Posts Tagged ‘greg



Greg Sargent: …. Yesterday in the Senate, Republicans – joined by two Dems – unanimously blocked passage of Obama’s jobs bill, even though a majority of the Senate wanted to act. While this was a defeat for Obama, it also gave the White House the positioning it wants for the next phase of this fight, in which Obama will now pressure Congress to take a stand on individual pieces of his plan. Which is to say, Obama will pressure Congress to reveal whether it’s willing to take any action at all at a time of nine percent unemployment and mass economic suffering and anxiety.

Meanwhile, the Republican candidates met for a debate last night, and they uniformly agreed on one thing: Government is the problem, and must be rolled back on multiple fronts if we are to have any hope of a recovery.

And so, the White House, facing certain defeat on the jobs bill, at least established a baseline for the 2012 fight, which will be all about a simple question: Can and should our public officials act to bring relief to the American people at a time of national crisis? Or should government simply move out of the way and let the private sector right itself of its own accord?

…. The media play the White House wanted: The AP headline tells the story just as the White House hoped: “Senate Republicans vote to kill Obama’s jobs bill.”

This is the positioning the White House was going for: Republicans blocked the will of the majority by killing Obama’s effort at action on unemployment, and now Obama will continue the campaign by demanding they take a stand on the bill’s individual provisions, which poll very well.

Full post here

Thanks a4alice




Chris Cillizza (Washington Post): In a remarkable act of political gauntlet-throwing, President Obama castigated House Speaker John Boehner for his approach to reducing the country’s deficit, called on Members of Congress to do what’s “right” when it comes to debt reduction and issued a veto threat if a bill that does not meet his standards comes to his desk.

“This is not class warfare, it’s math,” Obama said in response to early Republican critiques of his proposal. At another point he said that GOP members should be “called out” for signing a pledge not to raise taxes ever.

But Obama saved his choicest words for Boehner. Obama said the Speaker had “walked away from a balanced package” during the debt-ceiling negotiations and added that Boehner’s approach to debt reduction was “not smart…it’s not right”.

…. What that means, wethinks, is that Obama has given over the idea of being the compromiser-in-chief – the prevailing sentiment of the first eight months of 2011 – in favor of taking the fight to Republicans and forcing them to respond in kind or feel the political consequences.

…. The 2012 election may still be 14 months away but the central debate on which it will pivot began in earnest this morning.

Full article here


Greg Sargent: This has to be the clearest sign yet that Obama has taken a very sharp populist turn as he seeks to frame the contrast between the parties heading into 2012. During his remarks this morning, Obama directly responded to Republicans accusing him of “class warfare,” but rather than simply deny the charge, he made the critical point that the act of protecting tax cuts for the rich is itself class warfare, in effect positioning himself as the defender of the middle class against GOP class warriors on behalf of the wealthy.


Don (in the comments in the thread below): Just in case anyone forgot, tomorrow is September 20, 2011, the day DADT is officially over. Is this guy for real or what, he changes the arch of justice and then just goes on about his business quietly. President Obama “gave “Boehner 98% of everything he wanted, which turned out to be ocean front property in Oklahoma. And now Boehner is in a race against time, come November Boehner has to either accept what President Obama gives him or accept what the Super-Committee gives him, which President Obama has already said he will veto if revenues are not included. And this, Professional Lefters, is how it is done.

*drops microphone, turns around and walks away*


Steve Benen: ….. The president has operated under a set of assumptions – GOP leaders are reasonable people, willing to compromise in good faith, acting with the nation’s best interests at heart – that have always seemed rather fanciful.

With the introduction of the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction plan, President Obama and his team appear to have thrown out the old playbook …. It’s about time. The White House suffered some major setbacks, but officials have apparently decided to send congressional Republicans a new message: no more Mr. Nice President.

…. The new playbook is predicated on more realistic expectations: Republicans are going to say no to everything anyway …. What are the major concessions Obama has included in his economic plan? There aren’t any; that’s the point….

….. It took a while, but President Obama seems to have decided to break out of the box Republicans have spent years trying to weld shut. Between the American Jobs Act and today’s debt-reduction plan, the White House appears more invested in presenting what should pass, and less concerned about what might pass.

It’s the difference between following and leading.


Andrew Sullivan: Every single poll shows that the American public overwhelmingly supports higher taxes on the wealthy as part of a package to cut the deficit. The margins are staggering: the NYT poll shows a majority of 74 – 21; even Rasmussen shows a majority of 56 – 34. What the president proposed this morning is simply where the American people are at. If he keeps at it, if he turns his administration into a permanent campaign for structural fiscal reform, I don’t see how he loses the argument.

Full post here


‘get the message’

Greg Sargent: SEIU is launching a $1.5 million campaign, including TV and radio ads and direct mail, that’s designed to shift the conversation to jobs, and away from austerity, in six key swing states where unemployment is running very high.

The campaign, an SEIU official tells me, is meant to counteract ads being run by high profile conservative groups that are pushing an austerity agenda among voters who are struggling economically – and will pressure House Republicans to prioritize job creation over tax breaks for corporations and the rich.

…the TV spot will run in Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Virginia….

More here


when a prediction isn’t a prediction

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Under heavy pressure from Democrats and some reporters, McKinsey and Company has finally released the methdology of its study finding that many businesses are likely to drop insurance for employees as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

…..what’s immediately of interest is that in its statement, McKinsey repeatedly concedes that the study should not be seen as a predictor of future behavior. While McKinsey says it stands by the study’s methodology, the statement repeatedly stresses its lack of predictive value. This seems like a way of dealing with the fact that many other studies – unlike McKinsey – found that there would be minimal impact on employer-sponsored insurance.

….people might have thought the study was intended to be predictive because its initial headline was:

‘How US health care reform will affect employee benefits’

….I wonder how many of the news orgs that covered this study as a prediction will now cover the concession that it wasn’t intended to be a prediction.

More here

More from the White House and Steve Benen


‘dems dropping bombs on mckinsey’

Greg Sargent: Yet another interesting turn in the case of the mystery health care study … the consulting firm McKinsey and Company recently released a study that – unlike other studies – found that larger numbers of employers plan to drop insurance for workers because of the Affordable Care Act. Despite multiple requests from the White House, Congressional Dems, and news outlets, the company is refusing to release key details about the study’s methodology that would enable us to evaluate its integrity.

…Ironically, the author of an Urban Institute study used by the White House to refute the McKinsey report is none other than McKinsey’s own Bowen Garrett, the chief economist at their Center for U.S. Health System Reform. In his Urban Institute paper, Garrett dismantles “claims that the ACA would cause major declines in [employer-sponsored health insurance],” calling them, “greatly exaggerated.”

Wait, you mean McKinsey published a study claiming 30% of employers will drop employee coverage, in direct contradiction to the expressed position of one of their head health honchos?


Update from Greg Sargent: Wow. Dems are very quickly ratcheting up the pressure on McKinsey and Company – meaning it’s likely that we’ll see an increase in media scrutiny of the company’s continuing refusal to cough up the methodology of its now-controversial study on the Affordable Care Act.

In a very big development, Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus has written a detailed letter spelling out 13 very specific questions about how the study’s methodology was conducted …

I’m also told that three – count ‘em, three – House committees will send a letter today to McKinsey making the same request.

…This constitutes real pressure, and underscores how high the stakes have become for Democrats, now that Republicans have been regularly citing the study as a weapon against the health law.

Read full post here


Paul Krugman: …. when the McKinsey alleged study made headlines, the firm was pressed to explain how the study was conducted. And it has refused to answer.

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the study was embarrassingly bad – maybe it was a skewed sample, maybe the questions were leading, maybe there was no real data at all. Whatever.

The important thing is that this must not stand. You can’t enter the political debate with strong claims about what the evidence says, then refuse to produce that evidence.

And it’s especially bad when the media give your claims lots of attention, while barely covering the furor over the refusal to explain where those claims come from.


You can see the original post about the study here


lies, lies and more lies…..

Think Progress: Reports that an Obama adviser told top Jewish leaders that the administration is applying pressure to Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians is coming under new scrutiny after the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent talked to two individuals who were on the conference call.

….Both tell me that there was no discussion whatsoever of pressuring Israel to come to the table absent a recognition by Hamas of the Quartet Principles – which demand recognition of Israel, renouncing terrorism, and abiding by past agreements. They both asserted that on the call, [Steven Simon,White House National Security Council senior director for the Middle East and North Africa] merely restated Obama’s public position on these issues.

Sargent questioned Eizenstat about if the White House had made any shift in policy and found a very clear answer. He writes:

“I don’t know how anyone in their wildest imagination got the idea that there was any implication of any additional pressure on Israel,” Eizenstat told me. “Quite the contrary – the call was meant as reassurance of the President’s position on not negotiating with Hamas” if they don’t accept the Quartet principles.

While this seems like an easy enough story to have fact checked – as Sargent’s good journalism shows – right wing critics of the White House have gotten plenty of traction out of misreporting the White House’s message to Jewish leaders.

…the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin …. bizarrely lashed out at Sargent for having the nerve to fact check her … Rubin’s role in hyping the nonexistent controversy about the White House call should drive home the point that she is deeply invested in creating a rift between Jewish Democrats and the White House, even when the facts don’t bear her out.

Full post here

See Greg Sargent’s article here

Thank you Fred


‘the case of the mystery study’

Earlier this week McKinsey & Company released the results of their study that claimed 30 per cent of employers are planning to stop giving health insurance to their workers as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

 Almost all of the mainstream media unquestioningly reported McKinsey & Company’s findings and framed them as a major blow to President Obama’s healthcare reform.

 A few – and only a few – voices in the media, though, were curious about the study, not least because it completely contradicted the findings of surveys by three independent organizations – The Rand Corporation, The Urban Institute and Mercer (see here)


Steve Benen: …How was the study conducted? What were the questions? How were the employers chosen? What were the statistical breakdowns among businesses of different sizes? Who funded the study? We don’t know and McKinsey hasn’t said.

Kate Pickert (Time) noticed a small tidbit in the report: McKinsey acknowledged having “educated” those participating in the survey. And what, pray tell, did the company say to respondents that might have affected the results? You guessed it: we don’t know and McKinsey hasn’t said.

Politico added that it “asked really nicely” to at least see the questionnaire McKinsey used to conduct the employers survey, but the company refused. Raise your hand if you think the McKinsey & Company report has some credibility problems.

Full post here


Greg Sargent: …as a number of critics were quick to point out, McKinsey’s finding is at odds with many other studies – and the company did not release key portions of the study’s methodology, making it impossible to evaluate the study’s validity.

 There’s now been a new twist in this story.

 I’m told that the White House, as well as top Democrats on key House and Senate committees, have privately contacted McKinsey to ask for details on the study’s methodology. According to an Obama administration official and a source on the House Ways and Means Committee, the company refused.

 Now the White House and top Congressional Democrats are asking the company to release the baseline information we need to evaluate the study’s credibility and integrity. So this story could now get a good deal more interesting.

Full post here


Paul Krugman: One has to assume that there was something terribly wrong with the study. At any rate, nobody should be citing it until or unless McKinsey comes clean.

Full post here


TPM: …multiple sources both within and outside McKinsey tell TPM the survey was not conducted using McKinsey’s typical, meticulous methodology.

“This particular survey wasn’t designed in a way that would allow it to be peer review published or cited academically,” said one source familiar with the controversy …. All sources were granted anonymity, in order to be able to speak candidly about the controversy.

Reached for comment today, a McKinsey spokesperson once again declined to release the survey materials, or to comment beyond saying that, for the moment, McKinsey will let the study speak for itself….

Another keyed-in source says McKinsey is unlikely to release the survey materials because “it would be damaging to them”.

Both sources disagree with the results of the survey, which was devised by consultants without particular expertise in this area, not by the firm’s health experts.

…Republicans, and reform opponents, seized on the report’s conclusions to sow further suspicion of the law…..

Full post here


You can read about McKinsey & Company’s record here


‘obama and dems winning the battle over medicare’

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Obama and Dems winning the battle over Medicare – A new Post polling out this morning demonstrates this in the clearest terms yet. The poll finds that Obama holds a double digit lead over Republicans on who is most trusted to do a better job “protecting the Medicare system,” 49-35…..

That’s not all. The poll also finds that less than a third of Americans, 32 percent, support the GOP Medicare plan, even though the question merely says it would “change” Medicare, not end it, and specifies that the plan would not change the status of those over 55, a key GOP defense of the proposal. Forty-nine percent oppose it.

Still more: A plurality, 49 percent, believe the GOP plan will force future generations of Medicare recipients to pay more for health insurance, while barely more than a fourth, 27 percent, thinks things would stay the same. Though Dems have been widely accused of demagoguing the GOP Medicare plan, it just may be that the public has rejected it on the merits.


must lie harder, gop

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): Ever since Obama delivered his Arab Spring speech, conservatives have been engaged in a full-throttle campaign to distort and outright falsify his stance on Israel – a comically transparent effort to drive Jewish support away from the President.

Conservatives predicted that Obama’s position – which they widely distorted as a call for a return to pre-1967 borders – would cost him the support of top Jewish donors. But The New York Observer talked to the donors themselves, and found that the whole thing is totally bogus…

…It was painfully obvious that this whole meme was highly questionable from the start … has a single actual major Jewish donor broken publicly with the President? If The Observer – which reports extensively on the world of big Jewish power Dems – is to be believed, the answer is No…

What’s more, it’s important to recall that the claim that Jews are on the verge of breaking with Obama has been a frequent refrain for literally years now. Back in 2008 there were reams of stories about how McCain would be able to make successful inroads with this core Democratic constituency. In the end, according to exit polls, Obama won around 78 percent of the Jewish vote.

Full article here

Thank you Proud & Suzanne


‘live by the freak show, die by the freak show’

Greg Sargent (Washington Post): A funny number from Gallup, which finds that Donald Trump’s “positive intensity score” among Republicans and GOP leaners has plummetted to a lower level than that of any other 2012 GOP presidential hopeful: “….Trump has the unenviable distinction of receiving a Positive Intensity Score of 0 ….”

And let’s not forget that all this was followed by the killing of Osama Bin Laden.

….What a ride! At first the Donald skillfully played the media, adopting a strategy of deliberately tracking in lurid, freak-show-friendly falsehoods in the full knowledge that the resulting media attention – even if negative – would buoy his presidential hopes among GOP primary voters. At first, it worked. But Trump was defined by the freak show, too, and his antics quickly came to look pathetically buffoonish and small when reality – Obama’s birth certificate, the killing of Bin Laden – came along and popped Trump’s balloon, causing him to crash back down to earth.

Live by the freak show, die by the freak show.

Full article here


My most loved finding in that poll is that 4% of Republicans still don’t ‘recognize’ Sarah Palin’s name and 2% have never heard of Donald Trump …. hey, aren’t they lucky!😉







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