Posts Tagged ‘shrum



12
Jan
12

evening all

King of Bain – the 60 second version

And the 30 second version:

Greg Sargent: There seems to be widespread agreement that the half-hour documentary attacking Mitt Romney’s Bain years that was released yesterday by the pro-Gingrich Super PAC was a very effective piece of political communication. Ed Kilgore, for instance, described it as a “heat seaking missle aimed directly at the white working class id”.

But what will South Carolina voters themselves see? Will this attack translate well in the 30-second and 60-second ads based on this documentary that the Newt Super PAC ad will run in the state?

…. Rick Tyler, the GOP operative who works for Winning The Future, says the ads are part of a $3.4 million buy that includes other media. We should obviously treat that figure with serious skepticism until the money is actually spent, but if that’s true, that’s a significant buy for South Carolina.

More here

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The Week

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Robert Shrum: … what he spoke on election night in New Hampshire puts the presumptive Republican nominee at odds with the essential character of America. In a well-coiffed gentrification of the racist-tinged attack on Barack Obama as “the other” – a somehow alien and illegitimate president – Flip Romney, in full pander mode to the paranoia of the far right, arraigned the president for “tak[ing] his inspiration from the capitals of Europe” — and seeking “to turn America into a European-style entitlement society.”

…. In reality, Obama has been defending and extending the nation’s long march toward fulfilling its founding ideals. It’s Romney who, on critical economic issues, takes his inspiration from the capitals of Europe….

…. I doubt Romney will give up the xenophobia anytime soon. It plays well among primary voters who are suspicious that he’s not reliably reactionary; it’s a code-coated formula to depict Barack Obama as someone from another country, another continent, another tradition. In that sense, it’s a modulated form of “birtherism.”

Romney’s right when he says this election is about “the soul of America”. With his hostility to economic justice and the social safety net, his record in business, his desertion of the American quest for equal rights, and his embrace of floundering European economics, he would, if he ever got there, be the president of a very different and lesser United States…..

Full article here

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TPM: If a speech Thursday morning by one of his top economists is any indication, President Barack Obama is going all in with the 2012 re-election message of stemming the rise in income inequality and reforming a system that’s increasingly perceived to be rigged in favor of the rich.

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan Krueger rattled off a flurry of statistics illustrating the rise of inequality and its connection to the shrinking middle class. He blamed it on economic policies tilted to favor top earners – including income tax reforms (presumably during the Bush era) and the “drastic cut in the estate tax.”

He also argued that implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans are eager to repeal, will help reduce the disparities.

It’s a message that bore an uncanny resemblance to the “Teddy Roosevelt” speech President Obama delivered in early December, which was interpreted by many as laying out the grounds for his re-election campaign …. Romney has taken to decrying this message as the “politics of envy” and “class warfare” …. Krueger’s speech Thursday makes clear that that’s a fight the White House is happy to have.

Full post here

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The Week

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Our old GOPolitico friend Byron Tau got very excited today about the date on that DoJ memo on recess appointments. Read and learn Byron:

Mother Jones: ….. The opinion itself is dated January 6, two days after the appointments were announced – but that doesn’t mean the opinion was sought retroactively. “It is common, especially where time is of the essence, to give legal advice prior to a formal written opinion,” says Marty Lederman, a former attorney with the Office of Legal Counsel. “It takes time to produce an opinion with this level of detail.”

Young Byron then updated his post with this: White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters in the briefing that the DoJ memo was based on advice given by the president’s Office of Legal Counsel. “The opinion was rendered verbally prior to the date of the opinion itself,” Carney said, explaining the discrepancy. “The opinion was based on the advice provided by OLC”

Discrepancy? :lol: Byron? Quit while you’re that far behind behind.

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Full video here

“This is typical Barack, saying something he shouldn’t”:

06
Jan
12

evening all

President Barack Obama is briefed by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon before a phone call with King Abdullah II of Jordan in the Oval Office, Jan. 6, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

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Chicago Tribune: Freddie Mac announced Friday that it was giving mortgage servicers the authority to offer up to 1 year of mortgage forbearance to unemployed homeowners who have Freddie Mac-backed mortgages.

The change, with takes effect Feb. 1, means loan servicers can offer six months of forbearance to jobless borrowers without Freddie’s approval and another six months with approval….

Fannie Mae is expected next week to announce guidelines that will align with the new ones at Freddie Mac. The expansions are the result of a directive from the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

More here

Thanks forus50

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ThinkProgress: The Affordable Care Act has done very well in court so far; three of the four courts of appeals to consider it have upheld the law…..

….Today, DOJ filed its brief defending the Affordable Care Act’s insurance coverage requirement, and with one sentence the Justice Department takes the plaintiff’s silliest and most successful argument off the table ….

…. This statement, that federal efforts to directly regulate the family, general crimes or education stand on much weaker constitutional footing than the ACA, is a very big deal. It shows that DOJ recognizes the only thing that even vaguely resembles a hole in their previous legal arguments, and that they have now sewn that hole up. When one of the justices asks them “if Congress can do this, what can it not do?” they will now have a clear and well-articulated answer.

With just one sentence in its brief, DOJ took away the last few straws the ACA’s opponents were desperately grasping at.

Full post here

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ThinkProgress: 20-Year Ban On Uranium Mining Near The Grand Canyon | Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce a 20-year moratorium on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon region on Monday. The ban has been under consideration for two years, with evidence showing the mining contaminates drinking water. Last year, the most anti-environment House of Representatives attempted to permit uranium mining to overrun the Grand Canyon region, after a 2009 suspension from the Department of Interior.

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Washington Post: Chrysler will add 1,250 jobs at two Detroit factories next year – another sign that the once struggling automaker appears to be making a comeback.

The Jefferson North Assembly Plant will get 1,100 new workers and a third shift to help build a Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel model for North America. Another 150 workers will be added when Chrysler reopens the Conner Avenue factory to make a Street Racing Team version of the Dodge Viper muscle car.

More here

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The Week

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Robert Shrum: How about that Romney landslide? It turned out that in Iowa, the Mitt did fit — by two hands worth of votes, minus the thumbs. On paid media alone, Romney spent approximately $113 per vote and Rick Santorum spent just $1.65. The Romney campaign dared, and lost while winning. If Mitt had racked up a convincing margin, he would have been on a glide path to the GOP nomination. Instead, he won by a mere eight votes…..

Full article here

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Em…..

Democratic presidential candidate Vermin Supreme, who is one of more than 40 candidates who are on the New Hampshire primary ballot for U.S. president in 2012, stands outside a campaign event for Senator Rick Santorum in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 6. New Hampshire, where candidates are required to do nothing more than fill out a form and pay $1,000 to sign up, typically attracts a wide range of candidates.

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Philly.com: ….. In 2005, Santorum made headlines – not all positive – for visiting the deathbed of Terri Schiavo, the woman at the center of a national right-to-die controversy.What my Philadelphia Daily News colleague John Baer later exposed was that the real reason he was in the Tampa, Fla., area was to collect money at a $250,000 fundraiser organized by executives of Outback Steakhouses, a company that shared Santorum’s passion for a low minimum wage for waitresses and other rank-and-file workers. Santorum’s efforts were also aided by his unusual mode of travel: Wal-Mart’s corporate jet. And he canceled a public meeting on Social Security reform “out of respect for the Schiavo family”  even as the closed fundraisers went on.

Full article here

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OFA: President Obama broke bread today with Scott, Valarie, Kathie, and Bill, the four winners of #DinnerWithBarack

02
Dec
11

evening all

President Barack Obama and former president Bill Clinton tour a building under construction in Washington as part of President Obama’s Better Building Initiative to promote energy efficient buildings

WH: President Obama today announced nearly $4 billion in combined federal and private sector energy upgrades to buildings over the next 2 years. These investments will save billions in energy costs, promote energy independence, and, according to independent estimates, create tens of thousands of jobs in the hard-hit construction sector.

The $4 billion investment announced today includes a $2 billion commitment, made through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum, to energy upgrades of federal buildings using long term energy savings to pay for up-front costs, at no cost to taxpayers.

In addition, 60 CEOs, mayors, university presidents, and labor leaders today committed to invest nearly $2 billion of private capital into energy efficiency projects; and to upgrade energy performance by a minimum of 20% by 2020 in 1.6 billion square feet of office, industrial, municipal, hospital, university, community college and school buildings. This announcement builds on a commitment made by 14 partners at the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in June to make energy upgrades across 300 million square feet, and to invest $500 million in private sector financing in energy efficiency projects.

More here

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Media Matters: Following breaking news that the unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent in November, Fox & Friends aired the following on-screen graphic:

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Washington Post: The U.S. military transferred control of its sprawling headquarters outside Baghdad to the Iraqi government Friday, a deeply symbolic moment that launched the final month of a nearly decade-long U.S. presence.

The last few soldiers at Camp Victory, a base that once housed 68,000 military personnel and contractors, departed early Friday afternoon. There are currently 12,000 U.S. troops left in Iraq at five bases, down from a peak of 170,000 at 500 bases in 2007, military spokesman Col. Barry Johnson said. All will be gone by the end of the year.

More here

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The Hill: Manufacturing grew for the 28th straight month and faster than it has since June, a report showed Thursday.

The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index increased to 52.7 percent in November, up from 50.8 percent in October. The index’s most recent high was 55.3 percent. Earlier in the year the sector was expanding above 60 percent each month before the economy hit a rough patch in the early summer. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

More here

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President Obama smiles for a photo with a group Marine Corps Navajo Code Talkers after delivering remarks at the White House Tribal Nations Conference, Dec. 2

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Robert Shrum: …. Mitt Romney is at heart a con man …. he would govern as he campaigns, no matter what he actually believes. That’s why the rest of us should be afraid of what Mitt Romney’s America would look like.

In Mitt Romney’s America, unemployment could escalate – or soar …. His long-term fiscal policy would shred the social safety net and devastate programs ranging from college loans to research and development and environmental protections. The wealthy would never be asked to pay their fair share by a president who would never risk alienating Grover Norquist….

Thus the “jobs” candidate could become the jobs destroyer as president – which, of course, was what he was when he dismembered companies and fired workers during his years in the private sector…

….. Medicare would be voucherized and Social Security would be privatized. Insurance companies would be free again to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions and to cancel policies as the costs of life-saving treatment mounted. Tens of millions more would be left without health insurance.

And Mitt Romney’s America would be a narrow and bigoted place, too. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” He’s proposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. His Supreme Court nominees would tip the balance and overturn Roe v. Wade. And what about civil rights? Romney has become an immigrant-baiter who now wants to build that “danged fence” along the border. The co-chair of his Justice Advisory Committee is Robert Bork, who called the 1964 Civil Rights Act “unsurpassed ugliness”. On issues of equality, Mitt Romney’s America would look a lot like Ted Kennedy’s famous description of Robert Bork’s America, where “rigid ideology will tip the scales of justice against the kind of country [this] is and ought to be.”

….. And that’s why I hope we never have to live in Mitt Romney’s America.

Full article here

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TPM

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Steve Benen: Every single time the Huntsman campaign releases another anti-Romney video, I have the same reaction: “Hey, that’s pretty good!”

I thought that about the “pretzel” video, the flipping-toy-monkey video, the weathervane video, and this week’s “Mittstant Replay” video.

Today, via Taegan Goddard, Huntsman’s team offers another gem, this time connecting Romney’s incessant flip-flopping to his background with the Olympics. It turns out, Romney flips with all the grace of a crashing gymnast:

More from Steve Benen here

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You know the way GOPolitico is obsessed with the President and Israel and spends its days searching for polls that suggest he is struggling with the Jewish community? Well, spare a thought for them, today was a very difficult day:

21
Nov
11

afternoon all, part 2

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Andrew Sullivan: The one thing I noticed in my continental run-around this past week is just how mad liberals are at Obama. I remain as baffled by this anger as I am by Republican contempt for the guy. New York magazine has two superb essays that sum up my own feelings on both sides pretty perfectly – by Jon Chait and David Frum. Chait notes how systemic and eternal liberal disenchantment is, and how congenitally useless Democrats are in rallying round a leader, even one who has achieved so much in such a short time.

Many Dems even now think Clinton was more successful in fighting the GOP in his first term than Obama has been. (Memo to the left: universal healthcare was achieved under Obama). But much of this is the usual Democratic limpness and whininess. If George Bush had taken out Osama bin Laden, wiped out al Qaeda’s leadership and gathered a treasure trove of real intelligence by a daring raid, he’d be on Mount Rushmore by now. If he’d done the equivalent on the right of universal healthcare, he’d be the second coming of Reagan. But Obama and liberals? If I hear one more gripe about single payer from someone in their fifties with a ponytail, I’ll scream.

… I remain unrepentant in my support for this president, a man who has accomplished more in the face of a more hostile environment in his first three years than any president since Johnson. I wish more reasonable Dems and a few moderate Republicans will soon have the courage to say so.

Full post here

Thank you eveingeorgia

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First lady Michelle Obama delivers opening remarks during a student music program in the State Dining Room

From left: Kris Kristofferson, Lyle Lovett and Darius Rucker

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WooOOOooot! Congratulations BWD ;-)

Link

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Robert Shrum: …. In a New York Times blog post titled “Decision 2013,” Emory University psychology professor Drew Westen offers strong opinions about the shortcomings of a president “tied up in knots of indecision” ….

…. It is a scathing indictment from someone who plainly feels his counsel and wisdom have been scorned. It is also a stunning repudiation of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s insistence that people are entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts.

…. Westen launches an overall indictment of the president’s character – Obama is a president frozen in the ice of his own intellect, too logical, too rational, too disconnected from emotions …. the portrayal here of Obama is far removed from reality.

Ask Osama bin Laden if the president is indecisive. As for delay, health care reform was delayed for a century – and Obama passed it. The economy continues to be troubled, but Obama saved it from disaster … Financial reform, student loan reform, credit card reform, the greatest infrastructure investment in a generation – the list goes on. These are not the markers of indecision and delay. Nor is something else progressive critics thought Obama could never achieve. It was Bill Clinton, who famously felt our pain, who inflicted plenty of it by signing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law. It was Obama who repealed it with a masterful sense of timing and a cool and rational approach to the Pentagon.

That is a hallmark of his presidency. An effective president can’t be just a partisan, appealing solely to the base. But Obama has delivered more progressive change than anyone at anytime since the 1960s. He hasn’t, as Westen writes, “just run out the clock.” He’s moved history ahead….

Full article here

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04
Nov
11

catching up

Political Humor

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Robert Shrum (The Week): The GOP’s desperate hunt for anyone but Mitt Romney – Herman Cain unravels. Rick Perry stumbles. And Republicans keep praying that someone will rescue them from the flip-flopping Romney.

… Maybe tea is a hallucinogen; maybe the GOP is demented – and it will nominate him (Cain) anyway. If that happened, it’s certain that President Obama would win by even more then he did in 2008.

….. He’s the latest in a procession of preposterous Republican candidates who have soared across the party’s firmament … The GOP’s primary voters have been relentlessly looking for Mr. Un-Romney…..

Full article here

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Alan Krueger (White House): Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough.

Private sector payrolls increased by 104,000, and overall payroll employment rose by 80,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 9.0 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high.

Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 20 straight months, for a total of 2.8 million jobs over that period. We need faster economic growth to put more Americans back to work. Today’s report provides further evidence for why it is so important that Congress pass the President’s American Jobs Act ….

More here

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Timothy Egan (NYT): For a Republican Party that has spent the better part of its presidential campaign proving that most of its candidates are not smarter than a fifth grader, the real scandal around frontrunner-of-the-moment Herman Cain is not what he knows. It’s what he doesn’t know.

…. China, said Cain with his clueless urgency, is “trying to develop nuclear capability.” Anyone who is gobsmacked by this category five level of ignorance concerning a country that has had nuclear weapons for more than 45 years has not been paying attention. Cain makes Sarah Palin, with her eagle-eyed view of Russia from Alaska, sound like a Council of Foreign Relations scholar on a gasbag high.

The clowns have finally taken over the circus, and I mean this with all due respect to those who labor with painted faces and oversized shoes…..

Full article here

Thanks Dorothy

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Steve Benen: On the Senate floor yesterday afternoon, Senate Republicans killed a popular jobs bill, despite the fact that a majority of senators supported the legislation. But the public’s understanding of what transpired will be shaped by the media’s coverage…..

…. CNN’s headline, at least online, read, “Competing infrastructure spending measures fail in Senate.” Here’s the lede: “In a pair of votes aimed more at making political points than law, the Senate rejected competing Democratic and Republican proposals to boost construction of roadways and other infrastructure projects.”….

Politico’s report was even worse. The headline read, “Senate gridlock: Both parties block jobs bills.” And check out the lede: “Rival Democratic and Republican jobs bills failed in the Senate on Thursday, the latest sign of the partisan gridlock gripping Washington…..”.

No, no, a thousand times, no. This just isn’t what happened…..

Full post here

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Long may he, eh, rain:

Cannes, Nov 4

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I forgot to post our Friday tune – thanks for the reminder WIW ;-)

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Don’t miss Extreme Liberal’s post:

Here

Thanks ChristiMtl

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Follow Henry on Twitter – here

Thanks Meta ;-)

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27
Oct
11

rise and shine

NYT: … Despite a school of thought in Washington that Mr. Obama’s support among blacks has weakened because of the poor economy and a sense of unmet expectations, interviews and public opinion surveys show that his standing remains remarkably strong among African-Americans.

….Some believe the president will be hard-pressed to reproduce those (2008) results, with a political narrative emerging in Washington that African-Americans have begun to sour on the president. Various black leaders – including Representative Maxine Waters of California, the television host Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, a prominent professor – have criticized Mr. Obama for what they see as not doing enough for black Americans…

Outside Washington, however, the story is markedly different. Mr. Obama’s support among African-Americans appears strikingly strong, even among many who are out of work, who might be expected to complain the loudest.

In a recent Pew Research Center poll, black voters preferred Mr. Obama 95 percent to 3 percent over Mitt Romney, “which is at least the margin he got in 2008,” said Michael Dimock, associate director for research at Pew. “There’s no erosion at all.”

Even more noteworthy, less than 10 percent of black voters in a New York Times/CBS News survey taken last month said that Mr. Obama had failed to meet their expectations as president, while nearly 3 in 10 said he had exceeded expectations…

…. Sitting in a chair at the Ultimate Choice Barber Shop in Charlotte, Brian Gainey, 28, a truck driver, initially hesitated when asked if he was going to vote again for Mr. Obama. “Yes,” he said finally, adding: “I’d almost like to see someone else win though. Maybe then they’ll see how much better Obama was than whoever will come after him.”

To Lemar Foster Jr., 48, a barber at Ultimate Choice, the Obama family epitomizes a bigger cultural change. …. “ … having the Obamas in the White House?” he asked. “Yeah, I’m very proud. And I’m definitely voting for him again.”

Full article here

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Bloomberg: President Barack Obama’s “tsunami” of new government regulations looks more like a summer swell.

Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

…. The scope of government regulation has emerged as a major issue in the 2012 presidential race and on Capitol Hill. Republican presidential candidates have accused Obama of stifling job creation by imposing rules on businesses, and House Republicans have vowed to rein in proposed regulations on everything from the environment to health care to banking.

….. Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame….

Full article here

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Today:

12:00 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a Democratic National Committee luncheon in Jacksonville, Florida

3:10 PM: President Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic

3:30 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Tampa, Florida

5:05 PM: The President greets city and municipal leaders from across the country

6:45 PM: The President has dinner with winners of a campaign contest

7:00 PM: Michelle Obama delivers remarks at a DNC reception in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

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Robert Shrum: Critics berate the president for taking his inspiring new progressive message to the American people. But it’s the critics who ought to be ashamed

The president must be doing something right. He’s now getting advice (from all the wrong quarters) that he ought to stop standing up for the people, not the privileged. Of course, such arguments largely rest on pre-cast assumptions and self-serving calculations.

…. New York Times columnist David Brooks, on the other hand, sounds agonized and genuinely disappointed as he mourns Obama’s passage from compromising to fighting for progressive values….. Brooks contends that instead of fighting such battles, Obama should “champion a Grand Bargain strategy.” When he did just that this summer during the debt-ceiling fight, the Republicans wouldn’t meet the president even a quarter of the way….

…. So fight on, Mr. President. You’re renewing your voice and your vision, and America is beginning to hear you again as it did in 2008….

As long as you keep fighting, the critics will keep complaining. Every time they do, think of Harry Truman in 1948, written off, facing a “do-nothing Congress,” assailed for class warfare, but clear in purpose and in principle. And think of what he promised as he came to the podium of a weary and worried Democratic convention: We “will win this election and make these Republicans like it — don’t you forget that…The reason is the Democratic Party is the people’s party, and the Republican Party is the party of special interest, and it always has been and always will be.”….

Full article here

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Steve Benen: By most measures, the third quarter – July through September – wasn’t pretty. The Eurozone crisis intensified; the debt-ceiling scandal rattled investors; and Republican intransigence generated a downgrade in U.S. debt. Talk of a “double-dip” recession was ubiquitous.

But as it turns out, the U.S. economy muddled through anyway. The Commerce Department released its report this morning showing that the nation’s gross domestic product rose at 2.5% annual rate in the third quarter. It’s the strongest economic growth in a year, and a marked improvement over the anemic growth we saw in the first two quarters (January through June).

Indeed, economic growth in the third quarter was nearly double the rate seen in the previous quarter.

That said, it’s important to note that 2.5% GDP growth is hardly great news. It’s a clear improvement relative to the first half of 2011, but as Neil Irwin put it, we’re still dealing with “the diminished economic expectations of the post-crisis age.”….

I mention this in part because, while faster economic growth is encouraging, policymakers and pundits would be making a tragic mistake if they saw today’s numbers as an excuse for inaction….

Full post here

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Gallup

Thanks VC

12
Oct
11

morning ;-)

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Today:

11:35 President Obama delivers remarks at the White House Forum on American Latino Heritage

2:40 The President meets with the National Association of Evangelicals Executive Committee

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Steve Benen: There were no doubts about the eventual outcome of the Senate fight over the American Jobs Act. Democrats would have needed at least seven Republicans who were willing to let members vote on the legislation, and the actual number was zero…..

…. Yesterday, there were reports that several members of the Senate Democratic caucus – Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin, Joe Lieberman, Jim Webb, Jeanne Shaheen, and Jon Tester – who would either vote with Republicans or fail to vote at all. The result would have been a political loss as well as a legislative one – Republicans would have been able to argue, accurately, that a majority of the Senate rejected the president’s jobs bill.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deserves a lot of credit for making sure that didn’t happen. In the end, the American Jobs Act got 51 votes, and only two Dems – Nebraska’s Ben Nelson and Montana’s Jon Tester – sided with Republicans. (The official final tally was 50 to 49, but that’s only because Reid had to switch his vote for procedural reasons.)

…. What matters most is that Senate Republicans, in the midst of a jobs crisis and intense public demand for congressional action, killed a credible jobs bill for no apparent reason…..literally every Republican in the Senate – including the alleged “moderates” – not only rejected the popular jobs bill, they refused to even let the chamber vote on it at all. That should be the front-page story nationwide this morning.

Full post here

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Robert Shrum: …. on the one hand, Romney charges Obama with slashing defense spending, when it has increased every year during this administration. On the other hand, he insists that he favored health-care reform only at the state level, when it’s indisputable that he offered Massachusetts as a national model both in 2008 and in the first edition of his book. It was titled No Apologies, but he’s been apologizing on health care ever since. And he never misses an opportunity for opportunism: An advocate of privatizing Social Security, he’s now attacking Perry by posing as the program’s defender.

Romney is a poser but he’s the only viable nominee the party now has …. but he will be hobbled by his own record as a take-over artist who dismembered companies and destroyed jobs – and by the positions he’s taken against tax fairness and in favor of unfettered speculation.

…. It’s clear that the president won’t let 2012 be cast as a referendum; he’s now setting out the basic choice: Who’s on your side? Romney will call this class warfare, but people are coming to understand that we’ve already had a decade of class warfare – against the middle-class….

Mitt Romney will be ill-prepared for this contest. He will enter the general election burdened by the craziness to which he’s had to kowtow. The primaries are also stripping away the strands of his already threadbare character. And they’re leaving him on the wrong side of the great dividing line of 2012 – for the privileged, not ordinary people.

Full article here

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Michael Tomasky: This was supposed to be the first debate that (finally!) had real drama … Well, they were all pretty terrible. But, it must be said, by degree. Romney was unbad enough to stay ahead … He wasn’t good, but he wasn’t bad enough to lose ground.

Cain has become a better debater. He has mastered that first-level trick of sounding like he knows what he’s talking about. He hasn’t mastered the second-level art of actually knowing what he’s talking about, but, then, few of them do…

Perry? He choked badly on an early big moment when Charlie Rose asked him what his plan was. He stumbled his way into some boilerplate about energy, but he spoke unconfidently and was looking at Charlie as a child looks at his teacher while trying to remember that middle string of the alphabet….

Michele Bachmann is gone, poor gal … Ron Paul wastes everyone’s time, starting with his….

Full post here

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16
Sep
11

‘the crybaby chorus’

Robert Shrum: It’s natural for the GOP to dismiss the facts in favor of misreading the entrails of a temporary congressional gain (in New York) which will be reversed in 2012. But it’s stupid, a sign of panic, and a pathetic and depressing picture to see Democrats joining in….

…. among the disaffected are elements of the labor movement …. Good luck to any union that sits out or sloughs off in 2012; if they end up with Romney or Perry, it could mark the end of organized labor in America.

…. too many members of his own party in Congress who pushed the president for a jobs bill, paid for by taxes on the wealthy, are now validating Will Rogers’s observation that they “don’t belong to any organized party. They’re Democrats”. Some of them are beginning to pick the bill apart, pursuing parochial interests …. Sen. Sherrod Brown warns that Democrats have to “compromise to get this bill up and running”; everybody can’t have all they want. He’s right, and so is Nancy Pelosi that Democrats can recapture the House – if they hold their nerve and stand with the president…..

Finally comes my friend James Carville to argue in a pyrotechnic CNN piece that yes, the White House should “panic” …. As Bill Clinton’s campaign chief in 1992, Carville didn’t panic – he certainly didn’t fire himself – in the early summer of that year, when Clinton was in last place, at 22 percent, in a three-way race with Ross Perot and the first George Bush.

…. Carville is on target about one thing: Obama has to “make a case like a Democrat”. But that’s what this president is doing now…..

…. the GOP is doing its best to block recovery as a conscious strategy to reclaim the White House: kill jobs to get the job. But there is grave risk for Republicans in this transparent cynicism; the president has the voice, and we’ve learned before that he has the strength of will to set the choice and win the big battle. Indeed, that’s what makes the comparison with Carter absurd; from health reform to financial reform to the salvation of the auto industry and the prevention of depression, Obama has a historic record of achievement.

…. Obama is a fourth quarter player. And the fourth quarter has come. It’s time for the crybaby chorus to leave the critic’s row and get in the game. The president will do his part. And then his victory in the 2012 election will be remembered long after his phony defeat in a peculiar special election fades into a footnote.

The panic isn’t justified — and Democrats can’t afford it. Grow up. As Carville might say, there’s too much at stake, stupid.

Full article here

26
Aug
11

‘a master of foreign policy must confront the march of the economic morons’

Robert Shrum: A master of foreign policy must confront the march of the economic morons to evade the 41st president’s fate

With the fall of Moammar Gadhafi’s evil kleptocracy, Barack Obama is arguably the most successful foreign policy president since George H. W. Bush. And we know what happened to him.

First, Obama’s successes: The restoration of respect for America abroad; the negotiation and ratification of the new START nuclear arms treaty with Russia; his resolve to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by a date certain … relying on special operations and drones to counter the terrorist threat that infests the Pakistan–Afghanistan border, while skillful diplomacy with India has lessened the odds of a potential nuclear conflict on the subcontinent.

The promise of special ops was stunningly proven in the boldest decision of the president who, when he made it, surely realized that he had the loneliest job in the world … With a cool hand and no drama … Obama ventured a risky mission to capture or kill the elusive mastermind of 9/11. The mission was finally accomplished, but not with the bluster of Bush 43.

The president had already orchestrated American influence with the Egyptian army to secure the uprising there …. He took a similar approach in Libya in the face of withering and often opportunistic criticism from Republicans…..Predictably, Obama’s GOP adversaries now celebrate the outcome while refusing to give the president a scintilla of credit….

… The president doesn’t have the power here he wields in foreign affairs – and the tea-drugged Republican House and the filibuster-intoxicated Republicans in the Senate are bent on blocking whatever Obama is for … he has to contend with a march of morons that stretches from Capitol Hill to the summit of international policymaking.

….in the plain sight of the American people, the president can become the fighter for jobs and growth – and the GOP, to invert Obama’s own phrase, can be blamed for putting politics ahead of country. The Republicans are so overt in their obstruction that Obama won’t even have to say this explicitly; they themselves will pin the tail on the elephant.

….It’s time for this president to move on from the art of the possible to the art of persuasion. He was superb at that in 2008, and he can be again. The leader who so notably succeeded in foreign policy – and legislatively in health and financial reform – now has to recapture the nation’s imagination….

Full article here

05
Aug
11

‘staying power in the face of adversity’

Robert Shrum: … Obama’s staying power in the face of adversity, which sustained his candidacy and then his presidency ….. But over time, the sheen of hope has been worn away. And nowhere is this more obvious than with his own base. Aggrieved by the loss of a public option in the health care bill, and the lack of a second major stimulus bill, activists were vocally disappointed when Obama agreed to a two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts — no matter what the president extracted from the GOP in return. The Left’s premise is that if he had stood his ground more resolutely, or stomped his foot harder, somehow events would have moved ’round to him.

…. The progressive choir does have a point that is substantive, persuasive, economically right – and beside the point … Paul Krugman argues that what’s needed in the near-term is more spending, not more cuts, with a long-term deficit reduction plan tied to the pace of recovery. Those that press this idea – or who believe the president could have achieved a public option, an extension of tax cuts for the middle class but not the wealthy, or a debt ceiling bargain that raised taxes – have yet to describe a practical path that could have gotten him there.

…. the notion of ignoring Congress on the debt ceiling and invoking the 14th Amendment could have served as a useful pressure point or as a last resort in extremis. Actually doing it would have set off a constitutional and probably a financial crisis. It might have offered psychic satisfaction, but exactly how would it have advanced progressive purposes?

…. It is fantasy politics to assume the president could have overcome generations of fantasy economics – and it’s all but certain that no matter what he said, there never would have been enough votes for a second stimulus package in a filibustering Senate where an all-powerful Republican minority was and is dead set against any Obama plan to revive growth and jobs…

…. Democrats in general, as distinct from disappointed activists, may not know all the details, but they seem to sense this. Obama’s approval among liberals is high – and among Democrats it stands at 77 percent – even at the most fraught passage of his presidency. So much for the chimera of a primary challenge. From whom? Dennis Kucinich – who no longer has a congressional district in Ohio?

Just because the Tea Party is crazy doesn’t mean progressives should let them make us crazy …. Time and again, most recently during the manufactured debt crisis, the president has already proved that he’s the reasonable person in the room. Now he has to prove that he’s the passionate person in the room … He has to put an edge on his message, as FDR and Harry Truman did…

… The criticism of Barack Obama in the last campaign was that he was all speech and no substance. As president, he’s been mostly substance, much of it historic, and rarely the speechmaker of 2008. But in the fierce urgency of this now, it is time for speech again, for a clarion call. Let’s hope we begin to hear it in the sounds of August.

Full article here

17
Jun
11

‘downright ugly’

Robert Shrum: …. The GOP debate was not only economically vapid, but downright ugly, as the participants either trafficked in, or fellow-travelled with, appeals to fear and intolerance…..

No one on that stage rose to the defense of American Muslims or ventured to reprove Cain. But most of the candidates rushed to reassure the right wing on the question of gay rights. They were against the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, for a constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage…

…A former Republican officeholder, still active in the party, lamented that if you want to have a chance you have to cater to the fringe: “And it’s worse now that it’s ever been.”

….Waiting for Huntsman, yearning for Chris Christie of New Jersey, or Rick Perry of Texas: By the end of Monday’s debate, it was easier than ever to understand why. Americans seem to grasp the implausibility of the men – and the woman – who so starkly revealed themselves in New Hampshire. Even in the new economic doldrums, President Obama leads Romney by 6 points – and outside the South by far more – in the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. Pawlenty gets trounced – and so would Bachmann, although it’s now conceivable that a fevered GOP might just nominate her.

I know which side I’m on as 2012 approaches, but I know the country deserves a genuine debate about the future. That wasn’t what we saw and heard from New Hampshire the other night. The debate was less serious and less substantive than Saturday Night Live…..

Full article here

09
Jun
11

still on track….

Robert Shrum: Forget the noisy declarations about lousy economic news sinking Obama’s re-election. The president is still on track for a second term.

….what will endure after this remarkable week is the emergence of a consensus that Barack Obama could lose next year… First, the unemployment numbers … Second, The Times headlined an analysis, widely repeated, that no incumbent president since FDR has won a second term when unemployment was above 7.2 percent … Third, in the latest Washington Post/ABC poll … nearly 60 percent of people offer a negative verdict on Obama’s stewardship of the economy. Then the clincher: While he defeats most Republicans by a margin of 10 to 17 points, the president is now tied with Mitt Romney….

…..much of the new mood is too instant, too superficial, and too casually ahistorical… …As The Times’ Nate Silver wrote in gently questioning his own paper’s deterministic metric, there is a “maddeningly inexact relationship between unemployment and re-election.”

….the relevant signs suggest that Barack Obama is in a more advantageous position than Ronald Reagan was. In Gallup’s June 1983 numbers, Reagan’s approval was 43 percent; in late May and early June, Obama was five to eight points higher. And of the two presidents in the last four decades who had the highest approval ratings this far out from the election, the first Bush was trounced and the second Bush barely squeaked by. The presidents with middling ratings – Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton – ultimately triumphed; Dole was ahead of Clinton in June of 1995.

…flat earth economics won’t hold with the public if Republicans hold to their present resolve and convert the attractive abstraction of spending cuts into the grim reality of shredding Medicare. There’s the leverage for the president if the GOP refuses to compromise on a reasonable basis – which is probably a remote possibility at best.

…In the week Weiner was roasted, the conventional wisdom included that the 2012 election is not yet baked. But I suspect that by then the economy will finally be seen as moving in the right direction – or that sooner than that, Republican efforts to trash the recovery and repeal the New Deal will become all too transparent and repellant. Either outcome leads to Obama’s second term.

Full article here

Thank you Ladyhawke

03
Jun
11

54,000 jobs added, unemployment at 9.1%

Marketwatch: Job growth decelerated sharply in May, the Labor Department said Friday. Total nonfarm payrolls increased by 54,000, much lower than the 125,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. This is the smallest increase in nonfarm payroll since September. The unemployment rate ticked higher 9.1% in May from 9.0% in the previous month.

More here

Don’t panic – remember this from yesterday:

National Journal: …Wall Street analysts are fairly united in their view that the recovery has entered a “soft patch,” just like it did last year, and that sooner or later, growth and job-creation are on track to pick up again. Several analysts and columnists have been reminding Americans that recoveries from financial crises can often feel like stop-and-go traffic on the freeway … Gault, and several other top analysts, expect growth to accelerate in the third quarter….

Full article here

****

I just saw Robert Shrum’s article from yesterday – even more appropriate today:

Robert Shrum: Nationally and globally, the economy is at a tipping point. The GOP, driven by invincible ignorance or cynical design – and perhaps both – is working overtime to trash the recovery with budget cuts that would drain demand from the economy – or a debt ceiling vote that could trigger a financial collapse equal to 2008, or perhaps unpredictably graver.

For proof, all you had to do was listen to Mitt Romney’s announcement speech. In it, he made a smarmy attempt to blame Barack Obama for the economic pain actually caused by the dereliction of duty by George W. Bush & Co., pain that was then prolonged by the obstruction of congressional Republicans. Those legislators contrived successfully to limit the stimulus package, block a second one, and forthwith blame the stimulus that saved us from another Great Depression for the slow climb out of the Great Recession. Never, of course, did they mention that the America’s deep deficits were generated by the fraudulent Bush war in Iraq and the unfair Bush tax cuts, which were founded on the false premise that they would pay for themselves.

…And now the GOP that has moved decidedly to the right of Bush would compound his errors. Congressional Republicans could shatter the restored credibility of the United States by refusing to protect its full faith and credit by raising the national debt ceiling or by holding that essential measure hostage to the repeal of the New Deal – something that never even occurred to Ronald Reagan or either Bush president. In those Oval Offices, they regularly signed debt-ceiling increases….

…the Republicans’ strategy on the budget and the debt ceiling can be seen, accurately, as rolling the dice with the American economy, gambling that it will crap out to their political advantage….

Full article here

****

CEA Chairman Austan Goolsbee: “Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 83,000 in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.

While the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months, the unemployment rate is unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn.

The initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain. We are focused on promoting exports, reducing regulatory burdens and making the investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure that will grow our economy and create jobs. We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means.

Overall payroll employment rose by 54,000 in May. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+44,000) and education and health services (+34,000). Sectors with employment declines included local government (-28,000), retail trade (-8,500), and manufacturing (-5,000). Despite the decline this month, manufacturing has added 238,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010, the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade.

The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

27
May
11

‘a shallow tank’

Robert Shrum: Shortly after Donald Trump was fired as his poll numbers receded faster than his real hairline, Mitch Daniels became the latest candidate to flee the contest …. Mike Huckabee would rather be rich and on television … Haley Barbour would rather be his good ole boy self. And the third Bush (Jeb), along with John Thune, would rather be president in 2016 than a losing nominee in 2012. So would Chris Christie who’s presently pear-shaped in his home state polls and probably couldn’t carry it against Barack Obama.

…So who’s left to jump into this shallow tank… Her sell-by date may be passing, but the once and obvious entrant could be Sarah Palin. That cure would be worse than the illness. Fox’s Roger Ailes apparently, and rightly, has come to the conclusion that she’s “stupid” … It looks like she’d rather be raking in the dollar bills …. but she might suddenly tweet her way in…

Palin’s delay supposedly leaves room for Michele Bachmann, Minnesota congresswoman, Tea Party firebrand, and patriotic Mrs. Malaprop, who recently relocated the start of the American Revolution to Lexington and Concord, New Hampshire…

Then there’s Paul Ryan whose stunning proposal to dismantle Medicare has already put the House Republican majority in jeopardy … Ryan insists he won’t run; Democrats wish he would…

….the dissatisfaction represents a verdict on the inauthentic Mitt Romney, the inconceivable Newt Gingrich, and the implausible Tim Pawlenty, who just announced to the national sound of one hand clapping.

….Romney, once pro-choice, pro-stem-cell research, and pro-health reform, has decided to repudiate his past … he, as Sen. Edward Kennedy once said, isn’t “pro-choice, but multiple choice.” Meanwhile, Pawlenty grovels on stage at the first candidates’ debate as he cravenly crawls away from his record on climate change and cap and trade.

Jon Huntsman, who in a sensible party would be taken seriously, has already taken a similar road, but negotiated it with a certain degree of cleverness and credibility … (but) what will he say now about his past support – as governor of Utah, no less – for civil unions? Can the GOP abide a conservative with a tinge of moderation ….

… thoroughly beaten they will be if Republicans entirely lose their heads and settle on Rick Santorum, a defeated and far right senator from Pennsylvania – or Herman Cain, the one time CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, who now peddles hate speech instead of pepperoni…

Plainly, this is a weak and hobbled field. … from Jeb Bush to Mitch Daniels, they don’t want to do this … They anticipate that in the end, at high noon on Jan. 20, 2013, Barack Obama will raise his right arm and take the oath of office from a chief justice who will get the words right the second time around….

Full article here

14
May
11

‘bin laden, the fringe left, and the torturous right’

Robert Shrum: The killing of the architect of September 11 has provoked predictable remonstrance from the usual suspects. Most Americans have reacted to the brave and brilliant operation that killed Osama bin Laden with pride and satisfaction. The predominant emotion — and this was a profoundly emotional moment — was not a sense of revenge for its own sake, but of renewed confidence in America’s capacity, relief that we no longer seemed helpless or hopeless in the pursuit of the world’s greatest mass murderer, and the simple belief, as Barack Obama expressed it, that “justice was done.”

There are a lot more important things to worry about in the world than the supposed violation of bin Laden’s civil liberties — or on the far opposite side of the ideological divide, a concocted vindication of torture glibly and opportunistically credited for the American success in tracking and taking him down. But such were the nearly instant, sadly predictable responses of those on the fringe Left who see bin Laden’s manner of dying as a blatant act of injustice, and from the neocons who want to use his death to justify their systematic and futile violation of both the law and basic standards of justice…….

…..The plain truth is that Bush failed to get bin Laden and Obama did. But nothing now seems immune from a politics of the absurd that too easily casts right as wrong, inverts reality, and pulls the extreme into mainstream dialogue. After a month in which Donald Trump was taken seriously, during a week in which Newt Gingrich declared his candidacy, at a time when the 2012 Republican anthem looks as if it might be “Bring in the Clowns,” perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that the killing of bin Laden has provoked remonstrance from some on the Left and self-justification from too many on the Right.

The vast majority of Americans are where they should be — with the president and the SEALs. Barack Obama showed that a progressive Commander-in-Chief can command the heights of national security as Franklin Roosevelt,  Harry Truman, and John Kennedy did. That’s not just good for the president or his party, but for the country. So instead of muddled thinking about bin Laden’s Miranda rights, or a partisan rhetoric of redemption for past failure, the reflex critics and the false credit-takers at least ought to have the decency to grant us the sounds of their silence.

Full article here




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