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The Morning Plum

* So now we know why GOP Rep Darrell Issa gets media attention every time he shouts "scandal" in Obama's direction! Mark Leibovich reveals the press's attitude towards the man who will hire dozens of subpoena-wielding investigators if the GOP takes the House:

The press loves Darrell Issa. The feeling is mutual -- and co-dependent. He is a tireless publicity-seeker with a game-show-host smile and a Bluetooth affixed to his ear. His jet-black Congressional hair is brilliantly in place and perfectly stagnant. "Glue," Mr. Issa said, is his secret. "That and a lot of spray."

People reading the piece won't come away with a better sense of whether there's any merit to any of Issa's incendiary charges, but at least they now know his secret to keeping his hair in place.

* Hardball time: President Obama will use a recess appointment to get around GOP opposition and install Dr. Donald Berwick to serve as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

This is a big deal, because Berwick will wield enormous power over the future of the health care system at a time when the two parties are waged in a fierce war over the public's verdict on health reform.

Berwick's sin, in GOP eyes? He apparently spoke positively of Britain's health system and once made the thoroughly non-controversial observation that "the decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."

* Peter Beinart parses the Netanyahu-Obama press conference and notes that Obama basically got rolled and that it's time to get tougher.

* Dana Milbank highlights the larger truth underlying Obama's need for a feel-good photo-op with Netanyahu:

Obama came to office with an admirable hope of reviving Middle East peace efforts by appealing to the Arab world and positioning himself as more of an honest broker. But he has now learned the painful lesson that domestic politics won't allow such a stand.

* Precedent suggests the Obama administration will win its lawsuit against the Arizona immigration law.

* No end to the skittishness: Dem strategists gripe that the immigration lawsuit could hurt them in swing districts this fall. Hmm, maybe it's right on the merits and will help Dems in the long run with a growning segment of the electorate?

* Tea Party? What Tea Party? Nancy Pelosi is urging Dems to hold town hall meetings in their districts to tout the benefits of health reform.

* If media figures try hard enough, perhaps they can force the public to get hysterical about deficits.

* Best anti-Citizens United ammo ever? Karl Rove says the SCOTUS decision will allow his group to spend untold sums influencing the midterms.

* Jonathan Cohn proposes a truce: Sure, there's always room for improvement, but the big story is that the Obama presidency is pretty progressive in the larger scheme of things.

* Taegan Goddard notes new polling that shows Obama may be in real trouble with independents.

* And forget Independence Day -- let's join in the media celebration of the one-year anniversary of Sarah Palin's resignation as Alaska Governor!

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 7, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Health reform , House Dems , House GOPers , Immigration , Morning Plum , Political media , Senate Republicans  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Happy Hour Roundup
Next: The America John Boehner grew up in? Check out the GOP platforms at the time


Though about this yesterday.. Pres Obama will probably alway dissappoint some on the left myself included at times and of course he will also enrage the right at all turns. But IF and I realize its a huge if, he actually gets a lsating peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians before his first term is over the guy's resume will be top notch. Mid East peace, health care, some formof fin reg, and theres still an outside chance of an energy bill all in less than 2 years so far.

On the flip side though if they dont get some jobs bills passed his accolades will probably come only much later after hes out of office.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | July 7, 2010 8:44 AM | Report abuse

"If media figures try hard enough, perhaps they can force the public to get hysterical about deficits."

It's a facinating hypocracy, because big media figures generally have a real sense of entitlement and self-importance, but when it comes to real world conequenses like this, they would claim that they coudn't possibly have that kind of influcence.

It's self created sature without the repsonibility...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 7, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

re: Issa.

The double standard that exists in the MSM is jaw dropping at times. I seem to recall during the 2006 and 2008 election cycles that anyone, anywhere who spoke of the possibility of any sort of investigation into torture, NSA wiretaps, Gitmo, etc. was immediately painted as an off-their-rocker, extremist lunatic only interested in playing politics. How could anyone be interested in such frivolities when there were real problems to deal with in this country?

Flash forward a few years and now we have that same media uncritically painting Issa as some sort of folk hero as they opine about him and his hair like 12 yr old girls talking about the Jonas Brothers.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 7, 2010 9:11 AM | Report abuse

From James Vega at TDS. There's this below, as in all of us fighting the resurgence of Republicans in Congress with a little help from our own friends in Congress passing some sort of jobs bill. The chorus is loud and clear on the need for jobs as we knew it would be.

Bernie and I discussed on the previous thread how far from their Republican roots the GOP has traveled to be virtually unrecognizable now.

"That's the spirit that's painfully missing In the Democratic discussion today. That crystal clear, hard, fierce and ferocious sense of determination. That cold burning anger. That elemental sense of total commitment and passion. What's missing today is a clear understanding that - whatever opinion one may have of Obama, or his strategy, or the candidates, or the campaigns, or the issues, or the way things have gone, or how they could have gone better, or why things were done wrong or a thousand other matters - there remains one transcendent, overarching reality.

What the Republicans have done in the last year and a half goes beyond politics and beyond partisanship. They have embraced a politics of extremism that goes far beyond anything in the Republican tradition -including not only the era of Ronald Reagan but even of the Buckley and Goldwater right. They have chosen a cynical submission to an extremist ideology that is not only wrong but dangerous, venomous and vile.

Democrats can complain and second guess and criticize as much as they want this year but the hard reality is that we do not have the luxury of indifference or discouragement.

For Democrats, there is no choice.

This Republican assault cannot be ignored, minimized or accommodated.

They have to be stopped."

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

I'd like a count of the number of times the WaPo mentioned the deficit during the years in which Bush and Cheney doubled the national debt versus how many times since Obama was elected.

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 7, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I saw that on the previous thread. great digging.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@Ims - Vega is a tempered, smart, even-headed guy. To see a statement that blunt and serious from him is good and needful. More of us need to grasp the extremity and deep vileness of what is happening.

I'm away now to BC for a family wedding and probably won't get back with you good folks more than a jot here and there for 5 or 6 days. Cheerio.

Note to Greg - got email, thanks, responded to it. On last night's thread, Ims pointed to a Digby post on the Republican Party platform from 1956. It could have been written by Jimmy Carter and that is NOT an exaggeration. I'd love to see that document (or portions of it) gain broad release right now. Nothing I've seen portrays so immediately and graphically how far right the party and movement have gone in their extremism.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 7, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I went back to yesterday's Happy Hour and read the history lesson on the Republican Party platform last night. Wow. Just CHILLING stuff. Highly recommended reading, all. Thanks lmsinca and bernielatham. And, Greg, I'd second bernie's comments that it would be great to highlight the old GOP platforms at some point. It is quite illustrative of just how extreme today's GOP has become and people really OUGHT to know this. History is revealing and informative and we don't get nearly enough historical context, via the media, on ANY subject matter.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

I'd also love to hear people's thoughts on:

I've tooled around a little bit and think it is absolutely awesome. Anyone else check it out?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

bernie -- thanks, I'd forgotten that it was a Digby post.

and Ethan, agreed re platforms. I think I'll do that.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Cool, Greg. We give you plenty of praise, but you deserve it, you are the best of the bunch, no doubt about it!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

More must-read stuff out of LA with regard to the conflict between scientists and politicians over berms:

* Louisiana and Scientists Spar Over How to Stop Oil *


The scientists explained to the corps how narrowing the inlets with rock would set the stage for the breaching of existing barrier islands during the region’s frequent storms. They warned that damage to these islands — which have buffered the impact of major storms like Hurricane Katrina — would prove difficult to repair, perhaps impossible, and would most likely outstrip any benefit to the wetlands gained by stopping the oil with the rock barriers.

Having raised their voices in objection, these coastal experts now bristle at the accusation that they are out-of-touch academics or pencil-pushing bureaucrats, as state and local officials have charged.

“It’s really offensive, I think, and not fair, to call the scientific community bureaucrats,” said Dr. Ioannis Y. Georgiu, a professor of marine engineering at the University of New Orleans. “We are being demonized.”


The local scientists argue that quick-fix solutions are being sold to the public with little firm evidence that they will succeed, and with potentially dire side effects being minimized and ignored. A lack of engagement of the scientific community has also bred frustration. On the rock barrier plan, for instance, coastal experts were consulted only after a local engineering firm had drafted the permit application and orders had been placed for thousands of tons of rock to dump in the inlets.

“We’ve got such a coastal brain trust here, and they’re being left out in the cold,” said Dr. Len Bahr, a coastal scientist and former director of the Louisiana Office of Coastal Activities. “To me that’s just unconscionable.”

Unreal. Whole thing is worth reading.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Greg, I hope you do highlight some of the past Republican platforms, since Digby did it and if you do it, maybe it will catch on. It wouldn't hurt a few of our friends on the right to remember their own roots as well.

I just finished reading a piece at alternet about the five most extremist mouthpieces of the right wing propaganda machine and Rush didn't even make the grade so that's saying something. Link below.

Bernie, have a safe trip, we'll miss you.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, I was wondering if now that there are so many reports of climate scientists receiving death threats the right-wing was finished vilifying scientific research. Apparently not. When did flying by the seat of your pants become such a valid governing strategy? Don't answer, rhetorical.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

The REAL THIRD RAIL of American politics is Israel. It's such a third rail that you can't even talk about it being the third rail.

Posted by: joeff | July 7, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

"You need to read the Washington Post through a filter." (More deficit pearl clutching from the WaPo, along with some outright pro-GOBP bias.)

=>I’d say it’s the kind of thing the Washington Post’s ombudsman might want to look into -- but since it contains actual examples of flawed Post content, and since those examples don’t fit into the neat little “liberal bias” frame he’s so fond of, I doubt Andrew Alexander will pay it any attention. But you should keep it in mind the next time he frets about the paper's "institutional bias" against conservatives.<=

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 7, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca, I hadn't heard about death threats, but obviously, anyone who maliciously attacks a SCIENTIST isn't playing with a full deck.

And that notion actually DOES match with reality, as those "Climategate" lunatics were just relegated to the ashbin of history. Haven't seen much of that on the mainstream blogs or in political circles, but here is a google news search of articles exonerating Michael Mann, well worth perusing:

Will our troglodyte neoconfederate neanderthal Republicans be at all contrite in evidence of the facts?

Yeah right. There's that word again, "FACTS." The right just doesn't do "FACTS."

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Here's some of what I've both read and heard Ethan.

"The Guardian in the U.K. has compiled some of this hate mail, much of it directed at scientists whose private email exchanges were published by unknown hackers last year. These scientists were called "Nazi morons" and told to "gargle razor blades" and "rot in hell," in a small sampling of hundreds of expletive-laden rants, many from anonymous writers. (I actually can't a imagine a U.S. paper publishing the language in the above link.) They've also received many death threats and been told to commit suicide. Phil Jones, the scientist at the center of the "Climategate" scandal, said a few months ago that he has indeed had suicidal thoughts.

These scientists have called out for help, but U.S. local police and the FBI have generally not taken any action, citing free speech rights. Instead, researchers are left fearful and paranoid, which surely affects their ability to concentrate on their job and most certainly colors what they are willing to say in public.

"The effect on me has been tremendous," Stanford University scientist Stephen Schneider told The Guardian. "Some of these people are mentally imbalanced. They are invariably gun-toting rightwingers. What do I do? Learn to shoot a Magnum? Wear a bullet-proof jacket?"

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ezra is really on the benefits of unemployment extensions and aid to states today vs. deficit spending. He has several posts up just today. Here's a quote from one of them.

"She also quotes David Walker, president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, and Robert Bixby, president of the Concord Coalition, saying the same thing. Bixby, in particular, puts it well: “As a deficit hawk, I wouldn’t worry about extending unemployment benefits,’’ he said. “It is not going to add to the long-term structural deficit, and it does address a serious need. I just feel like unemployment benefits wandered onto the wrong street corner at the wrong time, and now they are getting mugged.’’

Posted by: lmsinca | July 7, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

lmsinca, yeah, that is some scary stuff.

"Some of these people are mentally imbalanced"

Right, unfortunately I agree with him entirely.

In looking at some of the writings from '60s-era GOP platforms it is hard for me to look at the Republican Party of today and their leaders and NOT think that today's GOP is a movement based on taking advantage of people who literally lose their minds at the thought of any sort of change whatsoever.

I truly believe, when comparing the factual record on a variety issues with the absurd rhetoric of the Right, that the behaviors that these people exhibit can be considered mental illness. Or, at the very least, it is groupthink on such a massive scale that there is a willing suspension of disbelief that anything they say can be wrong. When such dramatic behavior finds its way into these Republicans' everyday life, as it inevitably does in some cases, we have borderline or full-fledged psychosis. Either way, it's not that far of a walk from Tea Party to Psychopath.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 7, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

All, as requested, here's my post on the GOP platforms of yesteryear...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 7, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

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