Right before a break on The Daily Rundown the other day, host Chuck Todd was talking about the debt deal and mentioned “unemployment lines.” Then he announced, “Coming up: Did Washington take its eye off the ball of what really matters?”
For one naïve moment, I expected that “what really matters” would entail the debt deal’s effect on actual people, maybe even a sound bite or two from someone who depends on the newly threatened Medicare coverage or unemployment benefits (Congress’s “compromise” failed to extend federal emergency jobless benefits).
Instead, Todd returned to talk with two Washington journalists on what the deal means to the larger economy. A necessary discussion, for sure, but like most TV politi-chat these days, it didn’t touch onhow “the deal savages programs for the lower and middle classes,” as my colleague George Zornick put it in a post that breaks down the likely effects on veterans, students, seniors, the poor, and the unemployed. This Nation slideshow illustrates what most MSM avert their eyes to.
You can’t really expect much from the dank Beltway dome where the press and politicians inhale each others’ hot air; this week, the endless speculation was over how the debt battle will tilt the political fortunes of Obama, Boehner, Mitch, Mitt, et al. I enjoy a good who’s-up/who’s-down game as much as anyone. But I’d have been much more satisfied with, say, three parts political-process talk to one part real-life talk–something like that meager 3-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax revenue that Obama and many Dems held up as the “balanced” way to succumb to rightwing extortion. But, alas, in both the corporate media and in Congress, the vaguely progressive part never quite materialized.
Later in his show, Todd told a new set of panelists, “I want to go a little bit into the politics of this.” Just a little bit. At one point, his voice alight with the political chase, Todd talked up a poll showing Romney beating Obama (by two points) in Pennsylvania.“If Pennsylvania’s really in play in October of 2012,” he said, “it’s already over!”