Bob Schieffer is retiring as host of CBS’s Sunday morning political talk show, Face the Nation. CBS has announced that his replacement will be John Dickerson, who, among other things, is both the political director for CBS News and chief political correspondent for Slate magazine. Dickerson, a graduate of Sidwell Friends, is a perfect 21st century Democrat. This is how Dickerson described his upbringing:
In McLean, Va., in the 1970s, the suburban clusters had names written in script at the entrance gates, but my house was the only one I knew that had a name of its own. When my parents gave parties, it was my job to open the door, look each new arrival in the eye and say: “Welcome to Merrywood.”
The house, a 36-room Georgian-style mansion built in 1920, was veined with ivy and surrounded with old boxwood bushes that looked like broccoli when you flew over on the descent into nearby National Airport. Jacqueline Kennedy grew up there and Jack Kennedy worked on “Profiles in Courage” on the third floor.
Gore Vidal, who lived in what would become my brother’s room, put the house at the center of his 1967 novel “Washington, D.C.” …
My mother, Nancy Dickerson, was a reporter for CBS and NBC and the first female star of television news; my father, Wyatt Dickerson, was a successful businessman. Their parties, from the ’60s to the ’80s, attracted cabinet officials, movie stars and presidents.
Dickerson was a regular guest on Al Franken’s long-defunct Air America show. How far left is he? Ed Driscoll takes us down memory lane to this 2013 Slate piece: “Go for the Throat! Why if he wants to transform American politics, Obama must declare war on the Republican Party.”
The president who came into office speaking in lofty terms about bipartisanship and cooperation can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. If he wants to transform American politics, he must go for the throat. …
Obama’s only remaining option is to pulverize. Whether he succeeds in passing legislation or not, given his ambitions, his goal should be to delegitimize his opponents. Through a series of clarifying fights over controversial issues, he can force Republicans to either side with their coalition’s most extreme elements or cause a rift in the party that will leave it, at least temporarily, in disarray. …
The president already appears to be headed down this path. He has admitted he’s not going to spend much time improving his schmoozing skills; he’s going to get outside of Washington to ratchet up public pressure on Republicans. He is transforming his successful political operation into a governing operation. It will have his legacy and agenda in mind—and it won’t be affiliated with the Democratic National Committee, so it will be able to accept essentially unlimited donations. The president tried to use his political arm this way after the 2008 election, but he was constrained by re-election and his early promises of bipartisanship. No more. Those days are done.
The entire piece is a fevered recitation of Democratic Party talking points. Dickerson was fired up about gun control, global warming and immigration. He saw the GOP as more or less on its death bed, completely failing to foresee that two years later it would control the Senate and have more House members than at any time since 1928, not to mention 31 governorships and two-thirds of state legislative bodies. (Please, let’s have more gun control, global warming and immigration!)
Most professional news people are, as Glenn Reynolds puts it, Democratic Party operatives with bylines. But Dickerson is an extreme case. His appointment raises once again the question, why should Republicans go on television programs that are nothing but partisan left-wing operations? Why grant them that apparent legitimacy? Dickerson is on record as wanting to destroy the Republican Party, so why play his game? In my view, any Republican who goes on Face the Nation at this point is foolish.
Bear in mind, too, that in all election cycles prior to this one, hostile “journalists” like John Dickerson presided over GOP presidential primary debates. Their objective was to make all the Republican candidates, and the party as a whole, look bad. Reince Priebus has, I hope, finally put that practice to rest (although leftists will still preside over the general election debates). But incalculable damage has been done, over the years, by Democratic Party activists masquerading as objective journalists. Once they have been unmasked, there is no reason to cooperate in their efforts to, as Dickerson put it, “destroy the GOP.”