Today: Obama meets the press, Jonathan Turley calls foul, and Melissa Harris-Lacewell blows Rachel’s mind.
Wednesday was — in case you spent the last few weeks in an isolation tank &Mdash; President Obama’s 100th day in office, which means he was legally required to hold a press conference and TV talking heads were legally required to sum up his performance with stupid, reductionist letter grades.
Rachel broke at least one of those laws by instead taking a nuanced look at Obama and Wednesday evening’s press conference, starting off with the part where he called ordering torture a “mistake.” We waterboarded a guy 183 times. Oopsie!
I guess it’s like that thing that happens at a fancy dinner party where you spill some water, but in nervously dabbing the spill you knock a wine glass into your neighbor’s lap, but then in mopping that up you accidentally swoop your napkin through a candle flame.
Only with strapping someone head-down to a board and depriving him of oxygen.
Rachel welcomed Valerie Jarrett, a senior advisor to Obama, who decided to go with the Wall of Nervous Monotone Words technique.
Rachel took issue with Obama referring to the use of torture “shortcuts,” implying that a hideous crime is just one of many potential methods of gathering accurate information. Jarrett answered her question by missing the point.
Thanks, Ms. Jarrett, for parroting that “time to move forward” bilge. If I buy a used car that has blood all over the back seat and a mysterious head-sized package in the trunk, it is true that I may be eager to move forward in it. But wouldn’t it be better if I handed the evidence over to the police?
100 Days of Solitude
This has not been a great 100 days for the Republicans, who noticed they were massively unpopular and responded by pumping up their worst elements and using their teeth to tear out each other’s still-beating hearts.
Rachel reported that in Wednesday’s New York Times, Senator Olympia Snowe (R – Maine) suggested that maybe mature discussion and occasional dissent might be good for the party. Snowe is currently holed up in a rickety windmill with a mob of torch-wielding hard-right conservatives battering at the door.
Rachel also noted that top GOP officials are trying to limit Michael Steele’s spending autonomy. Really? Spending and not speaking?
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D – Minnesota) dropped by to voice her hopes for fewer of these shenanigans and more real bipartisanship. Aww.
Klobuchar also made a new prediction that she’d have a Senate buddy by July 4th. After that, she’s going to take her berserker skin out of storage and start busting heads.
Meet the Press
Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times asked Obama an amazing four-part question, including wondering what had “enchanted” the President the most during his first 100 days.
After genially turning the moment into a humorous Meeting of the Nerds, Obama gave some sincere and emotional praise to the men and women in our armed services.
MSNBC’s Ed Schultz of The Ed Show was there, and filled Rachel in on the reaction of the press corps in the room. In a nutshell, the audience was &mdashh oh, what’s the phrase I’m looking for? Charmed? Enthralled? Caught up in his spell? It’ll come to me.
Scrub. Rinse. Repeat.
Rachel gave some much-deserved props to Obama for shutting secret prisons and declassifying torture documents.
But apparently she’s more of a scrub-it-with-ammonia kind of spring cleaner than a sweep-the-dust-out-the-front-door-and-forget-it cleaner, because now she would like to apply some bleach and scouring pads to the grease stains who devised and implemented the torture program in the first place.
Jonathan Turley of George Washington Law School joined Rachel in loudly calling bullpuckey on describing torture as a “technique” or a “mistake” or a “charming personality quirk” or any of the other weaselbag euphemisms people have been using to make a systematic, government planned and approved torture program sound not so very icky after all.
You want to see someone who is refreshingly direct enough to make Rachel blurt out a stunned “Oh, my God” on the air? Check out this segment with Melissa Harris-Lacewell, associate professor of politics and African-Amercian studies at Princeton University.
Harris-Lacewell blends humor and candor to make some eye-opening points. Well played.
May your next 100 days be even more enchanting.