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The Morning Plum

* So how bad for the White House is the story surrounding Andrew Romanoff, the Colorado Senate candidate who discussed job possibilities with the White House? At this point, both Romanoff and the White House agree: No job was promised.

* Romanoff did confirm in a statement that top White House aide Jim Messina emailed him specific job suggestions as an alternative to running for Senate.

* But Romanoff says: "At no time was I promised a job, nor did I request Mr. Messina's assistance in obtaining one."

* Here's the White House email to Romanoff.

* The White House, for its part, has responded this morning with a statement acknowledging discussion of job possibilties but stressing it was Romanoff who originally applied for a position and that the White House was following up.

* I'm told the White House will release Romanoff's job application later today. That said, even if Romanoff applied first, it seems clear that that the White House reinstigated discussions to dissuade him from running.

* FireDogLake's Michael Whitney says it's a "problem" for the White House.

* But Marc Ambinder says that if it's true that Romanoff initiated job discussions it would show "there really isn't much of a story here."

* Whatever the facts of the case, the real problem for the White House may be that it will spark no shortage of inside-the-Beltway meta-stories like this one from Politico about how this shows the White House political team is losing its touch and undercutting Obama's reformer image.

* Beltway head-in-the-oily-sand moment of the day: Bruce Vincent, the president of the big oil industry trade group, calls on lawmakers to refrain from using the Gulf spill to regulate oil companies with this doozy:

"When a plane crashes, you don't just shut down every airline in the fleet until you find out what happened."

Like, is a single plane crash really comparable in damage to what may be the largest environmental calamity in U.s. history?

* Jason Linkins adds more to the backlash against the ridiculous "Obama as Spock" meme: "No amount of emotion, of raging, of garment rending, will ever be enough."

* And here's proof, in the form of an extraordinary CNN caption:

President Obama has dealt with the Gulf Coast oil spill tragedy with his signature cool, calm and collected approach, but now, the public is asking him to get mad.

* But never mind Spock. The comparison du jour is that Obama is Jimmy Carter, and the oil spill is his hostage crisis. Keep an eye out for more of this one.

What else is happening?

UPDATE, 8:23 a.m.: An American citizen, shot four times in the head, may be among the dead on the flotilla raided by Israel.

UPDATE, 8:34 a.m.: Nick Kristof calls on Obama to exercise the leadership necessary to dissuade Israel from its current path towards self-destruction.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 3, 2010; 8:10 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems  
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Next: Have Sue Lowden's Senate hopes flown the coop?

Comments

@Greg

The entire first half of your morning post is dedicated to a complete non-story. Just mock the reporters stupid enough to make this into a "thing" and move on.

You're wasting all our time, and taking up valuable blog space. You are one of the best political reporters out there, and easily have the ability to fill a morning report with more interesting and newsworthy stories than this idiotic "debate".

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 3, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

BBQ -- If this affair, story or non story, is going to dominate the news this morning, I am going to do my best to put out the facts as clearly as possible.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 3, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

It's time for liberals to start coming to grips with the emerging reality that the Obama admin offered federal positions in exchange for not running in primaries (and thus conserving Democrat financial resources).

This crowd obviously didn't distinguish between Democratic Party interests and the federal government, and treated federal jobs as patronage jobs to be doled out to influence primaries and elections.

The only problem is that these are felonies.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

BBQ
Don't underestimate the power of shiny objects.

Posted by: Andy94 | June 3, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

"Like, is a single plane crash really comparable in damage to what may be the largest environmental calamity in U.s. history?"

Are a few hundred lives comparable? A few thousand? Is that the question?

Seems to me neither extreme makes any real sense here. The feds should have a pretty good idea of what went wrong. Either it is something that is a significant risk to other wells currently being drilled, or it isn't.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Greg: The White House is handling this Sestak stuff all wrong. They are playing right into the hands of those trying to Whitewater Obama by offering these mealy-mouthed quasi-denials. There is NOTHING WRONG with political parties determining who their candidates will be. That is why political parties exist. The WHite House should just declare it and then shut up about the whole ridiculous thing.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 3, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Why is it not legit to ask what the White House may have done to dissuade someone from offering Dem primary voters a choice in an election?

Even if this is not scandalous or even untoward, it's legit to ask this question. Why do self-described liberals have a problem with this? More on this later.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 3, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

"An American citizen, shot four times in the head, may be among the dead on the flotilla raided by Israel."

It could have been eight shots to the head. I think this shows restraint.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

On the Gulf oil Disaster, please note this astounding article:

"Gov. Bobby Jindal urges Obama to get deepwater drilling back quickly"

http://www.nola.com/news/gulf-oil-spill/index.ssf/2010/06/gov_bobby_jindal_urges_obama_t.html

I guess LA can destroy itself if it wants. But they better not come begging for any more federal handouts. Not for oil cleanup. Not for hurricanes. Nothing. Decisions have consequences.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 3, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"Like, is a single plane crash really comparable in damage to what may be the largest environmental calamity in U.s. history?"

It's far worse.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster only killed 11 people, all of them crew.

One fully loaded 737 crashes, and over 300 people lose heir lives, most of them passengers.

I understand that as a moonbat, you care more for oiled weeds and dead birds than people's lives.

But normal people count the cost differently.

And no, I don't work for Big Oil's flack crew, (although maybe I should). I came up with the airline comparison of the O-dministration's response to the Macondo well on my own yesterday.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

"There is NOTHING WRONG with political parties determining who their candidates will be. That is why political parties exist. The WHite House should just declare it and then shut up about the whole ridiculous thing."

The reason they don't do that is obvious, and has to do with the fact that you have no clue what you are talking about.

It has to do with the fact that it IS a crime to offer federal positions to candidates to induce them out of a primary or election.

You don't seem to understand that the Democratic Party is not the federal government, and federal positions are not Democratic Party positions. Barack Obama, as the head Democrat, can try to persuade any Democrat he wants to run or not run for office.

What he MAY NOT do under federal law is offer federal jobs in exchange for these favors.

These Democrats made an issue out of this. Now the "most transparent" administration in history needs to stop stonewalling and covering up.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Shlub Sargent:
"An American citizen, shot four times in the head, may be among the dead on the flotilla raided by Israel."

So what?

Taking an active part in foreign nations' politics will do that to you.

Just for the record, I don't get wee-wee'd up when some American Jewish kid serving in the IDF gets shot by a Pali either.

If you don't want to get gakked by some sandal- or yarmulke-wearing booger-eater, mind your own business.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Ha-ha-ha!

"* But Marc Ambinder says that if it's true that Romanoff initiated job discussions it would show "there really isn't much of a story here.""

Proof positive that there indeed IS a story here.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

Greg asked: "Why is it not legit to ask what the White House may have done to dissuade someone from offering Dem primary voters a choice in an election?"

I think it is entirely legitimate to pursue these questions. As citizens, we are better equipped to understand and then effect the process of governance if we understand how the wheels and levers operate.

"Even if this is not scandalous or even untoward, it's legit to ask this question. Why do self-described liberals have a problem with this?"

wb is right to analogize attempts from conservatives to use this issue as a means to derogate or bring suspicion to the WH. They aren't doing it out of principle. So reporters/commentators need to flesh out the full context here through coverage of instances where Republicans did precisely the same thing. To the degree they don't, they work in the service of the attack.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

"Why is it not legit to ask what the White House may have done to dissuade someone from offering Dem primary voters a choice in an election?"

Greg: WTF? This is what parties do. They ALWAYS have.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 3, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

ps to Greg...no suggestion there that you don't understand this as well or better than the rest of us.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Video of the Hamas "peace activists" attacking the IDF, which I suspect liberals here have avoided watching.

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/05/31/new-video-flotilla-passengers-attacks-israeli-troops/

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I think the objection to the focus on the amazingly ridiculous outrage over Sestak and Romanoff is simply that it is too ridiculous to mention.

This reminds me of the short-lived "czar scandal" where Obama was appointing too many czars which showed he was a communist and that he wanted to avoid democratically elected senators from consenting and advising on their appointments. Completely made up, completely propped up by the media and completely vanished a few weeks later.

Do you think anyone in the country apart from pundits, republicans (and not because they really care about it but because it's another stick with which to beat Obama) and self-hating liberals really care about this? I read that guy from FDL's comment on this and the comments section and my God those guys are nuts. I believe those were the same guys who bashed Obama for not playing enough hardball during the health care debate.

From where I sit in the UK I feel extremely sorry for Obama having to govern a country apparently full of such ninnies. Except, I've been to the US many times have relatives there and I can personally attest that they are not such ninnies- perhaps it's just a pundit disease?

Posted by: homeruk | June 3, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

QB1:
"This crowd obviously didn't distinguish between Democratic Party interests and the federal government, and treated federal jobs as patronage jobs to be doled out to influence primaries and elections."

You mean that Federal jobs AREN'T just another form of pork?

"The only problem is that these are felonies"

Only when Republicans do it. When DemocRats do it, it's a "non-story".

I do SO love how their default defense is that it's "Business as Usual", when the Alleged Hawaiian was supposed to transform us from all of that.

The belief that they could elect a Chicago politician without also getting Chicago politics along with him is positively Orwellian...

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Political patronage has existed since the beginning of political parties. President's get to choose who does and does not serve in their Administrations. And I'm still waiting for anyone, anywhere to show me that anyone, anyplace has ever been prosecuted for offering a job to someone either to induce that person to run or not run in a primary. This is RIDICULOUS! And, Greg, I hate to say it: But you are buying the nonsense hook, line and sinker.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 3, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Greg: have fun with BPBilgeSlave and QB. I'll be back when you want to discuss something important.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 3, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

I wanted to note this graph from a Weekly Standard piece this morning.

"Channeling his inner President Eisenhower, Gates sought to make this message sound not only reasonable but morally justified by belittling Washington, the town where he has spent most of his career. Pandering to those on the left who always see defense spending as dangerous, he raised anew Eisenhower’s overwrought concern about the creation of a “garrison state” and a “military-industrial complex.” Pandering to those on the right who see the Pentagon as a gigantic sink hole for tax dollars, he dredged up the old saw about the Pentagon being a “Puzzle Palace” and stated that “the attacks of September 11, 2001, opened a gusher of defense spending.” http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/big-squeeze

Authors are Thomas Donnelly, PNAC deputy Exec Dir and a Director at the Lockheed Martin Corporation on strategic communications and initiatives since 2002; and Gary Schmitt, Exec Dir of PNAC. Both are sit on numerous DC rightwing think tanks.

They are, in other words, dead center in what Eisenhower saw building, though Eisenhower was "overwrought" in his girlish concerns.

And how long do you think it would take to find commentary from these two "belittling Washington" after themselves having built their careers within it?

Whatever else the Weekly Standard crowd are doing and however else they might be motivated, their constant and unfailing support for growth of military industrial complex through active and broad military engagements, through increases in defense/weaponry spending and their unfailing attacks on less imperialist foreign policy goals/strategies gives us a very good clue as to who is putting money into their personal bank accounts.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I am constantly amazed by the right-wing's ability to gin up mass hysteria over the most trivial things.

This is the War on Christmas all over again. This is the "zomg! Democrats are 'steamrollers' because they are using House of Representatives parliamentary rules to pass a healthcare law (just like Republicans were using Senate parliamentary rules to try and kill a healthcare law)!" ACORN is a crooked operation, committing shocking crimes with piddling sums of taxpayer money (never mind Blackwater & Halliburton)!

It is pathetic the way you all fall in line when they tell you something that is standard operating procedure in politics is somehow evidence that Barack Obama is running a White House that's crossing the line.

All the while you all ignore things like the order to shoot down Al-Awlaki, who's monstrous but who is an American citizen. Because if Republicans (and Fox News) aren't upset about it, it can't actually be that a Democrat is doing something wrong. And if Republicans (and Fox News) are upset about it, then Obama MUST be doing something wrong.

The point of a professional media is that you guys are supposed to be able to make calls on these kinds of things. You actually KNOW what is standard operating procedure, and what is not. You are not supposed to suddenly pretend that you've never heard of this happening before, or find ridiculous ways to justify how this is somehow different than what everyone else is doing, simply because Republicans have ginned up popular hysteria about it through irresponsible reporting and political hackery!

You're not supposed to just dance when the organ grinder plays a tune! You're not supposed to be a schmuck who just lets us know what's "out there," ignoring important issues because Republicans don't care about them and reporting breathlessly on non-stories simply because Republicans are yammering about them. You're supposed to let regular people who don't live in DC and watch this stuff 24/7 know what's really going on here.

It's utterly pathetic to see yet another non-story treated like it's anything but crap.

Posted by: member8 | June 3, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Slave homeruk:
"From where I sit in the UK I feel extremely sorry for Obama having to govern a country apparently full of such ninnies. Except, I've been to the US many times have relatives there and I can personally attest that they are not such ninnies- perhaps it's just a pundit disease? "

Well, you're more than welcome to make the Alleged Hawaiian your King, if you like.

There's an outside chance that he was born a British subject, anyway.

Other than that, who CARES what you think, you Limey moonbat?

Mind your own business.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"Political patronage has existed since the beginning of political parties. President's get to choose who does and does not serve in their Administrations."

Yes, it has -- Boss Tweed, the Daleys, FDR.

But the purpose of the Hatch Act is to forbid handing out of federal jobs and offices as patronage.

Oops. Too bad you aren't Obama's lawyer. It would be fun to watch your "defense" get people sent to jail.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Bilgeman,

"You mean that Federal jobs AREN'T just another form of pork?"

Speaking of which, I heard the nitwit Sherrod Brown boasting of introducing legislation to "free up" another $75 billion to pay for muni police, teachers, etc., so that we can "get them back to work" and "turn them into taxpayers" instead people on the dole.

Talk about Orwellian, and just plain stupid. Box of rocks stupid.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I still think this is a nontroversy. No job was promised in either case, a slew of legal experts said nothing illegal happened when it concerned Sestak, and in this case Romanoff initiated contact. There doesn't seem to be much to this story. And for someone FDL to say it's a problem is not surprising. They think that way about every single issue from the legitimate to ridiculous.

Posted by: 358123 | June 3, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

No. 1. The Hatch Act isn't a criminal statute.

No.2. The Hatch Act doesn't apply to the president.

That took me 3 minutes. Doesn't anyone in the media care about facts anymore?

Posted by: wbgonne | June 3, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

@Greg - this may be of interest to you...

"The American Bar Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, and numerous other legal organizations, are demanding that the Senate Armed Services Committee to reject a provision in a House of Representatives bill that would mandate an investigation into lawyers representing Guantanamo Bay detainees.
The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2011 requires the inspector general to investigate “the conduct and practices” of Guantanamo lawyers and report back to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees within 90 days.
The provision was quietly tucked into the Defense bill last week by Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican..." http://pubrecord.org/law/7768/legal-groups-demand-senate-panel-reject/

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

slave memeber8:
"The point of a professional media is that you guys are supposed to be able to make calls on these kinds of things."

Wrong, moonbat. The point of a professional media is to make MONEY.

"Professional" means that they get paid to write...y'know?

So they make money for whoever pays them.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Right-wing site goes after Fiorina (and by connection, Palin) as a One-Worlder...

"Second only to Barack Obama, Fiorina has a long history of bad choices when it comes to friends in low places. So why is Sarah Palin endorsing Fiorina? How would Fiorina be better than Boxer? What is Sarah thinking?"

http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/23814

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Canadian Man-bag:
"The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal 2011 requires the inspector general to investigate “the conduct and practices” of Guantanamo lawyers and report back to the House and Senate Armed Services Committees within 90 days.
The provision was quietly tucked into the Defense bill last week by Rep. Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican"

Good.

This is the Lynne Stewart Act.

Or did that case go down your moonbat memory-hole, too?

Just because you're a "radical lawyer" doesn't make you immune from the laws against actively supporting terrorist groups by carrying messages from your client.

Stewart got herself a 28 month issue in the Federal pen, and was stupid enough to appeal.

On appeal, the court learned that she may have additionally perjured herself, so she MAY get MORE time tacked on to her stay at the Graybar Hotel.

In any event, this bill is about making sure that lawyers representing defendants STAY lawyers, and not become federally funded terrorist conduits.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Wrong, moonbat. The point of a professional media is to make MONEY."

Everyone gets a paycheck. Doctors, reporters, priests, teachers, astronauts, politicians, cops, soldiers, ambulance drivers. Therefore it follows reasonably that those professions have no responsibility nor particular ethical consideration which rises above getting or increasing the size of that paycheck.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Serious hat tip to Greenwald. As Chomsky is not allowed (obviously) to appear on American news, it's Greenwald who fills that role. I like Spitzer but Glenn has this one right and Spitzer has it wrong.

http://videocafe.crooksandliars.com/heather/flotilla-debate-glenn-greenwald-vs-eliot-s

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

Somebody tell me when Bilgeman goes out and gets a life so I can read this thing without my eyeballs bleeding.

Posted by: KathleenHusseininMaine | June 3, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

John Oliver interviews Larry Craig. Must must must see (h/t TPM)
http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/06/john-oliver-asks-larry-craig-about-his-favorite-senate-perks-video.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Canadian Man-bag:
"Therefore it follows reasonably that those professions have no responsibility nor particular ethical consideration which rises above getting or increasing the size of that paycheck."

They may or they may not.

What they do NOT do, though, is tout themselves as "independent" like professional journalists are wont to.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 3, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

"If this affair, story or non story, is going to dominate the news this morning, I am going to do my best to put out the facts as clearly as possible."

Do you believe that the idea of a possible job offer is a story? A scandal of some kind? I don't think you do, and if you have editorial control over what gets posted on this site, I'd hope you to not spend 1/2 of your morning roundup on something you, yourself, don't believe is going anywhere. It's saying there's an actual "debate" about it, when it's all just manufactured outrage.

It's just the press chasing it's own tail. There's no scandal. If a competing job offer is a conflict of interest or a scandal, then private business wouldn't exist.

There are stories about the two wars, on the economy, on the oil spill, on legislation in Congress, on upcoming elections...all of which have substance and are being ignored.

And then there are two nonsense stories, a pair about job offers and about an accused affair. The first, is normal and not a scandal. The second, there's been not a shred of proof presented as to the alligations made.

Yet THOSE are the stories the traditional media is talking about...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 3, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

@Kathleen - He's a tad like animal-porn, real but easy enough to avoid.

Here's Tomasky on US/Israel...

"The current administration has a very different Middle East policy from its predecessor. But there is one constant, like it or not. The United States is not going to denounce Israel's actions in starkly moral terms. That just isn't its role.

What is? Keeping the recently started proximity talks going, and retaining the credibility to try to push both parties (we should really say all three parties, since Fatah and Hamas are so dramatically divergent now) toward more reasonable positions." http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/michaeltomasky/2010/jun/03/gaza-flotilla-obama-israel

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, it IS Greg's job to report on these issues factually.

But where I agree with wbgonne and member8 is that this is CLEARLY a distraction from what is obviously the most important political development of the last week or month, or even more important than the oil disaster (if not precipitated BY it)...

That being, that Obama has signed on to make campaigning for the Energy/Climate bill his TOP PRIORITY over the coming months, leading up to November.

It is brilliant timing politically and on policy grounds about 10 years later than it should have been.

The FACT is that we need to aggressively transition OFF of carbon-based fossil fuels. And that is precisely what Obama has pledged to do.

I watched his speech yesterday 3 times, not including the key segments about 3/4 of the way in about 4 additional times.

This is serious stuff. Obama has to step up to the plate on energy, now that he has stepped into the batter's box.

And given our decades-long addiction to oil and the grievous abuses of energy regulation and oversight of the previous administration, again leading up to the worst environmental disaster in history AND the worst financial disaster since the recession began in 2007, it is for SURE a winning issue for Democrats. I have been a green advocate since before 2000. When the energy/climate bill was first discussed in the early part of last year, and then unveiled in April I was not that enthusiastic (I don't know, maybe the timing of it all or something). But NOW is the right time to get to work on this critical critical issue.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the Romanoff story is a non-story being pushed by the right wingnuts and the D.C. media. It just shows how disconnected the beltway media is with the rest of the country.

We.Don't.Care.

Posted by: Beeliever | June 3, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Everybody knows that votes for Obamacare were purchased with special consideration for certain states and entities. It is certainly no stretch to believe that jobs were offered in return for not running for office.
Just more crooked strong arm politics from a party that promised change and transparency. I guess this is the kind of change they meant. It is perfectly transparent to me.

Posted by: larbo | June 3, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, I think we may have finally moved beyond the proposition that the BP Oil Gusher was going to make it more difficult to pass energy legislation. I believe now that this will be the defining issue of Obama's presidency and I'm glad to see him increase his insistence that now is the time to move forward with the transition from fossil fuels.

Greg, I appreciate your efforts to keep us abreast of the beltway political issues but I have to agree with a few others here, my interests lie elsewhere right now. Anyway, we appreciate your perspective, I always read but don't always comment.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 3, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

I noticed during the weekend the move to Carter.
First they tried the obama is Bush during katrina.
then it was obama is spock.
Now, it's Obama is Carter.
How come the beltway bobbleheads simply cannot take this president for himself, his own personality.
Since he won the election he is never just seen for who he is but, is all the 43 presidents before him at one time or another.

Posted by: vwcat | June 3, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

All, two new polls show that Sue Lowden's tanking:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 3, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

Birther Bilgey is still off his meds.

Now he claims that anyone who gets involved in the politics of other nations deserves to be shot and killed.

There you have it folks; Birther Bilgey clear feels that all those brave young American Troops who got killed in Iraq, were just asking for it, and deserved to die.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 3, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I think you're right, it probably will define his presidency if he can be successful at truly transforming our nation's outlook on energy. HCR was huge, but when you think about the energy industry and how it effects day-to-day life from almost every single angle, it has arguably been the number one most important issue in this country for a decade or more.

It is frankly totally unbelievable to me how the Right has clung to the oil industry. An industry literally run by despots and tyrants (OPEC). And while they are clinging to OPEC, at the same time they are making a concerted effort to eliminate or subjugate a blossoming DOMESTIC alternative energy INDUSTRY -- a whole entire INDUSTRY! Free market be damned. It is profit above all and it is not only inherently unsustainable, I would argue that it is also anti-American.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

@qb:The only problem is that these are felonies.

Just plain false. There is no law that says a candidate can't entertain offers of other jobs, even govt jobs. Where is the crime?

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Liam, I appreciate your thoughts. I didn't feel it was worth responding to Bilgeman. I will say this (and have repeatedly said it before); the identity of the US President probably has more impact to citizens of countries outside the US than to the citizens of the US itself.

Posted by: homeruk | June 3, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

bernie:

"As citizens, we..."

"We" citizens? Are congratulations in order?

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 3, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Fanatical Obama worshipper wbgonne says the Hatch Act doesn't apply to the Pres. He forgets that these job offers were floated by Rahm and/or others. Here's a nice discussion.

http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=YWQ1YWZmYmFhNzcyN2I1NTRmMDY4MjZiODQ0ZDYyNjM=

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

And wb and other Obama defenders must deal with 18 USC 595 and 600 as well.

Another nice discussion:

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/06/01/sestak-job-offer-violated-federal-law/

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Just plain false. There is no law that says a candidate can't entertain offers of other jobs, even govt jobs. Where is the crime?"

Who said Sestak or Romonaff are guilty of something?

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

18 U.S.C. 600

"Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided for or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both."

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

QB, what did you think of President Obama's speech yesterday, particularly the part on energy reform?

Just curious.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Well, wb, where is your three-minute, two-line proof that these statutes were not violated? 600 and 595? Hatch Act -- did Rahm violate it?

And why hasn't the Admin come out with a full, detailed, complete account of who did what and when?

Why the simple self-declaration of propriety?

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Scott C inquired, innocently:
""We" citizens? Are congratulations in order?"

I'm afraid it can never be. My mother, the dearest soul who ever walked the earth, would descend from her heavenly perch and do me with a weed-eater if I became a US citizen.

I can only pretend.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

ps...Given my druthers, I'd have you stick around. I think we're better off with the challenges you present us.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 3, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Let's see if this Dem controlled congress and our "change and transparent" prez are as open and honest as they claim to be. Let's see if they enforce 18 U. S. C. 600. It is intuitively obvious to the most casual observer that if something smells rotten, it probably is.

Posted by: larbo | June 3, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

"QB, what did you think of President Obama's speech yesterday, particularly the part on energy reform?"

Ethan, are you joking? You really expect a meaningful answer?

Posted by: SDJeff | June 3, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

I've only seen reports and parts of it, mainly his hyper-partisan attack on Republicans, which was dishonest and disgraceful -- his forte.

His remarks about "embracing" a clean energy future, etc., I see mainly as foolish and empty rhetoric. A government-planned economy is not a future to be wished for.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"would descend from her heavenly perch"

Bernie believes in a heavenly afterlife? I wonder who gets to this heaven.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Whether Obama or anyone in his administration violated 18 U. S. C. 600, it's still wrong in my mind, and I'm an Obama supporter. There was no reason for him to even entertain the notion. Let the primaries run their course, so what if there's bad blood along the way, they'll survive. Sestak has the support of Specter and is scandal-free except for that so called job offer. What did Obama or Rahm or anyone else have to gain from even discussing it? They seem to not understand that a big reason so many of us supported Obama was because he seemed to above those political games. As president, he's proven over and over that he clearly isn't.

I still support him and think he's done a good job overall, but he's screwed up too many times. Whether or not it's defensible, the perception is that he's been disingenuous, and his leadership on the oil spill and the flotilla raid have been simply pathetic.

I really think there's something going on we don't know about. Something's wrong. He's distracted.

Posted by: SDJeff | June 3, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

"I really think there's something going on we don't know about. Something's wrong. He's distracted."

Or perhaps he just wasn't all that after all. oiiohi


I suspect that, if their feet were actually held to the fire by a non-supine and non-political DOJ, their defense to the charges would be ignorance.

I.e., like wb, they were oblivious to the impropriety, let alone the likely criminality, of it, because they have a sense of entitlement and infallibility.

When Obama does it, it isn't illegal.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

"""I've only seen reports and parts of it, mainly his hyper-partisan attack on Republicans, which was dishonest and disgraceful -- his forte."""

Watch the whole speech. I found it uplifting and honest.

"""His remarks about "embracing" a clean energy future, etc., I see mainly as foolish and empty rhetoric. A government-planned economy is not a future to be wished for."""

So you are opposed to free market solutions to end our reliance on fossil fuels?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Ethan2010,
This Obama administration has never been about free market solutions.

Posted by: larbo | June 3, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

"Watch the whole speech. I found it uplifting and honest."

I'll pass. What I heard was divisive, cynical, dishonest, and appalling.

"So you are opposed to free market solutions to end our reliance on fossil fuels?"

Glad to hear he and you have joined the Ayn Rand crowd. Please.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama in Pittsburgh:

"Consider what we’ve done with clean energy. The tax credits and loan guarantees in the Recovery Act alone will lead to 720,000 clean energy jobs in America by 2012 -- 720,000. (Applause.) I’ll give you one example. The United States used to make less than 2 percent of the world’s advanced batteries for hybrid cars. By 2015, because of the investments that we made, we’ll have enough capacity to make up to 40 percent of these batteries.

[...]

"the only way the transition to clean energy will ultimately succeed is if the private sector is fully invested in this future -- if capital comes off the sidelines and the ingenuity of our entrepreneurs is unleashed."

QB, he's calling for private sector solutions to our reliance on fossil fuels.

I would think that you support free markets.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

@qb: Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit

Well since there were no promises of employment to either Sestak or Romanoff, there is no crime.

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

That isn't private sector/free market. Not as bad as clasiccal socialism, perhaps. But definitely not free market.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

@sdjeff:Whether or not it's defensible, the perception is that he's been disingenuous, and his leadership on the oil spill and the flotilla raid have been simply pathetic.

YOu are falling into the villager "perception and politics are all that matters" trap.

I don't agree with Obama's position on the flotilla raid, but that is actually a mostly popular position among the larger electorate. I am not sure what Obama could have done about the gulf disaster after it began.

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

srw,

So I gather you were present for all the discussions.

I think I'll wait to exonerate them until there is a full investigation and we are confident we know all the facts.

The complete lack of transparency by the Admin casts great doubt on your assumption.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

@qb: "not a free market"

It's as close as one can get when dealing with the "problem of the commons" that pollution poses. There are no economic incentives in the market to reduce carbon pollution (just like there was no economic incentive to reduce acid rain, even though it was a big problem in the northeast), so in order to get that to happen, govt has to create the incentives to choose other fuels. It's called planning for the future, something that corporations(especially corporations in the US that are driven by quarterly profits) (and markets in general) are notoriously bad at.

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

All, the Romanoff campaign confirms that, yes, he did apply for a White House job first:

http://bit.ly/ag9oc6

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 3, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

QB, but the oil industry gets production and development tax breaks as well.

What makes oil industry tax breaks palatable to you, but not tax breaks for the development of a domestic renewable energy industry?

I honestly don't understand the difference between the two, nor your party's total rejection of what could be a very profitable private sector industry in America. Any thoughts?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"YOu are falling into the villager "perception and politics are all that matters" trap. "

Unfortunately, most voters only know anything about what's going on because of the media. So Obama has to make sure he comes across well. If he doesn't, then the perception is that he's not engaged in this crisis. If the people don't think he's a good leader, good luck to him getting anything else done while he's president. You can say it's not fair, but that's the reality of being president. He can't communicate to each of directly, so he has to use the media. And every day the oil spill continues, he loses more and more people. He has to deal with that now in addition to all his other problems.

The only other gauge we have to know the state of our country is that we all know many of our friends and family are unemployed, which doesn't reflect well on him either. Trust me, no one wants him to succeed more than I do, but he's in trouble, and he must acknowledge it if he wants to change it.

Posted by: SDJeff | June 3, 2010 1:09 PM | Report abuse

For example, QB, here is a list of tax/business incentives granted to the petroleum industry (as of 2007):

* Construction bonds at low interest rates or tax-free
* Research-and-development programs at low or no cost
* Assuming the legal risks of exploration and development in a company's stead
* Below-cost loans with lenient repayment conditions
* Income tax breaks, especially featuring obscure provisions in tax laws designed to receive little congressional oversight when they expire
* Sales tax breaks - taxes on petroleum products are lower than average sales tax rates for other goods
* Giving money to international financial institutions (the U.S. has given tens of billions of dollars to the World Bank and U.S. Export-Import Bank to encourage oil production internationally, according to Friends of the Earth)
* The U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve
* Construction and protection of the nation's highway system
* Allowing the industry to pollute - what would oil cost if the industry had to pay to protect its shipments, and clean up its spills? If the environmental impact of burning petroleum were considered a cost? Or if it were held responsible for the particulate matter in people's lungs, in liability similar to that being asserted in the tobacco industry?
* Relaxing the amount of royalties to be paid (more below)

QB, would you support a similar incentive regime for "free market" renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

@qb: I think I will wait to condemn them until they are actually convicted of some impropriety (there aren't even any formal charges yet). And it is more than a bit hypocritical to pick on this non-story when Orenstein (who works at Heritage) says:

Because to any veteran of the political process, such offers are nearly routine across every administration. If what the Obama administration did was impeachable, then Rep. Issa might want to consider retroactive impeachment action against Ronald Reagan, whose White House directly suggested to S.I. Hayakawa that he would get an administration position if he would stay out of the Republican primary for Senate in California; or call for an investigation and special prosecutor of the Bush White House for discussing a Cabinet post with Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska to clear the field for their preferred Republican candidate Mike Johanns in 2006. At the same time, Issa might want to call for expulsion of his Senate colleague Judd Gregg, who insisted before he accepted the post of Commerce Secretary in the Obama administration that there be a guarantee that his successor, appointed by a Democratic governor, be a Republican.

What's that I hear, crickets?

Funny how Issa wasn't crying for a special prosecutor when Bush was offering paid positions in the cabinet to get Nelson out of the senate race.

Posted by: srw3 | June 3, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"What makes oil industry tax breaks palatable to you, but not tax breaks for the development of a domestic renewable energy industry?"

In general, I don't favor either, particularly when they are just used as government economic planning tools. I favor simpler, lower taxes overall, and I don't think corporate income taxes make any sense at all to begin with.

"I honestly don't understand the difference between the two, nor your party's total rejection of what could be a very profitable private sector industry in America"

Who said the GOP rejects non-fossil energy development? Because I don't favor the government planning and funding it, picking the "right" investments, etc.?

Any self-respecting obscenely rich Republican -- or Democratic -- tycoon would love to be like the Heinlein character who invented the practically limitless energy cell. That doesn't mean government planning is the answer.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 3, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"there is little disagreement that the industry received significant federal support for such deep-water drilling. Since the government began aggressively issuing offshore drilling permits under President Reagan, the industry has received tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies, including exemptions from royalty payments -- the fees due when a company extracts resources from U.S. government property."

http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/2010/05/us_tax_breaks_favor_oil_indust.html

How does receiving "tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks and subsidies" equate to a "free market"?

Isn't that Federal manipulation of private industry?

I thought you were opposed to Federal interference in free markets?

I'm really confused by your position.

I know I've asked a number of questions...

But I really would be interested in your thoughts on oil industry tax incentives and subsidies versus renewable energy tax incentives and subsidies.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Okay, thanks for your reply.

So do you favor repealing the oil industry tax breaks, as Obama has suggested?

"""Who said the GOP rejects non-fossil energy development? Because I don't favor the government planning and funding it, picking the "right" investments, etc.?"""

For one, the GOP always votes en masse AGAINST renewables legislation.

Re: "picking the right investments", would you care to elaborate on that point? Who is picking the right investments? Do you have any examples of this?

And lastly, don't you think that offering substantial tax breaks to petroleum but far lower incentives to renewables qualifies as "picking the 'right' investments"? Clearly the USA has invested far more money in development and production of petroleum than it has in renewables. So, using your words, the USA has "picked" oil as the "right" investment when it comes to energy.

Given what you suggest (repealing oil tax breaks and not picking winners and losers in energy), I would think that you would be more in favor of expansion of renewables.

I find myself confused by your comments again.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

“I can only pretend.”

Ah well. At least that’s one less vote for Obama.

“Given my druthers, I'd have you stick around.”

Thanks. We’ll see how long it lasts.

qb:

“I've only seen reports and parts of it, mainly his hyper-partisan attack on Republicans, which was dishonest and disgraceful -- his forte.

I watched quite a bit of it, and that was precisely what struck me most about it…his blatant and incessant partisanship. He is perpetually his party’s candidate for president rather than actual president of the whole nation. It is unseemly and, as you say, disgraceful.

ethan (to qb):

“So you are opposed to free market solutions to end our reliance on fossil fuels?”

The government directing resources to politically favored products/investments through laws and tax incentives, as Obama was talking about, is not an example of “free market solutions”. If Obama was truly interested in free market solutions to any of the problems he professes to be so passionate about, he wouldn’t have spent his life as a politician. He would have joined the private sector and actually helped create something of value.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 3, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

ScottC: """The government directing resources to politically favored products/investments through laws and tax incentives, as Obama was talking about, is not an example of “free market solutions”."""

So ScottC, you agree with Obama and QB (and myself) that we should end tax breaks and subsidies to the petroleum industry?

What about Ag subsidies? Same thing?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 3, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

Yes and yes.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 3, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

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