Archive for the ‘C-SPAN’ Category

Some lefties actually have the stones to defend Obama’s broken C-SPAN promise

January 8, 2010 2 comments

For the most part, the left side of the blogosphere has remained curiously silent over the president’s broken, eight-time campaign pledge to air health-care negotiations on C-SPAN. This is largely because it’s indefensible, even to his sympathizers; after all, for a man who won, at least in part, on his promise of greater transparency in Washington to renege on the easiest, least controversial action he can take — setting up one damn camera in a room while non-sensitive, national-security-unrelated policy is hashed out — bears no defense.

But some gave it the ol’ college try. I searched Google Blogs and here’s the first defense I found at the Mildly Relevant Thoughts (MRT) blog.

As the blog-post’s URL implies (“…republicans-attack-obama-on-cspan-promise/”), the defense — undoubtedly impossible to make — can only be made with a strong offense. What’s wrong here is not Obama’s broken promise, MRT says, but is instead those attacking Republicans! Those jerks!

MRT’s first argument is the tried and true, liberal fallback — the good ol’ hypocrisy charge. Republican policy negotiations when they were in charge, he says, weren’t transparent, so the Democrats’ can be, too. The problem is, by definition, this makes Democrats — not Republicans — the hypocrites, because Republicans didn’t campaign on transparency. Republicans who excoriate Obama today for not televising the negotiations may not care at all about transparency, generally, or the C-SPAN coverage, specifically; what they’re doing, simply, is pointing out that obviously Democrats don’t either. Might I add that MRT is guilty of the et tu toque fallacy: “You’re a jerk, so I get to be one, too!” What is this, MRT — the fifth grade?

His next argument is equally as shallow: “We all know politicians make promises and won’t be able to keep all of them.” This might make sense if Obama had been unsuccessful in starting the health-care debate at all; had he not been able to convince Congress to take up the legislation, then obviously there’d be nothing for C-SPAN to cover — right? But to then hold him accountable for not inviting C-SPAN to cover debates that never happened would be silly, and no one would level that charge. But he’s having the debate. Setting up a camera in the room, therefore — as he promised — is hardly the kind of hard choice a politician has to make in terms of what he can conceivably accomplish. This second argument, then, is utter nonsense. C-SPAN says they’ll have all the resources Obama needs to help him keep his promise. Period.

His final argument might have made sense in 1992, before the advent of cable news and the internet, but whether anyone watches C-SPAN as a matter of course could not possibly be less relevant in 2010. YouTube, Fox News, CNN, talk radio, AP, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, bloggers – they’d all have a grand old time playing and transcribing clips of the negotiations.

But see, that’s precisely what the president, Congressional Democrats, and apparently MRT must keep from happening at all costs.