Did President Obama give the media a subtle smackdown last night? In the last fiery quarter of his speech (which began with a SCOTUS dress down and ended with Obama weirdly chanting USA) this admonishment to Congress was particularly notable, I think:
But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side -- a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of -- I'm speaking to both parties now. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators.
Um snap? I'd have to recheck the video but I think this was met with mixed applause. Here's the thing. Who really is making every day Election day and who really is responsible for the "embarrassing headlines"? I have no doubt Congress is making the most of it, but truth be told it is the cable news media, which is increasingly being fueled by the blogosphere. If I didn't know better I would hazard a guess that this was a shot across the bow to Politico, who has built its now-booming business by blowing small newsy asides into major day-long talking points. Not that they are alone in this by any stretch. Politics is truly the new national pastime and I suspect those involved may be paying a price for having permeated the national consciousness to such an extent.
Also? Considering how many public appearances and addresses the President has made over the last twelve months, one would be forgiven for thinking perhaps he also has not shifted as far out of election mode as he would have us believe. That said, between this and his asserting that "if the Republican leadership is going to insist that sixty votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well" I think we can conclude that Obama is looking to spend the 10 months between now and the midterms doing his best to drag as many Republicans with him to the corner he appears to be inexorably being painted into -- whether by his hand or others.