Training Day

Veteran TPM reporter Evan McMorris-Santoro is WIN THE MORNING, Jr’s new White House correspondent, which may be the journalistic equivalent of Commander Honor Harrington showing up at Basilisk Station (or at least Jimmy McNulty getting busted down to patrolling the Baltimore docks.)  At the very least, Evan is aware of the mess he’s in, putting him up on about 97% of the rest of the people in the room about 2 PM most weekday afternoons.

Although often thought of as the most prestigious beat in political journalism, the White House is increasingly seen as a newsless land of “stenographers” — a dead end for young, ambitious reporters hoping to carve out a niche, and a constant target of criticism by the partisan public. Veteran members of the White House press corps bristle at the criticisms, even as they acknowledge the beat has lost some of its allure as the obstacles have increased.

Welcome to the NFL, rookie.

Well-crafted analysis is often the best an enterprising reporter can do. The administrations of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama earned reputations for granting exceptionally little access to the press in an effort to tightly control the news cycles. That reality has been in place long enough to make its way even into fictional representations of the job.

True.  You know, like Breitbart.  Pretty fictional there.

What’s more, McClatchy’s Steve Thomma, incoming president of the White House Correspondents Association, said the nature of the beat makes it a magnet for criticism by both fans and antagonists of whoever occupies Oval Office.

“There’s no doubt that partisans feel the White House press corps should be tougher when the other party has the presidency,” he said. “In the Bush years, liberals wanted the press corps to be more aggressive. And now it’s the opposite.”

So you guys are cool with Ed Henry then.  Awesome.  At least he’s getting a bead on the neighbors, who have been living here since forever.  If even the McClatchy guy is treating the daily brief like SSDD, this should be fun.  Oh and Evan, I don’t envy you.  Lord knows if you ever get to ask a question, don’t make a Chuck Toddler Special.



On The Next Beltway High…

Meanwhile at Beltway High, the preppie yearbook clique over at WIN THE MORNING has had quite enough of that snotty Kenyan kid.

President Barack Obama’s greatest adversary in the latest budget battle isn’t the Republican leadership in Congress — it’s his confidence in his own ability to force a win.

“We haaaaaaate him.  We doodle little X’s over his eyes on all his pictures, and we’re totally not going to buy anything at his community organizer bake sale.”

He has been so certain of his campaign skills that he didn’t open a line of communication with House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell until Thursday, a week before the spending ax hits. And when they did finally hear from Obama, the calls were perfunctory, with no request to step up negotiations or invitations to the White House.

“Totally in our Burn Book, Barry.   You pull this crap before Homecoming, we retaliate.”

That’s because Obama’s all-in on an outside strategy, doing just about everything other than holding serious talks with Republicans. In the last two days alone, he’s courted local TV anchors, called in a select group of White House correspondents to talk off the record, chatted up black broadcasters and announced plans to stump next week at Virginia’s Newport News Shipyard. Throughout, he’s talked in tough terms that signal little interest in compromise — or suggestion of backing down.

He’s navigating a thin line. Obama is convinced he’s got the upper hand on Republicans. Yet he can go only so long before he risks being perceived as a main actor in Washington’s dysfunction, threatening a core element of his political brand — and the fragile economic recovery he’s struggled to maintain.

The calls placed Thursday to Boehner and McConnell were prompted, in part, by a White House desire to inoculate Obama from that exact criticism.

“So yeah, try to win NOW mister smart eleventy-dimensional chess nerd.  We own you now.  Round up the guys, we’re going to Pinkberry to celebrate.”  And high fives were given all around!

And then the President of the United States burned 50 calories from laughing at this article this morning, because it’s such a completely transparent attempt to not appear like a group of ungrateful emo high school twits that it pretty much reinforces every awful stereotype about Politico’s brand of “journalism” (in the same way that flesh-eating bacteria is a “weight-loss aid”.)  Meanwhile, these goofballs continue to believe that Republicans are serious players with a serious plan that didn’t come from Doofenshmirtz Evil, Inc. or something.

The best part is that “outside strategy” that WIN THE MORNING is moaning about means they’re no longer the cool kids.  The President has decided that going around the gatekeepers of Beltway info and speaking to the people, as he did this week giving interviews to a number of local news stations, is a smart idea.

Haters gonna hate, yo.