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Happy Hour Roundup

* Remarkable: Rand Paul, on CNN just now, was still refusing to say whether he'd have voted for the Americans With Disabilities Act. When Wolf Blitzer asked him if he didn't know for sure whether he'd have supported it, Paul answered: "Yes." He added:

It doesn't always take government for people to do the right thing. Sometimes government has to step in, in extraordinary circumstances. But I think a lot of times that the private world can step up and do the right things or we can find local solutions over federal solutions.

* Pat Toomey previews a key attack line on Joe Sestak, unleashing a new ad that rips him for favoring terrorist trials in Pennsylvania.

* New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt tells Joe Strupp that he's taking a look at the paper's controversial story about Richard Blumenthal's Vietnam falsehoods.

* More: The Times story also reported that Blumenthal had puffed his resume by claiming he was on the swim team when records showed otherwise, but it looks like he may have been on the team after all.

* Aaron Blake makes the key cautionary point about Dem gloating over the win in PA-12: The victorious Dem opposed health reform, is pro gun and anti abortion, and kept Obama and Nancy Pelosi at arm's length.

* Senate finally votes to end debate on financial reg reform.

* But Ezra explains why the result is "not a particularly good one."

* And yet: Liberal FinReg hero Byron Dorgan explains to Brian Beutler why he ultimately decided to back it: Some reform is better than none.

It's the liberal's perpetual lament.

* Must read from Adam Serwer on the larger flaws in Ron Paul's argument.

* It just never ends: Steve Benen brings us up to speed on Sue Lowden's latest shenanigans, including her new non-chicken related difficulties.

* Also, as Benen asks: Why are national Republicans putting up with this?

* And some fun, off-message video: Robert Zimmerman, a Democratic National Committeeman, tears into Blumenthal, ripping his 'Nam claims as "unconscionable" and "more than embarrassing":

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 20, 2010; 6:17 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Happy Hour Roundup , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: The Morning Plum: New SEIU ad rips Lincoln

Comments

Toomey seems nervous. Can't be happy Sestak won.

Also, Halter trending over Lincoln. Best news all day....

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 20, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

The financial reform bill is good but not good enough.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 20, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

BG, where was that?

btw just added above a Ras poll showing Sestak up.

And yeah SD, seems clear enough. Liberals always have to settle for not good enough.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 20, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Eric Cantor said today:
“Imagine if Congress spent less time naming post offices…and more time reducing wasteful spending,”

Indeed. I think everyone ought to write him and tell him how important this is. You can drop off your letter at either of these convenient locations:

1) The Ronald Reagan Post Office in Billings, Montana
2) The Ronald Reagan Post Office in Dixon, Illinois
3) The Ronald Reagan Post Office in West Melbourne, Florida

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Powerful analysis, Bernie, very powerful.

So refreshing how you shun cynicism and cheapshots for substance.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 20, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm not terribly thrilled with the finreg reform, it's hard to believe we couldn't have gotten to the point where we could have protected taxpayers from another bailout. But as usual we'll be asked to support it because it's better than nothing. I hope it is. These baby steps are killing me.

I know Bernie, we can't be seen to be too disappointed. I'm just frustrated and what the hell's up with the oil spill? Are we moving on energy legislation any time soon? I suppose if we can't get meaningful finreg after an economic disaster we won't be able to force a good climate bill after an environmental disaster either.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul: "Sometimes government has to step in, in extraordinary circumstances."

For me, it's an extraordinary day if I need the services of our local police. So, yeah, police could be an example of gummint being ready to step in, in case of extraordinary circumstances.

But when multiplied by a large population, what's extraordinary for one person becomes a routine assortment for a community or a nation.

BTW, I watched the TRMS interview last night. Paul did NOT say he opposed laws prohibiting discrimination by private businesses. He ducked the question. Bobbed and weaved and recited off-the-point talking points. I think he knew if he gave an honest answer, he'd be toast. Gotta give him some credit for evading rather than lying.

Posted by: jzap | May 20, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Ben Nelson, a man with the common touch...

"The Nebraska Democrat pleaded ignorance when asked this week whether Congress should cap ATM fees. Nelson said that while he’s no fan of unnecessary fees, he’s unfamiliar with the charges.

“I’ve never used an ATM, so I don’t know what the fees are,” Nelson said, adding that he gets his cash from bank tellers, just not automatic ones. “It’s true, I don’t know how to use one.

“But I could learn how to do it just like I’ve … I swipe to get my own gas, buy groceries. I know about the holograms.”

By “holograms,” Nelson clarified that he meant the bar codes on products read by automatic scanners in the checkout lanes at stores such as Lowe’s and Menard’s."
http://www.omaha.com/article/20100520/NEWS/705209844#senators-holograms-and-atms

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:22 PM | Report abuse

jzap - If I have your argument right, that's a very important point. Large, complex communities can't be organized in the same manner as a small 1700s village.

Ims - It's ok. Disappointment is a predictable consequence of having other humans in one's life. It's why people like Bolton want to get rid of them all.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:30 PM | Report abuse

"It's why people like Bolton want to get rid of them all."

Good one Bernie, and BTW it looks like Rand Paul will be his own worst enemy. He may go the way of Meg Whitman, her 50 point lead has dwindled to single digits mostly because of her own words. There may not be enough money in the world for her to buy her way into the State House.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 7:39 PM | Report abuse

Hi, Bernie. Well, it's just that extraordinary events are commonplace. Just because most people behave themselves almost all the time, that doesn't mean we don't need police.

I think that hologram Ben Nelson was talking about musta been Max Headroom!

Posted by: jzap | May 20, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

So, we wonder, what are Bill Kristol's thoughts on Rand Paul's comments re the Civil Rights Act?

"he seems "attractive," "plain-spoken," "honest," "thoughtful""
http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201005200056

Yes indeedy. He really would have been a perfect model for a charming Norman Rockwell painting of a tow-headed feller climbing into his '52 Studebaker after taking off the white robes.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:45 PM | Report abuse

LMS: If things down there in Riverside are anything like up here in SF, Meg Whitman has been saturating the radio airwaves with negative ads. Lately (last few weeks) they've been ultra-nasty attacks on Steve Poizner.

I've got a feeling a lot of people are REALLY turned off by those attacks.

Posted by: jzap | May 20, 2010 7:47 PM | Report abuse

jzap, yeah the airwaves are on fire down here as well. We're mostly cracking up at the ads against her though. I'll be glad when June 8th. gets here, but then we'll have the long season until Nov. I'll have to sign up for netflicks again. What are people up there saying about Jerry?

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 7:51 PM | Report abuse

jazp - OK, gotcha now. And it's still a good point. I've made a number of Max Headroom analogies to the trend in modern media. You're the first person who has signaled he/she knows of this show.

Was it Cheney or Bush who, five years ago, didn't know what a grocery scanner was? I was amazed that this hadn't come up at all in those times when they sat down to toss back some beers with the house staff.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

"Was it Cheney or Bush who, five years ago, didn't know what a grocery scanner was?"

Another leftist media myth.

http://www.snopes.com/history/american/bushscan.asp

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 20, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

bernie,
It was Bush the Greater who was ignorant about grocery store check out procedures. He had people for that, doncha know.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 20, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

What Rand Paul fails to realize is that it WAS extraordinary circumstances that led to the Civil Rights Act, to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and all of those other “intrusive” government programs that he objects to. Every single one of those was prompted by the collective outrage of our citizenry that prodded the normally inert Congress into action. Congress does nothing of its own accord. For them to undertake major society changing legislative initiatives is an absolute indicator of extraordinary circumstances. They sure as hell don’t take on big tasks on their own.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 20, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"It doesn't always take government for people to do the right thing. Sometimes government has to step in, in extraordinary circumstances. But I think a lot of times that the private world can step up and do the right things or we can find local solutions over federal solutions."

---------------------------------------

That, I think sums up the Libertarian mind set in a nut shell. The obvious follow-up of course is, "So what exactly was stopping them from doing it all those hundreds of years before the act was passed?" But apparently it's not obvious to them.

Libertarians seem to be congenitally incapable of understanding the simple fact that in the beginning, there *were* no laws and no regulations and that in virtually all cases, those have been put into place only *after* the need for them became painfully and often disastrously obvious. In their minds, it's almost like they believe the process somehow works the other way 'round; that humankind was born into a world where everything was already regulated and that the course of human progress has been achieved through the elimination of those constraints... or something.

Posted by: CalD | May 20, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

Gasman. Right you are. But QB has the goods on us with the Snopes link. One less arrow in our back-breaking quiver, it seems.

Nate Silver takes a look at California and includes this funny bit...

"You probably have to live in California to understand just how massive a presence the Whitman-Poizner battle has assumed on the airwaves, and how negative and personal it's become, with both candidates hurling attacks and rather hilariously calling each other "liberal." As veteran Democratic operative Bill Carrick recently joked at the political news site Calbuzz: “I’ve had the alarming revelation that we have two dangerous left-wingers running in the Republican primary for governor.... I can barely sleep at night.” http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2010/05/whitman-poizner-slugfest-gets-serious.html

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

Remember when McCain said he didn't know how to put gas in the car or something during the campaign?

Who the hell are these guys?

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 20, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Greg, here's a snap poll from yesterday:

http://www.arktimes.com/blogs/arkansasblog/2010/05/halterlincoln_poll_tossup.aspx

Honestly not sure how accurate it is. We'll see how this goes in the next week or so, but by all accounts Blanche is on the back foot.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 20, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

If the Libertarian/Anarchists think that private enterprise will always muster the courage and good will to do the right thing, I'll counter with two companies that come immediately to mind: Goldman Sachs and BP. What was preventing these benevolent companies from doing the right thing?

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 20, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

Nate got it exactly right, it's actually been funny watching them devolve into caricatures of themselves. Meg has changed her policy so many times on single issues it's like watching ping pong. They're responding to the claims of liberal from each other by going as far right as possible, in CA? Works for me. She even called a press conference once and I don't think she even answered the first question before they called it off, pure comedy.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, I really hate carping about poor Rand Paul everyday, oh wait, no I don't. Here's a little more of his interview with CNN. He's complaining about the Americans with Disabilities Act again. Why should a business have to put in a $100,000 elevator for one employee in a wheelchair when they could just have them work on the first floor? Ooops, those kinds of exemptions are actually IN the ADA. Low info Senate candidate, big surprise.

http://jed-lewison.dailykos.com/

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

CalD - That does seem to be a fundamental idiocy in this mix, doesn't it? And it certainly helps to match up so much of the libertarian/conservative right's obvious lack of rigor in study (or even any interest in study) of history. There was a wonderful past which was corrupted by (take your pick - Satan, womens' lib, government, Jewish Bankers, the New Deal, communism, the Sixties, etc) and all we need to do is get back to that Edenic state and it'll all be peachy.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 20, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

"I think a lot of times that the private world can step up and do the right things or we can find local solutions over federal solutions."

Well, a lot of times that does happen. The question is what do we do when that doesn't happen? What do we do when the magic of the market fails?

For instance, the class action suit on behalf of 500,000 women working at Wal-Mart who claim they were denied promotions, wages, and raises simply because they were female. Wal-Mart's defense is that they didn't do it, but it seems Rand Paul's defense would be it should be a perfectly legal thing to do. Whether Wal-Mart chose to skip women for promotion not because they were unqualified but simply because they were women, that's fine. Pay 'em less not because they do less work or worse work, but because they're women? Also fine.

It's insane.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

"I think a lot of times that the private world can step up and do the right things or we can find local solutions over federal solutions."

Well, a lot of times that does happen. The question is what do we do when that doesn't happen? What do we do when the magic of the market fails?

For instance, the class action suit on behalf of 500,000 women working at Wal-Mart who claim they were denied promotions, wages, and raises simply because they were female. Wal-Mart's defense is that they didn't do it, but it seems Rand Paul's defense would be it should be a perfectly legal thing to do. Whether Wal-Mart chose to skip women for promotion not because they were unqualified but simply because they were women, that's fine. Pay 'em less not because they do less work or worse work, but because they're women? Also fine.

It's insane.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Can't say I was surprised to hear about Virginia A.G. Coochie-coo's newest attack of the hack (see VA politics in WaPo). At this point I'm not sure there is enough yogurt for Cooch to be deep in. Virginia is for...... whatevers.

Posted by: hoser3 | May 20, 2010 10:09 PM | Report abuse

"I think a lot of times that the private world can step up and do the right things or we can find local solutions over federal solutions."

Yeah, sure. As long as there isn't money involved.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 20, 2010 10:23 PM | Report abuse

David Kurtz on the FinReg bill, his last paragraph nails it.

"By a vote of 59-39, the Senate gave final passage to the financial reform bill this evening. Brian Beutler has the details."

"Not voting were Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Arlen Specter. Bucking their parties with yes votes were Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Charles Grassley, and Scott Brown; and with no votes were Democratic Sens. Maria Cantwell and Russ Feingold."

"Historians will probably conclude that the package of reforms was surprisingly modest given the depth and severity of the 2008-09 financial crisis. A harsher historical judgment might find that the political and economic power wielded by the financial industry in the late 20th and early 21st centuries was so extensive that it could weather a near total collapse of the system without having to yield its power or privilege."

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Interesting find about Rand Paul on Frum's site:

Rand Paul’s libertarianism stops where his pocketbook starts, or so reports the Wall Street Journal today:

Tea party favorite Rand Paul has rocketed to the lead ahead of Tuesday’s Republican Senate primary here on a resolute pledge to balance the federal budget and slash the size of government.

But on Thursday evening, the ophthalmologist from Bowling Green said there was one thing he would not cut: Medicare physician payments.

In fact, Paul — who says 50% of his patients are on Medicare — wants to end cuts to physician payments under a program now in place called the sustained growth rate, or SGR. “Physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 20, 2010 11:28 PM | Report abuse

suekzoo1,
Rand Paul sounds just like all of the other bleating teabagger sheeple who complain about “out of control government spending” but would fight you to the death if you suggested curbing government spending by eliminating entitlements that they benefit from. That Paul cannot recognize the cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy inherent in his staunch advocacy for Medicare payments for physicians simply points out how inept teabaggers really are. For all the world, teabaggers seem like nothing more than a bunch of selfish middle aged/elderly toddlers alternatively shouting, “NO, NO, NO!” and “MINE, MINE, MINE!”

Shorter Rand Paul: “Big government spending is bad, unless I personally profit from it, then it is good.”

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 20, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

"For all the world, teabaggers seem like nothing more than a bunch of selfish middle aged/elderly toddlers alternatively shouting, “NO, NO, NO!” and “MINE, MINE, MINE!”"

You've done nothing but invent a new mythical bogeyman, "teabaggers," whom you caricature as the enemy. "MINE, MINE, MINE" is a better slogan for the socialist entitlement mentality that you represent. You do realize, for example, that for decades the "keep your hands off of MY [fill in federal entitlement]" has been the cry of the left and its dependent class, right?

I don't know a lot about Rand Paul, but I have no doubt that this attack on his Medicare position is just a simplistic cheap shot. For example:

http://spectator.org/blog/2010/05/17/rand-paul-and-medicare-physici

If he called for abolition of the government-entitlement-medical establishment, you would call him a libertartian nut, and if he calls for anything short of that you call him a hypocrite.

You are just playing your usual cheap rhetroical games. You might try a little more subtelty of thought and analysis sometime.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 21, 2010 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Visit the oil shores, courtesy BP!

http://memphis.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2010/05/17/daily17.html

Posted by: Papagnello | May 21, 2010 8:19 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/05/the_morning_plum_13.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 21, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Good Morning, All:

"Gosh, I really hate carping about poor Rand Paul everyday, oh wait, no I don't. Here's a little more of his interview with CNN. He's complaining about the Americans with Disabilities Act again. Why should a business have to put in a $100,000 elevator for one employee in a wheelchair when they could just have them work on the first floor? Ooops, those kinds of exemptions are actually IN the ADA. Low info Senate candidate, big surprise."

Ims: Paul's answer didn't make sense because he didn't say what he really thinks. Instead of having the disabled person "work on the first floor," what Paul actually believes is that the private company should be permitted to FIRE the disabled person and hire someone who isn't disabled. It's all about PROPERTY RIGHTS for so-called Libertarians like Paul.

BTW: The practical absurdity of Paul's Anti-Government philosophy was demonstrated just two days ago when the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Federal government had the authority under the Necessary and Proper Clause of the Constitution to indefinitely hold Federal prisoners whose criminal sentences expired if the prisoner was sexually dangerous, even though there is no power specified in the Const that grants the Fed govt the power to detain sexually dangerous people. U.S. v. Comstock.

To recognize how bizarre Paul's theory of government is one must follow the Supreme Court's reasoning carefully. First, the Court explained, the Fed Govt has the power to provide criminal sanctions to effectuate its enumerated powers under the Const; second, because it has the power to criminalize, the Fed govt has the power to construct and operate prisons; third, once a person becomes a Fed prisoner the Fed govt assumes a caretaker role over that person; fourth, since the govt has a custodial responsibility over its prisoners, it must determine whether releasing a prisoner will jeopardize the community; therefore, finally, the Fed govt has the power to hold those ex-prisoners deemed to present an unacceptable risk if released. Remember: nowhere does the Const give the Fed govt the right to hold people because they are sexually dangerous but the Court said it does have that power. This illustrates the reach of the Fed govt as interpreted over 200 years by the Supreme Court. Yet Rand Paul claims the Fed govt doesn't have the power to outlaw racial and gender discrimination.

Paul's philosophy was rejected when the Constitution was adopted and it was repulsed anew during the Civil War. Yet Paul and people like him want to lead us into the future?

Thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne, I'm quite certain we'll have plenty of fodder over the next 5 months for people to really analyze Libertarianism and what policy would actually look like if we followed their strict adherence to small federal government. He'll have to be challenged on the ramifications of his philosophy. I think Conway is just the person to do it, I don't imagine Rachel will be seeing Rand Paul anytime soon.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 21, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

"Paul's philosophy was rejected when the Constitution was adopted"

That's a pretty tall statement, wb.

If there is a discussion of whether the Constitution is more consistent with libertarianism or with socialism, for example, you would have no leg to stand on.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 21, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

QB: The problem is that you and Paul think that the definition of "socialism" encompasses rational governance in the modern world.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

"I don't imagine Rachel will be seeing Rand Paul anytime soon."

You said it, Imsinca. I watched Maddow's show yesterday. WHile she isn't the slickest she has a delightful personality and, far more importantly, she actually does homework before her show goes on. I wish the rest of the lazy-a*sed MSM reporters would do the same. There is a lot of information we ain't getting because TV blowhards think we just love listening to their "opinions" 24/7. Do some d*mn work!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

WH,

That is actually fine statement of 20th century neo-Marxist thought.

But it is beside the point of what you originally said, which was that Paul's philosophy was rejected with the ratification of the Constitution.

If anyone's 20th/21st century philosophy was rejected, it wasn't libertarianism.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 21, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Rand Paul's conception of an impotent Federal government was rejected when the Articles of Confederation were replaced by the Constitution. It was rejected again during the Civil War when the Confederate states (note the name) again asserted that the Federal government was impotent. And it was dismissed forever when the 14th Am was enacted. But all that is in the realm of theory. The more fundamental point is that Paul's conception of national government is incompatible with the modern world. Not so good for someone hoping to become a United States Senator. Rand Paul is going to lose this election.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 21, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

That was supposed to be WB not WH.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 21, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

If you want to deal in caricatures and ad absurdum arguments, the socialistic philosophy of the modern Democratic party, including its advocacy of unbounded and absolute federal power, is totally alien to the Constitution, including the 14th Amendment. And it is incompatible with human society and human liberty in any age.

Rand Paul might or might not lose. Neither of us knows the future. A dose of libertarianism among the big government socialists could not but help matters as we hurtle toward the models of Greece and the EU.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 21, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

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