Tim Russert is an ass. It was an amazingly blatant setup. There are a few videos on the Meet the Press site but no full episode available yet.

  • Russert made no attempt to ask relevant questions or listen to Paul’s responses.
  • He often quoted Paul from the 1988 election when he was running as a Libertarian instead of quoting him from the 2008 race and therefore ignores his current platform. He takes 10 second sound bits as his platform instead of looking at what he actually says. He claims Paul wants to outright end SSI without mentioning that he wants to let it be phased out through voluntary involvement. Also some of the quotes he gives are not in Paul’s speech patterns and highly questionable.
  • On the topic of earmarks he completely dismisses his answer without consideration or understanding of the system. Russert acts as if the money won’t be spent anyway. Earmarks are to direct preexisting cash on hand. It’s not for allocating new funds. Why wouldn’t you try to get that money back? Earmarks are the only way to do so. By Russert’s logic if all but a single district were strictly constitutional than a single district could get all the other’s tax money spent in earmarks. That’s a retarded statement. Would Russert be asking those who wish to raise taxes to not take any tax writeoffs or pay the IRS what they would be paying if there was a tax increase? I highly doubt it.
  • On term limits: supporting term limits and voluntarily obeying an arbitrary term limit are completely different. They change the whole system. If you don’t have it placed uniformly accross the whole set of representitives you aren’t accomplishing anything by leaving. This is especially the case with Paul who is generally the only champion of the Constitution the legislative branch has. His one voice of opposition is far better than none. Why would cut off your nose to spite your face?
  • On immigration: Quoting Paul from 1987? 20 years and perhaps 10 million illegal immigrants later? How is that in any way relevant? Paul mentions that it ought to be an economics issue and he’s the only one that treats it that way yet Russert does not follow up on that.
  • On income tax: Russert simply doesn’t listen to the “We had about the same revenue that we had 10 years ago” statement by Paul. Does Russert believe that during the Clinton years our country was in the toilet financially? I really can’t believe anyone could argue this point. Then Russert goes on to say “You’ve got nothing?” with regards to a replacement for the income tax. He did not listen to a word Paul said. He isn’t Huckabee. He doesn’t want a national sales tax. It isn’t needed. Cut our ridiculous spending and you can both end the income tax and work on paying off the national debt.
  • North Korea invading South? Iran invading Israel? Does he seriously believe those things would happen? Does he think South Korea and Israel are helpless? If they are it’s because of us. If they have a booming economy it’s because of our military subsidies. Why can’t they pick up their own protection tab? We get in the way of these people talking. We stir up trouble. Does Russert think that the POTUS has the authority to just go to war? No he doesn’t. It’s clearly laid out in the Constitution. Black and white. Is Russert asking Paul to disobey the highest law of the land? Does he realize the amount of debt the nation has? Why are we to bankrupt ourselves attempting to ‘protect’ those who have the means to do so themselves?
  • The Huckabee ad: Russert continuously interrupts Paul while he attempts to answer his question. Which if he had done any research would have known that Paul already answered this the other day (1:07:00). The Sinclair Lewis Society did not say he didn’t say the quote… they said he didn’t say that exact quote but they did bring up two quotes with similar content and context. Does Russert question others who have used Founding Father’s quotes in different syntax. It happens all the time.
  • “How have we, the United States, provoked al-Qaeda?” Maybe if he understood journalism he’d have done some research before the ‘interview.’ Perhaps Tim Russert needs to read the same books Dr. Paul instructed Giuliani to read. Is it really that difficult to believe that they would be pissed if we go and screw with their political system, their economic system, and insult their religion?
  • On running as a Republican: Again… some research would be nice. Neo-cons are not equivalent to the Republican party. It’s obvious that Reagen’s and GWB’s platform while running were not implemented. Why is it difficult to understand supporting a persons platform and not what they actually did? Especially given that the POTUS is not a dictator. He doesn’t make law… or isn’t supposed to anyway. So it’s not possible to just impliment whatever you like. And besides… isn’t 20 years as a Republican congressman enough to prove he’s in the least considered one by his constituents? Sure he resigned from the Republican Party in ’88. He ran on the Libertarian ticket. I don’t believe the Libertarians allow you to be registered in another party. Besides it wouldn’t have looked good if he could have and did. Lets see if next week he actually asks Huckabee or Obama if they will run 3rd party.
  • On the Civil Rights Act: Does Russert really equate government school racism and private property bigotry? Could these people please explain to me why it’s OK for the federal government to use the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to dictate who I can sell wares to in my privately owned business? Is he saying that the federal government should be able to dictate what we do with our property based on our beliefs?
  • On the question of Lincoln and the Civil war: Another wonderful example of minipulation by he school system. Lincoln was a horrible president and had no respect for the rule of law. He wasn’t concerned with slavery. Just take a look the Emancipation Proclamation. It didn’t free the slaves. Why was it that we are the only nation to supposedly go to war over slavery?
  • As USADaily said: Russert appeared so caught up in his attempts to try and ‘Catch’ Paul in a lie or hypocrisy of some sort even attempted to say that Paul’s support for an amendment to the Constitution eliminating birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens was somehow at odds with his being a supporter of the Constitution. Constitutionalists often complain that legislators make laws that violate the Constitution rather than amending it as required by law. Russert appeared not to understand this.

This ‘interview’ was a complete failure and was in no way Paul’s fault. Russert is a dirtbag with no journalistic integrity. He either choose to be ignorant and do no actual research or it was a set up to make Paul look bad. Given all the quotes from the 1980′s and manipulation of his words and ideas which have already been well fleshed out I’m betting the latter is the case. I think we have a new ‘most bias’ interview. The old one pales in comparison.

UPDATE:

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4

What really bugs me now is that noone is consistent on this story. Lew Rockwell thinks Paul kicked Russert’s ass. Others think Paul did alright on some things. Others think he get spanked. Seems generally those who support him think he did well, those in the middle did alright and those against thought he did poorly. And some simply don’t pay attention.