Monday, April 17, 2006

Hannity: Come sail away with me

Wake the neighbors, call the kids. In a rare display of courage and conviction, Sean Hannity, darling of Fox and right wingers everywhere has finally taken a principled stand: he's gonna go down with The Titanic:
Sean Hannity will not abandon ship. President Bush's approval ratings have sunk into the 30s, but Fox News Channel's tenacious conservative isn't wavering in his support, even while parting ways with the president over immigration and the Dubai ports deal.

"Let me be straight with you - I like George Bush," Hannity said. "I think he's a man of principle, a man of faith. I think he's got a backbone of steel and he's a real, genuine, big-time leader ... He's a consequential figure for his time. We don't see it right now."

History will vindicate Bush as a strong leader the same way it did Harry Truman, another unpopular president of his time, Hannity said.

. . .

He was wildly popular on Broadway, though. After Oliver North and Jackie Mason appeared as warm-up acts, Hannity stalked the stage. He offered a tentative Bill Clinton impersonation, made jokes about Ted Kennedy's drinking and attracted boos at the mere mention of Hillary Clinton's name. He called her "the ice princess."
(Sidenote: yes, that Oliver North:

Oliver Laurence North (born October 7, 1943) was a member of the Marine Corps who achieved the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. He rose to national prominence because of the Iran-Contra Affair, during which he was a key Reagan administration official involved in the clandestine selling of weapons to Iran in order to generate proceeds to support the Contra rebel group in violation of the law — specifically, a provision known as the "Boland Amendment". Today, he is a conservative political commentator, and host of the Fox News Channel program, War Stories, which is usually broadcast on Sunday evenings.)

But I digress. Hannity's instincts are usually right...wing, that is. Here are a few of his proudest moments. From the late, sometimes great Spinsanity:

Numerous lies abound, for instance, about former President Bill Clinton. Hannity cites an oft repeated lie that in a speech at Georgetown University, "Clinton seemingly blamed the vicious terrorist attacks on you and me and all Americans." Citing a passage from the speech in which Clinton noted that Europeans and Americans had engaged in atrocious acts in the past, such as the Crusades and slavery, Hannity says Clinton is providing a "justification for radical Islamic terrorism" and an "apology for terrorism."

. . .

Let Freedom Ring also accuses Clinton of "not effectively going after Osama Bin Laden" and suggests Clinton should have sent "a covert team over to the Middle East to take out Bin Laden." But Clinton, of course, did attempt to kill bin Laden with a cruise missile attack in 1998 and authorized several other overt and covert measures targeting the terrorist leader. He just failed. But such a claim could also be made thus far against President George W. Bush.

. . .

In other cases, Hannity can't even interpret the data from his own sources correctly. In a discussion of President Ronald Reagan's economic policies, he claims that "had all of Reagan's budgets been adopted federal spending would have been 25 percent less on a cumulative basis." This statement is immediately followed by a chart, reproduced from a Web site that shows that the total difference between federal budgets enacted from 1982 through 1989 and those proposed by President Reagan was $197.3 billion, or 2.7 percent (the 25 percent number on the chart is based on a flawed method of compounding the difference between each year's budget).

But wait, there's more. From Media Matters:
Sean Hannity claimed that the current unemployment rate "is literally ... lower than the '70s, '80s, and '90s." But while the current unemployment rate is, in fact, lower than the average unemployment rate for the 1990s it is higher than in 1998, 1999, and 2000 -- the last three years before President George W. Bush took office.

Sean Hannity repeated radio host Bill Bennett's false claim that Bennett was simply quoting from the book Freakonomics when he made controversial comments regarding blacks, crime, and abortion.

There's much, much more here to be mined.

Demonstrating his consistent picking of winners, we also have this from the first cite:
He has donated to some GOP officeholders, like Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum (since he's a commentator and not a journalist, he doesn't consider that a conflict). He professed to no political plans for himself.
Here's where Santorum is:
Senate poll has Casey up by 11 points over Santorum
The state Treasurer, Casey is beating Santorum by eight points, 47% to 39%. Part of Santorum’s trouble stems from the fact that just 40% give him a positive job approval rating, and fewer (38%) think he deserves to be re-elected

Here's where GWBush is:
President Bush’s job approval rating continues at 38%, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

And here's where Sean Hannity is:
Now that CBS has released an updated poll showing that a roughly equal percentage of Democrats and Republicans produces the same approval rating for Bush, those same media figures who denounced the prior poll have yet to report on the newest results.* Below are their prior denunciations:

Fox News host Sean Hannity, from the February 28 edition of Hannity & Colmes: "Look at, for example, you have these polls that came out today in CBS. And if you look at the headline, it says, "Bush lowest number in his presidency." The first thing we find out that nearly two to one they polled Democrats."

Based on his track record, I welcome Hannity's continuing support of GWBush, since it almost certainly portends failure. Dude, thanks.