The previous President, after the attacks of 9/11, engineered a war with a state which, though abysmal to its own people, had had no direct or indirect link with any terror attack on the United States. It was, if anything, a mortal enemy of the group which carried out the attacks, as that group saw the ruling regime as corrupt and un-Islamic. As the history of that war is being written, the regime sought to stave off war, willing to give the previous President anything he wanted, save for the regime’s destruction. Of course, the regime as it existed stood in the way of the grand plan to remake the Middle East; its destruction, not its containment, was the goal. Anything short of political—and literal—suicide would not suit the ultimate purpose. So the country and the world were lied into a war, which cost nearly 5,000 American lives, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths; a war which was supposed to last a few weeks and pay for itself instead dragged on for nearly a decade, costing over $1 trillion. And the Middle East, far from being remade into a collection of benevolent American satrapies, teetered on the edge of all-out war for the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.
That President, however, was never asked to apologize for the disaster he had wrought. And if ever he had been asked to apologize in a face-to-face interview, he never offered one: no apology for the countless dead, for the treasure wasted, for the lives destroyed. It’s just not the done thing.
The inside-the-beltway humor would be amusing save for one thing: the GOP bill excised all funding for food stamps from it, which normally makes up 80% of the spending in any agriculture bill. Families barely making it with that assistance are now facing a bleak summer. Will the House take up SNAP funding separately? Will Speaker John Boehner cobble together a coalition with Democrats to make sure that families aren’t starving on the streets of the world’s only superpower?
Oh, of course, these are rhetorical questions. Yet all the same, they are pertinent, and deserve some type of, if not answer, then an explanation.
8:40: President Obama tours the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
9:45: PBO delivers remarks (WH Live, the Museum’s website and, maybe, CNN live streaming)
12:30: Jay Carney briefs the press
2:35: PBO presents the Commander-in-Chief Trophy to the Air Force Academy football team
Washington Post: President Obama will issue an executive order Monday that will allow U.S. officials for the first time to impose sanctions against foreign nationals found to have used new technologies, from cellphone tracking to Internet monitoring, to help carry out grave human rights abuses.
Social media and cellphone technology have been widely credited with helping democracy advocates organize against autocratic governments and better expose rights violations, most notably over the past year and a half in the Middle East and North Africa.
….. Obama’s executive order, which he will announce during a Monday speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, is an acknowledgment of those dangers and of the need to adapt American national security policy to a world being remade rapidly by technology….
NYT: One Saturday last fall, President Obama interrupted a White House strategy meeting to raise an issue not on the agenda. He declared, aides recalled, that the administration needed to more aggressively use executive power to govern in the face of Congressional obstructionism.
“We had been attempting to highlight the inability of Congress to do anything,” recalled William M. Daley, who was the White House chief of staff at the time. “The president expressed frustration, saying we have got to scour everything and push the envelope in finding things we can do on our own.”
For Mr. Obama, that meeting was a turning point …. increasingly in recent months, the administration has been seeking ways to act without Congress ….. the White House has rolled out dozens of new policies — on creating jobs for veterans, preventing drug shortages, raising fuel economy standards, curbing domestic violence and more.
Washington Post: Mitt Romney’s contemptuous attitude toward the importance of public disclosure is increasingly troubling. Whether it involves the details of his personal finances or the identity of his big fundraisers, the presumptive Republican is setting a new, low bar for transparency – one that does not augur well for how the Romney White House would conduct itself if he were elected.
First is the matter of tax returns. Mr. Romney’s campaign, belatedly and under pressure, released a single year’s worth of tax information in January along with a summary for the 2011 return. Now, with a Friday afternoon release conveniently timed for minimum news coverage a week ago, it announced that the candidate had filed for an extension….
…. Then there is the mystery of Mr. Romney’s bundlers… Bundlers play a crucial role for political candidates, collecting donations that can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars to fuel campaigns. The candidates know full well to whom they are indebted. Perhaps Mr. Romney can explain why the public isn’t entitled to the same information.
Paul Krugman: Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? ….. the question was raised with particular force last week, when Mr. Romney tried to make a closed drywall factory in Ohio a symbol of the Obama administration’s economic failure. It was a symbol, all right – but not in the way he intended.
….Mr. Romney somehow failed to mention: George W. Bush, not Barack Obama, was president when the factory in question was closed. Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?
Yes, it does. Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009, that is, before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. So the Ohio speech was a perfect illustration of the way the Romney campaign is banking on amnesia, on the hope that voters don’t remember that Mr. Obama inherited an economy that was already in free fall.
…. Mr. Romney wants you to forget that Mr. Obama has faced scorched-earth political opposition since his first day in office. Basically, the G.O.P. has blocked the administration’s efforts to the maximum extent possible, then turned around and blamed the administration for not doing enough.
Howard Kurtz (Daily Beast): Forget liberal bias. A new study reveals that the press covered Romney twice as favorably as Obama during the primaries – and declared the GOP race over weeks ago.
During the bruising Republican primaries, there was one candidate whose coverage was more relentlessly negative than the rest. In fact, he did not enjoy a single week where positive treatment by the media outweighed the negative.
His name is Barack Obama.
That is among the findings of a study by the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington nonprofit that examined 52 key newspaper, television, radio, and Web outlets.
Rolling Stone: …. When Obama 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe likened the campaign’s email list to a television network in his campaign memoir, it was a rough analogy. But for the revamped Obama 2012 campaign, the meaning is quite literal. The YouTube and social media revolution of the last four years has given the campaign the power to produce and disseminate powerful video content that it can broadcast to a highly targeted audience of millions, effectively for free.
….. The folks in Chicago have spent next to nothing on television ads. Yet the campaign’s digital team – the biggest squad by far in Obama 2012′s massive headquarters in a downtown skyscraper – is quietly churning out nearly a video a day, designed to reengage Obama supporters, activate new volunteers, or persuade fence-sitting independents.
…. We’re seeing something really new in the history of presidential politics develop out of Chicago. This is a social-media-optimized campaign …. All of this direct communication with targeted voters is happening without the advice or consent of the mainstream media, in ways that David Plouffe could scarcely have imagined just four years ago. Meanwhile, the Mitt Romney campaign website looks like it’s still trying to catch up to Obama 2008.
Pew Research: The gender gap in presidential politics is not new. Democratic candidates have gotten more support from women than men for more than 30 years. Even so, Barack Obama’s advantages among women voters over his GOP rivals are striking.
In the Pew Research Center’s most recent national survey, conducted March 7-11, Obama led Mitt Romney by 20 points (58% to 38%) among women voters. It marked the second consecutive month that Obama held such a wide advantage over Romney among women (59% to 38% in February).
MSNBC: …. a new NBC News/Marist poll shows President Obama holding a sizable advantage over his Republican opposition in Wisconsin, which he carried in 2008 but where Republicans made big gains in the 2010 midterms.
Obama leads Romney in Wisconsin among registered voters, 52 percent to 35 percent, with 13 percent undecided. And he edges Santorum, 51 percent to 38 percent, with 11 percent undecided….
Benefitting Obama is growing optimism about the state of the economy (52 percent believe the worst is behind them), as well as a more negative perception of the Republican Party (48 percent say the Democratic Party does a better job in appealing to those who aren’t hard-core supporters, while just 32 percent say that about the GOP).
What’s more, there’s a significant gender gap: Obama leads Romney among women by 25 points (55 percent to 30 percent) and men by 12 points (50 percent to 38 percent). The president’s job-approval rating in Wisconsin stands at 50 percent.