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Happy Hour Roundup

* Get ready: Lots of important elections next week, with far reaching ramifications for our politics. Chris Cillizza raises the curtain on Tuesday's special House election in Pennsylvania, explaining why it's a must-win for the GOP and a must-watch for anyone following politics.

* Bill Halter goes up with a new ad tying Blanche Lincoln to that shadowy group that's spending over $1 million on attack ads.

* No-nonsense reporting from the Los Angeles Times about how crime hasn't increased in American towns bordering Mexico in years.

* Interesting find by Ben Smith: Meg Whitman, the centrist Republican candidate for California governor, is forced to veer to the right on immigration in the primary -- setting up a general election in a state with a big Latino population.

* Joe Klein says it: Time for Dick Cheney to testify about what his deregulatory shenanigans may have contributed to the Gulf oil disaster.

* For those who like going deep in the demographic weeds, First Read has an interesting look at the demographic groups Obama could help win back for Congressional Dems -- so-called Obama surge voters.

* Jed Lewison's interesting take on the Rahm Emanuel push against ambitous health reform I highlighted earlier: It helped enable the GOP to gain the upper hand at a critical moment.

* Elyse Siegel also makes an interesting point about Obama's zinger to Rahm that he wasn't sent to the White House to do "school uniforms": Rahm was instrumental in the school uniforms policy.

* Creative reach of the day: GOP Rep. Steve King manages to link Obama's criticism of the Arizona law to his criticism of the police officer over the Henry Louis Gates mess.

Seems like King's been doing a lot of thinking about this one...

* Did John McCain help uncork the Tea Party genie that now threatents to destroy him?

* Mississippi governor Haley Barbour likens the Gulf spill to a sheen.

* And GOP Rep. Pete King calls on Eric Holder to resign for insisting on talking about terrorism in a nuanced way.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 14, 2010; 6:33 PM ET
Categories:  Climate change  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Do voters really care about GOP "obstruction"?
Next: Saturday Roundup


Quite a reach to call that special election for Murtha's old seat a must-win for the GOP!

At any rate, check out the mudslinging and lying by both candidates:

Posted by: sbj3 | May 14, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

all, do you want saturday and sunday roundups? is it something you'll participate in?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 14, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

I say you should take the weekends off, Greg.

Posted by: sbj3 | May 14, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I hope you're not gone for the weekend as I just tried a long post that's being held for your approval.

Posted by: AllButCertain | May 14, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

I particularly like the weekend roundups when I have more time to check out the links.

I'm still reeling that such a huge percentage of fellow citizens can countenance the compulsory racial profiling which is clearly required by the crAZy Arizona law.

All the words re the Hell Well are wrong pale vapid -- 'oil spill.' No matter how big a 'spill' is, it still sounds like something you can mop up with Bounty. At the underconscious level, one is more vexed than insanely alarmed. Even hemorrhage, tho the best of the available words, is too soft, too stanchable, one can imagine a tourniquet. This wet conflagration in not describable. 'Oil leak'? I mean, yeah woohoo. 'Gusher' doesn't invoke terror. It stirs picts of sweaty guys throwing their cowboy hats in the air in jubilation. The fear words we need aren't associated with oil. Yet.

Posted by: wendyf | May 14, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

In response to Jed's take on Rahm and the health care push last August, I'd just say it's another example of why I continue to think our blogger comrades were misreading the flow of the health care debate. Perceptions of backsliding in August were due to the ramped up efforts from the opposition taking advantage of a news vacuum and a congressional recess. That was the whole point of the town hall guerrillas. We weren't losing initiative because of some Obama backsliding on the public option, but we were under siege during a time when we were incapable of making progress in Congress. The uproar over the public option really kicked in after Obama made some comments at a town hall in Colorado that got amplified by the NYT and the Associated Press. But I continue to argue that the flare-up was mostly a product of the news vacuum: Obama hadn't said anything new on the public option, but he wasn't going to bat for it, and the tension finally bubbled over when the mainstream press started covering it in earnest for the first time after weeks of no legislative action.

The netroots were and often still are measuring progress in terms of vocal statements, "fighting hard," and visible demonstrations rather than legislative achievements. Initiative was lost by going into recess without a bill. Democrats regained the initiative with Obama's speech in September and passing legislation out of the Finance Committee, not by focusing more on the insurance monsters.

Posted by: fbacon2 | May 14, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Dear Greg,

Just this aft pacific time (5 pm pdt), everytime I come onto Plum Line, a little window pops up saying "To set up @anywhere, please provide a client ID." It's very persistent. I'm already signed in with a user ID so I have no clue what it wants. cheers,

The top line of the little window says "The page at http://voicesdotwashingtonpostdotcom."

Posted by: wendyf | May 14, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Trying again--in two parts

Part I
Bear with me a minute, and I'll get to a political point (and it's the weekend, so we can range a little). I watched a little basketball last night because I kept hearing things about LeBron James. I've barely watched the NBA in recent years, and the game seems changed. It looks a lot more about big guys knocking each other over than about great shooting and finesse, about quickness and pace.

Fine. Obviously, other people like this look and I don't need to gear up again as a basketball fan. But what wasn't fine was the ESPN coverage. The camera spent most of its time on James, and the announcers were constantly driving the story toward him. Can't he take charge here? He got all those turnovers in the last game. Turnovers don't really matter if he's playing his game. Oh no, he's getting more turnovers. Is this his last game with the Cavs? Is he going somewhere else? Hardly any of the other players were mentioned and there was very little commentary on the actual game.

Admittedly, I'm spoiled. I'm a baseball fan, specifically a Twins fan, and up here we have terrific T.V. announcers in Dick Brehmer and Bert Blyleven. They're funny and fair. They're knowledgeable. And, along with the rest of their on-air crew like Ron Coomer and Roy Smalley, they're always talking about the game and explaining it in a way that's really interesting. It almost makes me forget that the season is headed to the playoffs and World Series.

And to Joe Buck.

Posted by: AllButCertain | May 14, 2010 8:07 PM | Report abuse

The Chief Executive of the country misrepresents the Arizona law and the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the country criticizes this 10 page document that he apparently has no time to read, I suppose, based on "hearsay" from critics. And this this an attorney? What a joke.

When the first "Amnesty Bill" was being considered I sent the following to my two Republican Senators (who were leaning in favor of it).

"It has become more apparent that there is a movement to integrate the North American Community in a manner similar to the European Union. There is a significant difference between the sophistication, security apparatus, and levels of government corruption in most EU countries compared to North America. The weak link in North America is clearly Mexico. The degree of corruption in Mexico is so overwhelming that there is no way the United States can rely on them to provide any deterrence or protection whatsoever from terrorists and criminals. The root of the problem is in Mexico and with that government.

I have read the material you provided in response to my first email. It does not matter what you intend, if you in the Congress and the President as Chief Executive do not deal with the Mexican issue. Failure to do so is an open invitation to those with criminal and terrorist intent. It is clear that the government of Mexico is completely unreliable. This is the reason the United States MUST take the requisite action to secure our southern border. If you and the other politicians cannot understand and forthrightly deal with this, you don't deserve to represent your respective states and constituents."

They got thousands of emails reflecting the same opinion that just about 2 out of 3 Americans have on this issue and they quickly jumped off that horse. When the next Amnesty Bill is introduced this is going to happen again.

Oh, and BTW I'm married to a legal, Asian immigrant, who became a citizen without breaking any laws.

Posted by: actuator | May 14, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Part II

It's obvious that the announcers on last night's Cavs and Celtics game belong to the same school of broadcasting that Buck does. Find a narrative and drive it into the ground. If a guy has had personal troubles and made a comeback, talk about that for nine innings. If somebody makes an error in the field, talk about nothing else. Mention it a minimum of forty-five times, always with scorn and disgust. Make the substance of the game entirely irrelevant. Stick with your hero or scapegoat.

When I was first aware of this style of sportscasting, I'd already decided that Rupert Murdoch was brilliant in capturing so much of the sports coverage for Fox. Once Fox became the go-to network for sports, it wasn't such a reach to draw in a lot of the audience for Fox News, especially since the style of coverage is very much the same (and, again, I'm excluding the baseball guys at FSN North and noting this template has spread beyond Fox). Have goats and good guys. Rile people up and make them used to constant villification or sentimentality they can join in on. Always keep the narrative stripped down and focused. Ignore anything that requires actual thought. Keep things simple and dumb and encourage every possible chip on every possible shoulder.

As I said, I have a political point here. If we want to have a better civic life and a fairer, more sensible governance, I think we need a system restore to the time before these crazy narrative approaches took hold. There's a lot we can do in the political sphere like, say, making Rachel Maddow the template for civility and preparation and good nature. But I'm thinking that maybe we need to go to the source. If we want both to lower the temperature and wake people up in our wider discourse, isn't it time to demand better sports coverage?

Posted by: AllButCertain | May 14, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I like the weekend threads, but you could keep the links to a minimum if it makes a difference to you. An open thread each day would be good though, in case people do want to comment. Otherwise a huge thread from Friday would get out of hand.

Or, if it's a slow news day you could just call it "open thread." Then folks can add the links.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 14, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

ABC, thanks for that post.

I agree that the "human interest" stories as game/match commentary is getting really old. The Olympics is the ne plus ultra example.

The only thing worse is going to a baseball game and hearing really loud music played all the time. Can't stand that (and I like loud music generally). Maybe I'm just Wrigley spoiled.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 14, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

I always read the Sat. and Sun. roundups... I like them a lot... but your work seems very labor intensive during the week, so taking the weekend off would make a lot of sense, considering you are... you know, human. (Or are you?!? We must build a sky border fence thingy to keep out Alien reporters/bloggers! OMFG, Greg Sargent is really a gray... or a green... one of the two! He probably got interested in politics after buzzing over Dennis Kucinich's house in his space ship! He probably got the name of his blog from Shirley MacLaine! The Plum Line? More like The Freaking Alien Line! Where's the birth certificate? The long form one.)

One idea:

Combine the Saturday and Sunday roundups into one post on Sunday morning.

Another idea:

Start off Monday morning with a collection of the best from the weekend as part of The Morning Plum.

Or some hybrid.

Weekend posts or not, I'll keep on reading.

Posted by: MichaelConrad | May 14, 2010 9:10 PM | Report abuse

BG, I've been going to thank you for recommending Wolf Hall. It's really ambitious and wonderfully observed. It amazed me how much I liked spending all that time with Thomas Cromwell.

I have to say that until I got into it pretty far, I was expecting his ggnephew to show up, and that reminded me of a night in London a few years ago. We'd gone with friends to a late supper at a house in Blackheath that was as stuffed with knick-knacks as an antique store. My husband sat down on a sofa in the parlour and the hostess said oh, you're sitting beneath Oliver.

Oliver? we asked and she nodded and said yes, her late husband's ancestor Oliver Cromwell. We all got up to look and what we saw was a picture of a pretty scary looking guy. Then the hostess redirected our attention to another picture.

His mother, she said.

I have to say this: in spite of Oliver's deeds, that mother looked a whole lot more terrifying than he did.

Posted by: AllButCertain | May 14, 2010 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Greg, I always read the weekender round ups.

For anyone interested in why Beck acts like he does, here's a pretty good piece on him that is sort of a preface to a book about Beck.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 14, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

As for “the Los Angeles Times [story] about how crime hasn't increased in American towns bordering Mexico in years” I have been saying that for years. I live in New Mexico, and the Anglo/Latino communities here are much more integrated than in Arizona and much of Texas. For the most part, New Mexicans are just not that uptight about undocumented immigrants. We know that they are an integral part of our economy and we know that they ARE NOT responsible for the amount of crime that the GOP would have us believe.

Even the incident of the Arizona rancher whose murder was used as a rationale for passing the new anti-immigrant legislation turns out might not have had anything to do with illegal immigrants. I don’t hear the proponents of the law conceding that it should now be repealed. Who cares about the facts? It sure sounded good at the time and it buttressed the paranoid white folks’ prejudiced outlook toward the browns. That’s the problem with ALL of the anti-immigrant hyperbole; it is highly dependent upon bigoted assumptions, rumors, or outright lies.

We New Mexicans are not awash in crime committed by illegal aliens. If we are not, how likely is it that any other locales are? My economic boycott of Arizona is absolute: as long as they persist in state sponsored bigotry, I will take my business and tourist dollars elsewhere. THAT is an exercise of my economic independence.

For anyone who had considered a trip to Arizona, might I suggest New Mexico instead? We are more bilingual, we have much better Mexican food, we have lots of skiing (in the winter), we have more native tribal culture, and we have more world class art - visual AND performing, we are not as hot, and we aren’t hung up about undocumented immigrants. Whether you are looking for galleries on Canyon Road in Santa Fe or in Taos, or the glorious music at the Santa Fe Opera, the pueblo feast days, the scientific meccas of Sandia or Los Alamos National Laboratories, the lush beauty of the mountains, or the stark beauty of the deserts, New Mexico has WAY more to offer than Arizona.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 14, 2010 11:59 PM | Report abuse

ABC, wow, just wow.

Glad you read it. Mantel's a great writer and you have to give her credit for making that subject come alive the way it does in her book. I expected her book to take us to Cromwell's fall, which is very dramatic stuff, but in the end I really appreciated how she humanized him and showed the other side of the Reformation/Henry VIII story. It wasn't all Thomas More and Henry as Robert Bolt would have it.

What a sad, but beautiful novel, with death ever-present but so much more real than in the sanitized modern version.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 15, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

Gas, thanks for this and your other posts in the last day or two on the SW dynamic. Really good, thoughtful stuff. Please keep us informed on what's happening on the ground there. And as for AZ longer term, I hope the good, smart people will prevail. Stupid, selfish whitey can't live and hate forever.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 15, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I like the weekend round ups, even though I've been absent a lot the last couple weeks. OTOH, I can appreciate that you might like to ditch the job on the weekends. So, if you are up for it, great. If not, it's perfectly understandable. (Or you could split the difference, and only do one day or the other.)

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 15, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

Greg, you're so considerate. My vote is for you to do both days. I always read them. But if you need a day off, maybe Saturday's a good one. It's pretty dead politically. Sunday usually has some news.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 15, 2010 1:55 AM | Report abuse

You need some time away from the shop. Maybe you should get an intern for the Weekend Roundups. Nothing Clintonesque, mind you, just someone to keep the ship from running aground during your weekends off.

You rock, but dude, you need to chill some, too. Requisition an intern or two from that vast WaPo fortune.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 15, 2010 2:40 AM | Report abuse

I stop down in the hearty pride of the morning the review to live with significance which dies I did not mind that whenever has a little sorrowful I to vainly hope for my thoughts treads this village to your pure land to have like modern blind person's common failing not to be willing face to bring the news distant place to fall own torch dust to let it read aloud in the worship early morning

Posted by: 407634007 | May 15, 2010 3:54 AM | Report abuse

Under Health Care Reform, Health insurance is a must, but now you can easily find health insurance for $40

Posted by: zariyaagil14 | May 15, 2010 4:38 AM | Report abuse

All, thanks for the feedback. tell you the truth I probably couldn't stop myself from doing the weekend posts even if I wanted to. :)

and apologies for your tech difficulties, Wendy -- one other person reported that. Can you let me know if it persists? I've let the techies know about it.

Posted by: sargegreg | May 15, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

BG, I agree entirely with your comments on the Mantel book. I understand she's started on a sequel that will include the fall. It was sort of refreshing that the first book ended without it.

Posted by: AllButCertain | May 15, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

"Good news from the world of publishing. Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska, has a new book coming out this fall. The warning came from an alert T-shirt vendor." —David Letterman

Posted by: Liam-still | May 15, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"If Kagan is confirmed, Jews, who represent less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, will have 33 percent of the Supreme Court seats."
Pat Buchanan

Three Jews and Six Catholics walk into a Supreme Bar. Where is the KKK when you need them most? Said Pat Buchanan

Posted by: Liam-still | May 15, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Tea Party Is A Fake Right Wing Populist Scam.

A Real Populist Movement would be holding mass rallies in support of reining in The Wall St. Unregulated Casinos, that almost destroyed the nation's economy, and did destroy the pension plans of millions of working class people.

Notice that The Tea Party has not held a single rally to demand that the Wall St. Casino operators be stopped from gambling away the nation's future.

The Tea Party is a Right Wing Front Group, and their silence on the Wall St. reform issue, proves that they are.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 15, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

All, Saturday roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 15, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Pat Buchanan is Catholic, blockhead.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 17, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

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