Tuesday, June 30, 2009


TPM: Jon Stewart Calls Out Sanford for Hiding Behind King David
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Mark Sanford Consults the Old Testament
Daily Show
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Political HumorJason Jones in Iran

Kurtz (TPM): Deadlock By Design
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has succeeded in crippling the FEC by ensuring the appointment of a bloc of anti-enforcement Republican commissioners who simply refuse to enforce campaign finance laws. His efforts have been mostly flying under the radar, but TPMmuckraker takes a close look at what's been happening and the consequences.

ThinkFast: June 30, 2009

Nearly three-quarters of all Americans support the plan to withdraw most U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities and towns, even though most believe that the troop movements will lead to an increase in violence in that country,” according to a new CNN/Opinion Research poll. “This plan has widespread bipartisan support,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Iraqi Interior Minister Jawad Al Bolani writes in the Washington Post today that while the withdrawal of U.S. troops from major Iraq cities “must provide some relief to many Americans, whose sacrifice has been extraordinary,” “none of us can be lulled into believing that Iraq is a ‘mission accomplished.’” “June 30 is not an historical endpoint,” but “the beginning of a highly uncertain chapter in Iraqi democracy.”

Sargent: Poll: Three Quarters Of Republicans Favor Obama’s Iraq Withdrawal Plan

Anyone else catch this stunning number in the new CNN poll on whether Americans favor Obama’s Iraq withdrawal plan?

“This plan has widespread bipartisan support,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Seventy two percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Republicans favor this move.”

Can it really be that less than a year ago, one of the central arguments in American politics was over whether Obama’s plan to pull out of Iraq, rather than secure “victory” first, signaled that he was defeatist, weak, possibly unpatriotic, and generally unfit to defend the country?

Sully: Cheney Lays Down The Iraq Gauntlet
You could see this coming a mile off: having initiated the worst foreign policy decision in recent times, Cheney doesn't want the occupation to end any time soon. More to the point, he is gearing up to blame Obama if the withdrawal leads to bloodshed or chaos. I predicted this years back and it's quite remarkable to see it come to pass. Every now and again, you lapse into thinking that these people have some lingering trace of shame or accountability or decency. And then Cheney cracks open his mouth and you realize that a man capable of inflicting torture on countless prisoners is capable of pretty much anything.
In recent weeks, there's been a very aggressive push on the part of some high-profile Republicans, most notably leading neoconservatives, to condemn President Obama's policy on Iran. What seemed like a common-sense approach, endorsed by a variety of experts from both sides of the aisle, somehow became the latest "controversy" ginned up by the right.

Fortunately, the latest CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll suggests the neocons aren't persuading the American mainstream.

A new national poll suggests that that nearly three out of four Americans don't want the U.S. directly intervene in the election crisis in Iran even though most Americans are upset by how the Iranian government has dealt with protests over controversial election results. [...]

Most Americans approve of how President Obama's handled the situation. And 74 percent think the U.S. government should not directly intervene in the post-election crisis, with one out of four feeling that Washington should openly support the demonstrators who are protesting the election results.

In all, 61% approve the way Obama has responded to the events in Iran. (The same poll, by the way, also showed the president's overall approval rating at 61%.) What's more, much to the consternation of the staff at the Weekly Standard, 82% of Americans do not support military action against Iran.

For all the bloviating from McCain, Graham, Krauthammer, et al, they've largely only impressed those who already agree with them.

Speaking of McCain . . .


With the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act on its way to the Senate, the global warming legislation's fate remains very much in doubt. Not only are there skeptical centrist Democrats to worry about, but the prospects of winning over Republican votes appear slim.

It's tempting to think John McCain would be willing to show some leadership on this. It was, after all, just a year ago, after he'd secured the Republican presidential nomination, that the Arizona senator acknowledged the climate crisis and said the United States "needs ... a cap-and-trade system." It was a position he reiterated throughout the year.

As Ryan Powers reports, however, McCain has since decided that a cap-and-trade system is a "far-left" agenda item, which he, like many far-right activists, now prefers to call a "cap-and-tax" system. Here's McCain yesterday on an Arizona talk-radio show:

"It's really terrible, because I believe that climate change is real, I believe it is something that we need to address, and I'm sure that a lot of Americans do, but to do so with a bill like this? ... What [the Obama administration is] doing is using cap-and-trade...to raise billions of dollars so they can spend money on Cash for Clunkers, you know, buying General Motors and Banks and the world's largest insurance company.... So it started on the wrong path and now it's just turned into, you know, it's laws and sausages at its worst in my view.

Ryan fact-checks McCain's criticism -- not surprisingly, McCain doesn't know what he's talking about -- but I'd just add that the Republican senator's bizarre and baseless opposition makes the larger effort that much more difficult.

Keep in mind, while reconciliation rules are in place for health care, center-right Democrats made it so that Republican obstructionism can kill climate-change legislation. To get to 60, the Democratic majority will need some support from those handful of Republicans who take science and global warming seriously.

McCain was supposed to be one of them. That now appears unlikely.

  • Yglesias: Gideon Rachman on John McCain’s Tweets

    This seems like an unfortunate slap at peasants to me:

    But I cannot say Mr McCain’s twitters fill me with regret that he is not sitting in the Oval Office. They seem to be a mixture of sports scores and self-congratulation. He crowed recently about the number of followers he has on Twitter: “800,000!!! Think we can make it to one million?” Some of the senator’s tweets make him sound like a peasant. On May 19th he said: “Meeting with Dr Kissinger – the smartest man in the world.”

    It’s the ideal medium for a politician who loves to make his opinions known, but doesn’t appear to have any knowledge of or interest in any area of public policy.

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