Nouriel Roubini Forecasts Recession
David Frum Proposes an Endgame in Iraq

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps?

Daniel Gross points out how sad it is that the Washington Post's Peter Baker has lost his mind--or perhaps never had a mind at all: how true that is!

Daniel Gross: July 23, 2006 - July 29, 2006 Archives: Very strange analysis by Peter Baker in the Washington Post on how the Lebanon crisis has affected Bush's political fortunes.

For the president, the timing could not be much worse. In a second term marked by one setback after another, the White House was in the midst of a rebuilding effort aimed at a political comeback before November's critical midterm elections. Now the president faces the challenge of responding to events that seem to be spinning out of control again, all but sidelining his domestic agenda for the moment and complicating his effort to rally the world to stop nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. . . .

At home, political strategists said, Bush faces the perception that he is presiding over one brushfire after another, hindered in his efforts to advance a positive agenda at a time when Republican control of Congress appears at risk. His most prominent domestic priority of the year, a comprehensive immigration plan, already seemed stalled until after the elections. The escalation of killing in Iraq may have unraveled any chance of major U.S. troop withdrawals before the elections. And the conversation is now dominated by rockets flying in and out of southern Lebanon.

Rebuilding effort? Political comeback? Positive agenda? It makes you wonder whether Baker has spent any time in Washington in the last several months. Prior to the escalation of war, Bush's only domestic achievements were: crowing about the fact that the huge deficit didn't meet the massive projections his administration had earlier put put and vetoing a popular stem cell measure. Oh, and there was the whole gay marriage thing. And the flag thing. The polls, the action on the ground, and the activity in Washington over the past several months don't show anything except continued drift.

The most illuminating thing that one of Peter Baker's peers has said to me to explain stories like this is: "We really have to write these sort of things to maintain access. But we don't believe them. And everybody serious reading our newspaper knows we don't believe them." Seems to me that somebody needs to have a talk with Peter Baker about the importance of not printing stuff that is false, for the only asset the Washington Post might ever have would be credibility as a news source.

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