Search Results For mike allen

There he goes again, the mouthpiece for Rove and Cheney, believing his "access" as a stenographer makes him a journalist. It doesn't. It makes him a stenographer.

Allen gussies up his source's bile with a few fig leaf sentences and a gesture from a Democratic rebuttal. But he also offers the entire Cheney statement – a classic Dolchstoss attack on the president as a traitor – in full.

I hope Allen gets his page-views. But shouldn't the Cheneys be paying him rather than Politico?

Greenwald tackles Allen:

Note, too, the sequence of events as Allen describes them:

While I was writing the piece, a very well-known former Bush administration official e-mailed some caustic criticism of Obama’s decision to release the memos. I asked the former official to be quoted by name, but this person refused, e-mailing: “Please use only on background.”

So these quotes arrived in Allen’s email inbox with no agreement that the quotes were off the record.  Thus, Allen was free to publish them and identity for his readers what Bush officials were saying about Obama.  But — exact like Tim Russert — Allen apparently treats his conversations with Bush officials as “presumptively confidential,” i.e., like a good and loyal P.R. spokesman, he will only report what he learns if they give him permission to do so — even in the absence of an explicit off-the-record agreement. 

Glenn then gets tough:

Allen’s excuse for anonymity was that readers could decide for themselves whether the anonymous Bush criticisms “sounded defensive or vindictive.” But he then confesses that he edited out “the most incendiary parts,” including “several ad hominems.” So, like a good servant-editor, he first helpfully sanitized the Bush official’s smears by making them appear more sober and substantive than they actually were — by removing all the parts that reflected vindictiveness towards Obama — and then justified the anonymity he granted by saying he wanted readers to see for themselves if the criticisms of Obama’s decision were grounded in vindictiveness. He evidently confessed all of that without realizing that his actions completely negate his claimed justification.

Greg Sargent gets a response from Mike Allen:

Sometimes ya have to read beyond a blog snippet. When people read our actual article, they’ll see that the headline and top two-thirds are an exclusive on David Axelrod’s behind-the-scenes description of the President’s decision-making process, followed by a shorter Bush view from a very high-level official whose opinion was available only on background — not ideal, but better than making readers wonder what the official Bush view is.

Anonymity is a problem in this case because it is allowing the Bush official to make unsubstantiated or opaque claims. Kori Schake, a former national security adviser on defense issues to President George W. Bush, went on the record against the memos. I'm sure others would have as well. I stand by my post. And Allen broke one of the most basic rules in fair journalism and should apologize, not dig in.

Mike Allen: Bush Mouthpiece

Andrew Sullivan —  Apr 16 2009 @ 9:44pm

Under what reasoning does Politico's Mike Allen give the following piece of spin anonymity?:

A former top official in the administration of President George W. Bush called the publication of the memos “unbelievable.”

“It's damaging because these are techniques that work, and by Obama's action today, we are telling the terrorists what they are,” the official said. “We have laid it all out for our enemies. This is totally unnecessary. … Publicizing the techniques does grave damage to our national security by ensuring they can never be used again — even in a ticking-time- bomb scenario where thousands or even millions of American lives are at stake."

“I don't believe Obama would intentionally endanger the nation, so it must be that he thinks either 1. the previous administration, including the CIA professionals who have defended this program, is lying about its importance and effectiveness, or 2. he believes we are no longer really at war and no longer face the kind of grave threat to our national security this program has protected against.”

Allen is allowing a member of the administration that broke the Geneva Conventions and commited war crimes to attack the current president and claim, without any substantiation, that the torture worked. He then allows that "top official" to proclaim things that are at the very least highly questionable. What journalistic standard is Allen following in allowing such a person to speak anonymously?

And how much lower can he sink in craving buzz and traffic?

Last week, in response to me, Douthat kicked off a conversation about reform conservatives’ foreign policy views. Ross, for his part, advocates for a “kind of unifying center for conservatives weary of current binaries (Tea Party versus RINOs in the domestic sphere, ‘isolationists’ versus ‘neocons’ in foreign policy), which would internalize lessons from the Bush and Obama eras (especially lessons about the limits of military interventions and nation-building efforts) without abandoning broad Pax Americana goals“:

I liked Ben Domenech’s way of framing this point, when he wrote [last week] in the Transom that the Republican Party “has always burke.jpgincluded realists and idealists, and there was in the past a degree of trust that elected leaders could sound more like idealists but govern more like realists.” It’s that trust that was forfeited by some of the Bush administration’s follies, and that needs to be recovered if the G.O.P. is to deserve anybody’s vote. But because it’s a trust, ultimately, in competence and caution, it’s a bit hard to say exactly what this kind of “new realism” or “realist internationalism” or “chastened idealism” (or whatever phrase you prefer) would look like case by case … beyond, I suppose, saying “let Robert Gates drink from the fountain of youth, and put him in charge of Republican foreign policy forever,” which is certainly an idea, but probably not a sufficient foundation for an actual agenda.

Justin Logan argues that a “big part of the problem here is the conservative donor class”:

To put it bluntly, the portion of the GOP donor class that cares about foreign policy is wedded to a militaristic foreign policy, particularly in but not limited to the Middle East. Tens of millions of dollars every year are pumped into an alphabet soup of magazines, think tanks, fellowships, lobby groups and other outfits in Washington to ensure that conservative foreign policy stays unreformed.

If we conceive of the Right broadly, comparatively dovish voices on the Right consist of Rand Paul, those writing at the American Conservative, and the foreign and defense policy staff at the Cato Institute, the latter of which Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot once derisively but not entirely inaccurately referred to as “four or five people in a phone booth.” (We have actual offices, for the record.) But until there is some larger countervailing force in the conservative movement, the well-financed and well-entrenched status quo will persist.

Suderman engages in the conversation:

Too much of our foreign policy conversation, on both sides of the aisle, is conducted with a kind of chest-thumping certainty about what we can know, what we should do, and what the results will be if we follow through. That attitude is perhaps understandable, given the context of war and international power, but it’s also frequently frustrating and unhelpful, especially given how difficult it can be to establish even the most basic facts on the ground when it comes to the particulars of many foreign policy conflicts and disputes.

A foreign policy of caution and humility, of uncertainty and wariness, might help help turn down the heat on foreign policy debates, by focusing on the limitations of America’s power and—even more—its ability to determine foreign policy outcomes, and by talking as much about what we don’t know as what we do.

Larison sees foreign policy as the GOP’s greatest weakness:

Bush-era foreign policy has been politically toxic for Republicans in three of the last four national elections. There is good reason to assume that it will continue to be an important liability in future presidential elections unless the party makes a clear break with at least some of its Bush-era assumptions and positions, and for the most part that isn’t happening at all. Until that happens, everyone outside the party will reasonably assume that the GOP hasn’t changed, that it has learned nothing, and that it still shouldn’t be trusted with the responsibility to conduct foreign policy. It seems unlikely that a domestic reform agenda will even get off the ground as long as the public doesn’t trust a Republican president to carry out some of his most important primary responsibilities.

But Drum remains skeptical that the GOP’s foreign policy split is real:

I’ve seen no evidence of change within the mainstream of the party. Aside from Paul, who are the non-interventionists? Where exactly is the fight? I don’t mean to suggest that everyone in the Republican Party is a full-blown unreconstructed neocon. There’s a continuum of opinion, just as there’s always been. But as near as I can tell they’re nearly all about as generally hawkish as they’ve ever been—and just as eager as ever to tar Democrats as a gang of feckless appeasers and UN lovers.

Kilgore is less dismissive of the GOP “civil war”:

I’m less interested in Paul’s own views than in the possibility that he will make it possible for other 2016 presidential candidates to break away from the old neocon and realist schools that share a commitment to higher defense spending and U.S. global hegemony. Already Ted Cruz has declared himself “half-way” between Paul and John McCain on foreign policy. And such potential candidates as Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal and even Mike Huckabee have the flexibility to position themselves at any number of points on the spectrum.

My concern is that their rubric for understanding Obama’s foreign policy is that he is weak, doesn’t call enough foreign leaders thugs and is too deliberative. It’s hard to see a response to that that doesn’t privilege the unreconstructed neocons and Cheneyites. Or, worse, the idiotic ramblings of Rubio.

This blog has long been generally supportive of the attempt by a handful of sane and intelligent conservative thinkers to brainstorm some kind of future for the American right. And who wouldn’t be? If the alternative is the brain dead 1979 redux position of someone like Kimberley Strassel, you gotta love Ross Douthat. But it strikes me there are deep challenges for this fledgling group of now Tanenhaus-blessed scholars, and they may be hard to overcome.

The first is the lack of any clear unifying theme or rallying cry that can meld policy to politics. “Reform” seems too vague and goo-goo a thatcherreagan.jpgtheme to catch on. On the core axis of more or less government, the reformicons rightly answer smaller, better government – but the “better” part always ends up a little duller than “smaller”. A child tax credit may or may not be a decent idea – but it’s very hard to fit it into the broader tradition of less government dependency. Ditto attempts to alleviate student debt, or to encourage the hiring of the long-term unemployed, or the block granting of anti-poverty funds to the states. All of them are hard to do when you demonize government itself as regularly as the Republican rank and file.

Perhaps the best scenario for a raft of such small, but potent policy proposals would be a Republican version of the Clinton administration – which bored the pants off ideologues but still connected with the tangible needs and concerns of most people. Alas, it’s hard to imagine a Clintonism of the right without a Clinton. It was Bill’s astonishing charm, loquaciousness, relentlessness and seduction that made these tedious laundry lists so popular. I do not see any such charismatic figure with such a direct and personal grasp of so many policy issues on the right. Maybe he or she will show up as a charismatic and brilliant governor. Or maybe not. If Ted Cruz is the new archetype of a Republican, never.

Within British conservatism, there are, in contrast, two competing traditions – Whig and Tory – that mitigate this problem. The Whiggish triumviratetimsloangetty.jpgfaction had its high watermark under Thatcher, a conservative who embraced market liberalism as the best foil to socialism. But the Tory faction never disappeared completely. Its rallying cry – and historical legacy – is “One Nation” Toryism, rooted in Disraeli’s conservative embrace of the working classes, and abhorrence at the vast social and economic inequalities of his time. It has no problem at all with government and its benefits. This would be a natural and identifiable tradition to embrace in Britain for a set of reformers like the Levin brigade. In America? No Disraeli ever existed – and no Bismarck either. Eisenhower may be the best analogue. And re-introducing Eisenhower to the next generation is a pretty heavy lift. The trouble with American conservatism is that it is, in essence, so new, and so wedded to a particular era, that it doesn’t have the depth and reach of a European conservatism that can provide a leader like Angela Merkel.

And then the reformicons are operating at a disadvantage in a culturally polarized America. It would be great if this were not the case – but since a huge amount of both parties’ base mobilization requires intensifying the cultural conflict, and since the divide is rooted in real responses to changing mores, it will likely endure. And that kind of climate makes pragmatic conservatism again less likely to get a hearing.

So, for example, I’m perfectly open to new ideas on, say, helping working class families with kids. But some pretty basic concerns about the current GOP on cultural issues – its open hostility to my own civil marriage, its absolutism on abortion, its panic at immigration, its tone-deafness on racial injustice – push me, and many others, into leaning Democrat for a while. And it’s important to note that even the reformicons are die-hard cultural and religious conservatives in most respects. On those questions, there is no airing of the idea of reform. mccameronbrunovincentgetty.jpgDavid Cameron’s post-Thatcher re-tooling of British conservatism took at least two major issues associated with the left-of-center – marriage equality and climate change – and embraced them fully. If the reformicons could do something like that, they would begin to gain traction outside of a few circles in DC and in the country at large. But they won’t; and, given the rigidity of the GOP base on those issues, can’t.

Then there’s the absence of any foreign policy vision. The fixation on domestic policy is welcome – but the greatest disaster in Republican government in the last decade was the Iraq War, and, more broadly, the massive over-reach of big government in trying to re-make the world into a democratic wonderland. To some extent, Rand Paul and Mike Lee have shown an ability to tackle this question – and favor a serious continuation of Obama’s de-leveraging of the US abroad, along with a further dismantling of the Cheney infrastructure for the war on terror. But the reformicons have never issued a clear rejection of Cheneyism, and indeed seem, f0r the most part, like unreconstructed neocons abroad. I can’t see any of them demanding some concessions from Israel for a two-state solution, for example, or any policy toward Iran but war. But they’re mainly silent on these burke.jpgquestions – which also marginalizes them. The most important Republican debate, it seems to me, is about the role of the US in the world in the 21st Century. Hegemon? Democratizer? Or simply great power? On this, the reformicons are silent. Their predecessors in the debates of the 1970s weren’t.

But maybe I’m being too glum. There are always unforeseen events to alter the future. Reagan’s 1980 victory was not seen until a few weeks before the November election. It’s certainly possible, although unlikely, that a Republican could win the presidency in 2016. But what I’d look for in the meantime in the reformicon future is what contribution they could make in the last two years of the Obama presidency. If the GOP controls both Houses, the country might look to them for some legislative action that the president could sign onto. If the country sees signs of actual policy progress, affecting their actual lives, thanks to reform conservative ideas and a pragmatic liberal president, then the atmosphere could change. Alas, I see the likelihood of that, in our current context, and in the run-up to 2016, to be close to impossible. It may take another epic national defeat for the GOP to take the reformers seriously. It took three consecutive lost national elections for the Tories to find Cameron. And part of me thinks that the best hope for the reformicons in the long run will be a Hillary Clinton victory in 2016.

I wonder how many of them, as they go to sleep at night, have quietly agreed with that.

The Unvetted Canard

Andrew Sullivan —  Jun 1 2012 @ 11:45am

Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen have decided that Republicans have a point when they claim that "reporters are scaring up stories to undermine the introduction of Mitt Romney to the general election audience – and once again downplaying ones that could hurt the president." Weigel revisits the facts:

You can't compare Obama 2012 to Romney 2012, because Obama's already been his party's nominee and won an election. Go back to Obama's first run. In April 2007, nearly a year before he became a campaign issue, the Times published a 2,593 word Jodi Kantor story (with addtional reporting from Kenya!) about Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his relationship to Barack Obama. The story appeared on A1. On May 11, 2008, when Obama had largely locked up the nomination but still had to fend off Hillary Clinton in tough states, the Times published a 5,024 word story titled "Pragmatic Politics, Forged on the South Side," which delved into Obama's relationship with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dorhn — "Hyde Park's fringes," and "unrepentant members of the radical Weather Underground that bombed the United States Capitol and the Pentagon to protest the Vietnam War." This also appeared on A1. …

Here's the issue: the "Obama wasn't vetted" outrage doesn't have any quantitative, factual proof.

If you're angry that Obama won in 2008, it sure feels like the media went too easy on him. It sure feels like the press was so interested in the story of the First Black President that it ignored stories that reflected poorly on him. Feeling isn't proving. Still, don't get me wrong — it's really interesting that Haley Barbour, a Republican lobbyist and former governor, thinks the media is being unfair to his party's candidate. One point to Politico!

Friedersdorf is flabbergasted by the lack of moral perspective: 

So to sum up, one candidate is portrayed, accurately, as being extremely rich, with a wife who has rich-person leisure-time pursuits; and the other candidate is portrayed, accurately, as someone whose secretive policies have wrought dead children, broken promises, violated due process rights, and possibly created more terrorists. And our political culture in the United States is so blinkered that the story about the rich candidate whose wife rides horses is regarded, by conservatives and savvy Politico journalists, as the one that is noteworthy for being negative; whereas the story about the Orwellian turn in the White House doesn't even merit mention. It isn't even raised as an example when "vetting Obama" is discussed.

Devin Gordon adds:

Let's get macro for a moment. This Politico story was written by Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen, two people at the very top of the organization's masthead. It's effectively an unsigned house editorial. And it levied a charge of journalistic malpractice at two of Politico's biggest rivals. The house position of Politico, as evidenced by this piece, is that they are fair and their chief competition is not. It's a thinly disguised, fundamentally craven argument for Politico's superiority in the world of political coverage. Let's call this article for what it was. It wasn't journalism. It was business. 

Frum’s Departure From AEI

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 26 2010 @ 10:47am


David tells Politico this:

“There's a lot about the story I don't really understand. But the core of the story is the kind of economic pressure that intellectual conservatives are under. AEI represents the best of the conservative world. [AEI President] Arthur Brooks is a brilliant man, and his books are fantastic. But the elite isn’t leading anymore. It’s trapped. Partly because of the desperate economic situation in the country, what were once the leading institutions of conservatism are constrained. I think Arthur took no pleasure in this. I think he was embarrassed. I think he would have avoided it if he possibly could, but he couldn't.”

Mike Allen adds:

Ask other AEI scholars how they felt about David’s mail and packages piling up outside his office.

Frum, who will be 50 in June, had been on the payroll since leaving the Bush White House in 2003. He acknowledges he was very seldom at the office. But he maintains he developed and spread conservative ideas — AEI’s stated goal — with the 300,000 words a year that he writes for his blog,; his weekly columns for, The Week, and the National Post of Canada; his biweekly offerings for TIME and American Public Media’s “Marketplace”; and his three TV and three radio appearances in a typical week.

But doesn't he get paid by CNN and Time as well, for example?

(Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty.)

Palin 1, Schmidt 0

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 8 2010 @ 10:32am


I was recently informed by an insider about how Mark Halperin and John Heilemann had a fantastic scoop in their upcoming election book about how Palin repeatedly couldn't get Joe Biden's name right in prepping for her high-wire debate performance. Mike Allen leads with the scoop today. But it isn't a scoop. Palin, with characteristic canniness, got in her own version of this story first. If Schmidt really wants to tell his side of this story, he needs to get real. But to get real, of course, he has to confess that he was guilty of near-criminal professional negligence in selecting Palin without knowing anything about her. And so Palin gets to tell her lies and spin with impunity. Because the GOP establishment is both so cynical and condescending to Palin's base (she was absolutely right to smell elitist contempt in the mindset of McCain), they will never take the Palinites head on. And because the professionals are busted, Palin gets to define the party and perhaps divide it more profoundly. The ridden tiger keeps burning brighter.

In many ways, these are perilous populist times for the Democrats. But when you see Palin stiffing CPAC, embracing the fringe Birther WND right, and when you see Rubio and Brown embrace torture, and when you witness the increasing clout of fundamentalism, and the extremity of the anti-government rhetoric … you wonder if McCain's massive blunder did not just destroy what hope he had in 2008, but was actually a slow-fuse detonator of the entire Republican coalition.

What a loser McCain is. His soul has been sold so many times now it's a wonder it's not on eBay. And yet he is so useless as a politician, so incapable of winning any national election, and so desperate to do so, he may also have destroyed his career and party in the process.

Quote For The Day

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 5 2010 @ 10:46am

"What’s he call up and say? 'I got a hot one for you, Jon. Can you take — what’s your email address?' Is that what he does?" – Chris Matthews on Cheney's media spokesman, Mike Allen of Politico.

As Chris says, this was "not reporting." It was fusing a journalistic enterprise with a political machine in order to gain page-views for a scoop and thereby money. And that's the danger of someone like Mike Allen getting so close to Dick Cheney that he is a stenographer-for-hire. Couldn't Cheney have just faxed his recent attack on the president to the press in general? Why does Mike Allen have to be his conduit? We know why. Allen has proved his worth to Cheney.

Video of Politico's Jonathan Martin trying and failing to defend the whoredom of his publication after the jump: