Monday Mashup Part One (11/01/10)

November 1, 2010

  • 1) I don’t know who else has noticed besides me, but the punditocracy is absolutely losing its collective mind as we near the end of this election cycle with its “doomed Dems” narrative, which is totally unsurprising I know; basically, I defy anyone reading this to navigate more than three clicks across any web news site to see what I’m talking about.

    And here is a sampling from yesterday’s New York Times, in which Sheryl Gay Stolberg does the best she can to concoct “Drudge bait”…

    CLEVELAND — The upper deck was mostly empty when President Obama closed out the campaign season Sunday afternoon with a rally on the campus of Cleveland State University here. His aides looked grim, fiddling with their BlackBerrys as Democratic National Committee staffers scurried to get a crowd estimate from fire marshals: 8,000 in a hall built for 13,000.

    It was a fitting coda to the waning days of a brutal election season for the president and his party. Mr. Obama spent the final, frenetic weekend of Midterms 2010 hopscotching the East Coast and Midwest trying to close the “enthusiasm gap” in key states. The task required him, at times, to confront the minor indignities that come with being demoted from rock star to mortal politician.

    What, no sneaky references to the faux Doric columns from Obama’s Dem nomination acceptance speech in Denver in 2008? You’re slipping, Stolberg! And funny, but I honestly cannot recall the last time I read about a campaign speech by a Repug in which the empty seats were counted.

    (And just for good measure, John Harwood depicted a “Republican rout” tomorrow here.)

    Stolberg, however, has nothing on Peter Baker, who, along with Helene Cooper, brought us this (from here, concerning the recent plane bomb scare that quite probably originated in Yemen)…

    WASHINGTON — Trying to manage a terrorism threat in the middle of an election campaign, the Obama administration is walking a political and national security tightrope.

    Remembering the debates over whether President George W. Bush sought to capitalize on the terrorism threat in the days before the 2006 election, White House officials do not want to look as if they are seizing on a potential catastrophe to win votes. But at the same time, they remember when President Obama was criticized when he said nothing publicly in the three days after an attempt to blow up an airliner last Dec. 25.

    “Every president has to be able to take off the partisan hat and assume the role of nonpartisan commander in chief when there is a security incident,” said C. Stewart Verdery Jr., a former assistant secretary of homeland security under Mr. Bush. “The president should be the public face of the response to send the right signals to Americans worried about our defenses, especially those partisans who might be inclined to find fault with anything the administration does.”

    Oh, and just in case we didn’t get it that the Obama Administration didn’t officially communicate with the media on the would-be Detroit pants bomber last December, Baker/Cooper go on to repeat it for good measure (of course, the period of time in question for Obama is three days, but I can recall nary a peep out of our corporate media slaves when a certain 43rd president went mute for six days in response to would-be shoe bomber Richard Reid, as noted here).

    There is still more hilarity in this column, as Baker/Cooper chide Obama again for his “breakdown” in responding last December (to which I ask the following: how many people were killed because of this “breakdown”), but by the end of the column, James Jay Carofano of the Heritage Foundation (now THAT’s a “fair and balanced” point of view) is wondering why Obama supposedly overreacted in the case of the most recent Yemen scare.

    And Baker went one better on Stolberg, by the way, writing an entire Op-Ed column yesterday on Obama’s supposed elitism to which I won’t even waste my time responding – if I want to read the National Review (and I don’t, I assure you), I’ll read the National Review.

    And in response to the supposed “apathy” of the Dem base, I give you this.

  • 2) Next, I give you what is perhaps the most schizophrenic opinion column I’ve read in a long time (and if you guessed that it came from Fix Noise, then you automatically win an autographed photo of humanoid Megyn Kelly with her face contorted as she yells at Obama spokesman Bill Burton, based on this).

    Former Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro decried sexism in political campaigns (good), but then adds fuel to the proverbial fire with the following (bad)…

    But it’s not only Democrats against Republicans who sometimes cross the line. Take for instance, Carly Fiorina. Don’t tell me she didn’t realize that she was being sexist — as well as a tad ageist — when she said referring to Barbara Boxer in an off-mic comment: ‘”God what is with that hair? So yesterday.”

    And how did she stand by when Sen. John McCain issued an unheard of jab at a colleague in the Senate, when he said about Barbara Boxer after distorting her record that “I should know (how difficult she is on defense issues) because I have had the unpleasant experience of having to serve with her.”

    For those who don’t know how the Senate works, no Senator refers to his colleagues in that matter. John McCain has never referred to any colleague before like that. He thought he could get away with it because she is female.

    If the women of Arizona go on the Internet and Google three words: John McCain, rape and gorilla — they might see where he is coming from as far as women are concerned.

    OK, I think we need to step back a bit here.

    To begin, Ferraro is clearly angry about McCain involving himself in the California contest between Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina. And Ferraro has a right to feel that way, even though I don’t think this happened only because of Boxer’s gender; former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist involved himself in the South Dakota contest against former Senator Tom Daschle and on behalf of John Thune, which was also a low blow.

    Also, I am not going to excuse some of the truly lowbrow remarks by McCain that he has uttered in his public life – if you do what Ferraro suggests, you will indeed find the type of language she’s referring to.

    However, I think it’s more than a little self-defeating for her to make those remarks in a column where she’s decrying hateful language.

    Besides, who is Ferraro to say this when she had no trouble spouting some genuinely racist remarks while supporting Hillary Clinton, a sample of which is noted here?

  • 3) Finally, I just want to make a bit of a personal plea concerning tomorrow’s elections.

    Yes, I’m going to say that you should vote Democratic – no surprise there, I’ll admit. And I believe there are a lot of good reasons to do that.


    And one of them has to do with the fact that, for the first time in over 10 years, this guy won’t figure into the outcome of anything (even though he was ineligible in 2008, his policies were very much at issue then as I believe they still are now).

    My request is that you vote Democratic because of the good work done by the Democratic majority in Congress, notably of which is health care reform, jobs bills, the Lily Ledbetter law and granting the FDA more power to enable the safety of the food supply (there are a lot of other reasons, but I think those are some good ones for starters).

    All I ask is that I don’t read everywhere in the universe on Wednesday that the Repugs took over at least one house of Congress because all the “professional left” had going for it (the people who powered Obama’s victory two years ago first and foremost) was “Bush Derangement Syndrome.”

    Please click here to find a polling place in your neighborhood.

    Let’s keep doing the hard work we need to do up until the polls close tomorrow to make it plain to everyone in the world that our support for Democrats is based on moving this country forward for real, as opposed to running away from the past.


  • Resurrecting The Ghost Of “Commander Codpiece”

    August 18, 2009

    Bush_Flag_Duh
    I give you Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times here today (on Obama giving a speech in Phoenix about increasing our troop strength in Afghanistan; I’ll debate the wisdom of such a move another time)…

    As a commander in chief who has never served in the armed forces, Mr. Obama is still working to establish his bona fides with the military. His predecessor, George W. Bush, typically received wildly enthusiastic receptions from military audiences; Mr. Obama’s speech was interrupted only occasionally by polite applause.

    As an occupant of An Oval Office who never left Texas during the Vietnam War – actually, there were periods when he was unaccounted for during his stateside service, as noted here (and whose presidential campaign still managed the “God damn, were the people who voted for him morons, or what?” feat of maligning an actual war hero on his way to another term in office) – our 43rd president was a virtuoso when it came to exploiting our military for political gain (or, as noted here)…

    We have a commander-in-chief who does very well when he is unscripted, unrehearsed and engaging with soldiers. But too often those who handle his performances try to turn the American fighting man and woman into a political prop for the scenery.

    And by the way, a sympathetic reaction to Bush isn’t “news” anyway when you consider the following, as noted here.

    Also, I wonder if Warren L. Henthorn and John Scripsick would agree with Stolberg’s sympathetic treatment towards Obama’s predecessor; you can learn how these men are from here, and why they deserve our sympathy, respect and eternal gratitude.

    In closing, I sincerely hope the next time Stolberg or one of her corporate media brethren decide to invoke Obama’s predecessor and his faux military “cred,” they come to their senses instead. Doing so on this occasion was repulsive enough – to continue it in the future would dishonor the sacrifice of those who have fought, suffered and died for our freedom.


    It’s “More Health Care Hijinks” Monday!

    August 10, 2009

  • I stumbled across some truly wankerific punditry by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in the New York Times yesterday in which she attempted to draw a faux equivalency between the “teabaggers” disrupting the town hall meetings (with this as the next logical step in their hooliganism, unfortunately) and members of the SEIU and other Dem-simpatico organizations trying to ensure order at these meetings and make their points in favor of reform. And I was all set to lay into Stolberg for it, but the good people at Media Matters did it for me here (h/t Eschaton).

    However, it looks like Stolberg’s playmate John Harwood is picking up right where she left off here…

    Spontaneous or contrived, the shouting, shoving and other shenanigans at lawmakers’ town-hall-style meetings point to one probable outcome: the demise of bipartisan health care negotiations.

    Those negotiations have proceeded tortuously all summer, with centrists on the Senate Finance Committee maneuvering around obstacles erected by the Democratic left, the Republican right and the White House.

    And what exactly would those “obstacles” be, Harwood? The public option, for example, supported by 70 percent of those polled, as Bob Cesca notes here?

    Or, as noted here (from July 30th)…

    When given a fairly detailed description of the plan they are pushing, Americans registered strong approval, with 56% saying they favor the plan versus 38% who oppose it.

    Many of these details, such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, haven’t been the focus of the congressional debate, which has centered on more controversial issues.

    Americans are persuadable but are not sold on what they hear on the news. Specific plans sell, but the opposition is well financed and quite skilled at obstruction.

    Uh, yep. And continuing with Harwood…

    …the rowdy start of the August Congressional recess has galvanized activists on both ends of the ideological spectrum. That makes it tougher for negotiators to stake out a middle ground — especially in conservative locales that Democratic centrists call home.

    “There are groups that are out there trying to disrupt public meetings with specific strategies that they have put on the Internet,” Senator Kent Conrad, a North Dakota Democrat and one of the Finance Committee negotiators, said in an interview. “I mean, is that what we’ve come to in the United States, that we’re going to have people basically functioning as thugs?”

    Do you see where Harwood is going with this? The bland descriptor “groups…with specific strategies” from Kent Conrad (a guy who, as noted here, laughed when ads were run in his district reminding him of how important it is to do this right and include a public option) is used to tar those on both sides of this debate equally. And that of course leaves it to the Democratic “centrists” (re: Evan Bayh’s coalition of cowards in the Senate and the hopelessly compromised “Bush Dogs” in the House) to ensure that nothing of substance actually occurs anyway.

    Harwood also tells us the following…

    The backdrop is political danger for the president’s party, with fat budget deficits and high unemployment increasing the risk of traditional midterm election losses. In Mr. Conrad’s view, 2010 “could be a very challenging year.”

    Uh, Kent? Try unsucking your thumb, do your job and forget about the midterms, OK? If you won’t deliver, then there’s no sense worrying, since the result could be a foregone conclusion.

    Revamping one-sixth of the United States economy without Republican help would compound those anxieties. Yet many Democrats perceive greater risk in failing to deliver as Washington’s governing party — and stand ready to act under special “reconciliation” rules that would heighten partisan tensions by blocking Republican filibusters.

    And by the way, do you know who supports using reconciliation personally doesn’t support reconciliation on health care (which the Repugs used to ramrod Dubya’s horrific tax cuts through Congress when they were in charge) but acknowledged that the Dems could use it (update from comment below)? That noted “liberal” Dr. Bill Frist (here), that’s who.

    Also, on the subject of how those supporting health care reform are part of the same amorphous blob standing in the way of their prized notion of “bipartisanship” (to Harwood and Conrad’s thinking), I should point out that I actually have viewed some YouTube videos filmed by conservatives in St. Louis and Tampa where misbehavior against them is alleged, and as is always the case with these people, the films are heavily edited, no one is identified, and what you inevitably see is the aftermath of something having occurred that we know nothing about.

    On the other hand, if you watch any video filmed by a progressive (Mike Morrill in particular), everything and everyone is identified, questions are asked and answers are provided (if the respondents reply, that is), and you have the full context of what is going on. I know this is obvious stuff to people who pay attention, but I thought it should be pointed out anyway.

  • And what would health care demagoguery be without more from J.D. Mullane of the Bucks County Courier Times yesterday (here)…

    At the National Constitution Center a week ago, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter looked spectral as a crowd of hundreds booed and jeered him and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at a “town hall” meeting on health care.

    Across the country, members of Congress have been confronted by constituents demanding answers to questions regarding the prospect that the Obama Administration intends a GM-style takeover of medical care.

    See, never forget that, as far as J.D. is concerned, those who stand up and make every effort to shout down a member of Congress or someone in the Obama Administration from speaking on this issue or addressing a legitimate constituent concern, to say nothing of resorting to violence (such as hanging a member of Congress in effigy), are not bought-and-paid-for thugs courtesy of Dick Armey or Rick Scott, among others. They’re “constituents.”

    Sure they are.

    Anyway, Mullane then decides to confront Bob Casey, Jr. on this since he’s been “laying low,” which – shockingly – makes sense for J.D. since Casey is on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, from which the Senate bill has originated (I believe there is only one bill in the Senate, but I’m not positive). And in so doing, Mullane does his very best “cherry picking” of the draft bill…

    …under “Shared Responsibility” (p. 103), it mandates each citizen to purchase health insurance, or be fined. This means if you are healthy and young and starting out life on a shoestring budget and you need to spend your thin resources on rent and car payments, Bob Casey, Jr. has a message: Tough. Pay us, kid, or else.

    Then, something bizarre. On page 411 under “Data Analysis, Detection and Quality,” the bill instructs the health and human services secretary to “develop standards for the measurement of gender.”

    Unless Sen. Casey and his committee colleagues have top secret information, there are only two measurements of gender: (A) male and (B) female.

    And as a result, according to J.D…

    Casey Jr. told (a Politico) reporter that he wants Pennsylvanians to know that 10 Republicans who sit with him on the Health, Energy, Labor and Pensions committee voted against the committee’s mammoth health care reform bill.

    Republicans voted against national health care? Gee, stop the presses.

    My response…

    I read pgs. 103-107 of the draft of the Affordable Health Choices Act, and I think the following should be noted (by the way, you cannot directly access the .pdf from Casey’s web site – you need to go from the Casey site to the HELP Committee site and find the link there).

    What Subtitle D – Shared Responsibility for Health Care discusses beginning on pg. 103 is the individual tax liability for anyone who didn’t have “qualifying coverage.” However, there are exemptions noted in the draft of the legislation, such as for someone who didn’t have qualifying coverage for less than 90 days, for someone who does not reside in a “participating State or an establishing State” (as such terms are defined in section 3104 of the Public Health Service Act…I read over the legalese on that, and I’m a bit fuzzy on it, to tell you the truth), someone who is an enrolled member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, someone for whom affordable health care coverage is not available, or someone for whom “a payment…would otherwise represent an exceptional financial hardship.”

    Also, under his “measurement of gender” remarks concerning pg. 411, I hate to break the news to J.D., but there are lots of LGBT individuals out there who have health care needs also and thus deserve coverage.

    Of course for good measure, Mullane harks back at the end of the column to Casey’s father who “chose principle over party – paid the price for it, too.”

    Well, as long as J.D. decided to mention Casey Sr., the following should also be noted about Senator Casey’s father, PA’s former governor (here)…

    He lobbied unsuccessfully for universal health care in his state, but, failing that, as The New York Times reported in its May 31 obituary, “he did sign a bill providing health insurance for children whose families were too poor to pay for it but whose incomes were too high to be eligible for public assistance.”

    So Bob Casey, Sr. supported universal health care in his state, for which he “paid the price” at the hands of PA’s Repugs, J.D.’s ideological playmates (and which Casey’s son is now trying to help enact on the national level)?

    Gee, stop the presses.

  • And finally, as a response to the tactics of the town hall meeting disruptors, at least one Dem congressman has had enough (here), from Stephen Hayes at The Weakly Standard)…

    “The war’s on,” Representative Baron Hill (D-IN) told the Indianapolis Star. And his opponents are “political terrorists.”

    Hill is not holding town hall meetings. Why? “I’m trying to control the event,” Hill said. “What I don’t want to do is create an opportunity for the people who are political terrorists to blow up the meeting and not try to answer thoughtful questions.”

    Hill is not alone. Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi believe that “drowning out opposing views is simply un-American.” Just like Democrats argued when they condemned unruly Iraq War protesters.

    I’m not aware of anyone protesting Dubya’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure in Iraq who ended up threatening anyone either face to face or over the phone, or who shut down a town hall meeting, or (as noted previously) ended up leaving a gun behind at one of their appearances.

    Some apples with your oranges, Hayes?


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