The Washington Post on Tuesday called in a panel of "experts" to weigh in on President Barack Obama's attempt at the Modified, Limited Ginsburg over the weekend. Naturally, they are a day late to the topic. And, of course, the panel, in keeping with Washington Post traditions, is mostly a drab gaggle of Republicans. Here's how they achieve "balance": Republicans Karl Rove, Dana Perino, Dan Schnur, Ed Rogers, and Linda Chavez take on Democratic Pollster Douglas Schoen and Lanny Davis -- who moonlights as Washington DC's most unpleasant person.
Do you wonder what they'll say about the matter? Well, you'd be surprised! As you read the piece, you start to realize something -- the problem with this piece isn't that the panel is primarily composed of kneejerk, predictable, Republican critics. The problem is that the panel is astoundingly lackwitted!
Suppose someone were to come up to you today and say this:
Obama is 'on the edge of being pedestrian and boring.' He 'will be disappointed' when 'his media blitz" fails to 'move the needle' and 'affect public opinion.' Benefits are going to be 'short lived,' he will not 'persuade the large majority of Americans,' and it is 'hard to see what is going to be accomplished by this.' He should have 'gone on Fox News' to reach 'swing voters' and not 'insult [Fox] on the record.' I 'thought that the administration would have something new to say.' He 'said nothing new.' Also, 'hasn't really had anything new to say.' 'I...recommend...bipartisan...'
My response would be: "YES, I TOO AM CAPABLE OF BLANDLY RESTATING LAST WEEK'S CONVENTIONAL WISDOM LIKE A CRANIALLY TRAUMATIZED MYNAH BIRD." What the Washington Post said was: "OOOH! LET'S SPEND MONEY, ACQUIRING THIS INSIGHT."
Close readings of the individual pieces don't make it any better. Karl Rove -- a man who is credited with genius for driving the GOP into the ground while constantly intoning the most prosaic utterances about politics, ever -- thinks it's "expertise" to tell readers that there are five Sunday talk shows and then attempts to relitigate an argument between Obama and George Stephanopoulos that was much better when litigated by the original litigants. Linda Chavez thinks it's a contradiction for Obama to want to "reward decency and civility in our political discourse" while simultaneously decrying the "lies" and "bogus claims" of "critics." Lanny Davis, of course, likes the Wyden-Bennett bill -- not because it achieves savings, not because it's effective, not because it's going to make Americans healthier -- but because it's covered in BIPARTISANSHIP SAUCE, the most precious substance in Washington.
And I don't know why you pay editors if it's not to stop Dana Perino from putting sentences like these into your newspaper: "All of that is fine and good. But is fine good enough?"
To be honest with you, there's only one really smart thing said in this whole piece. Credit where credit is due to Dan Schnur, who says:
Most people don't watch television news programs on Sunday morning, and even political junkies don't watch five of them.
Seriously. That's maybe the one thing in this whole piece that actually needed to be said.