This will be brief, with more detailed observations when I get home, because it’s all moving very fast here and I’m a little flummoxed by how brilliant everybody is. Let’s just say this panel, with about 100 people in attendance, including Paul Krugman, was an open thread: people jumping in, people disagreeing, bouncing ideas off one another, talking about what we should do. Most of the discussion centered on the response and lack of same to Hurricane Katrina, and how fixing policy can be done so that this never happens again. And that involves taking back Congress, so this president has a check on his power.
Some of the best bits:
Susie: “Racism is a core value of the Republican party.” They express it in code language, talk about “those people who won’t work,” and Democrats by into it by saying things like “I wish we could get real people to vote for us.”
NTodd: The narrative is INCOMPETENCE. That one word, repeated over and over and over, with no congratulating of the other side, no being “fair.”
Susie again: “We need to keep it short and sweet: If this is what they did with two days’ notice, what will they do witth a terrorist attack?”
Atrios: All we can do as bloggers is to create opportunities to speak that politicians can step into. Until the people running for office step up, we are in trouble.
Bob Fertik: This story’s not over yet.
Atrios again: The first priority of politics is making sure we use the outrage, we focus our efforts, on actually improving the situation. That’s the purpose of politics right now, to improve the policy.
All the panelists remarked on how having reporters on the ground, on scene, able to move around and tell the anchors what was actually happening, made the difference in the coverage. As Suzy put it (she really was amazingly brilliant), “They’re smelling rotting corpses and they can’t rationalize it anymore.”
Krugman stood up and spoke briefly (to wild applause) about bloggers playing an integral role in the followup to the hurricane story, pulling out the details that other people are missing, like the story of Mike Brown and the Arabian horses. “The hurricane planning was privatized,” he said. “That’s the kind of thing where bloggers can do stuff we can’t. I’m enormously grateful and I couldn’t do what I do without it.”
More later, after some more coffee.