Friday, June 18, 2010

"they're mad he's not bailing BP out. "

mistermix: Accountability Makes Us Vaguely Uncomfortable

This morning’s New York Times thumbsucker about Obama’s “arm twisting” of BP is a masterpiece of pussyfooting, takebacks and special pleading for corporations. It’s full of passages like this:

The Wall Street executives who needed the government to prop them up, but still thought their services were worth millions a year, were cast by Mr. Obama as a shameless privileged class. Toyota was described as seeking profits over safety; Wellpoint, the insurance giant, was castigated for seeking to insulate itself from the new health care legislation by taking actions that the law will soon prohibit.

Obviously, Wall Street wasn’t shameless and privileged until Obama called them that. Similarly, the problem with Toyota wasn’t that its cars were killing people, it was his description of how their cars were killing people.

The conclusion of this piece is equally risible. Obama must be very careful about delicate corporate feelings, otherwise we risk the following:

[...][H]e will have to avoid painting with such a broad brush that foreign and domestic investors come to view the United States as a too risky place to do business, a country where big mistakes can lead to vilification and, perhaps, bankruptcy.

In short, our best bet is to act like some third world shithole that bends over backwards to get a little corporate investment, no matter what the cost.

It’s no coincidence that this front-page news analysis piece was written the Times’ chief Washington correspondent, David Sanger. For the DC Press Corpse, the “rule of law” is a quaint notion that went out at the turn of the century.

  • from the comments:


    You forgot this one:

    With that display of raw arm-twisting, Mr. Obama reinvigorated a debate about the renewed reach of government power, or, alternatively, the power of government overreach.

    Obama is a bully! It wasn’t just arm-twisting, it was raw arm-twisting. He’s not just a bully, he’s a mean, cruel, powerful bully too.

Maddow get's it right.

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

Ezra Klein
Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman, and every Republican in the Senate voted to filibuster the jobs bill, reports Lori Montgomery: "Democrats believed they had secured the votes of at least two Republicans: Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) and Scott Brown (Mass.). But any deal unraveled during a long day of talks Thursday, leaving Democrats frustrated and perplexed. 'We thought we had enough votes to pass this,' Reid told reporters, adding that Lieberman had been prepared to come on board. He and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said they would regroup Friday. But aides said the path forward would not become clear until next week at the earliest."
It's an election year, and the economy remains the issue at the top of voters' priority list. It stands to reason that lawmakers would want to take modest steps to improve the economy and prevent job losses.

But reason has been deemed irrelevant in much of the Senate, where sacrificing workers and the unemployed over long-term deficit fears is somehow perceived as wise.

The Senate effectively rejected a slimmed-down package of jobless benefits and state aid late Thursday, rebuffing President Obama's call for urgent action to bolster the economic recovery. [...]

Democratic leaders, who had predicted victory less than 24 hours earlier, vowed not to give up on the measure, but acknowledged that they have no clear path to securing the one or two Republican votes needed to push it to final passage. Though the sprawling package contains a number of must-pass provisions, Republicans have been steadfast in their opposition, insisting that the full cost of the measure be covered by cutting existing government programs.

If the Senate had been allowed to vote on the measure, it would have passed. But Republicans kept up their scandalous habit of filibustering literally every proposal of any significance, leading to a 56 to 40 vote. (Sens. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) voted with Republicans, who unanimously opposed the bill.) Because the Senate is ridiculous, 40 votes trumps 56.

Note that Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) did not switch his vote for procedural reasons, which means that the economic aid package is, for now, dead.

In real-world terms, this means more than a million unemployed Americans will stop receiving assistance next week, and aid states are counting to prevent massive layoffs won't arrive.

The Senate had a choice: worry about the deficit or worry about higher unemployment. For reasons that defy common sense, the Senate chose the former -- as if the deficit will improve when more Americans are out of work.

The Democratic majority really can't let this stand. As a policy matter, Republicans' neo-Hooverism will cause widespread suffering. As a political matter, it's Dems who'll be blamed when unemployment gets worse. (It's unpleasant to think about, but it may be time for a discussion about whether GOP lawmakers are trying to deliberately sabotage the economy to help their midterm election strategy.)

Ideally, the Democratic leadership would keep bringing this up, every day, shining a light on exactly what Republicans are doing here.

Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Reid are scheduled to meet today to discuss their next steps. Stay tuned.

Booman: Stupid Republicans
The conservative/Tea Party movement has finally found something they actually believe the federal government should do. They should shelter BP and pay some of the costs of Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Giving the opening statement for Republicans at today's BP hearing, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), the ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, vigorously defended the company in the wake of Wednesday's compromise on an escrow fund to pay for damages from its broken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico.

"It is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown," said Barton, "in this case a $20 billion shakedown."

Barton, who holds a safe seat in Texas, is saying what the leading edge of tea partyers and conservatives are saying -- no matter whether it's good politics, his first worry about the response to the disaster is that it will empower the federal government. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) said this to me on Tuesday, and Dick Armey said it to me yesterday when I told him about the $20 billion compromise.

They're still upset that Obama rescued the auto industry and, thus, the 'way of life' for the people of the Great Lakes. They hoped to crush the unionized auto workers. They spewed a bunch of nonsense about Obama taking over private industries and they inhaled their own fumes. Now they claim Obama is taking over the oil industry when, in actuality, he is declining to do so. In reality, they're mad he's not bailing BP out.

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