Saturday, January 30, 2010


Well, yeah -- President Obama may have scored a few points yesterday in his meeting with House Republicans, but according to Peter Baker and Carl Hulse of The New York Times, that's only because he cheated:

Although he and other presidents have addressed opposition caucuses before, they usually close the doors for questions, but this time the White House insisted on letting the news media record the give and take.

That worked to his benefit as he took advantage of the staging that comes with being president. He commanded the lectern with the presidential seal and the camera was trained mainly on him, while his interlocutors were forced to look up to him from the audience. Moreover, Mr. Obama gave long, confident and informed answers and felt free to interrupt questioners, while it is typically harder for others to interrupt a president.

Yeah! Unfair! He got elected to the highest office in the land and they didn't! There ought to be some sort of stature handicap for him!

Ah, but despite the fact that the whole thing was rigged by the results of a nationwide democratic election in 2008, Republicans still managed to make it a tie:

But Republicans said they believed they had achieved a victory as well, demonstrating that while Democrats might not like some of their policy ideas, they had advanced some proposals as evidenced by the president's acknowledgment that he had read them and even incorporated some of them into his initiatives.

"For him to say, 'I have read your proposals and they are substantive proposals,' that is a huge thing for Republicans," Representative Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, said afterward.

Right -- he accepted some of their proposals and put them in his bills -- which they then voted against as a unified bloc! That totally proves they're working in a spirit of bipartisan cooperation, and he isn't!

David Herszenhorn of the Times, doing the "Fact Check," is somewhat more positive about Obama's efforts yesterday, but even he has this:

Among Mr. Obama's boldest assertions was that Democrats had put forward a mostly centrist plan and that Republicans attacked it as "some Bolshevik plot."'

Generally speaking, the president's assessment was accurate. The Democrats' health care bill would preserve, and broadly expand, the existing system of private, employer-sponsored health insurance, while also offering subsidies to help moderate-income Americans buy private coverage through new government-regulated markets.

Well, if what Obama said was accurate, why was it a bold assertion? Is it because it's unseemly for Democrats to actually challenge Republicans when Republicans mischaracterize them? The only polite thing Democrats can do is remain silent and take it?

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