Friday, June 25, 2010

Senior Skip Day

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for June 25th, 2010


1) God bless Dylan Ratigan. Optics, symbolic victories, 2 out of 3 major goals accomplished: hogwash. As predicted here, on the DR show and anywhere else where the whitewash doesn’t work anymore, the financial reform package is an 8 cylinder vehicle missing 7 spark plugs. In the dark of night Blanche Lincoln capitulated as expected on derivatives reform, and this morning CNBC was awash in fake complaining so as not to be seen as though dancing a jig.

This is not different than health care reform. Obama was correctly accused by Ratigan today of being as in bed with the barons of the status quo as the Republican party.

I would take it a step further.

That this is in fact the optics of being a Democratic politician. You are required to make laws with names that falsely claim populist reform but substantively move the needle further towards the status quo. Doublespeak. Will Obama become the greatest artist of doublespeak in history, or at least since Bill Clinton? His oratory soars like no one since Martin Luther King. But the substance is undeniably short of what the oratory claims.

Or am I just impatient with the checks and balances system? Will there be year two strengthening of all three major 2010 reform packages? We are stuck without that answer. We won’t get Ron Paul on the right or Howard Dean on the left. Ever. Howard may have even switched sides under the ‘life is too short to go out losing’ ideology.

I will be paying keen attention to Dylan Ratigan’s “Fix It Week” next week. Let the record show Matt Taibbi is now 100 for 100 in predicting the futility of government to govern in a time of crisis. Elizabeth Warren got a small victory with consumer protection, but at what larger cost?

2) This week has now morphed into BP week, through an absence of meaningful coverage of the spill. What appears to be happening is that the cast is tired of how bad this news is. Is the BP story bad for your career? Do you need some happy news? Is that what you signed up for?

Look BP should have lost it all by now, they were given a reprieve, and why? Today was a triple witching news day, but two witches got off the hook. We decided to back hash the McChrystal and Patraeus situations, in a non event that smacks of running out of ideas, and let BP and financial reform get what amounts to a proportionate free pass. Yea, Ratigan got a rant, but is it a rant when the rest of the cast goes the other way? What happened is Halperin, Heilemann, O’Donnell, Deutsch and Geist all did a career check and rather than venture into dangerous waters, they opted for the good optics over the substantive futility, and looked the other way.

But systematically since 6:30 AM on Monday, the Morning Joe show abandoned the BP story. This is nothing short of a dramatic clutch victory for the villain oil company. The breathing room a week of media reprieve gives them may not be much because, as Geist says, this is a “creeping” story that will be back like groundhog day next week, but this is a wasted week with the show kicking the can down the road.

There is so much work to do. There is still an infrastuctural shortcoming in the spill containment plan. The Welch plan is still unattempted. The situation got worse, and the solution got farther.

On the infrastructure side, one thing keeps coming to mind. In our forest fire reaction in the United States, we use a Han Solo looking rag tag fleet of retired warplanes and commercial jets to do our fighting. Other countries make devoted fleets of firefighting airplanes, like Canada. Canada has float planes that land in any water, take on the water, take flight, and drop on a fire source. I saw this first hand when the bright, new yellow Canadian planes on loan landed off of Pacific Palisades a few years back to resupply their water to fight a Burbank fire. It seems so, well, evolved.

We are at a same situation with the BP spill. We are drafting shrimp boats to help contain oil rather than owning any specialized reaction vessels. Britain, Norway, Venezuela, and Canada all have that fleet and have offered it to us. At the height of my cynicism, I’m forced to believe that this slow walking of accepting those fleet’s aid is a political one, so we don’t seem so feckless, so beholden to commercial interest that we allow these oil companies to operate without any safety net in the United States, whether that net is public or private.

Would’ve been great to have the Morning Joe show be on point on that news as it emanated from the gulf this week. Where were you again?

3) This is the first show I’ve seen that didn’t include the new Erin Burnett 3 points feature, and on the day financial reform passed conference? And the first show that replayed old interviews to cover the absence of the stars. That replay thing actually seems like a good idea. Some of that stuff is worth repetition multiple times, and those chosen were in that category.

Producers go 1-1 on the day, well 1-2. The west coast stuff is awful. Those people look like Iranian prisoners, except for Lawrence O’Donnell.

That’s all for today, see you Monday

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