Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A question for the lazy media

Last week I commented on the fact that too many in the media display a laziness in their reporting. One way they demonstrate that is by an over-reliance on the polls and the horse race of elections. Today we're hearing a chorus of folks commenting on the latest NBC/WSJ poll with hysterical statements like "the Obama presidency is over."

In contrast, I'd point to a recent article by Josh Marshall at TPM titled: The Long Truce. While I don't agree with Marshall's entire frame on the current political situation, he's showing some thoughtful creativity that is much needed.

Marshall points out that President Obama has pretty much given up on legislating. And that the Republican leadership has gone full-throttle on scandal-mania. But...
...the kicker is, I'm not sure GOP congressional leaders particularly care either. Because it doesn't really matter if the Democrats care or the White House does or even the actual media does. It's a conversation with the base of the Republican party.
That's what he calls a "truce."
I don't know what the best analogy is, perhaps two heavyweights in the late rounds of a title fight who start hanging on each other in a tacit pact of exhaustion. Or possibly a couple in a hopeless marriage that instead of reconciliation or divorce settle down to a de facto separation under a common roof.

However you choose to describe it, both sides of the partisan divide are operating in their own political universe, on their own political turfs. And the most striking thing is that both seem content to keep it that way.
There's some merit to that idea if you contrast it to the years of work on a "grand bargain" and/or the perpetual brinkmanship of one hostage-taking episode after another.

But excuse me...President Obama's pen and sword strategy is nothing like a heavyweight fighter hanging on to his opposition out of exhaustion. In the last couple of weeks, the President has announced the most ambitious action against climate change in our country's history, brought the last POW home from Afghanistan, provided protection to one million LGBT employees who work for federal government contractors, expanded the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument from almost 87,000 square miles to nearly 782,000 square miles and captured the ringleader of the Benghazi attack. Exhaustion??? Pffttt.

On the other side of the isle, just a few months ago the people who are responsible for the least productive Congress in history were gearing up to run against Obamacare in the 2014 midterms. That got away from them with the incredible success of the program. Next up...Benghazigate!!!! But while their media outlets will continue to search for a way to use that against Democrats, I'm here to tell you that scandal is now over. It will die a quiet death just as Obamacare hysteria did. This is where I'd agree with Marshall - Boehner is on the ropes and exhausted from both the success of President Obama's initiatives and having to battle the teapublican lunatics in his own party.

So while the media obsesses over President Obama's poll numbers, I have a question for them: what's the big issue the Republicans will rely on to get their voters out to the polls in November - which is still over 4 months away? My guess would be immigration reform (as in: against it!) - which means a lot of ugly nativism and the eventual demise of the Republican Party as we know it today.

But my point is that the media hasn't even bothered to think about that. Its simply too easy to point to polls and say "OMG - an Obama disaster!"


  1. ah good you saw that too.

    stalemate would be a more applicable concept here. both sides have their power (to do nothing, in the case of the house), and both are exercising it within the boundaries that they both have.

    1. Stalemate works. Its a much better descriptor for the legislative process. But the "pen and phone" strategy is certainly ON THE MOVE.

  2. The short-sightedness of concocting a poll that puts the President in a bad light this early in the electoral season is another sign of laziness on the part of the media. In the absence of scandal, what will they be left with to try to bring down PBO's numbers later in the cycle? Besides, who goes into a voting booth considering who might represent them in Congress AND uses the President's popularity as a voting guide?

  3. The Bergdahl-Taliban prisoner "controversy" probably contributed to PBO's poll numbers, since that was "reported" with mass hysteria and without context.

  4. Perhaps I haven't fully been paying attention. But I thought that Obama's presidency was over because he failed to adequately address the financial crisis after he became president. Didn't Chris Matthews and Chuck Todd repeatedly tell us in 2012 that no president had ever been re-elected with unemployment above 8%?

    1. Or was Obama's presidency over when Healthcare Reform didn't initially pass in 2009?

    2. Or maybe his presidency ended during the "Arab Spring"?

    3. Or was it during the BP oil spill (aka "Obama's Katrina")?

    4. Or was it after the republicans forced a manufactured financial crisis and caused the US to almost default in 2011?

    5. Or did he become a failure when immigration reform didn't pass in Dec 2011 because republicans blocked it?

    6. Or was it when Russia invaded Ukraine two months ago?
    7. Or was it after the Benghazi attack in Libya?
    8. Or was it over the NSA surveillance controversy with Snowden?

    9. Or maybe he failed as president during the Obamacare rollout (I recall seeing several news headlines that declared his presidency over at that time, aka "lame duck")?

    10. How about when North Korea launched "test missiles" in the direction of South Korean as a provocative move in 2010?

    11. Or maybe it was the time he failed to win the 2016 Olympic bid for Chicago?

    12. Or maybe it was the time he failed to strike a "Grand Bargain" deal with republicans in 2011 because they rejected their own ideas that he supported.

    13. Or maybe it was when the democrats lost control of the House in the 2010 Midterms because republicans had successfully gerrymandered their districts?

    I'm sorry. But it's been very difficult to actually remember when he "really" became a failed president. Hopefully, Chuck Todd and his MSNBC flakes can take comfort in knowing that we consider than nothing more than egotistical blowhards who've never been right about anything concerning Obama's presidency.

    -- C.B.

  5. Thank you for your post, Nancy! It was reasonable and encouraging! And, each of the Comments - especially the last one - (see above) - also made me feel more and more optimistic!

    1. Mary, I agree with you 100%. This needs to be on FB. If you can see if you can put this one on FB "DEmocrats Only" This really needs to be shared by all who will repost it. I will. I just don't know how to do it from this reply. Thank you again your information was very bery helpful.

    2. I'm sorry I meant to say that I am Mary and I agaree with you. Mary is my name. Thank you.


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