Hannity & Colmes substitute host Estrich: progressive standard-bearer?

››› ››› ANDREW SEIFTER

On June 4, filling in for co-host Alan Colmes on FOX News Channel's Hannity & Colmes, FOX News political analyst Susan Estrich -- expressing her affection for co-host Sean Hannity and noting her friendship with guests Newt Gingrich and Ann Coulter -- failed to counter many of their attacks on the show against prominent Democrats and progressives; indeed, Estrich affirmed some of those attacks.

As Media Matters for America noted on June 9, Estrich joined Hannity, Gingrich, and Coulter in purporting to diagnose former Vice President Al Gore's psychiatric state based on Gore's May 26 speech on America's Iraq policy, saying, "He's off the deep end." But Estrich's harsh words for Democrats did not end with Gore.

Estrich on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY):

GINGRICH: [Former President Bill] Clinton has, I think, to some extent mellowed and also I believe that a successful Clinton book tour by a more statesman-like Bill Clinton is not a bad prelude to the 2008 campaign by Senator Clinton.

ESTRICH: Oh, no.

HANNITY: I think you just about nailed it. It's coming.

[crosstalk]

ESTRICH: You [Gingrich] remind me of him. And I can see you two getting along, but she can't get elected, can she now?

GINGRICH: Oh, she is, I think, one of the most professional people in politics today.

ESTRICH: Well, I didn't say that.

GINGRICH: I think she is very formidable.

Estrich (who was quoted by The Philadelphia Inquirer saying, "They [the Clintons] need to shut up ... stop sucking up all the oxygen."):

ESTRICH: I mean, what are we, guys like you and I, girls and guys like you and I, Bob, supposed to think of a book [My Life] by our friend, the former president, that's coming out on June 22 when John Kerry is supposed to be in full ascendancy.

ROBERT REICH, FORMER CLINTON LABOR SECRETARY: Well, Susan, it's better coming out in June than it is coming out in August or September or October.

ESTRICH: This is true. But why now?

REICH: You mean why not wait until after the election altogether?

ESTRICH: Or maybe not write a book in June.

Estrich on "the left" and on the national progressive entertainment talk radio network Air America Radio:

HANNITY: I mean, we hear this. We've got Soros -- wait a minute. We've got Soros; we've got Podesta. We've got them going into talk radio.

But when you watch what they're doing they seem to want to attack personally conservatives just like they have hatred for George W. Bush, but they don't have ideas. Where are the ideas on the left? Where is the thinking liberal?

ESTRICH: I don't know. I don't have a full-time job on TV, so I can't tell you.

I don't know any liberal radio except the one that's failing. [For more information on Air America, see the May 31 New York Times article republished by Common Dreams; despite early financial troubles, Air America has been attracting listeners. Midday ratings for WLIB-AM in New York, which include three hours of The O'Franken Factor have been higher than the midday ratings for WABC-AM, which include three hours of The Rush Limbaugh Show.] I don't know liberal television, you know, that doesn't exist. All right.

Estrich on former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and, again, on Gore:

HANNITY: Are you embarrassed -- are you embarrassed, Susan, by the rhetoric of -- we're going to show Dean in a minute, but by the rhetoric of Gore, by the rhetoric of Dean? By -- well, let me...

ESTRICH: I'm so thrilled that I don't have to defend these people. I'm so thrilled that they're not the nominee.

Estrich also made clear that she "like[s]" Gingrich and Hannity; and she introduced Coulter as "my improbable friend." Estrich on Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity:

ESTRICH: Welcome back to Hannity & Colmes. I'm Susan Estrich here having fun tonight with Sean Hannity and my good friend Newt Gingrich. People don't even believe that you're friends with me.

[...]

ESTRICH: I actually like you [Gingrich]. I'm going to be in terrible trouble tomorrow. I like Sean Hannity. I like you. I'm dead, you know. I'm just dead.

Estrich on Ann Coulter:

Estrich: Joining us here in New York is the author of "Treason" and actually my improbable friend, Ann Coulter.

Estrich, a professor of law and political science at the University of Southern California, served as national campaign manager of Democrat Michael Dukakis's ill-fated 1988 presidential campaign. But now she is a FOX News political analyst; a "pundit" for right-wing website NewsMax.com; and a syndicated columnist.

In a 1998 Slate.com e-mail dialogue with National Review contributing editor David Frum, Estrich defended The Drudge Report's Matt Drudge, who was sued for libel by Sidney Blumenthal (former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton).

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