Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Grown Ups are MIA

Last night we were out to dinner with two dear friends, both of whom are progressive Democrats. (Thought it was only fair to share all the information.) Dinner with these two smart and articulate people, is always fun and sometimes even rollicking fun The political conversation began right away with Billy asking me what was going on with Obama. I told him that when Barack called me yesterday, he said there was nothing new. “You’re not kidding, and nothing is the key word.” The discussion continued and I refused to take responsibility for this Administration’s actions, or inaction as it would seem. Billy said that when he listened to Obama speak he was always moved. But he wanted to see something accomplished beside the Justice Department deciding that you can no longer be arrested for using legal medical marijuana – if it is legal in the state where you are smoking.

It’s been ten months since Obama was sworn in and the question for most people is, has he accomplished anything? We are still in a war, health care is still pending, and even “Don’t ask don’t tell” remains military policy. Oh, except there is this ongoing ridiculous battle with Fox. This particular battle is a bit petulant for my taste. The White House says that Fox is an arm of the Republican party and so they should be treated like an enemy. There is even a Move On e-mail to rally the troops. It is a total waste of time and energy. The content is juvenile and preposterous, but worth sharing because it is what the people who drank the Kool Aid think makes sense:

"Democrats should support President Obama's effort to call out FOX. Please stay off FOX for as long as he does."
Dear MoveOn member,
All year, FOX has worked 24/7 to block President Obama's agenda—repeating lies about "death panels," promoting Tea Party protests, and whipping up fake political scandals. Now, President Obama is fighting back. The White House communications director said FOX is a "wing of the Republican Party...let's not pretend they're a news network." To draw attention to its biased coverage, President Obama will not appear on FOX for the rest of this year. It's about time Democrats stood up to FOX! Can you sign this petition asking Democrats to support President Obama's stance by staying off FOX as long as he does? We'll deliver it to Sen. Warner and Sen. Webb and Rep. Moran

It is hard to imagine what these people are thinking. The White House simply looks foolish trying to say FOX is not a network. By all the definitions, of course it is a network. Maybe the White House doesn't like it but there are many people who listen to it. Further, as my mother said, honey is much more palatable than salt when you are trying to convince people that you are right. Or was it "You get more using honey that salt". Who cares, you get the point. Why not appear to be open to every opinion and make them look short sighted and without credibility.

Today I went to a memorial service for a dear friend, Anne Wexler. She was the premiere Washington lobbyist – hard working, concerned, principled and tough. But she always got what you needed to do to get things done. Her firm, Wexler Reynolds was bi-partisan. There were incredibly talented people from both parties who she employed. They were successful because they understood that continued conversation was much more effective than refusing to talk. I think the problem for this Administration is that they have not transitioned to governing instead of campaigning. And there is a big difference, both in attitude and philosophy, between the two.

Anne probably would have said that an unsuccessful transition from political campaign to running the government is like being a cigarette girl on the Hindenburg. You are just passing time until there is an explosion. That’s what we are seeing now. The ship of state is trying to stay afloat with a commander who seems directionless despite his eloquent rhetoric.

It looks like he will commit more troops to Afghanistan, health care probably will not have a public option, and the media will remain the enemy. As Anne always said, “Talk to the press, tell the truth the first time, and move on”. She would have seen the FOX thing as an opportunity instead of a battle field. All I can think when I look at this kind of behavior from the White House is, where are the adults when we need them. When will there be another Anne to insist that the White House use a little common sense. We’re just sayin’… Iris

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