The Political Roundup

Monday, December 28, 2009

As the year winds down, our guests look back on 2009 in politics. Christopher Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation, and Richard Brookhiser, senior editor of the National Review and author of Right Time, Right Place: Coming of Age with William F. Buckley Jr. and the Conservative Movement, review President Obama’s first year in office and the Republican’s performance as the opposition party.


Richard Brookhiser and Chris Hayes

Comments [12]

Leo in Staten Island from Staten Island

Brian, with due respect, on this issue you are doing just that thing that Jon Stewart always makes fun of -- settling on a pre-determined narrative and then trying to squeeze the facts into that narrative.

"Barack Obama ran as "post-partisan" and then wasn't."

But in order to accept that narrative you have to buy into the Conservative media strategy of pushing the center -- the "conventional wisdom" -- to the right.

Obama went up to the Hill and met with the Republican leadership, he incorporated core GOP positions into the stimulus package and into the Health Care bill. He favors Cap-and-Trade -- a market-based carbon solution. On issue after issue he has accepted center-right solutions to problems.

Look at all of the reasonable, technocratic solutions to major problems that have been labled as "hpelessly liberal" and "taken of the table" often by Democrats:

A gas tax
Capping Wall Street salaries and bonuses
Serious financial-industry regulation
Using the stimulus to create a green economy/green jobs
Applying the rule-of-law to the Bush/Cheney administration

I'm not particularly pushing any of these agendas, I'm just pointing out that they aren't inherently more unreasonable or ineffective than the status quo, but they aren't even up for debate and Obama hasn't pushed any of them.

It seems like the only definition of "post-partisan" or bipartisan that will satisfy the media is one where Democrats cede everything to the Republicans. If it is Obama's job to coerce bipartisanship, and if the conservative in congress won't budge, then you are essentially requiring liberals to move to the right. And if Obama doesn't play this game he is "too partisan" and didn't live up to his campaign promises.

Come on, Brian. You can do better, I know it.

Dec. 28 2009 11:04 AM
Patrick from New Jersey

Totally agree, Melanie. Brian lightly chided him for that, but not enough. Statements like that not only insult Obama's achievements but insinuate that blacks and everyone who voted for Obama did so because of the "excitement" of voting in a black guy. Brookhiser was saying, in effect that if Obama was white, he wouldn't have won. Unbelievable!

Dec. 28 2009 10:55 AM
MELANIE from Brooklyn

Oh... and as a general point about Guests of Brian's show, it would be truly revolutionary if he could get guests on the program who are people of color and experts in areas OTHER THAN, poverty, teenage pregnancy, joblessness and other issues on which the media LOVES putting a black face.

Call Michelle Martin I am sure she could provide you with useful resources in this area.

Dec. 28 2009 10:55 AM
MELANIE from Brooklyn

I like your guest who had the last word's statement about Obama's "trump card". "His card is that he was the first African American President"

Brian should have the decency sometimes to get African American "expert" guests who can perhaps see past Obama's color to his actual qualities of hard work, diligence, intelligence, strength of character, analytical ability, intellectual faculties etc.

In the eyes of this old white guy guest of Brian's Obama is nothing more than a product of "Affirmative Action. He has nothing to recommend him but that he is black. TYPICAL!!!! Makes me sooooo sick.

Dec. 28 2009 10:51 AM
Patrick from New Jersey

Brookhiser is a bigoted ignoramus--"Obama will run on being black." Please! The only good thing about Brookhiser is using him to illustrate the racism of even "head-on-the-shoulders" conservatives.

Dec. 28 2009 10:47 AM
RJ from prospect hts

Picking issues rather than picking fights is the framework--how do you coalesce a coalition around common threads through the issues we have to deal with? That's the challenge for Organizing for America, the Obama for America progeny.

Dec. 28 2009 10:45 AM
ishmael from Philadelphia

"Talk to doctors," your guest says, employing a typical conservative tactic: when the data doesn't support you, go anecdotal. Your smart and honest guests, as you know Brian, have said over and over again that tort reform is a red herring.

If we forced conservatives to back up their ridiculous points with data more often, we'd hear less from them!

Dec. 28 2009 10:44 AM
hjs from 11211

fee for service = doctors get paid to read test results

Dec. 28 2009 10:43 AM
Bill Israel from Dix Hills, NY

Please explain how tort reform will bring down costs if the examples of Texas and Missouri, where it was enacted, failed to bring down costs, including the cost of malpractice insurance.

Dec. 28 2009 10:42 AM
Leo in Staten Island from Staten Island

I have no idea what "post-partisan" would mean. (Any more than I know what "post-racial," "post-gay," or "post-feminist" mean.)

If all Obama wanted to do was pass non-binding resolutions affirming the Majesty of the American Eagle he could be unilaterally "post-partisan." But in order to do anything of substance at all you have to get into controversial issues that divide the parties, which necessitates compromise on both sides, etc.

It takes two parties to abandon partisanship and the GOP has refused to play ball on any of Obama's major initiatives, no matter what overtures the administration makes toward them. No GOP votes on the stimulus (despite billions in GOP-favored tax cuts), none on health care or any support for climate change legislation. Etc. Etc.

Dec. 28 2009 10:41 AM
jason from brooklyn

I don't think that it was unreasonable for the American people to think that Obama's administration would be post partisan if you think about how he handled the initial bailout package-- the meetings with Obama, McCain and Bush at the table working out how to save the economy looked very post partisan.

Obama held meetings with conservative commentators before taking office, reached out to Aaron Schock, etc--

Not that I expected there to be post-partisanship; just that the American electorate wasn't delusional or foolish to expect it.

Dec. 28 2009 10:37 AM
Chris B from UWS

In response to Brian's comments just a few moments ago about the apparent lack of bipartisanship- I think Brian is giving too much credit to the republicans!

In fact, I would point everyone to recent comments by Tom Harkin of Iowa in an interview with The Washington Post's Ezra Klein-


" my committee, we had thirteen days of mark up. Republicans offered over 200 amendments and we accepted over 161. And every Republican then voted against it. When I tell audiences, people can't believe that."

So to the extent that Brian hasn't heard about this happening- it's because it's not being reported on properly.

Dec. 28 2009 10:35 AM

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