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Liveblogging World War II: November 19, 1940

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Yes, We Would All Be Better Off without the Politico Department)

Josh Marshall on Glenn Thrush of Politico:

That's the Story? (#GalacticFail Edition): The Politico has a story up tonight [by Glenn Thrush] about how and why the bipartisan, everybody-get-along summit between President Obama and congressional Republicans ended up getting postponed... [becaues of] the GOP's distrust of Obama after he "crashed" their caucus retreat last January.... Now, because I think it's essential to understand the point, I'm going to quote the first three grafs of the piece [by Glenn Thrush] in full:

The roots of the partisan standoff that led to the postponement of the bipartisan White House summit scheduled for Thursday date back to January, when President Barack Obama crashed a GOP meeting in Baltimore to deliver a humiliating rebuke of House Republicans. Obama's last-minute decision to address the House GOP retreat - and the one-sided televised presidential lecture many Republicans decried as a political ambush - has left a lingering distrust of Obama invitations and a wariness about accommodating every scheduling request emanating from the West Wing, aides tell POLITICO. "He has a ways to go to rebuild the trust," said a top Republican Hill staffer. "The Baltimore thing was unbelievable. There were [House Republicans] who only knew Obama was coming when they saw Secret Service guys scouting out the place."

Honestly, I'm not even sure what to make of this. Not only does this version of events seem preposterous on its face, I didn't even realize this was their storyline. Let's start with this whole idea that Obama somehow just showed up and blew up their retreat. Crashed, ambushed, etc.... House Republicans invited Obama. And he accepted.... So was it an ambush? Well, My God, not even close. Here's the press release from Mike Pence, Chairman of the House Republican Conference, thanking the president on January 13th for "accept[ing] our invitation to meet with the Republican Conference later this month." And here's the Politico's write up... more than two weeks before these House Republicans who must have spent the month in a sensory deprivation chamber were stunned to see the president's motorcade driving up unannounced to crash their party. And if they'd forgotten here's the write-up from The Hill the day before the event:

Emboldened by an unexpected victory in Massachusetts and frustrated with a "partisan" State of the Union address, House Republicans are eager to meet with President Barack Obama on Friday.

So here they are all gunned up and eagerly awaiting President Obama's ambush of them that they didn't know anything about. I have to confess that I find it genuinely distressing that these folks can whip up a heap of blatant nonsense like this and it gets played pretty much at face value when a simple look through the archives of the half dozen or more sites that cover Washington show that the whole idea is laughable.

There are, I think, two possibilities:

  1. Glenn Thrush does not think that checking what his own publication has written about the events is part of his job description.
  2. Glenn Thrush wants to signal that he will whore for Republicans when asked.

In either case, we really deserve to have a much better press corps.