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CNN Criticizes Obama for Chastizing GOP, Then Lectures Him for Not Lecturing GOP

I don’t usually watch CNN, because the odds of hearing something completely absurd are quite high, and that’s just from their anchors, never mind their frequent panelists. But tonight I did and immediately started looking for things to throw at my tv.

In the opening segment of his show, Elliot Spitzer featured Gloria Borger (why does this woman have a job?) and David Gergen (why are we still listening to him?) to prove the point.

Spitzer invited Borger to repeat her column criticizing Obama for chastizing the GOP (in his presser today) on their adamant position against raising revenues. According to Ms. Manners, it’s not okay for our President to ridicule the GOP or John Boehner and Mitch McConnell; he should instead be the adult in the room — with “adult” defined as someone who’s as afflicted with deficit hysteria as she is. And since getting rid of tax deductions for corporate jets and other stuff is only worth $3 billion or so — she said, reading from Eric Cantor’s talking points — it was unpresidential for Obama to even bring that up. Apparently rhetorical examples that make a political point are not sufficiently grown up when made by a Democrat against the Republicans.

Borger continued that the only people who would appreciate Mr. Obama’s takedown of the illogical and extremist GOP positions would be Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, whom the fair and balanced Borger reminded us are “two of the most unpopular politicians in America.” So her larger meaning is, it’s not okay for Obama to support Democrats who believe the President should be more forceful in defending their priorities and undermining the GOP negotiating positions, even though they’re threatening to defund worthwhile and popular programs and crash the economy again. He needs to be more polite to Mitch McConnell.

Well, I guess that view is right if you see the world through the goggles of a Tea-bot.

David Gergen then echoed Borger’s critique of Obama taking on the GOP positions, saying it’s not wise for a President to be criticizing Congressional leaders during the middle of a negotiation. You’d think a President had never put pressure on or run against a do-nothing, obstructionist Congress dominated by the opposition party. Indeed, the only reason to have Gergen on is to remind viewers that all 27 presidents for whom Gergen worked did exactly that. But instead, Gergen insisted, Obama should be more diplomatic and treat the other side with respect if he expects to cut a deal.

Apparently, however, this advice only runs one way.

We’ve watched the Tea-GOP leaders trash talk this President’s positions, his ideology, his motives, his judgment, his patriotism, his nationality, his integrity and everything else, night after night for over two years. So I’m wondering how many times during these discussion that David Gergen has taken the Tea-GOP leadership to task for their nightly attacks on Obama, his motives, his priorities and his unAmerican policies. Gergen didn’t mention any of that tonight.

But what finally rushed me to my sock drawer for objects to hurl is that two minutes after Borger and Gergen lectured the President on how a President shouldn’t confront the opposition the way he did, but should instead “lead,” Gergen argued that the way the President should lead would be to shame the opposition for how irresponsible they’re being. The President, Gergen said, should explain to the country how awful a debt default would be and how the GOP’s holding it hostage was risking an economic calamity with their take-it-to-the-brink negotiating position.

Perhaps Gergen did not watch the President’s press conference, because that’s basically what he said, although Obama said it perhaps too diplomatically for the CNN crew to catch it.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley