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Opening Arguments

Analyze this

Today's game is "spot the liberal."

Quote 1:

The folks in the White House just must be kicking themselves right now. They thought that coming out of Baltimore when the President went in and was mesmerizing and commanding in front of the House Republicans that he could do that again here today. That would revive health care and would change the public opinion about their health care bill and they can go on to victory. Just the opposite has happened.

Quote 2

Civility was the cool thing during the grand gathering, but the real purpose behind this televised event was cutthroat.

A Politico story by Mike Allen made that clear, reporting that according to a Democratic official the summit was meant to "give a face to gridlock, in the form of House and Senate Republicans."

Quote 3

But members of the opposition party may not have fully understood that they were stepping into Professor Obama's classroom, and that they were to be treated like his undisciplined students.


Obama controlled the microphone and the clock, and he used both skillfully to limit the Republicans' time, to rebut their arguments, and always to have the last word.

If you guessed Quote 3, you win! It's from The Washington Post's Dana Milbank, a political columnist, whose musings The Journal Gazette ran on Page 1 today as its main health summit news story. It was labled "analysis, though, so I guess they're covered.

Posted in: Uncategorized


Fri, 02/26/2010 - 3:00pm

This, from the editor of the paper that runs Kevin L's right-wing screeds on page one? We may disagree, but I at least expect intellectual honesty and fairness from you.

Sat, 02/27/2010 - 11:39pm

He did it again today. The word "column" was in what, 8-point type? How many of your readers grasp the difference between a column and a news story?
Furthermore, had you bothered to read the hop on the Obama story, you would have noticed that Milbank criticised Obama for being condescending. It wasn't a fluff piece.
You should at least have had the decency to admit you were wrong here. I would make that concession in an instant under similar circumstances. Like most people, I make plenty of mistakes. I admit them; it simplifies things.
It is a sad thing when ideology trumps decency.

Leo Morris
Mon, 03/01/2010 - 5:32pm

Wow. I must "have the decency" to admit I'm wrong. Quite a debate technique you've got there.

As it happens, I did "bother to read" the Milbank piece, all the way through, twice. His criticisms of Obama are purely cosmetic and superficial, nothing at all to do with the substance of the summit. Anyone who doubts Milbank's predispositions from reading this piece should read the followup piece ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/26/AR2010022604354.html ) in which he argues that Obama's main problem is that he lets himself be bullied and should stand tougher against those evil Republicans and their hateful ideas. Or just read any of his rants and raves from the Bush years. I guess it's fair to say we disagree over the intent and effect of the Milbank piece, unless, of course, you'd just like to admit you're wrong.

As for Kevin Leininger, for what it's worth, I do have some misgivings about someone filling a dual role as a reporter and columnist. But there is not just the label "columnist" when he is writing in that capacity. There are also his photo and a disclaimer saying the opinions expressed are his and his alone. I think the combination of those things would signal to most people that this is not a straight news story. And it's worth mentioning that there has been a debate in newsrooms for years over how objective and impersonal newspapers can continue to be when competing against all the other media and their personal, subjective approaches. It's not as if this were a settled question.

That's all beside the point anyway in the context of whatever opinions I post here. I don't run the newsroom, just the editorial page and my little blog. I don't have any authority over what the newsroom does, and they don't tell me what opinions to express. I am not "the editor of the paper" that prints Leininger's columns, merely its editorial page editor. To suggest otherwise is at least a little misleading, don't you think?