Monday, February 16, 2009

A Rare Challenge to the Beltway Mindset

Believe me, I was just as surprised as anyone to see MSNBC's Contessa Brewer provide a brief moment of clarity that was able to cut through the mindset of beltway journalism. Kudos to Crooks and Liars for catching this exchange with Sheryl Gay Stolberg, White House Correspondent for the New York Times:

Brewer: Is President Obama able to control his message against than the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism Can he slowly change the ways of Washington?

Stolberg: Obama wanted a big bipartisan vote and he didn't get it. He passed it just like George Bush passed pushing through a one party bill.

Harwood: Are you respond as a Nattering Nabob since he's at 66%?

Stolberg: I am a Nattering Nabob of Fairness instead

Stolberg: Obama went courting Republicans...he framed bill as a show of unity. Instead it could have been a lesson in setting expectations. We need this measure and if it get Republican votes fine, but it's a high priority for us.

Brewer: Didn't he do just that....Cocktails etc. Reaching across the aisle. But they wanted what? a Republican stamp on the bill. After all the Democrats won.

Stolberg: (long reply about the "I won" statement from POTUS meaning nothing) Even so the pres made such a strong point in his campaign of about changing the ways of Washington, it couldn't help but be a disappointment when it didn't get
republican votes.

Brewer: Perhaps it was the Republicans with the deaf ears on that front

Stolberg (Taken aback and stutters) "Well perhaps.....

Brewer: Let's make that the last word on that

Stolberg: Okay I'll let you have the last word.

You can view video of the exchange here. It really is amazing to watch what happens when an anchor has a moment of clarity and dare challenge the beltway mentality, that Obama failed in his mission for a bipartisan stimulus bill. Nevermind if the Republicans turned "deaf ears" to any idea of bargaining and nevermind that Obama weakened his own bill in order to appease the minority, a minority that ends up patting itself on the back for not voting for the bill. This is the new definition of bipartisanship, President Obama moves to the right by accommodating the wants of the Republicans and they react by not bargaining in good faith and end up voting in a bloc against the legislation. This narrative has failed to get through to the beltway journalists and it is moments like this that are a little bit refreshing.

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