It may surprise you to know, but I have been wrong in the past. Dashingly wrong. Stupefyingly wrong. So wrong that the mistake could have threatened my future. So wrong that an immediate and heartfelt apology was all that would suffice.
I’m sure this has happened to most people. Humans are able to be counted on to, if nothing else, screw up spectacularly, in the most entertaining fashion.
An apology may or may not solve the issue. You may or may not be able to salvage your reputation, your relationships, your life. If you work hard enough, and are blessed with forgiveness, you may be able to do that.
But that’s for the real world, the place we proles inhabit. There’s another world much more rarified, where we’re not allowed, and where being “right” doesn’t count for as much as one would think it should.
It’s a peculiarity of the American ruling class that people who have been wrong time and again about, well, everything are still taken seriously. They’re still invited on “news” shows to give opinions. Various sectors seek their counsel. Rather than fading into penury, they reap the welfare circuit available only to those who muck up magnificently, but have the right connections.
1. Starting now and on October 1st you can go to healthcare.gov or call (1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325) to compare options and select health coverage.
2. Thanks to ObamaCare, insurance companies must cover mental health, substance-use disorder, alcohol misuse screening, domestic violence screening, depression screening, etc. under “essential health benefits.”
3. ObamaCare will increase the need for doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, medical assistants, health information specialists, medical billers, medical sonography, home-care aides, lab technicians, etc. Now, that’s job creation!
11. 8.5 million Americans from the 19 states already operating health insurance exchanges will use ObamaCare to purchase insurance. It far outstrips the government’s estimate of 7 million new customers in all 50 states.
12. CDC predicts that 200,000 heart disease related deaths per year could be prevented because of ObamaCare.
13. Thanks to ObamaCare, 6.4 million Americans will be able to purchase insurance for $100 a month or less.
14. A fun quiz that tests your ObamaCare knowledge and helps correct confusions and lies.
15. Five great ways ObamaCare helps small businesses.
On This Day: President Obama meets with Denis McDonough, NSC Chief of Staff, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, N.Y., Sept. 23, 2009 (Pete Souza)
Today (all times Eastern):
11:25: The President and First Lady depart the White House
12:35: Arrive New York City
1:45: The President holds a bilateral meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
3:0: Holds a Civil Society Roundtable
5:20: Meets with USUN Mission employees and their families
8:50: The President and First Lady attend a reception for visiting Heads of State and Government
Later this week:
Tuesday: The President will deliver remarks to the U.N. General Assembly. The First Lady will attend. Later in the day, the President will attend the Clinton Global Initiative, where he and President Clinton will engage in a conversation about the benefits and future of health care reform in America and access to quality health care around the globe. In the evening, the President will attend an event for the DNC before returning with the First Lady to the White House.
Wednesday and Thursday: The President will attend meetings at the White House.
Friday: The President will welcome Prime Minister Singh of India to the White House for a bilateral meeting.
Through the joy & victory, the pain & grief, the racism & partisanship, I support my POTUS, who has given everything to better this nation.
Steve Benen: Obama reminds GOP: U.S. is ‘not a deadbeat nation’
President Obama’s weekly addresses are generally rather laid back and non-confrontational, so it was all the more striking to see the president use the platform to warn Americans about the looming Republican-imposed crises, while chastising the GOP lawmakers themselves.
…. In case that was too subtle, Obama also called House Speaker John Boehner to tell him the White House will not negotiate if congressional Republicans hold the nation hostage again.
Boehner’s office told reporters it was “a brief call,” which certainly makes sense. How long could it take for a president to say he won’t negotiate with those threatening to hurt Americans on purpose?
The gang at Media Matters has done a great job demonstrating how a faked-up Fox News “Special Report” on the food stamp program, starring a surfer straight from Moocher Central Casting, is having real-world consequences for the millions of people who depend on the SNAP program to eat everyday.
…. And this is what is really goddamn dangerous about what my man Chuck Todd said the other day. (Chuck’s feeling a bit put upon these days. Tough.) According to Chuck’s notion of what his job is, when conservative politicians latch onto a phony Fox News story in order to make policy, it is the job of the Democrats – or, perhaps, of the SNAP recipients themselves, who have, as we know, virtually unlimited access to the airwaves – to correct the arrant bullshit. Or, when politicians of both parties latch onto a phony “scandal” in the SSI program, it is the job of the embattled people running the program – or, perhaps, of Marcus Stephens’s parents, both of whom were, of course, important newspaper columnists of the day – to get out the truth. Chuck’s just the messenger. Thus does the oligarchy tell stories to itself.
Spandan (The People’s View): Drama Aside, It’s OVER for Republicans on Defunding Obamacare
It was amusing to see the drama play out on today’s Sunday morning TV shows. Needless to say, I enjoy few things more than seeing Republicans tying themselves into knots trying to insist that they don’t want to shut down the government unless they can defund the Affordable Care, and attaching its defunding to the bill to keep the government running was just… I don’t know, being cute, I guess. But for all the huffing and puffing from the Republicans and for all the pretense of “countdown to shutdown” from the media, the fight is over. Even Rand Paul (following his Tea Party nutty buddy Ted Cruz), has given up.
The scarecrow, tin woodsman and cowardly lion had more brains, heart and courage than most of the GOP.
— john miller (@deaconmill) September 23, 2013
Michael Tomasky: John Boehner Is Letting GOP Extremists Hold the Government Hostage
How could he allow the spending bill defunding Obamacare to reach the House floor? He’s not even trying to stand up to the GOP’s hostage-takers — and he’s easily the worst speaker in modern history.
Here are the two questions that really matter this week as we head toward a possible government shutdown. How many Republicans in the House really would consider a shutdown some kind of victory? And what is John Boehner prepared to do about them? Whatever the answer to the first question, the answer to the second is almost sure to be “not much.” Boehner is easily the worst House speaker in modern history. Far from being the figure of perverse sympathy that some suggest, he embodies exactly what’s wrong with the GOP — mainstream conservatism’s total capitulation to the extremists. He’s a disgrace.
Business Insider: Here’s Why 2 Democrats Voted To Defund Obamacare, And Why 1 Republican Voted Against
There wasn’t much surprise in the House of Representatives’ vote to avoid a government shutdown while stripping all discretionary funding for the Affordable Care Act. But three Congressmen did buck party lines in the vote. One Republican voted against the bill, and two Democrats voted in favor of it.
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) was the lone Republican to vote against the bill (four Republicans did not vote). But his objection didn’t really relate to Obamacare. He voted no because he opposes continuing resolutions, stopgap bills like this one that fund the whole government for a period of months….
…. The two Democrats who defied most of their party were Reps. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) and Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.). They both represent conservative districts and voted against the Affordable Care Act when it first passed in 2010.
…. as a procedural matter, Cruz wants Senate Republicans to get behind him and vote, in near-complete unanimity, to filibuster the House bill they want to pass. Cruz will tell Reid and Senate Democratic leaders, “We’ll continue to block the bill we support until you agree to let us filibuster your amendments.”
…. This plan could work if Senate Republicans were united around the idea …. but there’s no evidence this is likely to happen. On the contrary, quite a few GOP senators – none of whom actually likes Cruz – consider the whole scheme kind of silly and want Cruz to just go away. (Over the weekend, Republicans even started sending opposition research to Fox News about the junior senator from Texas.)
…. Ten days ago, I predicted there was a 65% chance of a shutdown. Today, I’d put that number at 40%.
In case you missed it, here’s the link – lots more on Obamacare through the week
Spandan (The People’s View): Ezra Klein vs Facts on “Liberal Distrust” of Barack Obama
This morning, Ezra Klein of Washington Post penned a column for his Wonkblog that was severely lacking in wonkiness and showed off the political wet spots behind his ears. He talks about how Larry Summers “lost” his nomination to head the Fed – a nomination that was never made – because liberals writ-large don’t trust President Obama on financial reform. Klein declares that Summers “really lost because he was a stand-in for Obama.” Talk about admitting to having Obama Derangement Syndrome….
If you believe the following, you are probably suffering from Obama Derangement Syndrome (ODS):
If Obama said it, it’s a lie. When it’s proven to be the truth, he got lucky – because it’s just a crazy coincidence that his lie turned out to be the truth after all. If he knew it was the truth, he would never have said it in the first place.
If Obama makes a speech about a specific issue, he’s just spewing pretty words. If Obama doesn’t speak on a specific issue, he’s trying to hide something. Or he should have spoken about something else entirely, because when he gets specific about one issue, that means he’s ignoring all of the really important issues he should be speaking about – those issues being whatever it was he didn’t mention….
With the departure of Michele Bachmann from the World’s Greatest Legislative Body, we have inaugurated a new semi-weekly regular feature in which we study the possible successor to la Bachmann as Royal Regent of the Crazy People. (Louie Gohmert is, of course, emperor for life.)
Seeing as how yesterday was Talk Like A Pirate Day, why not pop in to see Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida. Ted has decided to get tough with Speaker Boehner, which means that, when he looks in the mirror, Ted sees the warm steady gaze of history looking back at him, and he is so transfixed that he doesn’t even notice that his eyeballs are spinning in opposite directions……
Spandan (The People’s View): First Syria, Now Iran: A Fair but Resolute President at the Center of Diplomatic Triumphs
This weekend brings us two pieces of huge news on President Obama’s diplomatic success in the middle east: Syria has complied with the first deadline in the US-Russia agreement to rid it of all its chemical weapons, and Iran is moving towards dismantling its nuclear program. News broke today that the international organization monitoring chemical weapons has received, on time, Syria’s disclosures of chemical weapons…..
…. These aren’t accidents of history. These aren’t just luck. These are the results of a president who truly believes in the power of our ideas and not just the power of our weapons, in the fairness of our diplomacy and not just the might of our military. These are the results of the world recognizing in Barack Obama not just a messenger of peace but an activist for it.
President Obama blocks a shot while playing basketball with personal aide Reggie Love at St. Bartholomew’s Church in New York, N.Y., where the President was attending the United Nations General Assembly, Sept. 23, 2009 (Pete Souza)
Chuck Todd inspired me to contact all my local media about presenting the facts on Obamacare. I sent this to my local paper yesterday. The executive editor replied me.
This is my letter:
I wish to make a suggestion to the News Journal. Please bear me out and read this to the end.
On October 1, the Affordable Care Act will go into effect. This law will impact the lives of millions of Americans. However there is a lot that many residents may not know about the law. Once implemented, the law is expected to help some 30 million Americans.
Already it is making an impact:
– Medicare’s preventive benefits now come with a free visit with your primary care doctor every year to plan out your prevention services. And there are no more co-pays for preventative services in Medicare.
– Small businesses get big tax credits—up to 50 percent of premium costs—for offering health insurance to their workers.
– Insurers with unusually high administrative costs have to offer rebates to their customers, and every insurance company has to reveal how much it spends on overhead.
– Free birth control and other preventative services for women, unless you work for a faith based organization that opposes birth control.
– Seniors get $250 towards closing the “doughnut hole” in their prescription drug coverage.
And there is much, much more to come once the law is implemented.
I wonder if your newspaper would consider doing a town hall and inviting Pensacolans to hear about what the law offers. Many people do not know some of the simple, but major benefits in the law. For example, that no longer will people be denied service because of pre-existing conditions. Parents who wish to keep their children on their health insurance will be able to do so until the children turns 26. People suffering with substance abuse and mental health issues will no longer go uncovered. Under ACA, they will have insurance.
Just Wednesday, I was able to share this fact with the mother of a 22-year-old, who has a heart condition. While his condition is stable now, she wanted to make sure he had health insurance, in case he ever got sick again. I informed her about the pre-existing component. I also told her that her child could remain on her insurance until 26, if she so desired.
No longer will pregnancies be considered a pre-existing condition.
There are hundreds of thousands like this mom out there. A little bit of information will help residents. The goal is not to convince anyone, but present the facts about the law.
Today, tomorrow and Monday: The President has no public events scheduled.
Tuesday: The President will attend meetings at the White House. In the evening, he will depart Washington, DC en route Stockholm, Sweden.
Wednesday: The President will arrive in Stockholm. While there, he will hold a bilateral meeting and joint press conference with Prime Minister Reinfeldt. He will then participate in an event honoring Raoul Wallenberg at the Great Synagogue in Stockholm and tour an expo featuring clean energy innovations at the Royal Institute of Technology. In the evening, he will take part in a dinner with Nordic Leaders.
Thursday: The President will hold a bilateral meeting with the King and Queen of Sweden. He will then depart Stockholm en route Saint Petersburg, Russia where he will attend the G-20 Summit.
Friday: Attends the G-20 Summit. Returns to Washington, DC on Friday evening.
Vice President Biden listens as President Obama speaks to members of the media about Syria during a meeting with Baltic leaders in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30
…. The map, from Columbia University’s really exceptional Gulf/2000 Project, shows the different ethnic and linguistic groups of the Levant, the part of the Middle East that’s dominated by Syria, Lebanon and Israel. Each color represents a different group. As you can see, there are a lot of groups swirled together. There are enclaves, and there is overlap.
Ethnic and linguistic breakdowns are just one part of Syria’s complexity, of course. But they are a really important part. The country’s largest group is shown in yellow, signifying ethnic Arabs who follow Sunni Islam, the largest sect of Islam. Shades of brown indicate ethnic Kurds, long oppressed in Syria, who have taken up arms against the regime. There are also Druze, a religious sect, Arab Christians, ethnic Armenians and others.
The United States and allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of limited military strikes against Syria, the first direct U.S. intervention in the two-year civil war, in retaliation for President Bashar al-Assad’s suspected use of chemical weapons against civilians.
If you found the above sentence kind of confusing, or aren’t exactly sure why Syria is fighting a civil war, or even where Syria is located, then this is the article for you. What’s happening in Syria is really important, but it can also be confusing and difficult to follow even for those of us glued to it.
Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions.
This week more than ever has reminded me of how lucky and blessed we are to have chosen Obama. His deliberation in the face of a howling chorus is a far contrast to any other President in my lifetime. And in far contrast to the other alternatives. Those emoprogs and those having Iraq flashbacks and comparing him to Bush need to remember that unlike Bush, Obama makes his own decisions based on logic, truth, and in his own time. He doesn’t lie, he doesn’t chestbeat, he doesn’t rush in without planning. He doesn’t need to cement a place in history: just being the first African-American President has secured that. Obama is the man that Shrub could never be, the President he couldn’t even try to be. That very maturity drives both right and left crazy, for we haven’t had a President like him, really, ever. Think about it: a President who isn’t driven by his insecurities like Nixon or Carter, who doesn’t buy into ideological crap like Reagan or Daddy Bush, or sometimes the captive of his appetites like Clinton, or lazy like Bush. There are no hooks on him to make him do something he doesn’t want to do.
Sometimes I think many on the left have issues with power and the responsibility it brings. Having been the subjects of the abuse of power has allowed a certain “righteousness” without responsibility. It’s easy to think all uses of American military or financial power are corrupt without nuance. As long as daddy “conservatives” ran the place, there was no need to think about the deep decisions regarding America’s place in the world. Instead one could choose to “drop out” or talk “third party” or be haplessly pacifist in the face of an armed world. And one could have a progressive fiefdom of adoring followers without the need to reach out to others or be civilly engaged.
Syria is a tough cookie, no matter how you slice it. Assad is just like his father, a brutal bastard who has shown he would kill everyone he can to keep a power that was never granted to him either by election or a legitimate monarchy. And while many of the rebels just want Assad gone and a chance to take their lives in their own hands, some of the assistants just want another theocracy like Iran, which is simply tyranny by another name. But chemical weapons are the cruelest of all weapons. Even after the dead are buried, the soil is heavily contaminated, killing people long after the war is over. So Obama has a hard decision to make, but he’s up to the task and I trust him based on experience to make the right one or at least the best one he can make. If he goes for it, he has a plan to get things done. If he pulls away from the brink, he’ll have something to show for it.
Obama was right about Iraq, right about Afghanistan, right about Libya, right about Bin Laden. What was the media right about? Romney’s win?
Spandan C (The People’s View): The US Intelligence Assessment on Syria and the Next Steps in the National Debate
…. This president and his administration has done everything possible up to this point to avoid getting involved in Syria militarily, against the drum beats of the war mongers. Even now, he has shown considerable restraint. But it is important to remember that Barack Obama was not elected on the promise of complete and total pacifism; he was elected on the promise of careful consideration, judgment and letting the facts speak for themselves.
Whatever the president does, I am sure his critics will be many and the criticisms will be far and wide. As has been noted, he has no good options here. But as we debate this going forward, I want us to understand the complexity of the issue, drop the righteousness (either side – no one should take the idea of dropping bombs lightly just as no one should make light of the massacre from the chemical weapons), and do something the pundits won’t do – let’s keep it on the facts, not the conjectures and the rhetoric.
Washington Post: Ginsburg will be first justice to officiate at same-sex wedding
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.
The gala wedding of Kaiser and economist John Roberts at the performing arts center brings together the nation’s highest court and the capital’s high society and will mark a new milepost in the recognition of same-sex unions.
…. During a recent interview, Ginsburg seemed excited about being the first member of the court to conduct such a ceremony and said it was only a logical next step.
“I think it will be one more statement that people who love each other and want to live together should be able to enjoy the blessings and the strife in the marriage relationship,” Ginsburg said.
Dallas News: Wendy Davis raises $470,000 from outside Texas following her nationally viewed filibuster
In the six weeks following her headline-grabbing filibuster, Wendy Davis raised $1.2 million — nearly 40 percent of it from outside Texas. Davis drew national attention following the filibuster against an abortion-restriction bill that helped shut down the Texas Senate and prompted Gov. Rick Perry to call lawmakers back into another special session. In the wake of Davis’ new-found fame, Davis has been urged by some Democrats to run for governor next year. She says she will announce her political plans — whether to run for reelection as a senator from Fort Worth or as a Democrat for governor — in a few weeks.
Steve Benen: Just this morning, I noted that Mitt Romney publicly gave his word, on camera, that he would “go back and look” to let us know what tax rates he paid over the last decade. The good news is, Romney really did “go back and look,” and elaborated on the findings today.
The bad news is, his answer was horrible:
“…I did go back and look at my taxes and over the past 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent. I think the most recent year is 13.6 or something like that. So I paid taxes every single year. Harry Reid’s charge is totally false. I’m sure waiting for Harry to put up who it was that told him what he says they told him. I don’t believe it for a minute, by the way. But every year I’ve paid at least 13 percent and if you add in addition the amount that goes to charity, why the number gets well above 20 percent.”
Let’s walk through the top five reasons this answer is woefully unacceptable…..
David Simon: Can we stand back and pause a short minute to take in the spectacle of a man who wants to be President of The United States, who wants us to seriously regard him as a paragon of the American civic ideal, declaiming proudly and in public that he has paid his taxes at a third of the rate normally associated with gentlemen of his economic benefit.
Am I supposed to congratulate this man? Thank him for his good citizenship? Compliment him for being clever enough to arm himself with enough tax lawyers so that he could legally minimize his obligations?
Thirteen percent. The last time I paid taxes at that rate, I believe I might still have been in college. If not, it was my first couple years as a newspaper reporter. Since then, the paychecks have been just fine, thanks, and I don’t see any reason not to pay at the rate appropriate to my earnings, given that I’m writing the check to the same government that provided the economic environment that allowed for such incomes.
I can’t get over the absurdity of this moment, honestly: Hey, I never paid less than thirteen percent. I swear. And no, you can’t examine my tax returns in any more detail. But I promise you all, my fellow American citizens, I never once slipped to single digits. I’m just not that kind of guy.
Charles Pierce: The president is angry. The president is an angry man. The president is black. The president is an angry black man …. That is the four-point plan on “the economy” on which Willard Romney apparently intends to run for president for a while…..
“If you look at the ads that have been described and the divisiveness based on income, age, ethnicity and so-forth, it’s designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealousy and anger and this is not in my view what the American people want to see,” Romney said.
Ethnicity? And so forth…. If he blows that dog-whistle any louder, Seamus may return from that great roof-rack in the sky.
This should surprise absolutely nobody, because, if there’s one thing candidate Romney has demonstrated, it is that he really is quite a remarkable liar…. Asking a Republican presidential candidate to abandon race-baiting entirely is to ask for an awful lot of 13-second Republican stump speeches. Asking Willard Romney to do it is to assume that there is muck so foul that he will not immerse himself in it to be president….
…. There was nothing Romney wouldn’t do in business to make a buck. Why should we be surprised that he campaigns the same way? ….
…. Since you can count on Rafalca’s hooves the number of times in his life that Willard Romney has been in a fair fight, it’s no great shock to discover that, since he can’t fight hard, he’ll fight dirty, because winning is not something you earn. Winning is something you inherit…..
McClatchy: …. Paul Ryan will leave sizable footprints on the 2012 presidential race. His controversial plan to overhaul the federal budget has been the chief talking point of the campaign since Mitt Romney put him on the GOP ticket last weekend.
…. According to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, “[Medicaid] Cutbacks might involve reduced eligibility … coverage of fewer services, lower payments to providers, or increased cost-sharing by beneficiaries – all of which would reduce access to care.”
Those cuts and the Ryan plan’s calls to repeal the Affordable Care Act would add tens of millions of low-income Americans to the ranks of the uninsured. It also would raise taxpayers’ bill for emergency room indigent care and cause an increase in private insurance rates.
…. Ryan’s plans for Medicare have caused a stir … In order to slow spending in the national health plan for seniors, Ryan would replace Medicare’s guarantee of coverage for new beneficiaries in 2023 with a flat payment to seniors known as a “voucher” or “premium support” ….
Ryan’s planned tax cuts favor the affluent. Those who earn more than $1 million annually would see an average tax cut of $265,000 and a 12.5 percent increase in after-tax income … But at the lower end of the scale, people earning between $20,000 and $30,000 would get no tax cut …
…. All told, the Tax Policy Center said, Ryan’s tax plans would increase the deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. His call to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for high-earning Americans would boost the deficit by an additional $5.4 trillion.
NYT Editorial: Three days after Paul Ryan became the presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate, he made a pilgrimage on Tuesday to the Las Vegas gambling palace of Sheldon Adelson, the casino tycoon who is spending more than any other donor to try to send Mr. Ryan and Mitt Romney to the White House. No reporters were allowed, perhaps because the campaign didn’t want them asking uncomfortable questions about the multiple federal investigations into the company behind Mr. Adelson’s wealth.
Those questions, though, aren’t going away, and neither are the ones about the judgment of Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan in drawing ever closer to a man whose business background should lead them to back away — fast. By not repudiating Mr. Adelson’s vow to spend as much as $100 million on their behalf, the two candidates seem more eager to keep the “super PAC” dollars flowing than to preserve the integrity of their campaign.
The issues swirling about Mr. Adelson’s business practices are not new and can hardly come as a surprise to the Romney campaign…. A careful presidential campaign would put distance between itself and a businessman like Mr. Adelson … By allowing Mr. Adelson to have such an outsize role in their race, the candidates themselves are placing a very risky bet.
NYT: As Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan fanned out across the country this week, glad-handing voters and donors, a smaller but no less important gathering was taking place on Capitol Hill: Mr. Romney’s transition team met on Tuesday with more than a dozen loyalists from the private and public sectors in space borrowed from a law office.
Mr. Romney’s transition team …. offers a glimpse of what might be Mr. Romney’s approach to governing, functioning much like his old private equity firm, Bain Capital. The team is assessing the government and looking for ways to make it more efficient and streamlined…..
Steve Benen: …. The U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs last month, while the overall unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8.2%. For the first time in a very long while, public-sector layoffs were less of a drag on the overall totals: the private sector added 121,000 jobs in March, while government lost only 1,000.
By any measure, today’s disappointing totals are a real setback. While it’s never wise to overreact to one report, March’s job totals were the weakest since October, and reverse a three-month trend in which over 200,000 jobs were being created each month….
While 120,000 new jobs would have been considered great in, say, late 2009, it’s not even close to good enough now …. Ideally, policymakers would see data like this and take steps to boost job creation, but given Republican efforts in Congress, that’s no longer an option.
WSJ: …. Job growth came from a variety of sectors. Manufacturing employment rose by 37,000, led by gains in the auto industry. Health care, financial services and professional and business services saw big gains.
….. In a promising sign, workers’ wage growth picked up. Average hourly earnings rose by five cents to $23.39. Wages were up 2.1% year over year – a faster pace than previous months. Also, a broader measure of unemployment, which includes job seekers as well as those in part-time jobs, clicked down to 14.5% from 14.9%.
The Fix (Washington Post): The tea party may have won Republicans the House of Representatives in 2010. In 2012, it’s looking like it could help Democrats retain the White House …. it has fallen out of favor with Americans. And Democrats are prepared to use it against Republicans in the 2012 election…..
“I’m Bill Pascrell, and this is why I’m running: To stop the tea party,” Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) says in a new ad. Pascrell faces a primary with fellow Democratic Rep. Steve Rothman after their districts were merged by redistricting. The tea party is also being used against in a major way against Reps. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.)….
….. “It’s no longer viewed as a populist, grassroots organization, but a dangerous group with extremist views that don’t reflect the mainstream values of America’s middle class,” said Democratic media strategist John Lapp. “The Republican establishment allowed the inmates to run the asylum in 2010. And now they’re paying the price electorally.”
Washington Post: Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, whose wealth has become a central issue in the 2012 campaign, has taken advantage of an obscure exception in federal ethics laws to avoid disclosing the nature and extent of his holdings.
By offering a limited description of his assets, Romney has made it difficult to know precisely where his money is invested, whether it is offshore or in controversial companies, or whether those holdings could affect his policies or present any conflicts of interest.
In 48 accounts from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded in Boston, Romney declined on his financial disclosure forms to identify the underlying assets, including his holdings in a company that moved U.S. jobs to China and a California firm once owned by Bain that filed for bankruptcy years ago and laid off more than 1,000 workers.
Jonathan Alter (Bloomberg): …. Romney has so lashed himself to Ryan, an Ayn Rand libertarian, that there’s talk of Ryan going on the ticket. The Ryan-Romney plan – from slashing federally funded scientific research to forcing seniors from nursing homes because of draconian Medicaid cuts – will be wildly unpopular if Obama and his team find the resonant language to exploit it.
…. on two other critical issues – women’s health and immigration – Romney clearly went further than was necessary to claim the nomination. These issues happen to be of great concern to the two constituencies that account for his lagging behind Obama in the polls. If Romney can’t break 40 percent with women and Latinos, it’s hard to see how he wins.
….. does his attendance at a Planned Parenthood fundraiser in 1994 and previous support of abortion rights really compel him to race to the other extreme and proclaim that he would “get rid of” Planned Parenthood? Over the last 40 years, this organization provided the first birth control to millions of middle-class swing-vote suburban women. They haven’t forgotten.
…. What Romney thought was de rigueur in the primaries may bring rigor mortis in the general. He seems to have forgotten that everything he said to win the nomination is now etch-a- sketched in stone.
TPM: If the week of April 2, 2012, goes down in political history, it’ll be for the fact that Republicans suddenly rediscovered their reverence for the third branch of government. What brought about the change of heart? President Obama’s comments on Monday and Tuesday in which he opined that an adverse Supreme Court ruling on his health care law would represent an extraordinary act of judicial overreach.
On Tuesday, in an extraordinarily unusual step, three Republican appointees to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals went toe-to-toe with the president in the political sphere. On Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell advised Obama to “back off.” The courts’ authority is to be respected, regardless of outcome, he said.
This is a rich new twist for the GOP, which has made decades of sport out of attacking an out-of-control judiciary for legislating from the bench. You literally only have to look back to this GOP presidential primary to find examples of Republicans questioning the courts’ legitimacy and even threatening to neuter them using powers reserved for the other two branches of government. Here’s a brief digest:
Tuesday: PBO and the Vice President will meet with Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China at the White House.
Wednesday: PBO will travel to Master Lock in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last based on American manufacturing and the importance of companies insourcing and investing in America. He will then travel to Los Angeles, California where he will attend campaign events. He will spend the night in Los Angeles.
Thursday: PBO will attend campaign events in Corona del Mar, California before traveling to San Francisco, California to attend campaign events. He will spend the night in San Francisco.
Friday: PBO will travel to the Seattle where he will continue to discuss his blueprint for an economy built to last. He will also attend campaign events in the Seattle area before returning to Washington, D.C. later in the evening.
PoliticalWire: Obama campaign manager Jim Messina rallied local volunteers in Arizona over the weekend by assuring them that Obama intends to compete in Arizona, according to the Arizona Republic.
Said Messina: “People said last time, ‘Oh, you can’t win Virginia,’ until we did. ‘You can’t win Florida,’ until we did. ‘You can never win North Carolina,’ until we did. And so a whole bunch of people are saying, ‘Can he win Arizona? Can he not win Arizona?’ The fact is you all are the secret weapon we have.”
The campaign will soon have four offices in the state.
Pew Research: Barack Obama now holds an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney in a general election matchup, and he has gained significant ground among independent voters. A month ago, 40% of independents said they would back Obama over Romney – today 51% say they would, while the number expressing support for Romney has slipped from 50% to 42%.
Paul Krugman: Mitt Romney has a gift for words – self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
That’s clearly not what Mr. Romney meant to convey. Yet if you look at the race for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, you have to wonder whether it was a Freudian slip. For something has clearly gone very wrong with modern American conservatism.