David Gregory: McConnell's Claim That 'Obama Got Everything He Wanted and it Didn't Work' Resonated With Public
I had the unfortunate circumstance of catching this segment first thing in the morning from MSNBC's Morning Joe where Meet the Press host David Gregory made an appearance and decided to do a little Republican messaging to smooth over the extreme amount of obstruction we've seen from the Senate since President Obama got elected.
Mediaite's Tommy Christopher did a nice job of summing up just what's wrong with just about everything that came out of Gregory's mouth here -- David Gregory Cites ‘Resonant’ Mitch McConnell: Obama ‘Got Everything He Wanted and It Didn’t Work’.
Here's part the transcript via Newsbusters, who they linked over at Mediaite, and who humorously also think it's some kind of rare occasion for David Gregory to repeat Republican talking points on the air:
WILLIE GEIST: Hey David, it's Willie. I want to ask you a fundamental question we've been talking a lot about around this table. The argument from the White House and from many on the left is that the president can't get anything done because he has a party of "no" working against him. Is that a fair characterization based on the evidence we've seen over the last two-and-a-half, almost three, years now, of the way Republicans have handled themselves? Are they out to see the president fail, or are they just standing up for their core beliefs?
DAVID GREGORY: Well, I think it's both. I think it depends how you want to cast it. I think liberals and defenders of the president will say this is the party of "no." I think conservatives would say this is the party of "we're going to stop him from doing more; stop him from hurting the economy further." I mean, the president--Mitch McConnell said something several weeks ago that I think really resonated, which is: the president got everything that he wanted and it didn't work. He got a big stimulus. He got health care reform, he got financial reform. The economy hasn't moved.
Here's more from Christopher:
The only problem with Gregory’s statement is that it’s complete balderdash. Balderdash, I tell you!
Gregory continued, “He got a big stimulus. He got health care reform. He got financial reform. The economy hasn’t moved.”
As anyone with eyeballs can see, Gregory’s statement is wrong at both ends, and full of poppycock in the middle. President Obama didn’t get everything he wanted” in the stimulus, he got a whittled-down, 40% tax cut half-measure that was all he could get past the Republicans and the ConservaDems. Ditto health care reform, which had the most important measure for cutting costs, the public option, stripped from it by the same union of elephants and Blue Dogs. Now, it is valid to criticize the President for not being able to jawbone the turncoats in his own party, when they had unbreakable majorities in both houses, but no one would say he “got everything he wanted.”
As for financial reform, again, there are fair criticisms to be made of the measure, but it is clear that Republicans are blocking even implementation of that half-measure.
Despite all of this dilution, Gregory is also wrong that “it didn’t work,” and that “the economy hasn’t moved.” It actually has moved, a lot, out of 750,000 a month job loss pit, onto a more stable ground of 19 consecutive months of private sector job growth, and a just-announced 2.5% increase in GDP. As the White House constantly says, it’s not nearly good enough, but if you give a dying man some medicine, and he doesn’t die, the medicine “worked” at least a little, right? You don’t turn around and put leeches on him when his rehab runs long, do you?
This is what drives people crazy about the mainstream media. Most of the time, they’re afraid to reach even the most obvious conclusion, preferring to lay out “both sides,” no matter how idiotic one of them is. Earlier in the clip, Gregory presents “both sides,” saying, “Liberals and defenders of the President will say this is the party of no. I think conservatives would say this is the party of we’re going to stop him from doing more. Stop him from hurting the economy further.”
And he hit the nail on the head with just what's wrong with this sort of "reporting" by Gregory here:
When mainstream journalists do reach a conclusion, it’s usually felgercarb like this. The trick here is that Gregory technically isn’t agreeing with McConnell. He says McConnell’s quote “resonates” (so does the couch after a big bowl of chili), so he’s still just an observer.
This is the problem with a mainstream press that does nothing but repeat what is said to them. If a lie gets repeated enough, people believe it.
While you can argue as Christopher noted that it's entirely fair criticism of the President on whether he should have done more to push through progressive legislation that a lot of us here would have liked to have seen passed, he's spot on with pointing out that it's just a blatant lie that gets repeated day in and day out in our media that he ever had some sort of progressive majority in the Congress to work with.
But that's not going to stop David Gregory from helping Mitch McConnell with pushing that narrative and from playing the false equivalency game he did here with pretending that "both sides" have been refusing to compromise with each other. Gregory would rather ignore the fact that Republicans care more about obstructing and doing their best to destroy our economy intentionally for the primary political purpose of making sure that a Democratic president doesn't get reelected.
And if anyone needs a reminder of the record amount of obstruction and filibusters that Gregory decided to gloss over in this segment, go read our own Jon Perr's post from a couple of weeks ago here -- The Republicans’ Unprecedented Obstructionism by the Numbers.