Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Drum: Who's Outlandish Now?

Have environmentalists who focus on climate change really "undermined the cause with claims bordering on the outlandish," as the Washington Post's Dana Milbank said a couple of days ago? Apparently not. The Wonk Room took a look at those claims and found that (a) they were true, (b) many of them didn't have anything to do with global warming, and (c) they weren't made by environmentalists anyway.

This is what happens when you take stenography from the Heritage Foundation. Any reporter past his senior year in high school ought to know better.

digby: Quote 'O The Morn
From DougJ at Balloon Juice, discussing David Broder's "review" of Sarah Palin:

It no longer matters whether or not a politician’s performance (I think that’s the right word here) has any connection with any kind of discernible reality. Movie-goers are pickier about the believability of movies than pundits are about the believability of politicians’ claims. You’re more likely to hear a movie-goer complain “there’s no way a school teacher could afford that penthouse” than to hear David Broder complain “there’s no way `we win, you lose’ can be a serious foreign policy”.

I hadn't thought of it quite that way before, but it's true. And it isn't just Broder. The entire Gasbag mafia spends all their time determining how "believable" politicians appear rather than whether one should believe them.
As if to prove the above point, here's a headline from the Times

Obama Starts Push to Cast Stimulus Bill as a Success

Media Matters: Citing Mein Kampf, Limbaugh calls Obama's comments on the stimulus "the big lie"

From the February 17 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

Sargent: Karl Rove: Economy Is Recovering Despite Recovery Act, Not Because Of It

With the spin war over the Recovery Act in full swing today, a Democrat points out that Karl Rove seemed to debut a new talking point today: Yes, the economy is recovering, but this is in spite of the Recovery Act, not because of it.

Rove’s assertion is interesting, because it may foreshadow an argument we may hear more often from stimulus critics, should more good economic news start rolling in:

“This in many ways is a false debate,” Rove said. “The economy is stabilized compared to where it was a year ago, but is it because the government has spent $200 billion in the stimulus program? I don’t think so.”

“If you take a look worldwide, the Federal Reserve and the central banks have injected $30 trillion into the world economy,” Rove continued, before acknowledging: “Again, the economy is going to recover, no ifs, ands, or buts.”

Rove’s assessment, however, comes on the same day as this widely circulated New York Times piece arguing that if you judge the stimulus by jobs data, it has been a success.

The Times directly took on the argument — echoed here by Rove — that the economy would have improved without the stiumulus. It concluded that “the stimulus package, flaws and all, deserves a big heaping of credit” for the recovery we’ve seen.

Most polls show Americans are strongly skeptical of the stimulus’ efficacy, and Dems have lots of work to do in changing their minds. But you’d think this task might become marginally easier, should more evidence of recovery start rolling in. Rove has now sounded the counterargument, and it seems likely that this is where the debate is heading next.

DemFromCT's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up

Ruth Marcus: Villager conventional wisdom.

The realist in me watches the fervent Tea Partiers, tugging the Republican Party even further to the right, and the Republican congressional leadership, reaping the short-term rewards of obstruction -- and worries.

"What I think Evan has been trying to communicate is that politics cannot be seen as a zero-sum game where one side wipes the floor with the other side," Wyden told me. Until this happens, he said, "I think you're going to see more good and thoughtful people say that they're going to find other things to do."

Unspoken conclusion? This is bad for both parties and each is equally at fault. Bleh. When will the Villagers have the guts to simply say that one party is openly obstructionist and trying to ruin the system as best they can for political gain? I won't hold my breath.

WSJ Review and Outlook:

The political retirement of Evan Bayh, at age 54, is being portrayed by various sages as a result of too much partisanship, or the Senate's dysfunction, or even the systemic breakdown of American governance. Most of this is rationalization. The real story, of which Mr. Bayh's frustration is merely the latest sign, is the failure once again of liberal governance.

How would we possibly know, since we don't have liberal governance? We have at most the same centrist governance Bayh represents, and more to the point the fruition of years of conservative ruin.

Thomas Frank:

How glorious is the tea-party movement? Some talk of its purity of heart, its patriotic spontaneity, and its abundance of republican virtue. To hear others tell it, the movement is but a few steps away from sacred.

After attending the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, the prominent blogger Glenn Reynolds wrote last week in the Washington Examiner that the movement amounted to "America's Third Great Awakening," a massive popular rising against "politicians and parties" that have "grown corrupt, venal and out-of-touch."

How strange, then, that this flowering of populist integrity should have been tended and pruned and succored by a group of Beltway operators known primarily for their venality and insider power.

Barnum was right. There's a sucker born every minute.

JedL (DK): Feeling the need

Jake Tapper:

Plouffe Feels the Need to Tell Obama Supporters What the Stimulus Has Done

This evening former Obama for America campaign manager David Plouffe sent an email to supporters of what's now called Organizing for America, asking them if they're "wondering what ...President Obama's stimulus bill -- has accomplished?"

If so, he tells them to look at this chart showing how job losses have steadily become less and less horrible.

That Plouffe feels the need to tell Obama supporters what the stimulus bill has accomplished speaks volumes about how successful the Obama administration's selling job has been (to say nothing of how Democrats feel the media has reported the stimulus bill's impact.)

As Tapper seems to suggest, perhaps if reporters spent more time covering the actual impact of policy rather than divining the political significance of fairly straightforward e-mails, political strategists like Plouffe wouldn't "feel the need" to moonlight as journalists.

  • Chris Bowers adds:
    For Tapper, the attempt to sell the stimulus bill-by, say, telling people why the stimulus bill has worked--is proof that the attempt to sell the stimulus bill has failed. Apparently, the Obama administration was supposed to sell the stimulus without, say, attempting to sell the stimulus. It is unclear how that would work. Perhaps it is kind of like being cool, which requires not actually stating you are cool. Other people simply have to realize you are cool.

No comments:

Post a Comment