Once upon a time, not so very long ago, the White House could peddle any sort of unrealistic political garbage, and the press mostly ate it up. The National Guard issue, falling poll numbers, and not least pressure from big-time bloggers, has changed all that.
So today the Republicans caved on the insult-to-the-intelligence story that Speaker Hastert was refusing the White House request to extend the life of the 9/11 commission.
The reason for the cave-in is that the mainstream press got the bit between its teeth, and the White House realized that having to brag about an inability to controll the House — which may soon be the truth on spending and maybe even taxation — would not advance its electoral prospects, and if believed would only embolden the would-be House rebels.
(NPR's corrective of its earlier unquestioning acceptance of a falsehood peddled by RNC Chair Racicot is also a sign of the same phenomenon. The ice is melting….)