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Happy Hour Roundup

* Ideas that will soon gain more traction: Ezra Klein and Duncan Black make the case that the White House message on the economy (we have a long way to go, but we're generally moving in the right direction) is starting to sound like counterproductive happy-talk.

* Interesting report from Michael Scherer: Obama's immigration speech was partly driven by serious White House concern about the impact of softening Latino support for the president in major swing states like Nevada, Colorado and Florida.

* Counterintuitive take on the Michael Steele mess from right wing blogger Allapundit: Is he rightly anticipating that even Republicans will eventually turn against the Afghan war?

* Indeed, right-leaning writer Byron York is now hinting that we should perhaps draw down because public patience on Afghanistan is limited.

* Ben Smith explains Bill Kristol's call for Steele's resignation:

Kristol's urgency comes in part from a view among the war's supporters that without staunch Republican backing, Democratic skepticism about Afghanistan would soon push Oabma to withdraw troops.

* Puckish suggestion of the day: The Think Progress crew calls on Kristol to debate Steele on the war, rather than call for his ouster.

* Relatedly, interesting context from Steve Benen: "The RNC chairman has never faced the wrath of the pro-war/neo-con contingent of the party before, and if that doesn't make him nervous, it should."

* Missed this before, but it's key: Nancy Pelosi was one of the House Dems to vote for that failed amendment requiring a drawdown timetable -- in defiance of an Obama veto threat.

* If not now, when? Liberal groups are growing increasingly frustrated with Obama and Dems for failing to convert the largest environmental calamity in our history into concrete action on climate/energy legislation.

* Rand Paul compares America to Rome before the fall.

* For what it's worth, my developing theory about Paul: He suffers from delusions of rhetorical grandiosity.

* Coinage of the day, from Jonathan Chait: GOP candidates who are "quasi-birthers."

* Time to start a new club: Senators from states with double-digit unemployment who oppose Dem plans to extend jobless benefits.

* Flashback: The New York Times public editor differed with the paper's decision to scale back use of the word "torture."

* And talk about attacking a problem at its core: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has approved $250,000 for a PR campaign to improve the state's image in the wake of national criticism of the immigration law.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 2, 2010; 5:51 PM ET
Categories:  Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Happy Hour Roundup , House Dems , Political media , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Monday Roundup

Comments

In terms of jobs, I think that Obama needs to talk a lot about the green economy.

That would be a positive message for the Summer and Fall and will help pass the Energy legislation.

People have to have a reason to vote for Democrats and not vote for them just because they passed HCR and other good legislation.

Posted by: maritza1 | July 2, 2010 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Brewer just get called out for saying that immigrants were beheading people in AZ, with absolutely no evidence to back it up? Maybe some of that PR money should go to teaching Gov. Brewer not to lie about her state.

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 2, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Counter theory: Birtherism is an Illuminati plot meant to distract us from the fact that the Illuminati exists.

Stonehenge, Lizard People, and the Orange Army (the leader is John Boehner, natch) are also involved.

Any takers?

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 2, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

The Kristol-Steele debate idea is pure genius.

Any reason they couldn't also have a Texas Cage Match?

Make no small plans, I say.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 2, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

I've been saving this one all day. Glenn Beck's new university, and for $9.95/mo. you can become a graduate, although accreditation is probably not in the immediate future.

Michael, this has to be included also. Although there may be some infighting.

"From Beck's web site:This July, while others are relaxing poolside, head back to the classroom - from the comfort of your own home. That may sound like an oxymoron but Glenn’s new academic program is only available online.Offered exclusively to Insider Extreme subscribers, Beck University is a unique academic experience bringing together experts in the fields of religion, American history and economics. Through captivating lectures and interactive online discussions, these experts will explore the concepts of Faith, Hope and Charity and show you how they influence America’s past, her present and most importantly her future."

http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/how-many-people-are-dumb-enough-pay-g

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

I thought Jan Brewer said awhile ago that the Boycott Arizona campaign was having no affect on the state. Why the need for a PR campaign? Maybe she needs to quit making stuff up, including decapitated bodies.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

I think Ezra and Black are both right and we shouldn't just accept the fact that we've gotten as much traction out of the recovery as we can. That's like saying 9+% employment is the new norm but thank God it's not 15%. Sure things are stabilized but they're still not good enough. When you're busy patting yourself on the back for a job well done making it even better is a heavy lift.

Obama and Dems have stopped fighting for more. When are we going to hear all the speeches and fireworks for jobs? And when did Ben Nelson get elected President or Scott Brown for that matter? We may lose the fight, but why aren't we fighting? Have November be a referendum on a jobs bill and let the people decide.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Agreed. As wbgonne said on an earlier thread, we need more Howard Dean and less Rahm. Not blaming the latter, necessarily, because Obama has to get into the fighting spirit, but the tactics just aren't there.

Instead of sparring with Boehner, I'd like to see Obama and Dems in congress swing for the fences with their job ideas versus what the GOP will put on the table.

Go head to head on ideas. Hammer it and if Nelson keeps this up call him out. Label him a Dem "who is thinking like a Republican." This has to be the strategy going into Nov.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 2, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I love a good fight on ideas and I think most other voters like it as well. Give us something to cheer for and argue about, we'll Get Out The Vote.

Now I'm going to go read my book and enjoy the three day weekend, we don't get enough of those. Have a good one all and Happy Fourth. Stay safe everyone!!!!!!!

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Bernie: "One imagines that part of what is being communicated to him [Steele] now includes positive career options."

Ah. Astute.

I can't imagine him being pushed out, but pulled is a different story. However, I'm not having much luck thinking of what it might be they could offer him that he'd rather have.

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse

DCBlueShirt: "Steele is trying to be more important on the national stage than his position calls for."

Seems like it's ever been that way. That's how he, uh, rolls.

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 8:01 PM | Report abuse

chagadelic: "... the fact that ... the real estate bubble hasn't re-inflated ..."

I see that as a Good Thing. I think there's still a bit too much air in that bubble. When it lets our another 15 or 20 percent, that'll be equilibrium.

Federal subsidies have been postponing that, and it looks like they're set to be renewed. Maybe postponing the normalization of that market is also a Good Thing?

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"On April 30, 2010, Columbia University hosted a conference on opinion journalism in American intellectual history. The conference was organized by Eric Wakin, the Lehman Curator for American History at Columbia University, and featured several notable speakers and panelists, including Victor Navasky, Michael Kazin, Andi Zeisler, Eric Alterman, Stanley Crouch, and more. Video of the entire conference is embedded below."
http://www.cjr.org/behind_the_news/video_the_journalism_of_opinio.php

Posted by: bernielatham | July 2, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

converse: "The only people that care about changing from Emmanuel to Dean are the far-left 'progressives', who won't stay home and will vote for democrats."

I think what wbg was getting at was changing CoS would mean changes in policy and tactics, and those changes would result in increased energy among Dem rabids and leaners. Not that they would be jazzed just by a different personality in that slot.

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

""There's a Rolling Stone article out," an aide told then-General Stanley McChrystal early last week. "It's very, very bad."

The aide was half right. Michael Hastings’s Rolling Stone article, “The Runaway General,” was out, but it was not bad in any way, except for McChrystal’s now-ended military career. It was simply superlative in pretty much every other imaginable respect: an almost picture-perfect example of skillful interviewing, smooth narrative writing, extremely exhaustive research, and finally (and perhaps rarest) thoughtful contextualizing of extremely complicated material. I recommend it to all journalism professors as an example of the state of the journalistic art... (continue at link)
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/07/070110.html

Posted by: bernielatham | July 2, 2010 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Greg: "If not now, when? Liberal groups are growing increasingly frustrated with Obama and Dems for failing to convert the largest environmental calamity in our history into concrete action on climate/energy legislation."

When? After the FinReg constipation has passed.

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 8:55 PM | Report abuse

"Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has approved $250,000 for a PR campaign to improve the state's image in the wake of national criticism of the immigration law."

Did she mention it would be paid for by taxpayers?

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 8:58 PM | Report abuse

lms: "Glenn Beck's new university, and for $9.95/mo. you can become a graduate, although accreditation is probably not in the immediate future."

Do they offer "board" certification in ophthalmology?

Posted by: jzap | July 2, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Alterman on the sin of reporters failing to protect the powerful...
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2010/07/070110.html

Posted by: bernielatham | July 2, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

I just had to drop this comment from Eli over at FDL into the evening round up. The comedy of Michael Steele. I'll have to go see what the BlueTexan had to say, he's the king of snark in my book.

"That’s right, during the previous administration our involvement in Afghanistan was sensibly limited to peaceful non-military engagement, thanks to George “The Nurturerer” Bush’s keen understanding of The Princess Bride history. As Texas schoolbooks of the near future will undoubtedly tell us, everything was going fine until Mad King Obama came along and recklessly abandoned the pursuit of al Qaeda in Iraq to invade a country that had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11."

"It’s not easy to have a shakier grasp of history than Billy Kristol, but somehow Steele managed it."

Posted by: lmsinca | July 2, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Because I'm a master of the obvious: 250K could pay some *real* bills, Jan. Oy.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | July 2, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

"Did she mention it would be paid for by taxpayers?"

I'm guessing not. But had she done so, I expect it would have taken the form of "Once again, Obama's actions pull cash out of the pockets of real americans."

Posted by: bernielatham | July 2, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

My point above, building on wbg, is that someone like Dean would have tactics you could see more readily. Esp the base. Rahm has tactics, for sure, but they're more cloaked. He likes to get things done with bringing the principle of the matter to a head.

Shorter me: Rahm likes to win battles, Dean likes to win wars. As evidence, see the contrast in their two DNC Director roles: win just enough in key states (RE) or go for 50 states and build a big movement (HD).

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 2, 2010 9:43 PM | Report abuse

"without" bringing the principle....

Oy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 2, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

If any further evidence was needed (it isn't) that liberals are commonly marked by a spirit of civic contribution, I've just sent off a letter to the FBI offering to take Anna Chapman under my personal recognizance.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 2, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

Don't know if anyone posted this, but I found it amusing. At this point, 15th sounds about right to me

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/2010/07/01/2010-07-01_barack_obama_is_among_best_presidents_ever__george_w_bush_not_so_much_say_schola.html

Posted by: SDJeff | July 2, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

Amusing?

C'mon SD, it's hilarious. Hysterical even.

Posted by: tao9 | July 2, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Yes. The last people to attend to in evaluations of Presidents' records and accomplishments/failures would be historians.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 2, 2010 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Shorter me: Rahm likes to win battles, Dean likes to win wars. As evidence, see the contrast in their two DNC Director roles: win just enough in key states (RE) or go for 50 states and build a big movement (HD).

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 2, 2010 9:43 PM
======================================

My version: Howard Dean is serious about returning the Democratic Party to its role as the party of the people.

Rahmbo wants to compete with the Republicans in keeping the big corporations happy and getting a share of their cash.

And that's a real problem, when America's big corporations are busy proving that everything Eisenhower said about them is correct.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 2, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

"Yes. The last people to attend to in evaluations of Presidents' records and accomplishments/failures would be historians."

Exactly B, you're beginning to get it, I'm most encouraged. The very last, indeed.

There was this term of art&opprobrium youse were kickin' around the PL a week or three ago.

What the hell was it? Oh yeah!

Yo, I gotchur epistemic closure right here!

Posted by: tao9 | July 3, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

"And talk about attacking a problem at its core: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer has approved $250,000 for a PR campaign to improve the state's image in the wake of national criticism of the immigration law."

The Republicans, with their hyperbolic talk of crime at the border, are actually driving people away from the area, according to business leaders there. Only a Republican could then suggest spending money on PR to entice them back.

Posted by: rhallnj | July 3, 2010 7:08 AM | Report abuse

tao - "Exactly B, you're beginning to get it, I'm most encouraged. The very last, indeed.

There was this term of art&opprobrium youse were kickin' around the PL a week or three ago.

What the hell was it? Oh yeah!

Yo, I gotchur epistemic closure right here!"

First, I don't know what you refer to. Please clarify.

Second, it would be interesting to hear where you would rank Bush Jr and why (that is, what criteria would you be using to make that evaluation)?

But more importantly, do you not feel a wince of doubt when you find yourself unable to accept the conclusions of the more knowledgeable (the more expert, the more deeply educated) when it doesn't match your hopes/preferences?

Serious question there. How are you in a different position from those who hold that the world is 6000 years old and that anyone who thinks differently has been fooled by liberal geologists, physicists, biologists, astronomers, etc etc?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else on edge of seat today re Germany/Argentina?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, no I'm not, but I will be sitting on the edge of my seat this afternoon at the "Spanish 21" table.

This one's for you though from a couple of weeks ago, and would you keep reminding me of it as we go through the long hot summer.

"Minimizing the force and impact of the Tea Party movement does nothing to defeat it. No amount of ridicule will stop it. If progressives want to save the republic from the hands of the old New Right, they will have to sell their core principles to a public that is not much in a mood to buy anything. It can be done. But it will require a serious, sustained and strategically designed effort that is based around something more than launching progressive primary challengers to establishment Democratic candidates. That's the start of a long-term effort to make the Democratic Party more progressive, but it doesn't begin to meet the structural challenges posed by the Tea Party movement. Without a plan to meet regular Americans through their local media, or a way to articulate progressive goals as a plan of enlightened self-interest, progressives could see their moment slip away, carried on the winds of resentment."

http://www.alternet.org/news/147307/the_tea_party_is_dangerous%3A_dispelling_7_myths_that_help_us_avoid_reality_about_the_new_right-wing_politics/?page=8

Posted by: lmsinca | July 3, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Ims - Spanish 21?

As regards the Alternet piece, that's surely not far off. I see the Tea Party as the main manifestation of the rabble and the rousers of rabble utilizing the social-networking mechanisms the RNC and its allies purposefully developed over the last decade or three (Christian Coalition networks) and particularly during the run-up to the last election (the PUMA/ClintonsforMcCain operation). We have to match it in organization (we are, I think) and in passion (tougher - because we aren't crazy or so cruelly selfish).

We'll remind each other.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I've got to run (game's on). Wanted to plonk this one down in the morning thread but can't wait. Two parts to ensure it all gets in.
****

Kathleen Parker, in her column this morning, writes more on Obama as "the first female President" (following up on her June 30 piece and responding to criticisms). And blessed we are to have her her further thoughts on the matter (oops, I'm a male but that sounded catty, like Rush Limbaugh). Here's some more criticism, Kathleen. I'm not going to bother much with this astoundingly self-deluding graph that follows but it's worth noting...

"But I also recognize that my life experience is different from that of most African Americans. And that experience allows me both the luxury of seeing people without the lens of race, but also (sometimes) to fail to imagine how people of other backgrounds might interpret my words."

Kathleen has no race. And therefore, her words/ideas are only suspect where someone who is a member of a race might - seeing through that unfortunate lens - miscontrue her meanings. Nice work if you can get it. But I'm going to point to something else she does here, apparently with no recognition at all.

To be fair, her two columns don't exactly follow the standard rightwing model of brashly painting Dems as girly-men (she remarks that surely we've had enough of the cowboy thing, a la Bush). She's making a dual claim that Obama uses a rhetorical style that is feminine rather than masculine and that our culture of the Presidency and WH - of leadership - makes this approach problematic.

Her evidence for the claim that Obama uses a feminine rhetorical style is 1) the use of passive voice in his speech and...well, that's it. She tosses in other stuff to make her claim seem to have some solidiity (Tony Morrison on Clinton, lack of - according to her - "immediate, commanding action" after the BP spill, preference for coalition building). And her evidence/argument for how this is problematic is as follows:

"The masculine-coded context of the Oval Office poses special challenges, further exacerbated by a crisis that demands decisive action."

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

That Obama didn't act decisively is a Republican talking point. Why didn't he yell loud enough at BP or the hole in the ground, for goodness sakes! A better leader would have plugged this hole by now! That is simple idiocy or propaganda or both.

But she's doing something else here. She's imagining that the historical norm for Presidents is the one set most acutely by the Bush WH over the last eight years - loud, brash, swaggering, oppositional, black/white, them/us, strike hard and think later, to hell with reflection and coalition-building, always attack, and always make people as fearful as possible through whatever bombastic and authoritarian means imaginable. All this, to Parker, is standard and traditional American leadership style.

What about Atticus Finch? What about "High Noon"? What about Lincoln or Eisenhower or FDR or Kennedy? Washington? The "strong, silent type" has been disappeared from Parker's paltry universe.

Indeed, is is just as sensible (if not more so) to argue that the "jump at any noise" and "there are fearful things everywhere!" model of the prior administration is hysterical - brain gone made through influence of the uterus.

So, she's being rather stupid in this but it's a stupidity that is conveniently aligned with the propagandist talking point of Dems being feminine while pretending (to herself not least of all) that she's being objective or some such.

And then, there's her last graph (from the original column if I recall correctly):

"Obama may prove to be our first male president who pays a political price for acting too much like a woman.

And, perhaps, next time will be a real woman's turn."

And ain't that a convenient match to the Matalin/grizzly mama thing?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I thought the piece was interesting especially in light of Lindsay Graham's dismissal of the Tea Party on Thursday. Is he really that clueless or just trying to convince the rest of us of their lack of influence?

Spanish 21-an unusual game of Black Jack, not for the faint of heart. I only know of one casino in So. Cal. where it's played and we're going this afternoon. A $10 bet can suddenly turn into $40 or $80 if you play the game with consistency. Yikes, but I always feel lucky.

Have a nice weekend and I hope the tourists show up in your shop!!!!!!!

Happy Fourth all!!!!!!!

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

"Rand Paul compares America to Rome before the fall."

Well, he may be right, but not at all for the reasons he suggests. And his "solutions" will merely hasten our demise.

As for the Rahm v. Dean Death Match: I just Rahm is living in the past, 20 years ago, when the GOP and Conservatism were triumphant. Rahm doesn't realize or won;t accept that the country has changed drastically. And that explains the chronic under-reaching we've seen from the Administration, not to mention that infuriating fealty to Republicrats who only undermined the party and muck up the message. Dean gets it. Rahm doesn't. It's been that way since they battled over the DNC.

Happy Fourth of July, y'all. Say a prayer or give a thought for the Gulf Coast.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 3, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

All, apologies, but no Saturday roundup today. I really need a break.

I'll try to be back tomorrow AM...meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy your holiday!

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 3, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

And you deserve a break, Greg.

Hope you enjoy your day off!

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 3, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Greg, enjoy the day and take a well-earned rest from rounding up.

I hope everyone has a great, safe holiday weekend. Remember to give those cyclists plenty of space if you're driving.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 3, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Lazy beggar, that Greg.

@Ims - well, I think Graham is right in one sense. The "Tea Party" thing is just a new branding label and will wither. But who it is made up of, unfortunately, won't.

@wb - as I'm sure you know, the US as Rome before the fall is a pretty shop-worn cliche. Evangelicals have been tossing that one out for three decades or more (along with the Bennett virtuecrats). Sex, of course, being the thing they are talking about.

Today is the 3rd of July, thus a traditional Canadian high-holiday celebration marking the withering defeat by Canadian forces under Montcalm over the girlish forces of the US under Wolf. So dinner tonight will feature beaver-tail soup followed by a main course of moose roast garnished with ceder fronds and then the traditional dessert - a three foot square Cana-berry pie coated with a red and white icing replication of the Maple Leaf all sitting a crushed Stars and Stripes muffin. When the pie is eaten, those at the table draw straws to see who gets to chuck the S and S muffin into the toilet.

Happy holiday!

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

What, Bernie, no Smarties?

I wish I had a mixed case of delicious BC cider (the hard variety) for this weekend.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 3, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, sounds like quite the meal, though with maybe more chucking (or upchucking) than just the muffin.

I wanted to comment on your defense of the historians' best presidents list. I'd be more persuaded if they hadn't put TR second. I parted ways with my enthusiasm for him years ago when I read his memoir of the Rough Riders days and realized what an amazing jingoist he was (and I say this as somebody who had a great uncle who did Rough Riding).

I just heard about the list so don't know further details, but I wonder if he's moved up to such a prominent place because of his environmental bona fides. Historians, like others, can often view the past through their own preferred prisms.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 3, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

@imsinca

Glenn Beck University!!! My day has just been made! Great catch. Wow... I'm speechless. Thrilled because of the much - needed comic relief, but speechless.

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 3, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy the day off, Greg. You deserve it.

Posted by: michael_conrad | July 3, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I, too, hope you enjoy a well deserved holiday, Greg. And I wanted to thank you for this comment from one of yesterday's posts:

"I tend to fall into the camp that holds that the Dem base's lack of enthusiasm is out of sync with the size and scope of the accomplishments racked up thus far by Obama and Dems. The excitement around Obama's victory was so intense, and the sense of a "big change moment" was so palpable, that people were bound to feel let down despite Obama's clearly historic achievements."

Second.

Posted by: AllButCertain | July 3, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Hey Bernie, Wolfe was my great great great.....Grandpa, so watch what you say! And enjoy your holiday :)

Greg, thank you for taking a day off, you work too hard.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 3, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul and Sharron Angle are so anti-government, so why do they want to be a part of it? They both are good at mud-slinging, but refuse to talk to the Press: let the buyer (voter) beware! All part of the "chickenomics" (i.e., chickenism ?) modus operandi.

Posted by: dozas | July 3, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Enjoy your R&R, Greg. We all appreciate your excellent work. Remember...

There's only four ways to get unravelled/
One is to sleep and the other is travel/
...

Go for #4.

Posted by: jzap | July 3, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

mc: "I've got to wonder why Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rival's was embraced by Team Obama, but her view ... that this theory is seriously off base, was not."

I've got a different perception.

Seems like ToR was hyped a lot during the campaign and pre-inauguration. But its implementation seems sorely lagging.

In the economic/ financial corner, Summers and Geithner would have rivals like Krugman or Reich. Domestically, there'd be a Howard Dean to balance out Rahm.

For State and DoD, it might be working better. Tension among Hillary, Biden, Gates, Jones, Panetta, Mitchell, Holbrooke, etc., seems to be a Good Thing.

For me, DoJ is an enigma.

Posted by: jzap | July 3, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:
"Please clarify." OK!

Bernie Latham | April 18, 2010 at 09:15 am
for those of you who attend, there’s been a discussion lately among some conservatives on whether the movement has closed in upon itself to a point where it is now incapable of learning, reflection, re-evaluation etc. Bruce Bartlett on this debate. Definitely worthwhile… http://capitalgainsandgames.com/blog/bruce-bartlett/1660/data-point-epistemic-closure

History Profs are obviously not susceptible. Do U read ur own lnx? Hehe.

"...accept the conclusions of the more knowledgeable (the more expert, the more deeply educated)..."

Hey, QuestionAuthority!! (tm/©: the 60's Left). I also do not accept their, ehem, fides et veritas, their presumptions, nor their pre-conclusions. And "deeply educated?" Don't make me laugh, there are worlds and cosmos outside of Middlebury, they should step out of Munchkinland on occasion.

"Serious question there. How are you in a different position from those who hold that the world is 6000 years old and that anyone who thinks differently has been fooled by liberal geologists, physicists, biologists, astronomers, etc etc?"

I'm a Catholic, we invented the geo-phys-bio-astro ists&nomers, remember? That said, your question, as to a disagreement w/some 20 dozen or so hairy lecturers equating to belief in a 6K-old world is beneath you; and a (typical progg) Strawman the size of the StayPuff Marshmallow Man.

Happy Independence Day to Greg & everybody!!!

Posted by: tao9 | July 3, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

@SD - Couldn't recall if the name had an "e" affixed or not. He would be proud of your correcting a Canadian, I'm sure. I have no famous grandcestors, merely a long line of cross-dressers, empathizers and seductive grape squishers.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

This was a mere matter of time...

"Another prominent neoconservative has called for RNC Chairman Michael Steele to resign in the wake of his calling the Afghanistan war a largely unwinnable conflict of President Obama's choosing.

In a statement provided the the Huffington Post Tonight, Liz Cheney, an influential figure within conservative foreign policy circles and an obviously vocal critic of the president, endorsed a similar call for Steel's resignation from The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol.

''RNC Chairman Michael Steele's comments about the war in Afghanistan were deeply disappointing and wrong,'' Cheney's statement read. ''The chairman of the Republican party must be unwavering in his support for American victory in the war on terror--a victory that cannot be accomplished if we do not prevail in Afghanistan. I endorse fully Bill Kristol's letter to Chairman Steele. It's is time for Chairman Steele to step down.''
http://my.auburnjournal.com/detail/153628.html

This does present an interesting picture into the GOP internals. How much power can/do Kristol and Cheney wield?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Benen makes an interesting observation re one finding in the recent polling...

"But to me, that wasn't the most interesting part. This was. (via Suzy Khimm)

...Democratic voters this year are not particularly pessimistic about the election: 29 percent expect the Democrats to do better in this year's midterm, far more than the percentage of GOP voters who said that four years ago (16 percent). Nearly half of Democratic voters (48 percent) expect the party to do about the same this fall as in recent elections, while just 18 percent say it will do worse.

Wait, wait, wait. Democratic voters aren't nervous?"
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2010_07/024568.php#more

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Why do they do it in the road?

"Conservatives Warn Residents To Stay Away From July 4th Pride Parade: ‘May Be Exposed To Sex In The Streets’"
http://thinkprogress.org/2010/07/02/cincinatti-pride/

Reality? It went thataway, pardner.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

I think I saw a link to Glenn Beck's new Beck University online courses on the Plum Line. One aspect of these pay courses that is fascinating is one of the Professors, one David Barton. Upon googling him, Wikipedia describes him:

" David Barton (born 1954) is an American white nationalist[1] and fundamentalist minister[2] and Republican political activist, known for giving speeches on behalf of Neo-Nazi and Christian Identity groups...

In Barton’s book The Myth of Separation, the author states his belief that Christians were the ones who were intended to hold public office. Thus, Jews and other sects were not allowed to serve as elected officials."

There's more but it's more of the same.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | July 3, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the heads up, 12BarBlues. A good, balanced education really has to include the viewpoint of neo-Nazis and white supremacists. It's really a fairness as well as a first amendment issue.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 3, 2010 8:16 PM | Report abuse

The NY Times magazine has one of those frustratingly brief solomon interviews (by email, perhaps?) with George Shultz.

I recognize that I harp on about propaganda but we need, probably now more than ever, the means to recognize where and how we are being deceived on issues of enormous import.


Q-The documentary goes into great detail about your efforts to free the world of nuclear weapons. But I noticed it does not mention the war in Iraq.
A-I don’t think there was anything about it.

Q-Why is that? You stumped for the war, writing articles and serving as the chairman of a group assembled by President Bush expressly to support the war, the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq.
A-There was a group — there was a committee that didn’t really exist, was a name, and it supported the war.

Q-What do you mean it didn’t exist?
A-It didn’t exist in the sense that it never met, and I don’t even know who the members of it were.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/04/magazine/04fob-q4-t.html?ref=magazine

As an exercise, type this group's name into google and see what comes up. Here is, as an example, the first bit from wikipedia...

"The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) was described as a "non-governmental organization" which described itself as a "distinguished group of Americans" who wanted to "free Iraq from Saddam Hussein". In a news release announcing its formation, the group said its goal was to "promote regional peace, political freedom and international security through replacement of the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations." It had close links to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), important shapers of the Bush administration's foreign policy.
The Washington Post reported in November 2002 that "the organization is modeled on a successful lobbying campaign to expand the NATO alliance. Members include former secretary of state George P. Shultz, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former senator Bob Kerrey (D-Neb.). ... While the Iraq committee is an independent entity, committee officers said they expect to work closely with the administration. They already have met with Hadley and Bush political adviser Karl Rove. Committee officers and a White House spokesman said Rice, Hadley and Cheney will soon meet with the group." [1]
With the successful removal of Saddam Hussein, the committee appears to have disbanded, and its once-prominent website no longer exists. However, its offices still remain on Pennsylvania Avenue and 10th Street."

All total bullshit. It is war marketed like a Dodge truck or a face cream, with paid actors (celebrities, authority figures in lab coats) saying "this is the best thing ever".

Posted by: bernielatham | July 4, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Note this faux entity's Exec Dir...

"Randy Scheunemann, CLI's executive director, is former chief national-security adviser to U.S. Senator Trent Lott who has also worked for Donald H. Rumsfeld as a consultant on Iraq policy. While working for Lott in 1998, Scheunemann drafted the "Iraq Liberation Act" that authorized $98 million for the Iraqi National Congress. Randy is currently John McCain's top foreign policy adviser." http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Committee_for_the_Liberation_of_Iraq

Palin for warrior-president, anyone?

Posted by: bernielatham | July 4, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

As always, there are a number of very good pieces in the latest edition of the NYRB. Ian Buruma on Hitchens' book, another absolutely beautiful installment in Tony Judt's recollections, David Shulman on the insanity now engulfing Israeli politics, and more.

One piece you can read for free - and DO read it - is a review of Rove's new book by David Bromwich. Here's the first graph:

"Karl Rove grew up in Colorado, Nevada, and Utah. As a student at the University of Utah he joined the College Republicans. He worked on the 1972 Nixon campaign, and has often been described as a “protégé” of Donald Segretti, the virtuoso of dirty tricks who went to jail as a Watergate conspirator. Whatever the nature of Rove’s contact with Segretti, the fate of Nixon’s advisers, campaign organizers, and tricksters doubtless formed a subject of meditation for him in the years 2004–2006, when he found himself threatened with indictment by a special prosecutor. The name of Donald Segretti appears nowhere in the present book." http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2010/jul/15/curveball-karl-rove/

Posted by: bernielatham | July 4, 2010 6:54 AM | Report abuse

Morning entertainment, courtesy Mooselini:

http://www.dependablerenegade.com/dependable_renegade/2010/07/are-those-the-keys-to-your-hummer-in-your-pocket.html
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 4, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, thanks for that link to NYRB piece on Rove. Riveting, fascinating stuff. Great piece. NYRB has just about the most consistently excellent long-form journalism available, don't they? And why don't I just go subscribe? I think I will.

Posted by: TomBlue | July 4, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else noticing the media feeding frenzy (orgy?) over the Russian "spies" and their lifestyles, their ineptitude, their attractiveness? It's bizarre.

But what it shows clearly is that the 24 hr tv news and the newspapers really are geared for this kind of stuff now. It's something they can describe that has just a little politics (but nothing too hard to deal with) and no ideological tricky material.

It's all Entertainment Tonight all the time.

And Ps. The horrible, terrible Chicago Tribune, which can't support Wal Mart's move into the city fast enough, and can't say enough bad things about educators at all levels, has a report on how cheap soda pop is at Wal Mart on the front page of today's paper.

Happy Birthday, America. Your media is failing you.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 4, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

@TomBlue - You're very welcome. The NYRB is the only periodical which I now continue to subscribe to (its a decades long love affair). I recommend it to everyone.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 5, 2010 7:42 AM | Report abuse

@BG - I think if the story were minus Anna Chapman, it would get perhaps half the attention received (or less). "Sex sells". So O'Reilly has T and A on his show regularly as video or as guests, pundits have to look good and not think good, and the wonderful Sarah Palin.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 5, 2010 7:49 AM | Report abuse

From NRO's The Corner...

"Saturday, July 03, 2010

An Idea for the RNC: Dump Steele, Hire Palin [Kevin D. Williamson]
Re: Steele and the RNC: Allow me to chime in with my usual observation on this subject: This is a job for Sarah Palin. Palin would be a much better RNC chairman than presidential candidate or freelance kingmaker. She'd raise tons of money and help recruit good candidates, i.e., she'd excel at doing the things Steele should have been doing instead of appointing himself Republican pundit-at-large.

A Chairman Palin would help set the right tone for the Republican party without having to get herself entangled in the minutiae of policy-development, which has not been her forte. Sure, she'd be polarizing, but so is Barack Obama, and these are polarized times. And it's one thing to have a polarizing party chairman, another to have a polarizing candidate.

Anybody disagree?"

No. It's a fine idea. Please get it done.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 5, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

H/T to Digby... let us celebrate this glorious holiday with George Carlin:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: bernielatham | July 5, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow, the lucky ducks, Citizens United, both a person and media, the best of both worlds.

"WASHINGTON — A little-noticed Federal Election Commission ruling that expands the definition of “media’’ to include a partisan film production group is the latest in a series of actions eroding legislative limits on the influence of money in politics."

“We’re really returning, seemingly inexorably, toward an entirely deregulated system,’’ said Thomas Mann, who studies campaign finance at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “It was a rather breathtaking decision.’’

The commission voted June 10 to designate the filmmaker Citizens United a “press entity,’’ equating its often highly partisan work — includ ing films attacking Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton and President Obama — with the work of nightly newscasts.

The result, analysts say, is that the group is not required to disclose its role in sponsoring political projects or activities, or reveal the source of its funding. Thus, it becomes impossible to discern its influence in the political process."

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2010/07/05/fec_finds_partisan_film_group_free_from_disclosure_rules/?page=1

Posted by: lmsinca | July 5, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

It looks like it was pretty quiet here yesterday, nice to see most of us take a break, including Greg. Krugman however keeps desperately trying to use whatever influence he has on both public opinion and the policy makers. He separates our representatives into three groups, the heartless, the clueless and the mis-guided. He's talking to you Blue Dogs and centrist Dem Senators.

"But won’t extending unemployment benefits worsen the budget deficit? Yes, slightly — but as I and others have been arguing at length, penny-pinching in the midst of a severely depressed economy is no way to deal with our long-run budget problems. And penny-pinching at the expense of the unemployed is cruel as well as misguided."

"So, is there any chance that these arguments will get through? Not, I fear, to Republicans: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something,” said Upton Sinclair, “when his salary” — or, in this case, his hope of retaking Congress — “depends upon his not understanding it.” But there are also centrist Democrats who have bought into the arguments against helping the unemployed. It’s up to them to step back, realize that they have been misled — and do the right thing by passing extended benefits."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/05/opinion/05krugman.html?_r=1

Posted by: lmsinca | July 5, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Here's a great piece from Dean Baker regarding the stimulus/deficit debate and Obama's economic team of rivals.

"It might be true that there was never more than a slim hope, that the attempt to fight for more stimulus would have simply burned political capital with little to show for it. But when there are large enough benefits from a policy, and putting people back to work has very high value, those policies ought to be pursued even if they may not pay off in the end. I don't think politics should be the determining factor when the working lives of millions of people are at stake, but note that not doing anything further to help the unemployed -- or worse, reducing the deficit during the recovery -- also burns political capital, something the political advisers seem to be ignoring. I know I'm far less supportive and trusting of the administration to do what's needed than I once was, and I don't think I'm the only one. The question, I think, is whose support is being preserved by the decision not to fight for more stimulus, and the answer to that question is someone other than the millions of unemployed who still need jobs."

http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2010/07/deficits-or-jobs.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+EconomistsView+%28Economist%27s+View+%28EconomistsView%29%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Posted by: lmsinca | July 5, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

It sure would change political reality if this happens sometime between now and November.

From Les Leopold:

"Americans are growing more cynical by the day as we watch our elected leaders groveling before the gods of Wall Street. So far much of the anger has been channeled by the right, which tries to persuade working people that the no-government, no-taxes approach is actually good for them. But that’s going to change. Sooner or later more and more of us will realize that the brave new world of “structural reforms” favored by Wall Street and the right really means that we’ll be working longer, harder and for less — if we’re lucky enough to work at all. No one knows when that moment will arrive. But it will. And with it may come a new American progressive movement with the staying power to put our people to work."

http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/07/04/wall-streets-answer-to-unemployment-more/

Posted by: lmsinca | July 5, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

One more before I sign off for the day, off to the movies. This is good for a few laughs anyway, now that I've depressed myself. MoJo has a few suggestions for curriculum at the new Glenn Beck University. The comments have a few choice ones as well.

# Great Military Heroes: John Wayne
# Intro to Theology: Ayn Rand
# Advanced Marketing Seminar: Rare Gold Coins
# Drama 101: Intro to Alternative Lifestyles
# Psych 301: Paranoia as Therapeutic Alternative
# Wilde, Proust, and Other Homosexual Europeans
# Middle Eastern and Arab Cultures: What's Up With That?
# Literary Masters Colloquium: Cleon Skousen
# Motherhood, Hockey, Hunting: Cultural Convergences
# Studies in Moral Courage: Joe McCarthy

http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/07/glenn-beck-university-course-syllabus-liberty

Posted by: lmsinca | July 5, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

All, Monday roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/monday_roundup.html

Posted by: sargegreg | July 5, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Bernie, nice find re Sarah Palin for RNC chair. Just added it to today's roundup...

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/07/monday_roundup.html

Posted by: sargegreg | July 5, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

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