Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

The Morning Plum

* How Senate Dems will try to get Big Oil liability cap lifted: Here's something to watch today. Senate Dems plan to have another run at getting the disaster liability cap on oil companies lifted, increasing pressure on Republicans not to side with Big Oil.

Here's how: Senator Robert Menendez will file an amendment to a supplemental appropriations bill that would make oil company liability unlimited, a source says. Menendez tried to introduce a similar measure yesterday, via a different route, but a GOP Senator blocked it, and there was doubt as to how Dems would push the issue today.

They are going to push it, however, via an amendment to the larger approps bill. For procedural reasons it's an open question whether it will work, but keep an eye on this.

* Big: The White House confirms Obama will hold a press conference Thursday, with his opening remarks focused on the spill.

* And: He will announce tougher inspection standards for offshore drilling today.

* But: Also in that link, a senior administration official says Obama's trip to the Gulf Friday isn't about declaring war on BP and is just about showing he's "on top of it."

* Shorter Lindsey Graham: Let's respond to arguably the worst environmental calamity in history with far less comprehensive energy reform than we otherwise would have without any disaster.

* While you weren't looking: A new CBS poll finds support for health reform has gone up 11 points, though it's still not backed by a majority.

* Andrew Sullivan explains the stakes of DADT repeal:

For the first time in American history, gay people will be deemed fully worthy of the highest call of patriotism - to risk one's life for the defense of one's country. In that sense, for the first time, the Congress and president will treat them as fully citizens.

* But gay rights activists say the Obama administration isn't doing enough to drive the bill through the Senate, where its prospects are still in doubt.

* And: Barbara Morrill rightly notes that it's time for the White House to invest some capital in persuading Jim Webb that his opposition to the current repeal proposal is misguided.

* Here's the letter the White House wrote to Senators explaining the decision to send 1,200 troops to the Mexican border.

* I raised the question here last week of whether Blanche Lincoln would debate Bill Halter before the runoff, and now it's clear: Lincoln is ducking the debate.

* Lobbyists are quietly advising their clients to increase contributions to House Republicans in expectation of gains this fall.

* Randon question of the day: Has anyone heard from Rand Paul lately?

* Special bonus random question of the day: Who will Sarah Palin smear today?

* And a brutal Digby post mocking the White House for leaking Obama's "plug the damn hole" line.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  May 26, 2010; 8:14 AM ET
Categories:  Climate change , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: Is there a Sarah Palin vileness/absurdity threshold?

Comments

"* Big: The White House confirms Obama will hold a press conference today, with his opening remarks focused on the spill."

The Chuck Todd tweet is saying the press conference is Thursday, not today.

Posted by: Papagnello | May 26, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Pres Obama's move to send troops to the border will end up blunting some of the momentum polling was showing from minorities due to the AZ papers please law.

Alternately I wonder if journos will now go on the offensive after Sarah Palin effectively issued a fatwah against one of their peers. Especially if he ends up getting harassed by her cultish fans.

Rachel meadow had a segment on Monday about what alternatives there are wrt the oil spill. Short version is the only real viable solution is relief wells which can't be drilled till august. I wish all the ppl like James Carville and Donna Brazile who say Pres Obama should do more would watch that clip then explain what exactly he COULD do.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | May 26, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"Alternately I wonder if journos will now go on the offensive after Sarah Palin effectively issued a fatwah against one of their peers. Especially if he ends up getting harassed by her cultish fans."

I can't imagine how anyone could come to live in such an upside down world as this.

A nutjob, self-promoting pseudojournalist stalker moves to Alaska and moves into the house next door while writing a smear book on Palin, so he can keep the family under surveillance and even look through their windows. So he can observe their comings and goings and the back yard family activities.

And Palin is the villain. Simply unbelievable how twisted this thinking is.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Here is the problem for Obama. Either upon advice (Hi Rahm) or instinct, Obama has chosen to be a passive president. On HCR, he let Congress handle all the heavy lifting and didn't step in until the end. Likewise, on the BP Disaster, Obama has let BP run the show. Obama, I think, has overlearned some historical lessons and his greatest fear is of getting ahead of public opinion, which he believes has been the undoing of Democrats in the recent past. Whatever the merits of this strategy in other times, these are EXTRAORDINARY times and Obama seems out-of-step with actual events. Further, Obama's approach is wrong: it assumes that in his absence the process will nevertheless arrive at valid conclusions which he can simply implement by popular demand. Unfortunately, then, Obama's caution is being interpreted as weakness by the American people and if there is one thing Americans don't like it is a weak president. Obama must be more assertive and proactive. He can't let the GOP intimidate him by mocking him as grandiose. The country is a mess and people elected Obama to make serious changes. He should stop being so timid. He should lead, not wait to follow. How about some audacity, Mr. President?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

@sg "Short version is the only real viable solution is relief wells which can't be drilled till august."

Actually, the relief drills are being drilled now. They wouldn't be completed until August.

Frustratingly, other countries require them to be drilled at the same time the production well is being drilled.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 26, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama made a showy display upon taking office of reversing and revising all sorts of Bush orders and regulations that were lefty priorities, like making sure our tax dollars could be used to promote abortion.

Now, a month after the Gulf disaster, he is going to tighten inspection regulations.

And people here are actually blaming Bush. If this is the answer, why didn't Obama tighten regulations a year ago?

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Wbgonne:

What are the examples you're thinking of when you say that getting ahead of public opinion has been the undoing of Democrats?

Posted by: Papagnello | May 26, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Listen, QB: Like your GOP counterparts you have zero credibility criticizing since you hate every breath he takes. On this particular topic, however, you and the craven GOP are outdoing yourselves. Here's the GOP criticism of Obama re: the BP Disaster. Sure, the GOP says, Bush left tons of sh*t all over the country (the world, actually) for Obama to clean up but the GOP then criticizes Obama for not cleaning up Bush's sh*t fast enough or cheaply enough. The rotten-to-the-core GOP hates government and despises government regulation but now criticizes Obama for not reversing quickly enough Bush's de-regulation and non-regulation. If the GOP had any shame at all, it would recognize that it is attacking Obama for not doing things the GOP doesn't want him to do at all. But the present GOP is utterly shameless and completely dishonorable. It cares nothing for the truth or reality, only what sticks politically.

To the point the question you have refused to answer repeatedly QB: What would you have Obama do or what should Obama have done re: BP? You've had lots of time to consider your answer so what is it?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Papagnello:

I think that's what happened at the end of the Liberal period in the 70s. Since then the Liberals (and Dems) have been marginalized. Obama seems terrified of repeating this tactical error.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Jeb Bush via Barnes at Weekly Standard this morning.

“My guess is, post-November, should things go well, you’re going to see the emerging Cantor-Ryan wing of the Republican party—the policy activists—in their ascendency,” Bush says. “They’ll be in the ascendency in the Senate as well. And you’ll have activist conservative governors."

And here's the next sentence that I want to focus on...

"In 2011, I think you’re going to see all sorts of efforts to act on the belief in entrepreneurial capitalism and limited government.”

The US is continuing its march (or chaotic slide) towards an over-arching cultural/political confrontation between two visions of how the nation ought to be run. The first, as voiced by Bush, trusts unregulated corporate capitalism and the second, as voiced by this present administration, does not. The legislative battles under-taken in the last year and a half are instances of this battle. The Republican party is the main representative of that corporate view (and the corporate entities which gain from it) and the administration is clearly representing everyone else.

The BP disaster, following on the economic crash, the corporate-heavy operations that the wars in the middle east have become, and the growing divergence in personal wealth and economic security of citizens, has the real capacity to increase awareness that the formulation advanced above by Bush and his party is good for the very few and very bad for everyone else in the nation.

We already know that the Wall Street/Chamber of Commerce/energy crowds really hate this administration for the philosophy it holds and for the effectiveness and tenacity it has shown in pursuing that philosophy. We already know the size and range of the propaganda and institutional roadblocks that moneyed interests are throwing up in opposition.

This is a very big fight with multi-billions of dollars at stake, not to mention the risks to the lifestyles and status presently enjoyed by the small minority who sit at the top of this structure.

And then, there's climate change. More than any other factor, this one looms as the contest that has such enormous consequences for existing corporate/government/social arrangement.

We are, I think, heading towards a confrontation of the magnitude we haven't seen since the sixties, and that comparison might be inadequate.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 26, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Bernie: I agree that the battle is shaping up as you describe. I wish our spokesperson -- who just happens to be the greatest presidential orator in decades -- speaks up more forcefully for our side.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

@wbgonne...

I'm in complete agreement with you post!

To those protesting against the criticism of Obama's handling of the oil spill...the thing that differentiates us from Q.B. and the other morons on the right is we don't mindlessly defend idiots like Bush and Cheney even though they WRECKED the economy...took a balanced budget from Clinton and created the largest deficit in our history...gave us torture..well the list is simply too long..

Unlike being blind apologists like Q.B. and the right I like to believe we can disagree with Obama's policy when we actually DISAGREE.

IMHO there is NOTHING Obama can do to literally stop the spill. There is a LOT he can do to demonstrate leadership. I realize the expertize is in the Oil industry...but BP does not have to be in charge...The Gov't can certainly provide oversight as well as enlist the major scientists, engineers from other Oil Companies like Exxon, Shell etc who ALSO have plenty of experience with offshore drilling. Allowing BP to literally lie about the amount of oil gushing (because in later lawsuits the size of the spill will have significant impact on the size of the awards) is simply wrong. Obama and the administration could have put a stop to that.

Again I do not blame the spill on Obama. I do not think he can stop it. But he could lead a little more. Prime time news conference comparing this disaster to 9/11 will be a huge start. 9/11 was awful because of the loss of life and the hole it left in our national psyche. Other than the loss of life, this disaster is far worse with implications of LONG LASTING effects on the health of the Gulf, tourism, fishing etc as well as the health of the clean up workers. The true destruction may not really be known or completed for decades. In fact if Exxon Valdez shows us anything we already KNOW this has screwed up the Gulf for decades, at least the LA wetland barrier islands. This thing is HORRIBLE and we're just getting started!

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

wb,

You need to take a valium.

It isn't me who refuses to answer hard qustions. It's you.

You liberals have been blaming Bush and Cheney for the explosion. You have never cited any specific facts to support that charge. Not one, not ever. You just make vague assertions that Bush/Cheney "deregulated" oil drilling.

And you hold Obama blameless both before and after the explosion. Obama has been in office over a year. A month after the explosion, he is now going to (vaguely) tighten regulations.

If lax regulation was the cause -- and that is your argument, not mine -- it is by definition on Obama's watch and his fault.

If, as you seem to believe, off-shore drilling should have been halted, why didn't Obama do that? It's no explanation to say he "compromised." His decisions were his and his alone. He is responsible for them.

So what is your explanation? How did Bush cause this, and why didn't Obama stop it? How exactly is Bush to blame over a year after he left office?

What do you have to say about Jindahl's criticisms of the Obama response?

I harbor no expectation that you will ever honestly face such questions. You just fuss and rave about evil Republicans and how they are vaguely to blame.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Late and OT, but shouldn't we be sprinkling a little Libertarian fairy dust on Palin? Isn't it part of the Libertarian creed that we all live our own lives the way we want to live them and not worry about others? As far as I can tell, all he did was by a house--doesn't he have just as much right as she does to live in whatever house he wants? She's imputing intentions to him that she doesn't know he has. Where's Libertarian Tinker Bell??

Posted by: Michigoose | May 26, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"Unlike being blind apologists like Q.B. and the right I like to believe we can disagree with Obama's policy when we actually DISAGREE."

You are such a predictable idiot. I have to go back to scrolling past your brainless harangues.

I have always been very critical of Bush on many fronts. You are a waste of time.


Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne you need to learn to disregard Q.B.

He is not a critical thinker. Imagine how anybody can defend politicians and policies that have given us the WORST FREAKING ECONOMIC COLLAPSE SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION!

Policies that have gutted regulation, especially in energy where DICK Cheney held his now infamous energy policy meeting virtually in private and let the industries essentially regulate themselves.
Letting scum like Tony Hayward and calling him scum is not hyperbole, and BP drill without proper safeguards or caution. Or how about Republican fave Don Blakenship who has killed about six miners per year for the past decade because the fines are cheaper than the lost lives.

As Bernie and wbgonne have alluded the coming battle over the role of government and the role of corporations is coming to a head. Given the results of unfettered Corporations..economic Armageddon..the Gulf of Mexico despoiled for decades...dozens of lives lost in our mines and on the oil rigs...you literally have to be a moron to support the republican policies...THEY HAVE FAILED!!!

It's like watching the New York Giants smoke the St. Louis Rams by four touchdowns for ten games in a row and come away saying...I think I like the way the Cardinals are coached and the way they are doing things. Given the results of their policies the ignorance of supporting the R's is just breathtaking!

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"The first, as voiced by Bush, trusts unregulated corporate capitalism and the second, as voiced by this present administration, does not. The legislative battles under-taken in the last year and a half are instances of this battle. The Republican party is the main representative of that corporate view (and the corporate entities which gain from it) and the administration is clearly representing everyone else."

Such intellectual honesty here. [eyes rolling]

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"but a GOP Senator blocked it, and there was doubt as to how Dems would push the issue today."

Why the heck are Democrats not on every single news program highlighting this. Inhofe is basically saying screw the gulf coast small businesses that will collapse.

Can Inhofe please name off all these fragile small business drilling operations that would be driven out of business? Why won't Inhofe allow capitalism to work?

Why is Inhofe, in other words, OK with the Fed Gov subsidizing the oil companies if they screw up? What a socialist!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the comic relief, QB:

"You need to take a valium."

Ha! The GOP is lucky it was Obama and not me in that meeting. I certainly would have strangled two or three of those pompous preening pr*cks.

"You just make vague assertions that Bush/Cheney "deregulated" oil drilling."

Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! That is really a good one! (Let's see the minutes of Deadeye Dick's secret meetings with the oil companies in the White House.)

"And you hold Obama blameless both before and after the explosion."

And I ask yet again: what would you have Obama do? .... CRICKETS. But wait --- Are you finally about to give your answer?

"If lax regulation was the cause -- and that is your argument, not mine"

Oooh, so close. So you don;t want tighter regulation but you criticize Obama for . . . not tightening regulation. Insanity thy name is GOP.

"it is by definition on Obama's watch and his fault."

Like 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, huh?

"If, as you seem to believe, off-shore drilling should have been halted,"

Do you believe that off-shore drilling should have been halted? If not, please see above.

"why didn't Obama do that? It's no explanation to say he "compromised." His decisions were his and his alone. He is responsible for them."

I've explained this 3 times. Obama is trying to get the GOP to compromise on an energy bill but, as we learned yesterday, even in the midst of the worst environmental disaster in U.S history the GOP won't stop playing political games. A valium? The GOP should take cyanide.

"So what is your explanation? How did Bush cause this, and why didn't Obama stop it? How exactly is Bush to blame over a year after he left office?"

Already explained several times. Apparently, you don't like the answer.

"What do you have to say about Jindahl's criticisms of the Obama response?"

What criticisms are those? That government is doing too little? Or that as Jindal argues, in his now NOT released book, that government does too much? How about both? How about it doesn't matter because the GOP isn't a serious partner.

"evil Republicans and how they are vaguely to blame"

Nothing vague about it. If I were in charge of the Justice Department there would already be grand juries getting to the bottom of what Bush and Cheney did.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

P.S., QB: I like your quip about being on "pa-troll."

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

"He is not a critical thinker. Imagine how anybody can defend politicians and policies that have given us the WORST FREAKING ECONOMIC COLLAPSE SINCE THE GREAT DEPRESSION!"

Yes, imagine anyone having the temerity to question your unexamined assumptions. Clearly, whoever does not accept your announcements -- especially those in ALL CAPS and the word FREAKING -- is not a critical thinker.

Go back to your booze, nutjob.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Apologies -- the presser is Thursday. Corrected.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 26, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Kick his ass wbgonne.

Posted by: Papagnello | May 26, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

So, I noticed Scarborough was all up in arms because every other news program doesn't want to harp on the Sestak issue like he does while Mika just nods her head in agreement.

Like I mentioned a few days ago, I think Republicans smell blood. This won't go away I don't think.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne wrote:
Here is the problem for Obama. Either upon advice (Hi Rahm) or instinct, Obama has chosen to be a passive president.
====================================
Funny how we mocked Bush for his posturing and bragging and chest beating. But, now so many on the left are certain obama is doing nothing and taking orders from the oh, so evil Rahm, because he is not posturing and chest beating.
the man has dignity and believes in not rushing before a camera bragging and shouting things he thinks we want to hear.
I remember a time not so long ago when a president was not expected to be a chest beating braggart and was seen as upholding the dignity of the office to keep the dressing down, the threats, the pushing of congress, ect. behind closed doors.
It does not mean Obama is passive or being controlled by the oh, so evil Rahm. It means he believes in keeping things where they belong and not posturing for the cameras.
Funny how people like you seem to confuse doing with bragging and shouting. And funny how you assume to know what obama is or is not doing in his job.
And before you accuse me of being some bot let me point out that the people on the left who like whine and criticize and sound like the rightwing in undermining this man, are the bots of a certain opportunistic blonde blogger who makes a career of self promotion and misinforming and keeping her faithful zombies in a hissy fit.
jane is to the left what Glenn Beck is to the right.

Posted by: vwcat | May 26, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Using all caps as part of a larger statement for emphasis is fine. It's the freepers that use all caps all the time because they are enraged white people turning purple who aren't using it in the correct fashion.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

vwcat:

Americans want a strong president, especially in difficult times. That's the reality and Obama ignores it at his peril.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

You know, I really don;t get the Sestak flap. So the White House offered him a job if he'd drop out of the race. So what?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy the day, All. Hard to say it but today I am rooting for BP.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Nice BP mockery here...


http://www.americanprogress.org/cartoons/2010/05/img/052510.jpg

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, great post at 9:20. Really smart and sets the field for what's coming; it's already started, hasn't it?

I'd only add, as a comparison with the 60s, that what we're missing to really get people out there (esp young people) is the draft. That kind of "skin in the game" factor is not present right now, and no part of the population is going to see itself as a coherent group. The teaparty is a group that thinks it's got solidarity, but it's really just a bunch of scared older white folks stirred up by right wing corporatist ideology.

The environment, immigration, and maybe debt (on a personal level) might get some folks out in force.

It's pretty hard to imagine marching or rioting for regulation. Alas.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 26, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

So, I noticed Scarborough was all up in arms because every other news program doesn't want to harp on the Sestak issue like he does while Mika just nods her head in agreement.

Like I mentioned a few days ago, I think Republicans smell blood. This won't go away I don't think.

Posted by: mikefromArlington
===========================
I refuse to watch Scarborough and his puppet Mika.
the man is a puke.
what is so funny is how everyone just assumes Sestak is telling the truth and something illegal happened.
How do we know aside from what Sestak says and that in itself is just so vague.
I also find it funny how this sort of thing, horse trading is a normal thing in politics. And business.
Afterall, didn't Reagan and Bush do the same thing as well as Nixon?
Of course.
And so has just about every president since ol' GW.
it is part of what you do in politics and therefore, is not illegal or even wrong or sleazy.

Posted by: vwcat | May 26, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

wb,

"Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! Ho! That is really a good one! (Let's see the minutes of Deadeye Dick's secret meetings with the oil companies in the White House.)"

So now all you have to do is actually cite some specific connection between those minutes . . . some deregulation . . . and the explosion.

Why don't you ever do that, I wonder?

"Like 9/11 happened on Bush's watch, huh?"

That's what people here say. Presumably you are one.

But here you are the ones claiming that lax regulations were the cause. Lax regulations UNDER OBAMA.

"Do you believe that off-shore drilling should have been halted? If not, please see above."

No, that is your position. Which means you have yet to explain why Obama didn't do it. Oh, the mean GOP wouldn't let him? You've got to be kidding. And again if he was playing a cowardly political game, letting drilling continue that he thought should halt, why isn't that all the more reason for him to have tightened regulations earlier???

"Oooh, so close. So you don;t want tighter regulation but you criticize Obama for . . . not tightening regulation. Insanity thy name is GOP."

Try really hard this time to follow. I don't blame Obama for the explosion. YOU are the one who claims lax regulation is to blame, and you lay that at Bush's feet.

You are caught in a trap. It is hard, I know. But you are blaming lax regulation, and Obama has just now announced tightening of regulations, in the aftermath. You, and he, are hoisted by your own petard.

"Already explained several times. Apparently, you don't like the answer."

You've explained nothing. You hold GOP Presidents responsible for everything that happens on their watch, including compromises they are forced to accept, right? But Obama you hold blameless for his own decisions.

"What criticisms are those? That government is doing too little?"

You should be doing a little more reading and a little less ranting and raving. Jindahl has been waiting for clearance to construct barrier islands and more equipment of many kinds.

To summarize, the liberal/WB position is: The disaster is the fault of Bush/Cheney deregulation. Obama has been in charge of it for over a year, but he is blameless, even though he is now, a month later, going to tighten regulations, the laxity of which we are given to believe caused the disaster.

Your narrative is a mess.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"So the White House offered him a job if he'd drop out of the race. So what?"

Only that it's an open and shut violation of federal law. Not to mention the Constitution.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

"You know, I really don;t get the Sestak flap. So the White House offered him a job if he'd drop out of the race. So what?"

I'd like to see a legal statement from a non-partisan source on the hypothetical of a quid pro quo of a position in the admin to drop out of the race. Is this trumped up charge by Rove the smear merchant just that, a trumped up charge?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

@wb - I understand your argument and, to a large extent, I agree with it.

Gibbs recently made a revealing comment re the PR game, he said "We have to play it". That indicates an acknowledgement of reality but also a preference (supported by Obama's behavior, I think) that they'd really rather be working on the problems rather than the so-often-dumb media game.

I said sometime earlier that Obama and Bush are the same in one aspect - that they speak to others (to media and to citizens) on the assumption that those others are like them and think like they do. Bush talked as if others were not very bright, were easily fooled, were arrogantly self-certain, and ought to be led by their gut because their minds were suspect. Obama talks to people as if they are intelligent and rational and curious. Or at least (as in yesterday's talk to Republicans) that their better selves are as such and if they act responsibly as citizen representatives, they will cease pretending to be cartoons in a time of such serious issues before us.

Put the dilemma you speak to this way. Would we rather have a bully pulpit whiz who can and does alter the broad consensus of ideas in the citizenry (that's what the bully pulpit is all about) but then does nothing or little to actually alter the structures and priorities of governance? Or the opposite - change the country but don't mention it?

Of course, it isn't an either/or matter and probably cannot be. But I want to underline as boldly as I can that the criticism you voice (or which Greg voiced yesterday morning) which I too believe valid is a necessary but, I think, smaller part of this complex equation.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 26, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

@wbgone:

Seriously? Are we still on the "weak" President meme?

Obama has accomplished more than any of his modern-day predecessors, in the midst of the greatest economic recession since the Great Depression and a highly partisan political environment.

The guy's not weak.

What he is, however, is unwilling to bow to Washington's nonsense (often based on ignorance -- sometimes willful -- and romanticized versions of history) about what a "strong" President is. Obama's not a "weak" President if he doesn't go to the Gulf Coast for a photo op. And let's be real, that's all it will be. There's nothing that the President can do there that he couldn't do from Washington, D.C. (or anywhere else in the country, for that matter).

There have been several segments and brief mentions (though inexplicably no major articles) about the limited options available for fixing the leak, with relief wells being the best and surest option; they were begun shortly after the leak was discovered. Somehow, the Washington bubble, in yet another show of ignorance, missed that.

Are their aspects of the relief effort that can be stepped up. Sure. But, is the effort largely on track? According to Admiral Allen, it is. And, where it's not, they are aware of it, and are working to fix it.

Americans shouldn't want, and certainly don't need, a President traipsing around shouting at everyone and flashing his anger to please the Washington crowd, so that they believe he's "strong" and "in charge."

They need someone who knows how to constructively delegate, engage [contrary to the bubble's nonsense, Obama's been engaged from the beginning], and get the job done.

Obama's doing what he needs to do, even if he doesn't submit to the idea that getting the done includes playing up your leadership in front of the cameras. I mean, is that where we are now? Leadership doesn't count unless it's in front of the cameras?

Surely, we're not that superficial. Or, maybe we are.

Posted by: associate20 | May 26, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

"And people here are actually blaming Bush. If this is the answer, why didn't Obama tighten regulations a year ago?"

The answer to this question is that he DID tighten the "regulations" as it relates to oil drilling when he first got in. I'll explain.

What Obama RECENTLY (yesterday) tightened was that drilling should be accompanied by more safety inspections. And while that is 100% necessary to maintain order, another key aspect that led to the disaster was the environment in which MMS worked. Everyone knew as of 2008 that roughly from 2000 to 2008 the Colorado office of MMS was a virtual free-pass for oil companies. And we've all read about the horrific ethical lapses that occurred on Bush's watch at that organization. A subsequent inspection of the Lake Charles, LA office of MMS, published just this month (May 24th), revealed similar activities.

The REAL contributing factor to the disaster was the pathetic mismanagement of the Department of the Interior as a whole, including MMS, which contributed to the environment in which BP, Shell, Exxon, et al could operate with impunity. Oil companies KNEW that they could not only get leases and ditch environmental and safety review, but that inspections would be blown off as well.

So, you see my dear friend QB, the extent that the MMS was permitted to operate in a self-destructive environment WAS mitigated by the Obama administration as it became more and more aware of the underlying problems. That mitigation began as early as January 2009 for the Colorado office and continues now with the Lake Charles office as well.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 26, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

"Only that it's an open and shut violation of federal law"
_________________________________________

""People horse trade politically all the time," Stan Brand, a prominent Washington criminal defense lawyer told TPMmuckraker. "So I don't put much stock in this, and I don't think its gonna go anywhere." "

""Talk about criminalizing the political process!" said Peter Zeidenberg, a former federal prosecutor with the Justice Department's Public Integrity unit. "It would be horrible precedent if what really truly is political horsetrading were viewed in the criminal context of: is this a corrupt bribe?"

"And Melanie Sloan, a former federal prosecutor who as the head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington isn't known for going on easy public corruption, concurred. "There is no bribery case here," she said. "No statute has ever been used to prosecute anybody for bribery in circumstances like this."

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/05/even_crew_says_sestaks_claim_of_job_offer_is_no_sc.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: schrodingerscat | May 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Just a note to everyone...I really have little free time these days and consequently can't take up nearly enough of the posts and smart issues/viewpoints so many of you bring to these discussions. I'm really sorry about that. Greg has gathered up a really bright community here and I'm just pleased as hell to be associated with you guys and not-guys.

See you later.

Posted by: bernielatham | May 26, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

*CBO: Stimulus Put Up To 2.8M People To Work In First Quarter*

The CBO now estimates that the stimulus put as many as 2.8 million people to work in the first three months of this year -- and raised GDP by as much as 4.2%.

The CBO estimates that the stimulus put 1.2 million to 2.8 million to work in the first quarter, and boosted GDP between 1.7% and 4.2%.

Thanks to the stimulus, the unemployment rate was lowered by between .7% and 1.5% in the first quarter, the CBO estimates.

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/05/cbo-stimulus-put-up-to-34m-to-work-in-first-quarter.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 26, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

see ya bernie! couldn't agree more, and thanks for all your links and stuff!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 26, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

To add onto what associate said. Trust me, the right would LOVE for Obama to become an angry President. That way they could highlight his anger and his wifes bitterness to further portray them as angry black people. They would love to run reels of Obama getting angry side by side with Jeremiah Wright tapes with his fiery rhetoric.

It would fit right into their victim hood shtick they love to portray. Poor little old white folks being yelled down by the aggressive white hating black Chicago thug.

Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest of hate TV/radio already latch onto every little bit of anger and frustration Obama displays to try and portray him as an angry black person. If Obama let loose, the drum beat by the race baiters would be deafening.


Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Quick final addition...hoping Greg picks up on this and increases awareness of it. Liz Cheney ugly stuff...

"Al Qaeda 7 Returns? Defense Bill Authorizes Investigations of Gitmo Lawyers"
http://yglesias.thinkprogress.org/archives/2010/05/al-qaeda-7-returns-defense-bill-authorizes-investigations-of-gitmo-lawyers.php

Posted by: bernielatham | May 26, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

You all see that Vaughan Ward moron in Idaho lost in the primary to the guy who had one sixth of the money?

Man, the GOP is even better at running idiotic candidates than the Dems.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 26, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

quarterbrain,
“A nutjob, self-promoting pseudojournalist stalker moves to Alaska and moves into the house next door while writing a smear book on Palin, so he can keep the family under surveillance and even look through their windows.”

I find it amusing that a pseudo-lawyer like yourself feels wholly qualified in passing judgement upon who can legitimately lay claim to the mantle of “journalist.” I’d bet large sums of money that Joe McGinniss has done far more writing which would qualify him as a journalist than you have done legal work. The Wikipedia article about McGinniss lists his work at the Worcester Telegram, The Philadelphia Bulletin, and The Philadelphia Inquirer, which despite your assessment of his bona fides, definitely establishes McGinniss’ work as a journalist. Your claim of being a lawyer has never been substantiated beyond your rather dubious word. Aside from the vaporous courts of your imagination, there is evidence that McGinniss has worked as a journalist and no evidence to back up your fanciful contention that you are a lawyer.

I also am curious about your pronouncement that McGinniss is a “nutjob.” Does your list of imaginary professional and academic achievements also extend to the field of psychiatry as well? Maybe you got your M.D. from “top 5 medical school?” What were your grades there? My, you truly are a great and accomplished man within the tiny confines of your own mind.

How do you know that McGinniss is writing a “smear book?” I know that you haven’t seen the manuscript, so your claim is based solely upon your fawning devotion to that simpering idiot Sarah Palin. Your status alone as a Palin acolyte fairly disqualifies you from consideration as a truly sentient being, for you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are clearly unaware.

Palin attracts morons the way Scheiße attracts flies. You are just such a fly.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 26, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan

Thanks again for keeping our eye on the prize. I truly believe it is the economy and I appreciate your updates.

I read yesterday in a Commercial Real Estate publication where 70% of the nation's retailers who were surveyed think the economy is improving and will get even better.

What excited the Commercial Brokers even more however is that 90% of retailers plan expansion in the near future. That is the real benchmark of economic growth. When RETAILERS are willing to put their money behind that growth with expansion.

Now if we could just get out of Afghanistan..use the oil spill to create a better energy program and illustrate the need for gov't regulation...I'd be a very happy man.

I agree with wbgonne but it doesn't mean I do not support Obama. Perhaps I'm not an Obamabot but he is certainly on the right track and IMHO most of us on this blog..except for the obvious knee jerk righties and they know who they are...still back him. However it's not going to stop us from agitating for more leadership on the oil spill...no he can't personally fix it but he can have more oversight of BP and bring in experts from around the oil industry..Exxon etc..it is in the interest of their business model to make this go away as soon as possible...

As for my desires for a P.O. for HCR I think economics is forcing us to that direction anyway..regardless of politics..perhaps Obama knows this and that is why he didn't wish to spend anymore political capital at this time.

So while wbgonne and I offer criticism...don't panic...we are still solidly behind Obama and admire him personally as well.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@Gasman....that was an accurate and funny post. Well written snark. I loved it.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Has anyone heard from Rand Paul lately?" Thank goodness, NO! ~ Halli Casser-Jayne

Posted by: PolitiHAL | May 26, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

"I really have little free time these days and consequently can't take up nearly enough of the posts and smart issues/viewpoints so many of you bring to these discussions."

Thanks, I appreciate the compliment.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

BGinCHI,
True, Vaughan Ward is a moron, but his loss in the primary is also further evidence that Palin is political Kryptonite. Those aspiring pols who will still seek her endorsement are limited to the truly mentally deficient of the GOP or pretty much any candidate self identifying as a teabagger.

I actually think that Palin's political toxicity is key to her newest money making endeavor. Palin will begin charging GOP candidates to NOT endorse them. In this kind of reverse protection-racket scheme, she should be able to haul in cash even faster than she has been doing since quitting as Governor of AK.

If there is one thing that Palin is truly good at, it is grifting the sheeple flock.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 26, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

OT but I guess at one point, Israel tried to sell nukes to South Africa.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-weapons

"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."

Posted by: mikefromArlington | May 26, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@BG, Ethan, Gasman, Bernie, wbgonne et al

In the wake of the the New Jersey man's admission that he intentionally vomited on another fan and that man's daughter do we not believe we need better regulation of baseball fans? Running out on the field to gain attention is one thing...but purposely barfing on a fan is something I wouldn't even suspect Bilgey of doing.

This is what happens when you read Greg's links to the right of the page. LMAO

BTW the Ruth Marcus article on Palin is excellent.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Be careful Mike....you may be linking to the truth but AIPAC will be branding you as an anti-Semite. Criticism of any type of Israel is simply not permitted.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

Most welcome RUK, and I hear you loud and clear. I will criticize Obama, but only begrudgingly, as there have been too many fingers pointed at him for all the wrong reasons. So in addition to liking his policies, I have been under the mind to give him the benefit of the doubt on almost everything.

Speaking of good news on the economy, real estate, etc:

Factory Orders and New Home Sales Rise in April

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/05/26/us/politics/AP-US-Economy.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | May 26, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Gassy the Clown,

"I find it amusing that a pseudo-lawyer like yourself feels wholly qualified in passing judgement upon who can legitimately lay claim to the mantle of “journalist.” "

It drives you mad, doesn't it? Unfortunately, I know what my qualifications are, and I don't care what you think. In fact, I find it hilarious that you continue to be made a fool of by someone you claim is a fraud. Haha.

McGinnis is a pseudojournalist because his hackery of late has forfeited any claim he might ever have had to being a journalist. He is a stalker and smear artist.

That's also how I know the book he is writing is a smear job. He has already smeared Palin more than once, and a legitimate journalist does not move to Alaska to the house next door so he can play peeping tom to his target and her children.

Finally, "nutjob" actually isn't a psychologial diagnosis. It isn't in the DSM. The depths of your ignorance are apparently quite . . . deep.

I assume, though, that you will henceforth police the medical licensing of everyone on this blog who uses such terminology.

Posted by: quarterback1 | May 26, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

ruk, NOTHING that comes out of NJ right now surprises me.

I think there's almost a whole cable channel dedicated to NJ reality-based programming.

Gawd help us.

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 26, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Again not to belabor the story but Greg did link to it....

For the most obvious quote of the day...or perhaps the biggest understatement of 2010

That N.J. man who did the barfing on the Phillies fan and his daughter must have hired an attorney with quarterbrain's skill set...when facing the judge the atty said,

"It's probable he consumed too much alcohol,"

Probable? Duh ya think? LMAO

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

All, a question for the media about Sarah Palin:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | May 26, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

To Bernie, Associate, ArlingtonMike et al:

I am not saying it is a GOOD thing that visible presidential leadership is a job requirement, only that the reality is that it is part of the job. And I don't think assertive leadership is equivalent to anger. Unfortunately, I do think the White House sometimes confuses the two. Hey, I've said before and I'll say it again. Obama is the most impressive president we've had in many years. But he still must play the game of politics.

To QB:

What federal law or Const provision prohibits offering an administration job to a Senate candidate?

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

rukidding:

Puking on demand? Now THAT is a valuable skill.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Bernielatham's post was right on. How I think the BP disaster is shaping up to be "Obama's Katrina" is that Katrina was one of a succession of events that convinced the American people that Bush and the gov't really didn't care and on a fundamental level weren't really going to be there in a crisis. Coming after the effort to undo Social Security and Schiavo, it began a real turning against Bush and the GOP, and a more willingness to look to government as a positive force. The economic collapse was the final straw.

When Obama was elected it was largely on this opinion turn, with people looking to him and to gov't to make a positive difference. At the same time, his initial pushes in that direction (stimulus bill, bailouts) and his race and the general unsettling nature of change and recession brought out both his business opponents and the crazies in the right wing. These forces constantly pushed on Obama and Congress, almost derailing the ultimate gov't-as-safety-net program, health care reform, and making it much less than it could have been. They now have their sights set on fin reg.

Because of Obama's preference for cool rather than passionate leadership, and his naive faith that GOPers would rise to the occasion and do what was best for the country instead of playing partisan games, and because of the multiciplicity of problems, he has stumbled a bit.

But between Goldman Sachs and BP, the utter disregard for the common good and the disdain for anything but more profit at the expense of the system itself, be it economic or ecological, that characterizes modern big business has been exposed like Katrina exposed the GOP governing philosophy.

The public (at least the sane 75% of it) is now really ready to listen to solutions that will protect the common good, our common ecological heritage and common natural resources even at the cost of curbing business and curbing some kinds of growth. We see that in CA where the public is going to be asked to roll back AB 32, our landmark climate change measure and where GOP candidates who should know better are "questioning the science" behing climate change even as Silicon Valley leaders tell them they are nuts and we need the restrictions and we need green jobs now.

So I think there is one of those massive shifts in public opinion underway, and I truly hope our Dem leaders are smart enough to sense it and capitalize on it. Otherwise, the outlook isn't very good.

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

Did Ward Vaughn really think he would get away with plagarizing Obama's 2004 DNC speech? Hello?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | May 26, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

BG Thanks and no thanks for the suggestion about Marlantes "Matterhorn" You were correct it was excellent, but that's all I did this weekend was read the book...I couldn't put it down.

Bilgey since you love to belittle the efforts of our troops in Vietnam I suggest you read it. Karl Marlantes "Matterhorn"

Plus bilgey weren't you a jarhead? If so you'll appreciate it even more.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

"So I think there is one of those massive shifts in public opinion underway, and I truly hope our Dem leaders are smart enough to sense it and capitalize on it. Otherwise, the outlook isn't very good."

Exactly. That's what I was trying to say. The battle is joined and there is no sense (or profit) in pretending otherwise.

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

quarterbrain,
Once again, I feel the sting of your rapier like wit. Ouch!

In addition to all of your other imaginary professional and academic achievements, you must have also studied creative writing. Let me guess, you also went to "top 5 writing school?"

You are truly a Renaissance man.

Posted by: Gasman1 | May 26, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

"Did Ward Vaughn really think he would get away with plagarizing Obama's 2004 DNC speech? Hello?"

He probably thought it was OK because he wrote it on his hand.

BA-DOOM!

Posted by: wbgonne | May 26, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

A bit feisty today, aren't we?

Funny that Greg manages to point out one "positive" from the CBS poll but rather purposefully misses the rest:

"Poll Finds Americans Pessimistic, Dissatisfied with Washington"

"Poll: Most Still Support Arizona Immigration Law"

"Poll: Public Opinion of Democratic Party at All-Time Low"

Posted by: sbj3 | May 26, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

@ Mimikatz

"So I think there is one of those massive shifts in public opinion underway, and I truly hope our Dem leaders are smart enough to sense it and capitalize on it. Otherwise, the outlook isn't very good."

Yes! I think that's what wbgonne and I are talking about as well. And we admire and respect Obama but as you suggest there is a groundswell building...Obama can either hop aboard and ride that wave or he might get drowned as you suggested Bush did after Katrina.

I'm in complete agreement with wbgonne. I'm not looking for Obama to yell, scream and have his neck veins pop out to show he cares passionately...I would like to see him consult other experts besides BP...from other INDUSTRY sources since the Gov't has been caught with it's pants down.

I'd love for him to mount wbgonne's PR campaign in the spirit of FDR's fireside chats. Obama has the talent it's time to use it. Wall street collapse...BP oil spill...dozens of miners killed in scumbag Blankenship's coal mines...what better time to point out the NEED for SOME Government regulation...serious regulation with teeth..not something written by industry lobbyists.

Posted by: rukidding7 | May 26, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

ruk, glad you liked Matterhorn. Reading can indeed be a demanding mistress.

I highly recommend to all!

Posted by: BGinCHI | May 26, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

That's the point. This is a crisis that should not go to waste in the sense of making the case for greater regulation of hazardous activities like offshore drilling and financial shennanigans. And it's a time to rally the populace behind common concerns.

I can't believe how much even Dems credit predatory big buisiness and don't listen to scientists and other experts. It is a real testament to the power of the right-wing propaganda machine that so many people have come to despise expertise just when we need it the most.

I do think that no one really knows how to stop the gusher and BP has monopolized much of the available expertise. But what the gov't can do is to investigate and regulate, then down the road develop its own disaster response program funded by an oil tax instead of relying on cointingency plans developed by industry. But Obama's peculiar penchant for looking forward and not assigning blame where there is pretty obviously criminal negligence at best is pretty off-key and suggests that there is something about environmental destruction that he doesn't get on a visceral level.

Posted by: Mimikatz | May 26, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company