Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lawrence O'Donnell: “The most effective Democratic Presidential campaigner we have ever seen on television” (VIDEO)

Still, while I agree with the sentiment, I'm pretty sure Bill Clinton could make a pretty good argument on his behalf. Bubba was better at the "I feel your pain" and off-the-cuff empathy speeches. The Boss is better at slowly, painful, and coldly eviscerating his opposition. Bubba was better at heightening emotion. The Boss was better at beating down his opponents.

Simply put, Clinton is a slap on the back; Obama is that hard elbow you get driving the lane that the refs don't call.

So (cough-cough) you may have noticed that I've been relying on quite a bit of Lawrence to do my blog this week.  Then again, I've never seen my position on an issue, and my position on an issue so perfectly in alignment.

Strangely enough, I've never seen a intra-ideology dispute, like the one I've been having with dear ol' Dad this past week, so perfectly encapsulated in this discussion between Lawrence O'Donnell and Jonathan Alter (where I'm Lawrence and Dad is Jonathan Alter):

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America! @#$^ YEAH!!!

This is one of the rare times my jingoistic hat comes on, full of red, white and blue pride.  Why?  Because  being an evil overlord doesn't always work out.  Five members of the North Korean Women's World Cup team have tested positive for steroids.

This would be the same North Korean Women's Team, Team America beat 2-0.

The Fireside Chat for July 16th, 2011 (VIDEO)

President Obama emphasizes the importance of compromise and shared sacrifice so that we can overcome our fiscal challenges and get our economy on a stronger footing going forward.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"If you're only talking to people who agree with you, then Politics is always going to disappoint you..." (VIDEO)

This was a great, great catch by the fine folks at The Only Adult In The Room, but given the headlines of the last couple of days, it bears repeating...

Of course, any time the President takes the time to kick the crap out of the Huffington Post...

The President's Press Conference of July 15, 2011 (VIDEO)

Sometimes, its hard as a blogger to bit and piece stuff you read on the read, and today's Greg Sargent is just such an example.  It's like a piece Ezra wrote not that long ago.  It's got both good news and bad news in it, so let me put up the whole thing:

President Obama recently took a beating from some on the left for suggesting that immediate deficit reduction is necessary to take the issue off the table and make it possible to spend more on liberal priorities later. And Obama of course has regularly been criticized by liberals for prioritizing deficit reduction and for effectively ceding the argument over government spending and job creation to the other side.

In a key moment at his presser today, Obama gave what I think is the most extensive reply to that criticism yet. It’s worth quoting at length (transcript slightly edited):

If you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit just as much as if you’re a conservative. And the reason is because if the only thing we’re talking about over the next year, two years, five years is debt and deficits, then it’s very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges so that our kids are trained. How do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure.

If you care about making investments in our kids, and making investments in our infrastructure, and making investments in basic research, then you should want our fiscal house in order so that every time we propose a new initiative, somebody doesn’t just throw up their hands and say “more big spending, more government.”

It would be very helpful for us to be able to say to the American people: “Our fiscal house is in order. So, now the question is, what should we be doing to win the future, and make ourselves more competitive, and create more jobs, and what aspects of what government’s doing are a waste, and we should eliminate.” And that’s the kind of debate that I’d like to have.

Obama’s argument is that progressives won’t be able to make the case to the public for more spending unless the deficit is neutralized as an issue. The idea seems to be that once Republicans and Democrats buy into a bipartisan plan that reduces the deficit, voters will more open when Dems propose government investment in our economy, infrastructure and future. They won’t be as easily distracted every time Republicans shout, “Boo, Big Government Liberal.”

Some liberals will respond that this risks ceding the short term argument in advance, with the result that the public never gets to hear the case for running deficits in a bad economy and dealing with them later. Liberals will also reply that Republicans will go right on tarring Dem policies as big spending liberalism run amok even if a deficit deal is reached — and that there's no taking such issues “off the table.”

I assume that Obama knows this, and thinks that even if this is true, the public will be less receptive to GOP arguments once the deficit has been neutralized as an issue — that the public will be more capable of actually listening to the ideas Dems are proposing. Jonathan Bernstein argues that there’s precedent for this: Once Clinton restored his credibility with the middle of the country in the wake of the 1994 disaster, he was able to pick (and win) major fights over the proper role of government and the safety net that set back the GOP drive to dismantle government for a decade.

I don’t know if this will work for Obama — unlike Clinton, he’s attempting this in the middle of a terrible economy. But either way, there’s no longer any doubt about the President’s reasoning as to why it’s appropriate for deficit reduction to throughly dominate our politics for the time being.

Leroy Petry. Nuff said. (VIDEO)

Getting the Congressional Medal of Honor and appearing on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart? All in all, not a bad week.

Still, it doesn't come close to rewarding what this man has given his country.

Thank you for your service, sir.  Your very presence makes America a better country.

Lawrence O'Donnnell: "As the clock runs out, the President's hand only strengthens" (VIDEO)

Lawrence had a busy night, which is why I'm pretty much giving you the first half of last night's show. And he engages in one of my favorite sports, Professional Left Bashing.

You'll note the part of the first segment where he reminds America that one of the first things then-President Bill Clinton did was cut Medicare Spending, and not one Liberal howled. (I seem to remember some howling, but Lawrence is right, it was nowhere near the cacophony it is today for President Obama's head-fake.):

The Richard Wolffe segment:

Did you catch that part where Nancy Pelosi says that she too is in favor of the Four Trillion Package too? That should tell you right there, that the President's intentions on cutting Entitlements are a head-fake.

The Ezra Klein segment:

Now, apparently, the President said something in today's Press Conference that suggests that a Clean Bill is his least favorite option:

"The fall back position, the third option, and what I consider the least attractive option, is one in which we raise the debt ceiling without making any significant progress on reducing the deficit."

I can't wait to see what Lawrence has to say about that one, but my bet is, it continues to corner the Republicans. After bailing on the President's Four Trillion dollar plan to preserve tax cuts for the rich, their one major play remains, pass a clean Debt Ceiling Bill and blame the President for it.

It seems to me, at least following my logic, that the President is saying: "Hey, I don't want to do that either. I'm all for spending cuts. But, if this is all we can agree to, I guess we have to do it.  Heavy sigh."

Even though, as Lawrence says, it was his original position at the start of this debate.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Erza Klein (or rather Larry Mishel) talks about the morality of Tax Cuts versus Spending.

From Ezra's blogpost of "How different are taxes and spending?"

This morning, on “The Diane Rehm Show,” EPI’s Larry Mishel made a good point: The Republicans argue that increasing taxes by a dollar hurts the economy while cutting spending by a dollar helps the recovery, he said. That means they believe that taking a dollar out of a rich person’s pocket through taxes hurts demand while taking it out of a poor person’s pocket by cutting unemployment insurance doesn’t. He suggested there’s not a whole lot of evidence to support this claim.

But remember that Republicans also say that cutting tax expenditures counts as a tax increase. That implies that cutting a $1 billion subsidy for low-income housing will help the recovery while shaving $1 billion off of a tax break that subsidizes low-income housing purchases would impede the recovery. Can anyone defend that claim? Would anyone even like to try?

Lawrence O'Donnell: "Nothing is agreed to, until everything is agreed to..." (VIDEO)

Lawrence doing all the hard work for me.

CBS News' Interview with President Obama for July 13, 2011 (VIDEO)

Obama on Boehner:

Obama on Syria:

Jim Messina: Believe it or not, the 86 Million bucks we raised, ain't the story here. (VIDEO)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jon Oliver gives America a Hug (VIDEO)

Lawrence O'Donnell: Republicans aren't the only ones who know how to move the goalposts.

By the way, the more Liberal Democrats (and Democrats period) hue and cry about this, the better the hand the President has to play, so Professional Left (and I can't believe I'm saying this) keep up the good work!

It's simple math.  Boehner's losing 54-80 Republicans on a Debt Ceiling vote.  That means for a Debt Ceiling to pass (and yes, Boehner wants it to pass), needs Democratic Votes.  And now Steny is saying that without revenues in a deal, he can expect zero Democratic votes.

My bet is that we're going to go right up to the wire with this Kabuki Dance (Copyright, 2011, R.Johnson Ltd.), and at the end of the day, when there are neither votes to pass a "Grand Bargain" with Revenues, nor the maximalist, 100% spending cuts the Republicans want, and instead they pass a (mostly) clean bill with mostly Democratic votes, and the votes of Republicans who don't want to feel the wrath of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. At most, the GOP gets cuts that the President wanted to do anyway, and don't harm the overall Economy.

Remember, the Chamber of Commerce is our ally in this matter, threatening to go after any Republican who stands in the way of the Debt Ceiling being raised.