Monday, March 23, 2009

Face Time

Usually I do some cruising around to see what people are saying and of course, this a.m. I heard a bit about the use of 'punch drunk' to describe our president. I don't recall anyone using that to describe the last one, although it would have described his behavior a lot of the time. Last week, it was the President's awkward moment describing his poor bowling as Special Olympics quality.

With the press seeming to have zoned in on anything that can chip away at that ivory tower, I think he's doing exactly the right thing by getting himself on the air as much as he can. If all we had to represent the president was the mantra of the moment from the press, it absolutely wouldn't do him justice.

Today Dan Froomkin does a collection, as he often does, of the way the press is treating news about President Obama. It gives very short shrift to the press's poor attention to actual issues. Under the title; "Why Obama is Still Smiling", Froomkin comes up with a few very telling points.

Fineman writes: "While the Beltway is getting its populist freak on over AIG, a bigger, more fateful drama is underway....It's about nothing less than whether the Obama administration can reverse a generation's worth of skepticism about the role of government in our lives. The federal budget is the Rosetta stone of American public philosophy, and Obama and Emanuel want to re-chisel it in expensive new ways: quality health care for all; better, more innovative public education; a rewritten IRS code that taxes the wealthy more heavily to channel benefits to lower-income Americans; and a new global effort to slow climate change.....

"'We believe in the affirmative role of government,' Emanuel says. 'Not "active" for its own sake, but affirmative in the sense of being a force for good in everyday lives—education, health, a lessening of economic and social schisms in society.'"

Can Obama break through the chatter to make this point directly to the people?
(Via Dionne): "The AIG flap and Friday's dismal report from the Congressional Budget Office predicting the deficit will surpass $1.8 trillion this year will only strengthen the forces of evasion....

"Already, his lieutenants are signaling how he will cast the choice: between 'taking on the country's long-term challenges' or just 'lowering our sights and muddling through,' as one senior aide put it."
Historian Joyce Appleby writes in a Los Angeles Times op-ed: "In similar circumstances, [Franklin Delano] Roosevelt recognized the limited horizon he had, and he shared the same sense of urgency about moving the country in a new direction....

"An astute politician, FDR saw the days ahead bringing schisms among his supporters, comebacks from the opposing party and public disenchantment with the government's effectiveness. It was then that he looked beyond the politics of Congress and the Supreme Court to the fourth, informal branch of American government: the public. He would defy the odds of losing in the 1934 off-year election by carefully cultivating the ordinary men and women who had voted for him."

It's a given that the press will gnaw around the edges and represent the president as anything but the quality player in their manufactured drama, while the Gang of Nope continues to throw outrageous lies about what they did over their ten years of dominance, since it worked out really badly.

Operating in the center of all this slurry is some one who has to get through the muck to keep the country from succumbing to the crimes that have been done to it, and that continue on unabated from the wingnuts.

I'd rather he do it than me. But seeing that he's managing the fray with dignity and aplomb is reassuring.


Truly great development on environmental advances;

The Environmental Protection Agency sent a proposal to the White House on Friday finding that global warming is endangering the public's health and welfare, according to several sources, a move that could have far-reaching implications for the nation's economy and environment.

The proposal -- which comes in response to a 2007 Supreme Court decision ordering EPA to consider whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases should be regulated under the Clean Air Act -- could lay the groundwork for nationwide measures to limit such emissions. It reverses one of the Bush administration's landmark environmental decisions: In July 2008 then-EPA administrator Stephen Johnson rejected his scientific and technical staff's recommendation and announced the agency would seek months of further public comment on the threat posed by global warming pollution.

"This is historic news," said Frank O'Donnell, who heads the public watchdog group Clean Air Watch.

The executive branch has returned to scientific truths and public service. This is extremely good news.

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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

I'd feel a lot better about Obama if he'd give up this dancing with Wall St wolves thing and move decisively to the left, where the real Center is these days. Then he might revive the coalition that got him elected and retain popular support. He should be crucifying bankers, not rewarding them. Maybe if he stays out of DC for a while longer, he'll get that.

Of course, the woman who actually raised him was a banker, so, maybe not. But if he hopes to be a successful two-term President, he'll need two terms. That's not going to happen with his current economic & military crews.

As to the media formerly known as mainstream, only bloggers and Alzheimer's victims are tuned in. The rest of us are too busy trying to survive the Bush Depression.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

I'm guessing that since he has to work with them, Pres. Obama is trying to make nice as far as he can. He does wind up looking a lot better for it than the Gang of Nope. Even to their hangers-on, who are as screwed as the rest of us.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

If by them, you mean Wall Streeters, Republicans, and Clintonista's, why does he have to work with them? We voted against them. They're the problem, not the solution. You'd have to be Charley Manson to look worse than them.

As to the tame corporate media, I think an island-hopping campaign will work better: Work the progressive media, choke off the right-wing "centrists." Redefine the argument as a struggle against the idiots who got us into this mess.

No sense wasting resources fighting lunatics who will never give up, even after their cause is lost. Paying any attention to them just legitimizes them. I don't know anybody who follows the self-styled "MSM" any more other than bloggers.

As to making nice in general, let's not get pathological about it. These people on the extreme corporatist Right are our enemies. They mean us nothing but harm. They will destroy this country rather than give up any of their ill-gotten gains & privileges.

This isn't a beauty contest, it's a war. They started it and they won't quit until we completely crush them. Obama's failure to do that will be his downfall, and ours.

5:49 PM  

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