Charles Pierce: I was driving most of yesterday and, therefore, only got the news piecemeal of Willard Romney’s descent to previous unplumbed depths in a racist bathysphere of how own devising. I felt a little out of the loop until I was presented with the comforting familiarity of what a dipshit Mark Halperin is:
“After reading a lot of tweets, listening to some talk radio, and watching some cable TV, I can say that this Romney/birther moment is representative of the whole, horrible campaign cycle we are in. The level of vitriol and personal animus that exists on both sides over the flap is truly discouraging.”
Greg Sargent: Mark Murray reports on Twitter that the Obama campaign is out requesting rates from TV stations for a potential – and possibly very significant – ad buy. I’ve confirm that this is the case; Obama aides are requesting rates in key states, where there are millions and millions of dollars in anti-Obama ads already up on the air.
One has to wonder whether the Obama campaign is looking to do this in order to reclaim a debate that’s been largely ceded to his Republican rivals, one that will drive the election: Whether Obama succeeded or failed on the economy.
The Hill: The Obama administration has signaled to allies that it will take a more aggressive role this year in protecting homeowners from foreclosure, a posture that fits with Obama’s populist campaign stance.
Housing is poised to become a significant issue in the 2012 campaign season and President Obama’s allies acknowledge the administration’s efforts to help homeowners, while well intentioned, have fallen short.
Happy birthday, too, to The Greatest: Muhammad Ali
Charles P. Pierce (Esquire): On Sunday evening the Republicans held the 10,000-infinity’th of their scheduled 56,675-quintuple-infinity debates, in which everybody picked on Willard Romney and Ron Paul, and in which Rick Santorum was still pretty much a dick, but he was a dick to Willard, who would have encouraged dickitude in Francis of Assisi, so there’s that. And, of course, Rick Perry said something really stupid. South Carolina really isn’t the place where you want to make loose talk about being “at war” with the federal government. Honestly, Governor Goodhair, why don’t you just go down to the harbor, throw a rock at Fort Sumter, and make it official?
And, alas, Jon Huntsman finally succumbed after his long, brave struggle against chronic invisibility. In lieu of flowers, the campaign requests that donations be sent to the Weepy Pundits Clinic, 525 Broder Lane, Centerville, USA. Chris, dude, there one big “What If…” missing from your litany there: What If The Republican Party Wasn’t Completely Insane? That really is the only one that matters…..
Greg Sargent: Wisconsin Democrats are telling reporters that they have gathered more than one million signatures to recall Governor Scott Walker — a remarkable number that could have real ramifications for this year’s presidential race.
…. Dems need around 540,000 of those signatures to be certified as official in order for the recall of Walker to proceed. The one-million total makes that cushion pretty comfortable.
John Nichols (The Nation): …. No other gubernatorial recall drive in American history has gathered the signatures of so large a proportion of the electorate. The total number of signatures submitted Tuesday represents 46 percent of the turnout in the 2010 Wisconsin gubernatorial election. That compares with 23.4 percent that signed the petitions that initiated the successful recall of California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 and 31.8 percent that signed petitions to recall North Dakota Governor Lynn Frazier in 1921.
I just want to offer my apologies to saintroscoe for some seriously stupid and unfair comments I directed at him/her last night. After lecturing everyone else about staying ‘civil’ in the middle of disagreements, I went and broke my own rules, pretty spectacularly.
I have blocked people recently who were obvious GOP/Firebagger trolls, or who brought nothing much more than negativity or personal abuse to the blog, and they’ll stay blocked, but saintroscoe, obviously, fits in to neither category – which is why s/he has not been blocked.
When I ranted (on and on and on….) recently about negative stuff on the blog, I never meant – even if it sounded that way – that I wanted everyone to be Little Miss Sunshine even when the news wasn’t encouraging. We can still be fiercely positive, because there’s so much to be fiercely positive about, without burying our heads in the sand (as I often do) and ignoring the challenges and papering over the setbacks.
I know a lot of you don’t want any ‘negative’ stuff here, and have complained about the place being that way recently, but we’ll just carry on trying to get the balance right, between being positive and honest.
I’ll completely understand if Saintroscoe chooses not to return – if not, I recommend you follow him/her on Twitter (link). We didn’t always agree, but I appreciated what s/he brought here, which was smart and informed commentary on the issues.
President Obama has dinner with campaign donors and winners of the “Dinner with Barack” contest at The Liberty Tavern in the Clarendon neighborhood of Arlington, Va.
MSNBC: Medicare’s basic monthly premium will rise significantly less than expected next year, the government announced Thursday. That could pay political dividends for President Barack Obama and for Democrats struggling to win over seniors in a close election.
…. In a statement accompanying release of the Medicare premiums, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asserted that seniors have nothing to fear from the new health care law.
“The Affordable Care Act is helping to keep Medicare strong and affordable,” she said. “People with Medicare are seeing higher quality benefits, better health care choices and lower costs.”
ThinkProgress: Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry released a tax plan this week that he and many media reports called a “20 percent flat tax.” But Perry’s new alternative tax scheme is hardly “flat”.
Leaving aside the fact that it is layered on top of the existing tax code, it establishes not one but two different tax rates: 20 percent for wages, and zero percent for investment income. Because capital gains and dividends would be sheltered from taxes under Perry’s plan, some of the wealthiest Americans would wind up paying nowhere near 20 percent overall.
In fact, billionaire Warren Buffett, who has lamented the fact that he currently pays only 11 percent of his adjusted gross income in federal income taxes, would pay as little as 0.2 percent under Perry’s plan.
ABC: Today’s New York Times story … includes an intriguing reference to a staff memo directing those traveling in a car with Mr. Cain, “Do not speak to him unless you are spoken to.”
Could the affable Mr. Cain really have a “don’t-talk-to-me-unless-I-talk-to-you” policy?
Yes. He does. Really.
A top aide to Mr. Cain explains to me why.
“It’s the same policy for any Secretary of Defense or four-star general,” a senior Cain staffer explained to ABC News. “You don’t talk to them unless they talk to you, generally. Sometimes you get guests in the car and they want to talk and talk and talk, and then Mr. Cain wants to prepare for the next interview or the next speech and he’s very engaging, so it can be a distraction. After a while, he gets to the point where he doesn’t want to talk, but wants to prepare for what he’s doing next.”
More excellent comedy from Dick Halperin today in Time. He magnificently ignored all the polls that show President Obama leading RomPerryCain in swing states, and concluded that if the election was held today he’d lose.
It’d be nice, though, if Halperin had an original thought:
Mark Halperin (today): Is President Obama on the ropes? …. The coalition that helped elect the President …. has been disbanded.
Mark Halperin (December 2010): The coalition that got Barack Obama elected President just two years ago has been shattered ….
Last year, Alex Pareene of Salon (which I seriously hate linking because it’s become Firebagger Central) did a series on “the worst columnists and cable news commentators America has to offer …. the most predictable, dishonest and just plain stupid pundits in the media.” Halperin had to settle for the runners-up prize, behind Richard Cohen. It’s worth a read again:
Alex Pareene (2010): Mark Halperin – The Drudge-loving political analyst who gets everything wrong …. his belief in the unerring political instincts of Karl Rove and the godlike omniscience of Matt Drudge ….
…. Halperin’s worst quality is actually that he is constantly wrong. He is a professional political analyst, yet he often seems to be completely, 100 percent wrong about even the horse-race aspects of politics that he specializes in. He kept promising, in 2006, that Bush’s approval ratings would once again surge past 50 percent. Remember when John McCain “suspended his campaign” to fix the economy? Mark Halperin said McCain won the week.
The book Halperin wrote …. “The Way to Win,” his preview of “the way to win” the presidential election in 2008. His advice was to emulate Karl Rove and worship Matt Drudge – the key to victory seemed to involve a lot of Matt Drudge – and the 2008 election as it actually happened made the whole book (which he co-wrote with Politico co-founder John Harris!) look utterly ridiculous.
… All we ask for is a little accountability. At the very least, Halperin’s TV chyron should read, “ALWAYS WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING.”
Marketwatch: With a little more than two trading days left in the month, it is shaping up to be the best October ever for the Dow Jones Industrial Average. And that is saying something, since the Dow has existed since 1896, 115 years ago.
As of mid-day trading on Thursday, the Dow INDU is ahead more than 11% for the month. The previous record for the month of October was held by 1982, when the Dow turned in a 10.7% return. That’s an auspicious historical precedent, since that month came very early in that decade’s spectacular bull market which, arguably, didn’t end until nearly 20 years later.
President Barack Obama greets neighbors near the Bonilla residence in Las Vegas, Nev., where he spoke about the mortgage refinancing proposal and ‘Project Rebuild’, a piece of the American Jobs Act, Oct. 24. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Keith Humphreys (Washington Monthly): …. the Obamas have a magic about them as a couple to which most people respond positively. If you go to any event where the Obamas are standing next to each other, turn around and look at the crowd and you will see many people – especially women – smiling.
…. Last week a friend and I were reminiscing about a White House holiday party that we both attended. My friend jumped up from his chair and asked “Did you notice how differently he stands when Michelle is next to him? He then mimicked the President perfectly, standing stiffly and intoning “Here I am the boring, aloof, professor alone at the lectern”. Then, shifting his feet as if he were mid-strut, throwing back his shoulders and smiling broadly he said “And here I am with this incredibly fabulous babe that I got to marry me – oh yeah!”.
That’s the truth of it. When the President is with his wife, his humanity comes out in a way that it often does not in other circumstances. The facade of the distant academic cracks open, revealing that skinny, accessible and idealistic young man who is still happily ensorcelled by his brilliant companion. And at that moment, many people in our cynical, brutal and heartless electoral process pause for a moment and remember that Barack Obama is a human being, and they like him.
The Hill: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he will schedule a vote to proceed to a $35 billion jobs bill on Friday. “We’re going to make sure there’s a vote on our bill this week,” Reid said.
The $35 billion measure would direct federal funds to states to prevent layoffs of teachers, police officers and firefighters.
Democrats estimate the legislation will save or create 400,000 jobs. Most of the funding, $30 billion, would go to teachers. First responders would get $5 billion.
It would be paid for by a 0.5 percent tax increase on income over $1 million.
A photo and poster of President Barack Obama hang on a door as Obama 2012 campaign volunteer Daniel Hertlein exits following the grand opening of the Georgia Democratic Party’s new headquarters, Oct. 19, in Atlanta. Democratic National Committee chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz says her party isn’t conceding any corner of the country in the 2012 presidential election. She says there is a growing groundswell of Democratic momentum in the state and region, bolstered by the area’s changing demographics.
Was ‘Dick’ Halperin’s Time Page hacked today by an impartial reporter – or does even he realize his relentless negative reporting on the President has become a little embarrassing?
Presumably he’ll be back to normal soon.
President Obama, on his return to the White House from his tour of North Carolina and Virginia, tells members of the media that the pumpkins he bought will be driven to Washington
President Obama opens a door to the West Wing for National Security Council Senior Director for Europe Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall after returning to the White House
Here’s the woot!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, you very, very kind people – that figure is, well, crazy!
I know these are seriously tough times for so many of you, so I honestly do hate asking, but if you’re able, could you help me celebrate by contributing $5, or whatever you can, to The Obama Diary Obama/Biden 2012 fundraising page at OFA (here)? Whenever you can. Thanks everyone.
The Drive for Five!
The incomparable Donna Dem will always be TOD’s fundraising Queen, and in future I’ll use her OFA page for our fundraising drives, this is just to celebrate that 5 million.
Thanks again everyone for your support and company, love ya.
Steve Benen: If you perused the headlines on several prominent political news sites yesterday, you were led to believe that former President Clinton, in an interview with Newsmax, expressed his opposition to President Obama’s debt-reduction plan, or at least the provisions related to tax fairness.
….. Perhaps the most egregious was Time’s Mark Halperin, who ran this as the lead political story yesterday afternoon. The headline …., read, “42: No Tax Hikes.” The blurb told readers, “In Newsmax interview, Clinton says, ‘I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes … This has been a dead flat economy.’”
What did Clinton actually say? The quote from the former president is pretty straightforward: “I personally don’t believe we ought to be raising taxes or cutting spending until we get this economy off the ground.”
Notice the difference between the quote and the media’s coverage?
First, these media outlets simply chose to ignore the part of the quote in which Clinton rejected spending cuts during a weak economy. Halperin went so far as to use ellipses to take out the part in which the former president dismissed the Republicans’ priority, misleading the reader about Clinton’s position.
…. Clinton and Obama are saying the same thing. There’s no excuse for these media outlets telling the public otherwise.
See Extreme Liberal’s post on Halperin’s history – here
So, MSNBC suspended Mark Halperin after he revealed his inner Teabagger by calling the President a “dick”.
Could anyone – anyone?! – explain to me why they now have him back on, regularly, as a supposed impartial analyst on President Obama? (Today, for example, he shared his expert opinion that the President is DOOMED!)
Are they serious?
If you’d like to ask MSNBC why they are still using this creep, you’ll find their contact details at What is Working (here)
Here’s what Steve Benen had to say at the time: …. If you can watch the video, note how Halperin, ostensibly one of the nation’s most influential pundits, was smiling, with a smug satisfaction. It wasn’t a word he just blurted out in the heat of a larger discussion – Halperin thought about it….
….There are a couple of angles to keep in mind here. The first is that Halperin’s credibility as an objective observer of political events has long been dubious, at best, but this morning’s little stunt should remove all doubt. In candor, I don’t much care that Halperin sides with the right over the left, and takes cheap shots at Democrats. I care that Halperin is presented to the public as a neutral, even-handed expert, when that’s plainly not the case. To this extent, the “dick” comment only helps bring an end to a thin pretense.
… If the president stays cool, he’s an emotionless Mr. Spock. If the president shows some fire in the belly, he’s “a dick”.
What passes for mainstream political punditry in 2011 is too often a national embarrassment.
Alex Pareene (June 2011): …. I don’t care what Halperin calls Barack Obama. But for the record, President Obama did not really act like a dick yesterday, which is unsurprising, because Mark Halperin is a horrible political analyst who is wrong about everything….
This is a great excuse for MSNBC to fire Halperin, though! I mean if they won’t fire him for being incompetent at understanding and explaining politics they now have an opportunity to fire him for being disrespectful and vulgar.
Being a professional observer of the “horse race” is bad enough, but Halperin doesn’t even understand the horse-race element of politics. He fails at being a hack. He’s too dumb to correctly parrot conventional wisdom. He is pretty sure Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are 2012 front-runners. He thought “suspending his campaign” to fix the economy and not knowing how many houses he has were both huge messaging victories for John McCain. He wrote a book about how to win in 2008 that predicted everything Hillary did, but in his world it all worked. He thought Bush’s political comeback would come any day now throughout the entirety of the years 2006-2008. He can’t interpret polls or see through the spin of GOP consultants who are much smarter than he….
So this indefinite suspension is a nice first step, but I bet it won’t be long before they allow him to come crawling back into Mika and Joe’s little parlor of inanity. (And will Joe get in trouble for egging him on? Does Joe get in trouble for anything?)