Tweety 3-P

Sometimes they have all the right ingredients: By that I mean news stories that combine Twitter's vacuity, with parochial political pandering (known as a "3-P") and media desperate for news on a slow day.

I refer, of course, to the short outbursts from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who used Twitter to dump on the first family for having the audacity to vacation somewhere "over there": "Pres Obama," he Tweeted, "You got nerve while u sightseeing in Paris to tell us‘time to deliver’ on healthcare. We still on skedul/even workinWKEND.”

Clearly, the senator is upset that the president used his week's YouTube address to apply the pressure on healthcare reform. But Grassley was also obviously trying to exploit the anger of his fellow Iowans, who are upset in this non-election year that candidates and their media entourages might choose someplace other than Dubuque to spend their time traipsing around. I mean, how you gonna bring ’em back to the farm after they've seen Paree?

That's a song from the First World War. But it's time for Sen. Grassley to fast-forward about 90 years to the political war over healthcare and dealing with that early volley the president fired from "across the pond.”

After all, Grassley is not just the senator from the State Fair. He's also the ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, who will have a huge amount of influence over what new plan will emerge, and when, or even whether. He might want to spend less time on petulant Tweet tweaks and more on the incredibly complex nuts and bolts of our broken system.

For that matter, we in media probably ought to do the same thing. There are reasons fewer and fewer people pay attention to us. One of them might be our irrelevance. Another might be that we can be totally boring, which is a cryin' shame when we are covering stuff that really matters.

Which brings me to the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor. I hate to admit this, but apparently we have run out of things to say. Obviously, the Supremes are really, REALLY important, and all that and her Latino heritage is historic, but if I read one more article or see one more TV report on how her ethnicity might influence American jurisprudence, I'm probably going to throw up.

Yes, let's do cover the story. But let's find something fresh, not regurgitate the same stuff. We're supposed to do NEWS, not OLDS.

Another in the list of stories I'm finding hard to stomach is the one we've been doing since the November election. You know, the one that lists the leading Republican prospects for the next go-’round. By now we've probably memorized them: Romney, Gingrich (another Twitter king) and Palin, along with Yada, Yada and Yada. Etc.

Come to think of it, maybe it's already time for them to make with the exploratory visits to Iowa. That way they can mollify Sen. Grassley. See how it all comes together?


Visit Mr. Franken's website at www.bobfranken.tv.