Sunday, August 15, 2010

The PG's other gossip columnist ....

Once again, it’s time for an analysis of today’s Jack Kelly column. Actually today’s column is a puzzling two-fer, puzzling because the only thing the two topics have in common is that Jack uses them to take shots at Obama.

Kelly’s first topic is a story of a briefing. Some members of the press were invited to the White House for a high level briefing, and when they arrived they found Obama himself was giving the briefing on sanctions and diplomacy with Iran, with regard to Iran's nuclear program. Apparently the journalists all agree that Obama talked about three legs of policy, the door for diplomacy being held open should the Iranians wish to talk, sanctions to give them an incentive to do that, and a military option for some point in the future should that become necessary.

What’s interesting is that the journalists disagree what Obama’s emphasis is. Conservatives heard TOUGH TALK and diplomacy, liberals heard DIPLOMACY and sanctions. And I will say I am not surprised, that particular type of confusion seems like something Obama is actually pretty good at. For example, it seems like a number of people during the campaign heard what they wanted to (and many are now disappointed or annoyed with Obama). I will say that if Obama managed to work some magic on these journalists, I think that is a great thing. After all, now the Iranians themselves will be confused about which Obama is going to concentrate on: diplomacy or tougher sanctions. Apparently this bothers Jack Kelly, or maybe he just needed to fill space.

His second topic and perhaps real beef is that Obama had celebrities to Camp David, plays golf and has a wife who takes vacations.

Now there are so many ways that I could respond to that.

This has to do with policy how?

Obama doesn’t know his place. Not that Kelly said anything quite like that, but just talking about it makes one wonder why he cares (and, like all those conservative commenters, I will leave it at that).

Bush didn’t play as many rounds of golf in his entire Presidency at Obama already has. Now, at least one account says Bush stopped playing rounds of golf after he gave an impromptu press conference on a golf course where he denounced a suicide bombing, then said “Now watch this drive” (a moment captured, as I recall, in Fahrenheit 9/11). Other accounts say that Bush gave up golf so that a parent would not see him playing on the day of any soldier’s funeral (although I don’t believe Bush made a practice of going to funerals, in fact not even one). This might be a point that Obama might want to think about. On the other hand, we all know that Bush loved his vacations.

This week’s column strikes me as a series of cheap shots. It makes essentially no point about policy, it is simply a way of spreading gossip. It does hit two or three high points that the Tea Party laid out in their manifesto back in February, shots at “educated elites” and shots at “elitist, self-styled aristocrats” who run government. Which brings me back to the point I made last week, that Jack Kelly seems to be working as much (or more) for the Tea Party now as he is for the Post Gazette. Which ought to be a problem for the PG.

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