Thursday, February 12, 2009

Senator Gregg Bows Out, The Republican War On Obama, Octomom Coverage (Yes, Still!) And We Stare At Air Force One While Anderson Cooper Fills Time

Hi everyone. Weird headlines going on today. It seems Republican Senator Judd Gregg, President Obama's bipartisan-y nominee for commerce secretary, has suddenly had himself a ponder about the gig and come to the conclusion that, eh, on second thought, no thanks. That brings us to tonight's BREAKING NEWS: Obama's reaction to what appears to be a pretty big diss.

In an Ed Henry piece, we learn that Obama is cool with this latest cold shoulder from the Republicans--publicly anyway. Our prez says he understands Gregg had a change of heart and he's still going to keep working on courting those on the other side. Ok, timeout. Obama we need to have a little talk. Look dude, er, President Dude, I appreciate the attempts at togetherness and singing kumbayah and buying the whole world a Coke and stuff. I do.

You want the Republicans to like you. I get it. But you gotta face facts: they're just not that into you. But don't sweat it, man. Most of the public is smitten. You're young and hip and know how to mobilize a nation online, while the Republicans can't even twitter without an incident (you'd think it'd be hard to get into trouble with only 140 characters, but you'd be wrong). So, don't shut them out--that'd be wrong, but bipartisanship is a two-way street, and if they're not going to play? Screw them.

Moving on to a Tom Foreman piece on the jerkitude of the GOP and their apparent war on Obama. See, after this latest thing with Gregg, Andrew Sullivan declared a war is being waged and 360 has decided to use this as their new narrative. Gotta say, I'm totally on board. In fact, I'd say they're a bit late to the game. Anyway, according to Tom, the GOP is trying to force Obama to either lose his party's support or get closer to them and lose public support (remember, Congress is hated). Eh, I think the public has finally wised up to the Republican's crap this time, but we'll see.

For discussion on this subject, we move to our panel with tonight's seat warmers including David Gergen, John King, and Joe Johns. John explains the whole census controversy, the apparent--or at least given--reason why Gregg dropped out. See, the Commerce Department runs the Census Bureau, which is involved in redrawing the lines for the country's House seats. Where the lines go can determine where the seat falls in terms of party. So in other words, big deal. Just ask Tom Delay. John then tells us the White House wants to take that power out of the hands of the Commerce Department and Gregg saw that as a political ploy.

"But they deny that," says Anderson Cooper. "They say, look, it would still be the same and Gregg would report to the president." Thank you, Anderson, for not allowing John's truthiness to go unchallenged. The census thing is ridiculousness being shrieked about by the base, yet really has no basis in reality, like their hand wringing over the (non) return of the Fairness Doctrine. But what's really disturbing is John's response to Anderson.

He dismissively tells us that Gregg thought he would still be losing power over the census and then he begins his next sentence with, "But, no matter who is right here..." What?! It matters who is right. It's hard to convey why I found this disturbing without showing you the exchange, but my regular readers will recall me recently bemoaning how 360 had taken serious economic news and made it into a political game. This is the same thing. I got the distinct impression from John that to him, this is about politics and nothing but politics. Does he even give one iota about actual truth? This isn't a game; this is our country.

Joe then tells us about all the pressure Gregg was getting for--gasp--working with Obama. But it works the other way too because some Democrats were leaning on Obama for nominating a guy that previously stated he wanted to abolish the Commerce Department. Yeah, I wondered what was up with that too. Kinda reminds me of John Bolten and the U.N., except, you know, without the crazy mustache and total lack of sanity. Anderson turns his attention back to the Gerg--the ever conciliatory Gerg and asks if he really doesn't think the Republicans have declared war on Obama.

"Because, I mean, Pete Sessions, who's head of the Republican Congressional Committee, was citing the Taliban as sort of an example of how to run an insurgent campaign against a larger force." he says. And also? Bwah! I don't know, maybe I'm the only one that finds humor in that. I mean, Anderson is all, "really? You sure? Cos this dude is comparing the GOP to insurgents." But the Gerg stands his ground is basically like, "dude, everyone knows the House is craaaazy." (He says it in a Gerg-like way though.)

According to him, this is some kind of political cultural thing, or about philosophical differences or whatever. Really though, are we surprised? This is the Gerg! I could have written his lines for him tonight. He never thinks the worst of anyone, which unfortunately can make him wrong quite a lot. Love you Gerg, but the Republicans are obstructing. Wake up.

Oh, in between all that panel there was a Candy Crowley piece on tax breaks contained in the stimulus bill. Obama's not getting exactly what he wants. Welcome to Washington.

On now to a Randi Kaye piece about--wait for it--the Octomom! Sigh. I guess I can't blame them. As much as people are talking about her--even in my circle--she must be a ratings bonanza. At least they've (so far) abstained from the latest missing white girl. It seems Greta and Nancy Grace found their next meal ticket. Anyway, apparently Octomom is getting death threats. You don't say? After watching her un-ending media coverage, who could ever have guessed that would happen?

Then there's the Angelina Jolie factor. It seems the chick actually sent the actress letters in the past and now she almost appears to be trying to become her. Whack job. For her part, Jolie is reportedly, "totally creeped out." "Is there a movie in here somewhere?" asks Randi in her voice over. Oh God, no.

On now to a David Mattingly piece on singer Chris Brown and how he allegedly attacked his girlfriend, singer Rihanna, and, um, is this Entertainment Tonight? I don't really know anything about these people and the one interesting thing to me about this story isn't even in David's package. See, usually news organizations keep a victim's name mum, but the Los Angeles Times totally outed Rihanna because they say the public nature of the case made her "fair game" (have they been hanging with Rove, or what?). Apparently, they have a blanket policy on sexual assaults, but go case-by-case for physical ones. So, if Brown raped her, they'd keep it on the down low, but just an assault? Fair game. Classy.

Finally tonight, as with the other night, we're watching a live shot of Air Force One and waiting to see Obama walk down stairs or something. Awesome. Except Obama is taking his sweet time, which leaves Anderson with the task of filling air. How did that go? Not so well. Paper shuffling...stuttery grasping at something--anything--to say. You're losing viewers! Aw, poor guy. Why do they set him up like that? Anyway, finally we just go to break and I'm pretty sure that's when Obama appears, forcing them to show tape when we come back. Ha! Well, that whole thing was quite the programming fail.

That does it for the show. As I'm sure everyone reading this knows by now, not long after broadcast there was a horrible plane crash into a house in Buffalo, New York. All 48 on board perished in what looked to be a fiery hell, as did one person on the ground. Horrific. I bring this up because Anderson returned to anchor the breaking news (actual breaking news for once) for a few hours and I watched most of it. He wasn't in the 360 studio, which makes me wonder if the poor guy had gone home and got called back. Despite my mocking of his Air Force One coverage, when there is real news happening, Anderson does a good job handling and sorting out a fast-moving story. I also really appreciate how cautious he is with information coming to him regarding what should and shouldn't be reported. Anyway, just wanted to mention that. I'm sure we'll hear more about this story on Friday's show.


Anonymous JG said...

How many times is AC going to try and push his "Republicans want to be insurgents" idea? Get over it AC... Obama & Gregg didn't really even discuss the job description beforehand.

8:47 PM  
Blogger eliza said...

Um, he's not the one pushing the idea. Perhaps you should be talking to Republican Pete Sessions.

Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. “And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes. And these Taliban — I’m not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that’s not what we’re saying. I’m saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with.”

8:55 PM  

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