Before I got a chance to see it, I was reading that President Obama’s give and take at the Republican Retreat yesterday was an incredible political moment.
So by the time MSNBC aired their special rebroadcast with Olberman, Maddow and Matthews last night, I was expecting Beethoven’s Fucking Ninth.
I’ve watched the British Parliament’s Question Time, a one hour weekly event where the Prime Minister strides in – with a ridiculously huge book, for some reason – and faces down the opposition party. It is acrimonious, MPs jabbing fingers as they speak, their voices rising, their colleagues pounding their hand on their benches in support and the Speaker forced to pound his or her gavel and call for order. Afterward, I’m sure they all put their arms around each others’ shoulders and go out to the pub to down a pint.
During the Bush years you would watch it and think, “If George W. Bush ever did this, he’d be toast in the public arena before the end of the 2nd week’s Congressional Question Time.” And you know he would never agreed to it. Over halfway into his tete-a-tete-times-144, when asked how he was doing, Obama replied, “Y’know, I’m having fun! This is great.”
Apparently, yesterday’s event – open unvetted questions, no notes, broadcast live – is pretty much unprecedented in our lifetime.
And it was impressive, very impressive. The man who is so cool he kills flies with the precision of Mr. Miyagi, while being interviewed and filmed, did an encore yesterday.
But in the way that sports events lose just about all their impact and excitement if you watch them after they happen – even if you are careful not to know out the final score – after reading someone’s tweet that it was the most exciting political interaction they had ever seen, I was expecting the verbal version of James Bond escaping certain death and turning the death ray itself to blow up the missile launch pad inside the hollowed out volcano.
For some reason – and any “reasons” involved in this kind of thing are ephemeral, untouchable, unknown at the time, usually a convergence of two or three or more little factors, tiny changes, often unrelated until the moment – Wednesday’s State of the Union Address and yesterday’s meeting were like two footprints of a stride President Obama has finally gotten into. I just hope he doesn’t falter, either by a grain of self-doubt or a rock on the road hobbling him.
I’m also looking forward to listening to, if for just a few minutes, Limbaugh’s spin on Monday, what are going to be his blustering nattering criticisms of the “man-boy” who most of us voted into the presidency. If he talks about it.
Foxnews.com has two articles on this event – and since they were posted 24 hours ago, only 1 comment between the 2:
Why nothing about the response to Rep. Hensarling’s question for Mr. Obama? I find it telling that Obama didn’t even get Mr. Hensarling’s name right – he called him ‘Jim” instead of “Jeb”.
And there is no mention of it on Humanevents.com. (For comparison, check out the active comments posting on Foxnews.com’s article on Palin attending the upcoming Tea Party convention.)
MSNBC careened from the later rebroadcast of the 2-hour Olberman-Maddow-Matthews special into Lockdown: Dade County or whatever began their typical weekend “real crime” line-up. Wonder if Fox News will have as much about the Republican Retreat this weekend as MSNBC.