As to the loss of GDP from Murdoch TV and reactionary print, I think the UK and America can live with it, quite freely.

So whom do you trust?

Do you trust unregulated big biz? Do you trust government regulation in the absolute? Do you trust stations with religious agendas? Do you trust the money-begging prophets? Do you trust none of them? That's probably a good start. Do you trust what you recognize as quality and distrust what looks like drivel? That's an even better start.

Yet one man's quality is another's poison, and versa visa. So we have a media quagmire: those tugging for truth, art and funding for quality and educational programming and others for endless sports, low-brow entertainment, neoncon agit-prop, a political Jesus and unchecked profit.

You pays your money, you takes your chances. Step right up. It's the greatest show on earth. And perhaps it's the tension between the forces of government, independent stations, religious zealots, conglomerates and indiscriminate viewing that makes for the present movie of our lives. We'll find enough megalomaniacs in each sector to make the movie more than interesting, hellacious or wonderful as the case may be.

Of late, we've seen more of the hellacious than the wonderful. We've also seen a yearning for the "golden age" of television as expressed in Good Night and Good Luck, which is really what it's all about, the right's proclivity to oppress and the left's passionate protest for the real-life freedoms and protections of our Constitution.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer living in New York City. Reach him at

Posted by: che | December 14, 2006 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Back to the issue - the low ratings of politicians.

Susan Sarandon, a so called lefty, this morning on the View denounced HRC as just a politician saying what it takes to get elected and that America wants someone real - not HRC.

This is telling because is speaks to how frustrated everyone is over this endless changing faces of HRC and for that matter every other politician

Well I am not confident that Barack is ready for prime time, he appears to be more in tune with the demands of the people - str8 forwarding talking (which is why Dems, Independents, and moderate republicans voted for him)

If not Barack maybe someone like Wes Clark - I will be teh farm any Pres candidate willing to just tell the people the truth will win the primary and Hillary will become a footnote in American History.

Susan Collins - change parties now before it is too late - Susan Collins for Democratic VP -

Bobby Wightman-Cervantes

Posted by: Bobby Wightman-Cervantes | December 14, 2006 11:54 AM | Report abuse

proud - I'm certainly not privy to all the Joint Chiefs told the President, but what I'm seeing reported looks more to me like a realistic "holding" strategy, than the President's "winning" strategy.

The President looks goofier than Lincoln Chaffee as he continues with this dreamworld "winning" rhetoric. He's making all those critics of his time at Yale look correct.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 14, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

'The important point here is that the Murtha/Pelosi/ISG vision for Iraq is DOA and the president is listening to people who actually have a winning strategy for security and stability in Iraq. The military is not tired of "making war" and sacrifices; not an option; won't happen... Leaving in defeat is not an option any American should be ok with. '

as chuck hagel said, 'the words 'victory 'and 'losing' no longer have nay meaning in iraq.. you are looking at this in some simplistic, childish paradigm - 2 enemies on a battlefield. but it's not that at all -- iraq was never a stable country --it's only 100 years old. it's a far more complex situation with religious conflicts gong back at least 200 years, in which we never should have gotten involved.

if you want to put your husband at risk for something that is, largely, not our business, suit yourself.

but please stop deluding yourself--there is NO 'winning strategy' for security and stability in iraq. do you really believe this crap? all they are trying [desperately] to do now is find a way to get out -- and call iit 'victory'. if there were a 'winning strategy' don;t you think they might have tried it say, 4 years ago?

i feel sorry for you if you are this deluded.

Posted by: drindl | December 14, 2006 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I always suspected I couldn't trust Cillizza. Citing Mattingly, when it should have been Jim Rice, shows that he's a Yankees fan. Not a good thing.

Posted by: Nor'Easter | December 14, 2006 11:21 AM | Report abuse

How We Failed OUR Democracy

Twenty years from now, we will take a look back at this period in American life with disbelief and regret. In a Kabuki dance, the American public failed the American government, and the political parties--Democrats and Republicans alike, failed the essence of our democracy. History will not be kind to our generation, where we allowed an attack on our homeland to be used as a pretext for an ill conceived war, the three branches of government colluded in the misuse of trust and power, and the fourth estate meekly enabled an administration to lie to the public and exploit frayed nerves into a war of choice and a conflict of calamity. It goes without saying the harshest judgment lies at the feet of the Bush administration. After September 11th, Bush had an opportunity to coalesce the country under one purpose. The attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were not an attack on a political party nor on a religious faction, it was an attack on all of us. The banality of red state versus blue state disappeared for a day; the red blood of innocent victims was the state of our nation, and the blue color of sadness was the state of a collective loss of innocence. Instead, the images of lost lives, broken families, and charred out buildings was used as a blunt political tool--a day of tragedy morphed into 30 second political ads. A nation, unsettled and shaken to our core, was encouraged to go shopping and to buy stocks; devaluing the lost lives by placing primary importance on the valuations of Wall Street. Shortly thereafter, our collective anger and individual disquietude was manipulated by steady drumbeats on the path to war. Driven by an administration who viewed September 11th as an opportunity to initiate a war plan drawn up years before the first plane hit the first tower, we attacked a nation--based on a superfluous pretext--that neither attacked us nor posed a threat to our country. Unable to admit failure and transfixed on protecting a failed legacy, Bush imperils our soldiers as they stand grounded in the deserts of a broken civilization refereeing an Uncivil War; the red blood of our GI's and innocent Iraqis the state of a shattered Iraqi nation. The Bush administration's inept and aberrant designs notwithstanding, the Democratic Party's feeble and duplicitous acts of civil subservience will not escape the reaches of historical memory. For every act of treacherous, there is an act of silence; for every deed of trickery, there is a deed of self-suppression. In choosing complicity over courage, they disserted their post as the guardians of our republic. Fearing being labeled cowards and libeled as unpatriotic, they chose to proudly forswear their solemn oath to protect the Constitution from external and internal enemies. Those that hand the keys to an inebriated driver stand just as guilty for the eventual repercussions that follow--action and inaction are one in the same when lives are lost as a consequence of both. They stand before us today, those that cast their vote--and their lot--with a dogmatic ideology and a misbegotten war. It is true that victory has a thousand fathers, and defeat is an orphan--but history will remember whose DNA is embedded in this war's inception. In an unprecedented ceding of congressional oversight, the Democrat's went along with the Republican rubber stamp's imprimatur in signing a blank check to the executive war. George Bush today could attack another country without consulting congress based on that war resolution. These very Democratic malingerers stand before us today, so far doing NOTHING that would deem them worthy of the voters' trust, a trust given not out of confidence but out of dejection in the Republicans' performance. Some even speak of running for the presidency, which I'm sure they will be extolling the vices of this administration while ignoring their aiding and abetting that very administration. One who forfeited their congressional duties cannot be entrusted with the solemn duties of the presidency. Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, and all other Democratic member were presented with three years ago was the ability to displayed distinction and political courage, instead most chose weakness and political expediency. They stand complicit in this Iraqi fiasco; their vote is embedded in the DNA of this Iraqi debacle. The lack of fortitude does not end with the supposed loyal opposition. The fourth estate's ceding of their duties was just as abhorrent. The fabric of our nation is woven with an informed citizenship, the threads of veracity and guardianship of our rights entrusted to the press. Where our elected officials fail us, our press is supposed to act as a lighthouse, guiding the ship of the state from the peril shores of dictatorial bureaucracy. Our republic is maintained through the notepads of the journalist, the microphone of the reporter, and the ink of the press. The press is supposed to be a vigilante, arousing public sentiment to overcome governmental corruption. Instead, the vigilante became the cheerleader; their notepads turned into an instrument of diction, their microphones morphed into an echo chamber, and their pen ran yellow--spreading lies from power instead of speaking truth to it. Perhaps this is what happens when a free press is consolidated into a conglomerate, where the policies of the government it is supposed to oversee affects the bottom dollar of the various media's parent company. When a newspaper or news show has to answer to Wall Street as much as it answers to Main Street, we have a recipe for a press devoid of valor and derelict in its duties. The sad truth is that we as a nation failed our nation; we are stuck in a war where all options are dire. We stay and feed the flames of a Civil War, our very presence feeding the flames of hatred that threatens to engulf the whole region. Pull-out and we leave behind women, children and men to be massacred by a virulent enmity unleashed by our occupation. While it is immoral to leave an iniquity created by our own malfeasance, staying there does nothing but extend the day of Sunni and Shiite reckoning. We are in effect acting as a balancing scale, the longer we stay the longer we give a chance for the Shia to train and arm themselves to a point where they will be able to slaughter Sunni into submission. We leave today, and we embolden the Sunni establishment, which still have the technical know-how and the military prowess, to slaughter tens of thousands of Shiites on their way back to a minority ruling class. We are at a Faustian fulcrum, where our action or inaction will become the catalyst for a Kabuki dance of two sects determined to settle old scores and set the table for a new sectarian dominance in Iraq. Meanwhile, our Kabuki dance continues, debating the meaning of Civil War; and a new catchword--"bipartisanship"--is bandied about to yet again fail our democracy.

More on

Posted by: rawquip | December 14, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

There is more than life than Politics (Not much more but some). Baseball is part of the more. Mattingly deserves a place in the hall. Lets go NATS.

ProudtobeGOP and other:
The Iraq War is done. The President has two years to achieve a tactical withdrawal from the County and to address the consequnces of that withdrawal in the Middle Eat. If the United States is still in Iraq in the 2008, things will go very hard with you GOP.

Posted by: A. Hardwick | December 14, 2006 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Looks like drindl is one of those people "Out in Left Field" when it comes to the politics and sports overlaps.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"The nation's top uniformed leaders are recommending that the United States change its main military mission in Iraq from combating insurgents to supporting Iraqi troops and hunting terrorists.."

drindl, The important point here is that the Murtha/Pelosi/ISG vision for Iraq is DOA and the president is listening to people who actually have a winning strategy for security and stability in Iraq. The military is not tired of "making war" and sacrifices; not an option; won't happen... Leaving in defeat is not an option any American should be ok with.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | December 14, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

we may just get the fourth amendment back--hooray!

'The new majority does not have "the luxury of starting with a completely clean slate," Leahy said. "We begin, knowing that we have a duty -- a real duty -- to repair real damage done to our system of government over the past few years."

The six-term senator, who was infuriated by a lack of answers from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales when he testified about anti-terrorism wiretaps this year, said the Bush administration's top lawyer can "expect an invitation" to Senate Judiciary soon.

If more light is not shone on the electronic eavesdropping, Leahy is prepared to use the committee's subpoena power. This White House has "systematically eroded Americans' privacy rights" through its wiretapping and the creation of databanks and dossiers on law-abiding citizens, he said.

Citizens' privacy is "a price that the Bush administration is willing to pay for the cavalier way it is spawning new databanks," he said. The president needs to stop treating privacy as "an expendable commodity."

When it comes to privacy protections, the United States is using "analog rules in a digital world," he said. His committee is "way overdue in catching up on the erosion of privacy" and it will be "one of our highest priorities" next year.'

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:43 AM | Report abuse

read what the generals say, gop baby. try to come out of your self-induced coma..

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:41 AM | Report abuse

The ghouls and vultures, salivating over the body:

KILMEADE: Steve, remember we were down this road before? If something happens that Johnson can't continue, 50-50 with Dick Cheney breaking the tie.

DOOCY: That's right, and you know, in the state of South Dakota, I understand there is the issue of incapacitation. It's not spelled out in the state law, at the state level. However, the secretary of state of South Dakota says there would be a precedent at the federal level. Is that how you understand it as well Megan?

FOX ANCHOR: Yeah, indeed, there's a big laundry list that they would have to go through in order to determine that he is incapacitated. It's something that, ironically enough, might be weighed in on by his advisers. In other words, Sen. Harry Reid, the incoming majority leader, and Chuck Schumer, may advise him on whether he should declare his incapacity, if in fact he's in a position where he can declare it or not. And so, we'll have to see what happens in terms of, you know, what exactly his condition is and who's going to weigh in on whether it should be declared an incapacitation or whether that's just clear from the facts.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:37 AM | Report abuse

"Looks like our armchair chickenhawks ... are about to be disappointed by our military"

Semper Fi. No way that will ever happen.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | December 14, 2006 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Dilbert179, I think it would be easier to find out who is dragging up the rating to 14 percent.

Posted by: Andy R | December 14, 2006 10:28 AM | Report abuse

"A paltry seven percent said car salesmen had very high ethical standards"

In unrelated news, seven percent of respondents self-identified as car salesmen.

It would be interesting to note how the Congress numbers would change if specific examples of each profession were included (Hillary, McCain, Bush, Jefferson, Ney, "Your Congressman", etc.) Maybe we can figure out who's dragging down the rest of the group.

Posted by: dilbert719 | December 14, 2006 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Looks like repugs got one last big wet kiss to give to their corporate benefactors for christmas:

'A huge tax bill that Congress passed last week contained a little-noticed gift for select corporations -- tens of millions of dollars in breaks on import tariffs.

Early Saturday morning, in the frantic final hours of the 109th Congress, lawmakers rolled 520 tariff suspensions into the must-pass bill. The provisions will reduce or eliminate taxes on imported products as varied as shoes, camcorders and boiled oysters.

While such suspensions have been around for decades, the flurry of provisions pushed this Congress to a record of nearly 800 for the year. Corporate lobbyists often craft such suspensions to apply to just one product imported by just one company. Many of those companies and their executives have given millions of dollars to political campaigns.'

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

he Post goes inside with word from Homeland Security that the raids on meatpacking plants were the largest of its kind against one company and resulted in the arrests of 1,282 suspected illegal immigrants. But while other media outlets are publishing several good stories about the human consequences of these raids, which range from separated families, to abandoned babies, and even accusations that workers at the factories were separated by skin color, the papers largely ignore these angles.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 14, 2006 9:59 AM | Report abuse

The LAT's poll also reveals that 40 percent of Democrats said they don't know enough about Sen. Barack Obama to have an opinion on him. But it seems registered voters are still holding on to feelings that led to the GOP's demise in the midterm elections as 49 percent said they would prefer a Democrat to win the presidency in 2008. In their own presidential polls, the Post and WSJ don't focus on a hypothetical contest but instead note how Sen. Clinton and former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani lead their respective parties. Not surprisingly, voters see Iraq as the number one priority.

--So now, overnight the meme has changed and it's now Rudy vs. Hillary? I remember the last time that happened --in the NY senatorial contest. She was way ahead of him in polls, partly because he is so abrasive and nasty personally [and no doubt because in NY his serial adultery and hiring of mistresses to the city payroll was well known] -- until he dropped out to be treated for cancer.

Posted by: drindl | December 14, 2006 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Oh please no baseball. Politics/sports fans do not necessarily cross over. Boooorinnng.
The Washington Post leads with word that in a meeting with President Bush, the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommended a change in strategy for Iraq that involves switching away from combat to training Iraqi security forces and looking for terrorists. The military leaders at the Pentagon were also quick to emphasize there is only so much the military can do in Iraq and urged for a larger focus on solving the country's economic and political issues.'

Looks like our armchair chickenhawks who are cheering for endless war and a 'military solution' to make them like real men [in proxy, anyway] are about to be disappointed by our military, who I guess are tired of being the only people in the country making 'war' and sacrifices while everyone else just slaps a 50cent magnet and flag on their cars and feels they've done their part...

Posted by: drndl | December 14, 2006 9:51 AM | Report abuse

In addition to viewing negative ads about politicians, members of the public know instinctively that people who have to raise money to get their jobs have compromised themselves from day one.

Posted by: New York, NY | December 14, 2006 9:47 AM | Report abuse

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