Fox News Gregg Jarrett Is Skeptical Of A Sarah Palin Presidential Bid?

Fox News’s Gregg Jarrett and Republican Strategist Noelle Nikpour debated the strength of the GOP’s presumed 2012 contenders on Studio B Friday, with Jarrett questioning whether Sarah Palin’s got the experience to be a top presidential prospect:

JARRETT: Some are saying the existing field for 2012 is weak–would you agree?

NIKPOUR: I do not agree. I think 2012, the Republicans have a lot of people that have experience.


NIKPOUR: Well, I mean, think about it. You’ve got Mitt Romney, you’ve got Newt Gingrich thinking about getting in the hat, you’ve got my very own ex-Governor, Gov. Huckabee, who has one heckuva lot of experience.

Jarrett concludes, “I noticed and it was very conspicuous, when I asked you who had experience, you did not name Sarah Palin, Noelle.”

Later, in a discussion of how potential Republican candidates shape up against President Obama in early polling, Jarrett again knocks Nikpour for suggesting that the “whoever is against Obama has a really good chance of winning.”

JARRETT: No, not whoever. Cause there’s a couple of people who do not match up well, against President Obama, including Sarah Palin. I can’t let you get away with that.

Watch the full exchange, from Fox News:

2012 Poll: Romney Over Obama In General Election, But Palin Over Romney In Primary

A new Quinnipiac University poll has some interesting results as to how the next two years of political maneuvering might play out. It’s a long way until 2012, of course, but those polled chose Mitt Romney over President Obama by a slim margin, while Obama still held a similarly slim lead over Fox News pundit Mike Huckabee. As for that other Fox News pundit prowling the arena? Sarah Palin lags behind the President by eight points—however, the poll also shows that she would defeat Romney in the Republican primary.

So does this spell out a possible Christine O’Donnell/Joe Miller scenario, in which an “outsider” conservative favored by the Tea Party faction pushes out a moderate establishment candidate that stands a much better chance in a general election?

It looks like it. Democratic consultant Jim Spencer largely attributes Romeny’s general election lead to name recognition. But name recognition is probably the least of Palin’s problems—it’s the issue of how it’s recognized. According to the poll:

Ms. Palin is viewed the most negatively by the American people of the possible Republican candidates in 2012. She is viewed unfavorable by 51 percent of voters and favorably by 36 percent. Among independents, the key swing voting bloc, she has a negative 54 – 33 percent favorability rating.

The 2012 Republican Convention could be quite a show. Watch Spencer discuss the poll with a Fox News affiliate in the clip below.

Is Mitt Romney The Hillary Clinton Of The Right?

As Tea Party Fever spreads in conservative circles, many established Republicans are trying to catch it — look no further than once-moderate-ish leaders like Newt Gingrich pandering to his party’s newly fervent populist wing. Mitt Romney, however, is hardly ever confused for a populist, and that’s why the seers at NPR suspect his 2012 campaign might go the way of Hillary Clinton’s, circa 2008.

How does NPR think the fiscally oriented former governor of Massachusetts — the state of school field trips to mosques, gay marriage, but also, to a lesser extent, Scott Brown — will fare against the new wave of anti-establishment culture warriors? Not well:

The Tea Party movement means many things to different people, but it means one thing to Mr. Romney. It means the Republican riptide he reasonably expected to ride in 2012 is rushing past him instead, lifting other vessels quite different from his own.

No surprise there, nor in the fact that the almost robotically slick Romney lost to the more fleshy, salt-of-the-earth Mike Huckabee in a poll at this weekend’s Values Voters Summit. What raises eyebrows is the prospect of Romney being the Clinton of the Republican Party:

Underestimating the power of activists, even small numbers of them in places like Idaho and Nebraska and Kansas, ultimately cost Hillary Clinton the nomination she once assumed was hers. … So in this preidential cycle, we are all paying more attention to the populists. Maybe too much attention. But then, if you are Mitt Romney, can you ignore the lesson Hillary learned so bitterly?

Not anymore, he can’t. The last thing Romney probably wants is to be compared — by NPR, no less — to Hillary Clinton. But 2012 is a long way from now — if you can recall, almost nobody during the 2008 primary season had heard of Sarah Palin, Christine O’Donnell, or tea parties that weren’t thrown by dead Bostonians or living children — and, if he heeds NPR’s advice, Romney just might have a chance yet.

Chris Matthews Worries GOP Will Have More Trouble With Palin Than With Democrats

With the midterm elections rapidly approaching, the fixation on the Republican Party’s chances for a comeback are evolving into speculation over the future of the GOP should the Tea Party make a serious indent on their collective persona. In light of this, Chris Matthews argued Friday night that the GOP’s biggest problem will not be President Obama or the Democrats, or even the Tea Party candidates themselves, but what to do about Sarah Palin, the candidate.

“There’s no doubt in the world that she… carries tremendous clout when she endorses candidates,” Matthews conceded. But for the Party, that may not be the greatest thing, he argued, because “the person now leading the party in terms of popular influence can’t pass muster with the party’s established leaders.” Meaning: she doesn’t have the credentials to fill the shoes she’s currently wearing.

Matthews continued, wondering whether other potential 2012 candidates would feel comfortable endorsing her: “Ask Mitt Romney: does he really think deep down Sarah Palin has the right stuff to lead this country?” And as for the entire party itself, he presented them what he believes is the key to their success with her as leader:

“Do they buy all this talk of hers that all America needs in this second decade of the 21st Century are common sense conservative solutions? That a regular person with regular off-the-shelf answers can deal with the tricky, complex questions of economics, science, and international relations now before the country?”

And if they don’t believe this, he concluded, “how can you win the love of the Tea Partiers if you don’t believe in the presidential ability of their hero?”

Matthews comments from last Friday’s Hardball via MSNBC below:

Jon Stewart Equates Imam Rauf’s Alleged “Threats” To GOP Rhetoric Of Past Elections

On the day that a glowing magazine profile on Jon Stewart came out, The Daily Show host did not disappoint the presumed handful of New York readers who tuned in last night having just learned about the late night news-comedy host. Last night’s opening topic? “Islamophobiapalooza!” — a theme that Stewart used to connect the media firestorm over Rev. Terry Jones and Imam Rauf’s comments to the very “threats” alleged to have been made by Dick Cheney, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani in past presidential elections.

The following segment opens with numerous examples of the news media reporting on the Florida minister (and his now notorious “Burn a Koran Day” publicity stunt) and the media hand wringing over its own coverage. The highlight is MSNBC’s Cenk Uygur admonishing the media to ignore Jones, then instantly getting interrupted to cut to live coverage of Pastor Jones’ press event. Stewart compares the media to the dog on the movie Up! (“Squirrel!”) It’s funny because it’s true.

Stewart then brings his attention to Fox News’ own part in the alleged Islamophobic media spectacle by airing clips that focused on Imam Rauf and the Islamic community center planned for Lower Manhattan. Fox News appears quite comfortable calling it the “Ground Zero Mosque,” The Daily Show chooses the only slightly more hyperbolic “Community Center of Death.”

When Imam Rauf recently told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that he feared moving the community center from its current location would send a dangerous message to radical extremists, many on Fox News openly questioned whether or not this constituted a threat to American security. To prove their point, Stewart then aired numerous clips of Cheney, Romney, and Giuliani effectively making similar remarks in past elections that claimed that voting for Democrats would embolden the very radical extremists referenced by Fox News.

As per usual, it’s a very funny, smart and super effective segment that highlights the many absurdities in recent media coverage of all things Islamic.

Bill Press Challenges Glenn Beck to ‘Liberation Theology’ Debate

On his radio show yesterday, Glenn Beck criticized progressive radio host Bill Press over remarks Press made on Countdown that were critical of Beck’s analysis of President Obama’s religion. Press said of Beck “We don’t need a Mormon to teach Christians what the gospels are all about.” Beck then reiterated his criticism of the president’s faith, and said he would welcome a correction “if I’m wrong.”

Press, who Beck also said had apparently “(n)ever gotten anywhere near the Gospels,” studied 10 years for the priesthood, and has a degree in theology. He tells Mediaite that he’s happy to correct Beck in a one-on-one debate on liberation theology, anywhere, anytime.

The day after the “Restoring Honor” rally, Glenn Beck appeared on Fox News Sunday, where he stood by his statement that President Obama’s faith is a “perversion of the Christian gospel.”

In response, Bill Press appeared on Countdown to point out that Beck, who is a Mormon, faces similar criticism from some evangelical Christians who don’t recognize Mormons as Christians, and took a parting shot at Beck’s criticism of Obama by saying “We don’t need a Mormon to teach Christians what the gospels are all about.” (a remark to which I objected in my column.)

Beck then complained on his show about Press’ attack, before then continuing to criticize the President’s faith, which he claims is “liberation theology.” Here are some of the issues he seems to take with liberation theology, which he described to Chris Wallace as “Marxism disguised as religion.”:

You see, it’s all about victims and victim-hood; oppressors and the oppressed; reparations, not repentance; collectivism, not individual salvation.

I don’t know what that is, other than it’s not Muslim, it’s not Christian. It’s a perversion of the gospel of Jesus Christ as most Christians know it.

Beck has said of his views on liberation theology, “If I’m wrong, I’ll correct it.” To that end, Press has offered to debate Beck on the subject: (via email)

As a firm believer in liberation theology, I’m sick and tired of hearing Glenn Beck, who is himself a Mormon, condemn it as a Marxist form of Christianity and a perversion of the gospels. In the same breath, Beck always adds: If I’m wrong, just tell me. OK, I accept his challenge. And, in return, I challenge him to a debate on liberation theology: anywhere, anytime, on his radio show or mine, or on his television show. Let’s settle it once and for all: Is liberation theology inspired by Jesus Christ or Karl Marx? We’ll find out if Beck is willing to debate someone who really knows what he’s talking about.

Press laid the groundwork in his column today, taking on Beck’s notion of liberation theology. The entire column goes into the origins of liberation theology, but this section sums it up well:

Just read the Gospels, Matthew 25, where Jesus tells his followers how God will separate the sheep from the goats on Judgment Day. “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. … I needed clothes, and you clothed me.” When did we do all that, they asked? And, in response, these defining words: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

According to liberation theology, in other words, Christianity is not about whether you believe in this doctrine or that. It’s whether you imitate Jesus in helping “liberate” the poor from social, economic, and political hardship. That’s not a perversion of the Gospel. It IS the Gospel.

One could argue that, to the beneficiary of an uneven playing field, it’s easy to see how social justice can look like “Marxism,” just as where the mouse sees salvation, the hawk sees starvation. This is the peril of having anyone’s spiritual beliefs defined by outsiders.

Press goes on to cite his theological bona fides, before doubling down on his previous shot at Beck’s Mormonism:

…after high school, I joined the seminary. I studied 10 years for the Catholic priesthood as a member of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales. I taught high school religion. And, as part of my training, I received a degree in theology from the University of Fribourg in Switzerland, where I studied Scripture in Latin and Greek. So, yes, I know the Gospels.

As a Christian, however, I would never dare tell a Jew how to practice Judaism, nor a Muslim how to practice Islam. And I repeat: We don’t need a Mormon, especially one named Glenn Beck, to teach Christians what the Gospel is all about.

For the record, I’m no theological expert, but I don’t see how Bill Press has any more right to question Beck’s Christianity than Beck has to question Obama’s. Conversely, it’s unclear how Beck can object to Press’ statement, while continuing to question the authenticity of the President’s faith.

Just as Beck seeks to understand liberation theology, he and Press could help to dispel misconceptions about Beck’s faith. Everyone has the right to believe as they see fit, but in a civilized society, they also deserve to define their own beliefs, rather than have them defined by outsiders. That’s true for Glenn Beck, for Bill Press, and for Barack Obama.

Glenn Beck Mistakenly Accuses Mediaite Column Of Attacking His Religion

On his radio program today, loyal Mediaite reader Glenn Beck struck back at attacks on his Mormon faith, even on ones that don’t exist. “Bill Press and Tommy Christopher…have written a despicably ignorant article in Mediaite,” Beck said, before playing a clip of Press saying “We don’t need a Mormon to teach Christians what the gospels are all about.”

Of course, Press didn’t co-write the article in question, and the entire point of the article referenced by Beck was that Press should no more attack Glenn Beck’s faith than Beck should attack President Obama’s.

First, some background. In the article to which Beck refers, we embedded a clip of Bill Press criticizing Glenn Beck for making reference to President Obama’s faith as a “perversion of the gospel,” followed by Press launching his own attack at Beck’s Mormon faith. The premise of the piece is that anyone who holds articles of faith is ill-equipped to judge another’s, since such articles are necessarily impossible to prove or disprove.

In this clip from today’s show, Beck never gets around to saying which part of the article he finds despicable, but even as he complains about attacks on his own religion, he continues to attack Obama’s, and questions Bill Press’ adherence to his own faith, to boot:

Beck’s insistence that he’s not “judging” Bill Press or President Obama sounds a lot like the bit where Jon Stewart just tacks “no offense” onto the end of whatever offensive thing he just said. If Beck is just “explaining” Obama’s faith by calling it a “perversion of the gospel,” then I suppose Press was just “explaining” that Christians don’t need Beck to tell them what the gospels are all about.

Beck goes on to say that the people who are now defending Barack Obama’s faith are the same ones who attacked Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith during the 2008 presidential primaries. For the record, here are some of my quotes from that period:

“(Romney) hit all the right notes for people with a casual curiosity about the divide between Mormons and other Christians, pointing to common religious ground and a shared love of our country” (12/06/2007)

It would be foolish to vote for a presidential candidate on the basis of something completely irrelevant to the job, yet there hardly seems to be an article on Mitt Romney that doesn’t codify that notion. In truth, our media bandies all sorts of irreleventia about all of the candidates, but none so specifically and unfairly. (01/06/2008)

“Romney was a candidate who was unfairly persecuted for his religion” (02/08/2008)

You get the idea. In fact, the majority of those attacks, as with the current ones against Beck, were from Evangelical conservatives (with one notable exception, upon which I reported at length).

Furthermore, Glenn Beck gets no fairer a shake than he gets at Mediaite, even from his critics. While I have been vocal and specific in my criticism of Beck, I also reported that donations to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation had covered the cost of the “Restoring Honor” rally well in advance of the event, that Sarah Palin would not receive a speaking fee, and that controversial rocker Ted Nugent would not be appearing.

I’m happy to discuss how I didn’t attack his religion, and will join him in loudly demanding an apology from Bill Press, as soon as Beck offers his own apology to President Obama.