Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Froomkin Chat

For those of you who didn't check in at the chat with Dan Froomkin today, there were a few significant statements he made there, that I wanted you to see;

(Q:) Farmington Hills, Mich.: Dan,

I have to say that I don't care for the new column format. It seems harder to read all your posts and the flow of the blog is really interrupted for me. I like the old way better, but who know maybe I'll get used to this.

After hearing Obama's speech yesterday I'm wondering if you believe he has the ability to change conservative thinking to accept government as long as it is good government. Can he move us beyond ideology in regards to the size of government and make us more pragmatic? Do you see this change happening or are the dividing lines too entrenched?

Dan Froomkin: As for your comment on the format, thanks. Perhaps we'll meet half way or something.

Your question is an excellent one. Certainly, there's no evidence yet that the Republican leadership is the least bit interested in moving beyond ideology at this point. They see Obama's pragmatism as liberalism in sheep's clothing -- and they aren't entirely wrong. And consider that contempt for government is sort of a hallmark of modern Republican politics.

But I also think it's possible that Obama is shifting the political center while the Republican leadership isn't looking. And that might spell real trouble for them.
(Q:)Shepherdstown, W.V.: Dan - Always enjoy your analysis, and I thought your posting about the speech was quite accurate. My question is, did you see the president talking with Sen. Shelby (R-Ala.)? Do you think he apologized to President Obama for casting doubts on his U.S. citizenship? That appears to be an issue that just won't die - I saw on a blog that some soldier is suing for the right to examine the birth certificate. I mean, gimme a break!

Dan Froomkin: Thanks. Obama apparently doesn't take any of that stuff personally. Which I just don't get. But I think it serves him extremely well.


(Q:)But I also think it's possible that Obama is shifting the political center... : I think this is a great point, Dan. The MSM and the cable shows keep focusing on the fact that Obama is not getting much support from Republicans. They don't seem to connect that with the fact that there are demonstrably fewer Republicans than in the past and that the further away from Capitol Hill you get, the more Republicans you do find willing to give Obama some support.

He's already got the Dems and, most importantly, independents. Even with just a few Republicans supporting him, Obama and his party are developing a strong base from which to govern and win future elections.

Dan Froomkin: I think you may be correct, but I think any such reality will take a long time to penetrate the Beltway. The inside-the-Beltway mentality seems inimically linked to cable TV -- and cable TV shows no signs of adjusting its practice of "balancing" everything along the Bush-era right-left axis.

(Q:) San Jose, Calif.: Hi Dan,

You haven't skipped a beat since the new administration came to the beltway. Keep up the good work.

What do you make of the things, national security matters in particular, on which the Obama Administration has NOT changed course from the previous administration? Specifically, the two court cases happening in my neck of the woods: the case of Jeppeson, the CIA contractor accused of planning extraordinary rendition flights and the case of the telecoms and their immunity to their possible involvement in a conspiracy to violate the fourth amendment, both of which the new justice department is taking the same position as the old justice department--they threaten national security secrets. Both plaintiffs' claims are legitimate, and in the case the telecoms, the judge is already questioning the constitutionality of the telecom immunity law. Your coverage of these cases has been great, but it seem that perhaps too much focus has been on what Obama is doing differently, and more focus should be on what is the same, and why.


Dan Froomkin: Thanks. I am, bluntly, shocked. I don't get it. And you know what else I don't get? Why they aren't explaining their position. Where's the vaunted transparency?

I weighed in on some of those issues here.

There's a theory which is that the Obama folks are just trying to buy a little time to firm up their positions, but that theory is wearing thin.

He also agreed with a lot of bloggers that on Saturday Night Live he expects Gov. Jindal will be portrayed well by Kenneth Ellen Parcell ("Kenneth the Page") from 30 Rock

The question and answer format occasionally gives the reporter/commenter a reason to say things that he/she doesn't have occasion to say in regular columns, and I thought Dan Froomkin had a few things of that nature in this section. I like the observation that GoPerv leadership looks like they're falling into a very big, wide open trap by begging for bipartisanship and slapping it down when it's offered.

Another point he makes is an unpleasant one, but I'm glad he made it. While I want to see President Obama doing everything I like to see, I have to admit I am like Froomkin, kind of shocked that he hasn't turned around the outlandish DOJ position on secrecy in the Gitmo/torture trials. I want this to change, too.

In other comments today at WaPo, there were hilarious ones when the article came out to the effect that earnings have declined 77%. You know I weighed in. And I'm sure you all know I said that the decline is well earned.

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Anonymous larry, dfh said...

Not trying to excuse what was done, but one must consider with whom President Obama is dealing. These are the same folks who many believe got rid of JFK before he got rid of them, who ended the career of President Carter, who watched as one of their agents was removed because her husband was ruining a good deal, and of course the ones who requested the eavesdropping, who kidnapped, and tortured. And any 'truth commission' will be like all the other commissions: a CYA for these folks.

8:55 AM  

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