February 4, 2010

Is anyone else as tired as I am of watching Anderson Cooper bring these two on his show night after night to talk about this non-existent middle that the President is supposed to be catering to without acknowledging that the Republican Congress has been one of the most obstructionist in the history of our country?

This John Avlon who continually looks like he's trying to prove the points he made in his "Wingnuts" book rather than talk about the reality of our political situation in this country is particularly annoying. Given this guy was the Chief Speechwriter and Deputy Policy Director for Rudy Giuliani's 2008 Presidential Campaign I guess nothing that comes out of his mouth should be too surprising.

Anyone who can equate Alan Grayson to Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin frankly just needs to just STFU and get off my television screen IMHO. Instead he's given a platform night after night or on CNN's morning show to convince Americans that if the Democrats just give the Republicans everything they want those "Independent" voters will love them and all will be well.

And David Gergen thinks the President needs to get out there and listen to those tea baggers and their complaints. Yeah, that's going to work David. If he just talks nice to them maybe they'll put away those Joker and Hitler signs they're carrying and start to love him. I'm sure if he tried you'd all be talking about how the uppity black man who's out of touch with the common folk is "lecturing" them.

I agree with Gergen on one point. The public did send President Obama to Washington to get results and not just to give speeches. The public is going to calm down if they see things getting better in their daily lives and not worse. Since the Republicans have absolutely no desire to govern but instead destroy government so they can prove their own talking points that government doesn't work and use that as an excuse to privatize everything, they and the ConservaDems that share their philosophy are not going to allow that to happen.

Maybe when the pitchforks finally start coming out because people are so fed up they'll finally change their tune. I don't think we'll see the likes of Gergen or anyone in our mainstream media admit what too many of our politicians actually think government is good for before hell freezes over, which is lining the pockets of those that get them elected and then using that money to get elected again. We need some real campaign finance reform before that's going to change.

Transcript via CNN below the fold.

COOPER: Interesting. Dana, appreciate it.

Let's dig deeper with senior political analyst David Gergen, also, John Avlon, columnist for TheDailyBeast.com and author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America."

David, you know, President Bush used to get kind of knocked for having pre-scripted questions or kind of softball questions at press conferences. I mean, just fair play here, why not have just actual impromptu questions from -- not from hand-picked senators and folks? Why not just have an actual meeting where things may get ugly, but it's real?

GERGEN: Or maybe even a formal press conference, Anderson.

COOPER: How about that?

GERGEN: A press conference. Wouldn't that be a change of pace? We haven't had one for about six months, I think.

Look, I think these have been constructive, especially the one with the Republicans. There was a certain electricity in that. This one was more -- was much tamer. And it was sort of more predictable and had more of a pep rally feel to it, frankly, and very much a pre- campaign kind of effort.

But what I don't think -- I did visit the White House today, and -- after this session. And I came away with the impression that these will not become routine, that if anything, they're going to look for fresh ways to communicate.

They do have very much a strong feeling in White House that the president needs to get out more. I have some questions about that strategy. But nonetheless, they want to put him in different settings.

I think what he ought to be doing, frankly, is some more listening, too. You know, a listening tour in which he listened to a lot of citizens. You know, these tea-party folks who are meeting this week, you know, their argument is "Nobody is listening to us." I think the more the government listens to citizens and then responds after a number of comments, I think that would be healthy.

COOPER: John, the argument is that President Obama has been plenty out there in terms of giving interviews, and you see him on a lot of different shows. What do you think independents think of -- how do they read this?

AVLON: I think this has been the substance behind the talk of a new reaching out, today's event. But also even more substantively, the Republican event, which really showed the president back in the mode that independents voted for him in '08.

Clearly, a president who's intelligent, who can think on his feet, who's not ideological and a real break with the Bush administration in that way. And I think actually these are not incidental events. I think these are very important. These have been real bright moments for the Obama administration.

COOPER: Would you like to see more of them?

AVLON: Absolutely, and there's actually a grassroots movement going on the Web right now. Liberal and conservative bloggers and journalists say make more of these, make it like British prime minister's questions. An era of constant spin, the only way to break through the spin is to stop spinning.

COOPER: British prime minister questions, though, I mean, there's nothing like that in American politics. There hasn't been like that for a long time. I mean, it gets -- it gets downright mean, and I mean, people are yelling and booing. It's really fascinating.

AVLON: It's brutal, but it's honest. And I think that's what people are sick of, is the cynicism of Washington politics. Just having an honest exchange, and the fact that these are substantive, that's what's really revolutionary.

COOPER: So interesting, David, to see that kind of British-style thing. We should get a video of it and maybe play it tomorrow or something, because it is fascinating to watch. You know, the whole crowd goes, "Harumph, harumph, harumph," and you know, challenges what the British prime minister says.

GERGEN: Yes, Anderson, in Britain and the parliament, they keep -- you know, you have to stand behind the line when you're speaking. And the other party is directly across behind another line, and the two lines are just far enough apart that two swords can't hit each other. You can't hit the other guy with a sword.

But I want to go back to this, Anderson, about that. I think -- look, I think the president does need to be regularly accountable through questions, through the press and other forums. But I don't think people sent him to Washington to be a talker. I think they sent him to Washington to be a doer and to get results.

And this notion that he needs to get out on the countryside more, I think he needs to govern more and take charge in Washington and get some results. And yes, stay in touch. But most important thing is get some results for people.

COOPER: But now, Scott Brown is being sworn in, I mean, Democrats lose their filibuster-proof majority. So in truth, what can the president really get done?

AVLON: Well, look, they don't have a filibuster-proof majority, but they still have a strong majority. Many presidents have governed very effectively with far less. So I think there's a sense that you lose the 60 seats, all of a sudden the mandate to govern is over. And that's just not the case.

I think the president campaigned early on, on changing the culture in Washington. No doubt that's tough to do. It's addicted to division. But you begin by reaching out, by beginning, engaging in the conversation. And ultimately, what leaders do is change the culture. And I think this is a step in the right direction.

COOPER: David, do you thank that's possible?

GERGEN: There are some things. Yes, I think on this year, I was up on the Hill today, too, and talked to some of the Republican leadership. And I will tell, there is a -- there was a -- a gratitude expressed by Republicans that in the State of the Union, he said, "Look, I want to go on nuclear power. I want to go forward. I want to go forward with offshore drilling."

And if there is a possibility of putting together an energy bill this year that would have bipartisan support, there will be energy production. Cap and trade is gone. There would be a possibility of doing something on trade.

On education they are closer together. On Afghanistan, there's a lot of Republican support. So there are areas where you could build some trust, and people could begin to see, you know, maybe those guys can work together.

That would help the country's morale a lot.

COOPER: David Gergen, John Avlon, appreciate it. Thanks very much. Good discussion.

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