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Sunday Roundup

* Steele says it's time to move on: Michael Steele tells ABC's This Week that isn't "comfortable" with Rand Paul's criticism of parts of the Civil Rights Act, but says Paul has now "clarified" and "reiterated his support" for "pushing civil rights forward."

But the issue isn't whether Paul would or wouldn't repeal the Civil Rights Act, which is an impossibilty. Rather, the problem is a forward-looking one: Paul has still not clearly stated his views on how far the Federal government should go in regulating the private sector in a more general sense -- not just in terms of banning discrimination, but also in other ways, such as setting the minimum wage.

Never mind the Civil Rights Act. It's those views we need to nail down.

* Also: It really is remarkable that the chair of the RNC has had to distance himself from the Civil Rights views of one of the highest-profile GOP Senate candidates in the country.

* Public editor weighs in: New York Times public editor Clark Hoyt has now posted his column on the controversial Richard Blumenthal story, coming down almost exactly where this blog did.

He concludes that the story was generally valid, that the primary revelations should have been reported, and that there's no quibbling with the fact that Blumenthal did repeatedly mislead. But he notes that the paper should have provided more context and relevant info:

Were there flaws in the story? Yes: It should have said more about how it originated; it should have provided mitigating information far higher; it should have noted that his official biography was accurate. The full video should have been posted so readers could make their own judgments.

* And: DNC chair Tim Kaine says Blumenthal's 'Nam statements were "wrong".

* As widely predicted, yesterday's Hawaii special election shaped up as the Dem version of NY-23, with Dems splitting the vote and handing the seat to the GOP.

* Darrell Issa says he may file an ethics complaint against Joe Sestak, demanding he come clean about who in the White House allegedly offered him a Federal job to bail on the Dem primary.

* Also: This controversy came up again on ABC's This Week today, with DNC chair Kaine unwilling to say whether the White House should address Sestak's claim. Sestak needs to figure out how to clean this mess up, methinks.

* Tip toein' around the Tea Party: Tim Pawlenty, on CNN this morning, says Rand Paul's comments were "unfortunate," but says it doesn't reflect badly on the Tea Party movement:

His comments about the Civil Rights Act were unfortunate, and he since then he said he would have voted for that Civil Rights Act. His explanation was unfortunate how he got to that point. But in any event, the Tea Party movement represents I think new energy, new ideas, passion around these themes of we have had enough, government is too big, the debt is too big. And to the extent that accrues to the Republican side of the ledger, that's a helpful thing.

* Random observation of the day: The fact that Sarah Palin thinks Rachel Maddow was unfair to Rand Paul in that interview really isn't surprising or of national import.

* And here's today's installment in the Sue Lowden chronicles: The Nevada Secretary of State has now ruled that you cannot wear a chicken costume when you go to vote in the GOP Senate primary.

An outrageous curtailment of free speech! What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 23, 2010; 10:51 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , House GOPers , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Comments

Greg wrote: "It really is remarkable that the chair of the RNC has had to distance himself from the Civil Rights views of one of the highest-profile GOP Senate candidates in the country."

Yes, it is. And one could also note this interesting dance from Bill Kristol (on FOX)

"But I also have to say, and I'm not a huge fan of Rand Paul, but if you watch the clips with him, there is something attractive about him. I mean, he's plainspoken and seems like an honest and good-natured guy." http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/bill-kristol-rand-paul-sophisticated-compl

So, just why aren't you a huge fan, Bill? Care to elucidate?

But the other side of his response here is very interesting too - the "positives" Kristol attributes to Paul. It's the appearance ("seems") of virtue and thoughtfulness. Not unlike his statements re Palin, yes?

Let's translate Kristolish to real English.

"This guy is going to appeal to the doofuses of middle America because he appears to be a Norman Rockwell sketch. We need their activism and we need there votes. There just aren't enough people like myself (prep school, Harvard, Manhattan Upper West Side, Straussian elitists) to get us the votes we need so we are going to kiss the rednecks' asses and pretend we respect them."

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Rand, Country Club Populist, Paul is a phony Libertarian, just like his Dad. As Bill Maher said: "The Sh*it Does Not Fall Far From The Bat."


Excerpt from The Nation:

"here’s one area, though, in which Paul apparently wants the government to play a much bigger role: your womb. Women can forget about the “privacy’ and “liberty” Paul touts on his website; warnings against government encroachment on freedom do not apply to female citizens of Paul’s back-to-basics Republic. As per his website, we get the Human Life amendment banning all abortion even for rape and incest, “a Sanctity of Life Amendment, establishing the principle that life begins at conception,” a funding ban on Planned parenthood, and a ban on the Supreme court taking up abortion-related cases. No wonder he's been endorsed by Operation Rescue founder and general all-around sleazemeister Randall Terry.

As with many of Paul’s statements and positions, you wonder if he’s thought about them for more than two minutes. How, after all, is a ban on abortion to be implemented except by a massive government intrusion into private and personal behavior? To say nothing of monitoring thousands of medical practices, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies --apparently the only businesses Paul would want to put under government oversight."

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Wow, our "dear leader" is under attack:

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/ybenjamin/detail?entry_id=64175

Posted by: actuator | May 23, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Deep Thought:

Thank heavens that The NRA has made sure that every citizen of the Gulf Coast has been able to keep and bear Arms, to defend our shores against British Petroleum.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Paul said "accidents happen" referring to BP. I'm glad Rand Paul M.D. is not my doctor. Accidents are usually preventable.

Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Posted by: rooster54 | May 23, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

A British multinational corporation releases toxic chemicals on the US coast. How can it be un-American to call them out on this offense?

Posted by: rooster54 | May 23, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Poor Blumenthal had the misfortune to have his faux pax revealed at the same time the media were involved in a major inquisition of the Republican Ron Paul. For balance, they needed to take down a Democrat, and are proceeding as if the offenses were equivalent, which they are not.

Posted by: rhallnj | May 23, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Media, stop talking about "The Tea Party". There is no such party. It does not exist.

It is a Republican Party Cat's Paw Operation.

All the so called "Tea Party" operations have been against Democrats. They only back Republican candidates.

They have no candidate slate of their own. They are Republicans, so they can not be a separate party.

The Tea Party does not exist, but the Media reports as if they do.

Rand Paul is a Republican candidate for the US Senate, and yet the media keeps claiming that he is the candidate of some factious party, known as "The Tea Party"

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Media, stop talking about "The Tea Party". There is no such party. It does not exist.

It is a Republican Party Cat's Paw Operation.

All the so called "Tea Party" operations have been against Democrats. They only back Republican candidates.

They have no candidate slate of their own. They are Republicans, so they can not be a separate party.

The Tea Party does not exist, but the Media reports as if they do.

Rand Paul is a Republican candidate for the US Senate, and yet the media keeps claiming that he is the candidate of some factious party, known as "The Tea Party"

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"Accidents happen, and I am living proof of that fact." Rand, Country Club Populist, Paul

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

As a progressive ("secular/socialist" if you're a Newt groupie), I was very happy Rand Paul won the primary because, as virtually everyone except the Tea Party knows, he doesn't have a prayer in the general election.

His views on discrimination are just the icing on the cake. It has been enormously entertaining hearing the subsequent backpedaling and equivocating.

Posted by: EnemyOfTheState | May 23, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Out Of Texas:

Coming soon to your children's public schools:

Text Books Written By, and Authorized by:

Redneck Ayatollahs!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

EnemyOfTheState@11.41a - unfortunately you're wrong about Paul's chances in the general. He stands a good chance to win - thanks to the low-information voters and regular Republicans who will unhesitatingly vote the Republican ticket, no matter who's the candidate.

Plus, I certainly hope Conway runs a good campaign - make that "great" - and uses the quotes coming out daily for campaign ads against Paul. I mean, those ads just about write themselves.

Posted by: phoebes1 | May 23, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/israelis-asked-to-visit-passport-plant-here-before-dubai-killing-2190468.html

"Israelis asked to visit passport plant here before Dubai killing

By Sam Smyth
Saturday May 22 2010

ISRAELI officials asked to inspect the Dublin plant where security-enhanced passports are made -- just a month before a Middle East assassination by agents using forged Irish documents.

A serious diplomatic incident was looming last night after a top-level report concluded that an Israeli intelligence agency forged the Irish passports used in the murder of a Hamas operative in Dubai in January.

The Department of Foreign Affairs believes that an Israeli state agency provided the eight forged Irish passports used by agents involved in the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

The sensational charges against the Israelis are understood to be detailed in a report submitted earlier this week by the Irish Passport Service to Minister Micheal Martin.

However, it is also understood that none of the findings could be proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Up to 27 people were suspected of involvement in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in a Dubai hotel on January 19. Three fraudulent Australian passports, four French, 12 British, one German and eight Irish passports were used in the killing.

The genuine Irish passports -- whose numbers had been used in the forged passports -- had been though frontiers in Europe and the United States, but not in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, it emerged last night that the Israeli Foreign Service approached the Department of Foreign Affairs in the run-up to Christmas to say it was very impressed by the sophistication of the new Irish passports and their in-built biometric components.

The Israelis asked if they could send a small team to examine the DFA's manufacturing plant in Balbriggan, Co Dublin, where a new biometric security feature was built into the passports.

The request was refused.

"After the killing in Dubai, one of the bosses here said whoever refused the Israelis getting into the passport plant should be promoted," a source within the department said yesterday.

A spokesman for Micheal Martin declined to comment.

However, a senior and reliable source in the department said: "Our conclusion is much the same as that of the British. We're not looking for anybody else."

"In the Dail on Thursday, Mr Martin said two of the eight forged Irish passports were those of children."

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

" Sestak needs to figure out how to clean this mess up, methinks."

Agreed. If he doesn't do so it will only dog him the rest of the way to the general election.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 23, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Let's waste more time on this issue. Rand believes private business and organaizations should remain private without government intervention. I hope you also want to maintain privacy without government control. Big deal.
Is the current Supreme Court Racist or Extremist?
Lawrence v. Texas (2003)- The Court holds that a Texas statute criminalizing same-sex conduct is unconstitutional.
Grutter v. Bollinger (2003) - In this case, the Court finds that a law school's limited "affirmative action" use of race in admissions is constitutional.
See the opinions of these 2 recent examples of Civil Rights cases. They are not unanimous decisions. HMMMMM

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 23, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

In January this year, Harry Reid apologized for for a 2008 comment saying the race of Barack Obama – whom he described as a "light skinned" African-American "with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one" – would help rather than hurt his eventual presidential bid.
Obama says OK, the book is closed.
I now get it. If a demmy makes a racial comment and apologizes it's OK. If an opposing party member wins by a Randslide, they are prosecuted continuously for making a comment in reference to privacy in private business.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 23, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

"I am against Government, and Pro British Petroleum Oil Spills."

Rand, Country Club Populist, Paul.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

It's a ridiculous argument, "TRUTH20": a "private business" owes much of its existence to services provided by the public. It relies on "public" utilities, "public" infrastructure, and in many cases "publicly" educated employees. We have every right as a society to demand that they provide equal access to all.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 23, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Not good enough to say Rand Paul would have voted for the Civil Rights Act. How does the CRA fit into the overall Teaparty / Libertarian world view? To me it doesn't fit so please explain it.

Posted by: matt_ahrens | May 23, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

schrodingerscat:
Your opinion is well taken. The issue I see here is that he is not referring to service or private business as a whole. I believe that is what the media and certain political opponents are try to propagate.
If we look at private industries that support only men, or blacks, etc, they have the right to privacy.

Posted by: TRUTH20 | May 23, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

What you believe does not count. What Rand Paul was in favor of was allowing local establishments to refuse service to people based on the color of their skin.

He tried to hide behind that old Right Wing nonsense of letting local governments decide such issues. They were the ones who were backing restaurants, etc, refusing to serve black people, so Rand, Country Club Populist, Paul; wanted to allow that to continue.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

What you believe does not count. What Rand Paul was in favor of was allowing local establishments to refuse service to people based on the color of their skin.

He tried to hide behind that old Right Wing nonsense of letting local governments decide such issues. They were the ones who were backing restaurants, etc, refusing to serve black people, so Rand, Country Club Populist, Paul; wanted to allow that to continue.

Posted by: Liam-still | May 23, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"The Nevada Secretary of State has now ruled that you cannot wear a chicken costume when you go to vote in the GOP Senate primary."

Dunno if a chicken costume would be considered a sign of support or opposition.

Posted by: jzap | May 23, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

"...Both Rand's supporters and critics point to Senator Barry Goldwater's principled opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, according to Rick Perlstein's excellent book, Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus, Goldwater's opposition to the Civil Rights Act was based entirely on constitutional concerns. He had been told by both William Rehnquist, then a private attorney in Phoenix and later chief justice of the Supreme Court, and Robert Bork, then a professor of constitutional law at Yale, that it was unconstitutional. Bork even sent him a 75-page brief to that effect.

To be sure, the Rehnquist-Bork position was not a lame rationalization for racism. It was rooted in the fact that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 essentially replicated the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which was enacted by a Republican Congress over strenuous Democratic opposition. However, in 1883 the Supreme Court, then it its most libertarian phase, knocked down the 1875 act as well as many other Republican measures passed during Reconstruction designed to aid African Americans. The Court's philosophy in these cases led logically to Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, which essentially gave constitutional protection to legal segregation enforced by state and local governments throughout the U.S.

As we know from history, the free market did not lead to a breakdown of segregation. Indeed, it got much worse, not just because it was enforced by law but because it was mandated by self-reinforcing societal pressure. Any store owner in the South who chose to serve blacks would certainly have lost far more business among whites than he gained. There is no reason to believe that this system wouldn't have perpetuated itself absent outside pressure for change.

In short, the libertarian philosophy of Rand Paul and the Supreme Court of the 1880s and 1890s gave us almost 100 years of segregation, white supremacy, lynchings, chain gangs, the KKK, and discrimination of African Americans for no other reason except their skin color. The gains made by the former slaves in the years after the Civil War were completely reversed once the Supreme Court effectively prevented the federal government from protecting them. Thus we have a perfect test of the libertarian philosophy and an indisputable conclusion: it didn't work. Freedom did not lead to a decline in racism; it only got worse...."

http://www.capitalgainsandgames.com/blog/bruce-bartlett/1734/rand-paul-no-barry-goldwater-civil-rights

Conservative economist Bruce Bartlett's take on it all. (He used to work for Ron Paul back in the 1970's.)

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I meant to link this earlier but didn't get to it.

About a month ago, Eli Wiesel wrote an open letter to Obama urging the President to cease pressuring Israel on settlement in Jerusalem. In response that Wiesel's letter, a number of Jerusalem citizens responded very strongly and poignantly to Weisel. That response can be found here...
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/may/27/open-letter-elie-wiesel/

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

To Bernie's first comment: scathing, and 100% accurate. I think your final paragraph is a perfect synopsis of why folks like Luntz and Kristol go to the ends of the world to defend talking points or people who would otherwise been deemed mentally unstable.

Keep it coming.

Posted by: PaulW99 | May 23, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I actually think Kristol et al agree with Rand Paul's philosophy of government. We've seen lots of indications from various Republicans that they'd just as soon go back to the days prior to the CRA, EPA, FDA, ADA, SS, Medicare, and just about any other Federal entity that they believe interferes with business. They'd prefer to keep these ideas a little more under wraps than those expressed by Randy, hence the tiny push back he's been getting from Republicans. "Don't tell everyone what we'd really like to do", they won't vote for us.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Kathleen Parker, without being very explicit for the obvious reasons, underlines one of the main reasons that Republicans are shutting up about Rand Paul (and why he's being advised to shutthehellup)
http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/kathleen-parker-rand-pauls-statements-make

Republican electoral hopes are pinned on their base being motivated while the opposition is not. A high profile resurgence of anti-civil rights values and policies are NOT desired by Republican strategists.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I've been reading more and more disillusioned posts and articles re our response to the BP oil catastrophe. Here's Bob Herbert's take. Once that oil seeps into the marshes they'll become a dead zone for sea and bird life, it can't really be cleaned up there. It's really a huge blow to the Gulf Coast and there seems to be no end in sight.

"This is the bitter reality of the American present, a period in which big business has cemented an unholy alliance with big government against the interests of ordinary Americans, who, of course, are the great majority of Americans. The great majority of Americans no longer matter."

"No one knows how much of BP’s runaway oil will contaminate the gulf coast’s marshes and lakes and bayous and canals, destroying wildlife and fauna — and ruining the hopes and dreams of countless human families. What is known is that whatever oil gets in will be next to impossible to get out. It gets into the soil and the water and the plant life and can’t be scraped off the way you might be able to scrape the oil off of a beach."

"It permeates and undermines the ecosystem in much the same way that big corporations have permeated and undermined our political system, with similarly devastating results."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/opinion/22herbert.html

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Ims - I'd argue against that thesis. The points of confluence between the two are not many and not very serious ones, even if Kristol etc would have us think so presently.

The most obvious divergence (and it's a clear deal-breaker) is foreign policy - severe isolationism versus aggressive world-wide engagement. If Paul is honest (he won't be) he'd acknowledge that his notion of proper governance wouldn't put a penny towards foreign aid to Israel, for example. That one point alone puts the camps (and Kristol particularly) at direct odds. Dem policies are far closer to Kristol than Paul's in this.

But there's nothing to indicate that Republicans value small government in actual fact as they never get around to making it so. Government got bigger under Reagan and Bush. As to deficits, they rose under both those presidents as well (and again, Cheney to O'Neill, "Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter").

Where there is a confluence, it is in notions around federal regulations. But the motivations are quite different, it seems to me. Paul thinks fed regs limit the liberties of the individual and are therefore immoral/unjust. But Kristol thinks that federal regs (or state regs or community regs) will produce negative consequences on corporate entities and will, in penalizing these winners/power elites, destabilize the natural order of human societies (or something quite like that - the guy is so dishonest one has to ferret out what he really thinks).

Kristol will work to take down any significant rise in libertarian power in the party/movement because of all the above (and because it makes the whole movement/coalition look as nuts as it is thus hurting electoral opportunities for his crowd). But right now he (and Armey and Gingrich, Limbaugh etc) are using them to rebrand themselves. The precursor example is the way they used Evangelicals.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This is really just so far out there into the lying propaganda place it amazes. It's Palin on FOX surmising that Obama's slow response to the oil spill is suspect because of the administration's ties to (and campaign contributions from) British Petroleum and the oil industry. But watch how Wallace sets her up to give this new spiffy talking point - it's choreographed...
http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201005230004

But far be it from me to suggest that Roger Ailes ought to be up on sedition charges.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 5:58 PM | Report abuse

"According to two surviving crew members of the Deepwater Horizon, oil workers from the rig were held in seclusion on the open water for up to two days after the April 20 explosion, while attorneys attempted to convince them to sign legal documents stating that they were unharmed by the incident. The men claim that they were forbidden from having any contact with concerned loved ones during that time, and were told they would not be able to go home until they signed the documents they were presented with."
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20100521/sc_ynews/ynews_sc2191
h/t to Balloon Juice. As Cole says, "this is obscene".

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Krugman on why regulation works...
http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/why-does-regulation-work/

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Rasmussen? Take a look at these graphs...
http://openleft.com/diary/18821/ramussens-junk-polls-distort-house-outlook

Note the point Rosenburg makes regarding the narrative uses of skewed polling.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Imsinca quoting Herbert:
"It permeates and undermines the ecosystem in much the same way that big corporations have permeated and undermined our political system, with similarly devastating results."

reminds me of c.1970 Doonesbury strip where Megaphone Mark's dad says something like:

"You kids have done the same thing to the fabric of this country that you've done to the fabric of your blue jeans!"

About the same level of hyperbole and "metaphoritis," as well.

Posted by: converse | May 23, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, some months back here I was railing against Rasmussen polls as more or less push polls dressed up as legitimate polling.

They exist to push, or confirm, or counter, a narrative; their aim is ideological. Period.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 23, 2010 7:14 PM | Report abuse

BG - I'm not much of a polling guy (math hater) and am rather dim-witted about this aspect of things. I'll count on folks like you to keep me up to snuff.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

So, we got the baby size, the mommy size and the big jumbo daddy size nukulars available. Take your time. I don't wanna make up your mind for you.

"Secret South African documents reveal that Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the apartheid regime, providing the first official documentary evidence of the state's possession of nuclear weapons.

The "top secret" minutes of meetings between senior officials from the two countries in 1975 show that South Africa's defence minister, PW Botha, asked for the warheads and Shimon Peres, then Israel's defence minister and now its president, responded by offering them "in three sizes". The two men also signed a broad-ranging agreement governing military ties between the two countries that included a clause declaring that "the very existence of this agreement" was to remain secret."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-weapons

It will be interesting to see what comes of these revelations.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

Ha'aretz has that story up top as of right now.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

Bernie sez, "h/t to Balloon Juice." Right arm.

And also to guardian.co.uk:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/20/survivor-deepwater-horizon-gulf-oil-explosion

Posted by: jzap | May 23, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

South Africa? Hmmm.

And the Krauthammers of the world get upset at Jimmy Carter for using the word apartheid to describe Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. Feh.

Posted by: jzap | May 23, 2010 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, I agree with the National Security issues you listed above being the difference between Rand Paul and neo-conservatives. I mentioned earlier this week if we really wanted to embarrass Kristol, Palin, and others for their Paul support, let's get to the bottom of his philosophy there. My other point I think is at least a bit valid. One example being Paul Ryan's big roll out of his alternative budget, slashing both Social Security and Medicare, immediately hushed up by the top brass. There's an underlying theme in their ideology of small government that most middle class Americans would find quite distasteful if they knew the lengths they were willing to go.

De-regulation of just about anything and everything gives us the clue. I agree however they have taken the cynical, for them, route on any number of occasions when given the keys. If you look at the 2003 Medicare Advantage bill though, you can still see their underlying ideology. While it was a pre-election year ploy to cater to seniors, it was primarily a give away to the pharmaceutical industry.

Another clue IMO is all the hoopla we're seeing regarding states rights right now. Ultimately, they would prefer the Feds stay out of their business. Well, until they might need them in an emergency or two.

I believe most everything else during the Bush years was either war, MIC, or national security related expansion of the Federal government, which we can be pretty sure Rand Paul would not support.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Tim Pawlenty, as quoted in the original post: "Tea Party movement represents I think new energy..."

Yes, the energy of inchoate anger.

"...new ideas,..."

No, actually. They have no ideas aside from some general aspiration for "smaller government." But they don't point to what they'd make smaller. They don't want to reduce the growth of Medicare. They don't want to adjust Social Security. They don't seem to want to cut defense. That doesn't leave much of the budget just to achieve fiscal balance, much less pay for the tax cuts they seem to desire. Next time, someone should ask Pawlenty if he can come up with any specific "ideas" espoused by the Tea Party that might be turned into responsible legislation; I'd love to hear the answer to that one.

"...passion around these themes of we have had enough, government is too big, the debt is too big..."

Again, substitute "anger" for "passion." And again, no specific solutions as to what to do about these "themes." Complaining about a problem isn't a solution to the problem; you have to be willing to do something about the problem (pay more taxes, accept fewer services), and that something Tea Partiers, and many Democrats and Republicans, have refused to recognize.

"...And to the extent that accrues to the Republican side of the ledger, that's a helpful thing."

Just about the only accurate thing Pawlenty said in that quote. Irresponsible in terms of governance, but accurate.

Posted by: dasimon | May 23, 2010 8:18 PM | Report abuse

"Complaining about a problem isn't a solution to the problem"

BINGO!

The Tea Party movement is a temper tantrum, not a solution.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 23, 2010 8:27 PM | Report abuse

@jzap Feh, indeed. And thanks for that Guardian link...bloody chilling.

@Ims - I guess I'd differentiate between the Kristol neoconservative camp and the "small government Republican" camp as it has evolved under pressure from Norquist and other ideologues of the Goldwater stripe. That latter camp has a closer philosophical relationship to libertarians like Paul. Does that make sense or do I look off the beam?

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Converse, I wish Herbert's evaluation of the state of affairs now was hyperbolic, because then it wouldn't be true. While y'all are fighting against something loosely called "welfare" and "small government" the rest of us are fighting against real "corporate welfare" and the way corporate greed and corporate friendly legislation has infiltrated our government. It's fine with me it you choose to ignore it, it's your prerogative, but don't try to sell it to me.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I probably should add in there as well an argument that Kristol's conception of the role of the government is far more aligned with the existing American corporate structure and interests than Paul's is.

If Paul's foreign policy philosophy were to gain application, we can imagine what the consequences would be for the Pentagon and all the huge defense related interests. I don't think there's any question that the Pentagon et al would far rather have Obama's vision in place rather than Paul's.

And if we consider how much of America's military/intelligence machinery is in place in order to support or further American business enterprises around the globe, then that adds substantially to the whole dynamic favoring a Repub/Dem government rather than anything like Paul believes.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

@dasimon
"Tea Party movement represents I think new energy"

I see this as a talking point in aid of creating a particular narrative. It's been pushed by FOX, Freedom Works, Rove etc from the beginning - a wave of populist anger and energy rising up to counter the excesses and anti-Americanism of this extremist liberal President.

Some such narrative HAD to be manufactured as a counter to the electoral losses of the last two cycles and to counter the wave of pro-Obama sentiment that carried him to the Presidency.

There's a reason all these folks keep repeating this "new energy" phrasing/idea and my wager is that it was planned and developed much as we see it by smart (if amoral) people who know how to devise such campaigns.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 23, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"Does that make sense or do I look off the beam?"

It makes complete sense. They're called neoconservatives because they came to their conservatism late. They started as liberal Dems. who also were hawks. (Several of the most famous of them once served in the office of Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-WA), a famously hawkish otherwise liberal Democrat.

The neoconservatives never lost their fondness for large government. They brought it with them into their conservatism. Consequently they sometimes now appear disturbingly like fascists.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 23, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"Some such narrative HAD to be manufactured as a counter to the electoral losses of the last two cycles and to counter the wave of pro-Obama sentiment that carried him to the Presidency. "

Certainly. Otherwise they'd actually have to engage in soul searching.

(Can you imagine????

!!)

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 23, 2010 8:57 PM | Report abuse

The House Ethics committee should probably first look into Darrell Issa's interference with the U.S. Attorney investigation of Republican Reps Cunningham and Lewis. He's essentially gotten a free pass on that one.

Posted by: JPRS | May 23, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

As usual, you make a lot of sense Bernie. I'm finding difficult to keep everyone pigeon-holed, which means I probably shouldn't try. I just find an awful lot of subterfuge going on right now in the Republican Party and it seems like no one wants to spell out specifically what kind of America they'd like us to have. Anti big government and taxes doesn't really give voters much to judge them by. The more specific we can get them to be the better chance we have of beating them.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

My 8:38 post should read "big government", not small. I think I need to get to bed.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

If you're interested in the BP gusher, I'm no longer calling it a spill because it isn't, and want to get a little perspective this piece by Peter Daou is a must read. He doesn't pull any punches and we all need to get vocal about this, write and call you Congress Critters and the WH even.

"Where is the outrage? Where are the millions marching in the streets, where is the round-the-clock roadblock coverage tracking every moment of the crisis, every effort to plug the leak, every desperate attempt to mitigate the damage?"

"Where is the White House? Where are Republicans? Where are Democrats? Where is the left? Where is the right? Where is the "fierce urgency of now?"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-daou/the-great-shame-americas_b_586377.html?ir=Politics

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 10:36 PM | Report abuse

And here's another one re BP and what we need to be doing.

"But it’s the Executive Branch which is charged with the faithful execution of our laws, and it’s failing to do so. It has not done a competent job of communicating with the public or the media would not be hammering on them as they are for more information — and for once, the media is actually doing what we need of them, not what their corporate lords and masters expect."

"Instead of scolding the press, the White House should be asking itself why it’s being pestered. Why has "oil spill" remained a trending topic among internet searches across various outlets for more than a month?"

"It’s because we want ACTION, not more words. We want the damned well capped and we want it capped yesterday, and no, we don’t want to leave this to a negligent corporation which has consistently failed to act in good faith. We want the Executives we elected to office to execute. Do something, for god’s sake."

http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/50179

Posted by: lmsinca | May 23, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse

"But there's nothing to indicate that Republicans value small government in actual fact as they never get around to making it so. Government got bigger under Reagan and Bush."

Neither Bush is a small government conservative. That isn't what they ever claimed to be. Kinder gentler . . . compassionate conservative.

But Republicans have never had the Presidency and large Congressional majorities necessary to make significant changes to the size and scope of government.

We all live under a system -- constructed by Democrats and liberals -- of government as organized mass bribery.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 24, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Ims said: "I'm finding difficult to keep everyone pigeon-holed,"

I think there's a danger here I have to be wary of. One has to categorize these folks in some evidence-based manner but one can get this stuff wrong. Even Kristol, Krauthammer, John Bolton and Dick Cheney each have a somewhat different constellation of ideas among themselves, for example. But then there's Rove, who's a separate kettle And Armey is different from him in action, allegiance and motivation. The Chamber of Commerce's Donovan is a bird different from the above and then there's Dobson or Schlafly. And Pat Buchanan. Or Limbaugh. And then there's the libertarians, etc.

The movement is an unholy mess of weird and predictable, smart and stupid, pathological and well-intended, murderous and compassionate, etc. To understand this stuff necessitates some categorization (pigeon-holing). I know I'm going to get stuff wrong and it'll be embarrassing. Unfortunately for everyone, neither my brain nor my mouth seem to have an off switch.


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

Interesting how liberals claim that neocons are much like fascists because they combine big government vigorous national security strength -- the very same combination that Democrats stye themselves as representing.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 24, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/05/the_morning_plum_14.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 24, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

And it's not the slightest bit surprising that qb fails to note that what makes the neoconservatives different is their bellicose warmongering as the solution to all of our foreign policy challenges.

THAT'S the final touch that makes them resemble facists, and unique in our history as well.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 24, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

The Dems. are only operating in the same realpolitik environment that has been the historic norm of US foreign policy since the end of WWII.

The neoconservatives had not the time of day for that, not when there were wars to start that they themselves, as well as their children, would never fight in.

And I'm suprised the war criminal wannabe is commenting upon my comments since he usually gets his feefees all in a twist whenever he gets called out on his passionate wish that we wouldn't follow the example George Washington set of not torturing captives.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 24, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Democrats are all about bellicose warmongering as long as it is their own, allowing them to wrap themselves in patriotism.

Don't try peddling your phony George Washington history to me. Your buddy Gassy the Clown tried that long ago. You guys should learn from something other than leftwing websites.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 24, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I really, really hope that Nevada Democrats will take any and all opportunity...and even create some...to remind their supporters, as publicly, loudly and repeatedly as possible, that they are not allowed to wear chicken costumes to the polls. Wouldn't want to offend.

Posted by: kstack | May 24, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

quaerterback: "Democrats are all about bellicose warmongering as long as it is their own"

Cite, please. Data, please. Polling, please.

Left-wingers were pretty much opposed to expanding troop presence in Afghanistan. Most liberals do not approve of indefinite detention. And it doesn't matter which party is behind it.

But if you want to make unproven assumptions that just happen to align with your world view, then there's no use discussing the issue. Really, it's just tiresome.

Posted by: dasimon | May 24, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

dsimon, make whatever generalizations you want about leftwingers and liberals.

Your Democrat President and his admin don't reflect those positions. Nor is this new. Democrats even supported invading Iraq; John "Reporting for Duty" Kerry ran as a militarist; Joe Biden has a long history of bellicosity rhetoric and support for rash military action (despite avoiding service himself).

Nor were your comrades' comments above about neoconservatives based on polls or data about public attitudes.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 24, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

quarterback: "Your Democrat President and his admin don't reflect those positions."

So what? That's simply not an argument regarding what most liberals think. Did conservatives support everything Bush did? Shall I generalize that conservatives support more government spending since that's what happened under a Republican president and Congress? Again, where is your evidence?

You know, if most liberals supported whatever Obama did, they wouldn't be so frustrated with him. (I decline to reveal what category I'm in, so don't apply your generalizations to me but take the point on its own terms.)

"Democrats even supported invading Iraq"

Some did. Many did not (61% of House Democrats voted no on the authorization of the use of force, if you bother doing the research; 42% of Democratic Senators voted no. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Resolution). And again, you'd have to have some real public polling data to make an accurate statement--if you care about being accurate.

"Nor were your comrades' comments above about neoconservatives based on polls or data about public attitudes."

I see. So if someone does the wrong thing, then you can do the wrong thing too. I've applied this phrase to liberals who make the same "Well Bush did it too" argument: that's logic worthy of a third grader.

Again, you're taking your own preconceived notions based on several instances and applying them to everyone in the category. That approach will inevitably lead to error. But those who don't care about being wrong won't bother listening.

Posted by: dasimon | May 24, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

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