Posts Tagged ‘guardian



07
Jun
11

ouch


The Guardian: Sarah Palin wants to show to the Republican right that she is the true keeper of the Ronald Reagan flame by meeting the late president’s closest ally on the world stage. A meeting with Margaret Thatcher in the centenary year of Reagan’s birth would be the perfect way of launching her bid for the Republican nomination for the 2012 US presidential election.

This is what Palin told Christina Lamb in the Sunday Times: “I am going to Sudan in July and hope to stop in England on the way. I am just hoping Mrs Thatcher is well enough to see me as I so admire her.”

It appears that the former prime minister has no intention of meeting the darling of the Tea Party movement … This is what one ally tells me:

Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.”

More here

Thank you Meta!

It should be said, Thatcher was/is nuts too, so there might have been a meeting of minds :???:

***

I did it again, I visited Teabagger-land to see their reaction to this, seeing as they adore Thatcher almost as much as the half-termer. I loved this response from someone who reckoned it was all explained by Britain’s moral ‘decline':

Yes, the British have chosen to live under “shiria” law and “whorship” gay people.

:lol:

03
May
11

‘obama’s rivals now look like lilliputians to his gulliver’

Jonathan Freedland (The UK Guardian): Last week, when Barack Obama released his birth certificate to silence those who had long questioned his American identity, he explained that he did not normally respond to such nonsense because “you know, I’ve got other things to do”. Now we know that those “other things” included meticulous planning for an event that could well transform his presidency, reshaping both the way he is seen and the foreign policy he pursues.

… the success of the operation in Abbottabad now makes Obama’s rivals look small indeed, Lilliputians chasing wild fantasies while Gulliver deals with the things that matter. He has rendered even more laughable Donald Trump’s declaration that “I feel proud of myself” for flushing out the proof of Obama’s Hawaiian birth. The president has shown what a true achievement looks like.

For, like it or not, no trophy mattered more to American public opinion … Obama’s role in slaying the dragon may not make him a national hero, but it will take a special kind of stupidity for Republicans to question his patriotism now.

The killing in Pakistan will bury another criticism, rarely articulated explicitly: the suggestion that Obama was somehow insufficiently tough, insufficiently macho, to be America’s commander-in-chief … Crude though it may be, Obama just passed that test with flying colours of red, white and blue.

He did it, though, his own way … he avoided the crass cowboy talk that was a hallmark of the previous administration: the official statement of Saddam’s capture began with the words “We got him”. Obama’s style was, by contrast, measured and steady, recalling 9/11 and speaking movingly of the images of “that September day” that the world did not see, starting with “The empty seat at the dinner table”.

From now on Obama will be viewed slightly differently at home and abroad, his coolness understood to be unflappable and poker-faced, rather than chilly and professorial. One former foreign minister who has seen the president up close believes that Bin Laden’s scalp will lead other world leaders to conclude that, to paraphrase Teddy Roosevelt, “Obama may speak softly – but he carries a big stick”…

…he has scored a valuable victory, one that lifts his own standing but also arrests the gloomy, declinist mood that has gripped some in his country, convinced that American power is on the slide. He has done in two years what his predecessor failed to do in eight. But Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” banner should stay in the White House basement: al-Qaida remains, the war in Afghanistan is not over, and there is still so much more work to do.

Full article here

02
May
11

‘an utterly un-rebuttable statement of strength’

Michael Tomasky (The UK Guardian): ….I watched the ceremony today in which the President bestowed posthumous medals of honor on two US servicemen who fought in the Korean war … in the present context, I couldn’t help but think: for those families, for all the military people in that room, for all the US military people in this country and around the world, Obama has a degree of credibility now that he’d lacked before. He’s not a military man, not steeped in military culture. That’s all still true. But now it’s basically canceled out. He got bin Laden. Period stop. An utterly un-rebuttable statement of strength.

And I think we will see as more details come out, indeed as we have already seen, that a big part of this operation’s success had to do with Obama himself. The national-security meetings he ran, the questions he asked, the decisions he made. I don’t want bombs, he said; I don’t want to kill children while we do this … I want a body, and I want proof, before America and (more importantly) a possibly doubting world.

In addition to that, there is the point that Obama had said back in 2007 that he’d take bin Laden out without telling Pakistan if he had to. He was mocked by everyone as naive, as needlessly offending our great ally. But that is exactly what happened, and it was exactly what was called for. Obama looks smarter and braver than all those critics today…

….It makes certain matters trickier for the right wing. Cracks and dog-whistle comments about his being a Muslim are going to sound awfully silly now … any Republican trying to call weak the man who got bin Laden in a mere two-and-a-half years, after tough guys Bush and Cheney couldn’t get him in seven-and-a-half, is just going to look ridiculous.

Some of them look ridiculous already. In the statements I’ve seen, Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and Donald Trump were the only GOP president contenders to congratulate Obama as well as the army and intelligence services. The others refrained. Petty and stupid….

…it should make the Republicans that much more cautious about how they try to belittle the president. The GOP narrative about Obama has been in part predicated on his exoticism, let’s call it, and in part on this idea that he’s a weak leader whom they can push around. Now, he’s done the ballsiest thing that an American president has done since who knows when, and he succeeded at it. Perfectly….

Full article here

****

This was Michael Tomasky’s last piece for The Guardian, he’s joining Newsweek/The Daily Beast. What a way to go out, truly brilliant.

27
Apr
11

‘republicans will rue their birther backing’

Paul Harris (The Guardian): The timing of the release of Barack Obama’s birth certificate expertly made a fool of Donald Trump – and the GOP with him.

….to the surprise of no one with two brain cells to rub together, the document proved that, yes, in fact, Obama was indeed born on American soil.

Yet Obama seemed barely in chiding mode at having to deal with this idiocy. Instead, he appeared relaxed. He told reporters that he had “watched with amusement” as the rumours spread and been surprised they refused to go away….

…The fact is that the Obama administration has played the recent spasm of birther attention remarkably well. They have let Trump rise up on a balloon of inflated birther nonsense – getting near the top of Republican polls for the 2012 nomination – and then promptly popped it underneath him.

…the White House timed the release so that Trump would be right in the media’s glare when the birther bubble burst. Not surprisingly, he looked like an idiot. At a news conference, he blustered about his proud achievement in forcing the release of the birth certificate, then attempted to cast a little doubt on it and finally made up a CNN poll that he claimed showed him neck-and-neck with Obama in the race (CNN promptly reported no such poll exists).

No one needed any more proof to understand that Trump is a joke in very poor taste. But he provided it anyway – in long form….

Which is why Obama has played this well. His team waited for Trump to have enough rope to hang himself on the birther issue, and in doing so, have helped him toxify the Republican brand – just as he tried to debut his serious side.

…. the sheer and increasing madness of the issue – especially now that the long form birth certificate has been released – must be offputting for the independents and moderates who are often so crucial in American elections.

…It is a sad indictment of the Republican party that its own leaders took the attitude of not dismissing birtherism and its followers without qualifying their stance or hinting at closet sympathies.

Come 2012, they may yet pay at the polls for that cynicism and moral cowardice. It is going to be an easy task for Democrats to paint the Republicans as extremists with little grasp of reality and many Republicans will have only themselves to blame.

Full article here

05
Apr
11

‘has-beens, nobodies and deadbeats’

Richard Adams (The UK Guardian): …. Compared with the same stage in 2007, when the presidential primary season was running at full steam, 2011 is a flat tire. But it’s not just the lack of activity – the Republican candidates being touted are a collection of has-beens, nobodies and deadbeats, several of them barely household names in their own households. And those are the most electable ones.

Which is strange because the Republican party has just enjoyed an election triumph in the 2010 midterm elections that would suggest a party surging towards the 2012 contest. Instead, it’s more like the Simpsons parody of the football world cup finals: “This match will determine once and for all which nation is the greatest on earth – Mexico or Portugal!”

So far, the 2012 primaries will determine once and for all who is the greatest Republican presidential candidate: Tim Pawlenty or Mitch Daniels?

Mitch who? Exactly. This Republican crop of candidates is a veritable “Who’s that?” of American politics.

Despite all that, talking to intelligent Republicans finds them brimming with enthusiasm for their party’s candidates. It’s a fantastic field, they insist – for 2016. Yes, they are very excited about the 2016 presidential elections, and reel off a list of top-notch candidates: Marco Rubio, Rick Perry, Scott Walker, David Petraeus, Chris Christie, even Jeb Bush. Ask them about the 2012 candidates and they go quiet or start sighing….

…There’s the 2008 retreads, Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee. One has money, tons of baggage and zero charisma. The other has zero money, tons of baggage and folksy charm. There’s the retreaded retread, Newt Gingrich. There’s the no-hopers, Rick Santorum (defeated senator, swivel-eyed) and Michele Bachman (like Sarah Palin but without the gravitas). Ron Paul, anyone? And it’s not worth mentioning Donald Trump…..

Full article here

NY Daily News: Nineteen months is a millennium in politics, but today’s smart money says Barack Obama will be tough to beat in 2012 – if the economy continues to mend …it’s amazing how many Republican mandarins privately brood about their chances of unseating Obama only five months after voters decisively repudiated him in the November midterms. “We have a far better chance of taking back the Senate than taking back the White House,” a gloomy party strategist told the Daily News.

Last month, GOP bigwigs in town for the annual Gridiron Club media dinner reached a sobering consensus: The slate of Republican contenders for 2012 is unusually lame. The best of the least, ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is suspect with the Republican base. One prominent party thinker believes only ex-Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty has any chance of beating Obama – and rates Pawlenty’s prospects as weak. The pros know Tea Party darlings like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann have Obama aides salivating.

…”Every lesson that needed to be learned from last November has been learned,” a top Obama counselor said.

Strategically, Democratic and GOP strategists alike calculate that African-American and Latino voters will stick with Obama regardless. Given the Hispanic population growth surge, that means millions more voters Obama didn’t have last time. A key Republican analyst also predicts the youth vote, which enthusiastically backed Obama in 2008 but stayed home last fall, will return in 2012. “He can’t win without kids, and he’ll bring them back out this time,” he said.

…”It’s advantage Obama,” said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson. “Unless the economy gets worse and the Republicans put up a stronger person, he’s in pretty good shape.”

Article here

26
Mar
11

‘i have nothing to say’

Michael Tomasky (The UK Guardian)

21
Mar
11

‘a brilliant diplomatic strategy’

The UK Guardian: If the Obama administration does nothing else, it will always compare favourably with Bush’s for its diplomacy over Libya

The New York Times called it “inconsistent”. The Wall Street Journal questioned whether “any direction” could be divined behind the decision. But in referring to America’s part in the attack on Libyan forces, the mainstream media is blind to what has been a brilliant diplomatic – and domestic – political strategy on the part of President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

…Having learned the lessons of Iraq and countless other American boondoggles in the region, President Obama has played his hand deftly to avoid accusations of American imperialism and to project the optics of consensus. Today, as the United States engages once more in the Middle East, it does so with the imprimatur of a United Nations resolution and an impressive coalition of allies – not just George Bush’s “coalition of the willing” – but countries not usually associated with military intervention in the region, including France and the countries of the Arab League.

…President Obama has “played it cool” – refusing to cut short his trip to Latin America and emphasising that American action will be short (if committed). This is a far cry from the sort of chest-thumping bellicosity from the Oval Office we saw under Bush.

There are, of course, domestic politics at play here as well. America is tired of seeing its military in Iraq and Afghanistan, let alone getting involved in a new Middle Eastern conflict. But through diplomatic and strategic manoeuvering, President Obama has ensured that the United States is simply one nation among many engaging in the region, lifting some of the weight of history from the shoulders of the nation.

Full article here

07
Mar
11

rewriting history?

‘How did the University of Virginia come to publish a version of Lincoln’s inaugural speech that cut crucial words on slavery?’

Matt Seaton (The UK Guardian): ….I was preparing for publication Eric Foner’s article on the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration speech … I went searching for a transcript of the speech to link to. The results of a Google search took me to the site of the University of Virginia’s Miller Centre of Public Affairs; reckoning this a prestigious institution at a public university (founded by Thomas Jefferson, no less), I assumed this would be a reliable link to use …

Then I reached the passage quoted by Eric’s piece, where Lincoln flatly states: “One section of our country believes slavery is right, and ought to be extended, while the other believes it is wrong, and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute.”

…I searched the transcript on the Miller Centre site for this sentence but could not find it…. I sent off an email to the Miller Centre staff, alerting them to the fact that they were publishing a misleading, redacted version of Lincoln’s address; and outlining my interpretation that it looked as though the speech had been cut to remove references to slavery… I received an immediate reply; and within an hour, the webpage had been amended and the full text restored.

Since then, I’ve done a full comparison of the cached version of the page and the amended one; at the foot of this article run all the passages that had been omitted from the original…

…the sum of the redactions appeared to have two key effects: first, of toning down or removing entirely Lincoln’s strong assertions of the legitimate authority of the Union before and above the Constitution; and second, as said, of shifting the emphasis away from slavery as the key point of dispute between North and South and towards differences over the precedence and prerogative of individual states v the Union in law-making and enforcement. It is difficult not to see a neo-Confederate agenda in this editing.

It is possible that the erroneous version of Lincoln’s address was published by accident or carelessness. But the alacrity with which a correction was made suggests that Miller Centre executives realised the potential damage to the institution’s reputation of hosting what might appear to be a politically tendentious, “doctored” version of the address.

Having had a polite note from them, thanking me for pointing out the error and confirming the correction, I wrote back saying I was considering writing about it and seeking their comment on several questions (see the questions here)

In contrast to the almost instantaneous earlier response, as yet, I have received no reply to these questions. So the Miller Centre would seem to wish to make no further comment. But given that its online database of the Scripps Library purports to be a vital resource for scholars of public policy, US government and presidential history, I certainly hope they are running some checks.

Full article here

11
Feb
11

‘obama and his people ended up playing this rather well’

Michael Tomasky (The UK Guardian): ….President Obama’s remarks on Friday afternoon were appropriate and powerful: the people of Egypt have inspired the world. For all the understandable frustration on the part of Egyptian protesters over the fact the the US wouldn’t commit to them more fully earlier, I think Obama and his people ended up playing this rather well. They turned up the heat incrementally, and but for one or two missteps, the timing was actually pretty good.

Critics, neocons especially, will say he didn’t lead, he followed. That’s true. And that was appropriate. It was up to the Egyptian people to lead this, not the United States.

And the Egyptian military. Someday, we’ll get the back story on how, in just 24 hours, the military went from evidently backing Mubarak to ditching him. This was crucial, and I doubt very much the US played no role in this. I’d wager that Pentagon chief Robert Gates and Mike Mullen, the heads of the joint chiefs of staff, had quite a lot to do with that.

With the Egyptian army relying on US military aid basically to exist, their words surely carried weight. Maybe all that aid over years, excessive as it has been in many ways, paid important dividends in the last two weeks….

….Finally: no, I will not say that Obama deserves much credit for this. At the same time, I have no doubt in my mind that if President McCain had given a speech on democracy in Cairo 20 months ago and now this happened, the neocons and Fox News and the usual suspects would be calling it “the McCain Revolution” and baying about how it proved that a bold stance by an American president had made all the difference.

I won’t parrot that kind of inanity. I’ll simply say that, from his Cairo speech until today, Obama has helped this process more than he’s hindered it. And we didn’t have to invade two countries, either. That’s the right side – for him, and for us, the people of the United States. Now, we need to stay there.

Full article here

25
Jan
11

reaction: heck, even mark halperin was blown away

Time: Whatever happens next, the president’s 2011 State of the Union speech represents not a new Barack Obama, but a return to the original version.  You know the one. The magnetic Barack Obama of the “Red American/Blue America” 2004 Democratic convention speech. The distinguished Barack Obama whose non-ideological best-selling book captivated the nation. The inspiring Barack Obama whose post-partisan rhetoric and promise won him the White House with decisive support, including from independent voters.

…he delivered one of the strongest efforts yet at explaining his rhetorical theory of the case for how his policies will create jobs in America. And he laid even more of a trap for Republicans, whose challenge to cut spending without damaging valuable programs or raising taxes grows more difficult by the day (and the president knows it).

…Obama’s presentation was close to flawless: upbeat and animated, leisurely and assured… by returning to his rhetorical roots – as a progressive who believes America can meet its challenges only by working across partisan lines and rejecting tired old politics and extremist demands – Obama harnessed the momentum he has had following his December bustle and Tucson leadership to achieve a soaring State of the Union.

******

True, there are a few predictable bits of nonsense from Halperin in the piece, but we should give him credit: it’s the first thing he’s written in about two years that didn’t mention the half-term ex Alaskan Governor. Maybe he’s suddenly noticed this President is a rather good? Welcome to the real world, Mark ;-)

Meanwhile….

“Reaganesque”? :roll:

CBS: An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of President Obama’s overall message in his State of the Union on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News Poll of speech watchers.

According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president’s address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks, while only nine percent disapproved.

Specifically, 82 percent of those who watched the speech said they approve of the president’s plans for the economy, up from 53 percent who approved before the speech.

******

Even Politico – !!!!!! – conceded it was a triumph. Oooh, I bet that hurt.

President Obama’s second State of the Union was a “personal triumph” that received strong, positive reactions from Democrats and Republicans, according to an instant analysis from the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner.

The firm monitored the reactions of swing voters and unmarried women from Colorado as they watched the speech. According to the analysis, before the address, the test group’s approval of the president was 30 percent – by the end of the speech, the approval rating had gone up to 56 percent.

The sample group responded very strongly to Obama’s key economic concepts, as well as to his call to educate, innovate and build. Two of the strongest moments of the night were when Obama referred to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and when he called on millionaires to be taxed more.

******

Paul Begala: Obama’s SOTU: Putting the Jam on the Lower Shelf So the Little People Can Reach It …. We have long known that Barack Obama can do the “vision thing.” In this State of the Union address, though, he did the specific thing … President Obama spoke directly to those people — the ones Bill Clinton calls “walkin’ around folks.” I suspect a lot of those folks will be lining up to march behind the plainspoken, commonsense, practical leadership President Obama is offering.

******

CNN: A majority of Americans who watched President Obama’s State of the Union address said they had a very positive reaction to his speech, according to a poll of people who viewed Tuesday night’s address.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicated that 52 percent of speech watchers had a very positive reaction, with 32 percent saying they had a somewhat positive response and 15 percent with a negative response.

******

And even Paul Krugman struggled to find anything to make him OUTRAGED!!!!

Paul Krugman: Considering the rumors a few weeks ago, which suggested a cave on Social Security, this wasn’t too bad. Obama said that we’re going to do something about Social Security, but unclear what. And in general he at least somewhat stood his ground against the right. In fact, the best thing about the speech was exactly what most of the commentariat is going to condemn: Obama did not surrender to the fiscal austerity now now now types.

Simon Tisdall (The Guardian): This speech was about vision, leadership, and next year’s presidential election. It scored well on all three fronts. Obama was both stark and optimistic. He told Americans something they may not want to hear: that a country that has dominated the world for so long now risks being overtaken by China and other rising powers.

But Obama said America’s fate was in its own hands. Through increased investment in education, research and innovation, the US could reassert its global primacy. He was confident it would prevail. While calling for increased bipartisanship, Obama threw down the gauntlet to Republicans. He dared them to follow his lead in confronting America’s problems, rather than try to obstruct him. Significantly he made no apology for his landmark healthcare reforms.

….The speech will add momentum to Obama’s recent resurgence in the opinion polls. It positions him as a national rather than a sectional leader. It showed he has a clear vision of America’s path forward. And his message, in hard times, was one of infinite possibility, unity and positive endeavour. The Republicans in contrast were implicitly painted as mean, divisive, negative – and leaderless … Last night Obama looked like a winner again. It was his Apollo 13 moment.





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