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Politics and Media Headlines 1/22/09

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The Heretik

Judge Obama on Performance Alone (by Juan Williams, an African American conservative)
If his presidency is to represent the full power of the idea that black Americans are just like everyone else -- fully human and fully capable of intellect, courage and patriotism -- then Barack Obama has to be subject to the same rough and tumble of political criticism experienced by his predecessors. To treat the first black president as if he is a fragile flower is certain to hobble him. It is also to waste a tremendous opportunity for improving race relations by doing away with stereotypes and seeing the potential in all Americans…

There is a lot … at stake now, and to allow criticism of Mr. Obama only behind closed doors does no honor to the dreams and prayers of generations past: that race be put aside, and all people be judged honestly, openly, and on the basis of their performance. President Obama deserves no less.
Unfortunately, he’s getting a lot less from many so-called liberals and so-called progressives. Democratic Underground, for example, has revoked my posting privileges. At DU, see, you could tell all the vicious, right-wing lies about Hillary Clinton you wanted to, but you can’t criticize Barack Obama, even with the truth, even after he won the nomination, even after he won the election and now, even after he’s been installed in office.

It’s the same way the Bushbots treated their guy—it showed they thought he was so fragile that he had to be propped up by their anti-democratic, free speech stultifying tactics. Of course, Bush needed all the help he could get. So-called progressives do their favorite no favor by trying to swathe him in bubble wrap.—Caro

BET: We'll cover the Obama administration objectively (Poynter Online)
"There's been so much talk about the black journalist, about is this something that a black journalist can cover with a level of integrity, or are all black journalists just drinking the Kool-Aid, celebrating Barack Obama before he won," BET anchor Jeff Johnson told viewers on Tuesday. "There's a question for us as a network: Are we going to be able to cover this the right way? Well, I'm telling you we are."
Here’s your example, so-called progressives who insist Obama can’t be criticized.—Caro

A Day of Worthy Self-Congratulation (by David Sirota at Open Left, thanks to vastleft at Corrente)
IWhile I am deeply disdainful of presidentialism, Obama as a person has built an image for himself that is about as close to a superhero as you can find these days. I consider myself an admirer and fan of his (though I do not see him as a Dear Leader, and think that Dear Leader-ism is dangerous - but I digress). And that superhero image - while exaggerated by a starstruck media - is grounded in some truly amazing qualities in our next president.
Sirota has dared to be a bit critical of the Big O lately. I guess he had to do this bowing and scraping as penance.—Caro

Obama retakes the oath of office after busy first day (McClatchy)
Chief Justice John G. Roberts was ushered into the Map Room of the White House on Wednesday night to re-administer the oath of office to President Barack Obama because the original oath on Tuesday had a word out of sequence. White House counsel Greg Craig said the move was made out of "an abundance of caution."

Obama Halts New or Pending Bush Regulations (Washington Post)
Acting only hours after his inauguration, President Barack Obama has ordered a freeze on new or proposed regulations at all government agencies and departments… The memo also orders the withdrawal of all final or proposed regulations not yet published by the Federal Register. Department and agency heads have also been asked to "consider extending for 60 days the effective date of regulations that have been published in the Federal Register but not yet taken effect" unless they impact health, safety, environmental, financial, or national security matters -- obviously now subject to the interpretation of Obama's appointees.

Obama Orders Could Open Records (Washington Post)
Barack Obama's first acts as president included signing three orders today that could open public access to documents and records that had been closed off during the Bush administration. Obama reversed George W. Bush's restrictions on access to records of former presidents. He also told the Justice Department to write new guidance to agencies on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to improve transparency, and gave top officials in his administration four months to create a new "Open Government Directive" that he said would go beyond the requirements of the open records law.

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Carolyn Kay

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