You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else

Bad Romney Staffer! Bad! Bad! Bad! Funny video of  Romney supporter/volunteer/staffer? pulling up McCain campaign posters. Toward the end she motions to her companion to get the last one on top of the snow bank.

John Edwards is saying that he is in for the long haul no matter what. Edwards does seem to be struggling in New Hampshire, but since he just came off a second place finish in Iowa and a lot can happen between now and the end of the caucus season he doesn’t deserve to be president if he’s willing to throw in the towel at this point. Some folks have looked at this exchange at the debates as an indication that Edwards might be angling for the VP spot on a Obama/Edwards ticket,

As Mrs. Clinton attacked Mr. Obama as waffling on the Patriot Act and Iraq war funding, she sought to make an ally out of Mr. Edwards. She suggested that Mr. Obama had hypocritically tried to paint Mr. Edwards as inconsistent on the issues. All eyes turned to Mr. Edwards, and he delivered a coup de grace — siding dramatically with Mr. Obama instead of Mrs. Clinton.

“Any time you speak out powerfully for change, the forces of status quo attack,” Mr. Edwards said, looking and gesturing toward Mrs. Clinton. Referring to himself and Mr. Obama, he added: “He believes deeply in change, and I believe deeply in change. And any time you’re fighting for that, I mean, I didn’t hear these kinds of attacks from Senator Clinton when she was ahead.”

Black Agenda Report was questioning Obama’s progressive credentials back in January of 2007, Barack Obama: Progressives Beware! I read the article with an open mind. If Obama has let slip some genuine policy views that were the antithesis of Democratic Progressives then I wanted to know exactly what they were. Ted Glick’s arguments seem thin gruel for the most part. Obama is pro labor, pro environment, pro trade and thinks that affirmative action could use some tweaking. The word globalization is somewhat loaded. Since Obama speaks in generalities Glick precedes to assume the worse. My take, more or less as subjective as Glick’s is that Obama sees the reality that America and its workers do compete in a global economy. That it would be a mistake to slam the doors on what America has been doing since day one in 1776. The problem with free trade as its practiced now – the Republican version – is that we don’t attach enough strings to protect American workers. If that sounds familiar its because Howard Dean said basically the same thing five years ago. Free trade and globalization were perfectly good concepts that in the hands of the right people, practiced with appropriate strings attached would be good for America’s workers and lessen the degree of poverty in developing nations with an over supply of cheap labor. Unfortunately free trade has become part of the Conservative book of code words where what they mean is that it should be perfectly alright to close down a factory and its two hundred American jobs and have the entire product line made in India while maintaining a small, but wealthy support staff in the U.S.  Glick quotes extensively from Barack Obama’s book The Audacity of Hope as proof that he is right about Obama, yet I read the same excerpts and couldn’t find proof that Obama has completely embraced  a Conservative vision of what free trade should be or Howard Deans. Given Obama’s support for labor I tend to think the later. Maybe that would be a interesting avenue of exploration for the next debate if the press would like to do something besides cheer on the horse race. Psychology of the press corps 

I’d add that it’s a bit astonishing to watch the real-time narrative construction that went on at last night’s debate. I must have heard the term “meltdown” in reference to Hillary 65 times. And I talked to reporters who would literally say, “I thought she did okay, but I just misjudged it” — the aggregate conclusion of the corps became some sort of objective, or at least agreed-upon, truth that the outliers measured themselves against. Very, very odd. Particularly because the part that much of the press liked least — her heated recitation of the programs she’s fought for — came off, to me, as one of her best moments.

Ezra makes a good pint as usual. I didn’t see a struggling Senator Clinton, I saw someone who is cool under pressure. Its a whole different ball game to be a struggling underdog then it is to be a front runner in many polls then suddenly become an underdog. Clinton is clearly likable so this sudden push by the media as to her likability problem seems like they’ve taken up some wing-nut talking points to fill some column space. On the other side Republicans seem like they’re all in ideological bumper cars (with the exception of Ron Paul) flailing around for some message that will resonate with voters.

For Pentagon and News Media, Relations Improve With a Shift in War Coverage

“The media in general is doing a pretty good job portraying the situation,” said Lt. Col. Rodger Lemons, operations officer for the First Cavalry Division’s Fourth Brigade Combat Team.

Interviewed last month in Mosul as he was completing a 15-month tour, Colonel Lemons said: “Spectacular attacks still get the big media attention. I would like to see more good news. Who wouldn’t? But the reporters who have embedded with us have been fair.”

In a study of last year’s published news reports conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism at the Pew Research Center, more than half of all coverage of Iraq was found to be pessimistic. The view of American policy and military progress was mixed over all, with 4 in 10 pieces offering a mixed assessment, one-third a negative view and one-quarter more optimistic.

The Pentagon’s brass major complaint and this over the course of five plus years is that when bad things happen and the press reports it, that’s poor coverage. The occupation in Iraq is not something that is told in day to day street fights. Everything that happens there happens within the context of a larger narrative about how we got there, why we continue to stay, the costs versus benefits in terms of human life saved, in terms of tax dollars, and how much having troops on the ground has either enhanced or hampered our national security. The story is not really told by the daily patrols and whether some streets are less violent now then two years ago, but whether we should be there at all. The military brass (carefully filtered for their loyalty to the Bush agenda for the most part) and one can’t blame them, see Iraq as some simple dynamic between shooters and body counts. That is the business of battle troops and no one should never claim that it isn’t necessary such well trained and dedicated soldiers, but that they should be used in the right places for the right reasons. If the press only reports about events in Iraq in terms of the insultingly simplistic and one dimensional terms of IEDs and fatalities they will not be doing their jobs; that is what all the gaming the ref whining from the Right is about, keeping all reportage one dimensional and overly simplistic.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” ~ Albert Einstein