Monday, February 01, 2010

Class Session: GOP Retreat

Here is another video source for the President's Q & A session at the Republican Retreat last Friday, at YouTube: An Open Discussion Across the Aisle. (One hour, seven minutes, 16 seconds)

Steve Benen:
Republicans thought they were throwing their toughest pitches, and Obama -- with no notes, no teleprompter, and no foreknowledge -- just kept knocking 'em out of the park.


William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t:
. . .On Friday, Mr. Obama presented himself before a collection of some 140 Republican members of Congress and, not to put too fine a point on it, bounced them individually and collectively off all four walls in the room.

How wide a swath did the president cut through the Republicans at that Friday meeting? On Saturday afternoon, MSNBC canceled a scheduled afternoon showing of something titled "Death in the Hollywood Hills" to rebroadcast the Obama-GOP collision. For a major cable network to drop a show about gossipy Hollywood homicides in favor of - gasp! - actual substantive news programming means something truly incredible took place in that room.

It did indeed. [...]

One by one, Republican members of Congress stood before Mr. Obama and took their best shots. One by one, he sent them packing with a smile on his face and the facts on his side. One of the most revealing exchanges took place when GOP Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) tried to take the president to task for refusing to support an across-the-board tax cut, and for the massive cascade of job losses that hit the nation last winter. Mr. Obama reminded Pence that the job losses he spoke of took place before he took office, and before any of his programs had been implemented. He excoriated Pence and a number of his Republican brethren for attending ribbon-cutting ceremonies celebrating programs created by the stimulus package they had voted against. He concluded by telling Pence, "I'm going to want to take a look at your math," because Pence's support for massive tax cuts, a spending freeze and a balanced budget all at the same time basically makes no sense whatsoever.

Perhaps, the most revealing aspect of this event came after the deal had gone down. The Republicans in that room were made to look so foolish in the face of this president that a number of them later stated bluntly that it was a mistake to have allowed cameras into the room. Fox News saw how badly those GOP Congress people were being thrashed and cut away from their broadcast of the event a full 20 minutes before it was over, choosing instead to flood their studio with critics of Obama to try and mitigate the damage.

And that, in a nutshell, is the present reality of this Republican Party. When allowed to freely bloviate into the yawning void of modern political journalism, the GOP can score points easily. They are the undisputed world heavyweight champions of the sound bite stab below the fifth rib, and their talents in this regard are fortified by their uncanny ability to have no fealty to the truth whatsoever. When confronted by someone armed to the teeth with the facts, someone who can articulate those facts clearly and completely in front of a battery of cameras broadcasting his words to a national audience on every network, they folded like wet napkins. [...]

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