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The Morning Plum

* Read of the morning: The political world braces itself for sharp-elbowed, hard-charging, furniture-breaking Chuck Schumer as the next Senate Majority Leader.

Key nugget: Despite Obama's ties to Richard Durbin, a senior Obama official flatly predicts: "Chuck Schumer is the next majority leader."

* Dems, newly bellicose about 2010 after Tuesday's big win in Pennsylvania's 12th, want Obama to worry less about his post-partisan brand and put on his partisan brass knuckles already.

* More signs that the war over The New York Times' handling of the Richard Blumenthal video and story isn't going away: The controversy is featured high up in Mike Allen's Playbook this morning.

* Also: The Columbia Journalism Review takes The Times to task for overselling the story and leaving out reams of context.

* The White House ally Americans United for Changes goes up on national cable with a new ad drenching Senate Republicans in Big Oil, seizing on the Gulf spill to demand they stop blocking energy reform.

* Reality check: There are still no signs that one of the most devastating environmental calamities in history will meaningfully shift the climate change debate in the Senate.

* Note to those arguing that equivalent ideological purges are happening on right and left: Please find a left-wing equivalent to the ideological purity test Tea Party kingmaker Jim DeMint is inflicting on fellow Republicans. Thanks in advance.

* Also: Rand Paul is not willing to say whether he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act. Please find an equivalent extreme in a Dem Senate candidate. Thanks in advance.

* Maybe time to leave well enough alone? Joe Sestak repeats the claim that the White House offered him a job to drop out of the primary, which the White House has denied.

* Looks like there may be serious unrest brewing in House GOP ranks over the big loss in PA-12.

* Jonathan Martin says the real lesson of that race may be that "paint-by-numbers attacks on Democrats as water carriers" for Obama and Nancy Pelosi just may not cut it this fall.

* But: There seems to be less than meets the eye to Dem claims that turnout in Kentucky proves there's no real "enthusiasm gap," since registered Dems dramatically outnumber GOPers in the state.

* Pelosi vows Don't Ask Don't Tell will be repealed this year, showing she may be set to show more leadership than the big boys on yet another issue.

* And Jed Lewison posts clear video evidence that Sue Lowden's bizarre chickens-for-checkups denial is a big ol' fib.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 20, 2010; 8:28 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Next: Blumenthal: "I wore the uniform in Vietnam"

Comments

Morning, Greg:

"Reality check: There are still no signs that one of the most devastating environmental calamities in history will meaningfully shift the climate change debate in the Senate."

Disgraceful. That better change. Fast. Obama and Kerry made their deals with Big Oil to get the OK on legislation but that's all over now. Everything is changed. Oh, and by the way, the oil is now washing into the LA marshlands; this catastrophe is just beginning. Wait until the images show up on TV, probably beginning today. Dems MUST seize on this and push a far more aggressive energy/climate change bill. Jettison the off-shore drilling deals; push hard and dare the GOP to oppose with waves of oil smothering the LA wetlands.

First signs of thick oil found in Plaquemines marshlands

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/05/first_signs_of_thick_oil_found.html

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Greg, it looks like your unrest brewing in House GOP link isn't working. FYI

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"sharp-elbowed, hard-charging, furniture-breaking Chuck Schumer as the next Senate Majority Leader."

Trying to think if he's really more in-your-face than Mitch McConnell or Trent Lott, or if this is one of those "pushy" Jewish/New Yorker stereotypes.

Posted by: theorajones1 | May 20, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Pardon me while I quote myself from the previous thread:

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

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

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Wb, thanks for the link to the LA marshlands and the oil that's making it's way into the area. Bobby Jindal isn't shy about asking for help is he? It's so hard to stick to your principles of small government when your small government can't deal with your really big problems or protect you from an oil giant and their faulty safety practices.

This is going to be huge IMO and Dems are stupid to just sit idly by and not use it to get the job done in energy legislation.

Posted by: lmsinca | May 20, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca: My optimistic view is that Obama and the Dems know that once the images start showing up TV, probably beginning today, the entire climate will change (parson the pun) and then the public will be ready for more aggressive energy and climate change legislation. Even if that optimism is warranted, however, the Dems should still be laying the groundwork right now.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

thanks, lmsinca, link fixed...

and Theora, no, that isn't a stereotype re Schumer. He's a hard charging kind of guy.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 20, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

O&O (really)

Posted by: wbgonne | May 20, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"There are still no signs that one of the most devastating environmental calamities in history will meaningfully shift the climate change debate in the Senate."

I echo everything wbgonne has said and then some. I realize my conflict of interest as a Floridian but if I may beg to disagree Greg.

Yesterday a House Republican from Florida actually lectured from the dais about the NEED FOR GOVERNMENT REGULATION of the oil industry. A Republican speaking out FOR government regulation is a huge sign of change and a preview of things to come IMHO.

Wbgonne is exactly right about the pics adding to the reaction. They break your heart. I can barely look at them or watch the TV screen. It's like that Sarah McLachan PSA about deserted animals that I have to turn off immediately because they disturb me so much.

I think Obama's cool demeanor may be a huge liability here. Listen for me it's getting to be a case of dumb and dumber when it comes to our parties and leaders.
Obama is pissing aways lives and treasure in two futile wars overseas. He passed off a mild (regurgitated Republican idea from the 90's) as HCR WITHOUT a P.O. He's sitting by and letting Financial reform get watered down by the Wall Street interests all the while he has Wall Streeters like Geitner running the show.
How much more are we supposed to take?

Now I am beyond pissed. Obama should forcefully step up and TAKE OVER IN THE GULF. Screw BP. IT'S TIME!!! His meager actions are NOT ENOUGH!!! Step in and react to this as the 9/11 level crisis it is...no more fly in visits...this CRISIS should be NUMERO UNO...yes over financial reform..immigration reform..energy reform...he can keep those going but he needs to be FAR MORE FORCEFUL AND STRIDENT...screw Mr. Cool...get BP the hell out of the way and let some scientists without the conflict of interest into the effort. It's time to lead Mr. President....and not for freaking political gain...as a Gulf Coast resident I don't care who benefits or loses politically D's or R's....YOU BETTER FREAKIN GET WITH IT MR PREZ OR WE'LL NOT FORGET!!!!

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 20, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Ever since Schumer blasted Obama for not toeing the Israeli line, I have had my doubts about him in such a high position of power. Has he ever criticized an Israeli leader in such harsh terms? And what does that say about his priorities?
If this makes me anti-Semitic, so be it.

Posted by: kstack | May 20, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Grotesque Philosophical Ruminations

After watching Rachel last night, I thought that if the lunch counter segregation argurment is simply re-framed - as it should be - as a Human Rights vs. Property Rights issue, then his argument completely fails even in the context of his gun rights excuse. (Some may say that property rights are a human right, but human rights persist even in the absence of property; not visa versa.)

Ideological purity aside, I can't believe there are enough heartless, dead souls to get him elected.

Posted by: RhodaA | May 20, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

@kstack I do not feel I am anti-Semitic and I agree with you wholeheartedly. There needs to be some balance in the Middle East.

Naomi Klein has made some excellent points that since Israel's economy crashed with the dot com bubble and then reinvented itself very successfully with war on terror products it's actually in Israel's economic interest to keep the war stoked up. Again the Corporate influence of the M.I.C. is not just confined to Cheney/Haliburton and the U.S.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 20, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"Read of the morning: The political world braces itself for sharp-elbowed, hard-charging, furniture-breaking Chuck Schumer as the next Senate Majority Leader"

Oh, how WONDERFUL for you moonbats!

I can think of few DemocRat senators more likely to alienate the American people than the senior senator form New York,(except perhaps the junior senator from New York).

I've been bidding for oil drilling rights on Schumer's head since his days as a big "gun control" advocate, as well as his "Cereal Killer" schtik.

The guy veritably oozes with smug sanctimoniousness and unctious false concern.

What was it you fools were yammering about "Finacial Reform"?

How much and how far do you think you'll get with Chuck Schumer, (D-Wall $treet), as Majority Leader?

(If his party even keeps the majority in the Senate in this anti-incumbent year).

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 20, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Re: Rand Paul's stance on the Civil Rights Act

As I have read elsewhere, this is what happens when Libertarianism meets reality.

Posted by: akaoddjob | May 20, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"Dems, newly bellicose about 2010 after Tuesday's big win in Pennsylvania's 12th, want Obama to worry less about his post-partisan brand and put on his partisan brass knuckles already"

Uh-huh....

Not to disturb the fairy tale narratives that your DemocRat Moonbat chums are telling each other, but the "brass knuckles" Critz used to eke out a 9-point win in a 2-1 DemocRat district was to come out as pro-life, pro-gun, and AGAINST Socialist Utopia ObamaCare.

But please, continue to enjoy your fantasies of a glorious November drubbing of the conservatives...

All the incumbents have to do is run against themselves and their record as incumbents.

That shouldn't be too hard.

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 20, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Notice how The Tea Party is only active in Republican Primaries. So much for all their BS claims about they not being A Republican Party Potemkin Village.

The New Poster Child Of The Tea Party:

Segregationist, Country Club Populist; Rand Paul.

Will the Teabaggers start showing up to his political rallies, waving Lester Maddox style Axe Handles?!

Posted by: Liam-still | May 20, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

You are REALLY dredging the bottom of the barrel, here:

"Rand Paul is not willing to say whether he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act. Please find an equivalent extreme in a Dem Senate candidate. Thanks in advance"

Why not ask him how he would have voted on the Missouri Compromise?

You're displaying the panic that is gripping the political establishment, (and by no means is this confined to DemocRats), that the TEA Party, far from being the Pelosi-labelled "astroturfing operation", and when that narrative didn't work, the racists and the bigots, are a real force to be reckoned with now.

What this means is that the Right now has a "netroots" of it's own, somewhat analogous to moonbattery, only SANE, to exact a sense of government fiscal responsibility.

This is anathema to your moonbat masters, since a fiscally responsible government spells the end of your free-spending ways.

We know very well that without the hundreds of billions of direct and indirect government subsidies, the Left in this country would shrivel and dissappear like the Whigs of yesteryear.

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 20, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Huge BP Oil Slick has now spread to the top steps outside the White House.

"White House Chief of Protocol Capricia Penavic Marshall, walking to the side and a few steps ahead of Mr. and Mrs. Obama, slipped on the top step outside the White House. "


President Obama better wake up, and take charge of stopping the huge leak, before it soon seeps into the Oval Office.

Day 31 of BP holding the coastline of America Hostage

Posted by: Liam-still | May 20, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Liam-slave:
"Will the Teabaggers start showing up to his political rallies, waving Lester Maddox style Axe Handles?!"

That would make a nice counter-point to Meme-master Sargent's "brass knuckles".

Or the New Black Panther Party's clubs.

You and Sargent had better shut your soup-coolers with this kind of talk, BTW.

Unless you think our elections should start to resemble Iraqi ones.

It may be a lot closer than any of us think.

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 20, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

All, this latest one from Blumenthal is hard to defend:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 20, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

so sick of DeMint and his meddling. he's done nothing for the people of SC. i'm glad he has a honorable, intelligent challenger, Vic Rawl.

http://www.vicrawl.com/vicrawl/

Posted by: jeeze56 | May 20, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Standing by waiting for Michael Steele to embrace Rand Paul. Should be entertaining to watch Steele try to defend Paul's racial views.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 20, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Country Club Populist, Rand Paul, who is the new Darling of The Republican Party's Tea Party Operation, comes out in favor of letting restaurant owners refuse to serve people on the basis of their skin color.

Country Club Populatist, Mini Ron, says that owners of private businesses have the right to refuse to serve people based on their race. That means that he must also support rental property owners, doctors, private schools, country clubs, etc, also discriminating on the basis of race.

Wasn't it just yesterday that Country Club Populist, Mini Ron, was claiming that the days of discrimination, based on race, were over, thanks to Tiger Woods. Now he turns right around, and laments that the Civil Rights bill took away the right of such places to discriminate.

Scratch A Tea Bagger Favorite, and you will uncover a Lester Maddox style Racist!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | May 20, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

See if you can find out what Quitter Palin's Palm has to say about Country Club Populist, Mini Ron's views on business owners having the right to discriminate on the basis of race?

Posted by: Liam-still | May 20, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Liam-slave:
"Country Club Populist, Rand Paul, who is the new Darling of The Republican Party's Tea Party Operation, comes out in favor of letting restaurant owners refuse to serve people on the basis of their skin color."

Wow. It didn't take you long at all to absolutely run out of any other cogent criticisms of this guy, did it?

Straight to the default "RACIST!" accusation. This must be a new moonbat record.

FWIW, I know bupkis about this guy, and frankly, my not being a hoosier, t'ain't really any of my affair.

You don't know anything about him either, but that's not stopping you from going on rabid moonbat attack-mode.

BTW...whatever happenned to John Cougar Mellencamp? Wasn't he making noises about running for office in Indiana?

Posted by: Bilgeman | May 20, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Today's LAUGHER, email from the NRSC:

"""Tuesday night, voters nationwide sent a very clear message during the primary elections in Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Kentucky. Clearly, the Democrats' reckless Washington agenda of wasteful spending, bigger budgets, unsustainable debt, and government takeovers of entire industries hurt their candidates across the country.

Arlen Specter lost his battle for reelection because he valued his own job more than yours. He voted for the failed stimulus package. He voted for the Democrats' massive health care plan. And he enthusiastically supported the Obama administration's failed tax-and-spend policies. Not even the full weight of the Democratic establishment could save his bid for reelection.

Blanche Lincoln failed to reach the required 50% of the vote in her brutal primary battle, and now she is in serious danger of losing a runoff next month. Senator Lincoln likes to pretend that she is a moderate, but her liberal record tells a different story. Like Specter, she voted for the failed Obama-Pelosi-Reid stimulus debacle and the costly health spending bill, all while trying to convince her conservative state that she was one of them. They didn't buy it, and now she's in big trouble.

Republicans, on the other hand, are offering commonsense candidates who listen to the people and stand opposed to the liberal Washington agenda. Pat Toomey, John Boozman, and Rand Paul each won their respective Republican nominations because they stood up for the issues that are important to voters: lower taxes, less spending, and smaller government in Washington."""

Liberal Blanche Lincoln?

Commonsense Rand Paul?

Too much!!! LOL

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 20, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Supposedly the teaparty movment arose over angry about TARP, so it's telling that we are not hearing crickets out of them about finance reform.
This is why the teaparty movement is recognized as an organized astroturf movement--there have been zero demands for regulations or penalties on Wall Street from the teapartiers. All their noise was just feigned outrage.

Posted by: Beeliever | May 20, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"Supposedly the teaparty movment arose over angry about TARP"

The tea partiers claim that's what got them going, but they only really started organizing after Rick Santelli ranted about help for homeowners with bad mortgages. That's was REALLY set them off. When middle class homeowners need assistance, that's where they draw the line. As you say, they should be totally behind financial reform, but they obviously don't care.

Posted by: SDJeff | May 20, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

"Also: Rand Paul is not willing to say whether he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act. Please find an equivalent extreme in a Dem Senate candidate."

Harry Reid (D- NV) refuses to say whether he would vote for the Cluckers for Congress Act, which mandates all senators be paid in chickens.

WHY DOES HARRY REID HATE MY FREEDOM TO PAY IN CHICKENS?!

Posted by: howlless | May 20, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Democrats' "big win" in Pa 12? By a Dem who ran against the Obama agenda and won in a 2-1 Dem district?

As for brass knuckles, Obama would have to put down the gun and knife he has been wielding all along -- that's the Chicago way, you know. He's never behaved as anything but a hyperpartisan.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 20, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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