Commentary Magazine


The Prince and his Courtiers

Perhaps the best indication of how choppy the waters have become for President Obama can be observed in the behavior of his supporters in the media. I specifically have in mind CNN’s Anderson Cooper, who last night, in the immediate aftermath of the Judd Gregg withdrawal, seemed to want to move away from that uncomfortable topic as quickly as possible to focus on what he deemed to be the “larger question”: the GOP’s “war against Obama” and whether the Gregg incident is more evidence that Republicans have “no desire for real bi-partisanship.” When even David Gergen said there was no “war against the White House,” Cooper seemed exasperated; his thesis was just so obvious, don’t you know. Pete Sessions, after all, had said the GOP had learned from the Taliban how to run an insurgent operation. So there.

There was not a single mention of how Obama and Democrats froze out the GOP from the so-called stimulus bill, and how Nancy Pelosi has delighted in making that point. There was no mention of why John McCain, who seems to want nothing more in life than to work across the aisle, considers the legislation to be an abomination. Nor was there any mention of Obama’s gratuitous jabs at Republicans in his appearance before Democrats last week. And there was hardly a critical word about the unprecedented effort to move the Census (which among other things oversees redistricting around the country) into the White House and place it under control of a partisan (Rahm Emanuel) who ran the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2006 election. Let’s just say that if a Republican administration had tried such a thing, it would have garnered a good deal more attention and outrage among the media.

But there was a piece by CNN’s Tom Foreman which helpfully informed us that Americans clearly still “love” Obama and that while it is “debatable” that there is pork in his almost $800 billion economic legislation, the “accusation” of waste does, alas, have resonance.

Oh, and Anderson Cooper did make clear his disdain for Senator Gregg; he was clearly unhappy that “this guy” held a press conference that upstaged an Obama speech on Lincoln, of all things.

The fact that members of the fourth estate are enraptured by America’s 44th President isn’t news to anyone. But watching these incidents play out is still slightly embarrassing. It’s clear that Cooper and many of his colleagues have a deep, enormous, and emotional investment in Obama. And so when things begin to go badly for their Prince, it’s only predictable that his courtiers rally ’round him.