February 3, 2010

President Obama met with the Senate Democrats today, just like he did last week with House Republicans, and he made a point about the media and the influence they are having on the members of the Democratic party.

President: Last point I would make about this. You know what I think would actually make a difference, Michael -- I think if everybody here -- excuse all the members of the press who are here -- if everybody here turned off your CNN, your Fox, your -- just turn off the TV -- MSNBC, blogs -- and just go talk to folks out there, instead of being in this echo chamber where the topic is constantly politics -- the topic is politics. It is much more difficult to get a conversation focused on how are we going to help people than a conversation about how is this going to help or hurt somebody politically.

And that's part of what the American people are just sick of -- because they don't care, frankly, about majority and minorities and process and this and that. They just want to know, are you delivering for me? And we've got to, I think, get out of the echo chamber. That was a mistake that I think I made last year, was just not getting out of here enough. And it's helpful when you do. (Applause.)

It's a little late with this recommendation, Mr. President. The time to have spoken up was long before the August recess. Your strategy basically allowed conservatives to take over the messaging and make the debate exactly what political operatives like Frank Luntz and Newt Gingrich had hoped for. Hell, Luntz told Samantha Bee that not being able to control a town hall meeting in 2005 could produce disastrous results for Bush. Well, that came true. The town halls became an exhibition of hatred, insanity and ignorance.

And as usual Fox News ignored this event, as they usually do.

The president also told Senate Dems to stop being afraid and get health-care reform done.

The president's appeal on health care was especially noteworthy, given the initiative's precarious future. As has been the case of late, Obama didn't give lawmakers specific instructions -- at least not publicly -- but he made clear they must take advantage of this opportunity and deliver on the promise of reform.

"So many of us campaigned on the idea that we were going to change this health care system," the president reminded the senators. "So many of us looked people in the eye who had been denied because of a pre-existing condition, or just didn't have health insurance at all ... and we said we were going to change it. Well, here we are with a chance to change it.... I hope we don't lose sight of why we're here. We've got to finish the job on health care." Here's hoping Democrats take the advice to heart.

And Obama made the point that they still have a huge majority in the Senate, which is something they don't know how to use. I understand that the GOP is using the filibuster at an insane level, but for those of us who worked hard to help get Dems elected, this has been incredibly frustrating.

And just as an aside, it was also interesting to see that the president apparently keeps up fairly well on media developments: "There was apparently a headline after the Massachusetts election. The Village Voice announced that Republicans win a 41-59 majority. It's worth thinking about. We still have to lead."

If the majorities change hands, you can be sure that if the Democratic Party obstructed like conservatives have, and turned the filibuster into a potent weapon for saying "no", the Villagers would be screaming for the Dems to not be obstructionists, with David Broder leading the way.

The rule is that conservatives can do NO wrong.

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