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Happy Hour Roundup

* Angry Democrats scuttle efforts to end debate on financial reg reform, because they see the bill as too weak.

* Russ Feingold explains why: The current bill won't avert a future crisis.

* Ouch! A brutal exchange between Michael Steele and Fox's Neil Cavuto:

STEELE: The Republican Party establishment -- I don't know who that is, by the way --

CAVUTO: You! You! You!

STEELE: Have you been reading my press lately? The last thing you could say about me is that I'm part of the establishment here.

CAVUTO: Well, yeah, everybody hates you. I'm kidding.

* A thoughtful post from Ben Smith about the potential pitfalls of the rise of the "fact check" genre, even if it's been (as Ben says) largely a positive for our politics.

* Jamison Foser says The Times sounds like a political campaign in defending its posting of the shorter Richard Blumenthal video.

* Good read: The Hartford Courant's Colin McEnroe calls on the Times public editor to probe the Blumenthal story.

* Also in the above link: He quotes many local reporters vouching for Blumenthal.

* Ron Wyden tells Sam Stein that the Tea-drenching of his partner in bipartisanship, Robert Bennett, is a great loss for the country.

* John McCain edges close to the polling danger zone.

* Obama says the Arizona immigration law has the "potential to be applied in a discriminatory fashion."

* Props to my friend Glenn Thrush, who will now be covering the White House full time for Politico.

* And TPM scores with another must-watch mashup video lampooning the bizarro chickens-for-checkups backtracking I highlighted earlier:

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 19, 2010; 6:01 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Financial reform , Happy Hour Roundup , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Times defends posting of clipped Blumenthal video
Next: The Morning Plum


Harry Reid, after losing vote on Financial reform, says "a Senator broke his word with me." He was talking about Scott Brown.

Scott Brown is a liar.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Richard Blumenthal, on the other hand, NOT a liar.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

Pretty bad when Neil Cavuto snaps the towel on your asss.

And why, pray tell, didn't he ASK Steele who he thinks the establishment is?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 19, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

I'll worry about the "pitfalls" of the fact-check when we get some facts straight. The lack of accuracy on the Sunday shows, Fox, and words exiting the mouths of GOP pols and operatives is so far gone we have to get back to some semblance of factual discourse.

Media: do better!

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 19, 2010 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Cavuto/Steele - That's a good start.

I think we ought to acknowledge the community benefit that arises from the NRA membership in the modern right. That is, the ready availability of firing squad ammo where purchased for cash or bartered for...oh, whatever...livestock, nazi memorabilia, etc.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Fuel the win:

I threw in for Bill, now's the time! :)

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 19, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

BG - I'm guessing that Steele was likely referring to the Rolling Stone piece on Rove/Gillespie's by-pass of Steele and the RNC mechanisms.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Columbia Journalism Review comes out against the Times piece

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 19, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Now, here's some lying that actually matters. It matters because of all the lives that have been ruined or damaged or marginalized because of this guy and his movement. Souder to the House Oversight Comm. on his deeply held moral views...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Good link, greg. Thanks.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

That Mark Ambinder...clearly a smart fellow. Benen writes:

"Marc Ambinder noted, "In the United States, military service is sacral""

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Actually, all of Benen's post at 4:15 are typically worthshile, in this case he makes many of the same comparisons we've been making here over the last couple of days...

That any of us would feel a necessity to answer to conservative/Republican plaints about Blumenthal is rather like sitting for a sermon on the proper regard for the dignity of choir boys from the Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

And Benen quotes Norm Orstein getting things right side up...

"John Boehner used to be a serious legislator. Eric Cantor is smart and a justifiably rising star in the GOP firmament. But they are becoming the Bart Simpsons of Congress, gleeful at smarmy and adolescent tactics and unable and unwilling to get serious. Instead of encouraging a constructive relationship with the serious and fair-minded legislators on the Democratic side, they are adding to the traction of their take-no-prisoners counterparts. What a shame."

As I argued last night, we do have a moral and civic obligation to ensure (so well as we can) that our representatives speak honestly. But we also have an obligation, one far more serious that what Blumenthal got up to, to ensure that the modern conservative movement does not regain the levers of power until it again becomes an entity sane, moral and with a vision of the common good.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, considering it's Arizona:

PHOENIX—Arizona voters on Tuesday approved a temporary sales tax increase championed by a Republican governor who, despite angering conservative supporters, embraced it as the only way to avert sharp cuts in education and other services.


Had the tax failed, a contingency budget approved by the legislature would have cut money for schools, health care, state police officers and other services.


With 88 percent of precincts reporting late Tuesday, the proposition had 64 percent of the vote.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 19, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse


OT I know but I've started on "Matterhorn". You are correct it is a great read and a real page turner.

I wish our buddy bilgey would read it so he could see what it was like for men in a REAL war instead of that pretend crap he engaged in Desert Storm with Smart Bombs and Abrams Tanks up against a bunch of losers. Too bad that confederate sissy bilgey couldn't have spent a year at Khe Sanh or Hue...I suspect he'd be singing a different tune...of course when you are in pretend wars like "Desert Storm' then you can afford that BS macho swagger.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 19, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

NYT appears to be the new Breitbart in that they only tell part of the story and leave out the other parts that might confuse the opinion they are trying to push.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 19, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

The Teabaggers Get Their Candidate, and it is:

Drum Roll Please:

Rand Paul; Country Club Populist.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 19, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse

The Teabaggers Get Their Candidate, and it is:

Drum Roll Please:

Rand Paul; Country Club Populist.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 19, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

But, but, but Liam, Rand assures us that "everybody plays golf now."

Yeah, my wife said, on public courses maybe....

I hope the left gets behind Conway for that seat. We need to get him some name recognition and funding.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 19, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Man, so Pakistan blocked Facebook because of this group.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 19, 2010 8:40 PM | Report abuse

They gotta fix the financial reform bill. It's not good enough as is. This isn't like the health care bill where is was more important to pass an imperfect bill than none at all. This one could be made better.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 19, 2010 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is f'ed.

"A reader notes that Paul articulated his view on the Civil Rights Act in an interview ( ) with the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal (which called his answer (at around 1:00) "repulsive").

Paul explained that he backed the portion of the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public places and institutions, but that he thinks private businesses should be permitted to discriminate by race.

"I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains, and I’m all in favor of that," he said. "I don’t like the idea of teling private business owners...." "

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 19, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

I've been looking into Rand Paul for a while now (he's a favorite of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who I absolutely can't stand) and there surface of The Crazy hasn't even been scratched yet.

For instance, Rand Paul Hearts Citizens United

Posted by: MichaelConrad | May 19, 2010 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Tea Partiers are going all in on Rand Paul. They'll spend a ton to get him elected. It will be an interesting test. Hopefully he'll be so battered by November that Conway will be elected the next senator from Kentucky.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 19, 2010 9:47 PM | Report abuse

LGF has been posting quite a bit of hard hitting articles on Rand Paul. Let's hope it all sticks and Conway pulls off KY. That would be a hoot.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 19, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

Paul is also not a fan of the Americans with Disabilities Act, why should business owners be forced to put in wheel chair ramps for their employees or customers for that matter.

Also, I'm not a huge Tim Kaine groupie, but he said something I thought was pretty smart today after all the usual platitudes regarding last nights election. Someone asked him if he thought the Repubs throwing around the Socialism label hurts Obama or the party. Here's his response.

"People love to throw labels around and I think for most thinking Americans, throwing that label around actually doesn't hurt us," Kaine replied. "It suggests an extremism and an ideological rigidity that isn't where most Americans are. We are problem solvers."

"A party that just relies on throwing labels around and refusing to cooperate, they might get a headline but they won't get support of people," he added. "We are going to promote smart solutions to these problems and If the other guys want to rely on labels rather than roll up their sleeves and actually help us govern a nation at a time when governance is needed -- it is an abdication of responsibility but they are not going to help their case by doing that."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 19, 2010 9:50 PM | Report abuse

Part of the attraction many will have towards Paul is simpleness. Bright line between public and private (as he argued again tonight with Maddow). Government can't discriminate against, say, blacks but if a business does, well, the government has no right to intervene. He holds this as a principled stance and it is. The problem arises because it isn't the only principle involved, it's just the one he thinks trumps others.

These sorts of simplistic formulations avoid the headache of complexity, moral or legal or philosophical. And that appeals to those who have trouble with such complexities. His notions on foreign policy are of a similar sort.

It seems to me that this phenomenon is actually very close to the fundamentalism such as we see in the religious right (or the Taliban or rightwing Israeli settler notions, etc). That is, they take a document or a text or some codified set of ideas/claims/values and class them as True or Right and inviolable - outside the bounds of question or revision.

It also seems to me that one can hold this sort of ideology for two reasons; first, because it is cognitively comfortable to have such certainty or second, because you've decided that though you have more resiliency than this yourself, others do not so it is prudent to forward such solid codes for the sake of societal order (waving to Antonin).

I think we ought not to minimize the attraction of such simplicities to many. As we saw with fundamentalist christian faith over the last thirty years, it can be a powerful draw for many.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't think we want to minimize it either Bernie. I think the trick though if for people who are not completely wedded to this minimalist government scenario be shown how this may actually impact their lives. If Democrats can pin down some of his more bizarre views and contrast those with the way things normally work, in the real world, we've got a chance to beat him. I saw some polling earlier between him and Conway and they're not too far apart. Conway has a lot of fodder for his campaign I think.

He is probably to the right of most Republicans on some policy issues but he also needs to be pinned down on his opinion of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, he may be in a different zone entirely with mainstream Repub voters on that one. Remember, the Tea Party his father began is not the same Tea Party of Palin and Beck, or even Dick Armey.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 19, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

I really hope Ben Demiero is getting a fair paycheck over at Media Matters for listening to and documenting Limbaugh's daily broadcasts. Here's a bit from today...

"Today on his show, while discussing the news that Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) is resigning after admitting to an affair with a staffer, Limbaugh laughably claimed that "our guys resign" when they are caught having affairs, and they don't view it as a "resume enhancement.""

On yesterday's voting, everything pointed to a rejection of Obama. Of course.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 10:22 PM | Report abuse

"I think the trick though if for people who are not completely wedded to this minimalist government scenario be shown how this may actually impact their lives."

Ims. You've got it exactly right, I think. It's in the consequences of such policies that his extremism becomes evident.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 10:25 PM | Report abuse

Dan Eggen has a very good piece up now on the Club for Growth and how it is often functioning at cross-purposes (not crosshairs as the twit quoted in the piece has it) with the GOP and how it is working at the behest of Wall Street...

Some coalition they've got over there.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

Boaz at Cato on the poor fit between Rand Paul and neoconservatives as described by neoconservatives before last night...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

This piece from Jason Linkins @ Huffington Post ragging on the Press Corp, specifically Chip Reid, about them getting their panties in a wad about Univision getting the only question directed at the President is pretty funny.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 19, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

How much does the Republican establishment want Rubio to succeed?

"U.S. Senate candidate — and conservative heartthrob — Marco Rubio has rolled out a policy committee of big GOP names who’ll provide Rubio with “critical policy advice on the challenges facing our country.”

At least that’s what Rubio’s press release says.

The group includes U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., a big fan of Rubio and one of his leading rainmakers, and Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney is a former state department official who has emerged as a leading critic of President Barack Obama.

The list also features Cesar V. Conda, a former assistant to Dick Cheney and Patricia Levesque, executive director of two non-profit policy groups founded by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush."

If Liz is involved, so is Kristol. And so will be Rove/Gillespie and all the Chamber of Commerce money/interests behind them. So this is where they are placing their future hopes and strategies.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 19, 2010 11:40 PM | Report abuse

From EJ (last graph)

"If Democrats can hang on to some of these McCain districts, they will not only keep control of the House but might be able to hold Republican gains to 25 seats or fewer. After the enormous buildup of Republican expectations, such a result would be a disappointment. That is why, paradoxically, Washington's conventional wisdom of impending Democratic catastrophe is one of the best things Obama's party has going for it."

This is my fervent hope. Disappointment for Republicans in November and again in two years. I don't know what else other than continuing to lose elections will force this crowd to shape up.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 12:00 AM | Report abuse

Lowden makes me think of this:

Posted by: sparkplug1 | May 20, 2010 4:30 AM | Report abuse

A key observation by Tomasky...

"In other words, on the Republican side, the big victory was one by a genuine insurgent with no political experience who embraced the au courant movement of America's right wing. On the Democratic side, you had incumbents challenged by other establishment politicians. One of those incumbents may yet win, and the other spent 30 years as a Republican before becoming a Democrat out of convenience. I see little reason to group those things together into a trend."

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 5:57 AM | Report abuse

Sub-heading of a commentary piece on this morning's online and print edition of Ha'aretz...

"As Israel closes its gates to anyone who doesn't fall in line with our official positions, we are becoming more and more like North Korea."

As you'll see if you read it, this falls out from the barring of Chomsky.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 6:22 AM | Report abuse

To their credit, NRO links this Thomas Frank piece on DeMint's Fairy Tales this morning...

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 6:31 AM | Report abuse

Now that was fast. Already this morning at NRO, little sign of the primaries just done.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Gary Andres at Weekly Standard tries to get a new bit of Luntzian phrasing going...Dems as "the party of debt"

We note that he doesn't find space here to mention Dick Cheney's statement to then Treas Sec Paul O'Neill that "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter". Probably slipped his mind.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 6:41 AM | Report abuse

Conason lays out some of the serious divisions between Rand Paul and the neoconservative camp...

Neoconservativism is the most prominent modern domestic political face of imperial America, that is, the nearly unrestrained uses of military and political strategies to promote/ensure American dominance over all other world states and entities.

But from a structural viewpoint, all of the trappings here are in the service of corporate expansion and dominion (ie, the CIA makes sure that the necessary trees are cut down in nation X to fit in an American-owned oil derrick).

And there's the fundamental contradiction between neoconservatism and the Paul vision of foreign policy. And there's no bridge between these two visions. They are utterly contradictory.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:13 AM | Report abuse

Here's a taste of the dynamic I am referring to in the prior post...

This is becoming more surreal by the minute!

When CBS tried to film a beach with heavy oil on the shore in South Pass, Louisiana, a boat of BP contractors, and two Coast Guard officers, told them to turn around, or be arrested.
"This is BP's rules, it's not ours," someone aboard the boat said. Coast Guard officials told CBS that they're looking into it.

As the Coast Guard is a branch of the Armed Forces, it brings into question how closely the government and BP are working together to keep details of the disaster in the dark."
(h/t Crooks and Liars)

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

And so it begins:

First signs of thick oil found in Plaquemines marshlands

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 7:29 AM | Report abuse

Ed Kilgore writing at Five Thirty Eight...

"While I agree with Nate's explosion of some of the cliches we are hearing about yesterday's primaries, I do think there's an aspect of the results that could use a little more scrutiny. By nominating Rand Paul and Pat Toomey for Senate contests in states with large Democratic registration advantages, Republicans are setting up a very interesting test of the counter-intuitive but madly popular (in GOP circles) hypothesis that the Party's shift to a more ideologically rigorous conservative posture is exactly what it needs to do to build a majority...."

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:36 AM | Report abuse

" the counter-intuitive but madly popular (in GOP circles) hypothesis that the Party's shift to a more ideologically rigorous conservative posture is exactly what it needs to do to build a majority.."

That's not "counterintuitive"; it's insane. But the GOP won't get it until the GOP gets walloped again. Which might well happen in November. Then the GOP may begin to grow up and admit that this isn't a game and that policies have consequences.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

Top o' the mornin', wb. I am sincerely hoping that insane and real don't converge any closer than this thing we're presently living in.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

And now that the day shift is here, I'm off to the cot.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

Bernie: I am really beginning to think that the GOP will get hammered in November. Ironic that Katrina destroyed what was left of Bush's presidency and now BP's Oil Geyser will finally end the irresponsible anti-government nonsense the Republicans have been spewing for 40 years. But it isn't fair that New Orleans and Louisiana bear the full cost of the GOP's idiocy and incompetence.

God save Louisiana!

Have a good day!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 7:56 AM | Report abuse

Oh, one more thought re: the Oil Spill. I have been disturbed by the seeming deference that the Government has been affording BP since the accident, letting them control the media coverage, orchestrate the cleanup, institute the fixes, etc. One reason this bother me is that I simply don't trust BP; if nothing else BP has a massive conflict of interest. But beyond that, White House deference to BP reinforces the belief that Corporations and Big Money are running this country. Obama and the Dems MUST escape the Corporatist label. Populism in the form of running against Big Money is how the Dems should distinguish themselves from the GOP. It is also how to channel the national anger at how the country has gone off the rails in a positive direction, both for the Dems and the country. We NEEED government so let's get together and make it work!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 8:09 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 20, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

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