Monday, February 9, 2009

Brief thought about the Obama presser

It's nice having a president who doesn't require a series of scripted softballs to muddle through a press conference. After the past eight years, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have an honest-to-goodness policy wonk and high-functioning scholar in the White House.

But I was a little more skeptical of this line, near the end: "I think over time people will respond to civility and rational argument."

President Obama is talking, of course, about a political party headed up by a guy who tried to argue - without a hint of guile - that teachers, cops, firefighters and postal workers don't really have jobs.

Eh. I suppose that's why he calls it the audacity of hope.


Jack T. said...

Steele's clownshoes notwithstanding, I think the way the White House is handling the GOP is pretty good. With the retiring senators and weak seats (ie Judd Greg's seat), the Democrats could take over Congress by 2012. And all of those GOP lawmakes from struggling districts/states (which is pretty much all of them these days) will have to contend with that 50 state strategy gun aimed right at them.

Ryan J. Rusak said...

Well, he did call on a liberal blogger and on Helen Thomas, and of course took no follow-ups, so he's not immune to seeking softballs, either. He's a politician. That's what they do.

blackink said...

@Jack: I really don't know what the GOP strategy for long-term growth is. I suppose anointing Steele as the HNIC was part of the plan. But I can't imagine he has staying power. He's generated nothing but embarrassing headlines in the past two weeks.

@Ryan: Welcome to FH. Please do stop by again. But I'm not quite sure that Obama is playing in the same softball league as Dubya. And, promise, I'm not trying to be an Obama apologist.

Sam Stein of the Huffington Post asked a legitimately confrontational question. And the HP gets more daily Web hits than most major newspapers, including my own. Whether or not it has a liberal bent, they have a credential and a large audience. I don't have a problem with Obama answering him.

Helen Thomas is pretty much a staple of the White House press corps, no? I mean, he didn't field a question from Bozo the Clown or anything. (by far, the worst questions came from Chuck Todd and the guy from the WaPo who asked about A-Rod).

And, of course, there's a time limit to these things in primetime, so it makes sense that he wouldn't have much time to dither around with follow-ups. I'm sure the corps will have their chances for that.

No doubt, Obama is a gifted politician. That's not a necessarily flattering thing. But, thus far, he's been much better at being accountable to the press than Dubya.