Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Will Republicans heartily back bank reform? I doubt it, very much. Between the GOP being in the back pocket of the financial lobby and odds favoring their continued insistence to just be a hemorrhoid to Obama, they're likely hard had work right now to come up with ways to frame Obama's proposal as unpatriotic or an unjust curtailment of free market activity, which will ultimately lead to economic calamity.

Make no mistake, they will indeed come up with something to sink this. They effectively did it with HCR, throwing the kitchen sink at it (death panels, kill grandma, will balloon deficit, doctor rationing, government takeover and overreach, first step to socialized medicine). Just wait, the fear-mongering will start up again, and predictably too many will allow it to freak them out and adversely affect their ability to make rational decisions.

It's sad but it works, so the GOP will continue to got there.

A bit too cynical perhaps, hope I'm wrong. But precedent dictates otherwise....
Unfortunately, very true:
This really is a defining moment for both Obama and the Democratic Party more broadly. So far both have failed miserably: the party is in a state of meltdown, surrendering completely to a resurgent Republican narrative, refusing to fight for anything it believes in, and caving in to a truly toxic combination of electoral fear and narrow interest group parochialism. For his part, Obama seems either unable or unwilling to rally his troops. I'm not sure which. But the American public really needs to hear some conviction from him, and so far they haven't. He's remained aloof from the healthcare upheaval, pivoted on financial regulation in a way that looks driven more by politics than by core beliefs, and has just generally sounded more chastened than reinvigorated.

This really needs to turn around fast. Another week like this — hell, another day or two like this — and we might as well start measuring the Oval Office drapes for the upcoming Cheney/Palin administration. It's time for everyone to take a deep breath and grow a pair.
My fear is it may actually be too late. The level and depth of disgust by frustrated Obama supporters and his diehard foes collectively may be too chiseled in stone at this point to overcome. It really is amazing to witness how far Obama has slid so quickly. Yes, we've seen the same in other presidents before him, but wasn't Obama going to be different...?
Well said by the terrific Dick Polman:
And yet...the Democrats really have no alternative but to enact something. They're too far in to back out.

If they now abandon health reform, after seven fitful decades, they will lose politically at both ends of the spectrum. Since they're already on record, in both chambers, as having voted Yes on health reform, a retreat at this point would give the Republicans a two-fer message: "Democrats engineered a socialist takeover of the health care system - until they flip-flopped! They were for a takeover until they were against it!" And the Democratic base would simply stay home on the '10 election day for its own reasons - having become convinced that it doesn't pay to elect large Democratic majorities, since those majorities clearly lack the cajones to get anything done.

The only viable alternative for Democrats is to persevere and stick to their policy convictions (thus keeping faith with their base), and remind themselves that Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush stuck to theirs even when public opinion was against them (Bush, especially, persevered on his ambitious Medicare drug prescription bill in December 2003 even though only 32 percent of the general public, and only 26 percent of seniors, supported it). It would better for Democrats to have something affirmative to show for their efforts, to campaign this year as the party that (in the face of Republican opposition) barred insurance companies from dropping sick people, that barred insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and that extended health coverage to millions who lacked it before. This political option might not work either, but it's surely more attractive than the fetal position.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Great blog entry by Steve Benen. Another in a long series of examples of why/how Karl Rove has zero credibility and just spews forth fictional nonsense distorted to fit his alternative reality.
The Washington Post recently invited various politicos to offer the Democratic Party advice for 2010. The paper ran a 211-word missive from Karl Rove, which blamed Democrats for creating the "mess" his former boss left for Dems to clean up. In particular, Rove blasted Democrats for "running up" the debt.

Today, David Axelrod, after noting the irony of the Post inviting Rove to give Democrats suggestions, sets the record straight in the same paper.
The day the Bush administration took over from President Bill Clinton in 2001, America enjoyed a $236 billion budget surplus -- with a projected 10-year surplus of $5.6 trillion. When the Bush administration left office, it handed President Obama a $1.3 trillion deficit -- and projected shortfalls of $8 trillion for the next decade. During eight years in office, the Bush administration passed two major tax cuts skewed to the wealthiest Americans, enacted a costly Medicare prescription-drug benefit and waged two wars, without paying for any of it.

To put the breathtaking scope of this irresponsibility in perspective, the Bush administration's swing from surpluses to deficits added more debt in its eight years than all the previous administrations in the history of our republic combined. And its spending spree is the unwelcome gift that keeps on giving: Going forward, these unpaid-for policies will continue to add trillions to our deficit.

This fiscal irresponsibility -- and a laissez-faire attitude toward the excesses of the financial industry -- helped create the conditions for the deepest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression.
Well, sure, if you want to bring reality into the debate.

Rumor has it the WaPo has already agreed to publish Rove's response to Axelrod's response to Rove's initial claim.
Here's a Karl back-peddle that's just hilarious. Of course, most of the people that watch and listen to The Turd likely have no clue regarding his hypocrisy, contradictions, lies, etc. It's what he banks on -- ignorance.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Glenn Beck referred to the current president as "a racist" and apparently Scott Brown, Republican running for Ted Kennedy's senate seat in MA, suggests Obama is a bastard child.

As Paul Krugman writes, "So will this actually make political waves? If Brown were a Democrat, it would instantly be a huge scandal. The outrage machine would be working overtime. And the news media would, of course, pick it up."

However, Brown is not a Democrat but rather a Republican, so needless to say his remarks are the equivalent of a tree falling in the woods with no one there to hear it.

As Steve Benen points out with the unexpected continuing popularity of Sen. John Ensign in his home state, "PPP's communications director joked, 'Cheating on your wife is a deal breaker for Republican voters -- but only if you're a Democrat.'...The moral of the story: adultery is fine, and hypocrisy is fine, just so long as you have an 'R' after your name."

Yes indeed, a completely different standard applies for those with a "D" next to their name versus an "R." I mean just imagine the outcry and scandal if a Democrat posed naked as Scott Brown did for Cosmopolitan magazine. Sadly, we've become so accustomed to this blatant double-standard that often times it doesn't register and we have to remind ourselves it still exists, now more than ever.

It goes without saying that in one of the bluest states in the U.S., for a Dem to be neck/neck close with clearly a Bushian, non-moderate Republican says loads about Coakley's campaign (read: inept). But she is a Dem and if she loses it will change everything in DC. Already, because she has slipped into a dead heat race, many senior Republicans in Washington are exploiting this full tilt, saying MA represents a nationwide referrendum against health care reform and perceived overreach by government.

To some extent, I believe MA residents have grown so accustomed to Democrats leading races and winning that they got complacent, allowing Brown to sneak up in polls. Fortunately, this race has received tons of media coverage of late and should wake up the Dem faithful, having them turn out in droves on Tuesday.

If not, we get what we deserve.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Re Steve Benen's blog entry, I have to think that Lieberman wasn't delusional and politically stupid enough to not realize that his actions during the health care debate would result in such widespread disapproval by CT voters. He had to see it coming and quite frankly I'm willing to guess he didn't care.

2012 is a long way off so he either felt that was enough time to make plenty of amends to voters and hope they forgot, or more likely he had decided not to run for reelection. This way Joe could do right by his many corporate backers (read insurance companies), supporting their every desire, and in a few years end up working for them in some capacity -- much like his wife.

Just a guess.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

There's much talk about the underwear bomber potentially having valuable info, and the sooner the better with regards to obtaining that info.

How about obtaining the info that McCain always bragged about...? You know, that he knew how to track down and capture (or kill) Osama bin Laden.

Funny, it's been over a year and no one has followed up with McCain concerning these statements and the valuable info he may know. But then there is the longshot chance that no one had ever taken him seriously and it was just another of many desperate campaign utterances, promising much but backed by nothing. Like "Country First" and "the fundamentals of our economy are strong."

Friday, January 08, 2010

Just when you thought Perino's comment (gaffe) couldn't be topped, along comes Rudy.... No domestic attacks under Bush? And yet one under Obama? WTF?

Either Rudy and Dana are completely clueless (very likely) or they believe they can say anything, no matter the veracity, and their doddering followers will just accept it without question. Probably a bit of both.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

As is often the case, I spent New Years watching several Twilight Zone episodes (yearly marathon). While watching "The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street" episode, it occurred to me that much of this past decade could be distilled in this short study of paranoia and the human condition. Introduce some unknowns, then sit back and watch it happen. Watch "the monsters" take over.

In fact, the main theme of many a Twilight Zone episode is fear and the ugly effect(s) it has on us. Regular folk are shown in everyday lives, and then the fear begins to take hold, amplify and spread, and before you know it people become unglued and mayhem erupts.

I wonder what Rod Serling would've said about the fear-mongering perpetrated over the last several years. I believe he'd find it beyond shameful, but I don't think it would shock him in the least. If anything, he was trying to warn us, to not succomb to mindless fear, to resist acting irrationally driven by anxiety. But as much as we repeatedly watch TZ episodes again and again, year after year, it's as if we willfully overlook the larger, more meaningful underlying messages.

I don't know what's more frightening, the fact that many of us have given in to the scare tactics employed since 2002, or that we've neglected to heed the warnings conveyed by those before us (such as Serling and Orwell, to name two). In either case, ignorance is the common culprit.