Josh Marshall has a smart post about how many people were paying attention to today’s HCR summit:
[O]ver the years I’ve gotten a pretty good feel for how different kinds of political events bump traffic on TPM. And there was a much bigger bump than I would have expected for an event like this.
We had our second-highest traffic day today in the time that I’ve been here. The first highest was the State of the Union in January.
I don’t know what this means, but I think that today was significant. It may have been Kabuki theater, but isn’t all politics?
glowing review by usually staid Ezra:
Hell, even the “let’s primary him with kuchich” hippies are giving it two bongs up
The Moar You Know
It’s got nothing to do with HCR, it’s just that finally the internet has realized that Balloon Juice is the coolest blog out there.
So here’s the question…how much of the coverage bailed when the summit went long? Obama and Pelosi’s strong finishes were both long after the scheduled conclusion.
I sure hope no coverage ended with John Dingell.
Lots of people tuned in, or checked up on it during the day or when they got home. And a lot of people may have finally seen what many of us have been seeing since the start of Obama’s term (and longer) – that Republicans are crazy obstructionist assholes with terrible unworkable ideas and that their talking points are largely lies.
That’s obviously not gonna change any minds with the Fox News audience, but I suspect a number of low to middling information voters had a lot of ‘conventional wisdom’ about health care and Obama that they’d previously heard – without quite knowing how or where – challenged, and found the hearsay wanting.
With something this long, I wonder about that kind of thing.
I don’t have a feeling for how an event like this moves things. But I think this might have moved things, somehow.
I don’t know. I think the target audience for these things is always the D.C. press corps.
It is true that all of this happened while most people were at work (though, ironically, that’s only reason I was able to watch much of it). The networks will focus on Obama v. McCain, and then boil the rest down to soundbites.
I was pretty happy with Obama and Pelosi’s concluding remarks, both of which basically called the Republicans “full of shit, unserious obstructionists.” They each had specific examples refuting the lies that have somehow become conventional wisdom.
None of that shit is likely to make the highlight reels…
I think so, too. Something happened. I just feel — and feelings are not really the best measure, I realize — that this President has taken charge in a way that he couldn’t, or chose not to, before. I feel like his party feels it too. I don’t know if Obama/the Administration stood back in January ’09 and said “let the GOP dig their own grave, we’ll come in and clean up when they’re done shooting themselves in the foot,” or if the White House is reacting well to the unintended outcome of some early stumbles on their own part (I’m guessing B), but either way, it feels… different.
Like something happened.
General Egali Tarian Stuck
Being an Obot, I could be overstating things, and I only watched about a third of it. But it wasn’t about the content, imo, nor any inroads on real bipartisanship. It was about Obama’s personality, and the fact it exudes genuine common cause vibes together with smarts and persistence. But is based in reality at what he is up against in getting through to the wingnuts who are wrapped up tight in an ideological ball that is glued tight with fear of it’s own base.
And it was bold and brave. The dude is the smartest cat in the room, always, and he knows it, and so do his opponents. But they can’t refuse to participate, that would surrender the high ground to Obama and dems, the favor of swing voters. And at the same time good faith participation would cause gooper CC;ers to fall into disfavor with the hard core wingnut base that won’t tolerate hardly any making hay with the soshulist libtard non Americans.
This is the sort of pressure and theater that can actually move the Overton Window over time. Not even Clinton, as smart and good at politicking as he was would have risked something like this. And Obama does it like rolling off a log. We hear a lot around here from disappointed dems on how Obama isn’t aggressive or tough enough with the wingers. Poppycock to that. Being tough doesn’t mean you have to pound your chest and constantly throw out partisan red meat to show your chops. Sometimes it’s low key and smooth and you never know what hits you. And I bet a lot of wingnuts are wondering that tonight, and asking themselves how in the world can they defeat this kind of straight up face to face challenge. The look on Alexanders face of bewildered defeat said it all imo.
End of Obot sermon. Take it for what it’s worth.
Traffic was up (by comments) everywhere I wandered today. Hopefully the places that need to build a larger online presence will see this “theater” as a good thing financially.
@DougJ: the length doesn’t matter, as long as the drama stays high. Think about people tuning in for the Lewinski hearings. I remember during the Watergate hearings, my father would hurry back from work every day and be glued to the coverage of it.
The ‘pubs kept a few of their crazies away, but they should have kept McCain out of the room too, it just created a mano-y-mano element that generates interest.
the length doesn’t matter, as long as the drama stays high.
So they say.
@General Egali Tarian Stuck: What was most striking to me is how either incompetent or simply willfully ignorant (for political expediency, I suppose) our legislators (both Dem and GOP) are.
The difference between people that can hold a substantive debate and those that can’t is shocking. I wonder if our voting behavior will change if this becomes a regular thing.
seems to me that the impact (and maybe even the intent) of this is to remind the dems that they’re supposed to be on the same team.
I dunno; I’ve been looking forward to this event for a while now, hoping against hope that it will deliver the long-awaited breakthrough. But then Obama goes and says he’ll expect a substantive GOP proposal in — what, three more weeks? Judas Priest, man, we’ve all got a serious case of political blue balls here, and you’re giving them MORE time?
But maybe I’m irrationally hoping for some kind of catharsis. I’ve been hoping for it since at least 2006, when the GOP lost the Congress. Finally! (I thought) … we’ll see some cosmic justice laid down on those damned criminals.
And it’s 2010 and I’m still waiting.
I sure hope that today’s Magic Unity Kabuki Dance provided the breakthrough. But we’ve got a massive unemployment problem, 290 bills stalled in the Senate, and not much goin’ on for the workin’ man. Is this how a dream dies?
@DougJ: please, no resurrection of the cervix thread – I’m still wincing from that one.
The bigger issue imo is that these have been so successful that, far from seeing fewer of them, we’re going to see them constantly…when a Republican is president.
And it will be painful. So painful.
I was at school all day, but I was hitting f5 f5 on bj the entire time. Watching Obama shoot down a 3 min wingnut rant by the likes of Cantor in one sentence is a joy.
@Comrade Luke: Well, we need Majority Leader Franken. Bring it.
Good point. All through this the Republicans have played it brilliantly. Just stand back united, refuse to engage and watch Democrats tear each other apart.
It gets to the point where the focus is entirely on eating our own, and the Republicans get off scott free.
Today reminded some people that it isn’t only Democrats who are to blame for this not being done yet.
General Egali Tarian Stuck
@stickler: I think what happened today was mostly just Obama and dems setting the table for using reconciliation to fix the senate bill so the House can swallow it. As was requesting or waiting for the wingnuts to come up with some proposals. Though likely that will end up being the same ole same ole. It is possible though that obama could meet them halfway on something like tort reform, or some other gooper idea, and agree to include it if the wingers will not filibuster a final fixed bill done by regular order. But that is doubtful to happen at this late stage, though O could promise to take it up afterwards. Otherwise, I think today was mostly an effort to defuse the certain GOP demagoguing use of the budget recon. process so dems can counter they tried every way they could to get the wingers to play.
@Comrade Luke: The WH, obviously, would like them to continue, and if the Republicans insist on staying away, the news will be all about how they refused to come, and then the Prez and Dems will go on with it without any Repubs there and get a full day of talking points and coverage anyway. So the ‘pubs can’t stay away. And the fact that they showed up here today shows that they know it. By 2016 we’ll all be so used to them that the press corps will be treating these as as much an expected part of presidenting as press conferences and daily briefings.
I personally can’t wait until we get to see Palin show off her vaunted expertise at a televised energy summit.
Y’all should take some time to go through the various open initiative websites that the different govt agencies are setting up. Some are still missing, but most are there. It’s pretty interesting what’s developing there.
Well, hope you’re right. But again: today wasn’t catharsis. No immediate ANYTHING. No reconciliation, no passage, no Obama slicing Cantor’s head off with a scimitar and laughing at the horrified Republicans. Just talk. Oh, great talk, sure, and laying the foundation for future 11-level checkmates, and all that.
But dammit, I want closure on something. Let the Magical Unity Pony land on a hospital roof wearing scrubs and a codpiece, or something, with a banner saying “REFORM ACCOMPLISHED” hanging in the background.
@jenniebee: The WH would be wise to hold one of these every month on various topics: financial reform, Iran/nukes, budget (maybe more than one), jobs, and so on. It’ll help Dems leading into the elections and, frankly, it’s just the right thing to do.
I wonder how many people thought “Wall Street can get $700 billion in less than a week, but HCR takes a year plus?”
@Martin: Assuming something actually gets done legislatively as a result…
@General Egali Tarian Stuck: Toward the end of the summit, I was actually a little worried that Barack would trade away some important stuff to get the republicans to vote for HCR.
But I knew that wouldn’t be a problem the minute I saw the republicans at their press conference, saying they wanted to start over, just minutes after the president asked them to do some soul searching.
@General Egali Tarian Stuck:
I think that’s about right. This was to cut off claims that the poor goopers were being left out of the process; well, they got to sit at the grown-ups’ table and they proceeded to do what they always do, which is offer nothing constructive and refuse to compromise on anything.
@Martin: I dunno, Franken’s been great and I’m proud to have him as my senator, but did you see Durbin talking towards the end? Pretty damn effective I thought. And he’s actually in contention for majority leader if Reid is defeated in November.
Well, I watched the CBS Evening News and ABC News last night (which I never do) just to see what was being said. ABC’s report by Tapper was fair but the following analysis by Snuffluppagus was your typical “on one hand…and on the other hand” shit. Gawd, he sucks, especially since he’s nominally a Dem. Insufferable. But CBS had Chip Reid calling it a big Obama win and a follow up story about how the bill would take a huge burden off small businesses and lead to more people being hired by them with that burden lifted. It was very good. Personally, I want to see some polls because I am also one of those who thinks things may have somehow shifted. What it is, I don’t know. But I’m hopeful.
DougJ, instead of Something Happened, did you, perchance, mean Something Fell?
It means a lot of people want to understand WTF is going on.
Which means there is a leadership opportunity here if somebody has the insight and cojones to seize it.
Maybe it was people to the left of center who were hoping to actually see someone on national television stand up and defend their principals. It’s a rare occurrence. Gotta get it while you can.
Am I the only one who thinks that TalkingPointsMemo is going Huffington Post? Honestly, I still have Great respect for Josh, but it seems his site doesn’t have as much in depth coverage or breaking factoids. It seems now it’s more Readers Digest of the news and other Blog sites.