My latest column is about the bizarre tendency of much of the news media to be shocked by extraordinarily predictable political developments. Here's an example I left out: Melinda Henneberger on MSNBC's Hardball last week:
"It's pretty amazing how quickly things have changed when only recently we thought this was going to be another really great year for the Democrats. But I am just so astonished most of all that this health care debate has gotten away from Obama the way it has. I mean, this should be his greatest moment. This should be a no-brainer."
Really? Henneberger is seriously surprised that fundamentally reforming the health care system turned out to be a struggle -- just as it has proven to be every previous time it was attempted, which is why it still needs reform?
Which part of the process caught her off guard? That Republicans are kicking and screaming and lying and doing everything they can to stop reform -- just like they did last time? Or that, just like they often are, many Democrats have been slow to realize that Republicans are not negotiating in good faith? Or that insurance companies with deep pockets are fairly influential on Capitol Hill -- just like they always are?
Henneberger is "astonished" that the "no-brainer" that is health insurance reform didn't just magically happen while Washington held hands and bought Cokes for one another.
The thing that's actually astonishing is that any reporter could be astonished by any of this.