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The Morning Plum

* Let's start with the headline of the day, from McClatchy, because it really says it all:

Safety net for unemployed disappears as politicians argue

* And, indeed, the extention of jobless aide has failed in the Senate yet again.

* Digby helpfully reminds us that some House Dems (Blue Dogs) oppose extending unemployment benefits, too.

* Political reporters are beginning to notice that the DailyKos/Research 2000 brawl is a big story with implications that go far beyond this one lawsuit. The New York Times has a big takeout, featuring Markos Moulitas vowing not to get out of the polling game.

* Meanwhile, Politico notes the new-media implications of the Kos tale and features a lot of handwringing from political consultants about how bad information often shapes the political conversation.

* No end to the skittishness: Must read from E.J. Dionne on nervous centrist Dems fearing anyone who shows passion on the issue of climate change. This will be a key dynamic as the energy debate, er, heats up.

* Be very afraid of Rove: I noted here? recently that it was premature to write off the influence that Karl Rove's group, American Crossroads, could have on the midterms, and now they've raised $8.5 million in June.

* New health care Web site! Today the Obama administration will announce a new Web site,, an effort to demystify the bewildering insurance market and the ways it's changing in the wake of passage of the Affordable Care Act.

An administration official says the goal is to empower consumers by giving them a one-stop-shop where they can learn about the insurance choices available to them. It offers data on thousands of carriers and insurance products and will soon offer info on a range of health issues -- an effort to help consumers navigate the new and rapidly-changing health care landscape.

* Dems will continue to ride Joe Barton's apology to BP like a horse. The latest: Nancy Pelosi says openly that it's "gift that keeps on giving."

* And: With Republicans gearing up to use Pelosi as a national symbol of liberal tyranny in this fall's elections, Karen Tumulty notes that this is really Republicans "a backhanded acknowledgment of how effective she has been."

* National news outlets begin to take notice of Sharron Angle's belief that cutting unemployment benefits is the way to relieve joblessness.

* Concession of the day, from Lindsey Graham: The Senator appears to admit that the constant railing on the right about "liberal activist" judges is thoroughly bogus.

* And indefatigable scandal hunter Darrell Issa, who sees windmills in many directions, is now tilting his lance at the White House handling of the spill.

Friendly reminder of the day: If the GOP takes back the House, Issa, as chair of the House oversight committe, would hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 1, 2010; 8:21 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans , Supreme Court  
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Next: First look at Daily Kos's lawsuit: Charges Research 2000 with "fraudulently manufacturing phony results"


"Safety net for unemployed disappears as politicians argue"

Shame they couldn't just come right out and say "Safety net for unemployed disappears as Republican tantrums continue."

Posted by: CalD | July 1, 2010 8:29 AM | Report abuse

How about "Republicans Destroy Safety Net for Millions of Americans" with a sub-text of "Republicans Tell Unemployed to Stop Being Lazy, Go Get a Job."

Posted by: zattarra | July 1, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Must see video of a true ragin' Cajun:

What the hell is going on?

Posted by: Papagnello | July 1, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Papagnello _ Thanks for that! What the hell is going on indeed.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 8:56 AM | Report abuse

From Mike Tomasky (more at link)

"In his comments that have attracted wide attention because he said financial reform regulation was like taking a nuclear weapon to an ant, Republican House minority leader John Boehner also noted that today's Democrats "are snuffing out the America that I grew up in."

Boehner was born in November 1949. Let's take a look at the America he grew up in.

In the America John Boehner grew up in, the top marginal tax rate on wealthy earners was 90%. It had gone up there during the war, and five, 10, 15 years after armistice, no sizable group, Democrat or Republican, felt any strong urge to lower it.

In the America John Boehner grew up in, private-sector union membership was around or above 30%. Today's figure is 7%. The right to form a union was broadly accepted. Outside of a few small turbulent pockets, there was no such thing as today's union-busting law firms hired by management to go into workplaces and intimidate workers..."

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, I'm going to call out McClatchy for their stupid false equivalencies. There isn't a political arguement going side is flatly refusing to do anything.

It's ever so tiring to see the news, even a great outlet like McClatchy, f*cking kowtow at the alter of parity.

Better (more accurate) headlines include:

"Republicans successfully deny unemployment extention"

"GOP filibuster of unemployement insurance continues"

"Dems fail to overcome GOP filibuster of unemployement benefits"

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

@ bernielatham | July 1, 2010 8:58 AM:

I was thinking kinda the same thing. Thanks for pulling that quote.

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

Re last night's link to Greenwald and his discussion on media as doormat for existing power structures... we ought to acknowledge that this observation has been tirelessly documented for several decades by Chomsky. As a consequence, Chomsky (and his ideas/research) has been long unwelcome in dominant media.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse


Thanks for the link, and props to Tomasky.

It'd be nice if Democrats in Congress, or the President would make this point. I'd love for the Dems to introduce a bill called the "Return to Reagan Act" which would take the tax rates for corporations and the wealthy back to what they were in the 80's.

It STILL wouldn't go far enough, but it would make their heads explode.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 1, 2010 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The GOP's refusal to authorize additional unemployment benefits is a defining event: it signifies that the greatest redistribution of wealth in American history is complete. Through years of deregulation the GOP let Wall Street do anything it chose. The results were catastrophic: the near collapse of the entire U.S. economy, rescued only by massive infusions of taxpayer money, which was purportedly a loan to be re-paid. Instead, those individuals and companies whose recklessness and greed had caused the financial catastrophe kept the money they stole. As a tonic, the GOP feigned concern for average working Americans and agreed to extend unemployment payments for the people who lost their jobs when the economy collapsed. But now the GOP's charade is over: the bill for the economic calamity must be paid and it must be paid now, says the GOP. And the bill will be paid not by those who wrung every dime out of the economy they inflated with false profits; no, the bill will be paid by working Americans and by Americans who can't even work because the GOP and its greedheads wrecked the economy and destroyed their jobs. And THAT is how wealth is redistributed in the United States: from working Americans to rich people and big corporations. The GOP is responsible for the greatest redistribtuion of wealth in American history.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 1, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

@CalD - The on-gong efforts to disappear the factual past and replace it with something else are pretty pervasive. One of the great dangers of the evolved rightwing media mechanisms is that they can manage - with their isolated audience - to pull off the Orwellian effectively.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Again, as I first argued nearly two years ago here, the necessary propagandist dynamic to get the GOP back in power MUST move from the claim that Obama is failing to Obama has failed. Note that this has nothing at all to do with facts or reality - it is a story that must be created regardless of all else. That is, of course, if power is all one really cares about.

So here's the editorial headline at the WSJ today:

"Why Obamanomics Has Failed"

That the WSJ editorial page would include such a headline was 100% predictable - regardless of all circumstances.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

What an amazingly depressing place to come this morning. I know things are bad, but y'all need to go outside and get some sunshine today. Kiss a pretty girl, or play hop-scotch with a kid. This doom and gloom thing is getting to be too much.

Posted by: converse | July 1, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Not sure if this was noted here yesterday (sorry, busy) but if not it really does fall under the "must read" heading...

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Bernie, thanks for that Tomasky piece. Brilliant.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 1, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

"Meanwhile, Politico notes the new-media implications of the Kos tale and features a lot of handwringing from political consultants about how bad information often shapes the political conversation."

Yeah. Weapons of Mass Destruction come to mind.

I really think a big part of the problem in this case however isn't pollsters and isn't that market being flooded with a lot of fairly low-grade polls (all of which are widely regarded as having been created equal to any other). Either or both those things may be problematic but a huge part of the problem is that our entire punditry and political news media, old and new, refuse to let the fact that they don't know a damned thing about the most basic principle of statistical sampling (the theoretical limits of confidence in precision for a given sample size in a given population) and are a apparently unwilling to learn, stop them from making breathless proclamations day in and day out based on one- or two- point "differences" in polls with +/- 3-5% Margins of Error.

Take the case that set Kos off on Reasearch 2000. A poll of the Arkansas primary shows an apparent 5% "lead" for Halter, but the poll has a MoE of +/- 4-5% for single numbers. You double the MoE (more or less) to find the threshold of significance for a two-canidate margin, so what that poll was really telling you was that the race was too close for a poll with that sample size to call. And in fact the difference between Lincoln and Halter's shares on election day ended well up within what would have been the MoE for a poll twice that size. Nevertheless, progressiver^ers everywhere had gone to bed confidently dreaming of running through the streets with Blanche Linclon's head on a pike and woke up feeling all betrayed by R2k. But even if R2k's methodology was completely on the up and up, and I'm very much waiting to see the proof myself, people still need to become better educated consumers of polls or else they're going to keep setting themselves up for nasty surprises.

And as always, it's your own fault if you're reading the Politico.

Posted by: CalD | July 1, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

The Tea Party revolution - going to the mat for the citizens' right to protect a British corporation from the the selfishness of the citizens:

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

"The ever-shifting RINO line"...Erickson at Red State attacks Boehner and Cantor for being insufficiently rightwing...

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Have a good day folks.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 1, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"THAT is how wealth is redistributed in the United States: from working Americans to rich people and big corporations. The GOP is responsible for the greatest redistribtuion of wealth in American history."

Totally, 100% correct.

Two big myths:

1) Republicans don't like the redistribution of wealth (REALITY: they just want it to be redistributed from the poor and middle class to the wealthy and corporate elite).

2) Reaganomics/supply-side economics has failed (REALITY: it worked exactly as planned, see myth #1)

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 1, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Greg, still reading the Morning comments?

Check this out, pretty huge:

*** GOP's false talking point: Jones Act blocks Gulf help ***

From former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Arizona Sen. John McCain to junior members of the House of Representatives, conservative Republicans have accused President Barack Obama of failing to do all he can to help clean up the Gulf of Mexico oil spill because he hasn't waived a U.S. maritime law called the Jones Act.


Armey and the other Republican critics are wrong. Maritime law experts, government officials and independent researchers say that the claim is false. The Jones Act isn't an impediment at all, they say, and it hasn't blocked anything.

"Totally not true," said Mark Ruge, counsel to the Maritime Cabotage Task Force, a coalition of U.S. shipbuilders, operators and labor unions. "It is simply an urban myth that the Jones Act is the problem."

[...], a nonprofit website operated by the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, analyzed claims that failure to waive the Jones Act is blocking foreign-flagged vessels from assisting in the Gulf. It concluded last week that "In reality, the Jones Act has yet to be an issue in the response efforts."

The Deepwater Horizon response team reported in a news release June 15 that 15 foreign-flagged ships were participating in the oil spill cleanup, said. "None of them needed a waiver because the Jones Act does not apply," it said.

That hasn't stopped conservatives from making the act a talking point to criticize Obama.

I'd love to see you write up a piece on this one, Greg!!! We've gotta kill this myth.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 1, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

What else is happening?

Mary Landrieu is angry that Big Oil won't dominate the Presidential Commission on the Gulf Oil Disaster so she is creating a competing Congressional commission stocked with Big Oil sycophants:

“I would suggest to my Democratic friends that if the shoe were on the other foot, and President Bush was the president and he had submitted a list of names like this to us and everyone was related to the defense of oil companies, we would say this is not fair,” Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said. “And I’m saying to my colleagues this is not fair.”

Because, you know, it worked so well letting Big Oil regulate itself that now we'll have Big Oil investigate itself. Mary Landrieu is everything that is wrong with the Democratic Party today.

Posted by: wbgonne | July 1, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

* Democratic Affiliation Stable in Second Qtr. After Recent Slide *

For the first time since President Barack Obama took office, the percentage of Americans identifying as Democrats or leaning Democratic held steady in a quarter's worth of Gallup poll data. Prior to the second quarter of 2010, the percentage aligning themselves with the Democratic Party had declined at least slightly each quarter since early 2009.

With 46% of Americans identifying either as Democrats or as independents who say they lean to the Democratic Party, and 43% identifying as Republican or leaning Republican, Democrats now hold a three percentage-point advantage in party affiliation.


Republicans' Recent Rise in Support Remains "Soft"

While the total percentage of Republicans, including independents who lean Republican, has increased since the start of 2009 (from 39% to 43%), this increase is exclusively the result of a greater percentage of Republican-leaning independents. Over the past 15 months, the percentage of Americans who initially identify as Republican, the party's core supporters, has held steady at 27% or 28%.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 1, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

"Friendly reminder of the day: If the GOP takes back the House, Issa, as chair of the House oversight committe, would hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators."

Investigations don't bother me, in fact, if the administration is doing something it shouldn't, I want it to come to the light. Obama should be held to the same standards as anyone.

However, it would more likely just waste time and dominate news cycles without ever actually getting anywhere. I doubt they're really interested in impeachment, they know how that backfired with Clinton.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 1, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Interesting numbers Ethan, we're only 4 months from Election Day.

I don't think anyone really knows how things will turn out but I just can't imagine republicans will be in a position to convince voters they'll do anything different this time.

Posted by: SDJeff | July 1, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Holy COW:

* Louisiana Governor Seals Oil-Spill Records *

But elected officials in Louisiana and members of the public seeking details on how Mr. Jindal and his administration fared in their own response to the disaster are out of luck: late last week the governor vetoed an amendment to a state bill that would have made public all records from his office related to the oil spill.

The measure was proposed by Senator Robert Adley, a Republican, and easily passed the Democrat-controlled Legislature. He told the Associated Press that the veto was a “black eye” on the state. “This governor has opposed transparency for the three years he’s been in office,” he said.

In his veto letter, the governor asserted that opening the records could give BP and other companies involved in the Deepwater Horizon blowout an advantage in future litigation over damages to the state.

“Such access could impair the state’s legal position both in responding to the disaster that is unfolding and in seeking remedies for economic injury and natural resource damage,” Mr. Jindal wrote.

But Zygmunt Plater, a law professor at Boston College who served as chairman of an Alaskan legal task force after the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989, called the governor’s legal rationale flawed, particularly in regard to tallying environmental damage.

“It’s extremely difficult for me to see why natural resource claims would be at all compromised,” he said. “The natural resource damages part of that makes no sense to me.

Republicans are THE WORST..........

I hope the MSM picks this story up. Unbe-freaking-leivable.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 1, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, SDJeff, it's still pretty early. There's time to get the message out.

I think one of the key points the Dems need to make is to, as best as possible, NOT BELIEVE THE POLLS. If they see Rassmussen polls showing the Dems down, they may stay home. If they IGNORE Rassmussen polls, our turnout may improve.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 1, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

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