Bill Niskanen and Starve the Beast
Brad Setser Unpacks the Good News on the Trade Deficig

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (The New York Times Lowers the Bar for Bush Yet Again)

Steve Benen watches the New York Times bring out the backhoe to dig a hole in the ground so that it can lower the bar for Bush to less than zero:

The Washington Monthly: BUSH TRIES DIPLOMACY -- WITH REPUBLICANS....Talk about your soft bigotry of low expectations; the New York Times ran a lengthy article today that offers the president credit for -- get this -- schmoozing with Republican lawmakers.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg: Senator John W. Warner and his wife were at the White House for a Memorial Day photo session with veterans.... What followed, said Mr. Warner, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was a rare 15 minutes alone with the president, no aides or staff in sight.

Mr. Bush escorted the couple to a private garden that President Ronald Reagan had built -- "I never knew it was back there," said Mr. Warner, whose public service dates to the Eisenhower administration -- and, just as important, solicited Mr. Warner's views on Iraq. "It was a nice way of doing things," Mr. Warner said.

The Bush-Warner chat was noteworthy.... Now, with Bush's political capital gone and his agenda stalled, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten has convinced the president to try "a more personal touch." What does this include? Apparently, Bush is suddenly willing to talk to Republican members of Congress about issues that are on their minds. He's also willing to host "intimate cocktail parties" on the Truman Balcony and take lawmakers and their spouses for tours of the White House residence.

There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but it's odd that the paper of record seems to find it so remarkable... it's hardly a striking development for a Republican president to talk to Republicans in Congress about policy matters.

To put it another way, Sheryl Gay Stolberg misses the news. The real news is the fact that "Republican president talks to Republican senators" is news.

But it would take a different organization than today's New York Times to understand what the real news is, wouldn't it?