Martin Sheen: Does President Bartlet hope for an Obama victory? “Very much. Don’t get me started on the Republicans,” Sheen growls. “They’re going to jump on all the things he didn’t do, but I think he’ll beat the hell out of them, frankly. When you put him and Romney together you’ll see the difference between a man living an honest life and a hustling politician.”
President Barack Obama is briefed by Liz Sherwood-Randall, Senior Director for European Affairs, and Mike Froman, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, in the Oval Office, June 8, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama talks with Girl Scout Gold Award winners in the Oval Office, June 8, 2012. The award is the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Andrew Sullivan: How Obama’s Long Game Will Outsmart His Critics ….It’s not that I don’t understand the critiques of Barack Obama …. it’s that I don’t even recognize their description of Obama’s first term in any way. The attacks from both the right and the left on the man and his policies aren’t out of bounds. They’re simply – empirically – wrong.
….. there have been many times when I have disagreed with decisions Obama has made …. but given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb. Their short-term outbursts have missed Obama’s long game – and why his reelection remains, in my view, as essential for this country’s future as his original election in 2008.
…. If I sound biased, that’s because I am. Biased toward the actual record, not the spin; biased toward a president who has conducted himself with grace and calm under incredible pressure, who has had to manage crises not seen since the Second World War and the Depression, and who as yet has not had a single significant scandal to his name …. What I see is a president whose character, record, and promise remain as grotesquely underappreciated now as they were absurdly hyped in 2008. And I feel confident that sooner rather than later, the American people will come to see his first term from the same calm, sane perspective. And decide to finish what they started.
Bob Cesca: Andrew Sullivan wrote a spectacular cover-story for Newsweek about the president’s achievements ….. he underscores something I’ve been trying to outline here for some time now. President Obama’s strategic planning and, specifically, the roll-out of his agenda, is a long term process that requires us to not miss “the screen for the pixels.”
…. Of course Sullivan continues to repeat the myth that the NDAA authorizes indefinite detention of U.S. citizens when, in fact, it simply does not ban it. There’s a difference, and if we want an explicit ban on indefinite detention of citizens, as I do, contact your member of Congress or make a rational case for such a ban to the White House. I assure you, a liberal president will listen to a reasonable argument from liberals (on the other hand, a paleoconservative who’s locked into a fictitious ideology, like Ron Paul, will not). The president has done so before, and he will act. Steve Benen, for example, wrote a measured and rational memorandum to the White House during the healthcare reform debate and some of Benen’s strategic advice was adopted by the administration….
2:00: First Lady Michelle Obama visits Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
2:10: President Obama delivers remarks at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism
About today’s AP-GfK poll – OMG! Doom! Gloom!
As GOPolitico told us, white people hate the President!! Real bad!
The best bit was when they quoted Ron Fournier saying the President “only won 40%” of the white seniors’ vote in 2008 and “his approval rating with them now is 41%”. Em, I was never too hot at math ….. but is that, eh, not technically an increase?😕
Any way, not surprisingly, the economy remains the number one concern of those polled. You’ll get all the bad news everywhere today, what will be largely ignored:
* After the jobless rate fell to 8.6% last month (its lowest level since March 2009), the President’s approval rating on handling unemployment rose 5% to 45% in the poll.
* 20% say the economy got better in the past month, up from 6% two months ago (64% said it stayed the same)
* 15% said it got worse, down from 49% two months ago
* Respondents describing the economy as “very poor” fell from 43% in October to 34% in the latest poll, the lowest since May.
* 60% say the financial situation in their own household is good, up 6%
* 30% blamed the President for the economy, compared to 43% who blame Bush
* Despite the struggles with the economy, the President still beats Romney in a match-up: 47 to 46.
* The President beats the Newt 51-42.
* Among independents, it’s even better. The President beats Romney 45-41 and the Newt 54-31.
And buried in the last line in Time’s report on the poll:
“Among those with annual household incomes of $50,000 or less, Obama’s approval rating on unemployment climbed to 53 percent from 43 percent in October.
Get that? Climbed 10%.
* 60% approve of how the President is handling terrorism, 59% say he will “keep America safe”. Not bad for an appeaser, eh?
* 53% say he is a “strong leader”
* 76% say he is “likable”
There you go – the bits you won’t hear today. And hey, wait til the fella actually starts campaigning against Romgrich😉
OFA: Headlines over the past few weeks have shown with hard numbers how President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is helping young people and seniors. The reform allows young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance until they turn 26 and helps Medicare recipients save money on prescription drugs.
Take a look at this infographic summing up how the Affordable Care Act is impacting millions of Americans – then share it to pass on the good news:
Texas Monthly: As most readers know, every January TEXAS MONTHLY picks a Bum Steer of the Year, an honor conferred on whatever individual we feel has been responsible for the biggest screw-up, gaffe, fumble, stumble, train wreck, or humiliation of the past twelve months. This year, as the above cover makes pretty darn clear, our Bum Steer of the Year is Governor Rick Perry.
Jonathan Chait (NY Mag): With Ron Paul ascending in Iowa, winning the hearts of independents, and even the endorsement of Andrew Sullivan, it’s worth pointing something out: Ron Paul is not a kindly old libertarian who just wants everybody to be free. He’s a really creepy bigot.
…. Paul comes out of an intellectual tradition called “paleolibertarianism,” which is a version of libertarianism heavily tinged with far-right cultural views …. Paul is tied in deep and extensive ways to neo-Confederates, and somewhat less tightly to the right-wing militia movement. His newsletter, which he wrote and edited for years, was a constant organ of vile racism and homophobia ….. Fear and hatred of blacks and gays, along with a somewhat less pronounced paranoia about Jewish dual loyalty, are fundamental elements of his thinking….
CBS: President Obama may have been wearing a metaphorical velvet glove during his big deficit reduction speech Wednesday, but make no mistake about it: He took an iron fist to the Republicans.
… he set up the choice between his proposal and the one offered by the GOP. Mr. Obama said his plan to save $4 trillion over 12 years was grounded in staying true to the idea that “each one of us deserves some basic measure of security and dignity.”
And that, he said, means protecting the social safety net – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and unemployment insurance – even while reforming the programs involved. Those programs, he said, are integral to America’s exceptionalism. “We would not be a great country without those commitments,” argued the president.
He then went on to question the Republican plan for reflecting an abandonment of what makes America great … it says “we can’t afford the America that I believe in and that I think you believe in”…
The Republican vision, he added, was “deeply pessimistic.” The president said that Republicans are positing that America can’t afford to fix its bridges, to care for seniors, to send its kids to college – that America, in the end, can’t afford to be great.
And then he really went after the GOP, targeting what he said were $1 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans contained in the Paul Ryan Republican 2012 budget proposal.
…The Republicans, he argued, want to sell out what makes America special – its commitment to its people – in order to give the wealthiest Americans a little more spending money..
…This was the President Obama that voters rallied around in the 2008 presidential campaign – a candidate willing and able to lay down a clear vision grounded in progressive ideals….
NYT Editorial: If the federal government shuts down at midnight on Friday – which seems likely unless negotiations take a sudden turn toward rationality – it will not be because of disagreements over spending. It will be because Republicans are refusing to budge on these ideological demands:
• No federal financing for Planned Parenthood because it performs abortions. Instead, state administration of federal family planning funds, which means that Republican governors and legislatures will not spend them.
• No local financing for abortion services in the District of Columbia.
• No foreign aid to countries that might use the money for abortion or family planning. And no aid to the United Nations Population Fund, which supports family-planning services.
• No regulation of greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency.
• No funds for health care reform or the new consumer protection bureau established in the wake of the financial collapse.
Abortion. Environmental protection. Health care. Nothing to do with jobs or the economy; instead, all the hoary greatest hits of the Republican Party, only this time it has the power to wreak national havoc: furloughing 800,000 federal workers, suspending paychecks for soldiers and punishing millions of Americans who will have to wait for tax refunds, Social Security applications, small-business loans, and even most city services in Washington. The damage to a brittle economy will be substantial.
Democrats have already gone much too far in giving in to the House demands for spending cuts. The $33 billion that they have agreed to cut will pull an enormous amount of money from the economy at exactly the wrong time, and will damage dozens of vital programs.
But it turns out that all those excessive cuts they volunteered were worth far less to the Republicans than the policy riders that are the real holdup to a deal. After President Obama appeared on television late Wednesday night to urge the two sides to keep talking, negotiators say, the issue of the spending cuts barely even came up. All the talk was about the abortion demands and the other issues.
Democrats in the White House and the Senate say they will not give in to this policy extortion, and we hope they do not weaken. These issues have no place in a stopgap spending bill a few minutes from midnight.
….The lack of seriousness in the House is reflected in the taunting bill it passed on Thursday to keep the government open for another week at an absurdly high cost of $12 billion in cuts and the ban on District of Columbia abortion financing. The Senate and the White House said it was a nonstarter. Many of the same House members who earlier had said they would refuse to approve another short-term spending bill voted for this one, clearly hoping they could use its inevitable failure in the Senate to blame the Democrats for the shutdown. What could be more cynical?
The public is not going to be fooled once it sees what the Republicans, pushed by Tea Party members, were really holding out for. There are a few hours left to stop this dangerous game, and for the Republicans to start doing their job, which, if they’ve forgotten, is to serve the American people.