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The Morning Plum

* The next test of American-Israeli relations: With another aid ship heading for Gaza, the U.S. is pressuring Israel behind the scenes to ensure that the flotilla incident is not repeated.

* Harold Meyerson goes there: The refusal of big Jewish groups to criticize Israel's flotilla raid may not reflect popular opinion among many American Jews, particularly younger ones.

* Also, a great catch by Meyerson: The headline on AIPAC's Web site reads: "Radical Hamas Supporters Beat, Stab Israeli Soldiers." The dead civilians don't even merit a subhed.

* As predicted, more House Dems are staunchly defending Israel's handling of the raid.

* Et tu, Nancy? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't even willing to discuss whether the Gaza blockade is a good idea.

* John McCain valiantly tries to blame Obama for the attack.

* John Dickerson gets it right: It's the substance of Obama's response to the Gulf spill that matters, not the theater of it. What's funny is that Dickerson is almost apologetic in making this point, as if downplaying the importance of "theater" would offend some media colleagues.

* Again, demands that Obama show "passion" and "anger" are pure B.S., because no matter how emotional he gets, it will never be enough for commentators like Maureen Dowd, as today's column shows.

* ICYMI: As noted here yesterday, the rules of this transparently phony game allow such commentators to keep saying Obama is falling short no matter what he does. The Dowds of the world will never, ever allow that he's cleared their arbitrary emotional threshold.

* Is the GOP primary getting so hairy for Sue Lowden that she's now spending cash earmarked for the general election? If she loses next Tuesday, prepare for severe chickens-for-checkups withdrawal...

* A sucker born every minute: Angry, betrayed Tea Partyers tear up their Scott Brown pinup posters.

* Still more misrepresentations involving military service from GOP Senate candidate Mark Kirk.

* Yet another shadowy outside group, the "Coalition for Arkansas Jobs," pumps $400,000 into ads helping Blanche Lincoln without having to disclose where the cash came from.

* And Mark Halperin joins the growing ranks of mainstream commentators who can no longer ignore the fact that the conservative movement has gone barking mad.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 2, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Republicans , Tea Party  
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Next: Kirk campaign acknowledges another misrepresentation of military service

Comments

@Greg you might want to link Peter Beinart's Daily Beast column yesterday about the Israel flotilla incident. He went off and wrote something he never could have published in TNR his former place of employment

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | June 2, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

"The Dowds of the world will never, ever allow that he's cleared their arbitrary emotional threshold."

I have to disagree. If Pres. Obama showed the level of emotion these people keep calling him to show...they'd flip sides, and start calling him impotent and weak willed. This is the game they play.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 2, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Bravo to Meyerson.

I'm not clear to me on how it has come about but the worldview that presently reigns in Israeli policy looks, at bottom, the same as is held in the modern American right. There seems clearly to be a core belief, held by Dick Cheney or John Bolton or Krauthammer or many others in both the neo-conservative and realist camps, that either you dominate or you will be dominated. Black or white, your choice.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

John McCain is a bitter, bitter old man. It's rather sad.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 2, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

I read part of Dowd's column today. I took this on as something akin to an inescapable reading assignment of the unpleasant or tedious sort. You do it because you have to but you know it won't be fun and anything interesting will be of the recovered-black-box variety...what went so terribly wrong?

And I used to delight in Dowd's columns! She avoided cliche and structured her sentences in a manner which was both original and funny and, as a consequence, often enlightening in perspective.

However it has happened, she is now a parody of herself. No one else can do the Dowd schtick like Dowd and she seems out to prove it. The freedom from cliche I used to value has turned back on both her and me. She's the cliche, now.

Here's what I mean:

"The man who walked on water is now ensnared by a crisis under water."

"Obama wanted to be a transformative president and now the presidency is transforming him."

"Instead of buoyant, he seems put upon."

"Instead of the fairy dust of hopefulness, there’s the bitter draught of helplessness."

The subject has lost its importance and centrality in her writing. Her writing now is all about Maureen... "Look at my sentences balancing in the air like a mobile."

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

A bit from Tomasky this morning that made me laugh out loud...

"Can you imagine what it's like to be a liberal in Alabama? Sweet Lord."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the interesting Tomasky link, Bernie.

I can't speak for AL, but I can definitively say that being a liberal in GA sure stinks. I jumped on the website of the Repub who will most likely become my state rep this November. The guy's a full-bore teabagger/10th amendment/Rand Paul-style wingnut. Utterly depressing.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 2, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

What the hell is with this "lynch mob" metaphor? We heard it declaimed yesterday as a descriptor of what the Israeli commandos faced when they dropped with their automatic weaponry from a fleet of military helicopters onto a boat teeming with...uh...civilians. And now the renowned humanitarian and constitutional law stickler Elliot Abrams uses it to start his Weekly Standard column today...

"At the United Nations, a lynch mob for Israel is always just a moment away."

The thing is, this is a distinctly and uniquely American metaphor. To understand this idiom, one has to have been raised on American westerns and on stories of the American civil rights history.

One assumes it is turning up in this context to influence an American audience. Possibly focus-group tested by Luntz.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

@schrodingerscat - My condolences. I truly loved Atlanta on a short visit there (got wasted with the guitar player at Blind Willy's and had an informal dance contest with an athletic black fellow - a draw I'm proud to say) and met lots of really friendly people. But I suppose all of George live doesn't match that experience.

Even Oregon can surprise one re conservatives. Yesterday I was standing outside my shop and saw one of the hairdressers (gay, liberal) from the salon next door talking to some stranger. Turned out to be his brother. The incredible apparently bottomless sink hole in Guatemala entered the conversation and I mentioned that when I saw the photo of it I was reminded of Sarah Palin's soul...just down and down and nothing. A bit later, the hairdresser came over and told me his brother and family were all big Sarah lovers. He thanked me profusely.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

"The incredible apparently bottomless sink hole in Guatemala entered the conversation and I mentioned that when I saw the photo of it I was reminded of Sarah Palin's soul..."

LOL!

Posted by: schrodingerscat | June 2, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, I was going to post on Dowd's column, but your post ravages it (or, as Palin would say, "ravishes it") thoroughly and precisely.

She's writing for attention and her daddy issues have completely swamped her.

Classic hysteric.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 2, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The BP Gulf Spill ™

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 2, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Bachmann chronicles... from Steve Benen

"QUOTE OF THE DAY.... Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) isn't satisfied with the federal response to the BP oil spill disaster because -- get this -- she wanted to see the federal government seize control and ownership of more private property. Seriously.

"Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up to the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands off on this policy."

As a substantive matter, arguing that the administration has taken a "hands-off" approach to the disaster is absurd. When it comes to reality, Bachmann is strikingly confused.

But that's an everyday occurrence. What makes these remarks special is the way in which Bachmann is so desperate to attack President Obama, she's apparently forgotten her own extreme worldview."
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

""The incredible apparently bottomless sink hole in Guatemala entered the conversation and I mentioned that when I saw the photo of it I was reminded of Sarah Palin's soul..."

You think that's bad....

http://liberaldefenderoffreedom.blogspot.com/2010/06/alien-life-form-coming-from-sinkhole.html

I couldn't believe my own eyes!

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 2, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Weird, you see that internet add with Sue Lowden and Rush Limbaugh? I wonder if she agrees with Rush that the Star Spanglish Banner is a funny song. I can't believe Republicans are stupid enough to be seen with that race baiter...heck what am I saying.

I'm not surprised in the least bit.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The despicable war-machine corruption continues along its normal path...

"The total cost of the F-35 joint strike fighter program will be far higher than estimated just a few months ago, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday,"
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/06/02/95185/pentagon-says-f-35-fighter-programs.html#ixzz0phoXIs6V

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Let's take a year off supporting Israel financially and cut the Pentagon budget in half, just for a year, and build/rebuild some schools and bridges and public transportation.

Empire sucks.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 2, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

So, I saw that American interviewed who was some special envoy to Iraq years ago that was aboard the ship behind the one where all hell broke loose.

The guy's saying it was absolutely humanitarian aid and the people on the large ship where defending themselves from what they believed was a threat to their families, some of which were on the boat.

As I said yesterday:

Protesters and activists are provocateurs, that's what they do. I don't believe the measured response is to deploy Commandos storming down ropes out of helicopters.

Israel over reacted is my first take on this just as they over reacted with their barrage on Gaza over a year ago and their counter attack into Lebanon over three years ago.

Israel needs to learn the restraint that comes with having a powerful military. It's a maturity their country hasn't learned yet.

It's part of being a responsible Democracy.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 2, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Agreed, mike. And when they develop that maturity maybe they can teach us.

Posted by: azportsider | June 2, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

"It's the substance of Obama's response to the Gulf spill that matters, not the theater of it."


And since the substance of this fiasco is what matters most I think the disaster ought to be referred to by one and all as what it REALLY is:

"Cheney's Chernobyl"!

Posted by: akaoddjob | June 2, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

WOW, HUGE folks!

* Former FL GOP Chair Arrested *

Former Florida Republican Party Chair Jim Greer was arrested this morning, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Greer -- a close ally of Gov. Charlie Crist -- was reported to be under criminal investigation for a contract worth around $200,000 that he awarded to himself and the state party's executive director. The Florida Republican Party revealed the news in March, saying it had uncovered the contract in the course of its annual financial audit, and referred the matter to authorities.

It's not yet clear if that incident was the basis for Greer's arrest. The Sentinel reports today:

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents brought Greer, of Oviedo, to the Seminole County jail shortly before 10 a.m., a Sheriff's Office spokeswoman confirmed.

State law enforcement officials will hold a press conference at 11:30 a.m. ET to "announce a major arrest."

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/former_fl_gop_chair_arrested.php

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 2, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

All, Mark Kirk's campaign admits another misrepresentation of his military service:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/kirk_campaign_mum_on_another_a.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"And I used to delight in Dowd's columns! She avoided cliche and structured her sentences in a manner which was both original and funny and, as a consequence, often enlightening in perspective."

Funny how that happens...she starts attacking a liberal president and suddenly liberals no longer find her funny and original.

The only thing that has changed about Dowd's columns is her target. Her writing style has always been self-absorbed, largely devoid of any real insight, and generally speaking just plain awful. You just didn't notice, probably because back when Bush was around, you approved of her attacks. Now that she is having a go at your guy, you don't.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 2, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Sestak Takes Early Lead

A new Garin Hart Yang Research (D) poll in Pennsylvania finds Rep. Joe Sestak (D) with a seven point lead over Rep. Pat Toomey (R), 47% to 40%.

http://politicalwire.com/archives/2010/06/02/sestak_takes_early_lead.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Watching John McCain become more and more irrational, brought to mind the line from a Simpsons episode: "He didn't give you gay, did he?"

Looks like hanging out with Sarah , gave John McCain Imbecility!!!

Posted by: Liam-still | June 2, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Greg: Shouldn't the word "not" be removed from the item regarding Meyerson? Younger generations of Jews would be more likely to support criticism of the flotilla raid, correct? it seems a typo to me.

Posted by: adammc123 | June 2, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

@ ScottC3 : Dowd is just a typical villager hack, no matter who she writes about. The article on Obama is typical villager fare, all about appearances with little or no analysis.

Posted by: srw3 | June 2, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

srw:

"Dowd is just a typical villager hack, no matter who she writes about. "

I wholeheartedly agree, and have thought so for many years. But I do find it a little amusing when people who formerly praised her for her wit and originality suddenly find her somewhat less so when the target of her snarky nonsense strikes a little too close to home.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 2, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

@ScottC - Nice to see you.

But you presume much too much and get it wrong. I don't think I've written about Dowd on Greg's thread until today (because I don't read her) but I've written elsewhere about her column for a number of years. I stopped attending to her (mostly) in the period following 9/11 when the limitations of her style-over-content schtick became apparent. As a political columnist, she became irrelevant because she could not deal with matters of importance. All "humor" writers had a problem for a while at that point but Dowd wasn't able to go elsewhere than the gossipy and the snide.

So you've got your timing presumptions quite backwards...I liked her during the Clinton administration period and stopped liking her (mostly) during the Bush admin.

Now, eat your vegetables.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

"But you presume much too much and get it wrong."

Well, I did say "probably", but fair enough. Mea culpa.

Even so, I still think you were behind the curve. She was doing the same thing to Clinton way back when. She's simply not very much of a thinker, which she attempts to cover over by being biting and snarky. I don't think she's ever been any good.

"Now, eat your vegetables."

I've never liked vegetables.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 2, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

ScottC - Agreed in the sense that she doesn't seem to have a very analytic mind (the sort that you and I share with the sitting President). But "good", as you've used it, is greatly subjective and I think she has in the past written some very fine sentences.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 2, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

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