Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunday Insanity

mistermix: Not That Hard

Here’s a high-school kid putting the DC Press Corpse to shame. Substantial questions about important issues, good preparation and persistence are all that it takes. (via)

DougJ: Party like it’s 1998

Since this hasn’t happened yet, it may be too early to declare that no one could have predicted (warning: Politico link):

Rep. Darrell Issa, the conservative firebrand whose specialty is lobbing corruption allegations at the Obama White House, is making plans to hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if Republicans win the House this fall.


In other words, Issa wants to be to the Obama administration what Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) was to the Clinton administration — a subpoena machine in search of White House scandals.


With little policy work to get done, Republicans would focus on fighting and investigating Obama.

If Republicans gain control of the House, there is no question they will attempt to impeach Obama, for SestakGate, for iPodGate, for Henry Louis GatesGate. I don’t think there’s any question that much of the liberal media will support impeachment too. I am pretty confident that the public will not support it.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

DougJ: I wonder why this is happening

Remember, folks, Glenn Beck, Rush, and the rest are just entertainers:

Among the more troubling were incidents that arose from residents’ seething resentment that anyone from the government would seek their personal information.

Some people pointedly mentioned President Obama.

While conducting follow-ups in an upscale Seattle neighborhood, Grover Ellis said he came across a woman who considered him an agent of Obama, not the U.S. government.

“The idea of the census just enraged her,” said Ellis, 64, stressing that the overwhelming majority of people he met were welcoming and responsive. “The way she saw the census, she was required to help Obama. And she wasn’t going to do anything to help out Obama.”


In a rural part of California’s Nevada County northeast of Sacramento, two census workers told authorities that a man ordered them off his land. He mentioned his submachine gun, then followed them down the drive with a crossbow in hand. No charges were brought against the resident, the sheriff’s department said.

This is all going to get a lot worse, of course. When terrible things happen it will probably be the work of liberal plants.

  • from the comments on the same story at Washington Monthly:
  • Personal Failure
    • My mother was a census taker in 2000. She loved it (seriously, listening to my mom giggle about interviewing prostitutes and drug dealers was a little weird), but after hearing what Bachmann and Beck were saying about the census, she was too scared to do it again this time.

    Think about that: my mom giggled about spending time with criminals, but was terrified of Beck's listeners.

Think Progress: Fleming, who ‘applaud[ed]’ doctor for posting sign refusing Obama patients, reaffirms position.

In April, a right-wing urologist in Florida who put up a sign stating, “if you voted for Obama … seek urologic care elsewhere.” At the time, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), a leading conservative in the Republican doctors caucus, told a town hall audience that he “applaud[s]” what the Florida doctor “said and did.” Fleming had suggested that the doctor has a “First Amendment” right to deny care based on political affiliation — a right that appears nowhere in the Constitution. On Thursday, ThinkProgress caught up with Fleming at an event hosted by the GOP Healthcare Solutions caucus on Capitol Hill. Fleming explained that he stands by his comments and still supports the doctor’s right to put up the anti-Obama patients sign, but as a physician, he would not do the same. He also said the doctor was not truly denying patients, despite the clear message of the sign:

TP: What about the doctor who posted a sign that would deny Obama voters, patients into his office, you applauded him. Do you still think that is a good idea, and would you recommend doctors in your district to do that?

FLEMING: That’s not an accurate characterization of what I said. I said I applaud the right that he has to post a sign and it says that those who supported Obamacare need not come for service. Truth of the matter is, he never said that he would refuse care to him. He clearly said he was not even asking them. He just simply was making a political statement, that’s a First Amendment right. I also stated that I myself as a physician would not have done that. But I would support the right of any American in their First Amendment right to political speech.

Watch it:

The Florida doctor has faced wide condemnation for his sign, and Fleming was widely criticized after ThinkProgress reported on his remarks. MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann exclaimed on his show, “Really? He‘s got a first amendment right to see patients based on how they voted? Is that the same first amendment right to doctors in the south used to invoke and to refuse treatment of black people or keep them out of hospitals?” Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), the congressman who represents the district of the Florida doctor discriminating against Obama voters, said, “Maybe he thinks the Hippocratic Oath says, ‘Do no good.’ If this is the face of the right-wing in America, it’s the face of cruelty.”

Booman: Who's Afraid of Haley Barbour?

Yeah, I'm sure Haley Barbour would make a whale of a presidential candidate. His delusional and pro-drilling rhetoric since the spill started in the Gulf have enabled him to "help shift his political image from that of an insider party boss to an out-front crisis manager — and possible presidential candidate in 2012." How's this gonna sound on the trail?

VAN SUSTEREN: Governor, I have a little audio problems, I must confess. But let me ask you about tomorrow's meeting with the president with the BP officials. What is it that you want to hear him ask and discuss tomorrow?

BARBOUR: Well, look, BP is responsible to pay for everything. If BP is the responsible party under the law, they're to pay for everything. I do worry that this idea of making them make a huge escrow fund is going to make it less likely that they'll pay for everything. They need their capital to drill wells. They need their capital to produce income so that they can pay that income to our citizens in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, and to pay for all the damages done. BP needs to pay, is supposed to pay, must pay every penny. But this escrow bothers me that it's going to make them less able to pay us what they owe us. And that concerns me.

How is it going to make it less likely that BP will pay for everything if they put $20 billion up front at $5 billion per year? If $5 billion per year is going to bankrupt them, then they're not paying everything back anyway.

And then there is this:

He has also made a smattering of offense-bringing remarks over the years. Most recently, he defended Gov. Robert F. McDonnell’s omission of slavery from his Confederate History Month proclamation in Virginia, saying the uproar was “just a nit” and “something that doesn’t matter for diddly.”

If that's not a winner with the youth vote, maybe this will win them over.

Mr. Barbour has been generally muted in his criticism of BP and was among the first Republicans to object to the Obama administration’s insistence on a $20 billion BP escrow account to settle damage claims. He has also warned against efforts by the left to turn the spill into a regulatory cause célèbre.

“A bunch of liberal elites were hoping this would be the Three Mile Island of offshore drilling,” Mr. Barbour recently told the Mississippi Manufacturers Association.

I live in Pennsylvania. Three Mile Island was a molehill compared to the Gulf spill, and everyone knows it.

But very serious people tell me that Haley Barbour, former tobacco lobbyist, is going to be a great threat in 2012.

The traditional model was never especially controversial, and there was no real reason to question it. Politicians who wanted to garner public support would engage political reporters in the hopes of reaching voters and getting their message out, and would generally complain if the press ignored them.

The traditional model is quickly being replaced, and for the first time, we're finding multiple statewide candidates -- Kentucky's Rand Paul and Nevada's Sharron Angle, for the example -- who simply ignore reporters' questions and blow off interview opportunities. The fear, of course, is that reporters might ask them to explain their extreme policy positions. The politicians can try, but that only serves to remind voters of the inherent radicalism.

Eric Boehlert had a great item the other day explaining that a certain former half-term governor helped establish the new playbook, and some of the nuttier candidates are following it closely.

I've been writing about Palin's press boycott for months now, simply because we've never seen anything like this. We've never seen a high-profile politician categorically refuse to engage with serious, independent journalists. And we've certainly never seen a politician stiff the press and then have the press lay down in response. We've never seen the press so willingly get steam-rolled before. But with Palin and her news media boycott, that's exactly what's happened: Palin refuses to acknowledge their existence (except to ridicule it) and in return they fawn over her.

So why is anybody surprised that controversial senatorial candidates such as Angle and Paul, after having recently stepped in on the campaign trail, are now duplicating Palin's strategy and declining to talk to legitimate, non-partisan reporters? That's right, we now have two major party candidates running for state-wide office who pretty much won't answer questions from reporters.

This is beyond unprecedented. It's Bizarro World.

Quite right. Palin, Paul, and Angle will talk to outlets that agree in advance to help -- Fox News, Human Events, right-wing talk radio shows -- and blow off everyone else. It's simply a matter of cowardice, since it's easier to hide from journalists and avoid public scrutiny than it is to explain extreme positions that make the politicians appear ridiculous.

If political reporters at major outlets disapprove, as one might assume, news organizations are going to have to start adapting to the new model. As a practical matter, cowardly politicians like Palin know that outlets will run stories about her Facebook postings, for example, usually without scrutiny. It's a scam -- she doesn't have to endure questions she can't answer, but she can still get her message out by manipulating news organizations that treat Twitter messages and blog missives as qualitatively the same thing as interview quotes. For reporters, the goal should be to characterize the "silent treatment" from right-wing candidates as genuinely scandalous, not something media professionals will accomodate or encourage.

Unless the media resists these tactics more assertively, it's only a matter of time before Republican candidates boycott professional journalists in even larger numbers. It an incentive structure that's awful for the press, and considerably worse for democracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment