Wednesday, February 10, 2010


John Cole: Justify This Column

I’d love to hear Hiatt justify why Michael Gerson gets a paycheck:

During his question time at the House Republican retreat, President Obama elevated congressman and budget expert Paul Ryan as a “sincere guy” whose budget blueprint—which, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), eventually achieves a balanced budget—has “some ideas in there that I would agree with.” Days later, Democratic legislators held a conference call to lambaste Ryan’s plan as a vicious, voucherizing, privatizing assault on Social Security, Medicare and every non-millionaire American. Progressive advocacy groups and liberal bloggers joined the jeering in practiced harmony.

The attack “came out of the Democratic National Committee, and that is the White House,” Ryan told me recently, sounding both disappointed and unsurprised. On the deficit, Obama’s outreach to Republicans has been a ploy, which is to say, a deception. Once again, a president so impressed by his own idealism has become the nation’s main manufacturer of public cynicism.

Couldn’t the WaPo save a lot of money by just having the RNC pay Gerson’s salary?

John Cole: Just Let the Media Establishment Burn

Mark Knoller, who was last seen counting the number of times Obama played golf, has a real winner this morning:

Obama Says Bipartisanship, But What He Wants Is GOP Surrender

What these presidential appeals for bipartisanship always mean is: do it my way.

Mr. Obama said he “won’t hesitate to embrace a good idea from my friends in the minority party.” But he wants his way. He wants his energy policy enacted along with his jobs bill, his financial regulatory reform and his health care plan.

And if the opposition continues to block his objectives, he said he “won’t hesitate to condemn what I consider to be obstinacy that’s rooted not in substantive disagreement but in political expedience.”

When a sitting president calls for bipartisanship by the opposition – he really means surrender. And if they block his proposals, its “obstinacy” and not political views they hold as strongly as he holds his.

Missing from this “analysis” from Knoller is the fact that but for bizarre Senate rules, a vast MAJORITY of the House and Senate want what the President wants. Missing from this analysis is the fact that the GOP is not acting as an honest partner and is voting as a block, providing not one vote. Missing from this analysis is the fact that the WH has made so many concessions to the Republicans and included so many of their demands into legislation that the left wing is pissed, and the GOP turned around and voted against it anyway.

He doesn’t want them to surrender. Hell, if they would just vote for bills that they co-signed, he’d be happy.

Nothing is going to change until our pudgy, well-paid, lazy stenographer class is as desperate as the rest of the American people. If Mark Knoller and Michael Gerson had no health care, made 17k a year, and had a pre-existing condition, I bet they’d think differently about things. But then again, that is suggesting he even thought before barfing up this piece.

*** Update ***

Mission accomplished. Knoller is rewarded with his Drudge link.


DougJ: What’s the downside?

Newt Gingrich goes on the “Daily Show” and makes up a story about why Richard Reid was Mirandized:

After Gingrich assailed the administration for reading Miranda Rights to Detroit undie bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Stewart drew a comparison to something that happened under George W. Bush.

“Didn’t they do the same with Richard Reid, who was the shoe bomber?” he asked the Republican icon.

“Richard Reid was an American citizen,” insisted Gingrich.

Steve Benen calls this “clueless”, but the truth is, why shouldn’t Gingrich go ahead and do this even if he knows it’s a lie? It got right by Jon Stewart (a bit surprising, since I and, I suspect, most of you knew Reid was a British citizen) and you can bet it won’t hurt his chances of being on “Meet The Press” or being enjoyed intellectually by Joe Klein. People who read left-leaning blogs know that Newt lied, but we already knew Newt was a liar.

While we the lucky few are congratulating ourselves for busting him, he’ll be telling the same story on some other show where the host is too dim to correct him.

There is absolutely no reason for Republicans not to make things up when they’re on tv. There’s no downside and there’s always the chance the story will catch on. Remember how Al Gore claimed he invented the internet? And how the Clintons stole all the W keys from the typewriters? And can you think of a single instance where a Republican paid a political price for lying?

Update. Stewart did fact check Newt at the end of the show. But you can bet Dancin’ Dave wouldn’t have. Moreover, getting fact-checked at the end of the show doesn’t have the same effect. (Still good for TDS for fact-checking at some point, even if it was too late in effect.)

John Cole: From the “No Shit” Department

Conservative author Jonathan Kay went to the Tea Party in Nashville and discovered he was surrounded by lunatics:

It’s a charming act, which makes the tea-party movement seem no more unnerving than the people who spend their weekends reenacting the Civil War. But the 18th-century getups mask something disturbing. After I spent the weekend at the Tea Party National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., it has become clear to me that the movement is dominated by people whose vision of the government is conspiratorial and dangerously detached from reality. It’s more John Birch than John Adams.

Like all populists, tea partiers are suspicious of power and influence, and anyone who wields them. Their villain list includes the big banks; bailed-out corporations; James Cameron, whose Avatar is seen as a veiled denunciation of the U.S. military; Republican Party institutional figures they feel ignored by, such as chairman Michael Steele; colleges and universities (the more prestigious, the more evil); TheWashington Post; Anderson Cooper; and even FOX News pundits, such as Bill O’Reilly, who have heaped scorn on the tea-party movement’s more militant oddballs.

One of the most bizarre moments of the recent tea-party convention came when blogger Andrew Breitbart delivered a particularly vicious fulmination against the mainstream media, prompting everyone to get up, turn toward the media section at the back of the conference room, and scream, “USA! USA! USA!” But the tea partiers’ well-documented obsession with President Obama has hardly been diffused by their knack for finding new enemies.

I’m not sure how this could be, when Reason magazine has spent months informing me these are just average (gun-toting) Americans upset by too much government. Personally, I see a number of elements to the tea party:

1.) Republican operatives bankrolled by the usual suspects, with the sole intent of using the tea party to advance the GOP and corporate agendas and to regain political power (FreedomWorks, DeMint, Palin, etc.)

2.) Cynical operators like media operations, talk show hosts and glibertarians and snake oil salesman who see a way to raise their profile and raise a buck (Fox news, PJTV, Breitbart, Glenn Beck, Reason, all the little for profit hucksters starting their own tea party funds). To a lesser extent, I would throw in the hundreds of cynical “new media consultants” the GOP seems to burp up on a daily basis.

3.) Straight up Birchers, birthers, flat-earthers, racists, militiamen, Patriot movement members, and that motley crew of scumbags and lunatics.

4.) A very small group of folks who honestly are very upset about government spending, but manage to never care when the GOP is the one doing it. They probably make up the smallest chunk, but you can pick them out quite easily- they are the somewhat sane looking people that the folks from the three previous groups try to hide behind every time the cameras are on.

At any rate, the fact that the Tea Parties have gotten this far with their incoherent and often times hypocritical message (to say nothing of the lunatics and racists and militia types) is a sign to me there is no amount of bullshit our media won’t swallow. The fact that it is allegedly a “populist” movement that was inspired by a tantrum from millionaire tv financial personality and a Brooks Brothers mafia on the Chicago trading floor, upset over meager plans to help troubled mortgage holders in the wake of a near trillion dollar bailout of the the wealthy elite who pay Rick Santelli’s salary, just ups the humor value in this theatre of the absurd. Nothing cracks me up like an angry peasant mob screaming for the repeal of the estate tax and ending the capital gains tax.

A sad state of affairs.

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