Monday, November 16, 2009

Pressure from the left

From left, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have plenty to talk about with President Obama in office.

Last night I watch Hannity for about 30 seconds. William Bennett was on; he is professorial, stentorian and as right wing as his host. Hannity asked Bennett his opinion of President Obama, and before giving his guest a chance to asnwer, added his assessment of the President being a "radical socialist" with an ideological agenda. Bennett said that, at first, he had wanted to have right-wing criticism wait and see, but that, now, he sees the President as "worse than feared." So much for restraint from the right.

If President Obama happened to glance at “The Rachel Maddow Show” last Monday, he might have winced. Ms. Maddow pretended to celebrate the passage of a health care overhaul bill in the House, calling it “potentially a huge generational win for the Democratic Party” — but then halted the triumphant music and called it an “electoral defeat.”

The Stupak amendment, she said, was “the biggest restriction on abortion rights in a generation.” Then she wondered aloud about the consequences for Democrats “if they don’t get women or anybody who’s pro-choice to ever vote for them again.” She returned to the subject the next four evenings in a row. This is how it looks to have a television network pressuring President Obama from the left.

And so much for restraint from the left. I' getting tired of watching MSNBC. Olbermann is unwatchable: his screed are hysterical, his sarcasm distasteful, and he is way too angry. Each show he makes fun of Murdoch or O'Reilly, mocking their speech; he is patently absurd. Matthews I can watch, but his proclivity to interrupt people is maddening; still, he is a lefty, smart, and has good guests; Maddow I can hardly watch.

These three and "other progressive hosts on MSNBC ... are using their nightly news-and-views-casts to measure what she calls “the distance between Obama’s rhetoric and his actions.” While they may agree with much of what Mr. Obama says, they have pressed him to keep his campaign promises about health care, civil liberties and other issues.

They fail to take into account that this is not a country run by liberals, nor a country of liberals. They talk ideology, and fail to take pragmatism into account. Obama is now governing. They are not. Only Matthews has any such practical experience, having worked on Capitol Hill (for Tip O'Neill) and the WHite House (as a Carter speechwriter).

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