William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 10:24 P.M. ET:

JUST WHAT WE NEEDED – A new caucus, encompassing the far left, has been born in the House of Representatives.  There was a deep yearning for this.  The caucus is made up of six board-certified loonies who've embraced every left-wing cause imaginable:  Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif), and Mike Honda (D-Calif).  They're already calling themselves the Gang of Six.  Barbara Lee is noted for being the only member of Congress to vote against military action following the 9-11 attacks, and for being a fan of Fidel Castro.  Keith Ellison once was a follower of Louis Farrakhan, but claims he isn't any longer.  The others are of similar bent.  I guess we'll soon be putting Lenin on a stamp.

THE DIAGNOSIS – Jeff Zucker, being brought in to rescue CNN as its new president, says the network needs more passion.  Zucker is an experienced, largely successful broadcaster, but I think he may be off-base on this one.  What CNN needs is passion about the right things.  The problem is that it claims to be neutral, but is actually a fairly typical, liberally oriented mainstream broadcaster.  Soledad O'Brien will not be mistaken for a conservative.  CNN isn't making it because there's nothing special about its content.  Fox is successful because it contains stories and points of view not heard elsewhere.  It has given a voice to those who'd felt excluded by the Manhattan- and Washington-based media.

HILLARY'S VOICE – Lots of leaked stories on the internet that Hillary Clinton would prefer John Kerry to succeed her at State, rather than the embattled Susan Rice.  Who is the source of these stories?  Is it Hillary, asserting her clout as the probable Dem nominee for president in 2016?  (It's hardly a secret that she doesn't like Rice, who abandoned the Clintons to support Obama in 2008.)  Or is it the White House, which is looking to throw Rice under the bus so Obama doesn't have to nominate a controversial nominee right out of the second-term gate?  Hard to know, but the leaks feel more like Clinton's.  If I were Obama, I'd take Clinton's opposition seriously.  It's personal.  Why antagonize Clinton, who will soon be free to leak a lot of stories about the Obamans?  She's an enemy.  He's kept her close, and it's benefited him.  Why ruin it by waving Susan Rice in front of her?

December 1, 2012