If you are like me, then you know that 2001-2008 were extremely, and I’m putting this mildly, irritating years. Specifically, when it came to message, Republicans had the floor. There was rarely, if any, challenge on their assertions. You know the list: tax cuts for the richest 1%, Iraq, torture, etc., etc. If there had been any challenge, there wouldn’t be as big a mess to clean up.
As we approach the 100 day mark of the Obama administration, it is my belief that there has been a bit of a media hangover with regards to who they have been trotting out to discuss the issues of the day. For example, Obama shakes Hugo Chavez’ hand, and Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney are brought in to discuss the significance of the meeting. Of course, they feel it’s a bad idea and that it makes America look weak. What about when Obama first introduced his budget and Mary Matalin appeared on the Today Show to tell everybody what a bad idea it was? Needless to say, I was not surprised by her position.
Don’t misunderstand, I am not arguing for one side to control the message as that is truly dangerous. However, in the examples above, the interviews were given one on one with no rebuttal. I’m not saying put Dick Cheney on a panel. He’s the former Vice President of the United Sates. I get it, he’s above a panel. I also don’t expect Fox News to have a follow up rebuttal. Frankly, there has been plenty of rebuttal in the news since their interviews have taken place and I am fine with that. My problem comes from the fact that if the only news you get in a day comes from that first half hour of the Today Show while you eat your breakfast, then it’s quite possible, depending on the opinion of the person who’s being interviewed, that the viewer’s opinion has been formed for them.
Forward to yesterday. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was on Capital Hill testifying in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. First up, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) pressed her on Dick Cheney’s assertion that the White House was holding back information proving that the torture program worked. She replied that Dick Cheney was not a “particularly reliable source” and that she wasn’t aware of “any facts that support what you’re describing.” Second, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) stepped up and quizzed Sec. Clinton on the Gingrich/Cheney “ignore enemies” diplomatic policy. Sec. Clinton proceeded to give a history lesson of past presidents who have met with other leaders who were more vocal about harming America than Hugo Chavez. I have heard from many people who didn’t think these exchanges were much of anything. I read it another way. Here are two Representatives who are pushing the false ideas brought forth from the high visibility figures in their party only to end up looking silly. I will concede that this is more true with Rep. Pence than it is with Rep. Rohrabacher. I do agree with Rep. Rohrabacher that all the documents should be released. All of them.
While this was going on, President Obama was in Iowa for Earth Day, touring a factory that makes wind turbines. During his speech, he pushed back on the old tire gauge bit that his opponent used against him during the election:
"Some of you may remember during the campaign, when gas was really high, I suggested that one small step Americans could take would be to keep their tires inflated, remember that?" Obama told the crowd at Newton, Iowa, in a speech celebrating Earth Day. "And everybody teased me. 'Aw look, that's Obama energy policy.' And my opponents started passing out tire gauges. But I'll tell you what, turns out that saves you an awful lot of gas -- and money in your pocket. It also makes sense for our energy use as a whole. If everybody kept their tires inflated, it would have a big dent; it would produce as much oil savings as we might be pumping in some of these offshore sites by drilling."
Finally, and this is the absolute best of the day, Lawrence O’Donnell, who is quickly becoming a personal favorite, really lets GOP Strategist Phil Musser have it. As Bob Cesca said, Mr. Musser “…has Super Duper Guilty Vision!”
Look, I understand people glean different things and these probably aren’t a big deal. But, for me, yesterday was the day where liberal leaders and figures stood up for what they believe and pushed back on asinine arguments that would have been gospel just a few short years ago. I’m all for it.
Whoa! Wait! I almost forgot! This clip from Shepard Smith is incredible. Amazingly enough, there is one person over at Fox News with a brain:
Yes, it was a great media day!