Our celebrity President and his staged “town hall” meetings

Tom Maguire and Mary Katharine Ham both take the mainstream media to task on how they framed Bush’s “orchestrated” town hall meetings versus Obama’s, the latter of which took part in a town hall “discussion” on healthcare earlier today in Virginia.

Of course, it’s not surprising to see how the mainstream media is painting the issue of “orchestrated” town halls in a positive light in The Age of Obama. As Allah Pundit put it so well:

“It’s in keeping with the media’s narratives about Dubya and Obama, though, the former shifty and stupid and therefore dependent on softballs, the latter “open” and ingenious and no longer required to prove his ability to handle tough questions.”

Yep.

And I note for the record that the cries of the usual whiners on the issue of “pre-screened” questions go oddly silent about it everytime it happens with Obama. With one exception: Believe it or not, Helen Thomas gave Robert Gibbs hell about it today at the daily WH presser (watch the video here). Wonders never will cease.

Related/Prior:

Joe Lieberman: Public healthcare option “traitor”?

Well – hey, that’s what Kruggie would call him, anyway:

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman has a bipartisan group of senators ready to help pass health care reform — minus a government-run insurance plan.

During a New Haven stop to support overall reform, Connecticut’s independent fourth-term senator gave his strongest statement to date opposing Democrats’ and President Obama’s call for a “public option” health care plan.

“Public option” is shorthand for a Medicare-like government plan that would compete with private companies to cover many of the 47 million Americans who don’t get private health insurance through their employers or elsewhere.

“If we create a public option, the public is going to end up paying for it,” Lieberman said following an hour-long confab with public-health experts at the Ashmun Street community center of the Monterey Homes public housing complex. “That’s a cost we can’t take on.”

[…]

President Obama publicly backs the public option, but his chief aide has signaled he may be willing to drop it as part of a compromise package.

That’s the kind of compromise Lieberman is looking to forge.

Bipartisan Maneuvering

Lieberman hopes to help do that through the work of an informal, but busy, bipartisan group he formed last year with Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

The group meets every Tuesday out of the view of the press or staff members. It includes 15-20 centrist Democrats and moderate Republicans. They invite speakers on pressing issues to shmooze with them.

Since June the group has focused exclusively on finding common ground to pass health reform, Lieberman said Tuesday. It will continue to do so through July. Its invited guest next week is Sen. Dodd, who is overseeing Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearings on the bill to fill in for the ailing chairman, Ted Kennedy. The following week’s guest is Finance Chairman Max Baucus.

That common ground, in Lieberman’s view, has no room for the public option.

Needless to say, The Usual Suspects are outraged over Lieberman’s defection on the public option.

I know a lot of us are leery when we hear of so-called “bipartisan coalitions” but if this one can come up with a way to get rid of the “public option” part of the healthcare “reform bill” monstrosity, I’m willing to listen to and consider what they have to say.

Stay tuned.

Sarah Palin: The verbal hits just keep on comin’

The 2008 elections are long over but apparently some are already gearing up for a potential 2012 run by Palin to write long ad hominem attacks on the Alaska governor, case in point – Todd Purdum in Vanity Fair, who recently wrote a 9,800 word rambling diatribe that played fast and loose with the facts, and contained more personal attacks – including those by disgruntled “former McCain staffers/higher ups” who are now engaged in a nasty public he said/she said battle – than constructive criticisms.

Jim Geraghty wrote a mini-fisking of Purdum’s piece here in a must-read. Bill Kristol wrote a defense of Palin here.

But the morning Palin news round-up wouldn’t be complete without mentioning that Andrew Sullivan, a “hero” to many for his tireless Iran election liveblogging, is back to what he does best: slimy, baseless, tabloid-style “speculations” about – you got it – whether or not Trig Palin is really Sarah Palin’s son, or rather Bristol’s – attacks that are better suited for the pages of gossip rags like “Star” and the disgusting “Wonkette” than on the pages of the respected Atlantic magazine.

Bill Jacobson takes on Sully here and provides a list of all the people who’d have to be in on the “conspiracy” to keep Bristol’s alleged “first pregnancy” a secret. Bill- you’ve got a hell of a lot more patience than I, and many others, do.

Meanwhile, check out this great interview of Sarah Palin from Runner’s World and this absolutely adorable pic of the Gov. with her son Trig.

You betcha!

You betcha!

(Some links via Conservatives4Palin)