Tax-cut color commentators


Anthony York
March 9, 2001 2:31AM (UTC)

Weblines

Drudge Report: "NY Times: SEC said to be investigating Amazon's Bezos"
BuzzFlash: "Bush abandons all pretense of bipartisanship: Rams tax cut for rich down Dems throat"
Peggy Noonan: "What happened to dour Republicans and devil-may-care Democrats?"
Feed: "The man who plans to skydive from space"
Kausfiles: Joe Klein for mayor of New York!

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Big buzz

Tax cut fans are keeping running odds on the progress of President Bush's tax cut as it makes its way through Congress. Before it came up for a vote in the House, it was reported that Rep. Ralph Hall, D-Texas, would break from Democratic ranks and support the cut. "Just heard Congressman Ralph Hall from Texas, who supports even more of a tax cut," wrote one Free Republic poster. "Hall is one Blue Dog Democrat we should all thank and support!" On Lucianne.com, posters blasted a proposal endorsed by a bipartisan group of senators to tie any tax cuts to the projected budget surplus. "Dumb idea in many respects, but the worst is the economic effects. Let's assume that we have a modest economic downturn, i.e. sufficient to force down some of these surplus estimates. What happens then??"

But diehard liberals continue to bash the Bush plan. "Bush has been collecting his momentum and preparing to roll his crushing rock of an agenda downhill on all who live there," wrote a poster at SmirkingChimp.com. "We do have the power to fight back with our pocketbooks as well as with the late waking Democrats."

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The vote comes after House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt proclaimed the end of bipartisanship on the House floor Wednesday when the GOP moved swiftly to repeal Clinton-era ergonomics regulations. The partisan declaration of war was welcomed at BuzzFlash.com. "Welcome to reality, Dick," its headline proclaims.

Anger management

President Bush told reporters Wednesday that the U.S. would abandon another Clinton-era policy -- negotiating with North Korea about a possible new arms reduction treaty. The announcement came as a rebuff to South Korean President Kim Dae Jung, who met with Bush in Washington. But it also came in that inimitable Bush style: "We're not certain as to whether or not they're keeping all terms of all agreements," Bush told reporters Wednesday.

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But as the New York Times reports, the United States "has only one agreement with North Korea -- the 1994 accord that froze North Korea's plutonium processing at a suspected nuclear weapons plant. And at a briefing this afternoon two senior administration officials, asked about the president's statement, said there was no evidence that North Korea is violating its terms."

Moving quickly into cleanup mode, a White House spokesman told the Times that "Bush was referring to his concern about whether the North would comply with future accords, even though he did not use the future tense. 'That's how the president speaks,'" the official said.

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Online, the red-meaters were not so forgiving. "I guess Bush has to give up on peacemaking," wrote a poster on Plastic.com. "Can you imagine trying to be an interpreter at peace talks where one head of state can't use the future tense in his native tongue? Bush will have to settle for being the inarticulate thug of international relations. And won't that impress out friends?"

Maybe the problem was that Bush made the announcement without his human cue card, Dick Cheney. Allegations of a sort of ventriloquism between the prez and his No. 2 surfaced again on CNN.

"I noticed something about you. I noticed your body language, your facial expressions and your eyes, and I noticed that the president kept looking at you. And you were indicating your attitude, your feelings about questions being asked. And it was clear that you two gentlemen have a way, a silent way, of communicating with each other. Explain that," CNN's Bernard Shaw said to Cheney last week. Humberto from Plastic.com chimes in with this theory: "They must have some kind of code worked out. It would be interesting to try to decode it. Maybe if Cheney rolls his eyes to the right it means Bush should say 'yes,' to the left 'no.' I haven't seen them both together, but does Cheney cough all of a sudden without reason? Maybe that's a 'back off from that topic' signal."

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At CNN, it's King vs. King [New York Post]
A private e-mail from CNN correspondent John King to his bosses in which he blasts colleague Larry King was reported Thursday, and the online community is abuzz.

"In a confidential missive to four top CNN executives and his supervisor, Washington bureau chief Frank Sesno, John King wrote, 'Today I watched in shame and horror as Larry King not only was master of ceremonies at a Bush inaugural event but also as we put him live on the air, first introducing some entertainment, then as he shamelessly rushed on stage to hug the president-elect and entertainer Ricky Martin," reads the memo, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Brill's Content.

On her Web site, Lucianne Goldberg puts it this way: "Seems this simple lesson was lost on CNN's gormless correspondent John King. Page Six (how could one live without Page Six?) got a hold of a note John wrote slamming Larry King for hugging W. during the Inaugural festivities. Apparently everyone but John knows Larry's a major league suck-up. John even takes a swipe at CNN in general."

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One Lucianne poster was delighted at what she viewed as the liberal media eating its young. "It is so much fun watching Liberals loose it. Democrats are turning on each other. CNN turning on each other. Keep it up guys! This is better than any comedy show I have ever seen in my life!"

Taking name-calling to a new level [Democrats.com]
Democrats.com has secured the rights to the URL rightwingfruitcakes.com, and redirects the site to Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com. The release on the Democrats.com home page reads, "Democrats.com is pleased to announce that Richard Viguerie's ConservativeHQ.com will now be known as RightwingFruitcakes.com. "The response to our re-labeling of FreeRepublic.com as RightwingNuts.com was so overwhelming we knew we were on to something," writes Democrats.com co-founder David Lytel.


Anthony York

Anthony York is Salon's Washington correspondent.

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