Friday, March 5, 2010

Not cool...

Fort McHenry is a nakedly pro-Obama as they come. But even I'm not cool with this.

Okay, so maybe Mitt Romney won't be the GOP Nominee in 2012...

Interesting notion from Jonathan Chait of the New Republic, Timothy Noah of Slate and James Pethokoukis of Reuters: it may well be impossible for former Governor Mitt Romney to win the Republican Nomination in 2012 because he's too liberal.

Romney is a useful marker in the frightening right-wing turn of his party. The GOP has been moving rightward for the last thirty years, but that shift has dramatically accelerated just since the fall of 2008. After Obama won the presidency, Republican officeholders and conservative pundits decided almost-unanimously was that the party's failure had stemmed from being too moderate.

The sudden ideological isolation of Romney is a case in point. During the 2008 GOP primary battle, he took a lot of heat for his former socially liberal positions. But his health care plan in Massachusetts attracted very little controversy. It was a classic moderate Republican plan, and one could very easily imagine Romney implementing something like it -- which is to say, something resembling the Obama plan -- had he won the presidency. Now it's seen as socialism, if not the end of American freedom. Likewise, the Bush administration and most Republicans favored TARP, but it, too, is now widely seen among Republicans as some dystopian attack on free enterprise ripped straight out of an Ayn Rand novel.

I'm not saying Romney won't try to make a run, but his odds of success with this version of the GOP are diminishing by the day. (And mind you, we haven't even touched the Mormon issue, which is going to cost him dearly among hardcore Christian Evangelicals.)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

President Obama's Speech on the Health Reform Endgame March 3, 2010 (VIDEO)

Figured it'd be best to couple this video with a little Ezra Klein:

Obama gave no quarter today. Gone was the pretense that Democrats and Republicans basically agree on health-care reform. "Many Republicans in Congress just have a fundamental disagreement over whether we should have more or less oversight of insurance companies," Obama said. "And if they truly believe that less regulation would lead to higher quality, more affordable health insurance, then they should vote against the proposal I’ve put forward."

Gone was vague language and gesturing coyness Democrats have favored on the path forward. "The United States Congress owes the American people a final vote on health care reform," Obama said. "We have debated this issue thoroughly, not just for a year, but for decades. Reform has already passed the House with a majority. It has already passed the Senate with a supermajority of sixty votes. And now it deserves the same kind of up-or-down vote that was cast on welfare reform, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, COBRA health coverage for the unemployed, and both Bush tax cuts."

So that's it, then: The health-care reform bill that Congress will vote on will be a close relative of the health-care reform bills that Congress has already passed. No Plan Bs, no starting over, no accommodation with continued obstructionism. "I have therefore asked leaders in both houses of Congress to finish their work and schedule a vote in the next few weeks," Obama said. "From now until then, I will do everything in my power to make the case for reform."

What's important about this speech is that it didn't leave any paths open. It attacked the Republican bills, the arguments for piecemeal reform, and the idea that procedural impediments are sufficient to excuse the further delay of a verdict. This is the end of the line. There's not a magic alternative behind the curtain or a hard reset that will lead to a harmonious bipartisan process. It all just is what it is. And now it's time for a vote. It's time for health-care reform to either pass or fail.

""What you're saying is, I should take on this mess that you all created?" (VIDEO)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

F--- it, I've got nothing...

I've had my say (needless to say, I took offense). Ta-Neishi Coates has more:

I think the most charitable interpretation holds that Franks isn't endorsing slavery, as much as he's....Fuck it, I've got nothing. This is just stupid on all conceivable levels.

I think there will be some amount of indignity, and offense-taking over this comment, and that's understandable. But when I read this, as when I read many conservative politicians, speak on African-Americans, I just feel sorry for them. Before you explain to someone that a "policy" built on selling children, government-sanctioned torture, and forced labor is worse than any policy in place to day, you should come to terms with the fact that your breaths are limited, and your days numbered. You have to budget your outrage.

That is the statement of an intellectual child, of someone whose never ventured beyond their hometown. It's what happens when you decide that you're fine as the party of white people, and your corner of the world is enough. This is what happens when your knowledge is capped, and your ignorance is boundless.