Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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March 16, 2011

PRESIDENTS CAN WALK, CHEW GUM, AND FILL OUT BRACKETS AT THE SAME TIME.... President Obama made his NCAA tournament picks yesterday. Apparently, it's given the right something new to complain about.

...Obama may have given opponents another talking point by following through, despite the alarming news from overseas, on a promise to appear in a nine-minute ESPN segment to share his NCAA basketball tournament picks.

"Most people when it comes to Obama, you know what they're anticipating? His NCAA brackets," Rush Limbaugh fumed on his syndicated radio show Tuesday. "Every year at this time people wonder what the president's brackets are going to be, who he's gonna pick?

"We got the world on fire. We got Libya and the Middle East on fire and the guy's out playing golf," he added, referring to the round Obama played Sunday.

Last night on Twitter, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus was just as silly, whining, "How can @BarackObama say he is leading when puts his NCAA bracket over the budget & other pressing issues?"

First, the notion that the president is putting March Madness "over" pressing issues is ridiculous, even by RNC standards. Obama took nine minutes to fill out a bracket. Presidents are busy, but the Sports Fan in Chief investing nine minutes on this probably won't interfere with his duties. (I don't recall anyone at the DNC asking, "How can George W. Bush say he is leading when he puts brush-clearing and bike-riding over pressing issues?")

Second, have Limbaugh and Priebus seen what congressional Republicans are up to? While the president was making a brief appearance on ESPN, the House GOP was organizing an emergency meeting to discuss ... NPR funding.

Indeed, for months, the new House Republican majority has wasted time on health care bills they know they can't pass, abortion bills they know they can't pass, climate bills they know they can't pass, and budget bills they know they can't pass. They're also investing considerable energy in efforts ranging from recklessly accusing Muslim Americans of disloyalty to making English the "official" language to a proposal to better promote "In God We Trust" as the national motto (which will be getting committee attention tomorrow).

To quote Limbaugh, "We got the world on fire." I'm less worried about the president taking nine minutes with ESPN and more worried about congressional Republicans taking three months and going to lengths to avoid meaningful policymaking.

Or to paraphrase Priebus, how can the GOP say it's leading when it puts NPR funding over the budget and other pressing issues?

Steve Benen 8:30 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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Uhhh...wasn't President Bush clearing brush for SIX WEEKS when he received the "Bin Laden determined to strike in US" memo?

Posted by: Tony on March 16, 2011 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

House republicans could give him something to do. For example, he could sign a budget, if they would actually pass one.

Posted by: bignose on March 16, 2011 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Doesn't Boner golf?

Posted by: Todd for VT House on March 16, 2011 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe Reince Priebus is "Steeling" some material that Michael left behind from last year.

And as for Bush clearing brush for 6 weeks, well, to be fair, there was a lot of brush since they had only just recently bought the "ranch," and it provided 6 weeks press coverage of manly-manning around for the boy cheerleader, Chickenhawk, President.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 16, 2011 at 8:41 AM | PERMALINK

4 word flashback:
"now watch this drive."

Posted by: slappy magoo on March 16, 2011 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

How can George W Bush say he is leading when he reads My Pet Goat while the country is under attack?

Posted by: John R on March 16, 2011 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Oh yeah, and Republican are jealous of Obama.

Their last President couldn't even SIT AND EAT PRETZEL'S without nearly choking to death.

And he ate with his mouth full - YUCK!!!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on March 16, 2011 at 9:02 AM | PERMALINK

Obama took a shit last night. How can he do this when the world is on fire. We should start the impeachment process. What did Geitner know? Was he in on it? Did Gibbs provide the toilet paper. Why wont the liberal media report on this? We have to defund PBS

Posted by: Live Free or Die on March 16, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Can you run for new DNC Chair if Kaine runs for Senate? PLEASE? Failing that, could we just insist that they use your blog for all of their talking points?

You are better at messaging than anyone the DNC has put up for years. (my entire lifetime)

Posted by: atlliberal on March 16, 2011 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

Something is on fire. Obama is black, and basketball players are black. Those crosses aren't gonna light themselves.

Posted by: Dummy on March 16, 2011 at 9:07 AM | PERMALINK

I agree that bloggers have better political instincts than Obama's political team. How is it that a GOP pol can be at 13% but still forcefully push through his agenda and repeat talking points. But dems somehow have to adopt the GOP talking points.

Posted by: Live Free or Die on March 16, 2011 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

C'mon Steve - Liberals are just as ridiculous. If anything of a sports nature shows up on the front page at Huffpo, liberals start posting how all of the ills of the world should supercede any sports article. I expect to see many liberal comments at Huffpo, today, on this Obama bracket dustup. Both sides do this harping.

However, I am very pleased the President did not select my beloved Jayhawks once again. He chose Pittsburgh instead. Last year, I was split between thinking he had jinxed us by picking KU on top, or that it was the outstanding and deadly 3 point shooting by the UNI guard which did us in. Yeah, Ali was more of the cause.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 16, 2011 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

Remind me again: what was George W. Bush doing while New Orleans drowned?

Posted by: josef on March 16, 2011 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

What is this 'HuffPo' of which you speak?

I heard they've hired(do they actually pay anyone for content?) Brietbart as a columnist.

Posted by: Holmes on March 16, 2011 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican "Just Plain Nuts" Party is really pathetic. Going after President Obama for the brackets just shows they got nothin. But just like clockwork, we knew this was coming. Clearly the relentless focus on education by President Obama was just for show.

I am sure someone in the feckless White House Press Corps will parrot this nonsense at the next press briefing. They would not be able to formulate an original question on their own without some help from the GOP.

All you need to do is look at the Presidents schedule for the last three months to know there has been an endless supply of emergencies to deal with. Also, whitehouse.gov shows there is a beehive of activity across the administration. Amazing projects and initiatives are being implemented and ignored by the traditional media firewall on a daily basis.

Facts are to the RepublicansParty is like garlic is to vampires.

Posted by: Ladyhawke on March 16, 2011 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

In other news, Obama spends ten minutes EVERY morning, on SSS! (Vets will know what that is-hint: One of them is 'shower'. . .)

Posted by: DAY on March 16, 2011 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

er, Holmes, the majority of comments at Huffpo on any subject come from Obama supporters. Brietbart would be torn apart, should he post a thread.

Posted by: berttheclock on March 16, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

Drunk twittering no doubt.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on March 16, 2011 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

bertheclock, I was being serious. I heard they brought Brietbart on board as a regular columnist.

Nevertheless, I avoid that place(and Politico) like the plague.

Posted by: Holmes on March 16, 2011 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

...but not support working people seeking to exercise the right for collective bargaining.

Posted by: AlphaLiberal on March 16, 2011 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

These are the Republican Talking Points. Even Don Imus on Fox tv was quoting them verbatum.
They are having problems coming up with real crits.

Posted by: Maude on March 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Every moment spent on grooming and recreation are moments , as Mr. Benen has been kind enough to exercise for us , spent on defeating any attempt at seriously contending with the issues threatening our children's future . If we leave a robust economy with an articulated defense of the vulnerabilities of our culture exposed to broad daylight , the nasty things that could only survive in a secretive policy of hiding the truth from the citizens through appeals to vestigial organs of reptilian simplicity might be threatened .
As a further indication of how remote the possibility of common sense being employed in emotionally charged discussions of brown people , sexual discrimination , choice and a woman making unsupervised decisions about her own body , to name three there are the costs of a robust economy . Those would be the annihilation of world domination by powerful individual families . In a vital , well functioning economic environment , crazy decisions like bending the rules past tolerances for ancient nuclear reactors would never be considered . The removal of mountain tops for the ease of access to minerals would also suffer the same fate . If it is common knowledge that the actual cost being borne by the local residents , the ecologies of places being destroyed , all for the mere profits for one individual or family , would mean confinement for self protection against a prudently judged uncontrollable insanity .

Posted by: FRP on March 16, 2011 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

If Obama hadn't filled out the brackets, the right wingers would be saying he was too afraid to. The new presidential seal should contain the Latin phrase for "Damned if you do, damned if you don't."

Posted by: gradysu on March 16, 2011 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Between golf, a film shoot for ESPN, and an upcoming vacation to Rio, I'm feel safe knowing the executive branch is prepared to face any of the existing crises, as well as any new ones.

Posted by: TigerBlood on March 16, 2011 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK


Here's my plan, every day I am going to send @ReincePriebus a tweet asking if the House GOP has introduced a jobs bill yet with the hash tag #GOPcantGovern

If you're so inclined, please do the same and pass it along.

I've also asked a couple of blogs I read to put up a widget for: Number of Days that the GOP HoR Has Gone Without a Single Jobs Bill.

Please share that suggestion with blogs you read.

And, again, if you're so inclined, help these thoughts go viral.


Posted by: MsJoanne on March 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Who dares to question the outstanding leadership of Pres**ent Obama.

Posted by: Neo on March 16, 2011 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

So what about his picks?

Posted by: CJColucci on March 16, 2011 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

Oh holy crap...bitch to bitch. This is the strategy. He's not doing THIS, he's not doing THAT...where's WALDO??????????? Honestly, the media HAS to come up with some 'new' thing to complain about. I am not a Pollyanna but has anybody actually read the HEADLINES lately??? There is a s@##load going on and these numbnuts need to comment on MARCH MADNESS???????????????

Posted by: SYSPROG on March 16, 2011 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

I don't recall anyone at the DNC asking, "How can George W. Bush say he is leading when he puts brush-clearing and bike-riding over pressing issues?"

I'd be surprised if they didn't, actually. They certainly should have--at least the fakey-fake yard work, which somehow took weeks at a time.

Filling out a bracket takes ten minutes. And if you're a really obsessive hoops fan, it takes five. But I wish the GOP well with their anti-March Madness media strategy.

Posted by: Matt on March 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

I haven't read the comments above.

Has anybody mentioned the fact that President Bush set world records for vacationing while the terror alert lights were flashing and he was overseeing two wars?

Posted by: Chris on March 16, 2011 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK
(I don't recall anyone at the DNC asking, "How can George W. Bush say he is leading when he puts brush-clearing and bike-riding over pressing issues?")

I also don't recall a Democrat being inaugurated in 2005 after Bush's first term.

The RNC chair isn't criticizing Obama in the interest of some kind of fair balance with DNC criticism of Obama, he's doing it in the interest of pushing a picture of the President to voters in the effort to win an election. So, emulating the DNC's efforts against Bush is probably not high on the RNC priority list.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 16, 2011 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Well said.

Posted by: jjm on March 16, 2011 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK



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