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The Morning Plum

* Today's main event is a joint press availability with President Obama and Netanyahu, and here's the domestic political angle: Dems are apparently worried that even the slightest hint of tension or disagreement could be used against them in the midterm elections.

* Also in that link: Republican candidates across the country begin using Obama's efforts to pressure Israel as a weapon against Dems, with one alleging an "alarming pattern" in the mideast and another accusing Obama of "browbeating" Israel.

* Huh. Looks like Wall Streeters didn't get the memo telling them that the Democrats are the party that's really defending their interests: Wall Street contributions to Dems are down 65 percent.

* Speaking of the midterms: Republican divisions persist over whether to fully repeal health reform.

* Kevin Drum hits on one of my pet points: Republican obstructionism might end up helping Republicans, because it makes Congress look dysfunctional, reflecting badly on the party that's running the place.

* I'm telling you, that's a key dynamic that isn't getting enough attention.

* This is a couple days old, but it's a good read: Control of the House could hinge on whether the GOP can reverse previous Dem gains in midwestern, western and suburban districts.

* Shorter David Brooks: If the public agrees with me that the stimulus failed and that Federal spending won't help the economy, then they must be right.

* But the White House apparently cares deeply what Brooks writes.

* Here's an interesting look at the deepening faultlines and fissures in the House Dem caucus on Afghanistan.

* But: Also interesting in that link, Eric Alterman says Dems won't tear the party up over the war as they did during the Vietnam era.

* BP has removed a ridiculously tiny fraction of the oil the company promised to capture.

* Virtually no lawmakers have signed Lanny Davis's silly pledge to preserve "civility" in politics. Good! Because the problem has nothing to do with behavior.

* And in case you missed it, Read the cease-and-desist letter that Sharron Angle's camp sent to the Harry Reid campaign demanding that he yank the reposting of Angle's old Web site revealing her Tea Partyism in all its glory.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 6, 2010; 8:25 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Climate change , Foreign policy and national security , Health reform , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Political media  
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Next: Why GOP obstruction will benefit Republicans


So AIPAC and David Brooks are calling the shots when it comes to policy?


Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 6, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

From Drum's piece on how obstructionism (and the consequent disdain for Congress) helps or might help the Republicans:

"And that's why obstructionism works so well for them. Partisans are partisans and are going to hate the other party no matter what. But then there's the vast middle ground of people who lean one way or the other but don't spend all day reading blogs or listening to talk radio. And as long as they view the problem as "Congress," that's bad news for whoever's in charge at the moment."

It is surely true that prevalent bad feelings towards Congress will hurt the party presently in charge. But that's only part of the story.

We've talked about this before but we need to keep in mind another aspect here - bad feelings towards Congress is to say bad feelings towards the people's government. To the degree that the people's government is hated or feared by the people, to that degree it can be more easily attacked and disempowered by other societal entities which conceive of elected government as an impediment to their own interests.

Would BP rather have the people's government of the US less powerful? Yes, of course it would.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

Benen and others are noting the Angle threat of a copyright infringement suit against Reid - to publish her old site (now scrubbed to remove embarrassingly extremist statements/positions) is to mis-use her copyright on this material.

I mentioned this on yesterday's final thread but wanted to put it here too.

This strategy is unususual in the normal course of US politics. But it has been the key legal strategy used by Scientology to remove embarrassing content from publication on the web.

Given Angle's prior connection with Scientology programs/personnel, this correspondence of legal strategy might have a deeper significance.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Sorry to be a grump so early, but puhleez flag a PDF as such when you link to it. I wouldn't mind reading the cease-and-desist order online but I sure didn't want it to automatically download to my work laptop.

Benen links to a chart showing Angle's policy position, pre- and post-scrub.

Posted by: msmollyg | July 6, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"But the White House apparently cares deeply what Brooks writes."

Now that's a real problem. Right now the "demand siders" are getting louder and there has been a concerted effort to de-legitimize both their concerns and advocacy for more stimulus. If the White House is listening to David Brooks on the economy we're all in trouble.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 6, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Ims - They won't be listening to Brooks on economic matters. I think that's a dead certainty.

My read on them/him is that they perceived from numerous comments spoken and written by Brooks that he might make a useful ally in the pundit world, particularly because of his theoretical and employment history. I suspect they very prudently have tried to "work the refs" with him. That can have a downside too (the bipartisan/compromise thing) but I'm still of the opinion that the other option (bleak us versus them dualities) are too destructive to follow.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

and have to run...good day all

Posted by: bernielatham | July 6, 2010 9:50 AM | Report abuse

apologies, msmolly, will do from now on

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 6, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse


"Wall Street contributions to Dems are down 65 percent."

While the article talked about how the GOP was trying to woo Wall Street donors, I didn't see a matching percentage about the increase in Wall Street donations to the GOP.

If it's a corresponding number, say 50-60%, that could easily be adopted as an attack line by Dems -- and matches up well with their current campaign about the GOP being on the side of corporations and not the American people.

"Republicans have seen an explosion of contributions from the gamblers on Wall Street, up XX% over the past few years. No wonder they fought so hard against Democrats' efforts to reform our financial system."

etc. etc. etc....

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 6, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I completely agree that Republican obstructionism will end up helping them at the polls in November. Most people aren't that interested in the daily business of Congress, especially when their own lives are in as much turmoil as now. Dysfunction=Change It. It's too bad because we had a chance to really improve the lives of millions of Americans for the better, now we're looking at a lost generation.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 6, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

>>>now we're looking at a lost generation.



Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Best of all, there's not a whole lot to be done since, institutionally, we have a system that gives the majority power and gives the minority the ability to stop the majority from exercising that power. Bringing majority-rule back to the Senate would no doubt help, but that's not even on the table. An engaged, informed electorate, coupled with better political reporting from major media outlets, would make a huge difference, but that's nowhere in sight, either. A more moderate, pragmatic Republican Party would transform Washington, but so long as the GOP is rewarded for its extremism, that's a fanciful dream.

We're left with a political landscape in which voters to punish Democrats for Republicans' actions.

America is a nation of f**king idiots. There's no other way to put it.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 6, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

All, here's a longer take on why Republicans will benefit from GOP obstruction:

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 6, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

msmg: "Benen links to a chart showing Angle's policy position, pre- and post-scrub."

Awww, I was hoping it'd be a graph. I figured that'd have to look like a Jackson Pollack painting.

Posted by: jzap | July 6, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

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