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Happy Hour Roundup

* Senator Tom Coburn, who won plaudits on the right for quizzing Elena Kagan on whether government should be able to force people to eat vegetables, now says the exchanges prove she's ignorant of Constitutional principles.

* But: Kagan appears to be "crusing towards easy confirmation."

* Stuart Rothenberg says Dem strategists are "deluding themselves" if they think passing FinReg will help them at all if the economy doesn't pick up. Perhaps; clip and save for future evaluation.

* Here are some video highlights of Obama's attack today on John Boehner's claim that FinReg is like "killing an ant with a nuclear weapon," which he used to draw a broad contrast with the GOP:

* But Boehner blasted back hard in an interview with the Post, saying it's Dems who are out of touch, and adding:

"And you look at the discontent out there. There's anger. There's frustration that Washington's not listening. But if you listen closely and listen long enough, there's a lot of fear out there that the country that people grew up in is not going to be the country their kids and grandkids grow up in."

* For those who like going very deep into the weeds, Chris Bowers on why there's a lot to cheer in the financial regulatory reform bill.

* Shocker of the day: After multiple concessions dropped at his feet, Scott Brown is still not willing to say whether he'll support FinReg.

* Harry Reid, whose opponent wants to cut unemployment benefits to reduce joblessness, tries yet again to get those benefits extended.

* And: The other Senator named Brown calls on the Senate to stay in session until they get the unemployment extension passed.

* Josh Gerstein gets it right: Yes, Kagan did basically answer Senator Coburn's question about vegetables.

* And the takedown of the day: Andrew Sullivan versus Breitbart on the latter's offer of $100,000 for Journolist's archives.

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 6:59 p.m.: Financial reg reform just passed the House, 237 to 192.

UPDATE, 7:11 p.m.: I meant to link this earlier but Harvard's school of government has released a study of how major media discusses waterboarding that really seems like it was done for Glenn Greenwald.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 30, 2010; 6:32 PM ET
Categories:  Financial reform , Happy Hour Roundup , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Do me a favor and give me a link to any article by Stuart Rothenberg in the past 36 months that has said anything positive about Democrats (conservadems not included). Each and every single article in the Rothenberg Report, and each and every time that guy is on my teevee, all he has to say is either:

1. Dems are DOOOMMMMEEEDDD unless they start voting like hardcore conservadems Minnick, Bright and Boren; or

2. the question is whether Republicans going to pick up over 35 seats or over 50 seats.

At this point in 2006 Rothenberg said no chance the Dems take the house. He of course (like Rasmussen) changed his tune in late September when he realized what most sentient humans had known for a while (and so he could wipe the egg off his face before the elections made him look absurdly wrong).

At one point 4ish years ago Rothenberg was semi-neutral, now he is coming home to his Republican roots. It's a shame because we need non-partisan prognosticators.

Posted by: AjaxtheGreater | June 30, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

Here's an article worth reading by Kevin Drum. He disagrees with Bob Herbert's article but has his own misgivings.

"But this isn't why I'm schizophrenic about Obama. I never expected to like everything he did. The reason I'm schizophrenic is that it's almost impossible to get a handle on what he really wants. Did he want a bigger stimulus bill but compromised down because $800 billion was all he could get? Or did he not really want more than that in the first place? Ditto for the public option. Ditto for DADT repeal, which he had to be pushed into supporting this year. And ditto again on financial reform, which is worth passing only because of numerous amendments to the original bill. On all of these issues and more, I don't feel like I ever knew what Obama's real position was. There's a big difference between compromising because politics is what it is and you have no choice, and compromising because the more centrist position is the one you genuinely hold. But Obama never gives me a good sense of which it is with him."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 30, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I liked that post. should have linked it.

and Ajax, that's a very fair point. I like flagging this kind of stuff because it's worth trying to keep track of who gets stuff right and who gets it wrong.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 30, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

RE: Rothenberg, I think voting against FinReg will hurt Republicans a lot more than voting for FinReg will help the Democrats, if that makes any sense.

Posted by: DDAWD | June 30, 2010 7:21 PM | Report abuse

lms: "... the more centrist position is the one you genuinely hold."

Kevin Drum is confused if he thinks Obama has ONE position (especially a detailed position) on each of the issues but just isn't telling us what it is.

I'll posit that BigO has broad goals, each of which spans a range of positions. So Kevin is bound to go batty if he keeps digging for something that mostly isn't there.

Posted by: jzap | June 30, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

"there's a lot of fear out there that the country that people grew up in is not going to be the country their kids and grandkids grow up in."

Boner is right but let me be clear, he is causing the problem. The country I grew up in has SS, Medicare for when I get old. We collected enough taxes to have police respond when danger approaches and firefighters came to my fire. I had no reason to think a teacher wouldn't be in my child's classroom and that street sweepers would clean the streets.

The republican's have cut taxes on the rich to the point where those things which I grew up appreciating about America are now in jeopardy of not existing. The republican's are making us a 3rd world country.

Posted by: soapm | June 30, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Wow, I love that clip from Obama's speech. Now that's the guy I voted for. Welcome back Mr. President, we thought you were lost in the DC clutter...

Posted by: soapm | June 30, 2010 8:51 PM | Report abuse

jzap, if you disagreed with Drum you'll really hate Bob Herbert's piece. Listen, I like the guy, but I don't think he's necessarily gotten his priorities straight. And while he's facing an uphill battle right now he's beginning to lose support among some of his staunchest supporters.

I think it's worth discussing how or where we could get back on track. There's some troubling numbers out there in consumer confidence, support for Afghanistan, most Americans don't care that much about the deficit right now, joblessness is priority number one, and well over 50% of the population thinks we're heading in the wrong direction.

Between the successful propaganda machine coming from the right and lack of enthusiasm from the left, I'm getting worried about November. We can all cheer as much as we want about the successes but if the voters don't feel it, they don't feel it.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 30, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Sargent, are you talking about the same delusional Andy Sullivan who posted all of Sarah Palins illegally hacked emails? That same hypocrit?

Andrew Breitbart pointed out what a complete idiot Sullivan is as big government. He pretty much destoryed what little dignity that Andrew Sullivan Uterous Detective had left.

Posted by: robtr | June 30, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Re: Takedown of the Day

You got that 100% backwards... Breitbart's rebuttal showed just how fake Sullivan's objections are.

But then, you probably have a vested interest in keeping JournoList's archives out of the public eye, and as a DNC "journalist" you demand privileges above those of the masses.

Posted by: malclave | June 30, 2010 9:30 PM | Report abuse

robtr, you are exactly right, Breitbart "destoreyed" Sullivan's dignity.

But then that's Breitbart's specialty, taking any story and destroying its truth, clarity, and good sense.

You probably do think Breitbart is smart, because compared to his readers, he is.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 30, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Did you get this spin on the JOURNOLIST scandal approved from your leftist groupies?

I suspect that Greg does indeed dread the day that the archives are leaked. It will show that he is as big a nutjob punk as Ezra, Weinberg and the rest of the juvenile leftist losers.

So your new listserv decided Sullivan would lead with an "attack" then YOU would use the WASHPOST to follow up supporting the drug-addled Sullivan who is only still in the country because he provided "services" to a top-level Democrat Senator who intervened in his drug prosecution case which would have lead to his deportation. Did he ever get over his obession with the birth of Governor Palin's child?

Lunatics flock together.

Posted by: LogicalSC | June 30, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse


Not following futbol, no time & flat out @ the saltmines. Having fun w/ the youth lacrosse coaching gig. Glum re: Pedroia RedSox 2B) broken foot...but going to Fenway in July.

In a rootz poetry stage: dug out the Yeats Collected (Macmillan) up at camp over wk/end.

"(A)nd I grew weary of the sun
Until my thoughts cleared up again,
Remembering the best I have done
Was done to make it plain;..."
{Words, 1910}

Politix is buggin' me lately...Fie on Breitbart and Sullivan, surly twins.

Posted by: tao9 | June 30, 2010 10:37 PM | Report abuse

And to follow looks like you had better fire up the Bat Signal because your listserv is going to need an emergency session to deal decide on the "objective reporting" to the Oregon police restarting the investigation of Albert Gore's sexual intimidation case.

Can't wait to see what the groupies decide is the official response to be spewed out throughout the "media'. Oh the horrors of having to constantly whitewash stories and facts to protect all the Leftist Democrats makes being a "journalist" hard.

Posted by: LogicalSC | June 30, 2010 10:42 PM | Report abuse

"Politix is buggin' me lately"

Ain't that the truth and summer's calling.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 30, 2010 10:43 PM | Report abuse


Bring the Heat! 6 weeks is about all we get inside the BlueLine (ADK Park), gotta get out the early evening longsleeve t-shirts around Aug15th, so I'm really hearing the call. ;>)

Posted by: tao9 | June 30, 2010 11:05 PM | Report abuse

tao, I don't know how you guys do it. We're at the beach almost every weekend, unless there's a party somewhere else, LOL. I worked in my garden about 3 hours this afternoon, and it was hot, hot, hot. Enjoy your summer though.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 30, 2010 11:18 PM | Report abuse

tao my friend, good to read you.

How are the young lacrosse players doing? I assume that under your tutelage they're beyond just hitting each other with sticks. That's a pretty good version of teenagerhood, though maybe they are younger/older. Wish I'd have gotten to play that game; no trace of it in IN in the 70s-80s.

Ahh, the Yeats. My friend who teaches at UCD had a great Yeats exhibit at the National Library (in Dub) a year or so ago. Some great stuff. I'll spare everyone but there's lots of verses your post brings to mind.

And politics are bugging me too, but that's not new. When it comes to that I'm usually in a Philip Larkin mood: pessimism mixed with humor. Grim, grim.

On the verge of starting Colum McCann's Let the Great World Spin, which I hear great things about. Damn good writer.

Enjoy the weather. Lovely here all week. Fifty really fast miles on the bike this evening.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 30, 2010 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Also for summer reading I picked up a pretty good book (so far) about the Civil War. Fictional History that follows a young Confederate soldier into battle. It's really well written, called The Black Flower by Howard Bahr. I think it's heading into a bit of a love story so may start getting corny, who knows but right now he's pre-occupied with death.

"Well, Bushrod thought, the dead were dead. They were gone, and took with them their faces and voices and whether they drank coffee or not and whether they believed in infant baptism or not and who they liked and who they didn't-gone with all the baggage they carried: tintypes and handkerchiefs and luck charms, pocket knives and Testaments and playing cards and rheumatism and all the half-remembered images of their short and uncompleted lives-all flown up like blackbirds into that undiscovered country from whose bourn they would not return, not today nor tomorrow nor the next day, forever and ever, amen-

Posted by: lmsinca | June 30, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

Fictional History=Historical Fiction, what am I in High School? I tend to feel younger during the summer months but not that much younger!

Posted by: lmsinca | July 1, 2010 12:18 AM | Report abuse

lms, that's a good novel. Looking right at it on the bookshelf as I type this. I honestly don't think there are that many good Civil War novels. Not as many as you'd think. Plenty of mediocrity and too much melodrama.

Assume you've read The Killer Angels.

I also highly recommend Jeffrey Lent's two novels After the Fall (post-CW) and Lost Nation (pre-CW), and for maximum reading pleasure from the John Brown stuff, there's Cloudsplitter, by Russell Banks. Great books.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 1, 2010 1:13 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and anyone like Jesse James? Especially the early years around the border wars?

You have to read Desmond Barry's The Chivalry of Crime. A great, too overlooked novel.

Money back guarantee from Plum Line After Dark productions (LLC).

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 1, 2010 1:16 AM | Report abuse

I'm sorry, but I think the Kevin Drum post is just plain dumb. It is useful in one way, however. It shows exactly why a lot of people will never be really happy with a leader who has the chance to be effective in part by holding his cards close. Honestly, it's another version of the he-doesn't-emote-enough meme.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 4:01 AM | Report abuse

BG--I predict you're going to love Let the Great World Spin.

And if you're looking for a good Civil War novel, find me the right agent and you've got it.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 4:03 AM | Report abuse

All, morning roundup posted:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 1, 2010 8:24 AM | Report abuse

ABC, I disagree with your interpretation of Drum's piece. I fall somewhere between the "eleventy dimensional chess" crowd and the "disappointed" crowd. As an on the ground activist fighting for issues near and dear to my heart, I prefer actually knowing and understanding specifically where the President stands on issues and policy. I'm tired of "if someone has a better idea" as a guiding principle. Just my opinion.

Don't get me wrong, I'll keep fighting and working and I've never missed an election. but at some point my compass steers me hard west.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 1, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca--I get your point, but I don't think "if someone has a better idea" is the guiding principle. Rather it's more like if you can figure out a better tactic to achieve the objective (which is the broader principle) we're open to ideas. And that can disappoint people who are all in on a given approach.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

ABC, you still checking this thread?

If so, let me know. Got something for you.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

ABC, I get your point as well. My question is still, do we actually know the objective? When the vast majority of polls support a particular outcome, why are we falling short? Is it because it is impossible to get there legislatively or is it because we don't actually want to get there?

I think these are important questions to raise and discuss. I won't bore you with examples, I'm sure you know which ones I would highlight. It's my opinion regardless of the massive PR machine on the right, we'd be heading into November in better shape if we'd accomplished more of what people actually want and need. If that was impossible, we should have been fighting harder. And I don't mean just Obama, I think we all failed to a certain extent. It can be turned around, but we need to gear up now.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 1, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I just checked back in, BG.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

lms--Totally different topic. I liked your recent comment about dreaming about surfing. Due to annoying infirmities I've picked up in the last year +, I can't swim or run. But I dream about it. It's felt liberating.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Hey ABC, just so you know, I actually do have a really good agent.

You working on, or have, a novel ms?

If so, let me know and we can talk about it. Happy to help.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 1, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

BG, not sure how to do this. Greg is busy to have to be a go between, but I can write him and ask him to forward you my email address. Good for you having a good agent.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

ABC, ask Greg to do that, or ask him for mine and just email me. Would like to hear about your project.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 1, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

BG, I've written Greg to ask him to send you my email address. Hope we can be in touch later.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

BG, I've written Greg to ask him to send you my email address. Hope we can be in touch later.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

BG, you'll need to send Greg your email address as he doesn't have it.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 1, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

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