Sunday, February 22, 2009

Fighting the Chicago Machine

On the heels of Rick Santelli's now infamous rant against President Obama's mortgage bailout plan, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs lashes out in an attack on Santelli, claiming that Santelli had not read the plan, and obviously couldn't know what he was talking about:

Santelli does a wonderful job in rebuttal, but this is not the most important part of this video clip. The most important part is Kudlow's musings over the brow-beating the White House is giving the press for daring to question their actions:
This is an unprecedented White House assault on a member of the media in good standing. You've been doing this stuff for years. I can't recall anything like this. In some respects this is worse than the Nixon attacks on Dan Rather, or I remember Papa Bush's attacks on CBS's Dan Rather. Now, there's an issue here. There's a freedom of the press issue. There's also a respect issue. There's also a bullying issue, Rick Santelli. And I want to know, do you want to take Gibbs up on having a cup of coffee? Do you feel that the White House has a right to start bullying members [of the press]? It could be you today, it could be me tomorrow, it could be somebody on Fox News, it could be NBC News, it could be anybody. Does this mean that this is how this White House, and the Obama Presidency is going to react to criticism from the media?

I have actually covered this very topic in two prior posts, about a month ago.

The point of both posts tied together is that Obama is basically bringing ruthless Chicago Machine Politics to the White House, and is following Mayor Richard Daley's tactic of dealing with the press, that being:
"...whenever Richard Daley decides he doesn't like a certain line of questioning, he either berates the press for being so stupid as to ask it, or he decides to move on to the next line of more convenient questioning."

I have simultaneously questioned whether the mainstream media would begin to understand this, and how long they would choose to be treated like red-headed step children, and sarcastically applauded Obama's stones for bringing this tactic to the national stage.

As Santelli points out about Gibbs, methinks the lady doth protest too much. Barely more than a month into his Presidency, Barack Obama's Chicago tactic of browbeating the media is already beginning to wear thin.

Santelli and Kudlow are merely a slim glimmer of hope for the restoration of a professional media at this point. But maybe, just maybe, there are enough real journalists out there to hold the demagogue in check after all.


  1. The article makes some very good points with which I fully agree.

    However, regarding Kudlow's excerpt, notice how he has morphed a single mild riposte from Nixon and Bush each into a series of ‘attacks’? Will the MSM ever relearn how to do an unbiased, honest and competent job?

  2. A couple of reactions to concerned:

    1. I don't recall Nixon's attacks that well, but he did have an enemies list so there is justification for Kudlow's point there. And the media returned Nixon's disregard.

    2. Bush's smackdown of Rather was pretty calculated. I liked it... but it was calculated. And also it was face to face.

    3. Gibbs could have simply said that Santelli hadn't read the proposal. What I find particularly execrable are two things: Gibbs pointing out that Santelli is a trader. Just because the government managed to screw up the markets (Dodd, Frank, Reno CRA and all that) doesn't mean that experienced and sophisticated experts like Santelli shouldn't comment on fundamental actions like bailing out fraudulent mortgage borrowers and throwing out legitimate contracts. Secondly, Gibbs came very close to threatening mob action on Santelli. "I don't know what kind of house Santelli lives in" is only a step from "We know where you live". And in these days of ACORN direct action, mobs might be expected to find Santelli.

    Pretty f()*^^ chilling.