Things done changed

Mike Allen, today:

Like athletes limbering up for the big game, White House reporters have been going through elaborate preparatory rituals as they bone up for tonight’s prime-time news conference with President Obama, the second formal “presser” of his presidency.

[….]

The unspoken contest playing out under the East Room lights: The president wants to deliver a message – in this case, reassurance on the economy and a plug for his budget – and not get tripped up by issues he considers extraneous, or that might overshadow what he wants to say.

Reporters have the opposite incentive: They want to “make news” by getting the president to say something he hasn’t said before, or wasn’t prepared to say – which, by definition, is not his message.

Elizabeth Bumiller in 2003:

I think we were very deferential because … it’s live, it’s very intense, it’s frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you’re standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country’s about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time.

Sucking up to George W. Bush — and maybe even getting your own nickname — elevated a reporter’s status in 2003. Trying to knock Obama off his game now elevates a reporter’s status. It really is that simple.






90 replies
  1. 1
    Hunter Gathers says:

    All because Obama didn’t cook them BBQ or give them shitty nicknames.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    Sucking up to George W. Bush—and maybe even getting your own nickname—elevated a reporter’s status in 2003. Trying to knock Obama off his game now elevates a reporter’s status. It really is that simple.

    Ask Obama a tough question and he might try to dodge it. Ask Bush a tough question and he’ll have you quietly ushered from the room, dragged out back, beaten with rubber hoses, and then fired the following weekend while they send half a dozen goons out to smear your reputation as a liberal extremist terrorist kissing welfare mooching America hating possible child molester.

    It’s a slightly different ball game.

  3. 3
    MattF says:

    And, I predict, the reporters won’t come close. Obama really is smarter than they are, really does know the issues better than they do, really does understand the policy debates better than they do. And he also writes and speaks better than any of them, which must really burn.

  4. 4
    Napoleon says:

    Clinton rules in action.

  5. 5
    DustPuppyOI says:

    You forgot to mention that this is the "Liberal Media" in action.

  6. 6
    ed says:

    In a just world, Ms. Bumiller would spend the days wearing a sandwich board bearing her loathsome quote, wandering the streets of Baghdad (maybe with a translation for the locals). Why is she even a reporter again?

  7. 7
    wilfred says:

    Blogs don’t change: Quote 2 people and call it a pattern.

    BTW, if the press kow-towed so much to Bush at his press conferences why did he have so few of them? Wouldn’t they have helped him as his popularity sank through the floor?

    Glenn Greenwald has already discussed the Obama’s manipulations of the press.

  8. 8
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Anyone who suggests that our press is still suffering a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome is just wrong.

  9. 9
    Delia says:

    @Zifnab:

    Ask Obama a tough question and he might try to dodge it. Ask Bush a tough question and he’ll have you quietly ushered from the room, dragged out back, beaten with rubber hoses, and then fired the following weekend while they send half a dozen goons out to smear your reputation as a liberal extremist terrorist kissing welfare mooching America hating possible child molester.

    Because after all, what the Villagers really love is someone who will make them crawl on their stomachs through the dirt. That’s what real Americans do for their authority figures.

  10. 10
    Martin says:

    America is dying to know what Obama’s opinions are on octomom. Will he push for an excise tax on octuplets now that she’s admitted that welfare was part of her plan to waste taxpayer funds? Has he considered that cramming 15 people into a 4br house might be a solution for the economic crisis? Will the government now provide federal funds for future embryonic octomom research?

    What’s the over/under on octomom getting a reference in the presser?

  11. 11
    DougJ says:

    What’s the over/under on octomom getting a reference in the presser?

    That’s a very good question.

  12. 12
    PaminBB says:

    Reporters have the opposite incentive: They want to “make news”

    Silly me. I thought reporters were supposed to report news, not make it.

  13. 13
    woody says:

    In the Corporate State, corporate media are the State Media…

    BTW, if the press kow-towed so much to Bush at his press conferences why did he have so few of them? Wouldn’t they have helped him as his popularity sank through the floor?

    Because he was so inept a speaker on any matter than killing and bloodshed, even the lily-livered, lap-dog prostate-lickers in the White House press corps couldn’t prevent the Chimperor from appearing to be a doltish, dumb-ass, doofus, dithering dickhead…

  14. 14
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    Has he considered that cramming 15 people into a 4br house might be a solution for the economic crisis?

    That’s just one of the unintended benefits of globalization and financial deregulation. "Know my neighbors? Hell, I live with my neighbors."

  15. 15

    Like athletes limbering up for the big game …

    I have this picture in my head of Check Todd running across the White House lawn, when suddenly, he drops his coffee and donut; then falls to his knees clutching his chest while gasping for breath. Sorry the athlete thing just got me laughing.

    I’m glad the press is at least attempting to ask questions that might be controversial. As long as the questions are substantive they are doing their job and any president should be subjected to a continuing substantive scrutiny. Unfortunately, the press doesn’t always get that part correct.

  16. 16
    cleek says:

    Glenn Greenwald has already discussed the Obama’s manipulations of the press.

    BFD.

    the guy’s an excitable rageaholic.

  17. 17
    Martin says:

    BTW, if the press kow-towed so much to Bush at his press conferences why did he have so few of them? Wouldn’t they have helped him as his popularity sank through the floor?

    They probably would have helped him. An awful lot of the public will give an elected official a pass as long as they act like an elected official and talk to the public. But your comment is a critique of Bush, not the media, so unless you want to get inside his head, it’s a stupid question to ask. I mean, even with Gannon placed in the crowd he didn’t hold many pressers.

  18. 18
    DougJ says:

    Glenn Greenwald has already discussed the Obama’s manipulations of the press.

    I’m *for* the press asking tough questions. I just want to know why they didn’t ask them of Bush.

  19. 19
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @Martin

    What’s the over/under on octomom getting a reference in the presser?

    It’s not a question of if the octomom is referenced. It’s a question of who brings it up.
    I’d say Fox News is about 50-50 right now.

  20. 20
    Person of Choler says:

    I hate to break this to you. Mistah Bush, he gone. George has left the building.

    Obama is President now and had better get used to having his actions scrutinized. Fainting groupies do not national policy make.

    He’s got to do more than his Aimee Semple McPherson with-a-teleprompter schtick.

  21. 21
    wilfred says:

    @Martin:

    What the fuck are you talking about – a critique of Bush? It challenged the very premise of the original post, viz. that the press loved/feared/enabled/helped Bush but hates Obama.

  22. 22
    DougJ says:

    It challenged the very premise of the original post, viz. that the press loved/feared/enabled/helped Bush but hates Obama.

    No one said it helped, loved, or feared, merely that it didn’t ask him tough questions. Maybe they were killing him with kindness.

  23. 23
    wilfred says:

    @DougJ:

    Well that’s a legitimate question. I doubt if every member of the press corps has lost his or her sense of social responsibility.

    Helen Thomas hasn’t.

  24. 24
    Incertus says:

    Sucking up to George W. Bush—and maybe even getting your own nickname—elevated a reporter’s status in 2003.

    To be fair, that’s largely because there was no challenge in knocking Bush off his game. A faint breeze would do that. Jangling your keys would do that. It took real effort–aching jaw muscles and everything–to get Bush to recognize you to the point where you got a nickname.

  25. 25
    Cris says:

    Fainting groupies do not national policy make.

    No shit Sherlock, that’s what the last 8 years demonstrated.

  26. 26
    mey says:

    Simple to explain. It’s too easy to trip W up. It’s like asking a deaf person to play "Name That Tune".

  27. 27
    DougJ says:

    Mistah Bush, he gone.

    Don’t get literary with me.

  28. 28
    NonyNony says:

    Woo-hoo! Teleprompter reference at 20! I’ve got Wingnut Bingo!

    Time to break out a new bingo card…

  29. 29
    JenJen says:

    I will never, ever forget that Bush pre-war news conference. It was chilling to me.

    It also marked the day both my parents turned on Bush for good. My mom called up after watching the press conference in tears; "What is wrong with them!?" she was crying.

    We’ve come a long way from that, but not in the direction I had hoped.

  30. 30
    jibeaux says:

    John Dickerson was good at it. Here’s some examples from Wiki, I had forgotten about the one to Hillary.

    Dickerson (during April 13, 2004 press conference): “In the last campaign, you were asked a question about the biggest mistake you’d made in your life, and you used to like to joke that it was trading Sammy Sosa. You’ve looked back before 9/11 for what mistakes might have been made. After 9/11, what would your biggest mistake be, would you say, and what lessons have you learned from it?”
    .
    President Bush: “I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it.”
    .
    On February 29, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton released a "red phone" television ad suggesting that her opponent, Senator Barack Obama, was unprepared to be President. On a conference call with Clinton staff, Dickerson asked, "What foreign policy moment would you point to in Hillary’s career where she’s been tested by crisis?" The question prompted a "pregnant pause," according to The Hotline, which wrote that "you could’ve knit a sweater in the time it took the usually verbose team of Mark Penn, Howard Wolfson and Lee Feinstein, Clinton’s national security director, to find a cogent answer."[10]

    Now ponder how simple those questions are.

  31. 31
    Ash says:

    That whole Politico article sort of made me dry-heave with rage.

  32. 32
    Zifnab says:

    @Delia: Hey, I’m not saying the majority of the press corps aren’t a bunch of sad sacks and pussies. I’m just saying that you had a markedly different ball game when you pitched to Boy George. Obama might hit your slow ball out of the park. GW would have his cronies rush the mound and pay off the refs to look the other way.

    @wilfred:

    Well that’s a legitimate question. I doubt if every member of the press corps has lost his or her sense of social responsibility.

    Helen continues to ask some really tough questions, and at first I admit that it put my back up. But they were really good questions.

  33. 33
    wilfred says:

    Another factor is that the ‘defining’ wank of the Bush Administration was the war on brown-skinned Muslims, and there were precious few people in or out of the White House Press Corps who objected much to that. The people were interested in body counts, not ethical or moral details.

    The wank here is the Greatest Financial Crisis in the History of the World, and the people will want some homegrown blood and heaps of details. They will expect the press to hassle the Administration in a way that Bush never was simply because this time they make up the body count.

  34. 34
    John S. says:

    Obama is President now and had better get used to having his actions scrutinized.

    I hate to break this to you, but your opportunistic shifting of standards based solely on the party affiliation of the President is as transparent as cellophane.

    If you people had principles…ah, shit, I can stop right there.

  35. 35
    jibeaux says:

    Good grief, I hate the new blockquoting "default screw-up" feature.

  36. 36
    valdivia says:

    OT or maybe not so OT but these numbers from Gallup are pretty striking.

    How is all that antagonism and Obama is Teh Failure working out?

  37. 37
    DougJ says:

    John Dickerson was good at it.

    Sure, but Eric Dickerson would have done a better job than most of the rest of them.

  38. 38
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Person of Choler:
    Would it make you happier if Obama said that he hit a perfect trifecta?

  39. 39
    jibeaux says:

    @DougJ:

    /grumble, grumble, football references that aren’t someone in the Manning family or Mean Joe Green makin’ me google all the time…

  40. 40
    The Moar You Know says:

    the guy’s an excitable rageaholic.

    @cleek: And now I finally found what I’ve been drinking all these years; not alcohol, but rageahol.

  41. 41
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    Sucking up to George W. Bush—and maybe even getting your own nickname—elevated a reporter’s status in 2003. Trying to knock Obama off his game now elevates a reporter’s status. It really is that simple.

    Nail, head. The most astute observation I have seen on this subject in a long time.

    The bottom line here, of course, is that it’s all about the reporters. Not the government, not the country, not the economy, not the war, not anything … but them.

    The people who work their way into the White House briefing room and East Room didn’t get there by practicing great journalism. They got there by being the best at playing the games that they play against each other.

    It’s really hard not to hate them so bad that it eats a hole in my liver.

  42. 42
    Brachiator says:

    @Person of Choler:

    He’s got to do more than his Ronald Reagan with-a-teleprompter schtick.

    Fixed

    Glenn Greenwald has already discussed the Obama’s manipulations of the press.

    Greenwald has a bug up his ass because Obama won’t immediately adopt Greenwald’s pet issues as Administration policy. Greenwald and Paul Krugman make up their own self-important pity party.

    Note to those slow on the uptake: this is not to say that Greenwald and Krugman don’t have good ideas, it is that theirs are not the ONLY good ideas.

  43. 43
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    They got there by being the best at playing the games that they play against each other.

    And Jedi-level blow drying.

  44. 44
    Libby says:

    Different rules of deference for Democratic and Republican admins. It’s been that way for as long as I remember. But with the new media Twittermania hitting its peak, you can expect the twit factor to increase in the questions. I see MSNBC is soliciting Qs on their website.

    I’m predicting wingnut fear of socialism will come up in the context of the tea party ‘phenomenon,’ since I see downblog that CNN is on that story. I’d also bet his lousy b-ball bracket will come up. Strong possibility of a beet aversion Q. Octomom not so much. I haven’t seen any mention of her in a couple of days.

  45. 45
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Dennis-SGMM: The only way you can make him happy is to do it in a stereotypical black voice:

    "Ah dones hit dat trifectah, bitches! Shut the fuck up or ahl busta cap in yo azz, an gimme two fawties an a ho!"

    Otherwise you’re just a partisan fanboy fluffing Obama out of a sense of white guilt.

  46. 46
    wilfred says:

    @Brachiator:

    Yeah. Well back when Obama was a complete nobody the people who made his candidacy were the anti-war left and progressives deeply offended by what Bush and Cheney had done to American principles regarding the treatment of prisoners, etc.

    You have to be a gadfly, or else people tend to forget certain things.

  47. 47
    Ninerdave says:

    I think you’re looking at it the wrong way.

    I don’t have a problem with a confrontational media, in fact I welcome it. Openly questioning those in charge can only be good. Look at what a deferential media got us from 2000-2008.

    Of course a confrontational media should be asking tough policy questions, which requires doing their homework and not chasing trivia. Whether the media can be confrontational AND relevant…well…

  48. 48
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Yeah, this is great. After smoking the Bush bone all those years, they are going to atone by going all the freak on Obama the first time he uses an upside down period in a sentence. Or chuckles too long during an interview.

    I’m really not a pitchfork type, but if you gave me a pitchform and put a David Gregory in front of me, I’m pretty sure I could throw him ass first up into a barn loft using my rage-fu.

  49. 49
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @The Moar You Know:
    Whiteness can never fail. It can only be failed.

  50. 50
    NonyNony says:

    @cleek:

    the guy’s an excitable rageaholic.

    Eh. I think that Greenwald has a point of view and he’s consistent about it. You have to read his work with that in mind, but I find that he’s actually fairly balanced – he has no problem doling out compliments when he thinks Team Obama has done something right and no problem dealing out smacks when he thinks they’re doing something wrong. I like that – you know what you’re getting from Greenwald, and I’ve found that once you account for his point of view (protecting civil liberties is the primary worry of government, everything else is secondary) he rarely blows things out of proportion.

    (Now, if you’d pointed to Jane Hamsher as an exemplar of an excitable rageaholic I might nod in agreement. I like her stuff, but she definitely has a point of view that "everybody has an angle" and is so skeptical of people in power that she sometimes is a bit short-sighted if not altogether blind. The only consistent point of view I’ve been able to suss out of her writing is a "don’t trust anybody over 30" mindset, which is not a very helpful point of view for a political analyst in my mind.)

  51. 51
    Ninerdave says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:

    The people who work their way into the White House briefing room and East Room didn’t get there by practicing great journalism. They got there by being the best at playing the games that they play against each other.

    Helen Thomas?

  52. 52
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    @Ninerdave:

    I think she is the exception that proves the rule. I want to believe that she detests the blow-dried fakers as much as I do.

  53. 53
    DougJ says:

    After smoking the Bush bone all those years, they are going to atone by going all the freak on Obama the first time he uses an upside down period in a sentence. Or chuckles too long during an interview.

    Yes, it’s amazing and maddening.

  54. 54
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    @Ninerdave:
    I’m afraid that Helen Thomas is a relic of a Golden Age of Journalism that never was. I remain just as amazed at her presence in the White House press corps as I was at Molly Ivins having a syndicated column.

  55. 55
    Libby says:

    Hmmm, I’m banished to moderation limbo. Something I said?

  56. 56
    wilfred says:

    Of course a confrontational media should be asking tough policy questions

    I agree; such as?

    One thing I would ask Obama is this: What other plans were there, besides the Geithner one? Why were they rejected?

  57. 57
    tom.a says:

    At least this time the President actually will be the smartest person in the room.

  58. 58
    valdivia says:

    again, OT, but this Obama Op Ed was published all over the world today in newspapers for everyone to read. Stunning to realize how much he tries to communicate with the world after years and years of our govt not giving a damn

  59. 59
    GLC says:

    Reporters are required to sell news, not make it or just report it, which is why they have to look for something sensational, unusual, or that hasn’t been said before, regardless of whether we are at war or peace with a popular or unpopular president. The gotcha game helps sell, and every president has master spinners that train them in tricks to stay on message. None of this is new.

  60. 60
    wilfred says:

    Here’s Helen, btw, at the first presser:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVGWdLsAoBA

  61. 61
    Ash says:

    There’s nothing wrong at all with non-deferential and sometimes confrontrational media. It IS important however to use those instances to ask important questions. Instead you have like 10 sentences on how hard it was to choose to ask some stupid ass question about A-Rod.

    Fuck all of them, insufferable twats.

  62. 62
    TenguPhule says:

    Obama is President now and had better get used to having his actions scrutinized. Fainting groupies do not national policy make.

    That would be more believable if the Press wouldn’t insist on asking asshole questions like which basketball team he favors and why he insists on doing more then one thing at a time.

  63. 63
    Montysano (All Hail Marx & Lennon) says:

    @cleek:

    BFD.
    the guy’s an excitable rageaholic.

    I got off the Greenwald bandwagon during the FISA vote last year. Glenn insisted that the only honorable thing for BO to do was to stand up, all by his lonesome self, with Pelosi, Reid, et al cowering under a table, and take a stand that was guaranteed to damage his campaign. All for a bill that solved/fixed nothing, that was political kabuki at best.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @wilfred:

    You have to be a gadfly, or else people tend to forget certain things.

    Unfortunately, the press has neither the interest, the intellect or the will to be gadflies. Most of them are shallow hacks churning out drivel as they wait for the pink slips as their newspapers to die. TV and radio reporters are interested only in a quotable soundbite, something that they can put on their audition tape when they try to get a job at Entertainment Tonight. Most of the rest are content to spit up conservative or liberal talking points.

    And last are the remnants of real journalists. And some of them realize that there is a world of difference between doing an honest job and lurking in the intellectual sewers looking for gotcha moments.

  65. 65
    Atanarjuat says:

    You guys are right.

    Since the media allegedly layed down for Bush like a cheap trick, they should do the same for Obama.

    Now that’s funny.

    You lefties like to talk a good game when you’re the underdog, but the minute you have the whip hand, all that talk about a having a tough press flies out the window.

    Yes, it’s such a shame that the media’s not offering Obama shiatsu massages. It’s an outrage, I tell you!

    -A

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    What the fuck are you talking about – a critique of Bush? It challenged the very premise of the original post, viz. that the press loved/feared/enabled/helped Bush but hates Obama.

    BTW, if the press kow-towed so much to Bush at his press conferences why did he have so few of them? Wouldn’t they have helped him as his popularity sank through the floor?

    You asked why Bush had so few of them, with the implication that he had so few because the press were so hard on them. There’s no relationship there – Bush hardly had any at the start of his first term when his approvals were strong. Even when he put ringers in the audience tossing him softballs he hardly had any of them. That’s not a critique of the press, but of Bush. The press didn’t schedule the pressers, Bush did.

    The largest number of questions in Bush’s first press conference were on the Clinton pardons, followed by the proposed tax cuts. The questions weren’t terribly tough. The reason that presser is viewed as such a failure is that Bush didn’t appear prepared for the questions. He kept looking at his notes and often didn’t seem to understand the substance of the policies well enough to give an informed answer. It wasn’t Palinesque, but relative to Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan, it came off pretty bad.

    Maybe Bush didn’t have many pressers because he didn’t know what the hell he was doing, and not because the press was out to get him?

  67. 67
    wilfred says:

    @Brachiator:

    Actually I was talking about Greenwald, but you’re right, of course. That wasn’t always true – the muckraking press did a lot of good for this country, and still does at a local/municipal level. That’s one reason that newspaper closings are something to mourn.

    It has always been the national press that has failed in its social responsibility.

  68. 68
    Brachiator says:

    @Atanarjuat:

    Since the media allegedly layed down for Bush like a cheap trick, they should do the same for Obama.

    That’s odd. I didn’t say that at all. What I said was this:

    I don’t expect an imbecilic media who were incapable of standing up to Bush to magically get a brain and be able to stand up to Obama.

    I don’t expect an increasingly buffetted and shallow media to magically become less craven or incompetent.

    I don’t expect a media content to curry favor with political insiders to magically become capable of doing their freaking jobs.

    You do see the difference here, don’t you?

  69. 69
    wasabi gasp says:

    Obama’s a smart guy, some folks may find satisfaction in making him stumble during a battle of wits. As for Bush, it’s not nice to be tripping up a guy who’s already fallen out the short bus.

  70. 70
    Mnemosyne says:

    I have to admit, I’m coming to love the teleprompter meme. I don’t think there’s anything more calculated to make wingnuts look like out-of-touch, clueless idiots than having them run around pretending that it’s remarkable that Obama is using a machine that presidents have been using for 30 years.

    It’s like they’re a bunch of Unfrozen Caveman Lawyers, but ones with brain damage who really don’t understand that the words moving on the screen are not generated by evil spirits.

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @jibeaux
    You didn’t know who the F Eric Dickerson is?
    This explains a lot. The whole time I thought this blogula was populated by emotionally stunted and immature adults. Now I realize that it’s pretty much all a bunch of 14 yr old Twilight-loving girls.

  72. 72
    Martin says:

    I think Helen needs to retire. Her questions are more often getting loaded which makes them near-impossible to answer. Not all of them, but it’s happening more and more.

    I like her a lot (I’ve met her personally), but how many of her questions are soliciting useful answers? How many of her questions would anyone here stop and say "They can’t answer that…" before any effort at answering them had been made?

    Asking angels on the head of a pin questions don’t help, IMO.

  73. 73
    Ella in NM says:

    More probing and courageous journalism at Politico:
    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....20395.html

    Obama seeks filter-free news
    By Jonathan Martin

    "…President Barack Obama and his team are launched on a strategy to sail above the traditional White House press corps by reaching out to liberal commentators, local reporters and ethnic media…

    …But those moves are only part of a much larger strategy aimed at communicating directly with audiences the White House believes are more sympathetic to the president’s agenda…

    …In many ways, Obama’s effort is simply the latest expression of a familiar phenomenon. It is the perennial hope of presidents — especially early in their administrations — that they can escape the filter of an often-skeptical Washington press corps and communicate directly with a target audience.

    Uh-oh! Deez guyz mean bidness!!

  74. 74
    Corner Stone says:

    @MattF
    This was demonstrably true when Clinton was prez as well. It simply doesn’t matter as they have zero interest in policy discussions or answers. They have no interest in knowledge of what they cover.
    Mike Allen is laying it down, no more cover. They’re not out to inform and they never were.
    The sports analogy is awesome, as if reporters have any relevance to the outcome of an event the way the players do. This is all that’s wrong with village media mindset.

  75. 75
    ksmiami says:

    Ash:

    insufferable twats.

    If you are saying that the Washington Village idiot press corps are insufferable twats, that is an insult to twats.

  76. 76
    Ella in NM says:

    @Ash:

    Fuck all of them, insufferable twats.

    How about "the Cowardly Bootlicking Cocktail Party Corps"?

  77. 77

    @wilfred:

    was the war on brown-skinned Muslims, and there were precious few people in or out of the White House Press Corps who objected much to that. The people were interested in body counts, not ethical or moral details.

    You complete dumbass, it isn’t about their skin color – it’s about loving big bangs, big lethal machines, our uniformed people. The fact that brown skinned people tend to be the ones offering up the easy targets is just a function their dysfunctional history – thanks largely to white colonialism. As stupid as the US government manages to get, lethal racism is a bit of a reach and indicting the entire nation on that basis is flatly more stupid than the government is.

    Being stupid about things makes a measuring point for the rest of your arguments, some of which have had some merit.

  78. 78
    DougJ says:

    One thing I would ask Obama is this: What other plans were there, besides the Geithner one? Why were they rejected?

    I agree that would be a great question. I’d like to know the answer myself.

  79. 79
    John PM says:

    @DougJ: #78

    Oh, I have one answer:

    Well, we rejected the Republican plan, because all it consisted of was Eric Cantor with a Ronald Reagan ventriloquist dummy shouting "Tax Cuts"!

  80. 80
    TheHatOnMyCat says:

    @DougJ:

    My favorite question to the person who asks that question is, what would that other plan look like?

    With a little restriction …. the answers "nationalization," "do nothing," and "Tax cuts!" are not eligible.

    The answer doesn’t have to be more specific than is necessary to answer whatever obvious questions it begs.

    I’d just like the general look and feel of that answer.

  81. 81
    Cris says:

    @Martin: I think Helen needs to retire. Her questions are more often getting loaded which makes them near-impossible to answer. Not all of them, but it’s happening more and more.

    "And also, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?"

    Genius.

  82. 82
    Pontious Pilates says:

    Obama has spent his whole life knowing he would have to work twice as hard, be twice as smart, charming and all the rest to get to the top. He knows life isn’t fair and rather than bitch about it he just worked 3 times as hard and now he’s president. I’m sure he knows, even though now he’s at the top, the same unfair rules STILL apply. It will only make him stronger like everything else in his life.

    To quote W "Bring em on!"

  83. 83
    DougJ says:

    @TCOMH

    I’d like to know why nationalization wasn’t considered. I doubt we’d get a straight answer, but I’m curious if it was true that there were legal/constitutional issues with it. If not, I’d like to know what Summers knows about the economics of the plan that Krugman doesn’t know.

  84. 84
    AnneLaurie says:

    Because after all, what the Villagers really love is someone who will make them crawl on their stomachs through the dirt. That’s what real Americans do for their authority figures.

    Our Media Village Idiots as abuse-victim drama queens. "If Obama really cared about us, he’d keep us under survelliance 24/7, give us derogatory nicknames, insult our intelligence, threaten to smack us around for not being deferential enough! Dubya loved us so much, he didn’t care how often he had to lie to the authorities about us ‘running into a door’ or ‘falling down the stairs’! That’s how you know you’re *special* to someone — they’ll risk a felony conviction just to keep you where they want you, on your knees, gazing up at them adoringly… guess this new guy just isn’t *man enough* to treat us like we *deserve*, pant pant pant… "

  85. 85
    Ella in NM says:

    @Pontious Pilates:
    Obama has spent his whole life knowing he would have to work twice as hard, be twice as smart, charming and all the rest to get to the top"

    Apparently you don’t read the comments over at Politico, for you would soon know you are sadly mistaken:

    http://www.politico.com/news/s.....20395.html

    Bookworm @ comment # 5: Obama has expected to be graded on a curve his whole life and he is audaciously hopeful that affirmative action velvet glove treatment will continue. It’s sickening and unproductive. … It has been offensive that Obama was childish and vain enough to compare himself to Lincoln to begin with – but Obama is completely the opposite of Lincoln. Lincoln was unusually strong and Obama is unusually weak. Lincoln spent his childhood working painfully hard and sacrificing as he pioneered with sweat. Obama spent his childhood pouty, hateful, stoned and watching cartoons into his twenties… Our press is broken and we wouldn’t have this weak affirmative action joke on our hands if they had done their jobs to begin with…When is Obama going to stop manipulating like a girl always worried about her hair and just sit down and do some paperwork like a man..

    See, Ditto heads aren’t racist, sexist pinheads, folks–they’re just truth tellers! As in, you know their true character the minute they start flapping their lips….

    What a bunch of losers. It’s kinda scary these folks actually walk the streets, unsupervised.

  86. 86
    JL says:

    @Ella in NM: You reminded me why I only read the comments on this site.
    Even though the press shows their hypocrisy by asking Obama difficult questions, I appreciate it. It’s so nice to have a President answer questions in such a thoughtful, intelligent way. He makes us all smarter!

  87. 87
    wagonjak says:

    I agree with NonyNony (50) that Greenwald has one of the most clear-headed, well-reasoned, and beautifully-worded blogs in the "tubes"…easy to understand for the layman, but backed up with lawyerly arguments…

    The idea that he’s some kind of rage-a-hoholic is absolutely insane. It’s the same kind of smear job that the right-wing attack machine and the wingnuts apply to anyone who bucks the power structure and tries to tell the American people the truth (think Michael Moore).

    I agree that Jane can jump on things in an emotional way without all the facts, but the FireDogLake is still one of my must stops every blogging day! Go Jane!

    And digby is another blogger who has long and knowledgable posts about political news (sometimes too long and involved for me) but amazingly knowledgable if one takes the time to read them.

    On the other hand, most red sites I go to are the playground of the village misfits, bullies and idiots.

  88. 88
    One Who Hath Waited says:

    I must join JL, Ella in NM and the many others who have given voice to the praises and glorias bestowed upon Him. A tingle is climbing my leg as I await His doubtless superlativeness of mind and expression tonight — as He ever displays — when He will speak to us and the world, though in truth He need not deign to do so because one need only search her or his informed heart to know the wisdom that poureth forth from His lips…

  89. 89

    […] Cole: Sucking up to George W. Bush—and maybe even getting your own nickname—elevated a reporter’s st…   […]

  90. 90
    bob h says:

    One big change is that Obama is confident enough to take followup questions. Bush considered them lese majeste.

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