Friday, July 23, 2010

2 Very Short Videos, 2 Very Different Outcomes

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for July 23rd, 2010


1) Sheila Bair was the get of the week, more than Shirley Sherrod. Going into that interview you were at once ready to believe that the Financial Reform signed into law amidst multiple distractions on Wednesday was another big named under performer designed for optics rather than substance. But the FDIC chairwoman had little trouble dispelling any concern levied, not on a placation level, but on a deep technical level. It was unsatisfying that Elizabeth Warren could not curry favor, but understandable.

Financial Reform should not be sexy, it should be the antithesis of that. Like all of the other major legislation emanating from the administration, it should be seen as a genesis point from which we might potentially seat Elizabeth Warren at the Consumer Protection chair and augment derivatives reform in coming legislative sessions.

The technical merit of portraying Lehman as inherently save-able given the FinReg tools is a powerful one. Going too far with this legislation only feeds into the larger problem. If you want to end health care monopolies, move to single payer, end derivatives, end out of scale bonuses and the emasculation of stockholders, end too big to fail, end bank gambling, you've got your start towards it, now govern for a few more years and win a couple more elections based on merit, then take it farther.

2) A fabulous point was made by the institutionally ostracized Donny Deutsch today. The legislative bodies are finding less and less cover for their process. The news cycle, as maligned as it might be, is actually doing a service of exposing the weakness of the legislative process, its inherently compromised state, its vulnerability to lobby groups, and the net effect of layering one compromised law after another on a country that needs significant singular solutions.

We currently have an unmanageable catacomb of laws that have been layered like rings on a 234 year old tree without any thought towards interconnectivity, precedent, or preemption. How did we get that way? Because on the way to a president's desk the legislative process attempts to say yes to everybody. How do you, for example, write tax law that way? Farms get subsidies, outsourcing job exporters get tax breaks, companies get allowances to base themselves in Bermuda, and any hope of a flat fair tax is diced into 20 million special interest pieces.

This used to go on without real time coverage. C-Span just doesn’t count because it’s single source nature made it not competitive for a viewer's attention. But with 8 different outlets, and 2800 different twitter feeds, the story of how the legislative process often is more of a setback than a path forward is being televised in by the second facings.

All the trouble with Ms. Sherrod is helpful, because it points out the inevitability of the news cycle, and encourages all stakeholders to use it as efficiently as possible, and that includes voters and voter’s dollars. Now more than ever, will swift boating be the last word? Your grandmother has a Facebook account. It is possibly loosening the grip of fear that previously existed when a single communication could go unchallenged for days or weeks or cement as a permanent impression. Free enterprise is coming after the 'let the communication consumer beware' wariness, and there is a profit motive to being there first with the truth about anything you are viewing, which is a good thing.

3) Luke Russert and ShirleySherrod both got big press from small videos this week. Ms Sherrod because a long video got made short, she and the administration suffered a swift boat attack, and the results of the attack changed 3 significant times in 3 days until the right answer was there for all to see. She and the administration instead of melting facts into a paranoid stew, have instead ascended to a greater place for their ability to go for what is right and dissuade artificiality.

The administration is clearly scathed in the matter and there may still be further fallout, but you have to admit that the happy ending including a President who calls you to apologize is the clear opposite of doublespeak, a clear path to a lucid conversation with the nation.

Mr. Russert got some gargantuan breaks and has had the talent to capitalize. The breaks are specifically that he is a very young man in front of a very important, highest level story with a personal significance miles beyond his years or appearance. Mr. Rangel could not have known that attacking Mr. Russert would be seen by 2 networks as an equivalent of clubbing a baby seal or kicking a puppy. This is a trap of fate, for despite the appearances of a situation, the oldest statesman in the room still felt that he could wave his hand and make junior participants fall in line by the virtue of his demand. Instead he was felled by facts and a young man who has a willing army behind him.

Fair or not, it seems like a great thing is happening with Luke Russert because of what he is doing with his break.

That's all for today, see you Monday.

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