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The Morning Plum

* Let's have a grand debate about this: Mitch McConnell confirms that the official GOP position is that extending unemployment benefits must be offset by tax hikes or spending cuts in other areas -- while tax cuts for the rich needn't be offset at all.

* Takedown of the day: The Post editorial page shreds Jon Kyl and the Senate GOP position.

* And Paul Krugman accuses McConnell of "invincible ignorance," and says the facts show there really aren't "two sides" to this issue.

* Joe Klein reads the polls and says the sky isn't really falling for Obama, though he concedes it may be for Congressional Dems.

* With Senate Dem leaders set to unveil an energy bill this month, here's a very useful roadmap to the big outstanding questions in the unfolding debate.

* Sleeper issue to keep an eye on: A new CBS poll finds that 54 percent of Americans -- and the same percentage of independents -- want a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

* Oddly enough, Senate Republicans appear to think Defense Secretary Robert Gates may be a more credible voice on national security issues than Mitt Romney.

* While you weren't looking: Joe Sestak and Pat Toomey are all tied up in Pennsylvania.

* Sestak's problem, according to Quinnipiac: "Pennsylvania voters say 48-42 percent that President Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012."

* By regularly flirting with GOP filibusters, Ben Nelson is actually helping Republicans realize their overall political game plan.

* For some reason, Tea Party leaders are worried that a Tea Party billboard comparing Obama to Hitler and Lenin risks making the movement look extreme and unhinged.

* But don't ever forget that MoveOn/Hitler flap, which was much, much worse than anything the Tea Party has ever done.

* Random deep thought of the day: The National League's victory in yesterday's All Star Game must be good for the Tea Party movement.

* Ben Smith games out the arguments for and against a Sarah Palin run, and lays out a more convincing case for why she shouldn't.

* As I've said a million times, her current role of celebrity quasi-candidate and Pied Piper to the Palin Nation hordes works brilliantly. No one outside the borders of Palin Nation wants to listen or follow when Palin tweets on her magic pipe. Why step outside the bubble and risk imploding?

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  July 14, 2010; 8:22 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , 2012 , Climate change , House Dems , House GOPers , Morning Plum , Senate Dems , Senate Republicans  
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Next: Yes, the base matters: Pelosi to speak at Netroots Nation

Comments

I'd respect the WaPo editorial page more if it didn't publish tripe like this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/07/09/AR2010070904257.html

Posted by: msmollyg | July 14, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Unless and until Dems start calling Ben Nelson out hes gonna keep pulling this crap. Think about it, every major piece of legislation goong back to the stimulus he has worked hard to weaken as much as possible. And in the end it wont be him getting voted out in the fall, it will be other Dems punished because of his obstruction.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | July 14, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Unless and until Dems start calling Ben Nelson out hes gonna keep pulling this crap. Think about it, every major piece of legislation goong back to the stimulus he has worked hard to weaken as much as possible. And in the end it wont be him getting voted out in the fall, it will be other Dems punished because of his obstruction.

Posted by: sgwhiteinfla | July 14, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

By regularly flirting with GOP filibusters, Ben Nelson is actually helping Republicans realize their overall political game plan.
========================================

Ben Nelson isn't going to suffer, but a lot of his fellow Blue Dogs/DINOs are going to get turned out...for refusing to do the right thing and help heal the country.

They'll deserve it, too. Sadly, the corporate media will draw the exact wrong lesson and insist that the results show that Democrats must move even further right, and we'll all be back in the gutter.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | July 14, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

How long until someone gets hurt? Disturbing development in Utah:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100714/ap_on_re_us/us_undocumented_immigrant_list

Posted by: schrodingerscat | July 14, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

"Let's have a grand debate about this: Mitch McConnell confirms that the official GOP position is that extending unemployment benefits must be offset by tax hikes or spending cuts in other areas -- while tax cuts for the rich needn't be offset at all."
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I heartily agree. Given that the public (according to the ABC/WP poll published yesterday) favors extending unemployment benefits by 62/36, I'm not at all sure how much of a mood people are going to be in to hear rationalizations for opposing that.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/polls/postpoll_07132010.html?sid=ST2010071300027

PS: Also, check out question #19. Wasn't there supposed to be an enthusiasm gap there?

Posted by: CalD | July 14, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

"By regularly flirting with GOP filibusters, Ben Nelson is actually helping Republicans realize their overall political game plan."
---------------------------------------------
Nevertheless, it was Russ Feingold and Pat Murray who teamed up to weaken the Fin Reg bill. Not Nelson. And according to the National Journal*, Feingold actually votes as conservatively as the bluest of the blue dogs in practice, when all is said and done. So given that Nelson is NOT in fact voting in support of this particular filibuster whereas St. Russ is, perhaps McJoan would be kind enough to explain to me again why we're hating on Ben Nelson while Feingold remains a darling of the DailyKos.

* http://www.nationaljournal.com/njmagazine/nw_20100225_4841.php

Posted by: CalD | July 14, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Nothing like the image of a mob of wild eyed Palin supporters to spoil your morning coffee.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | July 14, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

"But don't ever forget that MoveOn/Hitler flap, which was much, much worse than anything the Tea Party has ever done."
---------------------------------------------

Personally I never thought that one rose to the level of their "General Betray-us" ad, which someone noted they had finally scrubbed from their web site only in the last month. That was the one that finally convinced me never to give them another damned dime again as long as I live.

In terms of actually impact, they single-handedly brought all momentum for congress to exercise more control over the Iraq war to a screeching halt with that ad. I would be hard-pressed to find a more shining moment in the annals of great moments in progressiver^er counter-productivity (counter-progressivity?).

But none of this is to excuse the teabaggers in any way. Obviously MoveOn has no monopoly on over-the-top rhetoric -- or even particularly stellar standings in that area, in comparison to the far right -- and last time I checked, two wrongs still don't make a right. Someone should tell the tea-baggers that the first one to mention Hitler loses... or maybe we should just let them learn that one for themselves.

Posted by: CalD | July 14, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

just in case it's not clear, I didn't really mean that the moveon hitler flap was worse than the tea party stuff

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 14, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

@sgwhite

No, the time for "calling him out" is done. It's time to take him aside in the caucus room. Tell him he can vote against final passage if he'd like, but if he votes to filibuster unemployment extensions again, he loses his chairmanship.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 14, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

"Ben Smith games out the arguments for and against a Sarah Palin run, and lays out a more convincing case for why she shouldn't."
-------------------------------------------

Sarah who?

(And if you're reading the Politico, whose fault is that?)

Posted by: CalD | July 14, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

@Greg Sargent | July 14, 2010 9:45 AM:

Not to worry. Sarcasm was duly assumed.

Posted by: CalD | July 14, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@Greg, Re: Sestak

Welp, score another one for the "librul" netroots who kept insisting that Sestak would have a better chance to come back against Toomey than Specter would. The fact that he's pulled even with Toomey this far out is welcome news in a bleak cycle for Dems.

"Sestak's problem, according to Quinnipiac: "Pennsylvania voters say 48-42 percent that President Obama does not deserve reelection in 2012."

I'm not sure how much of a problem that is, though. I haven't seen how he's running his campaign, but beyond the normal "I welcome the President's support", Sestak already has some anti-establishment cred because the White House backed Specter over him.

The whole point of Sestak was that he could run the "outsider" campaign more effectively than Toomey (and much more effectively than Specter). If he stays with the polite acceptance of support from the White House, while sticking to a populist outsider mantra on the trail...he should be fine.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 14, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"Let's have a grand debate about this..."

There's way to possibly have a 'grand debate' about anything in this country, with the state that our media is in.

Death Panels, anyone?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | July 14, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I swallowed some bad politics this morning and got sick.

So, this isn't politics.

There's an exceptional book I'm reading right now - "Seriously Funny - The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s" by Gerald Nachman. Here's a passage from the chapter on Mike Nichols and Elaine May quoting the great British actor Richard Burton on May...

"Richard Burton, who met her while starring in Camelot, recalled, 'Elaine was too formidable, one of the most intelligent, beautiful, and witty women I had ever met. I hoped I would never see her again.'"

And have a lovely day. I don't think I will.

Posted by: bernielatham | July 14, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

The thing about the billboard and the constant -- and yes, I mean CONSTANT -- comparison of Democrats, Obama, and ANY social policies to socialism, fascism, Hitler, Stalin, etc... is NOT that they think Barack Obama is a commie/socialist/fascist.

It's not.

It's that they think ALL DEMOCRATS and ALL DEMOCRATIC POLICIES are commie/socialist/fascist.

The thing about that, aside from being historically invalid, is look who supports the Democrats.... JEWS!

I'm a Jew! I voted for Obama. My whole family is Jewish. All voted for Obama. My family, as I have documented here, was greatly impacted by the Holocaust. Dozens upon dozens of men, women and children murdered. But in addition to that, before that, members of my family were persecuted in the Soviet Union pogroms. In fact, if it weren't for communism and socialism and fascism, I WOULDN'T EVEN BE AN AMERICAN.

Take a step forward, my relatives who came here, literally under threat of horrible death, carved out a living and succeeded through innate intellect and decades of hard work. Truly, the American Dream writ large.

What the Republican Party is endorsing is the philosophy that, across the board, Democrats -- in many cases Democrats who themselves embody the American Dream -- are being shouted down as BEING the very monster that, in many cases including my own, has led to the Jewish people's inordinate contribution to this country. and who have lived the American Dream to the utmost.

THAT is what the Republican Party is against. They are against rational, hard-working people who want nothing more than to live the American Dream. They are, in essence, AGAINST the American Dream.

The great irony is that while they are casting the first stone by suggesting that Obama and the Democrats and the Jews are stealing civil liberties and killing the American Dream, it is clearly THEM whose policies favor the elite establishment over the public good. That's why Jews have consistently voted Democratic. That's why Jews support Obama. That's why Obama and the Dems have the agenda that we do.

Because what matters IS the American Dream.

And without conditions and policies which support the PUBLIC -- so-called socially democratic policies -- THERE IS *NO* AMERICAN DREAM.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | July 14, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

@TheBBQChickenMadness | July 14, 2010 9:58 AM:

Oh, I always thought that primarying Specter was the right thing to do all right, but not because I'd rate Seatak's chances of holding that seat as necessarily being any higher. I would certainly not rule out that Specter might have won re-election, or assume that Seatak will have an easier time of it.

But it was the right thing to do because in terms of picking battles wisely, that was a battle well-picked. Pennsylvania is not Arkansas. There are multiple paths for Democrats to win in PA and I always rated Sestak's odds for going all the was as promising enough to be well worth the gamble, even if keeping Specter on would have made it a lock. There's a good chance we'll end up trading *up* in that race.

Posted by: CalD | July 14, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Good news: Pelosi is going to speak at Netroots Nation:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | July 14, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Greg, the Pied Piper comment is right on.

Palin is leading the leadable, and those folks are obviously not too discerning about the tune or where they are being led.

Or by whom.

Posted by: BGinCHI | July 14, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Ethan, I agree with your assessment of the billboard and made a similar point yesterday but without the perspective you have re Holocaust. I think it is disturbing that Tea Party leadership in Iowa at least thought this comparison was appropriate. The Tea Party could deny a lot of complaints from the left while there were only a few or more rally attendees carrying such signs. Now that they've shown it as a party philosophy it's become an insult to all of us fighting for a more equitable middle class. I don't think they've done themselves any favors here by showing their true colors.

Posted by: lmsinca | July 14, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Of course Palin will run.

But let's be clear, she won't run to win, she'll run to become the "Lost Cause."

She wants to fail to get the nomination due to the nefarious plottings of America-hatin' fake conservatives, elitists, and liberals. Her entire candidacy will be devoted to creating this storyline.

Think of her as an Al Sharpton-type candidate--only one even more focused on personal aggrandizement, and with fewer actual coherent political objectives than Sharpton.

Posted by: theorajones1 | July 14, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Bill O'Reily had Sarah on the other night. She appeared like a deer caught in the headlights when the interview turned to illegal immigration. Unless she is thrown softballs or prepped before hand with stock answers to questions, she is incapable of thinking on her feet or of developing or even repeating anything policy related. She can spout her idiot simplistic slogans, but even Bill'O seemed uncomfortable with her mindlessness. No doubt she will complain to her Faux handlers to make sure she is given questions in advance. While she has her True Believers, most Americans have realized that she is a self-serving ninny.

Posted by: northlite | July 14, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

theorajones1 -- I used to think that, figuring that Palin's star would be starting to fade by then, and would need to be juiced up with resentment about being treated "unfairly" in the GOP primaries. However, with her recent cozying up to the GOP establishment, endorsing candidates who are likely to win over ones that agree with her so-called "principles" and "causes," I'm not so sure. I still don't think she's going to run for real, but I'm less convinced she's going to pretend to run. As long as the gravy train keeps rolling, there's no reason to risk it.

Posted by: jimeh | July 14, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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