Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Stuck In LA Traffic

The Morning Joe Rebuttal for August 3rd, 2010


1) Why even have a show? This three hour program boiled down to 3 significant events: Howard Dean in all of his abbreviated glory, Mike Pence in all of his Joe Barton - BP apologist glory, and the Rolling Stone refute that directly followed it. Those were, in fact, amazing segments.

But this observation is about what happened to the other two and a half hours. Credit the cast for having an amazing liveliness given a 3 AM airtime, but you forgot to read the news until an hour later. You came on like it was a small market talk show and ranted about polls and the Obama strategy of painting the Republicans as a collective step backwards, not because it’s not true, but because of the words they used to communicate the phenomenon.

We had a bit of a blow up last week when we, the Morning Joe show and the Rebuttal, collectively had shown little ability to write a new caption to this unchanging photograph. The Morning Joe show has lost it’s evolving nature, hopefully just for the moment, and it’s feet, the giant size 17s of its anchor, are stuck in top-kill mud. You are currently exposed anytime anyone with a new idea comes on the show as being a sit in the weeds and dumb down anything you see rather than engage entity.

News flash: you are a perfect representation of the Republican party when you do that. Is it really 9th grade unprofessionalism to make the claim Obama made yesterday? Or is it 9th grade unprofessionalism that he is seeking out to engage? I can’t help but notice that when you waste two shows like yesterday and today, you do so looking more like the future of local news on Fox owned and operated stations, full of agendized talking points that lead directly to non discourse.

2) OK, let’s move on to achievement number one. Mike Pence came on Morning Joe today and did what so many Republicans have done recently: he came down on the wrong side of an issue, and then defended it adamantly. It is so, so awesome that a guy from Indiana took a photo op down with the ‘small people’ in Louisiana and on the way to his big project of damning Obama for the drilling moratorium tried to paint dispersants as a good guy in this story. It stuck out when he said it, eons before the cast starting lobbing grenades at it. It stuck out like saying the holocaust was made up or that we owe BP an apology.

I am not going to claim some scientific high ground to the contrary. I have listened to and read from many outlets from NPR to Fox on the matter and it is a story that we don’t have the complete answer to in any sense. But the early indications are that 1.8 million gallons of dispersant were poured on the oil spill to make it invisible, in a strategy that could’ve been called ‘out of site out of mind’. The collective of the dispersant and the now unremovable oil is now set to disperse via microbiorganisms. This has never been tried at this level and has never been tested in a half-life of toxicity sense ever. So if you are worried about the economy of the region, why would you undercut it’s primary revenue sources: the fishing industry and tourism? Do you want to come down and hit a restaurant? Do you want to come down and jump on a day boat? It looks good! Do you want to go to your local store and get gulf shrimp and feed it to your kids?

We don’t know any of the long term answers to a rash decision made far outside of the control of our President. But short of details from a trusted source, amongst which the EPA and BP cannot be counted, we are likely going to be avoiding some of those important gulf business for the microbioorganic half life of about a generation.

I can’t help but think of the possible outcomes, and when you drift into that thought, you start thinking about Agent Orange and Japanese Mercury poisoning. Americans with family values will wait steadfastly for a credible environmental analysis from multiple trusted sources before thinking the ‘All Clear’ that Mike Pence tried to serve up today was anything other than the ‘Mission Accomplished’ for this news cycle.

Oh, and for an epilogue, let’s agree that the drilling moratorium might just be a moot point as of now and if that’s the only important revenue stream available to the region, maybe through the poisoning of 5% of the entire planet, we have cleared the way to return to ‘Drill Baby Drill’, nice work Pencie, that’s an American Energy Solution.

3) So…was Howard Dean booked for the second 5 minutes of his segment, or did Joe Scarborough install a hook button to exit any guest he can’t better from the outset? It gets worse when Scarborough goes into his first serious question and it’s the ‘demogoguery’ of Paul Ryan, a guy we have complimented here and there, and it’s a blatantly hypocritical use by Joe of litmus politics. Entitlement spending is a great point to debate, but when a Democrat makes the case that entitlements won’t be touched until military spending is also on the table, and Scarborough divides a compromise into two parts so he can try and foist a ‘party of no’ example on those Dems, he undercuts in the neighborhood of 500 of his legitimate arguments elsewhere.

Incidentally, Scarborough did this exact same thing yesterday to Anthony Weiner. At least yesterday Scarborough had to toss in a ‘we need to have you back’, believable or not. You don’t ‘have’ these guys back, friend, you get out debated, then you study up, then you try again and hope that it’s not revealed that these are two paths for which you do not possess a way forward.

After a scalding embarrassment about the congress, health care and the politics of governing a nation, Scarborough appeared to give up, we call it around here ‘pulling a Blumenthal’, but not before trying to tee up an antagonizing stimulus discussion between Dean and Andrew Ross Sorkin, but Sorkin didn’t pursue the item instead opting to go after technical items about having rich people be forced out of entitlements. It was as if Sorkin said ‘look, we have to move on from that conversation at some point’, and moved on.

That is the whole problem with Morning Joe currently. This powerful format is mired in it’s adolescence. Not quite grown up and cognizant of the importance of an evolving agenda, but expected to put in adult hours every day. These kinds of regressive periods are to be expected, they have to be ironed out without a historical template to guide that process, and there is an incredibly bright future to this format and this cast. I know that they will wake up soon and say stagnation is certain death, seek out revival and go somewhere uncharted with the show that uses the element of the media in today’s political process to further progress in a new way.

Just not today.

That’s all for today, see you tomorrow.

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