Thursday, December 20, 2012

Over And Out

As some of our staff huddles in Lincoln and "enjoys" the new snow this morning and we begin getting ready for our vacation next week, we're nearly giddy with the thought of not touching our computers or drawing utensils for a few days.

We say this partly because our frustration level this week has been nearly off the charts. At President Obama's press conference on Wednesday to introduce his gun safety task force, members of the media  barely asked President Obama anything related to guns.

Instead of focusing on gun safety laws - which is difficult, and what real journalists should have been doing years ago - they proceeded to badger, cajole, harangue, and repeat questions about the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling - which the President, in a relatively patient way, answered more than once.

It wasn't that the President's announcement about the gun safety task force was boring. It wasn't. It was filled with facts - including the fact that the task force will be headed up by Joe Biden, and will have recommendations for action on gun safety laws ready by mid-January. The President stated these facts and others assertively and clearly, without drama.

Of course, that seems to perpetually be the problem for some of our colleagues in the media - that the President isn't dramatic enough for their liking. We honestly wonder at times if some members of the media would rather have Americans trying to light one another on fire, than to have Americans actually trying to solve our collective problems.

If we didn't know better, we might think some members of the media might be working to bring America down from the inside.

Of course, there's no need for them to try to do that. It appears that John Boehner and the Tea Party extremist Republicans already have the whole "bring America down" thing covered, as Boehner and the gang seem intent on throwing in the towel on fiscal cliff negotiations, and potentially collapsing the economy.

In case you missed it - and with the Speaker's press conference lasting less than sixty seconds, many did miss it - John Boehner came out to the media today and effectively threw a temper tantrum.

Boehner stepped up to his podium and said he will force a vote on his "Plan B" fiscal curb option today, which essentially just puts off dealing with the tax and budget problems again until after the new year. Boehner then attempted to make an ultimatum to the President, obviously forgetting that the Republican Party lost the election, and losers don't get to make ultimatums.

The President, on the other hand, offered a budget plan that closely mirrors the infamous balanced Bowles-Simpson plan. It even has a huge number of concessions to extremist Republicans - which angered the President's own base and still doesn't fix all the budget problems. Still, it's far better than anything Boehner offered.

Boehner insisted in the final seconds of his micro-press conference that if we go over the fiscal cliff, it will be the President's fault - which is as untrue now as it it's ever been.

President Obama and Congressional Democrats have once again shown they are willing to compromise. Speaker Boehner and the extremist Republicans have shown they can't, and they won't. That said, it's obvious that if we do go over the cliff, it isn't because Obama and the Democrats didn't try to find a sensible compromise.

It's because Boehner and the Republicans never had any intention of making a deal in the first place.

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