Wednesday's press conference may have starred President Obama fresh off his alleged big win on START and DADT, his losses on the Dream Act and the Omnibus spending bill, and the tie on the tax deal, but the big story was the eagerness of the White House Press Corp to revert to fawning treatment of their once-and-future leader.
"I think while they may be saying Merry Christmas," Mark Steyn told me on yesterday's broadcast, "but actually as far as they’re concerned, it’s Easter, that their messiah has risen from the dead, and now bestrides lame duck Washington like a colossus."
Even the leader of the rump group of real reporters at 1600, ABC's Jake Tapper, succumbed to the mood in the press room and congratulated the president on the passage of the repeal of the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. I don't think it is fair to attribute support for the repeal to Tapper on the basis of the remark, but reporters don't typically cheer the president's agenda anymore than they hiss at it.
Tapper's lapse may have been reflecting the loneliness of the holdout serious journalist when it comes to Obama. Yesterday's presser was a perfect example. The night before the press conference the president's Director of National Intelligence --James Clapper-- was stumped by Diane Sawyer's reference to Monday evening's arrests of a dozen terror suspects in Great Britain. Clapper blinked incomprehension when Sawyer asked him if the threat over there had any connections to the threat over here. An astonished Sawyer later returned to the subject and pressed Clapper, who admitted that he simply hadn't heard of the arrests, which had played nonstop on cable all day Tuesday and which I had discussed at length with New York Times London Bureau Chief on my Monday night show, --proving only that it wasn't exactly hard to get up to speed on the arrests even though they occurred across the Atlantic.
Imagine the press conference George W. Bush would have faced if either of his DNIs --John D. Negroponte or Michael Hayden-- had blanked on a major story with a network anchor the night before the questions rolled out. If either Bush appointee had been shown to be clueless about the smashing of a major terror ring in England on the week of Christmas, the tape would have rolled endlessly and the press would fairly have screamed questions about resignation demands at W.