Charles Pierce writes an essay on the inevitability of Donald Trump joining the Republican Clown Car, 2015 edition, and you should certainly click through to the short piece, and read it yourself. He concludes:
[Trump] is the inevitable result of 40 years of political conjuring, mainly by Republicans, but abetted by far too many Democrats as well. He is the inevitable product of anyone who ever argued that our political institutions should be run “like a business.” (Like whose businesses? Like Trump’s? Like Carly Fiorina’s Hewlett Packard?) He is the inevitable product of anyone who ever argued why the government can’t balance its books “the way any American family would.”
Bozo The Clown
He is the inevitable result of the deregulated economy that was deregulated out of a well-cultivated wonder and awe directed at the various masters of the universe. Sooner or later, all of this misbegotten magical thinking was going to burp up a clown like Donald Trump. Sooner or later, the conversion of the institutions of the national legislature into vehicles for polite ratfcking was going to burp up a Trey Gowdy, who will interrogate not the actual Sid Blumenthal, but the one that exists in thousands of fundraising letters and chain e-mails. The politics of this country have dedicated themselves to the pursuit of hallucinations today. Wish I could say I was surprised.
Jonathan Chait has a nice piece in the New York Magazine responding to David Brooks’ latest bit of twaddle (which you can read here if you are bored or a masochist)
American politics may have been much less partisan in the 1960s, but it was not lacking in hypermoralization. Indeed, it was far more violent. You had white supremacists murdering civil-rights activists in Mississippi, police brutalizing protestors in Chicago, and construction workers beating up hippies in New York City. That angry, hypermoralized politics took place outside of, or within, parties rather than between them.
There are millions of Americans who think it’s okay to deny legal citizens their voting rights or force them to go without health insurance. Those people live in a different moral universe than I do. They’re not necessarily bad people. (Lord knows the people who agree with me on those things are not all good.) But, yes, I believe their political views reflect something unflattering about their character.
Yes, count me in the camp that believes in small “d” democracy. If a political party can only seize power by disenfranchising voters through poll taxes, or other duplicitous means, than that party is corrupt. Even dudes who make a living collecting scrap metal have human dignity, and should have a say in their own governance, however small their participation really is in practice. One person, one vote, not one dollar, one vote.
And to Mr. Chait (and David Brooks) larger point: would I want my daughter to marry a Tea Party friendly, Rush Limbaugh reciting, mouth breathing, 6,000 year old Earther who believes the Rapture is approaching? No, I would not. I don’t think they would be worthy of continuing my DNA’s long journey to Alpha Centauri. But, because I am a liberal, if I had a daughter, I wouldn’t get to choose who she loves, I just wouldn’t have to like it.
Sometimes I forget that the Chicago Tribune is a Republican-friendly newspaper. On many topics, they are decent source of non-biased news, but every so often, the visage slips. Last Friday, the print edition of the Chicago Tribune had this inflammatory headline:
“Democrats up class war ante”
The online version available today has slightly toned down the headline, but not much
Illinois Democrats went all-in Thursday with their election-year class warfare theme as Speaker Michael Madigan pitched the idea of asking voters to raise taxes on millionaires, Senate President John Cullerton advanced a minimum-wage increase and Gov. Pat Quinn compared wealthy opponent Bruce Rauner to TV villain Mr. Burns.
Either way, calling Democratic Party initiatives to reduce income inequality, slightly, as class warfare is offensive, and straight out of Frank Luntz’s dictionary. Circa 2008, Frank Luntz started labeling every economic-related Democratic Party position “class warfare” whether or not it actually applies.1 Raising the tax on millionaires isn’t going to bankrupt the millionaires. Increasing the minimum wage isn’t going to force Bruce Rauner to sell off one of his many, many mansions. No Democratic politician is calling for the guillotine to be rolled out, though plenty of us peons chuckle at the idea.
As Senator Bernie Sanders has been saying for many years, the real class warfare is being waged ruthlessly by the 1% on the rest of us. Focusing on tax breaks for corporations, flat tax proposals, allowing someone like Mitt Romney (or Bruce Rauner) to pay tiny amounts of income tax; these are tools of the rich, these are actual battles of class warfare. Cutting food stamps is class warfare, cutting education assistance is class warfare, cutting Social Security is class warfare, eliminating the minimum wage is class warfare, you could make a big, long list.
“What kind of nation are we when we give tax breaks to millionaires but we can’t take care of the elderly and the children?” Sen. Bernie Sanders asked on Monday. He was reacting to a new report that more than 18 percent of Americans last year struggled to afford food. Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, are calling for deeper and deeper cuts in food stamps, a program that provides help mostly to children and seniors. We are living in “a very ugly moment,” the senator told the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Later Sen. Sanders ripped Republicans for claiming that the problem is that children get too much help from the federal government, “These are the same people who want to eliminate the estate tax, which applies to only the top three tenths of one percent of all Americans, which is the richest of the rich, then they are going after kids. The politics of this, Al, is what they are trying to do is deflect attention away from income and wealth inequality. Attention away from the fact that the rich are doing extraordinarily well, and tell their supporters that the real problem in America is that children are getting too much help from the federal government, and that’s the kind of mentality that we have got to fight back against.”
(click here to continue reading Paul Ryan Quivers as Bernie Sanders Outs the Dirty Secret Behind His Poverty Propaganda.)
Of course it buys happiness
Speaking of wealthy class warriors, check out this list (from the Tribune, in fact) of some of the properties that the Republican candidate for Governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, owns
There’s the 6,870-square-foot Rauner mansion on a half-acre lot in Winnetka; two units, including a penthouse, in a luxury high-rise overlooking Millennium Park; a waterfront villa in the Florida Keys with a 72-foot-long pool; ranches in Montana and Wyoming; and a condo in an upscale Utah ski resort.
Most carry price tags well into the seven figures. But topping the list is a penthouse in a landmark co-op building along New York’s Central Park, which property records show Rauner bought in 2005 for $10 million.
Rauner has amassed a larger stable of high-end residences than Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee whose plentiful and opulent homes lent ammunition to foes who portrayed him as an out-of-touch elitist.
Rauner dismisses any such comparison to Romney…
Rauner said he likes recreational properties where he can practice land or water conservation. He often buys and pastes parcels together in areas he thinks are beautiful to “have an investment that appreciates over a 20- to 30-year period.”
That includes his property in Wyoming, he said, where he grows barley, alfalfa and winter wheat.
When he takes his family West, they most often go to his New Moon Ranch in Livingston, Mont., near Yellowstone National Park. It sits on hundreds of acres of grazing and cropland and includes a nearly 6,000-square-foot home, according to property records. It has five bedrooms and four baths and is currently valued by the Park County, Mont., assessor at $2.2 million.
In the winter, Rauner and his wife, Diana, have their pick of both hot and cold weather getaways. For snow sports they have a condominium in the luxury Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City, purchased in 2003 and currently valued by the assessor there at $1.75 million.
The Rauners also own an oceanfront home in Key Largo, Fla., currently worth almost $7 million, according to property records there. It has a private boat dock, four bedrooms, four baths, 5,370 square feet of ground-floor living space and a patio nearly half that size.
The Rauners also have a New York penthouse on Central Park in a century-old Beaux Arts style building known as The Prasada. They paid $10 million for it eight years ago. A billionaire neighbor recently put the adjoining penthouse up for sale and is asking $48 million, according to realty postings.
In Illinois, Rauner holds title to three homes in Cook County, including two condominium units on East Randolph Street. Records show Rauner paid more than $1.2 million for the smaller unit in late 2008, where one of his daughters now lives.
The Rauners bought the penthouse unit a couple of months earlier, in August 2008, for $4 million, according to county records. …
The Rauners still own their Winnetka house and consider it their primary residence. Its current market value is estimated at $3.3 million by the Cook County assessor’s office.
For all their talk about social conservatism principles, the main mission of the Republican Party for decade has been simple: lower taxes for the rich folks, and their businesses. There are no other agendas, really, that Conservatives agree upon. The religious stuff, the anti-abortion stance, the destruction of unions, especially teachers unions, all that is secondary.
Jonathan Chait writes:
Part of the confusion is that Republicans have been saying for months that they really just want to stop tax rates from raising. They’re happy — nay, eager — to make the rich pay more taxes by reducing their tax deductions. Certain conservative economists believe this as well. Since Obama is offering to increase revenue in exactly this way, his plan might seem inoffensive to Republicans. Republican economist Martin Feldstein proposed a deduction cap that would raise four times as much revenue as Obama is asking! Ezra Klein can’t understand why Republicans won’t accept a deal to reduce the tax deductions they’ve been calling a pollution of the tax code, especially in return for entitlement cuts.
The answer to this piece of the mystery is clear enough: Republicans in Congress never actually wanted to raise revenue by tax reform. The temporary support for tax reform was just a hand-wavy way of deflecting Obama’s popular campaign plan to expire the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Conservative economists in academia may care about the distinction between marginal tax rates and effective tax rates. But Republicans in Congress just want rich people to pay less, period. I can state this rule confidently because there is literally not a single example since 1990 of any meaningful bloc of Republicans defying it.
What has aided the easy reversion to form, with low taxes for the rich dominating all other considerations, is the pent-up rage and betrayal John Boehner has engendered among his most conservative members. Almost nothing Boehner has done since taking over as speaker has endeared him to his ultras. Every subsequent compromise creates more embitterment, and the last few moves have provoked simmering rage. Conservatives had to swallow a tax hike, and then swallow an increase in the debt ceiling. Boehner has, incredibly, had to promise his members that he will not enter private negotiations with Obama.
Typical. Impeach ‘em! Or at least do that censure thing, and publicly humiliate ‘em…
Two House Republicans have cast votes as members of the 112th Congress, but were not sworn in on Wednesday, a violation of the Constitution on the same day that the GOP had the document read from the podium.
The Republicans, incumbent Pete Sessions of Texas and freshman Mike Fitzpatrick, missed the swearing in because they were at a fundraiser in the Capitol Visitors Center. The pair watched the swearing-in on television from the Capitol Visitors Center with their hands raised.
“That wasn’t planned. It just worked out that way,” said Fitzpatrick at the time, according to local press on hand, which noted that he “happened to be introducing Texas Congressman Pete Sessions while glad-handing his supporters in the Capitol Visitor Center that he secured for them when the House swearing in began.”
House ethics rules forbid fundraising in the Capitol.
The Bucks County Courier Times said that roughly 500 Fitzpatrick supporters were on hand at the gathering. Fitzpatrick’s campaign had solicited contributions for a bus trip to the Capitol and “Mike Fitzpatrick’s Swearing In Celebration.”
Sessions is head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, responsible for fundraising for GOP candidates.
Not surprising, really. The Republicans don’t care about anything besides being elected. Governing the country is boring to them, so they traffic in soundbites and faux facts, like their Fox News masters.
As we reported this morning, House Republicans will kick-start the 112th Congress tomorrow with a spirited recitation of the Constitution, a document whose recent relevance is due largely to the ideological and sartorial interests of the Tea Party. It’s an opening act designed to herald the arrival of a new season of checks, balances, and financial cutbacks. As Politico’s nocturnal prophet Mike Allen reported, House Republicans plan to reduce Congress’s budget by $32.5 million—a savings reaped from cutting “the amount authorized for salaries and expenses of Member, committee, and leadership offices in 2011 and 2012.”
It would seem that in an era of Fiscal Responsibility™, a performative rendition of the Constitution might have been one such eliminated endeavor. For an estimate on just how much the Republicans would have saved if they had decided against the tedious exercise, VF Daily checked with Peter Keating, the co-author of “The Cost of No” and VF.com’s resident expert on Congressional wastefulness.
It will cost taxpayers over $1 million dollars for Republicans to recite the entire United States Constitution on the House floor Thursday.
In a year when Republicans have promised to reduce wasteful spending, it is estimated that reciting the Constitution will cost $1,071,872.87 if it takes three hours to read the document.
“When one chamber of Congress is in session but not working, we the people still have to pay for members’ salaries and expenses, and for their police protection, and for keeping their lights and phones and coffee machines on,” Peter Keating explained to Vanity Fair.
“To get this estimate, I took the total FY 2011 costs for House salaries and expenses and House office buildings, then added half the costs of joint House-Senate expenses, the CBO, the Capitol Police and the Capitol power plant,” he continued. “Then I divided that sum by 205, the number of days the House was in session last year, then divided again by 24 (the number of hours in a day) and multiplied by 3 (the estimated length in hours of members reading the Constitution).”
The House of Representatives gave final approval on Tuesday to a long-awaited modernization of the nation’s food safety laws, voting 215 to 144 to grant the Food and Drug Administration greater authority over food production.
…the devil is in the details1. For instance, some of the implementation doesn’t start until five years from now, some not until 18 months from now, and with the risk that the whole thing will get changed by then since our country inexplicably elected Republicans to be the majority party in the 112th Congress
“The F.D.A. asked for and was given a very long lead time for implementation,” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, food safety director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. “But it’s still a vast improvement over what we have today.”
Ultimately, the agency’s ability to carry out and enforce the law will depend on how much money it has available to pay inspectors and maintain or increase its staff. Republicans will gain control of the House next year and have vowed to cut spending on many domestic programs. Deep cuts could hobble the F.D.A. just as it gains the new authority.
“It’s going to be crucial for the next Congress to recognize that F.D.A. can’t fulfill the promise of this new law without the resources it needs to do the job,” said Erik D. Olson, who heads food policy for the Pew Health Group, an advocacy organization.
Comparing Democratic and Republican tax plans. The Republicans’ plan to extend the Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy would cost $36.6 billion more than the Democrats’ plan, which extends cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year and individuals making less than $200,000.
Easy way to tell whose side each party is on, no? Republicans earnestly believe those downtrodden millionaires need more money, because somebody has to purchase all those luxuries…like Republicans in the House
A Republican plan to extend tax cuts for the rich would add more than $36 billion to the federal deficit next year — and transfer the bulk of that cash into the pockets of the nation’s millionaires, according to a congressional analysis released Wednesday.
GOP tax plan would add billions to deficit Comparing Democratic and Republican tax plans New data from the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation show that households earning more than $1 million a year would reap nearly $31 billion in tax breaks under the GOP plan in 2011, for an average tax cut per household of about $100,000.
The analysis, requested by Democrats on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, comes as debate heats up over tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, most of which are scheduled to expire at the end of this year. Republicans want to extend all the cuts, which would cost the Treasury Department $238 billion in 2011, according to the taxation committee. President Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed to extend the cuts only for families making less than $250,000 a year and individuals making less than $200,000 — 98 percent of American taxpayers — in a plan that would add about $202 billion to next year’s deficit.
Surprising to nobody, yet still somehow depressing. Funny how the Tea Baggers don’t care that the GOP is bought and paid for many times over by the insurance corporations, and others of their ilk. Talk about corruption of the elites…
— Faced with wide-ranging new requirements in the health care law, the insurance industry is pouring money into Republican campaign coffers in hopes of scaling back regulations while preserving the mandate that Americans buy coverage.
Since January, the nation’s five largest insurers and the industry’s Washington-based lobbying arm have given three times more money to Republican lawmakers and political action committees than to Democrats.
That is a marked change from 2009, when the industry largely split its political donations between the two parties, according to federal election filings.
The largest insurers also are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobbyists with close ties to key Republican lawmakers who could be shaping health policy in January, records show.
The other thing is, how do insurance companies have so much profit anyway to piss away on lobbyists? From insanely high premiums, right? If their profit is regulated at 15%, suddenly the money spigot dries up.
Rick Santorum would very much like to be president. For the past few years, he has been diligently appearing at the sorts of conservative events—the Values Voters Summit, the Conservative Political Action Conference—where aspiring Republican candidates are expected to show up. But before he starts printing “Santorum 2012” bumper stickers, there’s one issue the former GOP senator and his strategists need to address. You see, Santorum has what you might call a Google problem. For voters who decide to look him up online, one of the top three search results is usually the site SpreadingSantorum.com, which explains that Santorum’s last name is a sexual neologism for “the frothy mixture of lube and fecal matter that is sometimes the byproduct of anal sex.”
Santorum’s problem got its start back in 2003, when the then-senator from Pennsylvania compared homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, saying the “definition of marriage” has never included “man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.” The ensuing controversy prompted syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, who’s gay, to start a contest, soliciting reader suggestions for slang terms to “memorialize the scandal.” The winner came up with the “frothy mixture” idea, Savage launched a website, and a meme was born. Even though mainstream news outlets would never link to it, Savage’s site rose in the Google rankings, thanks in part to bloggers who posted Santorum-related news on the site or linked to it from their blogs. Eventually it eclipsed Santorum’s own campaign site in search results; some observers even suggested it may have contributed to Santorum’s crushing 18-point defeat in his 2006 campaign against Bob Casey.
Ending the debate1 whether News Corporation is part of the Republican Party, Rupert Murdoch put his money where his heart is.
WASHINGTON — With Republicans hoping to recapture a number of statehouses in November, the media conglomerate headed by Rupert Murdoch is inserting itself into the races in bold fashion with a $1 million donation to the Republican Governors Association.
The contribution from Mr. Murdoch’s News Corporation, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post and other news outlets, is one of the biggest ever given by a media organization, campaign finance experts said
Dave Levinthal, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, said seven-figure donations from anyone to “527” associations were unusual, but a $1 million donation from a news organization was particularly rare.
The donation generated significant buzz in Washington on Tuesday. Much of it focused on Fox News, whose stable of highly rated, conservative hosts have made it the frequent target of liberals, who accuse the network of blurring the line between news and opinion.
In an e-mail to reporters, the Democratic National Committee said the donation showed that Fox News’ well-known mantra, “Fair and Balanced,” had been “rendered utterly meaningless.” Hari Sevugan, a D.N.C. spokesman, added that Fox News’ political coverage “should have a disclaimer for what it truly is — partisan propaganda.”
While many news organizations reported Tuesday on the $1 million gift, a late-afternoon search of Fox News’ Web site produced no mention of it.
Media Matters, predictably, did not let the moment pass without comment.
Politico’s Ben Smith has received the following quote from a News Corp. spokesman: “News Corporation believes in the power of free markets, and the RGA’s pro-business agenda supports our priorities at this most critical time for our economy.” They’re not trying to hide it anymore. As the coverage of its media outlets indicates, News Corp. supports the Republican Party’s platform. It’s just now started putting its money where its mouth has long been.
Sixteen months ago, we drew attention to Fox News Senior Vice President Bill Shine’s characterization of his network as the “voice of the opposition.” Ever since, we’ve been demonstrating how the network has been living up to his words.
In September, we defined Fox News as a conservative political organization, noting that the network had been openly advocating against the Democratic Congress and White House through extreme promotion of anti-government rallies, witch hunts against administration officials, and by urging their audience to call Congress and the White House to protest Democratic policies.
In November, we chronicled Fox News’ promotion of Conservative Party congressional candidate Doug Hoffman, New Jersey Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, and Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell in the run-up to the November 3 election. We also noted how Fox News hosts and analysts spent Election Day promoting their candidacies.
All the talking head blather about the upcoming mid-term elections must be taken with a peck or two of salt. Are the Tea Baggers really going to sweep out the old guard?
Nothing has changed. The GOP is still a Southern regional white people party. From the latest NBC/WSJ poll:
The GOP has a HUGE generic-ballot edge in the South (52%-31%), but it doesn’t lead anywhere else. In the Northeast, Dems have a 55%-30% edge; in the Midwest, they lead 49%-38%; and in the West, it’s 44%-43%.
And there’s this:
Consider: 60% believe the current Congress is either below average or among the worst, an all-time high in the survey; the percentage viewing the GOP favorably (24%-46% fav/unfav) is at an all-time low; the numbers for the Democratic Party aren’t much better (33%-44%, and the “very negative” for the Dems matches an all-time high); nearly six in 10 say the country is headed in the wrong direction; and 64% think the U.S. economy hasn’t yet hit rock bottom (“Recovery Summer,” anyone?).
Everyone hates everyone in DC, but they still hate Republicans the most.
David Corn interviews an extremely conservative, long serving Republican Congressman, Bob Inglis, who lost in his South Carolina primary to a tea-party ideologue. Interesting reading.
I am so curious as to what will happen in a general election between a tea party nutjub and and a strong Democrat. Will the general population and low-information voters be swayed by Tea Bagger racism and demagoguery?
During his primary campaign, Inglis repeatedly encountered enraged conservatives whom he couldn’t—or wouldn’t—satisfy. Shortly before the runoff primary election, Inglis met with about a dozen tea party activists at the modest ranch-style home of one of them. Here’s what took place:
I sat down, and they said on the back of your Social Security card, there’s a number. That number indicates the bank that bought you when you were born based on a projection of your life’s earnings, and you are collateral. We are all collateral for the banks. I have this look like, “What the heck are you talking about?” I’m trying to hide that look and look clueless. I figured clueless was better than argumentative. So they said, “You don’t know this?! You are a member of Congress, and you don’t know this?!” And I said, “Please forgive me. I’m just ignorant of these things.” And then of course, it turned into something about the Federal Reserve and the Bilderbergers and all that stuff. And now you have the feeling of anti-Semitism here coming in, mixing in. Wow.
I refused to use the word because I have this view that the Ninth Commandment must mean something. I remember one year Bill Clinton—the guy I was out to get [when serving on the House judiciary committee in the 1990s]—at the National Prayer Breakfast said something that was one of the most profound things I’ve ever heard from anybody at a gathering like that. He said, “The most violated commandment in Washington, DC”—everybody leaned in; do tell, Mr. President—”is, ‘Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.'” I thought, “He’s right. That is the most violated commandment in Washington.” For me to go around saying that Barack Obama is a socialist is a violation of the Ninth Commandment. He is a liberal fellow. I’m conservative. We disagree…But I don’t need to call him a socialist, and I hurt the country by doing so. The country has to come together to find a solution to these challenges or else we go over the cliff.
and a possible reason that the Tea Baggers are so opposed to doing anything about global climate change:
As an example of both the GOP pandering to right-wing voters and conservative talk show hosts undercutting sensible policymaking, Inglis points to climate change. Fossil fuels, he notes, get a free ride because they’re “negative externalities”—that is, pollution and the effects of climate change—”are not recognized” in the market. Sitting in front of a wall-sized poster touting clean technology centers in South Carolina, Inglis says that conservatives “should be the ones screaming. This is a conservative concept: accountability. This is biblical law: you cannot do on your property what harms your neighbor’s property.” Which is why he supports placing a price on carbon—and forcing polluters to cover it.
Asked why conservatives and Republicans have demonized the issue of climate change and clean energy, Inglis replies, “I wish I knew; then maybe I wouldn’t have lost my election.” He points out that some conservatives believe that any issue affecting the Earth is “the province of God and will not be affected by human activity. If you talk about the challenge of sustainability of the Earth’s systems, it’s an affront to that theological view.”
Politico founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei haven’t got a clue:
The liberal blogosphere grew in response to Bush. But it is still a movement marked by immaturity and impetuousness — unaccustomed to its own side holding power and the responsibilities and choices that come with that.
“Immaturity and impetuousness”? Yeah, that describes us to a T, unlike mature and patient (and very, very serious) folks like Dick Cheney and Sarah Palin who somehow find their every utterance transcribed in Vandehei’s publication.
It’s one thing to criticize liberal bloggers for having unrealistic expectations, given whatever we’re supposed to agree represents “reality” in Washington. I don’t happen to agree with that argument. Many liberal bloggers are advocates and activists. They are supposed to push the White House and Dems in a more liberal direction, even if it doesn’t always pay off. That’s their function as they’ve defined it. But reasonable people can disagree about how realistic the liberal blogosphere’s expectations have been.
However, to make the argument that liberal bloggers have their heads in the sand about Dem losses this fall is just flat out false. All VandeHarris are revealing is that they don’t regularly read liberal blogs — and that they know they can count on the fact that the Beltway insiders who will snicker knowingly about this article don’t read liberal blogs either. And that’s fine: Don’t read them! But please don’t make stuff up about them and call it journalism
It begins with a willful misread-slash-hyperbolic reduction of a “widely read” Eric Alterman column (the authors enable this misread by skillfully denying their readers a link to the Alterman piece, which actually describes the structural conditions that have prevented President Barack Obama from enacting a full-blooded progressive agenda), which in turn allows them to make this silly case that even though Obama has managed to get major pieces of legislation through Congress, his presidency is a failure because it makes bloggers sad.
Naturally, the whole thing is built upon a foundation of anonymous sources. We hear from all the old mainstays: the “top Obama advisor,” the “top White House official,” and another random adviser. Given the fact that Harris and VandeHei claim that the piece is underpinned by “interviews with officials in the administration and on Capitol Hill, and with Democratic operatives around town,” the dearth of sources is pretty glaring.
But here’s where we are. The editors claim that independents are leaving Obama because he “has shown himself to be a big-government liberal.” Mind you, they have already stipulated that Obama has had success enacting his agenda. That agenda included many things that he ran on, like health care reform, financial regulatory reform, winding down the war in Iraq, and prosecuting the war in Afghanistan. You can call that “centrist” or “liberal” if you like, but that’s precisely what those independent voters signed up for in November 2008. So, either these independent voters are addled — and thus unworthy of bellwether status, or there is another dominant factor in the political environment that’s causing them unease.
A few interesting links collected May 9th through July 7th:
Pepsi Ethics : Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) – It’s taken me a few hours to cool off enough to write coherently and without using (too much) profanity after I learned that ScienceBlogs added a corporate PR blog about nutrition written by PepsiCo. I think I’ve learned all I care to know about corporate “food” giants’ definition of what is “nutrition” by being confronted daily by a flock of hugely protruding bellies and jiggling posteriors everywhere I go
+ TheCoolShot + Authentic Russian Toast + – Your shot of iced vodka at The Russian Tea Time is served straight up in a chilled 2 oz. glass and is accompanied by traditional morsels – pickled cucumber and pumpernickel bread bite. Have it within a reach.