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The Morning Plum

* There's no getting around the fact that the public is unhappy with Obama's handling of the Gulf spill: A new CBS poll finds that nearly two thirds of Americans want Obama to be doing more.

* Which prompts the question o' the day: Is it possible the public is unhappy with the substance of his response, which has faced plenty of legitimate criticism, as opposed to the theatrics of it? More on this later.

* Obama finally cancels his trip to Indonesia, presumably to focus on the spill. But is he apoplectic yet, or merely just furious?

* And he's heading to the Gulf today. Mr. President, please kneel down on the Gulf shore and beat your breast for a full five minutes. Then Maureen Dowd and I will decree whether the public thinks you've emoted sufficiently yet.

* If you don't want to listen to me about this, listen to Ruth Marcus, who tries to talk some sense into pundit colleages demanding that Obama play "angry daddy."

* Demonizing unions until the bitter end: Blanche Lincoln goes up with a new ad featuring Bill Clinton ripping into organized labor for having the temerity to support a candidate that's better on their issues:

* Dan Balz says the White House political team has lost its way.

* As early as today? A new Gaza-bound aid ship could reach Israel's exclusion zone this afternoon, and even though the Obama administration has demanded no repeat of the flotilla raid, Israel is still vowing it won't reach land.

* Matthew Yglesias tries to keep the focus on conditions in Gaza.

* Harry Reid steps up, vows to move on energy reform in July.

* Mark Kirk finally apologies for the embellishments of his military record.

* Dems think the the party of "drill, baby, drill" will have a tough time using the spill to damage Obama. Perhaps, but it's another reminder of how unfortunate it is that Obama, too, embraced expanded drilling.

* And the random deep thought of the day: Paul McCartney's crack about George W. Bush's lack of familiarity with libraries is far more controversial and worthy of discussion than Bush's glib claim that he would authorize torture again.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  June 4, 2010; 8:19 AM ET
Categories:  Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Morning Plum , Political media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup: "Furious"
Next: Is Sarah Palin's robocall for Nikki Haley illegal?

Comments

You are misreading the displeasure with Obama, which may well be driving down his poll numbers a few points. This is about fundamentals: when things in the country aren't going well, people blaim the president, whether it is his fault or not. Was the Korean War Harry Truman's fault? No. Was Douglas MacArthur's stupidity and mutiny Truman's fault? No. Was Truman unpopular? Extremely so. Obama has a crummy economy that may be turning around, but may sputter and die. International tension is peaking in Korea and Israel. The stock market has tumbled a thousand points. And the biggest environmental disaster in the history of the United States is going on and will for some time. There's nothing he can do about that, and nothing he can say or do will change that. Still, he feels like he has to make the effort to spin ineluctible facts.

Posted by: philogratis | June 4, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Morning, All.

"There's no getting around the fact that the public is unhappy with Obama's handling of the Gulf spill: A new CBS poll finds that nearly two thirds of Americans want Obama to be doing more."

I actually think this is a GOOD thing. It proves yet again that the American people believe in government and want it involved in important matters. As usual, the problem with such polls is their narrowness. As you say, Greg, there is no indication WHAT the American people want government to do but the mere fact that they want it doing more is telling. Obama could and should turn this poll result into another counter to anti-government forces of GOPBaggers (thx, Ethan).

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

May jobs number +430,000

The unemployment rate is 9.7% down from 9.9%.

Posted by: Andy94 | June 4, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

"Demonizing unions until the bitter end: Blanche Lincoln goes up with a new ad featuring Bill Clinton ripping into organized labor for having the temerity to support a candidate that's better on their issues"

Let's face it: Bill Clinton ism and always has been, a selfish a-hole. And never a real Democrat. No wonder he loves Blanche (I have always depended on the kindness of suckers) Lincoln.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Slave Sargent:
"Paul McCartney's crack about George W. Bush's lack of familiarity with libraries is far more controversial and worthy of discussion than Bush's glib claim that he would authorize torture again."

It's certainly worth noting.

shorter Sir "Scouser" Paulie:
"After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows what a library is."

I realize that you moonbat cattle are totally tone deaf to how BAD this looks to normal Americans, but it does.

That a President invites this jumped-up Limey boor to the White House for honors, and then this foreign a-hole has the gall to insult the previous President, looks very bad for the Alleged Hawaiian.

This kind of thing pisses normal Americans off. You livestock should learn something from that.

Of course, the Alleged Hawaiian has his problems treating foreign leaders with a modicum of grace and class, himself.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 4, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

As snakes go, Michael Gerson is only medium slimy. Let's give the fellow his due. He's not a Limbaugh or a Gingrich. And that is something.

In today's column he bemoans the besmirch - specifically, the sexual/moral hypocrisy besmirchments common on our political horizons. He gives some examples...

"So what does sexual conduct have to do with the qualifications for public service? It is the question raised by the cases of politicians such as John Edwards, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer and Bill Clinton."

Yup. The jerk simply cannot help himself. His sexual-moral-failing cross section reveals one Republican and three Democrats. No Larry Craig. No lesbian bondage acts. No John Ensign. No Mark Foley. Definitely no David Vitter or Ted Haggard or Newt or or or...

And what of the hypocrisy thing? You know, the "family values/abstinence/superior purity of the faithful" banners flying over the lustfully unzippered versus unzippered without the banners? Here's Gerson's view on that one...

"In the end, hypocrisy is preferable to decadence."

Well, hard to argue that this column isn't a living example of precisely that formulation. Given, of course, that "decadence" means being a liberal and not waving that virtue banner. For Gerson, THAT is where the real problem is.

If you aren't waving and swearing allegiance to the virtue banner as some lady unzips your trousers then you are without warrant to demand the merciful forgiveness that attends the act.

Posted by: bernielatham | June 4, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"A new Gaza-bound aid ship could reach Israel's exclusion zone this afternoon, and even though the Obama administration has demanded no repeat of the flotilla raid, Israel is still vowing it won't reach land."

One wonders if the Israelis have a destroyer that they've nicknamed "the Bulldozer".

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 4, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

I would also note that one of the million horrid things about the present day GOP is that it disparages achievements and accomplishments unless they make the person rich. The GOP fosters (relies upon, really) ignorance. The GOP is pro-mediocrity and anti-education. And then there is the falt-out evil as presented by Cheney, for example. The GOP refuses any accountability for its reckless and destructive policies. Just take a look at the so-called "leaders" of the GOP: Palin, Bush, Demint, Inhofe, Beck. These people are ignoramuses. And see how the GOP mocks Obama for his rhetorical gifts and his studied intelligence. The GOP thrives in the darkness of ignorance and incompetence. And this is their vision for the country. As Caribou Barbie put it: thanks, but no thanks.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Waiting to see how the neoconservative crowd respond to the Burmese attempts to get all nuked up...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304859.html?hpid=moreheadlines

(I don't think they'll notice)

Posted by: bernielatham | June 4, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"hypocrisy is preferable to decadence."

Are those the only two choices? And even if so, Gerson is wrong. Decadence (however Gerson defines it) is honest; hypocrisy is dishonest. You can build on something honest. The dishonest foundations must be destroyed before progress can be made.

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

@wb - he's got to keep the devil way down in the hole

Posted by: bernielatham | June 4, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

"GOP mocks Obama for his rhetorical gifts and his studied intelligence"

LOLOLOLOL Really, can't stop laughing. Remove the telprompter and the guy is a joke. Even with the tp the country can no longer stomach his egomaniacal, nasally lecturing.

As for the rest of wb's drivel above, I once thought he was a half-way serious person. What a laugh that is, too.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"keep the devil way down in the hole"

Tom Waits. Rock on, Bernie!

Posted by: wbgonne | June 4, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Re: the "angry daddy" expectations, Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.

Democrats conditioned the public and press to view the President as Daddy (or sometimes Nanny). Bill Clinton, Al Gore, FDR, ring any bells?

Democrats conditioned the public to be emotionally dependent on the President.

Now, you are hoist on your own petard.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Re: Mark Kirk. Embellishments? No. Lies? Yes. He should be stripped of his TS/SCI clearance for wilfully lying about his record and dishonorably discharged--that's what the Navy should do, but probably won't.

Posted by: ScipioAfricanus | June 4, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The spectable of Obama's resorting to wooden and obviously PR-scripted statements that he is "furious" is about as comical as national politics can get. Isn't it?

He is chasing around this perception that he needs to show passion and trying to fake it on the national stage. He appears inauthentic because he is inauthentic, much like John "Reporting for Duty" Kerry.

He is a soulless technocrat who promised the moon and stars -- as ably lampooned by Hillary -- and now obviously can't deliver.

But it's worse than that. He not only can't deliver, but the public is now beginning to see him for what he is -- a small, self-absorbed, petty, and divisive man, everything he claimed not to be. And who isn't half as smart or wise as he claimed.

Unfortunately, we have another 2.5 years to suffer his debasement of the office.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

qb:

“Democrats have no one to blame but themselves.”

Indeed. The “progressives”/Dems try to sell government as the protector from and solver of any and all manner of problems, and then they are shocked..shocked!...that their man in government gets blamed for failing to solve and protect the people from a fairly big problem.

One can’t help but wonder whether these people who lament the blame that is now accruing to Obama are this monumentally clueless, or if they are simply classically dishonest partisans.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Re: Obama's support of expanded drilling.
Obama's embrace of expanded drilling was unfortunate in its legitimation of a GOP talking point and its undercutting of his green authority once the spill happened, but I think that's another example of optics and shouldn't be used a cudgel against him. Please keep in mind that the whole point of the fiasco was to get a few drill-baby-drill votes for a climate and energy bill. Even those of us who questioned the tactical wisdom of conceding the point before negotiations began were forced to acknowledge that the loss of the provision endangered the bill this summer.

A far more legitimate criticism of the administration was its belated move to use the spill to spur public opinion to energy reform. But even then they eventually got there.

Posted by: fbacon2 | June 4, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

qb:

"He not only can't deliver, but the public is now beginning to see him for what he is -- a small, self-absorbed, petty, and divisive man, everything he claimed not to be. And who isn't half as smart or wise as he claimed."

I don't know whether the public is beginning to see it or not, but you have certainly hit the nail on the head regarding what Obama really is.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 10:08 AM | Report abuse

ScottC, I know you're just a provocateur, like QB, but do you really believe your own hyperbole when you say the following:

"""protector from and solver of any and all manner of problems"""

Again that is "ANY AND ALL MANNER OF PROBLEMS"

Do you really believe that? Again "ANY and ALL" manner of problems? For real?

If 'yes' then it's no wonder your vociferous backlash to "any and all government." But clearly, if that is your view of the government, it is distorted beyond any recognition of reality.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Ethan,

How do you define provocateur as you are using it?

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Ethan:

"but do you really believe your own hyperbole..."

It may have been hyberbole, but if so only slightly. So yes, it seems obvious to me that there is little, and perhaps no, limit to the uses to which lefties think that government force can and ought to be brought to bear in order to “solve” perceived problems.

BTW, just because you are provoked by what I say does not make me a "provocateur". Frankly I don't give a toss whether or how you react to what I say.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

ScottC,

"I don't know whether the public is beginning to see it or not, but you have certainly hit the nail on the head regarding what Obama really is."

Perhaps I am wishful thinking there, but I do think this plays part of his sinking approval numbers, along with the brute reality that he has not worked the miracles he promised.

I do find this current liberal anger at "angry daddy" expectations to be one of the more ironic phenomena to appear on the scene. Of all things for Democrats to complain about, this really takes the cake, and Obama's ham-handed efforts to address it show just how politically caclulating and driven he really is.

Bush, by contrast, was maddeningly unconcerned with massaging his image for the public, not to mention not prone to constantly lash out at his domestic opponents.

I really think Obama is a slow motion political train wreck.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"it seems obvious to me that there is little, and perhaps no, limit to the uses to which lefties think that government force can and ought to be brought to bear in order to “solve” perceived problems."

Let's have some specific examples of this.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Ethan,

Do you dispute my argument that it is Democrats and liberals who conditioned the public and the press to view the President as Daddy?

Isn't that part and parcel of "progressivism"?

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Great, I can't even copy/paste the disgusting bigoted comments by the SC Republican State Senator without getting my comment stuck in moderation

Posted by: mikefromArlington | June 4, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Well it's pretty clear that the same old worn out rhetoric from the Reagan years, "government is the problem" still works with the hopelessly uninformed. It's easy to undermine the government and the Administration with useless slogans and "keyword" fear mongering while at the same time having no solutions to our problems. Must be nice to be sitting cozily in a glass house watching the middle class lose a generation of income and stability and then blame it on the government and Obama while ignoring the real culprits. Easy AND fun I guess.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 4, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

All, Sarah Palin's robocall for Nikki Haley may be in violation of the law:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 4, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

If I had any idea what lmsinca's random harangue was talking about, I might respond. But, on second thought, no.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

qb, if it's too deep for you, no response necessary. "Harangue" really? Just keep your focus on your hatred of Obama and "lefties" and you'll be fine, you won't have to discuss any real issues that way or solutions.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 4, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Do you dispute my argument that it is Democrats and liberals who conditioned the public and the press to view the President as Daddy?"

Of course I do. Liberal/Progressive Americans tend to believe in the socially democratic policies that together comprise a "safety net." Conservatives deplore these social policies because they inherently mean a larger government capability. Thus, the conservative branding of government as "daddy" or "nanny" government. The reality is that the social safety net (words that people like you will NEVER use) contributes significantly to the quality of life we have come to EXPECT in the modern age.

Frankly, I think the "daddy" government is actually more akin to the conservative ideology; in that the country needs (according to your belief system, as I see it) a strong, authoritarian father figure who is eminently powerful, enforces laws with bravado, and leads by the gut. Another aspect of the father figure in the role of government is the "father knows best" syndrome in which ordinary citizens' views are basically irrelevant and that people should not worry so much because the "daddy" figure -- the President -- is in charge. This also explains the media' insistence that Obama emote more and show his emotions more frequently. The reason that this condition exists, I believe, is that the press corps is still used to being forced to cover George W. Bush, the prototypical authoritarian conservative "daddy" figure. Other examples of politicians in this mold are: of course, Rudy Giuliani; Dick Cheney; Jim DeMint; John McCain. Bob Dole. Mitch McConnell. Could go on like this... most Republicans/Conservatives subscribe to this view, a view that in my opinion is about 50 years outdated.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

lmslaveinca:
"Well it's pretty clear that the same old worn out rhetoric from the Reagan years, "government is the problem" still works with the hopelessly uninformed. "

Coming from a Californian, this is likely the most hilarious thing you'll read all day.

Quick, lmsinca, what's the #1 problem confronting California today?

Budget deficit, yes?
To a far greater extent than any other state.

Your government spends too much, taxes too much, and is driving away higher income people as fast as they can pack their gear up and get away.

But you're still going to sit there and sing paeans to Sacramento and DC?

Knock yourself out, kiddo.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 4, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Rachel Maddows closing remarks last night.

"This is not hurricane Katrina; this isn’t another Katrina. This isn’t another anything. This is a whole new thing, happening to us. This is America’s Deepwater Horizon disaster. We all own it forever.

And right here, right here in Grande Isle and all along the Gulf coaust, there are only three things that matter: stopping the oil from flowing, protecting the coast and the ocean from the millions of gallons of oil that have already spilled, and making sure that this never ever happens again.

You can diagnose whether we have a functioning media in this country by whether or not the country understands that this is a vile environmental mega-disaster.

You can diagnose whether we have a functioning political system in this country by whether or not the results of this mega-disaster is change.

Big Oil has been too rich to care about what it was putting us all at risk for. And we’ve been too cowardly to change direction and break free from them.

If that changes because of our national disgust at this disaster, then America’s political system in 2010 works. If it doesn’t change, then it doesn’t work."

Posted by: lmsinca | June 4, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Mark Kirk "embellishments" but Blumenthal "lied" - John Kerry had an honorable service record, George Bush not so much of a service record. IOKIYAR.

I am still looking for the major News Media headline that clearly states that Mark Kirk LIED about his service record (see letter to constituents).

Posted by: fair001 | June 4, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Bilgey, it's clear you know nothing about CA. We have a dysfunctional State legislature and were ground zero for the housing bubble, does Country Wide ring any bells? We'll be back, and hopefully without offshore drilling but we may legalize pot which will drive everyone CRAZY.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 4, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, speaking of opposite days, that was about as opposite as opposite can get, although you do at least admit that liberalism favors big government.

But no sense in debating with you. You dwell in a different reality where a different kind of logic applies. There is nothing we can agree on here.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

QB, what specifically do you disagree with in my comments?

You asked me a question, I gave you my honest opinion. And because of that there is "no sense in debating me"???

I wasn't hyperbolic. I didn't lash out or call anyone names. I simply responded to your comments with my view of the conservative ideology. If you have any sort of intellectual response, please do so now. Another typical QB non-response and I'll just take that to mean I am right.

And, yes, I inherently believe in a LARGER GOVERNMENT than you do. Yes, that is clear. Because, as I said, the social policies that comprise this government activity results in a vastly improved quality of life for Americans. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, the FDA, the FDIC, etc etc etc. If you don't approve of those functions of government, then you must approve of a decreased quality of life for Americans because the FACT is, whether you agree or not, the FACT is that those functions DO have a direct benefit for our people.

I'll take your substantive response now. Or, again, take any non-response as an admission that I am correct and that you do not have any substantive argument to make in response to my response to YOUR question.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Oh and ScottC, if you're still around, you said that there is:

"""no limit to the uses to which lefties think that government force can and ought to be brought to bear in order to “solve” perceived problems.""""

I asked you to provide some specific examples of this. If you have any to list, please do so now.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

@bm: Of course, the Alleged Hawaiian has his problems treating foreign leaders with a modicum of grace and class, himself.

I thought Obama was too weak because he bowed (treating foreign leaders with respect) to a couple of foreign leaders.

Obama is both Einstein and Miss Manners compared to his immediate predecessor (see the Merkel massage, you're either with us or against us, etc.)

Posted by: srw3 | June 4, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

“I asked you to provide some specific examples of this.”

One cannot provide “specific examples” of the lack of something (ie a limit). If there are perceived problems for which you or other progressives would refuse to advocate government imposed solutions, you can prove me wrong by presenting them. I'm all ears.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

@qb: Remove the telprompter and the guy is a joke.

I don't think the republican caucus, which Obama pwned during the Republican retreat and the health care summit with no teleprompters would agree. Of course, beating republicans on policy issues is pretty low hanging fruit. This trope is hardly worth destroying.

Posted by: srw3 | June 4, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

"One cannot provide “specific examples” of the lack of something (ie a limit)"

Sure you can!

Examples of where you think a liberal policy goes OVER the "limit"!

Is it that hard? You complain about it so strongly, and now you can't even provide a single example of where a Liberal policy goes over the line in your view? What's up with that? Pretty lame, ScottC.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

@qb: Fill in the blank...Bush, by contrast,

a) drove the economy into the biggest ditch since the great depression
b) started and totally mismanaged 2 (unpaid for, adding to the deficit) wars, one of which was started under false pretenses (or to be less charitable, outright lying about the evidence and the confidence the intelligence had about the evidence)
c) passed 2 rounds of tax cuts that went overwhelming to the top 5% of income earners (again unpaid for adding to the deficit)
d) Appointed totally incompetent administrators and regulators (see MMS, Brownie at FEMA, SEC, etc) that facilitated the drowning of a large metropolitan area, the meltdown of the financial sector, losses of billions in royalty payments, etc)
e)ruthlessly used the Justice dept and the US attorney's offices for blatantly political purposes.
g) presided over an 8 year period where the bottom 80% of workers saw no net gains in income.
h) presided over the largest concentration of wealth by the top 5% since the robber baron days
i) added more to the national debt than all previous presidents combined
j) all of the above.

Could conservatives get the right answer?

Posted by: srw3 | June 4, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Andy94 remarked that the jobless rate dropped from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent. Examination of the details shows that out of 431,000 new jobs, 411,000 were government census workers. So the private sector, where wealth actually comes from, only generated 20,000 jobs. As I recall our dear leader promised that unemployment would not go above 8 percent if we passed that stimulus. But I imagine the drop in unemployment isn't going to get much play from GSarge, since he knows the facts and they ain't pretty for the prez or Dems.

Posted by: actuator | June 4, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Actuator, I don't know where you get your numbers from, but the private sector created over 40,000 jobs. Twice as many as your incorrect numbers suggest.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

lmslaveinca:
"Bilgey, it's clear you know nothing about CA."

Yes, you're quite right. I have 3 sets of in-laws that live in the Bay Area, and i served my tour at Twentynine Palms, but I know nothing whatsoever about the joint.

"We have a dysfunctional State legislature..."

Gee, ya THINK? And why is that, lmsinca? (BTW, it looks like I know a little something about the joint after all!).
California was messed up LONG before anyone had ever heard of Countrywide or sub-prime mortgages.
Perhaps you're too young or too stoned to remember the 80's, especially the late '80's, but I'm not.

"We'll be back, and hopefully without offshore drilling but we may legalize pot which will drive everyone CRAZY"

You won't ever be "back"...unless you are conquered by Mexico. Maybe that's what it will take to dismantle your self-constructed entitlement government.

If you DO once again become "Alta California",though, rest assured that you most definitely WILL have offshore drilling, courtesy of PeMex.

Veramente!

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 4, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Actuator, the reason why your numbers are off is because there were 411,000 hired for the census, but the NET govt jobs was 390,000, meaning that aside from the Census the federal govt there was a net job loss in govt of 20,000 people. That explains the difference. You were subtracting the census jobs from the total jobs, but you should have been subtracting the NET govt jobs from the net total jobs. 431,000 (total) - 390,000 (net govt) = 40,000+ (net private sector). Got it?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Um, again:

ScottC, you can't even provide a single example of where a Liberal policy goes over the line in your view???

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Bilgey, you crack me up. Of course I remember the 80's and just because I mention the word pot you assume I'm a stoner. Never was, never will be, we're clean here of drugs and alcohol and all red meat BTW, although you'll have to forgive me for the occasional beer. Anyway, our 2/3 majority, prop 13, tanking of the construction business due to housing bubble, an independent minded Republican who can't figure out how to lead and lack of tax revenue due to 12% unemployment is where we're at right now. Businesses come and go just like our citizens. Off shore remains to be seen in Nov. prop.

Posted by: lmsinca | June 4, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

“Examples of where you think a liberal policy goes OVER the "limit"!”

What limit? You mean MY limit? That is a different question entirely, and examples are abundant, the most obvious and topical of which is Obamacare. For one, liberals apparently think it is perfectly acceptable for the government to force citizens to buy health insurance from a private insurer. That is clearly beyond the limits of what I would consider to be appropriate government action to solve a problem.

But the thing to which you were originally objecting was my observation that there seems to be no limits to when a liberal such as yourself might find the application of government coercion appropriate in order to solve a perceived problem. Providing examples of this absence of a limit is, as I said, impossible, your claim to the contrary notwithstanding. However, to dispel this notion, all you have to do is provide some examples of a perceived problem in response to which you would object to government imposed solutions.

You seem reluctant to do so, which rather strenghtens my conviction that there are indeed no limits.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

slaverw3:
"I thought Obama was too weak because he bowed (treating foreign leaders with respect) to a couple of foreign leaders."

The Presiden of the United States does NOT bow to foreign potentates, whether they be the Emperor of Japan, the Sheik of Araby, or HM The Queen of Great Britain.

It IS NOT DONE. It has NEVER been done, until this clown took office.

Now OTOH, he gives the Queen an IPod with recordings of his speeches? He sends the bust of Sir Winston Churchill back, and he presents his Limey fellow-moonbat with DVD's like some kind of game-show "also-ran"?

"Obama is both Einstein and Miss Manners compared to his immediate predecessor (see the Merkel massage, you're either with us or against us, etc.)"

Hey, maybe W was a little too "down-home folksy" for his own good, but that was then, this is now.

You REALLY have to stop living in the past, moonbat.

Although it's really all that you have left, isn't it?
As your crew is finding out, (and AMPLY demonstrating), governing isn't as easy as it used to look.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 4, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Poor old Birther Bilgey.

He is still fighting the civil war, and calling it an occupation of the south, while telling others to stop living in the far more recent past.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

lmstonedinca:
"Of course I remember the 80's and just because I mention the word pot you assume I'm a stoner. Never was, never will be, we're clean here of drugs and alcohol and all red meat BTW, although you'll have to forgive me for the occasional beer. "

You mean you write your stuff without being pharmacologically impaired?

How utterly dismaying!

"Anyway, our 2/3 majority, prop 13, tanking of the construction business due to housing bubble, an independent minded Republican who can't figure out how to lead and lack of tax revenue due to 12% unemployment is where we're at right now. "

Hey...democracy, "Vox Populi" and all that, is what gave you Prop 13.

And it isn't the lack of tax revenue as it is so much the amount of debt your legislature has amassed by throwing money away at every pressure group. As well as denying yourselves some very lucrative revenue streams, both in the form of jobs creation AND taxes.

You quite simply have failed to live within your means, and it's really no-one's fault but your own.

The moonbat entitlement mentality is so ingrained in the Golden State political culture that you have quite likely reached the point that you can no longer deny that you are not fit to be self-governing...rather like Greece.

You are, almost literally, starving to death in the middle of a fully-stocked grocery store.

Sad to see, but that is almost ENTIRELY your own mess.

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

"all you have to do is provide some examples of a perceived problem in response to which you would object to government imposed solutions."

* Setting the price of any/all commodities
* Agriculture subsidies
* Oil subsidies
* Government monopoly of American industries (with the possibility of some exceptions)
* Warrantless wiretapping/surveillance
* Corralling, dehumanizing, or otherwise mistreating ethnic minority groups
* Centralized power, or undue influence, by any one of the three branches of the federal government

I could go on and on with limits I would put on government.

As I said. You are talking in hyperbolic language about an allegation that has no bearing in reality whatsoever.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

"which Obama pwned during the Republican"

Hahahaha

Obama only showed, as he daily does, that he is an overbearing boor, who bullies and belittles his enemies because of his confidence -- entirely justified -- that his fawning media lackeys will attack anyone who dares talk back to him.

See, e.g., Joe Wilson, Sam Alito.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

"Um, again:"

Patience, young grasshopper. Some of us actually have to work in order to make all your liberal benificence with OPM possible.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

I have no idea what you are all wee wee'd up about.

I didn't use hyperbole or call you any names either. I just said our realities are so diametrically at odds that there is no use in debating the issue. And there isn't. Your reality is one in which, for example, Ponytail Man never explained the progressive theory of government in two sentences, Bill Clinton didn't pout and say he felt our pain, and Maro Cuomo was a Republican. We have nothing to talk about.

You can assume whatever you want about my lack of interest in further response. Feel triumphant, whatever, I don't care.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

"Patience, young grasshopper."

Haha, mkay. Duly noted.

When you have a moment, I'd be interested in your reponse to my response at 1:18pm.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Fine QB, I don't understand your inability to discuss the difference between the conservative and liberal ideologies in an adult manner. But suit yourself.

Before I leave you to your devices, can you answer me one question?

Here it is:

Do you honestly feel that the following socially democratic policies -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, the FDA, the FDIC -- provide no value to the quality of life in America?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

“I could go on and on with limits I would put on government.”

If you wanted to continue to avoid the point I was making, I suppose you could. I didn’t suggest that you list instances in which you opposed government action. Of course you oppose government action designed to achieve ends with which you disagree. The issue is whether there are limits to your advocacy for government action towards ends that you find desireable. That is why I suggested that you “provide some examples of a perceived problem in response to which you would object to government imposed solutions.” Get it? Examples of “perceived problems” , not examples of government action that you don’t like. Somehow I doubt that you think

Again, to be clear, it seems to me that liberals view government as an agent, probably even the primary agent, of problem solving in society. Hence, whenever a problem presents itself, liberals instinctively call for and advocate government action. Show me why I am wrong.

(BTW, if you object to government setting the price of any commodity, how in the world can you have supported Obamacare?!?!?)

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Ethan,

Thanks for the characteristic insult.

The answer to your question is that it is not only the wrong question to ask about agencies and programs but is impossibly simplistic, not to mention off topic.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 4, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

I cut off a sentence in my last. I was going to say "Somehow I doubt that you think "corraling, dehumanizing, or otherwise mistreating ethnic minority groups" is or ever was a response to a legitimate problem that you perceive.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

"The issue is whether there are limits to your advocacy for government action towards ends that you find desireable."

Yes, of course. Any government action or law that is found by the SCOTUS to contradict the Constitution of the United States.

Did you really need to ask me that?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The primary emotion I believe the American people are feeling is a real sense of frustration about what action we should be taking individually toward the historic oil spill in the gulf coast. It's a confusing situation to have such a devastation in our country and not be called on individually. BP's liability in this catastrophe confuses the issue for us.

The president needs to inform the public what our role is in facing this. We are anxious to help, that's what America does when we get hit with something this horrible. What we don't like to do is point fingers and criticize during a catastrophe...and that's all the media has done. We need leadership from the president and the media about how the public can get involved.

All this pointing the finger is annoying because there's plenty of blame to go around in this disaster; nobody is innocent, including the media. We all share the blame of irresponsible stewardship.

In this attack to our shores we have seen the enemy, and it is us.

Posted by: Beeliever | June 4, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"is or ever was a response to a legitimate problem that you perceive"

Fair enough, I misunderstood the question.

Take my 1:50pm answer as the one that directly addresses your question.

I would assume that you, also, believe that government action/law should be dictated by the Constitution. And, frankly, I find it bizarre that you suggest or imply that "lefties" think that there would be NO upper limit to government action. Because that sentiment inescapably implies that you think that "lefties" aka Liberals aka Democrats have no sense of responsibility with regard to the law of America and our principle governing document, the U.S. Constitution. And if that is truly your belief, then, again, I find that to be utterly problematic and not grounded in reality in any sense of the word.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

QB: "Thanks for the characteristic insult."

QB, I find it hard to have a conversation with you in which you don't take offense for something I said, even when I am being civil. We were having a civil conversation aka an "adult conversation". But you insisted on cutting off this conversation because we disagree. I find that to be highly unusual and, yes, immature. Sorry, but that is not a personal attack, it is my belief. If you want to continue discussion, great. But if you insist on drawing the line because we disagree, I will take it to mean that you cannot or will not debate me in a civil fashion and that whatever your reasons may be, that is an immature stance, imho. I do apologize if I misunderstood your reasons for cutting off our discussion. I just don't understand them in the slightest. We disagree so much that it's not even worth discussing? Again, I just don't understand that mind-set. If you have an opinion, say it. If we disagree in the end, so be it. But at least TRY to explain yourself.

"The answer to your question is that it is not only the wrong question to ask about agencies and programs but is impossibly simplistic, not to mention off topic."

Mkay. Well, we were talking about ideological differences. And I asked you a big-picture question that illustrates why my ideology supports government activity. That being, that the social policies and government agencies that I listed represent a government safety net that has greatly improved the quality of life in America over the years. That is the central idea of my ideology. That government has an inherent responsibility to provide for the common defense and pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. I believe that the Constitution lays out a framework by which the federal government can do these things and, in so doing, form a more perfect union.

I don't claim to understand fully your ideology. I presented my ideas about your ideology and that is essentially where our conversation ended. Since there remained an open question about your ideology, and since you refuse to discuss your own ideology, I was simply asking your response to what my ideology recognizes as integral parts of a government that achieves the goals of a more perfect union.

I will rephrase the question:

Do you find that the following government policies or agencies -- Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the EPA, the FDA, the FDIC -- violate the aspects of the conservative ideology? And if so, why and what specifically would those violations consist of with regard to the conservative mind-set?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

“Did you really need to ask me that?”

Yes, and it seems I need to ask again, as you have either misunderstood or you are deliberately evading the point. Again, I am not asking if there exist certain types of government actions that you would find objectionable. I already know, for example, that you oppose (certain kinds of?) enhanced interrogations, but presumably that doesn’t mean that you would object to any government solution to the problem which EIT’s were designed to solve. You still advocate for government action, just not that particular action, which is fine.

What I am asking you to provide are examples of problems for which you would find it inappropriate to seek a government imposed solution. That’s what I meant when I said “Hence, whenever a problem presents itself, liberals instinctively call for and advocate government action. Show me why I am wrong.”

Am I wrong? You seem extremely reluctant/unalbe to demonsrate it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Ethan, I got it, but you should at least admit that when 90 percent of the new jobs come from government it's pretty dismal.

Posted by: actuator | June 4, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

“Because that sentiment inescapably implies that you think that "lefties" aka Liberals aka Democrats have no sense of responsibility with regard to the law of America and our principle governing document, the U.S. Constitution.”

It was not my intent at all to imply that, but it is true that I largely believe precisely that. Certainly anyone who adheres to the doctrine of a “living” or “evolving” constitution, as many if not most liberals do, has little regard for our principle governing document. And anyone who appoints and supports judges because of the degree of their perceived “empathy” towards certain classes of citizens, as our current president has done, can certainly not be said to be behaving responsibly with regard to the law.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

"What I am asking you to provide are examples of problems for which you would find it inappropriate to seek a government imposed solution."

While I don't fully understand the point of your insistence on specific examples -- especially when I have given you the hard and fast upper-limit of those actions (anything that defies the Constitution -- I will try.

One example, in the current gulf disaster:

I don't think the government should decide what type of floating and/or submerged boom systems should be created to solve the problem of oil drifting onto beaches. In this case, I think the private sector does a much better job at utilizing the ingenuity of American engineers.

I would say the same about, for example, hybrid car batteries. Companies have engineers to design and manufacture batteries that they think are ideal for their car. It makes no sense that government would dictate any specifications. But I DO find it appropriate the the government set vehicle mileage standards which those batteries will help achieve.

There are two examples where I believe the government should allow the private sector to act on its own.

Does that answer your question?

I admit that I am having a hard time understanding the specific question you are asking and also the point of these questions in light of the fact that I feel I have already given you sufficient reasoning to the guidelines that dictate what I believe are our government's upper-limits. So, if I misunderstand the core of your question, please rephrase and I will try again.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"Certainly anyone who adheres to the doctrine of a “living” or “evolving” constitution, as many if not most liberals do, has little regard for our principle governing document"

Haha. Okay. Well, it's inherently a subjective document. Hence "more perfect union." And hence the formation of the SCOTUS, designed by the founders to make judgments on the Constitutionality of any laws or actions. Why would they even bother with a SCOTUS if there were not to be areas of disagreement as to the stipulations of the Constitution? No, I'm sorry, the Constitution and its governing of daily life is, by its very nature, a subjective document and speaks to the utter brilliance of the founders in making a central governing document that can -- and will be according to their writings -- be amended, analyzed and interpreted.

So how you can suggest with any sort of "certainty" that anyone who disagrees with the idea of a strict Constitution is inherently contradicting the document itself, is anybody's guess. Even if you BELIEVE that to be the case, you must understand that, historically, there has been debate over the meaning and use of the document. To suggest that there is one clear answer to that dilemma is bizarre and, again, contradicts the very idea of the document as provided by the founders. Again, I'm not saying that my interpretation is ultimately correct beyond a reasonable doubt. I am only suggesting that the nature of the Constitution is that it HAS no definitive interpretation.

Certainly, we cannot go back to 1787 in Philadelphia and ask the framers what they think about the Constitutionality of a certain law written in 2010. Therefore, based on this unavoidable fact, I don't see how anyone can disagree that there is an inherent subjectivity.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"you should at least admit that when 90 percent of the new jobs come from government it's pretty dismal."

Actuator, I was hoping for more private sector jobs, to be sure. But I am certainly optimistic that job growth is going to continue as aspects of our economy continue to stabilize (most specifically, the housing market and the credit market).

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

Will respond later tonight.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Thanks ScottC, I will check back, if not later today or tonight, then tomorrow or over the weekend.

Disagreements aside, thanks for a nice conversation on this topic. I am fascinated by the Constitution. And I am actually in the middle of reading a really interesting book on the Constitutional Convention:

http://www.amazon.com/Decision-Philadelphia-Constitutional-Convention-1787/dp/0345346521

Pretty basic stuff if you are an expert on the topic -- I am not, and not a lawyer -- but truly a fascinating review of the circumstances that led to the drafting of the Constitution. Great stuff imho.

Have a good one.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 4, 2010 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

I responded but for some reason it is being held for review. No idea why, and who knows when it will show up.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 4, 2010 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Ethan:

(Since my response still has not been taken out of moderation, I figured I would re-post it in pieces so perhaps you will get to see some of it.)

“Does that answer your question?”

Not really. For example, you say:

“It makes no sense that government would dictate any specifications [for car batteries]. But I DO find it appropriate the the government set vehicle mileage standards which those batteries will help achieve.”

By dictating mileage standards, the government is by implication dictating specifications for batteries. It is effectively outlawing any specifications which would not allow for the achievements of its standards. Saying that you don’t call for government to dictate specific engineering but you do call government to dictate specific results is not an example of a problem in which you would not look to government for a solution.

“I feel I have already given you sufficient reasoning to the guidelines that dictate what I believe are our government's upper-limits.”

Again, I am not asking you for your understanding of the limits of the government’s power. I am asking you for your understanding of the limits of a liberal’s desire to impose government solutions to problems.

For example, you and I can both agree that it is certainly within limits of the government’s constitutional power to guarantee or subsidize loans to college students, in an effort to make college more affordable. But that doesn’t mean that we must therefore think that such action is appropriate. I for one do not believe in imposing a government solution to such a “problem”…it is not the proper role of government to facilitate access to college education, regardless of whether or not it is within constitutional limits for it to do so. You, I suspect, have no problem with it, and are probably perfectly happy to have government guarantee or subsidize loans, or perhaps even take over the whole business of paying for college. I would guess that you have no principled objection to involving government in “solving” the problem of affordable college education, and indeed for many if not most liberals a government “solution” would be their very first inclination…”government should do something about that!”

BTW, perhaps I could have been a little more specific in my original, although I think it should have been obvious. When I spoke of government imposed solutions to problems, I was referring to perceived social or societal problems, not engineering problems.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 5, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Ethan:

On the constitution, you say:

“Well, [the constitution is] inherently a subjective document.”

No, it is not, at least not in the way that “living document” fetishists would have it. The words of the constitution meant something when they were written, and to anyone with any respect for very purpose of a written constitution in general and ours in particular, the words would mean the same thing today and will mean the same thing tomorrow.

This is not to suggest that there can be no legitimate disagreement about what the constitution means or how it should be applied in a given context. As you point out, the very existence of SCOTUS is founded on the knowledge that disagreements will exist, hence 9 justices. But that doesn't make the meaning subjective. To even discuss “disagreements” about what it means is to accept the premise that it does in fact mean one thing and not another, ie it has objective meaning. Otherwise there would be nothing to disagree about. And if that objective meaning is not found in the original meaning as understood by those who actually ratified it, it will not, indeed cannot, be found anywhere. Again, 2 people may disagree about what that original meaning was/is, but respect for the constitution demands an honest search for that original meaning.

The meaning of the constitution cannot change simply because time has passed, or because 5 lawyers in robes judge that “societal norms” have changed. The constitution itself puts forward a method by which the constitution can be changed should the people decide it is inadequate in some way, and that method requires certain specific and democratic steps. It cannot be legitimately changed simply because a bunch of lawyers think times have changed. Yet that is precisely what “living constitutionalists” hold can happen. Hence my claim that they, in fact, have no respect for it.

Perhaps one of the most egregious and absurd examples of this that I am aware of was the affirmative action case, Grutter v Bollinger, in which the majority ruled that the Univeristy of Michigan Law School’s race-conscious admissions was constitutional, but would not be at some date in the future, perhaps 25 years. If a given act can be constitutional today, but unconstitutional in 25 years under precisely the same constitution saying precisely the same thing as it did 25 years prior, then the constitution itself is effectively meaningless beyond the whims and wishes of the judges tasked with “interpreting” it. Perhaps the most shameful thing about this ruling was that it became effective only because the normal liberal loons on the court were joined by an ostensible conservative, Sandra Day O’Connor.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 5, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps it was the length that put it into moderation. Split into to it's made it onto the board.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 5, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

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