(Update: apparently I forgot to linkify things that were supposed to be links! I was sure I had done. That’s what I get for posting on only one cup of coffee. Fixed now.)
As most people probably know by now, on Friday President Obama accepted an invitation to speak to and answer questions from the Republican caucus at their annual retreat — on the condition that the news media be allowed and the speech and Q&A session be broadcast live.
And as most people probably know by now, the Republicans are almost certainly thinking to themselves, “how could we have been so stupid?” (The answer, I think, is that they got so used to the lies they use to keep the rubes voting for them that they kind of forgot they were lies, and they honestly believed their sad little talking-points recital would leave Obama transfixed and tongue-tied, and he’d eventually have to break down and admit they were right about everything.)
If you haven’t seen the video, you should try to find time to do so — it’s a bit over an hour, but it’s pretty remarkable. Each time someone asks a question, it’s clear they think they’re scoring a major point, and that there’s just no way the President can refute their argument. And each time, he calmly, reasonably, cuts their head off. You can see the whole thing at Shakesville (with links to more discussion), and TNC provides the soundtrack, but I’ve provided some highlights below the fold.
As folks like the indispensable Dave Neiwert have amply chronicled, CNN’s primetime star Lou Dobbs has long provided a mainstream loudspeaker for radical racist/xenophobic nativism, and contributed to the atmosphere of paranoia about “illegals” that leads to the murder of 9-year-old-girls. His vicious, fact-free anti-immigrant ravings alone should have prevented him from ever being allowed a spot on a major news network.
But now he’s picked an additional target, and a new set of paranoid fantasies: President Obama and the Birther cause. It’s hard to imagine how he could get any farther beyond the pale at this point.
CNN needs to either fire Dobbs, or drop the “News” from their name and give similar amounts of coverage to every equally plausible conspiracy theory: the moon-landing-hoax theory, for example, and the Roswell coverup, and of course the 9/11 Truthers while we’re at it. Maybe throw in a special on how no one really knows for sure whether the Freemasons secretly control all the governments of the world. Rehire Glenn Beck, why not? He’s no crazier than the Birthers.
Dobbs is an embarrassment, CNN. Dump him: your credibility’s on the line.
President Obama has nominated Dr. Regina Benjamin to be Surgeon General. I haven’t been able to find out much yet about her beyond the bullet-point summary: first woman of color, and youngest person, to be elected to the AMA’s board of trustees, her clinic was destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Katrina and, right before reopening, in 2006 by fire. It sounds like she’s particularly focused on addressing the health-care needs of the poor and underprivileged, which is good. There doesn’t appear to be much information available about her views on reproductive health or on “alternative” “medicine,” but I expect more will come out on those topics soon.