The panic–8 years too late

Watching CNN this morning, I was struck by some particularly telling arguments.  On the one hand, host Campbell Brown of CNN’s “Campbell Brown, No Bias, No Bull;” was waxing hotly critical of Obama’s allowing cabinet and other nominations to go forward where either some of his picks had lobbying experience or were related to those who had lobbying experience.  Brown basically made the argument that President elect Barack Obama basically went back on his campaign pledge that he wouldn’t allow lobbyists to set the agenda for his administration.  I have news for Campbell Brown full of bias and bull at this point, if you are going to surround yourself with people who happen to have experience in Washington, D.C. to help a former junior Senator from Illinois get his administration off the ground by 20 January 2009, then it is going to be somewhat inevitable that lobbyists or those related to lobbyists will have some part of that administration.  To date, Daschle (?) among the incoming administration picks, does have a wife who does lobby.  But should Daschle get the final nod and approval, his wife is leaving her firm to avoid conflicts of interest.  Brown wasn’t interested in disclosing that part of the news on public record by no less than CNN itself.  Like I said, full of bias and bull at that point.  President elect Obama must be the man who does indeed set the agenda no matter what his final cabinet happens to be.  Let us not be naive about the interconnections between lobbyists and politicians that has been a public fact since that story broke some years ago. What Obama can do, is simply limit the influence of lobbyists in his administration if not eliminate lobbyists completely.

Continuing on from “Reliable Sources” to “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer,” and finally to Fareed Zakaria, “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”  I was hearing a state of panic in the various panels of discussion on the latter two shows.  We have a global financial melt down, we have the threat of extinction from the Big 3 auto makers.  And what was plainly voiced, was how we needed, just needed President elect Obama to say something now about our current problems.  The man is not in office.  Sorry, but he can exercise no authority until he is officially sworn in.  He can put his various teams together to begin looking at this nation’s monumental problems in the meantime, but he can do nothing officially, until 20 January 2009.  You get the impression from Robert Reich, Levin, even Friedman of the New York Times that they would sooner rather than later push GW out the door and get Obama installed in the White House.  Because, they said that GW isn’t going to do anything in the next two months and that there was a power vacuum between the two administrations.  Well now, what did GW do in the last 8 years?  Friedman at one point said that he would actually like the inauguration pushed up.

What I find truly amazing is that there can be this sort of criticism now, in the waning days of the GW administration, that was greatly lacking in all of the last 8 years.  Let me present a brief history.

  1. GW enters the White House in 2001 not only having lost the popular vote but also having to turn to the U.S. Supreme Court to certify that he will become the U.S. Presidency.  Yes, actually, the Dems are disappointed in the outcome and the Republicans are crowing delightedly at the end of the Clinton era.  However, during the following weeks, we heard more about Clinton, no longer president, from no less than CNN; than we heard about GW and in what direction he wished to take this nation.  Basically, the news media wanted to go on beating a dead horse of a presidency.
  2. GW enters office making false accusations of a “vengeful Clinton” trashing the White House and Air Force 1.  Again, the news media makes a big hulabaloo over the issue.  But when GW finally admits to the fact that what he claimed initially was a fiction, the admission got buried and the story died quietly without any follow up.  Indeed, this should have been treated as a scandal that ought to have seriously undermined a new presidency.  The news media did nothing to challenge it.
  3. Before GW won in 2000, “The Nation” came out with declarations of GW having the history of being a terrible business man.  During the GW presidency, I had the occasion of picking up a book or two written by the late Molly Ivins concerning GW’s past business and political history.  Let’s put it bluntly, the past worst presidents of America’s 19th century would have fared better under such critical scrutiny than GW would have and should have today.  But, beyond Ivin’s books and editorials, GW was basically getting “It’s morning in America” treatment from the media.  That was before 9/11/2001.
  4. The New York Times did manage to point out that GW wasn’t all that anxious about continuing Clinton’s counter-terrorism measures.  He was far more concerned about such faith-based issues as stem cell research and abortion.  We heard more from GW about how people should get married before going on the federal dole than we heard about Al Qaeda, and the testing they had in store for GW.
  5. On the day it happened, GW was reading “My Pet Goat,” with a bunch of grade schoolers.  But before 9/11/2001, he had plenty of warning from the CIA, from Richard Clarke; and as then National Security Adviser Condi Rice was to admit, those prior and valid warnings were pretty much dismissed out of hand.  As being “historical.”  This too should have been seen as a scandal to undermine a presidency.  The news media gave it a pass.

There are numerous other examples throughout the GW administration in which the media reported and did not follow through.  When Senator Kerry ran against GW in 2004, the talking heads on CNN did more complaining and ridiculing of Kerry than they saw fit to discuss GW and his obvious political failures, esp. as it concerned the mismanagement of the war in Iraq and the failure to deal decisively with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.  After 2005, and Katrina, the GW administration’s unwillingness to deal decisively with an east coast’s general uprooting of entire populations, and general destruction of vast areas of landscape and property; should have been an eye-opener to a presidency that was more for show than actual governance.  That then Senator Obama could tap into that anger by 2007, and win the presidency on 4 November 2008; should have shown the news media then that the people got it.  They got it that they no longer had homes to go to, food or medicines that they could no longer trust, education was becoming impossible to afford, health care was beyond the reach of many, insurance covered less and less while costing more and more.  They got it, when the news media could finally get around to reporting on the fact that Afghanistan was deteriorating and NATO and American generals were demanding more troops.  We can’t deliver because they are needed for “victory” in Iraq.  There was plenty that the people got that the news media quite frankly ignored.  The financial industry that started leveraging itself out of existence with the prospects of creating a global crisis on the level of the end of days.  And Sec. Treasury Paulson who can’t seem to be getting his act together (You’re doing a heck of a job, Brownie) in this latest version of a Katrina style of disaster.

The media types are whining now, and would like nothing better than to have GW out and a new administration installed ASAP.  Well, they had a mouth and could have used it over the last 8 years to challenge a fellow who was elected first on questionable grounds, and the news media made the argument that a man who made many mistakes and many messes should be put back in office to correct them…  No, actually GW did not do that.  He has if anything, left bigger piles for Obama to clean up after than he might have left for Kerry in 2004.

Obama can wait his time and be inaugurated on the required date.  GW is still president, and he can be deluged with the necessary criticisms and scathing catcalls, and even the tons of verbal tomatoes being lofted his way, until he leaves office at 12:00 pm on 20 January 2009.  The news media didn’t want to challenge this screwup who didn’t have a Monica Lewinsky waiting in the wings.  But, let us put it bluntly, adultery is the least of our problems given the last 8 years.  The Congress didn’t want to put this president out of office.  So, they are going to have to wait for the next administration to be installed before they can begin the business (long overdue) of the people.  On this, give me a break.  The old left proved to be entirely too correct about GW.  Unfortunately, they weren’t listened to with any kind of respect.

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