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The Morning Plum

* Letting Bush tax cuts for the rich expire is popular: There's been a bit of debate lately about whether this is clear cut. But a new CBS poll asks the question very clearly, and gets a clear answer: Fifty six percent say let them expire; barely more than a third say keep them.

* But there's no end to the skittishness: Despite what the polls say, some senior Democrats are still worried that letting the tax cuts for the rich expire will expose conservative Democrats to damaging GOP attacks.

* Elevating Boehner as the face of the Bad Old GOP: DCCC chair Chris Van Hollen will amplify that case at a press conference this morning. A Dem official emails that Van Hollen "will outline the strong, battle tested foundation House Democrats built to withstand the tough political environment" and will seize on John Boehner speech on the economy to outline the House GOP's "destructive agenda."

* And speaking of the House GOP's agenda: Glenn Thrush reports that the GOP is planning a "wave of White House probes."

* The argument over Iraq is back: With Obama set to deliver a major speech on Iraq, the battle over the war's legacy been joined. Here's a new Web video from Speaker-in-waiting Boehner laying out the GOP position: It thanks the troops, bashes Dems for opposing the "surge," and carries a one word title: "Victory."

* The public's verdict: A new CBS poll finds that 59 percent think the war was a mistake, including a majority of independents, and 51 percent think we failed to accomplish our objectives.

* Shocker of the day: Clinton pollster Doug Schoen, who has repeatedly insisted that passing health reform would be politically catastrophic for Dems, is now warning that unless Obama lurches to the center and pulls a Clinton, he may not be reelected.

The premise seems to be that Obama governed from the far left. Key takeaway: Presuming Dems take a shellacking this fall, there will be some voices within the party that will use this to insist that they were right in warning Obama and Dems not to overread their mandate and to avoid embracing an agenda that was "too liberal" and "too ambitious." The intra-Dem argument is going to be ugly, but it will be essential.

* The obstructionists will win again: Krugman says this isn't a recovery, and that the Obama administration is in denial about it, which will only lead to more political gains this fall for the folks who managed to block a big enough stimulus in the first place.

* Sad: As E.J. Dionne notes, it's sad that the only way the AFL-CIO chief could secure massive media attention to a labor speech was by attacking the former half-term Governor of Alaska.

* History lesson of the day: Eugene Robinson explains Martin Luther King's legacy to latter-day civil rights warrior Glenn Beck.

* And: Black leaders hammer Beck for holding his rally on the anniversary of King's "I have a dream" speech. Who do those black leaders think they are, getting in the way of Beck's claim to King's legacy?

* Be very afraid: Ruh roh. Liz Cheney is now grading public officials on how shamelessly they're willing to demagogue on national security issues.

* And here's the random trivia of the day: Did you know Michele Bachmann knows how to fire an assault rifle?

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  August 27, 2010; 8:31 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Foreign policy and national security , Health reform , Morning Plum  
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Next: Sharron Angle twice refuses to disavow claim that there are "domestic enemies" in Congress

Comments

"The intra-Dem argument is going to be ugly, but it will be essential."

Greg: Picking up from the previous thread, I see little reason to believe that the Democratic Party will internalize any theory but that Obama was too liberal. The real question is how Liberals will react to the Democratic Party's inevitable lurch rightward.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 27, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

@Greg

It seems as though you've been becoming less and less interactive in the comments recently. And when you do, it's certainly shorter and less personal than usual - particularly compared to the original Plum Line.

Maybe it's just me, but, what's up?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 27, 2010 8:47 AM | Report abuse

To counter the Dem attempts to define Boehner, it seems clear to me that the GOP ought to mount a strong narrative which pictures Boehner, while youthful, looking to the nightime stars and rushing into the family kitchen where he tells mom and dad of his decision to become a brave and exciting astronaut. "Mom, Dad, I'll make you so proud. And it's what I want to do for my country. From today and and every day and forever, I promise that I will drink 3 gallons of Tang."

Posted by: bernielatham | August 27, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Good Day, All.

Posted by: wbgonne | August 27, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Funny. Many Dems will argue Obama was too liberal. Liberals will claim Obama was a corporatist sell out.

Is there even an acceptable middle ground?

Posted by: mikefromArlington | August 27, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

after being lied to about WMD's and the seriousness of the threat Saddam faced,and the travesty of a federal response to Katrina, how could anyone trust the Bush administration to do the right thing, and not be lying about the surge? of course the lawmakers should have voted against it, considering the track record Bush43 and company had, how could they be trusted? I'm thankful that the surge was relatively successful, but it shouldn't have been needed in the first place, if Bush43/Rummy had listened to the generals, and put enough boots on the ground to start with, it wouldn't have been neccessary. But no they went the "cheap" route, which turned out not to be so cheap, indeed, costing hundreds of billions more than anticipated.

Posted by: katem1 | August 27, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

@mikefromArlington: "Is there even an acceptable middle ground?"

Well, I suppose it depends who you are. I think there is, and I think Obama has occupied it admirably. Most of the more "liberal" parts of legislation that has passed has come from the house, as far as I have been able to determine. Obama did say he supported a public option, but that's hardly ultra-liberal. And he signed the legislation without it.

However, most of my fellow conservatives would disagree with me.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 27, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

"Many Dems will argue Obama was too liberal."

Do you think Obama was too liberal? Isn't that a right wing talking point? A handful of Blue Dogs may campaign on that but I think that's about it and they'll probably lose either way. Should we have weakened the legislation even more to retain them?

"Liberals will claim Obama was a corporatist sell out."

Now you're the one channeling "NewsRef". A lot of liberals think the corporations own our government, a handful may think Obama's a sellout, but most will just keep fighting to reclaim a government by the people.

To fight for something, such as a more progressive agenda, doesn't mean we're fighting against our own side. It's not a zero sum game.

Have a nice day all, I'm out.

Posted by: lmsinca | August 27, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

"But a new CBS poll asks the question very clearly, and gets a clear answer: Fifty six percent say let them expire; barely more than a third say keep them."

I wonder how a new, updated progressive tax structure would go over? One that lowered taxes on the lower and middle classes permanently (more hollowing out the middle, down to the 1% or 2% or whatever, rather that dropping the percentage of income tax paid to 0% for more lower-middle class folks), and then raising taxes progressively on incomes over $250k by very small percentage points, so every $250k in income, taxes go up by 1%, to 69% or some similar arbitrary, but high, figure.

So folks with a billion dollar income pay more in taxes than the guy with $100 million, who pays more than the guy with $50 million in income and so on.

Otherwise, we should abandon the progressive tax structure, as it seems largely pointless when it stops being progressive as such relatively low incomes, and go to a flat tax or something.

Clearly, letting the rich keep more of what they earn is not a panacea in terms of job creation, or a robust economy. Perhaps trying a more demand side approach, where the rich (who, I know, already shoulder the lion's share of the tax burden--ah, the terrible tragedy of immense wealth) pay even more of the tax burden than they already do, and the middle-class and the McMansion class pay less in taxes (thus putting more money in the hands of folks who will spend it immediately, putting it to work in the economy) would be a good idea.

Not that it's going to happen in the current climate.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 27, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Will Greg publicly apologize to the secular Muslim NY Cabbie and his family for inciting the pro-jihad mosque vigilantee to moby violence?

It's past time to take a little ownership for Greg's orchestrated Islamo-supremacist advocacy campaign here.

What gets lost in all Greg's recent demogoguery is that the Muslim cabbie victim is himself a hateful hater, bigot, inauthentic, xenophobic, neanderthal-- at least, if you go by the criterion set out by Bloomberg and his Quisling toadies: Opposing the mosque is "Islamophobia"-- period. Right?

As an anti-jihadist, however, I’m inclined to observe that the Muslim cabbie’s pretty much consonant in his opinion of the Cordoba mosque with a super majority (70%) of his fellow Americans.

That Greg's proteges will be disappointed to discover the opinion of this Muslim cabbie apostate tells you all you need to know about the two "sides" of this debate.

Own it, Quislings.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 27, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The question I want answered: Do you support extending the Obama-Pelosi tax cuts passed as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?

Posted by: benintn | August 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

"However, most of my fellow conservatives would disagree with me."

I suspect you're correct in that.

One common notion promulgated by those less familiar with history than one would hope an education system would produce is that the modern American left as represented by the Dem party is extreme in leftness. Not so much. An anecdote in the recent coverage of Hitchens brought this to mind. As a college student, he handed out the type of tract that was common on every campus back then with a title of "The Worker's Manifesto" or some such.

And that was common on pretty much every campus across north america and England back then. Few campuses didn't have a Marxist/Leninist club or publication or both. Even in the eighties, there were traces of this remaining at my campus in BC but really just traces. Now? Nah. Che T-shirts? I can't even recall the last one I've seen and it was decades ago. I expect that if one plotted out the sales of The Communist Manifesto and Road to Serfdom over the last four decades one would get a pretty perfect X graph.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 27, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

[katem1 whined: "after being lied to about WMD's"]

Enough whining about WMD. Why do Quislings ignore the 22 other legitimate casus belli cited by Congress against Saddam: Saddam did try to kill a former American president; the U.N. embargo was violated (as were its inspection protocols); the 1991 accords were ignored; the genocide of brave Kurds did happen; suicide bombers were being given bounties; terrorists (including those involved into the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) were given sanctuary by Saddam; and on and on.

Perhaps Quislings prefer the rape rooms of Qusay and Uday to the elected government of our new Iraqi allies?

And there’s no need to remind folks. Patriotic Americans are well aware that Leftists supported Saddam and al-Qaeda, you betcha'! BEHOLD! The Leftist-Fascist Hall of Shame @
http://www.zombietime.com/hall_of_shame/

Don’t be Saddam-apologists your whole lives, Quislings.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 27, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Just read that Schoen editorial. Look, people - I voted Bush in 2000 and I am certainly not a flaming liberal. But that editorial was stupid. Obama has already been touting his accomplishments and he's certainly been different in his governing style from the way Clinton started doing things in 1993. I don't know what planet Doug Schoen is living on.

Posted by: benintn | August 27, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

We no longer have a party of the left and a party of the right in America. We have right and far right. I do wish some progressives and other Democrats would come out amd be loud and proud like Sanders, Kucinich, Grayson and Weiner. I mean, if you're going to be one, be a big red one. If you're ashamed of your beliefs or afraid of the rightwing noise machine, you are in the wrong place. Of course Fox etc. are going to try to characterize Democrats as ultraliberal--look what they're doing to the reliabel rightists like Bennett. Ignore that and do what you know is right. When the left engages in trying to disprve the lies, they lose the narrative. Be proud and be proactive.

Posted by: wd1214 | August 27, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Glenn Beck;

He often talks about standing up for Christian values. That would lead his followers to believe that Mr. Beck is a Christian.

The truth is that he converted from being a Christian to a Mormon, several years ago.

Is Glenn Beck trying to hide that fact, from his audience?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

@ Kevin - I'm a lousy numbers guy and don't delve much into the grit of economics. But I have no problem with taxing the bejesus out of the very wealthy while reducing the burden on everyone else (particularly those suffering most). That's not simply on the moral case of minimizing suffering or on the Rawlsian view of justice in anyone's social/genetic/economic situation but on the observation that America rose to prominence in the world re wealth and power (and relative economic equality - a good in itself) during the era of Keynsian economics and very high tax rates on the most wealthy. I recall a Scientific American article that ran not long into Reagan's tenure that revealed a new and troubling trend towards increasing economic inequality. And now, here we is.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 27, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

???

"....which will only lead to more political gains this fall for the folks who managed to block a big enough stimulus in the first place."

The GOP didn't block a "big enough" stimulus. Obama and the Dems never proposed a "big enough" stimulus.

Posted by: davidmizner | August 27, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

@davidmizner - and why didn't they?

Posted by: bernielatham | August 27, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

From Pro-Publica

"Banks’ Self-Dealing Super-Charged Financial Crisis"


http://www.propublica.org/article/banks-self-dealing-super-charged-financial-crisis


"

Over the last two years of the housing bubble, Wall Street bankers perpetrated one of the greatest episodes of self-dealing in financial history.

Faced with increasing difficulty in selling the mortgage-backed securities that had been among their most lucrative products, the banks hit on a solution that preserved their quarterly earnings and huge bonuses:

They created fake demand.

A ProPublica analysis shows for the first time the extent to which banks -- primarily Merrill Lynch, but also Citigroup, UBS and others -- bought their own products and cranked up an assembly line that otherwise should have flagged.

The products they were buying and selling were at the heart of the 2008 meltdown -- collections of mortgage bonds known as collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs.

As the housing boom began to slow in mid-2006, investors became skittish about the riskier parts of those investments. So the banks created -- and ultimately provided most of the money for -- new CDOs. Those new CDOs bought the hard-to-sell pieces of the original CDOs. The result was a daisy chain [1] that solved one problem but created another: Each new CDO had its own risky pieces. Banks created yet other CDOs to buy those. "

....................

President Bush then obtained the massive TARP bailout of those very same Wall St. Crooks.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"one word title: "Victory."

Ohhh. Sounds a bit hubristic, and something that could come back and bite hard. Iraq is so very fragile right now. Sure, we had a military victory, but the surge? The jury is still out on that. If the surge was supposed to create a space for political reconciliation between the factions, well, that has NOT happened. There is no seated government six months after an election.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 27, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Quote of the day:

“We see Glenn Beck as a guy who is bringing revelations of understanding to the American people,” FreedomWorks Chairman Dick Armey said, commenting on this weekend’s “Restoring Honor” rally." h/t Think Progress

And an earlier quote from the same creature:

"Politics is about 97 percent fiction and 3 percent imagination."

Posted by: bernielatham | August 27, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

I saw a Michele Bachmann re-election ad last night and there's obviously a lot of money going her way. It was slick. She comes on all glossy and pretty, which is all a large chunk of the population will ever see about her. Then a Mike Row like character pops up and says he's Election Guy and ready to tell us about Taryl Clark, who then appears in a picture that looks like she's in Detox. Election Guy talks about how often Clark has voted to raise taxes, that that's all she's done, that she's Taxin' Taryl. I'll be back, he says, leaving us to wait for the next installment of Taryl's sins.

I know Michele Bachmann is entertainment, but if you have any spare dollars, maybe send them Taryl Clark's way. Bachmann is the kind of entertainment that's really way too expensive to keep.

Posted by: AllButCertain | August 27, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Iraq is still a bigger mess today, than it was before Bush/Cheney Invaded the place.

They can not even form a government, and the terrorist attacks are still occurring on a daily basis.

Victory my Arse! We made the place a haven for terrorists, and then managed to dampen them down, long enough to get the hell out of the place, that we were lied into.

The place is going to descend into chaos, soon after we have drawn down.

Right Wing Nut jobs, are like a guy who breaks into someone else's house, gets the hell beat out of him, by the occupants, and finally manages to escape out the back door, then starts bragging about how well he did on that break in.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Hi ABC - That sort of thing is going to get way worse with the Citizens United ruling, I'm afraid.

Good day folks.

Posted by: bernielatham | August 27, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

@Liam-still: "The truth is that he converted from being a Christian to a Mormon, several years ago. Is Glenn Beck trying to hide that fact, from his audience?"

A few years ago, I'd listen to about 10 minutes of Beck's radio show most days, probably for about six months or so. Sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. He mentioned his Mormonism several times. It may be news to the non-listener, but to his audience . . . I'm pretty sure they all know.

@Liam-still: "President Bush then obtained the massive TARP bailout of those very same Wall St. Crooks."

With the enthusiastic support of then-senator Barack Obama, as I recall. And many other Democrats.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 27, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

Henry Paulson got down on his knees and begged for the TARP money, or else the country was going to completely fall apart. He did not mention anything about how the Wall St. Crooks had cheated, and brought about the impending disaster. Of course Senators were not going to vote for letting the economy collapse.

I just want people to know, that it was Bush who sought and obtained the TARP funding, and not President Obama, as many Tea Party types now are claiming.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

"Letting Bush tax cuts for the rich expire is popular"

With the general public, sure. Now go back and check how it polls among the demographic most likely to contribute to political campaigns. Because on most issues, that's the only one they're listening to.

" Ruh roh. Liz Cheney is now grading public officials on how shamelessly they're willing to demagogue on national security issues."

This sounds useful. Just flip her scale (whichever end she thinks is better isn't) and it would be a very reliable metric of who's constructive and who isn't.

Posted by: zimbar | August 27, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

The Economy did much better before the Bush Tax Cuts. Jobs were created, and there was an annual budget surplus in place.

After the Bush Tax Cuts, we lost millions of jobs, and a annual budget surplus was turned into a huge annual budget deficit.

Since those tax cuts did the exact opposite of what Bush promised they would do, it would be stupid, to renew them.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

The comment section on Eugene Robinson's piece today is both the funniest and most depressing I've read to date. I don't have a dictionary handy so can anybody tell me if they've changed the definition of "racist" while I wasn't looking? Apparently many people are under the impression it now means: "1. -noun- A black man who voices a liberal opinion on economic policy, see: Obama".

Posted by: eadsiv | August 27, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting roundup of how ME journalists are covering our internal public "debate" on Islam:

"How Arabs view the anti-mosque movement"

http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/25/us_anti_islam_movement_angering_mainstream_arabs_not_extremists

Posted by: suekzoo1 | August 27, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin Re: Taxes

I certainly can't get into the weeds as much about taxes as I can about space...but one idea that Robert Reich brought up really got me interested.

Cut payroll taxes for those making under $20 down to zero, and pay for it by increasing payroll taxes on those making over $250k.

Most people that are in poverty pay much more in payroll tax than they do from income tax, so this sort of tax cut would be much more effective in getting money in their pockets. Also, since they are on the lower end of the economic spectrum, they are much more likely to spend that money - thus boosting demand.

Generally those that make $250k+ aren't making "all" their money via a salary or paycheck anyways, so the hit won't be nearly as bad for them as the upside will be for those getting the cut.

I would go one progressive step further than this though. No payroll taxes for anyone under $20k, then cut 50% for those between $20-50k, then cut 25% between $50-100k, no change between $100-250k. Then up payroll taxes on those making over $250k some, those making $500k+ a little more, and those making $1m a little more than that.

I'd be curious what sort of increase we'd have to see from the 250, 500, and 1m tax brackets to pay for those sorts of cuts to the lower/middle classes.

NOTE: All of this is payroll taxes, not income tax.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | August 27, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Sharron Angle refuses to disavow claim that there are "domestic enemies" in Congress:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/08/sharron_angle_refuses_to_disav.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | August 27, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

It is laughable that Glenn Beck is taken seriously. Worse, that he is even mentioned in the same breath as MLK. If you compare their accomplishments, it's a joke (see what I mean here http://bit.ly/bs5DPm). In truth all Beck is doing is promoting his celebrity and his books, thus building his wealth. And the Tea Partiers? They are willing dupes to help him, and they get nothing but the deserved ridicule and derision from having a frat boy and morning zoo DJ their intellectual and spiritual leader.

Posted by: dh1976 | August 27, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

It is laughable that Glenn Beck is taken seriously. Worse, that he is even mentioned in the same breath as MLK. If you compare their accomplishments, it's a joke (see what I mean here http://bit.ly/bs5DPm). In truth all Beck is doing is promoting his celebrity and his books, thus building his wealth. And the Tea Partiers? They are willing dupes to help him, and they get nothing but the deserved ridicule and derision from having a frat boy and morning zoo DJ their intellectual and spiritual leader.

Posted by: dh1976 | August 27, 2010 10:56 AM | Report abuse

You know what I'd love to see?

1. Let the Bush tax cuts get sunsetted. Done and done.

2. Introduce a new bill to hold middle class tax rates where they are temporarily, say for another year or two and dare Republicans to filibuster it.

3. If/when they do, call on them to explain why one was a good idea and the other one wasn't.

The pretzel logic alone should be worth the price of admission.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

"And: Black leaders hammer Beck for holding his rally on the anniversary of King's "I have a dream" speech."

And with your past passion about the opposition to the m/Ic/w in mind, presumably you condemn these "Black leaders" for trampling on the constutition by trying to deny Beck his constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and speech. These people must come out in support of Beck's rally, don't you think? Anything less would be, in your words, "un-American", no?

Posted by: ScottC3 | August 27, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"Elevating Boehner as the face of the Bad Old GOP"
--------------------------------------------

I still say he's the Bad Orange Face of the ~New~ GOP -- a Republican party with its tea bag clamped firmly in the jaws of the radical right, that has long since abandoned actual conservatism in any real sense of the word.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

"The public's verdict: A new CBS poll finds that 59 percent think the war was a mistake, including a majority of independents, and 51 percent think we failed to accomplish our objectives."
---------------------------------------------

Of course 75% of us thought invading Irag in the first place was a ~good~ idea. In fairness though, that was when it was going to be a cakewalk.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I was using the word "us" rhetorically in that last comment, BTW. I was personally never on that particular bandwagon.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

"Shocker of the day: Clinton pollster Doug Schoen, who has repeatedly insisted that passing health reform would be politically catastrophic for Dems, is now warning that unless Obama lurches to the center and pulls a Clinton, he may not be reelected."
---------------------------------------------

Probably still mad about Obama's pollsters eating his lunch.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Ask Mr Schoen what is Bill Clinton's legacy, after having had two full terms.

I can't think of any thing major, of the enduring legacy kind, that can be pointed to by historians.


On the other hand, President Obama has already accomplished health care reform, banking reform, equal pay, for women doing the same work, appointed two women to the Supreme Court; while dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and having two screwed up wars handed to him, when he took office.

President Obama has already created a lasting legacy, if he never accomplishes another thing, and he has been on the job for less time, that even Quitter Palin served, before running out on the voters.

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "And with your past passion about the opposition to the m/Ic/w in mind, presumably you condemn these 'Black leaders' for trampling on the constutition by trying to deny Beck his constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and speech."

I'm waiting for the accusations of irrational Glennbeckophobia. Because, any time anyone right-of-center doesn't like something, it's because they are simultaneously irrationally phobic, and bigoted, regarding whatever it is they don't like. Or filled with anti-x hatred.

Even the vaguest queasiness over the Ground Zero (2 blocks from) Muslim Community Center is regarded wish suspicions of barely concealed bigotry and Islamophobia. Any questions of the motivations, or propriety, are balderdash and poppycock. And the only important thing is that, constitutionally, Park51 is entitled to build their community center (as indeed they are).

Oh, and also, anyone outside of lower Manhattan is now allowed to have an opinion about it. Which I also agree with, actually.

Glenn Beck, now . . . well, that's a different story.

As I may have mentioned before, I'm not a big Beck fan. He's too liberal with the "racist" descriptor. He does have, as Lewis Black pointed out, Nazi-Tourettes. But there is clearly a different standard applied to his exercising his constitutional right to peaceably assemble than there is to Park51 exercising their religious freedoms (and rights to self-determination) in constructing a community center near Ground Zero.

Given the powerful point Greg made of the absurdity of a "Mosque Exclusion Zone", I await a similar point about the desired "Beck Exclusion Zone", either location wise (perhaps they wouldn't object if he wasn't holding the rally and the Lincoln memorial), or a set of "Beck Blackout Dates", so we would know on what dates Glenn Beck and his supporters should be allowed to exercise their constitutional rights.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 27, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@ Liam-still | August 27, 2010 11:41 AM:

A country at peace with its neighbors, respected in the world, with near full employment and a $2 billion budget surplus?

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

[CaID: "A country at peace with its neighbors, respected in the world, with near full employment and a $2 billion budget surplus?"]

Wow. Who knew CaID was a Contract-with-America fan?

Bravo, Gingrich legacy. Time to repeat those conservative electoral successes in 2010.

Posted by: KaddafiDelendaEst | August 27, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

He's here all week, folks.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3 and Kevin_Willis:

MLK Jr.'s neice, Alveda King, has come to Glenn Beck's defense at least -- and will be SPEAKING at the rally.

http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2010/0826/Glenn-Beck-8-28-rally-It-s-a-matter-of-honor

Posted by: JakeD2 | August 27, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

"And here's the random trivia of the day: Did you know Michele Bachmann knows how to fire an assault rifle?"

She must be mighty tempted right about now.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Liam-still | August 27, 2010 11:41 AM:

A country at peace with its neighbors, respected in the world, with near full employment and a $2 billion budget surplus?

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 12:10 PM

....................

I asked for an enduring Legacy that historians could point to, and you give me a temporary achievement, that was wiped out, and reversed within three years, after he left office.

What did he accomplish, that has endured, and will stand the test of time?

Posted by: Liam-still | August 27, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

@ Liam-still | August 27, 2010 1:03 PM:

Maybe some how-not-to's I guess. I think that Obama's success on healthcare reform owed a lot to Clinton's trailblazing mistakes, such as surrounding himself with Washington outsiders, dictating terms to congress and drawing a line in the sand insisting on a public option.

Posted by: CalD | August 27, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

@TheBBQChickenMadness: I like your tax plan. I don't object to relieving the under $20k class of their payroll taxes (those are, on the whole, younger workers, often still living at home, and that extra money would go straight to saving for a home, toward the future renting of an apartment, and/or the purchase of a car, all of which stimulates the economy).

I especially like slashing taxes on the under $50k and $100k crowd. These folks will put that money to work in the economy, almost always.

BTW, I don't consider "tax cuts for the rich" inherently bad, but clearly they don't do, in terms of economic stimulus, what a supply-sider would hope. So, shifting the tax burden more to the higher incomes (who yes, I know, already pay most of it) and off the middle class seems like a good idea. Why not try the demand side?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | August 27, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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