GOP Doing Some Smart Stuff

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I just got this email from Republican House Whip Eric Cantor:

Do You Have Time for a 30 Minute Strategy Call?
Dear Steven,
Will you join me for a 30 minute strategy call on Thursday, September 30th at 4:30 PM?
My colleague in the GOP Young Guns program, Representative Kevin McCarthy, and I would like to discuss with you how we can work together over the next 35 days to take America back. We will be taking questions and suggestions from you. Click here to join us.
We’re looking forward to talking with you.
Regards,
Eric Cantor
House Republican Whip

Notice that there is no request for “$5” — just a request for participation in a “strategy call.”
Maybe the Dems are doing this too — but I certainly haven’t been on those lists. 30 minutes are not enough for the kind of list that the GOP probably sent this too — but it promotes the notion of connection.
Impressive.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

62 comments on “GOP Doing Some Smart Stuff

  1. questions says:

    Oops — misread — he didn’t pay the fee — back to the original reading.
    The neighbor had paid his own fee and got fire fighting service.
    So there’s no new story here.
    Sorry for my confusion.

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/10/4/907645/-I-Was-A-Firefighter,-And-I-Am-Disgusted.
    And it turns out the guy had paid the fire fighter fee after all.
    What have we come to.
    Wow.
    By the way, “former” I suppose you won’t see this as you’ve already deleted your bookmark, but you could I suppose explain the move.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Meanwhile, the LAT is apoplectic over the fact that out of some 10 billion dollars in state welfare aid, a paltry 69 million has been spent out of state, some of it at casinos in Vegas or in Hawaii.
    OMG, some poor schmucks are gambling that they can make a little extra money, or they dare have some kind of enjoyment at all, or they are visiting family members, attending funerals, leaving the state of California — the nerve…..
    Sure, there’s probably some fraud, but come on people…. It’s not a huge chunk of change, and much of it might well not be fraud anyway.
    Charity is a nasty nasty nasty institution. Far better to rethink transfer programs so we don’t get into the whole abuse the orphan meme. Ugly stuff we engage in. Truly ugly.

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    There is an interesting side note regarding a Tennessee home that firefighters allowed to burn down as the homeowners failed to pay a 75 dollar annual fee. They stood around watching the fire, but when it spread to a neighboring house, they acted to stop that house from burning down.
    Damage to one person spreads and causes problems for others.
    We actually need coercion and risk management and we need to deal with these kinds of bad bets, future discounts, poor assessments, and lack of resources that some of us suffer from.
    We must be forced to cooperate sometimes.
    Yikes.
    For want of 75 bucks he loses his house.
    How many other “private” or individual costs work the same way? Public health, property values, investment culture…. All of these network contamination effects make regulation, enforcement, cooperation, coercion, and assurance incredibly important.
    Libertarianism is dumbfuck.
    For want of a neighbor’s 75 dollar firefighter fee, some other guy’s house burns too.
    What are we coming to in our thinking?

    Reply

  5. drew says:

    I don’t know why people on the left get so twisted about Beck. If
    they’re correct, he’s an unimportant stooge who will shortly
    implode and fade away.
    Unless he should somehow be silenced or constrained by
    officialdom, as an influential unimportant stooge.
    It’s all very confusing. I don’t even have a TV, so there are a lot
    of things I don’t pay attention to, and I recommend that others
    who don’t enjoy Beck simply ignore him. Of course, either the
    bulk of his critics are secretly watching his show, or they are
    publicly castigating a person they know nothing about. It’s all
    very confusing.
    Unless the purpose of Milbank’s very long piece in the Post
    yesterday is that he should somehow be silenced or constrained
    by officialdom, as an influential unimportant wealthy stooge
    creating envy among more highly developed, better educated
    people who are not quite so candid about their own personal
    failures.

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    nadine writes:
    “The Constitution says we should have limited government in the USA,”
    And of course the issue is so clear it screams:
    Just what is “limited government” given “necessary and proper”…..
    “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
    And what’s “more perfect” and whats “justice” and what’s “domestic tranquility” and what’s “common defense” and “general welfare” and “blessings of liberty to ourselves” and what’s “to our posterity”………….
    EVERY term is loaded, and geeze, what we have to do is, ummm, interpretive work to figure it all out.
    How do you balance liberty for yourself as against that for your posterity? Do you take all the money for you and leave your kids as wage slaves? What’s intergenerational freedom or justice? What’s a just savings principle for the next gen?
    “Domestic tranquility” can mean no class revolution, so maybe you redistribute some money (a lesser good) to increase political justice and stave off a revolution?
    What’s “our posterity” — is it just MY posterity, or is does it include all those born on this land or naturalized?
    nadine, Constitutional interpretation is just not simple. Textual interpretation is just not simple. Lord, not even Biblical interpretation turns out to be simple.
    If you read, you find contradictions, difficulties, unclear passages, things that can simultaneously mean more than one thing. There is ambiguity, uncertainty, and there’s a time lag — the FOUNDERS ™ didn’t know that we’d have semi-automatic and automatic portable explosive gun things, nor did they know that we’d develop nukes — so (to borrow from Colbert here), what “arms” are protected under the right to bear arms?
    The FOUNDERS ™ could not have known all sorts of things about the development of Senate procedure, the inability of Congress to legislate in certain crucial ways, but they left a movable document with a fair amount of elasticity, they left a political process to help us negotiate all of this, and unless you’re ready to declare huge huge amounts of the “general welfare” as unconstitutional, I suggest that you really rethink what “limited government” means.
    Things is complicated, ain’t they…..
    Oh, and by the way, where’s that phrase “limited government” show up in the document in question?
    I mean, like, there are enumerated limitations — Congress shall make no law blah blah blah, but the phrase itself?
    Could it be in a penumbra?
    Conceptually in the background?
    Necessary and proper if other provisions are supposed to work?
    Within other documents?
    Just what is “limited”?

    Reply

  7. nadine says:

    Dan, this is a logical fallacy. Just because there are some crackpots who cite the Founders is not evidence that you are a crackpot because you cite the Founders. The Founders were sane men with sane ideas and are central to America’s history.
    I know this seems to be the latest fashion among liberals – OMG those right-wing wackos think we should actually pay attention to the Constitution! how crazy can you get! – but I warn you it’s not playing well in Peoria. The Constitution says we should have limited government in the USA, which is exactly why progressives have spent the last century trying to turn the Constitution into a “living document” that can mean anything you want it to say, except for what it actually says. Which is one helluva an attitude toward the supreme law of the land.
    It’s pushback time now.

    Reply

  8. Dan Kervick says:

    I’m sorry, Nadine. But I think Beck is a lunatic crackpot – and is also not well emotionally. The loony right is always yammering on about the founders and revival and the like. Dig up any tinfoil hat conspiracy site on the web. It’s usually filled with paeans to the various founders, who are venerated as gods. Every paranoid rightist in the country thinks he and his fellow cultists are the last true Americans and the remnant rump of the Vanishing Republic. The homages to the founders are wedged right in there between the stuff about electrodes implanted in our heads and the takeover of the evil Collectivist pod people from Planet Nine.
    My guess is that beck will eventually have some sort of breakdown. I mean, one even worse than the ones he has already had on television.

    Reply

  9. nadine says:

    “Beck is a deeply ignorant and unbalanced man. It is very painful and irritating to his fans to have this pointed out to them. They rail and kick and scream about all those smug evil elitist thought police who keep telling them what to think, and who make fun of their stupidity. I know; I’ve faced some of these tantrums.” (Dan Kervick)
    Excuse me, Dan, but it’s you who are displaying ignorance here. You obviously haven’t listened to more than 30 seconds of Glenn Beck and are operating on a stereotype of what you think right wing populists must be like.
    Beck may not be the most stable of characters (as he admits) but he has been running a painfully earnest campaign to educate his viewers on the American Revolution, the Founders and the Constitution. This includes devoting whole programs to Founders most people have never heard of, like the preacher George Whitfield, one of the authors of the Great Awakening.
    If Glenn Beck is walking in anybody’s footsteps, it is Whitfield’s, which is why his Aug 28 rally was designed to be religious and apolitical. The Tea Party is about fiscal issues, but Beck is talking about a religious/civic revival. This may not be your cup of tea (I’m not sure it’s mine) but it is decidedly not ignorant.

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    “Beck was all well and good when he was firing up the “base” – i.e. yahoos – back in 2009. But now he is an embarrassment and an albatross to the somewhat more serious people who are actually presuming to ask voters to let them govern.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, did you notice that Glenn Beck turned out about 10 times as many people for his August 28 DC rally than 400 unions and left-wing organizations did for their 10/2 DC rally yesterday?
    Animated gif comparing overhead shots of the two rallies:
    http://badblue.com/temp/101003-anim-gif-020.gif

    Reply

  11. nadine says:

    Wigwag,
    Did you read Anthony Codevilla’s “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution” http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/16/americas-ruling-class-and-the/print ?
    The ‘ruling class’ vs ‘country class’ distinction really touched a nerve with the Tea Party crowd. Make no mistake, the Tea Partiers are nearly as mad as the Republican establishment as at the Democratic establishment. The Tea Party is currently attempting a hostile takeover of the Republican party apparatus from the bottom up. Tea Partiers are running for precinct captains, etc, all over. If they don’t succeed, then we may see a third party effort. But for now, they are attempting to copy the Reagan takeover of the Republican party in 1976-1980, where the conservatives ousted the more moderate Ford wing of the party.
    I agree with you about what a disaster for the Democrats Obama has turned out to be. For me, the mystery of Obama is how he can be governing so far to the left — yet still piss off his progressive base so badly. Of course, he’s not a very competent President and the base’s expectations were wildly unrealistic. But Obama had a big hand in setting those expectations, so you can’t let him off the hook for that.

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    “A lot of in-touch people who should have known better either didn’t listen to this guy or chose not to believe their own ears and their own rationality. I’m waiting for somebody, possibly someone with psychological training, to analyze why these people threw logic to the winds and supported this clown to the detriment of us all.”
    Because the majority of Americans were overwhelmingly, desperately fed up with the results from old regining hacks of both parties and all things old Washington.
    We will see how many more recycles of our dual monarchies we have to have for voters to blow off both parties and find alternatives.
    It’s downright hysterical, the super power’s leadership menu consist of one party with no heart or soul and another party with no balls.

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    “A lot of in-touch people who should have known better either didn’t listen to this guy or chose not to believe their own ears and their own rationality. I’m waiting for somebody, possibly someone with psychological training, to analyze why these people threw logic to the winds and supported this clown to the detriment of us all.”
    Because the majority of Americans were overwhelmingly, desperately fed up with the results from old regining hacks of both parties and all things old Washington.
    We will see how many more regime recycles of our dual monarchies we have to have for voters to blow off both parties and find alternatives.
    It’s downright hysterical, the super power’s leadership menu consist of one party with no heart or soul and another party with no balls.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If I were you, Questions, I wouldn’t disparage Glenn Beck too quickly. You may not like him (I don’t either) but like Sarah Palin, Beck has tapped into something that is deep and abiding in the American psyche”
    Yep. Abject stupidity, and carefully crafted media representations about current events that are designed to nurture ignorance of the truth.
    Truly, some of the dumbest, uninformed, and ill-informed people I know are Beck, Limbaugh, and Hannity fans. I can see why you would defend them, ItWig.

    Reply

  15. questions says:

    I agree that there’s a connect, especially since I personally know people who really feel something Beck-ish. At the same time, though, his ratings are down from 2.8 million to 2 million, so that’s a pretty small number of devoted followers.
    Where he seems to have some umph is in pushing MCs to toe a line as those 2 million people seem formidable at some level to much of the Republican Party. Funny how a small noisy group of people with pretty contradictory ideas can be so significant — but if they are concentrated, or if their voices can carry over to quieter voters, then maybe Graham is right to back off. And maybe when Beck complains, he gets enough support from the rest of the Foxworld that it ends up actually being numerically significant.
    I don’t want to negate the powerful feelings that people have, but the Matt Taibbi piece is not a bad read either.
    This loss of an entire world that old white guys feel is a thing to pay attention to. Loss is never taken well. But I’m pretty glad that that world is fading away as it has been pretty awful to its victims.
    Think how quickly that ass’t DA in Michigan got suspended after threatening a gay student body president at UMI — this is a good sign of a new set of values that is creeping in over time. It’s a good change!

    Reply

  16. Don Bacon says:

    from Human Rights First:
    Gitmo Trial Hits NYC; Manhattan yawns
    The debate around bringing terrorists to justice has brought out threats of panic and destruction from fear mongers distorting the facts.
    Meanwhile, a suspected Al Qaeda terrorist and former Guant

    Reply

  17. Don Bacon says:

    WigWag: “. . .the problem of international terrorism as a matter of jurisprudence instead of war.”
    It’s not a problem, terrorist acts are criminal acts and not acts of war like organized military invasions, aerial bombing, occupations, and acts of that nature. Where people get confused is when some terrorist acts are reactions to acts of war, they consider the terrorism to be part of the war itself. That is a natural confusion which would be easily solved by eliminating the root causes of terrorism, state acts of war.
    Some acts of terrorism, such as Oklahoma City, have other causes then war.

    Reply

  18. WigWag says:

    If I were you, Questions, I wouldn’t disparage Glenn Beck too quickly. You may not like him (I don’t either) but like Sarah Palin, Beck has tapped into something that is deep and abiding in the American psyche. Progressive people tend to believe that whatever that deep and abiding thing is, it must be dastardly. But I wouldn’t be so sure.
    I think that part of it is the feeling that progressive Democrats in particular, have contempt for the values of ordinary Americans. Obama’s comment about bitter people clinging to their guns was evidence of this (a claim that Steve Clemons recapitulated in a recent blog post); so is the inclination of some Democrats to view the problem of international terrorism as a matter of jurisprudence instead of war. You may think I’m being ridiculous when I harp on the Medal of Freedom President Obama gave to Mary Robinson, but Robinson is exactly the type of international civil servant/busybody who Americans recognize in their gut has evil values. I could go on and on.
    Let me remind you that there is no reason that populist movements automatically cleave to the Republican Party more than they do to the Democratic Party. There are plenty of instances in American history that the populists were the Democrats (as you know, William Jennings Bryan was himself a Democratic candidate for President).
    Democrats do themselves a disservice if they blithely criticize Beck or Palin while at the same time assuming that whatever it is about them that appeals to tens of millions of Americans must be awful. Not only is that view arrogant; it’s a sure recipe for electoral failure.
    Instead of automatically criticizing Glenn Beck, it might pay to reflect on why his audience is three times larger than the audience of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow put together.
    The criticisms of Beck actually remind me alot of the rants made by supporters of the Ground Zero Mosque. Instead of making reasoned arguments, both the Democrats (in the case of Beck) and the Mosque supporters (in the case of Ground Zero) limit their strategy to calling their opponents names.
    Here’s a newsflash; if your goal is to actually elect candidates in a democracy, that approach won’t work.

    Reply

  19. questions says:

    Just saw a HuffPo? item noting that Graham is sorta kissing up to Blenn Geck…. The Republicans are in such a pickle for now with Beckster. Has he no shame, sir? Any thoughts on what will finally be Beck’s undoing as a force in the party?
    I gotta think he’ll just burn out eventually, but he does seem to have some serious staying power and he does seem to rake in the bucks in the process.
    And, by the way, I have to note that Nate Silver keeps dooming the dems and the only way I can maintain my sanity is by thinking that there are still some deft moves on the part of the dems, some huge disconnect between the polls, the chances of dem recovery, and Nov. 2. The problem of induction is preserving my psyche, as it must! Otherwise, how would Sisyphus have managed?

    Reply

  20. WigWag says:

    “Write in challenger for DeMint?” (Questions)
    Questions, the first person to write in the name of DeMint’s challenger would be Lindsey Graham. As anyone who has spoken with Graham’s Campaign Manager, Scott Farmer will tell you, Graham detests DeMint and I am sure that the feeling is mutual. Actually DeMint may be the Republican Senator most hated by his Republican colleagues (although Senator of Tom Coburn of Oklahoma runs a close second). Of course, Graham, isn’t particularly well-liked by his Republican colleagues either.
    For more on the DeMint-Graham feud, check out this article from the Daily Beast,
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-09-21/lindsey-graham-and-jim-demint-the-gops-civil-war/full/

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    Write in challenger for DeMint?!
    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/44/2010/09/charleston-chef-dupree-challen.html
    The URL says some of it. Amazing.
    Time to print up some more pens! If it’s not considered electioneering, that is.
    D*U*P*R*E*E
    Wonder if they can do it!

    Reply

  22. questions says:

    Christine O’Donnell is a gift that keeps on giving. So is Meg Whitman, come to think of it. And maybe even Rand Paul who’s all creeped out about an ad that shows a father overlooking his son’s grave. The son died from a drug overdose, drugs plague rural KY and Rand Paul doesn’t take it seriously, bein’ a libertarian and all. But a lot of people really do take it seriously.
    The dems need to do some serious weaving together of all of these bizarre local races across the country. Congress is a woven whole made up of all the individuals who win their individual races in an all politics is local world.
    But voters really need to see that their local protest vote can create a whole that is made up of O’Donnell and Paul and … oh my.
    Really, the ad people need to show the effects in toto of individual acts.
    We are not good at seeing the whole from a part.
    We will not like a Republican Congress with this crew, Republican states with this crew — even if we HATE HATE HATE our current reps….
    There must be a CGI thing that could be done merging all these races, faces, states, policies into a scary beastie.
    Imagine this…..
    Cue the “eliminate SoSec”, and the lies, and the graph that shows the deficit under the Plague To America, and the dump the pre-existing condition provision and the age 26 provision and the end of sex as we know it and the exaggerations of records and whatever other sound bites are out there… and let it flow.

    Reply

  23. Jeff says:

    Strategy call was a great idea. Did anyone receive the call-in number?

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    Okay, I just looked up Murkowski’s DW-NOMINATE score. She won’t budge UNLESS she’s incredibly pissed about how she was treated –which she won’t be as she wasn’t treated that badly by the party when she bolted.
    More conservative than the very center of the Senate, but not a far right loon.
    “The DW-Nominate scores typically run from -1 (liberal) to 1 (conservative). The NJ scores are pretty self-explanatory. You can really appreciate the ideological polarization inherent to Congress here by looking at the DW-Nominate gap between, say, Lisa Murkowski and Evan Bayh. There is a big gulf here, which helps explain that – contrary to Mr. Fineman’s analysis – the GOP is in opposition not because they “have no interest in seeing him succeed,” but because there is a huge ideological divide between Democratic party leadership, and even the most moderate members of the GOP caucus. If the lack of bipartisanship is due to the fact that Republicans have become more conservative, it’s also due to the fact that Democrats have become more liberal.”
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/horseraceblog/2009/10/

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    I can always hope! Or delude myself for a few minutes every now and then….
    I’m unsure regarding Obama and a pub House. So far he has pretty much completely violated the tit-for-tat strategy, no doubt. It makes him moral at some level, but not a good game player.
    The thing to watch is what the consequences are for the Republicans when they play “defect” over and over and over while Obama “cooperates”. The computer models suggest that Obama simply loses as “defect” becomes the standard strategy.
    But there’s another player in here which is the electoral process and I would guess that eventually voters tire of not getting the stuff they need done. And here’s where “defect-defect-defect” can become a lousy strategy.
    BUT, it’s only a lousy strategy when voters interpret the game that way. Obama is now pushing more on the Republican strategy and maybe the push will be effective. It’s unclear.
    The other dynamic that’s working here is simply the atrocious candidate recruitment on the part of the Republicans. They really got sidetracked with the nutwings, and when they tried to push back, they fell.
    I think there’s room for the Dems to be better placed in the Senate than Nate Silver’s model suggests. I don’t really do seat-by-seat analysis, but there are some simply kooky Republicans out there who might quite suddenly fall as the national tone changes.
    So I will remain hopey changey, always ready to be totally wrong as is quite possible with something like this. I’m really reading tea leaves rather than polling data, but I really think that if there’s enough news coverage of some of the really crazy stuff out there, the Dems have a chance.
    Remember the chicken lady? She was ahead. She lost.
    As far as I’m concerned, Angle, O’Donnell, Paul, Raese, and a few others are chicken ladies. Nate Silver’s data have some of this but not all of it. If people see the “chickenness” of the Republicans in general, the dems may still have a workable majority.
    No guarantee, just irrational hopeychanginess.

    Reply

  26. WigWag says:

    “If Murkowski pulls it off, and she might, she really should caucus with the dems!” (Questions)
    Questions, if Murkowski pulls it off, the chances that she will caucus with the Democrats is near zero. But if it makes you feel any better, regardless of what happens with the election, the chances that Joe Lieberman or Ben Nelson will switch political parties is also near zero.
    The irony in all of this is that I suspect that in his heart of hearts, Mitch McConnell really prefers to come up a couple of seats short of a majority. 47 or 48 Republicans is all he needs to stop any Democratic initiative that he doesn’t like. Right now, with the Democrats only needing to pursuade one or two Republicans to go their way, every Republican Senator is a king. With a Republican caucus of 47 or 48, McConnell will have more than enough Republican votes to accomplish whatever he wants to in terms of obstruction.
    As I said in my previous comment, if the Republicans actually do win back both the House of Representatives and the Senate, there is literally no precedent that suggests that they can win the Presidency in 2012. Throughout American history, every time a party controlling the Presidency and both houses of congress loses control of both houses at the midterm elections, the party that loses the midterms goes on to keep the presidency. Mitch McConnell knows this; so does every Republican Senator.
    Bill Clinton was at his best when his party lost the legislative branch. Bill Clinton was never so popular as he was when he was fighting with Republicans about impeachment, shutting down the government, etc.
    I sincerely doubt that Obama will be anywhere near as capable of dealing with a Republican Congress as Clinton was, but it looks like we may just find out.

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    If Murkowski pulls it off, and she might, she really should caucus with the dems!
    She’s running spelling/handwriting ads, and hitting on outside money issues as per TPM links.
    She’s polling well, but I’m not sure they are write in polls w/o her name listed.
    She really should distribute pens w/her name on them unless there is election law that forbids that.

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    The addressed him as “Steven” too — are you sure they’re friendly? He’s “Steve” to everyone else, after all. But what can one expect from young guns.

    Reply

  29. Dan Kervick says:

    “Notice that there is no request for “$5” — just a request for participation in a “strategy call … Maybe the Dems are doing this too — but I certainly haven’t been on those lists.”
    Oh Steve, the Dems are in this game too. Why, just today I got a similar email from Democrats offering to suck mine just like Eric Cantor is offering to suck yours. But they do want $5 for it. No freebies. I guess representative Cantor really likes the cut of your jib.
    But putting down the fiver for the Democrats via the email check box is risky business. The emails also say that the Republicans are filibustering and amendment-bombing some Democratic sponsored Right to Suck bills. And due to the Democrats

    Reply

  30. Don Bacon says:

    I don’t have time to read a bunch of links but the Tea Party (not really a party) is playing very effectively to a dislike of business as usual which Obama has promulgated.
    Obama says he’s being unfairly castigated by the “professional left.” I think he really referring to his amateur critics who insist on — gasp! — holding him to the campaign promises which he has so casually shucked.
    questions, of course you’re dismissed when you spout nonsense. Why not? Deal with facts, if you can.

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    Matt Taibbi on the Tea Party, speaking of media coverage.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904?RS_show_page=0
    And Don, thanks for dismissing me!
    Afgh. is a morass that we are strategically far more stuck in than we’d like. Playing “Cold War” was fun for a while, but now it’s payback time and we’re likely to be paying back for the previous couple of generations worth of geostrategic gaming. There isn’t an easy way to reset the forces involved. We can’t really be isolationist, we can’t really just “leave” because the mess we leave behind will bubble up and drown us all. Meanwhile, indeed, we’re drowning in blood.
    Like I said, it’s payback for the Cold War, and just as all bubbles distort values, so the Cold War distorted our economy, the worth of alliances, and our political system. Undistorting is both necessary and impossible — necessary because we are in an unsustainable situation and impossible because there is no natural state to which to return.
    Undistorting can’t be a return to some pure state, since of course there isn’t one, but rather will have to be an entirely new thing that we hope will emerge eventually.

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    And questions picking on poor (poorer, I should say, after spending $120mn for CA) Meg Whitman.
    Whitman says she was ‘stunned’ to learn housekeeper was undocumented
    “We had no reason to believe she was not legal,” Whitman said. “No one could have been more stunned than I was when she came to us on that Saturday that June and said,

    Reply

  33. Don Bacon says:

    questions questions Woodward — “watch Woodward. He’s not all he’s cracked up to be”
    But nobody else has, including those that Woodward has attributed remarks to.
    So much for questions.

    Reply

  34. Don Bacon says:

    “On domestic policy Obama’s been pretty good.”
    Buckled under to the medical insurance industry and gave up the public option he campaigned on, while forcing everybody to buy rip-off medical insurance — check.
    Stepped up surveillance, now going for internet snooping — check.
    Bailed out Wall Street and gave the finger to Main Street — check.
    Continued Bush’s 23 national emergencies, increased internal US highway checkpoints — check.
    Three million jobs lost since Obama became president — check.
    Came up with a plan to divide teachers with non-teacher Arne Duncan and Race to the Top – check.
    Came up with a lousy mortgage assistance plan that has helped almost nobody – check.
    Blames all bis failures on the people who voted for him – double check.
    There must be a pony in there somewhere.

    Reply

  35. Dan Kervick says:

    “Obama has called his base irresponsible and told them to “buck up” –Rolling Stone article — and Biden has said the liberals are “whiners” and need to “buck up.””
    Really crazy timing on this. Democrats have been rising in the polls, and have picked up some momentum lately – in good part due to the ascendancy of beyond-the-fringe tea party knuckleheads who are scaring middle-of-the-road voters. As the election approaches, those voters shift away from judging politicians on their entertainment value and emotional performances, and toward judging them on their ability to govern.
    And all the fund-raising email I have received lately has been very much on message. The message is: “Help defeat the crazy Republicans!” I suspect these emails have picked up because they are proving to be quite effective. Progressives might not be that eager to vote for certain disappointing Democrats, but they are very eager to vote against nitwit radical Republican trogolodytes. On the progressive blogs, much of the “Obama has pissed us off” talk has died down quite a bit lately in favor of “Defeat the radical Republicans” talk.
    So why choose this week to lob more insults at progressives and piss them off again?

    Reply

  36. The Pessimist says:

    Regarding Obama’s victory in ’08:
    Many of the votes for Obama were actually votes against Palin/McCain.
    Don’t give Obama full credit for every vote he received, he didn’t earn them all so much as some voters were simply opposing the disastrous Palin/McCain pairing.
    Even some Republicans were terrified of those two degenerates ever getting close to the White House. Four years is probably a justifiable period of time for the Republicans to reassess their campaign efforts for the presidency.
    Even if Obama wins re-election in 2012 he may again simply be the lesser-of-two evils. All in all a pretty sad state of affairs for the American voters.

    Reply

  37. questions says:

    Here’s the Feingold rescue???
    http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/09/29/ron_johnson_child_victims/index.html
    Ben, no, Obama hasn’t been perfect. Greenwald pushed the executive power stuff and somewhere out there is a threefold distinction in Obama policies I don’t entirely remember, but the national security spy stuff/executive power things are problematic in that view.
    It’s harder to steamroll the Republicans than one would hope given the current Senate rules. And Congress just has a logic of its own that the pres is stuck with. You can’t really blackmail the MCs, you can’t really push too hard because they will push back.
    As for coming to our own opinions, unless you really are a fly on the wall, you are totally dependent on media reports, and what we can weigh is one media source against another. Expertise is equally a pick-a-mix thing. Krugman or Roubini or a guy on Fox? How do you know?
    And regarding the spy state, the problem is that there is an age old trend of power’s preferring a surveillance state of one sort or another. There’s a book called Seeing Like a State that tells a fascinating story about the growth of record keeping and certain kinds of surveillance and regularization of behavior from tree planting to house construction. We need to count people, line them up so they can be counted, tax them, vaccinate them, school them, conscript them, bury them…..
    It’s a process that works against our rhetoric but well within the parameters of statehood. And the 9/11 attacks simply made clear to many that spying, watching, data collection, and more watching are simply going to have to be part of the background.
    Further, google has made it clear that people put up with all sorts of data mining so that they can get coupons and discounts and suggestions based on their typical habits and the habits of others like them.
    We already have accepted the commercial loss of privacy, so the state’s encroachment is just another facet.
    Doesn’t mean it’s a great thing, but it does suggest that there’s a logic that not even a US pres can really fight against.
    Obama’s education policy is the pits. Afghanistan is it’s own kind of trainwreck.
    But the pubs will be far worse, this much is clear.

    Reply

  38. Ben Rosengart says:

    Reading these comments, I can’t help but get the sense that
    some people are too caught up in media narratives.
    Obama hasn’t been a perfect president. His continuation of
    Bush-era executive power-grabs bugs me a lot. On domestic
    policy, he’s been pretty good. Of course I’d’ve liked to see him
    steamroll the Republican opposition, but that approach has its
    dangers as well.
    It’s important to ignore the media noise and come to your own
    opinions.

    Reply

  39. Don Bacon says:

    The GOP Young Guns are going to to take America back? How far back?? I guess they’ll discuss that in the 30 minute strategy call tomorrow.
    I have a fondness for the fifties, myself.

    Reply

  40. Don Bacon says:

    Obama talk to people? Obama held no press conferences in 2009 after July 22 and only held one this year on September 10. I don’t blame him.

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  41. questions says:

    “reportedly” — watch Woodward. He’s not all he’s cracked up to be. The fly on the wall technique when you’re not really a fly is a little odd.

    Reply

  42. Don Bacon says:

    Here’s four guys who failed to get “psychologically out of Afghanistan” like Obama reportedly has.
    CNN, Sep 29 – Four soldiers from Fort Hood, Texas died over the weekend. In all four cases, it appears the soldiers, all decorated veterans from the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan, took their own lives, according to Christopher Haug, a Fort Hood spokesman. If confirmed as suicides, it would be on top of 14 other suicides on the base this year.

    Reply

  43. questions says:

    Some polling data.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/9/29/906413/-New-CNN-Polls-Show-Good-News-in-CA,-IL
    It really isn’t over.
    Obama really needs to meet with people in their habitats.
    Go to a mall and talk with customers — except they’re the ones with money and security is too difficult. So nix that.
    Go somewhere and talk to people — regular people on the local news will do so much.

    Reply

  44. questions says:

    Oh my, the gift that keeps on giving….
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/9/29/906381/-BREAKING:-GOP-Cand.-in-MI-01-hid-income-to-avoid-child-support
    The URL says it all.
    Kos is quite a resource sometimes. They had a good follow up (2 actually) to the Politifact Grayson Taliban Dan Webster stoning and religiosity dust up (that is, they fact checked politifact and corrected the record.)

    Reply

  45. questions says:

    The Richmond, VA “backyard” meet up (I think it was in a living room or a basement) was almost perfect.
    He responded well to questions, was conversational, noted the “help” the Republicans have been offering lately, was clear on policy, listed some of the admin successes, noted some frustrations, addressed the tone of our national discourse.
    Might be nice if he could do a still smaller meetup with some Tea Party types to address a little bit of their world view too — the saner concerns and maybe some of the loony stuff as well.
    He dissed the wingers on both sides, which is a consistent theme — the “professional” left and right who drum up controversy.
    Touched on the politics of the party of no — good to note the success of the strategy as POLITICS even while noting that it doesn’t make for good policy.
    A lot more of these in a lot of battle ground states. Yes, it’s time consuming, but given what happens if Congress changes parties, I think it’s probably worth the investment.
    Pick places where the local media will pick up the story and bank on the network effects.
    Pick people who are networked in to a lot of other people — doctors with many patients, people with lots of clients, afterschool program teachers who deal with tons of parents over the course of a week, people who belong to bridge clubs or senior groups who will talk about the day they met the pres.
    Networks can be our friends. The mulitplier effects are substantial.

    Reply

  46. anon says:

    “but it promotes the notion of connection…”
    Umm, are you brain dead?

    Reply

  47. Don Bacon says:

    Good analysis by WigWag, except it wasn’t only “the legions of wet behind the ears college students and an increasingly out of touch intelligentsia” that got taken by somebody (Obama) who had clearly told us up front, in so many words, that he was not a man of principle but an opportunistic compromiser.
    A lot of in-touch people who should have known better either didn’t listen to this guy or chose not to believe their own ears and their own rationality. I’m waiting for somebody, possibly someone with psychological training, to analyze why these people threw logic to the winds and supported this clown to the detriment of us all.
    Speaking of psychology, the latest thing that Bob Woodward is saying is that Obama is psychologically out of Afghanistan. Imagine that. The troops that are over there, maybe for the third or fourth time, with an opportunity to die for nothing will love to hear that.

    Reply

  48. questions says:

    This is on in the background as I type:
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/09/obama-to-26k-cheering-college-kids-im-going-to-fight-as-hard-as-i-can-video.php?ref=fpb
    Obama in Madison.
    Big venue.
    He should do some smaller venues in which people can vent and be heard. People like to be heard.

    Reply

  49. questions says:

    And maybe something about Daniel Webster’s religious views would help? (Running against Grayson.)
    Let it drip from headlines across the country.
    There’s a wing of the Republican party that is deeply problematic — indeed, there are numerous wings of the party that are problematic.
    Run stories that show these problems and the party’s tolerance for seriously flawed candidates. There’s a lot of material out there that, if pushed, will set a tone, narrative, framing against which the Republicans are viewed. A little distaste can go a long way in a weird political climate.
    Somewhere between DeMint’s coup/usurpation/overuse of the hold and O’Donnell’s entire worldview and Whitman’s nanny, there is room to hit abuse of power, crazy religiosity, and hypocrisy. Good stuff.
    Now Obama’s job HAS to be a lot more of these backyard “meet your critics” events across the country. They get on local news, are covered by the papers. He can take the criticism and answer it. It’s a professor’s gift to be able to do this well, and he’s personable and likable and on top of the issues enough to manage it.
    He should do a SMALL townhall meeting or 10 in a pleasant venue in which people are invited to share their life stories in ways that let him respond with, umm, responsiveness.
    There are pending pieces of legislation that can help, the pubs are holding them back, there are serious longterm problems from the Bush tax cuts and the Bush wars and the deficits Bush ran up. 9/11 actually happened on Bush’s watch, and the security mess we’re in is related to his handling of the situation all those years ago….
    All of this should come up in a mellow way in televised townhalls. Not overly blaming the old regime as that starts to sound bad, but noting that the problems are deep, long in the making, and hard to fix when the Senate works the way it does.
    Perhaps it might help to have a brush up on Senate procedure, even.
    I think 2010 can still come out ok, and the pubs are definitely regifting on a daily basis. Obama really has to open the presents and show them to the voters, especially in the Senate seats that simply BELONG to the dems.
    Sending Emanuel back to Chicago isn’t a bad idea either.
    A few more recess appointments might be a good idea, too, come to think of it.
    And a signed ME document???!!! THAT would be something! Any ideas?

    Reply

  50. questions says:

    Oh, but maybe they are a-shifting again!
    Google up CNN and James O’Keefe — truly bizarre “plot” I can’t quite understand. Something about “punking” a CNN reporter using a dildo???? And video???? And, oh, just google it up…. It’s truly off the deep end.
    And Meg Whitman seems to have a nanny problem. Hope California doesn’t have a Gloria Allred problem.
    Oh my.
    The Republicans really do have some issues with the people they depend on. O’Keefe was going to be a star YOUNG TURK reporter or whatever. And Meg Whitman spent a lot more on her campaign than she did on, ummm, a nanny.
    I get the feeling we’ll get a revelation or two a week, timed with Maher’s release of O’Donnell pieces. (Her degree thing is just a little icing on the cake.)
    Drip, drip, drip.
    As long as it hits the MSM it doesn’t matter if Fox doesn’t carry it. Fox voters aren’t the ones the Dems need. But there seems to be, for now at least, some synergy!
    Shame that the Mark Kirk stuff came out before Labor Day. Maybe there’s more. And Colorado needs a juicy revelation. Somehow Raese’s marble driveway hasn’t hit home in WVA, but then, they had Jay Rockefeller so the wealth issue maybe doesn’t strike the same chord.
    Anyway, politics makes for good spectator sport!
    And maybe Charlie Crist can still pull out something on Rubio!!!!!! (Oh, I DO SO HATE to be so so so wrong!)

    Reply

  51. WigWag says:

    It’s remarkable how the political winds have shifted. This is far more dramatic than the shift to the Republicans that took place in the midterm elections during Clinton’s first term. After all, Clinton won by a plurality not a majority and was able to emerge victorious only because of the presence of Ross Perot on the ballot.
    Obama on the other hand won an overwhelming victory against John McCain and the Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate were the largest they had been in a generation. In a show of political incompetence almost unprecedented in American history, Obama has squandered all of that.
    As for those whining progressives; why should anyone feel sorry for them? They got the candidate they wanted; they were the ones who convinced themselves that Obama was the Second Coming. They’re the ones who averted their eyes from the fact that Obama was a neophyte virtually devoid of accomplishment. It was them who rigged the convention so Obama would win. Now they’re reaping what they sowed and it’s hard to know whether to laugh or to cry. One thing is clear; the progressives who supported Obama during the nominating process are complicit in everything Obama has done to hurt the country and everything he has done to damage the Democratic Party. The reality is simple; the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is neither smarter nor more emotionally or politically mature than the Tea Party members that they love to criticize.
    As for Eric Cantor’s email, it’s little more than the traditional political hype that both parties engage in. I get scores of direct mail pieces and emails from the Democrats that include surveys inviting me to provide the Democratic leadership with my opinions. It’s just a direct mail fundraising strategy with the solicitation of the potential donor

    Reply

  52. Larry Martin says:

    What’s really fun is listening to Obama and Biden whine about
    “whining” progressives, whom they have systematically let down,
    and put down, over the past 18 months.

    Reply

  53. DonS says:

    Obama and crew are trying harder and harder to pretend they haven’t screwed the (progressive) pooch. . . so that progressives don’t sit on their hands in important races.
    Disgusting reality is that Obama continues to behave as if the power is inevitably in the right wing instead — if he ever believed in it — to engage the fight against the right. A few ‘red meat’ speeches at this late date only reinforce the charade.

    Reply

  54. Don Bacon says:

    At least the donkeys have got a grip on foreign policy, right? Not exactly.
    Obama: “We need to make clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan” That’s because Pakistan is allied with the Taliban which is killing US troops within Afghanistan as well as with human wave attacks against US military outposts near the border.
    But the State Department has a handle on it. In comments made earlier today Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated long-standing US demands for major tax increases in Pakistan, insisting that the US might withdraw foreign aid to the Zardari government if they don

    Reply

  55. Don Bacon says:

    And here’s Cenk Uygur going off on Obama/Biden.
    http://tinyurl.com/33snded

    Reply

  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The Donkeys right now are in complete panic mode”
    As well they should be. If this piece of shit Obama isn’t a ringer, I’ll kiss Nadine’s ass.

    Reply

  57. Don Bacon says:

    There’s a firestorm going on right now at firedoglake.com because
    1) Obama has called his base irresponsible and told them to “buck up” –Rolling Stone article — and Biden has said the liberals are “whiners” and need to “buck up.”
    2) The FDL response was read and displayed on MSNBC (video at FDL):
    “Really, Dude? That’s your message? ‘I can’t stand you, now go vote for me'”? –David Dayen
    This difference has spread through the blogosphere, with some like Kevin Drum saying aw, Obama tried and others providing proof that he didn’t try at all. For some examples, who forced him to double down in Afghanistan, spread the war into Pakistan and keep 50,000 troops in Iraq?
    And it goes on into health care and other issues. The Donkeys right now are in complete panic mode.

    Reply

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