No Narrative - New media and Politics

The title is misleading of course. There is one continuous narrative in the MSM: Everything that happens is good for the Republicans and bad for the Democrats. You can take that MSM wisdom further and say everything that does happen is the responsibility of the Democrats and not the Republicans. Sadly a lot of Democrats or progressives are happy to play along. I'd say they do that to show off their independence creds, but that would be cynical on my part too. There are some genuine reasons for criticism and I'll talk about that, but it'd be nice if after a long week if some of the good could get as much attention.

I know the left is supposed to be more critical than the subservient right. But there is however a useful limit. A point beyond which you do your cause harm. Now you'd never know it if you listened to the MSM hacks who play journalists on TV, Barrack had himself, legislatively speaking, a hell of a week. There was Wall Street Reform, the much needed unemployment extension for millions that the Republicans had been stubbornly blocking, and credit card reform designed to better protect consumers.

There was also an Executive Order from the President to provide a National Endowment for the Oceans, to provide a stable funding source to support stewardship of the oceans, to benefit the communities that rely on the many services provided by the oceans, from healthy fisheries to clean beaches to clean air.

There was the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act which is designed to begin to put an end to unnecessary no-bid contracts. There's some savings involved for taxpayers ($48 billion) and modernization of how government does things.

While the president is having a hard time getting what he wants, what many feel is absolutely necessary, for a Climate and Energy bill, he did manage to expand greenhouse gas reduction targets for federal operations. The Federal Government will reduce greenhouse gas pollution from indirect sources, such as employee travel and commuting, by 13% by 2020. Every little bit helps.

There was bad news for the administration as they joined everyone in jumping the gun on the Shirley Sherrod affair. A nasty and deliberate smear job perpetrated by Andrew Breitbart, someone who has done this sort of thing before, that proves the Obama administration to be overly cautious and sensitive to criticism from people who should not matter a whit. It is a failing but it is also a moment that they will hopefully learn from.


As for that failed climate bill, every progressive I've read blames Obama for running a poor campaign to get it passed. That's an argument with merit. It's hard to tell from reading about the issue whether or not it is him directly or if it is the political calculations of his staff. Either way it is a major disappointment but it doesn't mean that it can't be rectified in the near future, in fact it has to be. The one caveat here is that not a single Republican is on board for what may prove to be the defining issue of our times and that is not Obama's fault, but it not the fault of those who have lobbied hard and long to change their minds. There's blame enough to go around to be sure.

One more thing, my favourite blogger is the guy over at Eschaton, an economist named Duncan Black who has proved to be remarkably prescient. His beef with Obama, and he does have one, is about Obama's willingness to constantly give in to pressure from what he calls the wise old men of Washington. The people who, in effect, led the US to this place with 9.5% unemployment and a struggling economy. He makes a persuasive argument.

Interesting times are, without a doubt, a curse.