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Happy Hour Roundup

* Howard Kurtz says the onus is on the GOP to "humanize" Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, because he "comes off as a permanently bronzed, country club Republican, reflexively saying no to everything the administration wants."

Are we sure Boehner would view that as a problem?

* Meanwhile, Obama's speech tomorrow on the economy in Cleveland, where Boehner delivered his speech attacking Obama recently, is all about elevating Boehner as the face of the Bad Old GOP.

* The White House pushback continues as Rahm Emanuel claims President Obama's new infrastructure spending and business tax break proposals will enable him to "seize the economic initiative."

* And: Robert Gibbs responds to all the bleak polling by acknowledging voter concern about the economy but asserting that "by virtually any measure our economy is in a better place than it was two years ago.".

* Gallup counters the conventional wisdom, finding the two parties are tied in the generic Congressional matchup after Republicans had been leading. Wonder if this will get lots of attention, too...

* And the DCCC pushes back, releasing a raft of internal polls showing Dems ahead in some very difficult races.

* Nate Silver skewers the myth that Dem candidates are uniformly running away from health care reform, though the picture is complex.

* Ben Smith says Richard Daley's decision not to seek re-election as Chicago mayor gives Rahm an exit strategy and a chance at redemption after a midterm wipeout.

* And it looks like Emanuel is really considering it.

* Cause of the day: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is out with a new petition calling on voters to pledge not to support Rahm for mayor, on the grounds that he's a "weak Democrat" who sold out liberal principles.

* Eric Kleefeld notes that Michele Bachmann is scrounging up ever new and creative ways to rehash the old tax-and-spend liberal slur.

* And does Sharron Angle's retooled campaign now have a real shot at knocking off Harry Reid?

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  |  September 7, 2010; 5:35 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections , Happy Hour Roundup , Health reform , House Dems , House GOPers , Senate Republicans , economy  
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Next: The Morning Plum

Comments

The Gallup change in numbers is mindblowing.

What the hell are they doing over there? Anyone in the MSM covering this? Cuz it looks like mostly "the sky is falling on the Dems" everywhere I look.

I'll say it again: the Dems have to make sure gotv is in high gear. They don't have to convince the WH correspondents if they can get out the vote.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 7, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

"he "comes off as a permanently bronzed, country club Republican, reflexively saying no to everything the administration wants."

He comes off...duh...because he is EXACTLY that. Has anyone seen the obscene number of the rounds of golf he plays a year or the amount he spends on his country club dues.

@BG "I'll say it again: the Dems have to make sure gotv is in high gear. They don't have to convince the WH correspondents if they can get out the vote."

Amen brother! Maybe we can give em the same kind of election Dewey won...errrr...was reported to have won. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is out with a new petition calling on voters to pledge not to support Rahm for mayor, on the grounds that he's a "weak Democrat" who sold out liberal principles."

You know, because up to now we've had such awesomely progressive mayors.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 7, 2010 5:55 PM | Report abuse

"...elevating Boehner as the face of the Bad Old GOP."
----------------------------------------------

I still prefer, The Bad Orange Face of the ~New~ GOP. Again, this is NOT your father's Republican party (and it sure as hell isn't Lincoln's).

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

I may have to ask this of our conservative commenters here several times over the next 8 weeks, but, what *exactly* are the GOP's economic plans?

This is a sincere request, btw. Have at it...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | September 7, 2010 6:01 PM | Report abuse

Tom Toles, for the win.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/tomtoles/2010/09/the_audacity_of_voters.html

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 7, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

whatever it takes for Rahm to leave the White House is OK with me; just do it quickly. Avoid the post election rush and leave now. Please. Pretty please? With sugar on top???

But I don't think he can win the Chicago mayoral race. He should have run for Obama's Senate seat.

Posted by: matt_ahrens | September 7, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

"the old tax-and-spend liberal slur"

Slur how? Liberals generally advocate more taxing and spending.

Is there some controversy about this? Why is it all I've hear for two years (really forever) from Obama and crew is that my taxes, government revenue and spending are not hight enough?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 7, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

qb, why do you hate facts? ruk, can you please remind our friend of the difference between, say, the Clinton admin and GWB?

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 7, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, bully for the Democrats in turning it around a la Gallup. But isn't it a little late in the cycle for registered voter samples versus likely voters? 

"And: Robert Gibbs responds to all the bleak polling by acknowledging voter concern about the economy but asserting that "by virtually any measure our economy is in a better place than it was two years ago.".

Is Gibbs arguing that we would have stayed in freefall until, er, 0% employment?  Have we lifted off the bottom?  Just to be extra snarky, during the fall, we were still above the bottom so arguably, we were doing better 

Posted by: TrollMcWingnut | September 7, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

And: Robert Gibbs responds to all the bleak polling by acknowledging voter concern about the economy but asserting that "by virtually any measure our economy is in a better place than it was two years ago.".
---------------------------------------------

I really think Democrats need to just go out and beat the hell out of Republicans on the economy. Republicans look to be swinging the public their way on economic questions right now just by virtue of staying on the attack and being out of the line of fire themselves. But I'm pretty convinced it should be possible to fight this race to a draw if Democrats can drive down Republican favorability on economic matters even 4 or 5 points.

That should be pretty doable given that to whatever extent government is to blame for our current economic problems, the lion's share of that blame properly does belong to Republicans. It's going to be up to Democrats to do it themselves though. You're probably not going to interest the MSM in much of anything besides who's up and who's down from this point on.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

Obama channels Hendrix?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20100907/el_yblog_upshot/obama-channels-hendrix-on-critics-they-talk-about-me-like-a-dog

Posted by: sbj3 | September 7, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

"The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is out with a new petition calling on voters to pledge not to support Rahm for mayor, on the grounds that he's a "weak Democrat" who sold out liberal principles."

Petty. Good luck, Mr. Mayor.

Posted by: wbgonne | September 7, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse

"Gallup counters the conventional wisdom, finding the two parties are tied in the generic Congressional matchup after Republicans had been leading. Wonder if this will get lots of attention, too..."

Counters the conventional wisdom how? Dems were tied in the generic ballot in RV's in 94' and lost 52 seats. Dems need to be up by at least five in the generic ballot to have any chance at all of holding the House.

Get lots of attention why? Dems were up six on this measure in the middle of July and it didn't get much attention. That's because one weeks worth of results mean little. Dems would need to hold a significant lead for three weeks in a row for it to have any impact on the CW.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | September 7, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"The Obama administration can’t continue to fund embryonic stem-cell research while appealing a ban on government support for any activity using cells taken from human embryos, a federal judge ruled."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-09-07/stem-cell-funding-ban-upheld-during-u-s-government-s-appeal-judge-rules.html

Posted by: sbj3 | September 7, 2010 7:04 PM | Report abuse

* Howard Kurtz says the onus is on the GOP to "humanize" Speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, because he "comes off as a permanently bronzed, country club Republican, reflexively saying no to everything the administration wants."

Are we sure Boehner would view that as a problem?
---------------------------

Hilarious! (And probably true that Boehner doesn't.)

Posted by: associate20 | September 7, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

John Boehner has successfully turned the tables on the Democrats; so, why should he change?

Posted by: dozas | September 7, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

@Truthteller12:

"Dems need to be up by at least five in the generic ballot to have any chance at all of holding the House."

Actually, that's not true. Dems have historically tended to underperform in the popular vote, while actually OVERPERFORMING in actual seats won:

"In all but four election cycles (1946, 1952, 1996, and 2004), the percentage of U.S. House seats won by Democrats was greater than the cumulative percentage of votes cast for their candidates on Election Day.

For example, in 2008, Democrats won 52.9 percent of the votes cast for U.S. Representatives across the nation's 435 Congressional Districts. However, the Democratic Party won 59.1 percent of the seats in Congress (257) - or 27 more seats in their favor than if their seats had been allotted based on a 'proportional share' of the vote (230).

Republicans, meanwhile, won 42.4 percent of the vote in 2008. However, the GOP won just 40.9 percent of the seats in Congress - or 6 seats fewer than their 'proportional share' (178 vs. 184)."

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/cspg/smartpolitics/2010/04/is_the_democratic_party_overre.php

So, ultimately, even if the Republicans poll well (i.e., hold Democrats to a tie, or worse/better -- depending on your outlook) in the generic ballot, there's no guarantee that they will actually win the House. And, it should go without saying that while generic ballot polling may be insightful about potential voter preferences, generic balloting in no way GUARANTEES actual voter performance.

"Get lots of attention why? Dems were up six on this measure in the middle of July and it didn't get much attention. That's because one weeks worth of results mean little. Dems would need to hold a significant lead for three weeks in a row for it to have any impact on the CW."

First, I think the media obsesses too much about polls.

However, I think it would only be fair that this got the same level of attention that the "Republicans up by 10 in the Gallup Poll" got last week.

It's a matter of media fairness, and ultimately a test of whether or not the media will actually present information to the public that contradicts previously presented narratives about Republicans waltzing to control of Congress.

Furthermore, this poll is especially noteworthy, because it represents a substantial (i.e., statistically significant) shift from last week, and the first time in several weeks that Democrats and Republicans have been tied in this poll, which is considered the "gold standard" among many election prognosticators.

Posted by: associate20 | September 7, 2010 7:25 PM | Report abuse

qb, why do you hate facts? ruk, can you please remind our friend of the difference between, say, the Clinton admin and GWB?

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 7, 2010 6:20 PM
----

I can tackle that one. The GWB admin, until the final two years, was like the current Obama admin---one party rule. Of course GWB could actual govern, as in pick off a few Democrats here and there. The Clinton admin experienced divided government; Dems had the presidency and Repubs had the Congress. Since that formula worked so well, what say we try it again beginning this November?

Posted by: Brigade | September 7, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Rahm Emanuel was ever serious about running for Mayor of Chicago - he was just using that as leverage (saying to the people in the White House - that he could leave his position if he wanted to)


Emanuel would be better off as a highly paid lobbyist.

Emanuel should think about this clearly - if he starts in lobbying right now, the democrats are still in control for a bit - if he waits the democrats will be completely out.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

Q.B. I'm happy for you my friend. Your last post reveals that you earn more than $250,000 annually. Sincerely...I am pleased for you but alas I can't feel a bit sorry for you when your taxes go up. What's the old saying.."I can feel for you I just can reach that far". :-) Still glad you are doing so well.

@BG Thanks for the Tom Toles cartoon. He is one of my faves..along with the Post's Ann Telnaes who provides some very clever animation...usually looped with audio of the very person she is animating.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

"John Boehner has successfully turned the tables on the Democrats; so, why should he change?"

Because the skills necessary to lead an obstructive opposition are far different than those needed to, ya know, actually GOVERN.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 7, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Jake - the fix is deader than Texas Roadkill -


It is unbelievable - Im actually wondering if a bunch of people got banned with the new system -


Something happened to cause a mass exodus all at once - it can not be explained by a series of independent, voluntary decisions.


Unless of course, about 10-15 people were being directed by one group.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

"Dems had the presidency and Repubs had the Congress. Since that formula worked so well, what say we try it again beginning this November?"

Because this is not the Republican party of 1994. Ask Bob Bennett what happens when todays Republicans try to work with the opposition.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 7, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I really think Democrats need to just go out and beat the hell out of Republicans on the economy. . . . .
That should be pretty doable given that to whatever extent government is to blame for our current economic problems, the lion's share of that blame properly does belong to Republicans.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 6:41 PM |
-------

Uh... right. Tell me again who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which legalized the exotic financial instruments which led to the current economic meltdown. And who pressured banks into making loans to people who couldn't pay them back? And why hasn't Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ever been called to account?

Oh, but of course it was the Bush tax cuts which caused the whole mess. Earth to liberals: Bush was not a fiscal conservative. Tax cuts can stimulate the economy, but you can't cut taxes by X and then spend 10X and expect to get anywhere.
Oh, but wait, it was the cost of the Iraq War---except that we're told the entire cost to date is still less than the cost of Obama's failed stimulus plan.

As long as Democrats can't face up to their contributions to the poor economy, they will have no credibility. They weren't elected to blame Bush; they were elected to solve problems. If you can't govern with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate (down to 59 this year), an overwhelming majority in the House and the Presidency, then you can't govern at all.

Democrats have controlled Congress since the 2006 elections---almost four years. Refresh my memory. What was the unemployment rate at the end of 2006? And what is it today?

Posted by: Brigade | September 7, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

With apologies to Greg for bringing in another topic, but I live in Florida, land of the wack jobs and a R Gubernatorial nominee who was been part of the largest Medicare/medicaid fraud in history. He used his ill gotten gain to BUY the R nomination for a cool 50 million...reported as his money but in reality money he scammed off the backs of the taxpayers and the sick and elderly in our society.

But back to the real wack job..idiot Jones..I can't bring myself to call such a hater.."Reverend" there is nothing reverend about his slimeball. His is the church planning to burn the Quran on Sept 11th.

Perhaps you've already read General David Petraeus denounciation of this planned activity as being very dangerous for our troops on the ground in Afghanistan as well as counterproductive to Petraeus entire COIN strategy...and indeed there have already been demonstrations in Afghanistan...burning flags..death to Obama..etc...and these demonstrations are now also taking place in Indonesia. Hatred brings such wonderful rewards.

What I find particularly insightful however is the fact that Petraeus compared these right wing CHRISTIAN fanatics to the Taliban. At last someone has the guts to call these faux Christians what they should be called...American Taliban.

Petraeus says...""It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort," Gen. Petraeus said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. "It is PRECISELY THE KIND OF ACTION THE TALIBAN USES and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community."

Emphasis mine...but I'm as sick of bigoted Christians as I am of bigoted Muslims...or bigoted Jews. You know in all honesty I can't say I've ever met or even read about a bigoted Buddhist...perhaps that is what draws me ever increasingly to that religion. Feel free to correct me with any example you can find of bigoted Buddhists.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 7:42 PM | Report abuse

"Ben Smith says Richard Daley's decision not to seek re-election as Chicago mayor gives Rahm an exit strategy and a chance at redemption after a midterm wipeout."
----------------------------------------------

Ben Smith should check the average tenure for a White House chief of staff. Hint: Chances are that Emanuel would be bailing pretty soon anyway, regardless of what Richard Daley did or didn't do. Apparently, a person can only last so long in that particular pressure cooker, even given that they tend to pick the toughest SOBs they can find for the job.

And as always, if you're reading the Politico be careful not to get any stupid on you.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Because the skills necessary to lead an obstructive opposition are far different than those needed to, ya know, actually GOVERN.

Posted by: schrodingerscat | September 7, 2010 7:29 PM
----

Yes. We learn that when we contrast Obama's campaign skills to his time in the White House. He's living proof of your statement. Oh---and I think it's fairly ridiculous to whine about obstructionism with the huge majorities Obama has in Congress. Good grief; if you can't pick off an Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, or Susan Collins here and there, you're obviously not up to the job.

One thing I keep wondering: if the Republicans do regain control of one or both houses of Congress, will that make the Democrats the obstructionists, the "Party of No", if they don't climb on board whatever Republican agenda comes forth?

Posted by: Brigade | September 7, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse


I don't think Rahm Emanuel knew the Daley decision was coming ---


There was absolutely no indication from anyone


And it doesn't seem like it was worked out by Obama to open up something for Rahm either - these guys don't seem like they are working together at all - it is too haphazard.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

@Brigade...I understand your comments and while I can accept that the Dems are not without blame you have some factual inaccuracies here.

First Glass Stegall..Repeal introduced in the Senate by R Phil Gramm..in the House by R Jim Leach..voted along straight party lines in the Senate..with some small bipartisan support in the House. This was a Republican idea not a Democratic one. Clinton..considered by many to be the best Republican President since Ike did indeed sign the legislation. The Dems are perhaps culpable for not fighting it more than simply voting against it...culpability they share for the same reason on the Iraq war..but like Iraq..repeal of Glass Stegall was a REPUBLICAN idea not a Dem idea. And besides Brigade you're going to have to go ten rounds with Q.B. because he posted on the last thread that deregulaton/repeal of Glass Stegall had nothing to do with our current economic crisis.

Also I'm afraid I'm going to have to call you disingenuous for your "filibuster-proof majority" in Congress meme. There were never 60 Dems...certainly Bernie Sanders as an I or Socialist was dependable..but Joe LIEberman campaigned frantically for the REPUBLICAN ticket. He hardly made the Dem majority filibuster proof...a bit of hyperbole on your part there.

But I grant you there is enough blame to go around for this collapse. And as far as the R's controlling the Congress while the Dems have the W.H....you're right in line with the American public there. Historically Americans have preferred splitting power...one party with the W.H. the other party with Congress.

And I feel your pain Brigade because you are dead on...G.W. was no fiscal conservative...nor was St. Ronnie. Bill Clinton..again the best Republican President since Ike was the only fiscal conservative in recent times.

BTW Brigade...an intellectual German acquaintance of mine told me in Germany they view both parties as essentially the same with one difference...

Democrats tax and spend..
Republicans borrow and spend.

I guess that leaves you with Dr. Ron Paul...a man I disagree with but respect enormously for his consistency of position.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

associate20, we're talking about registered voters here since the poll out today is among registered voters. My point is that Dems need to be up by at least five among registered voters to translate into a tie among likely voters.

Posted by: Truthteller12 | September 7, 2010 7:58 PM | Report abuse

@ BGinCHI | September 7, 2010 5:40 PM:

I was just commenting on another blog that if you assume a race pretty much deadlocked at right about 46 to 46 (which I have in fact been assuming up to now), the trend line in the Gallup generic ballot poll forms a very near perfect illustration of the theoretical limits on the precision of statistical sampling. Almost too perfect.

Out of I think 27 polls in the series to date, I believe there's been only that single instance of the number for either party wandering significantly out of a 95% confidence band (i.e., +/- the nominal margin of error) centered on ~46%. And given the 95% confidence limit for the margin of error, you would kind of expect one blooper out of 20 or so polls. It's like, textbook.

Of course I still tend to be kind of skeptical as to whether national generic ballot polls are actually good for much, given that 80-90% of the people being polled live in safe districts for one party or the other, meaning it frankly doesn't matter much what they think. But that's another discussion.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"Cause of the day: The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is out with a new petition calling on voters to pledge not to support Rahm for mayor, on the grounds that he's a "weak Democrat" who sold out liberal principles."
----------------------------------------------

LOL! Think maybe they're still mad about being called f***ing retarded? I have to say I have never exactly been a member of the Rahm Emanuel fan club myself, but I still like sanctimonious thought police like the PCCC a lot less and that, was epic.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 8:26 PM | Report abuse


I don't think Rahm Emanuel knew the Daley decision was coming ---


There was absolutely no indication from anyone


And it doesn't seem like it was worked out by Obama to open up something for Rahm either - these guys don't seem like they are working together at all - it is too haphazard.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 8:28 PM | Report abuse

Someone should write a country song about all those stimulus jobs that people SHOULD have but don't.


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


"Congress gave Obama money to hire me
But a funny thing happened to the gig"


Obama started to spend the money
On batteries to make green cars.


Obama spend the money on windmills
and the money just spun in the wind


Obama started to spend the money
On cars that cost twice as much


Obams started to spend the money
and the American People never got the gigs


My dog ran away - it came back
But I never got my Obama gig


My wife left - she came back
But I never got my Obama gig


My pickup wouldn't start - and now it does
But I never got my Obama gig


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

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

BGinCHI -

Thanks for the Toles cartoon. I like him a lot and this one was really great. I especially like the Bristol-Levi notation at the bottom :)

Did anyone note the passing of Paul Conrad? He wasn't everyone's cup of tea, not even mine, but he sure could get his point across! I have a book of his cartoons and one of my favorites is of Reagan and the the Pope. The Pope is holding his head as Reagan says, "Then it's agreed: You take care of the poor and I'll take care of the rich."

I love political cartoonery!

Posted by: carolanne528 | September 7, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Brigade:

"Tell me again who signed the repeal of Glass-Steagall, which legalized the exotic financial instruments which led to the current economic meltdown."

The repeal of Glass-Steagall did not "legalize exotic financial instruments". It simply allowed banks to participate in investment banking activities, such as trading and underwriting securities, that had long existed.

BTW, I think it is worth reviewing the major institutions that collapsed in the meltdown of '08. Bear Stears...investment bank. Lehman Brothers...investment bank. Merrill Lynch...investment bank. AIG....insurance company. Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the troubles of any of these institutions.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 7, 2010 8:44 PM | Report abuse

rukidding7 wrote,
"Democrats tax and spend..
Republicans borrow and spend."
----

That just about says it. It's so easy to be against spending until you control the purse strings.

I mentioned in the previous thread (I think the thread had been abandoned before I started posting there) that, to be fair, we should recognize that the final bill out of committe to repeal Glass-Steagall passed the Senate 90-8 and was signed into law. I appreciate yours and QB's statements that the repeal was not the sole reason for the economic crisis, but all those worthless "investments" on one side of the bank can't have been helpful to solvency on the other. As with immigration, sometimes the problem is a failure of enforcement rather than a failure of regulation.

Your technically correct that there were never 60 Democrats in the 2009 Senate, but the independents caucus with the Democrats. Olympia Snowe, for at least one Republican, was on board for a triggered public option in HCR, but was blown off by Reid because he thought Leiberman's vote was in the bank. I think Obama and Reid badly mismanaged HCR in the Senate. They should learn how to count before they cut bait. And a bipartisan bill is always safer if things don't work out as planned.

Posted by: Brigade | September 7, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

"And does Sharron Angle's retooled campaign now have a real shot at knocking off Harry Reid?"
---------------------------------------------

Seems like what negative campaigning (or "drawing contrasts" if you prefer) is mostly good for is driving down an opponent's favorability numbers. The thing is, Reid's are already pretty much on the deck. Fairly or unfairly (take your pick) that's been his problem all along. He basically started the race pretty roundly hated so I would tend to doubt that going negative on him at this point will actually do Angle much good.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Great Quotes from History


Roosevelt

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself"

Truman


"You can nuke Japan - twice"

Kennedy


"We choose to go to the Moon."

Reagan


"Tear down this Wall"


Obama


"They talk about me like I'm a dog."


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Brigade and ScottC3

The Glass-Steagall repeal - which Clinton put through - is not defensible


It should have NEVER happened.


Clinton also allowed the DEREGULATION OF DERVIATIVES - and got rid of Regulation Q.

All this allowed Wall Street to RUN WILD.


It was Bill Clinton.

Then Hillary proceeded to raise money from Wall Street for 2 Senate runs - and a Presidential run.

Coincidence ???? You Decide.

.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Just got a phone call at my store.

"Hi, our records show you supported Nick (someoneorother) last election and we wanted to know if you will be supporting him in the next election"

Me: What records would those be?

"Uh, I'm not sure"

Me: Tell me about Nick.

"Uh...we don't have that information"

Me: You're promoting Nick but you don't know anything about him?

"Uh...no, sorry, we don't have that information"

Me: Is Nick a Republican or Democrat?

"He's a Republican. Will you be supporting him in the next election?"

Me: Colorful answer.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 7, 2010 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Brigade....."I think Obama and Reid badly mismanaged HCR in the Senate."

Agreed. But what upsets me more as a progressive is how badly Obama's people...(I'm not inside the W.H. but IMHO I blame Rahm..please go to Chicago) managed the entire debate. They should have gone for the whole enchilada. Public opinion polls done by group after group showed that the American public preferred a "single payer" "Medicare for all" type solution. At minimum they should have gotten a P.O. or at least an early Medicare buy in at 55. I won't hack off conservatives by calling Obama "The Great Communicator" you can keep that title for Reagan...but certainly Obama was the best since Reagan. He went all wonkish and bi partisan when he should have gone for what we really need. Virtually every health care expert predicts costs are going to drive us there anyway. In addition it wasn't like he would have put the Private insurance companies out of business. Virtually everybody I know who is on Medicare..(admittedly a skewed sample since I am among the blessed and my friends reflect that success)..have to purchase supplemental insurance to offset Medicare co pays. The fact that Obama allowed the lobbyists to create "death panels' and rationing without even raising so much a peep or using all the real life illustrations that show the Insurance companies are doing just that already...will be a disappointment with Obama's administration that will last a long time for me...that and 30,000 more troops in a futile struggle in Afghanistan.

Before I get blasted by my centrist colleagues...don't worry...I don't suffer an enthusiasm gap...with R nominees like Rick the scumbag Scott here in Florida...I am VERY fired up to vote.

Again Brigade...don't know that we agree on everything...but I apologize for getting off to a bad start with you. I do respect your opinions..even the ones I disagree with...just as I respect Dr. Ron Paul because he may be the only politician of either party who I've NEVER heard pander. Alas his son is no chip off of the old block.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Truthteller12


You are correct about the polling data - plus this year is going to be a roller coaster because the demographics are going to go back to normal - for a set of reasons, Obama in 2008 caused the normal demos to shift.


The line - as you correctly state - is the Republicans are better off than we think.

The truth is the bottom could completely fall out of the democrats this year - I don't know how far that would be - given gerrrymandering and the combination of Senate seats up for election this year - but it is difficult to see how the democrats are going to be able to stop this now - they are in free fall. And everytime Obama starts up again - like his whining over the weekend, the democrats get worse.

Obama's speech last week was a disaster - it did not help him. Instead, the speech highlighted Obama's character flaw that he refused to be bipartisan and say that Bush was correct on the Surge.


THEN - Obama went on to highlight that he has been ignoring the ECONOMY for the past year and a half - not a good idea. The democrats have a mess - they all voted for health care - and everyone wants it repealed. Obama INSISTED on making that the issue of the year - and then he forced all the democrats to vote for it. OUCH OUCH OUCH AND THEN MORE OUCH - AND THEN OUCH AGAIN.


.

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | September 7, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Rahm Emanuel initially accepted the job with the understanding that it was only a two-year commitment. No doubt he is leaving by the first of next year, but not for a lobbying job because his contract with the Obama administration forbids it. Axelrod also said he would take the job for only two years.

Posted by: Beeliever | September 7, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

BG, what is your point?

Higher taxes and spending, relatively speaking, is definitional to liberalism.

It's something you guys are proud of. Plum Liners are always boasting of the nobility of this philosophy.

How does comparing Clinton and Bush refute this?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 7, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

Q.B. "Higher taxes and spending, relatively speaking, is definitional to liberalism."

You'll forgive me if I don't accept a conservative's definition of liberalism.
And not to be snide or anything I thought perhaps I was mistaken and so I went to the dictionary.

lib·er·al·ism - a political or social philosophy advocating the freedom of the individual, parliamentary systems of government, nonviolent modification of political, social, or economic institutions to assure unrestricted development in all spheres of human endeavor, and governmental guarantees of individual rights and civil liberties.

That is the DICTIONARY definition...not what you on the right have distorted it to mean. Because your side has successfully demonized the word liberal, it's come to have changed meaning as significantly as the word gay. Your side has turned that word into something that is far removed from reality and so I call myself a progressive...perhaps like a gay (non homosexual) person now calls themself happy to avoid any confusion.

But enough about semantics..you don't even have the politics correct. I consider myself a fiscal conservative.

You see today in America if you're for spending almost as much as the rest of the world combined on military spending..U.S. 46% rest of world 54%
http://www.globalissues.org/article/75/world-military-spending
You are called a conservative. No matter how large the Homeland Security and the Military bureaucracies become, no matter how bloated...support them totally and you are still for small government.

However, decide to replace some of that spending by transferring to infrastructure or social programs you are a big government FDR liberal. Campaign to become the LAST Civilized country in the world to provide health care for it's citizens and you are called a liberal..or worse a socialist which of course is conflated with communism by some of the very same ignorant morons who have posted here.

I respect Brigade's distress because yeah our country is out of control and can't prioritize. Let's cut our military spending..gradually to that of our largest competitor China...the money we'd save would pay for Medicare for all...infrastructure..and allow us to ALL enjoy lower taxes. That is what this liberal would like to see happen...fiscal responsibility...redirect and reduce spending..balance the budget and reduce the deficit and cut taxes. A liberal's fondest dream.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

ruk, I think you make a lot of unwitting assumptions, but in any event I'm sorry you resent people who earn high incomes and feel entitled to judge how much they should keep. I'm glad I don't support a party or philosophy dedicated to punishing and taking from others, or take satisfaction in it. It's really what is destroying this country.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 7, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

@ Brigade | September 7, 2010 7:42 PM:

"Earth to liberals: Bush was not a fiscal conservative."

LOL!!! Earth to "conservatives": Apparently, neither is anyone else in the Republican party.

Bush never vetoed a single bill passed by the Republican-controlled congress. If the Republican party in all their ballyhooed fiscal disciplinarianism ever had so much a passing whim to cut spending somewhere or another, to offset their looting of the treasury, George W. Bush wasn't the one stopping them.

Posted by: CalD | September 7, 2010 10:33 PM | Report abuse

Q.B. My assumptions...if you are referring to my observation and pleasure at your earning more than $250,000..are based on your post..."Why is it all I've hear for two years (really forever) from Obama and crew is that my taxes, government revenue and spending are not hight enough?"

Obama has CONSISTENTLY talked about taxing people over the $250,000 mark...in his campaign and now in any discussion of which Bush tax cuts he'd let expire. Thus the assumption you must be in that top 2%.

My beliefs are certainly not remotely close to your characterization of..."philosophy dedicated to punishing and taking from others, or take satisfaction in it."

First of all in a perfect world we could all agree that if those at the bottom of our society had health care, adequate educational opportunities and decent paying jobs we wouldn't really care if the top 1% made a gazillion dollars. In fact I'd actually be happy for them, and so the satisfaction part of your post is actually not only inaccurate..it's a bit demeaning and insulting now isn't it?

As for punishment...whew..check your hyperbole meter Q.B. I'm talking about simply rolling tax rates back to somewhere closer to their historical average..not CONFISCATING all the wealth of the top 1-2%. Paying taxes is not punishment...if you love your country. I may gripe about taxes but at the end of the day I'm incredibly proud to be an American and even though I pay more taxes than the average American..I'm happy to do so..both because I feel blessed and because I don't mind investing in my COMMUNITY!

Whether it's accomplished through brute physical force, mental superiority, or the power of inherited wealth, when the top 1-2% possess as much as the bottom 90% the system is unfair by definition. Unless of course you are a true Darwinian and believe in survival of the fittest..or the Gilded Age's Gospel of Wealth...God has smiled on the wealthy and He/She frowns on the poor.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 7, 2010 10:51 PM | Report abuse

ruk,

Really, is there a debate the liberal has several meanings, one of which is a political and economic philosophy of larger government, more regulation, higher taxes, more social welfare programs and spending? The philosophy championed by your party in recent decades?

Tax and spend progressive? Is that better?

Conservatives did not give liberal its contemporary meaning. That meaning was earned by liberals' proudly demanding higher taxes and spending for the past 80 years. I'm not ashamed to be called a conservative, despite regular efforts by liberals to stigmatize the word. I am for lower taxes and spending; I am villified on this blog for that all the time.

You were just telling me again that (my) taxes should be raised. You, Ethan, et al virtually never stop arguing for higher taxes and more spending. Again, it mystifies me how liberals daily boast about their support for higher taxes and spending and then turn around and object to the observation that they are for higher taxes and spending.

Appealing to "bloated" national defense does not change any of this. National defense is the single most important and core responsibility of our federal government. Unlike 90% of the modern welfare state, it is (1) actually provide for in the Constitution and (2) is critical to our survival as a country.

No, conservatives are not for bloat, but we are definitely in favor of having the most might on the globe. I'll pass on the idea of military parity with the Chicoms, thanks. Security means superiority. And I think a large majority of the country would agree. There is no contradiction between being a small government conservative and supporting strong national defense. National defense and the modern welfare state are not the same thing.

"However, decide to replace some of that spending by transferring to infrastructure or social programs you are a big government FDR liberal."

Yes, that is the fact. FDR is your leading historical hero, is he not? I have regularly seen him invoked and worshipped on this blog, have I not?

And, you do understand, I hope, that our social welfare spending dwarfs our national defense spending?

"the money we'd save would pay for Medicare for all...infrastructure..and allow us to ALL enjoy lower taxes. That is what this liberal would like to see happen...fiscal responsibility...redirect and reduce spending..balance the budget and reduce the deficit and cut taxes. A liberal's fondest dream."

You advocate higher non-defense spending. With all due respect, you clearly don't support lower taxes for all. You only want to slash national defense spending.

That's a perectly clear statement of what everyone understands "liberal" to mean in contemporary politics. What liberals do not like about use of that term any more is that Americans have a fairly clear and accurate understanding that it indeed means more taxes and spending and government. And they largely reject it.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 7, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"when the top 1-2% possess as much as the bottom 90% the system is unfair by definition."

No, it is not. In fact, contrary to your claim, the manner by which such a circumstance came about (brute force, mental superiority, posession of a rare talent, inheritance, mere chance) is absolutely crucial to the question of "fairness".

According to your bizarre understanding of justice, it would "by definition" be more just if the entire population lived in absolute poverty and privation as long as they did so equally than if most of the population lived with modest wealth while a small percentage owned tremendous wealth.

Sometimes there is just no accounting for the strange things "progressives" think.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 7, 2010 11:27 PM | Report abuse

ruk at 10:51,

Going to keep this shorter.

I stand by what I said. I think all you just said amounts to, "In a world where I didn't think redistribution was needed, I wouldn't think it was needed."

I think you would in this, the real, world always find "the rich" unjustly rich and want them taxed more and more and always more. And, yes, I think there is a strong element of punishment in your (and your fellows') position. As you've just said again, you find our wealth disparaties "unjust" by definition (no idea how you measure that).

If it is unjust, then the wealthy are unjust. You clearly believe the wealthy are that way because they robbed the middle and lower classes. You were just arguing that against yesterday. Plutocrats and all?

You've also consistently idealized the era when the top rate was 70 or 90%. That is more in the nature of expropriation than taxing imo.

Off for the night. sleep well.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 7, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

The GOP as a party exists to protect the concentration of wealth in the hands of those who have it, and has done so with ideological precision since 1980. It's not a "conservative" party in the classical sense of a cultural slowing or preserving of practices that characterize the culture historically. It's dedicated to short-term political strategies that result in maximizing profits from a social system without returning anything to that system. Or at least as little as possible; if you think large corps or really rich people actually pay huge amounts of money to the treasury, then you don't know any.

My earlier point was that in the 8 years of the Clinton Admin, the result was a budget surplus. I don't think the Clinton folks were all that great, and in some cases they were terrible (repeal of Glass Steagall), but compared to the next 8 years of GWB & Co., they were amazingly conservative if the definition is to keep gov't in the black.

Disavowing GWB is of course BS. You all righties voted for him and his old man and their sugar daddy Reagan, so don't bother to deny it.

Posted by: BGinCHI | September 8, 2010 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I have just received an important message from God, per His prophet on Earth, Glenn Beck (h/t: Stephan Colbert):

God's Geese Buzz Beck Buffoon-a-Palooza!

Posted by: CalD | September 8, 2010 2:21 AM | Report abuse

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Posted by: keyshawn8 | September 8, 2010 5:58 AM | Report abuse

A very good piece on this summer's weather events and global warming...
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/08/opinion/08revkin.html?_r=1&hp

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 7:31 AM | Report abuse

"The GOP as a party exists to protect the concentration of wealth in the hands of those who have it, and has done so with ideological precision since 1980."

That's a ridiculously reductionist statement even without considering its veracity as to economic policy. And, as to the latter, not worth the time to address.

One of the differences between liberals and conservatives today is that liberals generally have little idea how conservatives actually think or what they believe, because liberals generally don't bother to learn.

"not a "conservative" party in the classical sense of a cultural slowing or preserving of practices that characterize the culture historically."

Modern conservatism and the GOP have a number of overlapping strands. It's foolish to claim it doesn't represent the Burkean/Kirkian position. Which party do you hate for opposing the radical legal and cultural assault on marriage as an essentially and exclusively heterosexual institution? Which party's candidate campaigned in 2008 on a platform of "fundamentally transforming the United States," and which party do you hate for opposing his "fundamentally transforming" agenda? Which party do you hate for maintaining that immigration policy and enforcement should account for preserving America's unique cultural heritage?

One party today advocates broad, radical change. One opposes it. That's why you call it the Party of No.

"My earlier point was that in the 8 years of the Clinton Admin, the result was a budget surplus."

There was never a surplus. Look up the actual data rather than the Democrat talking point. It's true the deficit shrank, thanks mainly to the booming economy created by the lower tax structure enacted under Reagan (although Bush I foolishly raised rates a bit), the end of the Cold War (again credit Reagan, whom Dems said would start WWIII), and a GOP Congress that put brakes on Clinton and forced welfare reform when Dems overreached.

"I don't think the Clinton folks were all that great, and in some cases they were terrible (repeal of Glass Steagall)"

I'm sure you don't. Like most liberals, you probably think he was far too timid in expanding the welfare state. We've been over G-S repeal. It had basically nothing to do with the financial market mess.

"but compared to the next 8 years of GWB & Co., they were amazingly conservative if the definition is to keep gov't in the black."

That's not even a decent definition of a fiscal conservative. There is no sense in which conservatism can mean profligate spending paid for with rapacious taxation.

"Disavowing GWB is of course BS. You all righties voted for him and his old man and their sugar daddy Reagan, so don't bother to deny it."

Who has denied it? He was no real conservative, and conservatives including me were very critical of him. But he was a far better choice than Gore and Kerry. Thank God we didn't have either of those buffoons in the WH.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 8, 2010 7:44 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: That is an awesome definition of liberalism. Politically, though, that does tend to translate to sometimes fairly illiberal positions for both politicians and advocates. Back when I called myself a liberal (and going to art school), I wouldn't have thought being a lefty meant boycotting art history class because it showed classic 18th and 19th century artists, who sometimes depicted nude women, which was symbolic of the exploitive, oppressive patriarchy at the time, so must be expunged from the curriculum. Turns out, certain folks can shoehorn a lot into a definition.

There's nothing conservative about starting pre-emptive wars, either, but . . . there you are.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 8, 2010 7:50 AM | Report abuse

qb:

You have been doing a lot of heavy lifting recently here on the Plum Line. Hopefully I will find the time to get more engaged to help you out, but in the meantime I just wanted to say...well done. Good stuff.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 8, 2010 7:55 AM | Report abuse

"It's dedicated to short-term political strategies that result in maximizing profits from a social system without returning anything to that system. Or at least as little as possible; if you think large corps or really rich people actually pay huge amounts of money to the treasury, then you don't know any."

I think this is a classic example of muddled liberal thinking that shows you just don't understand basic economics or the purpose of taxes in the first place.

As for who pays taxes, the data prove you're simply wrong. High earners pay vastly disproportionate amounts in the aggregate. And as to your appeal to anecdotal evidence, I would wager I deal with corporations and high-income people much more regularly than you do.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 8, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Here's a think tank conclusion you don't hear much in American think tank world...

The threat posed by al-Qaida and the Taliban is exaggerated and the western-led counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan risks becoming a "long, drawn-out disaster", one of the world's leading security thinktanks warned today.

"According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), the west's counter-insurgency strategy has "ballooned" out of proportion to the original aim of preventing al-Qaida from mounting terrorist attacks there, and must be replaced by a less ambitious but more sensible policy of "containment and deterrence"."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/07/al-qaida-taliban-threat-afghanistan

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse

From NYT by way of NRO:

"It is not clear that Mr. Obama can prevail given his own diminished popularity, the tepid economic recovery and the divisions within his party. But by proposing to extend the rates for the 98 percent of households with income below $250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals — and insisting that federal income tax rates in 2011 go back to their pre-2001 levels for income above those cutoffs — he intends to cast the issue as a choice between supporting the middle class or giving breaks to the wealthy."

What a sadly demogogic "false choice" from a President, one of whose favorite rhetorical devices is rejection of false choices.

I have a question for liberals. Not asking for evidence or proof but simply what you believe.

I just heard Robert Gibbs say that families earning $250k are not restraining their spending or being affected "by this economy."

Do you think that is true?

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 8, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Kevin said: "I wouldn't have thought being a lefty meant boycotting art history class because it showed classic 18th and 19th century artists, who sometimes depicted nude women, which was symbolic of the exploitive, oppressive patriarchy at the time, so must be expunged from the curriculum."

When I went back to university in the mid-eighties, it was (at my university but more broadly than that as well) the Women's Studies department that manifested the sort of extremisms and absolutisms (with the necessarily attendant anti-intellectualism) that many of us find unhelpful or stupid or downright dangerous. The influence of the deconstructionist camp didn't help those folks think clearly. I attended a lecture where the speaker forwarded her impressions of architecture as captive to the male paradigm - tall, solid, thrusting structures built using straight lines. Why not, she asked, rounded, soft and enveloping buildings? But from my anthropology/archaeology studies, I knew that early structures were of that second sort. But the change occurred as a simple consequence of building materials. As soon as timbers were used (allowing larger and stronger structures) straight lines were a simple and unintended consequence.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 8:22 AM | Report abuse

@qb: "One of the differences between liberals and conservatives today is that liberals generally have little idea how conservatives actually think or what they believe, because liberals generally don't bother to learn."

I don't think this is much of a difference. At least, it isn't universal. Many conservatives don't dive deep into what liberals actually think. In respect to BG: "The GOP as a party exists to protect the concentration of wealth", such global statements always radically reduce detail to the point where it's functionally meaningless. Really, for every minute of the past 30 years, every Republican politician everywhere has only wanted to protect wealthy people? And based on what--who supports them? Then why did Wall Street money go to Democrats in a big way in 2008? Why are multi-billionaire financiers like George Soros so enamored of the Democrats? You want to talk about concentration of wealth?

Given that, historically, that the greatest concentrations of wealth in the house and senate have tended to be with Democratic politicians, and that most politicians of both parties tend to radically increase their wealth once elected (and it's not from the paychecks for their day jobs), it's hard to argue that one party is truly the designated protector of "the wealthy". Both seem to be awfully friendly. Perhaps the platitudes change, but most of the "anti-wealth" policies, so-called, of Democrats tend to just change who gets favored. They neither propose exceptions to the $250k+ tax for small businesses and sole proprietors (thus making it easy for Republicans to defend extending the existing tax cut), nor do they propose levying a tax on existing wealth. They support a progressive estate tax, so that's something, I suppose.

@qb: "Who has denied it? He was no real conservative, and conservatives including me were very critical of him. But he was a far better choice than Gore and Kerry"

Exactly. I voted for Bush both times, but was pretty much voting against Kerry and Gore. Did not care for the big spending, I still think creating a new bureaucracy for Homeland Security was unnecessary, not a fan of pre-emptive wars (though I found the anti-war crowd repugnant, for the most part), was opposed to the Medicare Part D. I even voted for McCain, but was voting mostly against Hopey-Changey rhetoric (which drives me nuts) and for that super-hot VP candidate.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | September 8, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

More on Martin Schlaff and his funding of Israeli extremism... http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/the-schlaff-saga-probe-finds-austrian-billionaire-helped-lieberman-fund-his-party-1.312823

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Just guessing, but I doubt this item will find its way onto the front pages of Weekly Standard, NRO, Commentary or even, I'm guessin', in a press release from Abe Foxman.

"Fidel Castro tells Ahmadinejad: Stop bashing the Jews

'The Jews have lived an existence that is much harder than ours. There is nothing that compares to the Holocaust,' former Cuban leader tells U.S. journal The Atlantic."
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/fidel-castro-tells-ahmadinejad-stop-denying-the-holocaust-1.312815

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

@Scott & Q.B. Guys you need to hang out with Kevin W. for awhile. He's done wonders for my perspective. In fact Q.B. you accused me of envy...I have NO ENVY on a materialistic level...when I fall prey to envy it's over something I admire or wish I had...hear me clearly now...I AM NOT DEMONIZING THE RICH! The last time I felt envy was envy of Kevin W. for the way he handled vitriolic assaults on his opinions which at time even became personal. He stuck to facts/his opinion and did not return vitriol for vitriol. I was envious...but WAS is the operative word there...I simply decided to try and emulate Kevin W's style and so now I no longer envy him. :-)

I have several issues with both or your responses...first you guys fall prey to easily to hyperbole...second you characterize my positions based on YOUR assumptions..DESPITE what I might post to the contrary in an attempt to enlighten you about my positions.

Scott..."According to your bizarre understanding of justice, it would "by definition" be more just if the entire population lived in absolute poverty and privation as long as they did so equally than if most of the population lived with modest wealth while a small percentage owned tremendous wealth."

Wow dude where did you EVER come up with that characterization. I DO believe that monarchies, aristocracies, oligarchies and plutocracies are by definition unfair.
When a few use their POWER (however it was obtained) to reward themselves disproportionately...simply because they CAN..that is not a good thing.

But we have two issues here...philosophical and pragmatic. The shrinking middle class is not a myth..it is REAL! Where is the fairness in robber barons like the Koch brothers or Rupert Murdoch having such overwhelming influence on our electoral process. Wouldn't fairness dictate they get three votes to my one. Is buying politicians and policy fair simply because they have the wealth to do so? If you do not understand the INCREDIBLE disproportionate influence exerted by these three individuals...two who were lucky and inherited that influence...one who ruthlessly bought up everything he can to increase his power and influence over the public then you are simply either naive or disingenuous. No rational person would argue that these three men have huge influence on our political process and have used that influence to increase their own wealth through favorable policies that often times come at the expense of the middle class and poor...but that is all philosophical on to reality in my next post.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

All, Morning Roundup posted:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/the_morning_plum_85.html

...and Bernie, I answered your email...

Posted by: Greg Sargent | September 8, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Scott,

Thanks much. I'm not sure how much of it has been well done, but appreciated nonetheless.

A lull in work after a fairly crazy August has left me a little time on my hands. The Obama economy is definitely affecting me, because it is affecting my clients. Well, "affecting" is too tame a word. On the whole, they are being desperately squeezed, and their pain becomes our pain.

I always look forward to your posts and have learned from you, and I'm pleased there have been several newer conservatives or moderates posting insightful comments. There is potential for a more constructive conversation than in many times past.

I actually believe what I said to BG above about what liberals and conservatives know about each other. I read here and have always spent a lot of time reading what liberals themselves say and not just what my side says the stand for. I don't have as much time for it today as I once did, but I don't believe our friends on the other side do nearly as much of the same thing, as a rule.

It might be delusional to think that commenting here will enlighten anyone to what conservatives actually believe, but I'd still rather try to engage ideas than just read and talk to people who already agree with me all the time.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 8, 2010 8:36 AM | Report abuse

"for that super-hot VP candidate."

And how did that hatey-titty hing work out for ya?

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

@Greg - Thanks. But probably you shouldn't be so open regarding our mutual membership in Blogolist.

Posted by: bernielatham | September 8, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

ruk,

I'm not trying to demonize you or even personalize. Sincerely. Apologies if you read it that way. I am trained for and spend my professional life in verbal combat, as you know. It' just what I do.

But I am at the same time trying to be straightforward about how I perceive liberalism as a philosophy or ideology. And I do believe it appeals envy and resentment.

For example, I think that is once again evident in the NYT description of Obama's planned position on tax cuts and increases I pasted above. It really isn't logical to say there is a "choice between supporting the middle class" and extending tax cuts for the 250K "rich." It is simply pitting one group against another in a classic example of demogoguery.

Moreover, let's consider the sincerity or lack thereof of the Obama position. As I noted above, Robert Gibbs was just saying -- yet again -- that families earning 250 are not affected by the economy and aren't having to restrain spending.

This would come as a surprise to anyone who hear Michelle Obama's discussions during the campaign of the struggles she faced in trying to meet their family's expenses on a mere few hundred thousand a year.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/223808/michelles-struggle/byron-york

So Michelle and Barack know better themselves, but he and his admin constantly appeal to voters on the basis that they will raise taxes on people who earn more than them. I think the simplest explanation is the correct one. It is purely an appeal to resentment and envy for political advantage.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 8, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Scott & Q.B. Part II

Guys your hyperbole and extreme reaction to my suggestion that their could be a fairer tax code and that we should do SOMETHING to remedy the wealth disparity is honestly amazing coming from you two. I expect that from strf, kaddafi, and others but you two are more thoughtful and can do better...
Wow where to begin...
How about another go at liberalism...different dictionary this time..Merriam Websters.
"A political philosophy based on belief in progress, the essential goodness of the human race, and the autonomy of the individual and standing for the protection of political and civil liberties; specifically : such a philosophy that considers government as a crucial instrument for amelioration of social inequities (as those involving race, gender, or class)"

That's the last time I battle over the semantics of liberalism...concluding with the FACT that two separate dictionaries come up with basically the same definition that does not match the pejorative label you wish to attach to the word.

More importantly I have told you what I believe...my definition of progressive.
Just as Brigade and Kevin justifiably point out that people who have called themselves conservative do not really represent them..I respect THEIR views..I have tried to point out what being progressive means to me. Both of you refuse to read what I have posted and come back with characterizations that run completely different to my views...again usually because you move quickly to the extreme.

Q.B. you posted..."And, you do understand, I hope, that our social welfare spending dwarfs our national defense spending?"

No I do not "understand" that at all because it is FACTUALLY INCORRECT!
Lets link to two sources...one that actually includes the un-budgeted wars and IMHO is actually the most accurate which shows Defense is 54% of our budget with non military being 46%.
http://www.warresisters.org/pages/piechart.htm
The other more conservative and admittedly more widely held view that takes into consideration ONLY WHAT'S ON THE BOOKS.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States

Defense spending is larger than Social Security (supposedly funded separately and more accurately kept off budget) or Medicare and Medicaid.

I am for a strong security! BTW Chicom? Q.B. That was quaint..haven't heard that since the 1950's :-). The Chicom's are eating our lunch precisely because we are blowing soooo much money on MILITARY spending and THEY are not!

Since Greg has moved the group to the new thread I'm going to indulge on another bloated post on this one to continue so as to not thread bomb the Morning Plum.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Q.B. Part III Continuing on defense or security. Being conservative is a hindrance in the literal sense of that word... "tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institution".

In WWII the war was decided by vast armies, navies, and air forces. After Hiroshima that all CHANGED. The new paradigm became ICBM's and Polaris missles with nuclear warheads...Now the cold war is over and we need to find another NEW PARADIGM. G.W. Bush's empire building couldn't have been any more mistaken!!!

On 9/11 we were attacked by 19....19....19..do we get that number..criminal co conspirators..not by an Army, Navy, or Air Force. They were backed by several hundred zealots holed up in a 3rd world country. Our brave military...and again as a veteran I salute them all...were horribly misused to handle a police problem. Indiscriminate killing IMHO is not the answer...and yes Obama is scr*wing the pooch here just as badly as Bush.
Wasting a TRILLION DOLLARS AND COUNTING on a war that benefited only a few of our oligarchs(Cheney and Rummy pulled a cool billion or so out of the war..and their friends like Erik Prince and Blackwater also made out like bandits..note to Scott..this is what I mean by lack of fairness) That trillion plus could be better spent on OUR infrastructure not Iraq's. It has not increased our security ONE IOTA!!!!

Q.B. because I said returning tax rates to historic levels you jumped on 70-90%. Fair enough..but let's compromise...how about 50%? Our country fared quite well at the higher rates you mentioned and the middle class was actually growing. I am not for the EXTREME generic positions you wish to label we progressives.

Again the shrinking middle class is a FACT disputed by no one with the exception of a few think tanks funded by..guess who...people like the koch brothers who wish to keep all of their wealth. A small middle class benefits nobody including the Koch brothers.
Some FACTS...
The American middle class is on the verge of extinction. The gap is widening between the have's and the have not's. Look at the following disturbing statistics from the Business Insider.

- 83 percent of all U.S. stocks are in the hands of 1 percent of the people.
- 61 percent of Americans "always or usually" live paycheck to paycheck.
- 66 percent of the income growth between 2001 and 2007 went to the top 1% of all Americans.
- For the first time in U.S. history, banks own a greater share of residential housing net worth in the United States than all individual Americans put together.
- In 1950, the ratio of the average executive's paycheck to the average worker's paycheck was about 30 to 1. Since the year 2000, that ratio has exploded to between 300 to 500 to one.

http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewarticle/articleid/4351022

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Kevin,

"I don't think this is much of a difference. At least, it isn't universal. Many conservatives don't dive deep into what liberals actually think."

I didn't intend to make a universal statement and don't think I did. There is no way to prove it one way or another as a generality. It' just my obersvation over a long period, but I think there is a marked difference.

My experience here at Plum Line has reinforced my perception. I've been attacked innumerable times for being ignorant and not knowing anything except (supposedly) what I hear from Rush and Fox News and never venturing outside the "right wing echo chamber" or "noise machine."

Which is always ironic since I am a conservative reading and commenting here on a liberal blog, and am pretty consistently attacked by liberals who don't appear ever to venture out to the "other side" to find out what we actually believe. There is a perennial assumption that I and others like me are know-nothings whose information all comes from Fox and Rush and Beck and who never confront opposing ideas.

It's a pretty darned hilarious and counterfactual critique to be made against conservatives engaging liberals on a libreal blog. And on the other hand you will rarely see any liberals here who demonstrate any genuine knowledge of conservatism.

You have posers like Bernie whose "knowledge" appears to end with Richard Hofstadter, although I will at least give him credit for reading NRO at times. But your average liberal here plainly has never engaged conservatism on its own terms and gained an understanding of what it is really about.

Posted by: quarterback1 | September 8, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

And a final thought for you Q.B. on the problem of our shrinking middle class...

http://www.multinationalmonitor.org/mm2003/03may/may03interviewswolff.html

There are two rationales. The first is basically a moral or ethical position. A lot of people think it is morally bad for there to be wide gaps, wide disparities in well being in a society.

If that is not convincing to a person, the second reason is that inequality is actually harmful to the well-being of a society. There is now a lot of evidence, based on cross-national comparisons of inequality and economic growth, that more unequal societies actually have lower rates of economic growth. The divisiveness that comes out of large disparities in income and wealth, is actually reflected in poorer economic performance of a country.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

"but I don't believe our friends on the other side do nearly as much of the same thing, as a rule."

Q.B. That is a fair statement. And I do appreciate you and Scott, tao, Kevin, Brigade and others coming to our "progressive" blog to learn more about "how" we view the world.

Speaking only for myself...I only visit here and the comment sections of the St. Pete Times. I do not bother to read comments on HuffPo..or Daily Beast..nor do I subject myself to vitriol that get's spewed on Red State or Drudge.

IMHO I get a terrific view of how conservatives think from people like you and Scott and the others. I find it a waste of time to listen to shouting and screaming about socialism from folks who truly don't even understand what socialism means and who frequently mistakenly conflate it with communism. I'd rather get the conservative viewpoint from people with intellects..again like you and Scott.
Perhaps that gives me a limited view but sometimes I actually have to work. :-)

Thanks for you input..if Greg ever gets the techies to place names at the head of posts you can rest assured Q.B. that I won't scroll past you or Scott.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

ruk:

"Wow dude where did you EVER come up with that characterization."

I got it from your claim that "when the top 1-2% possess as much as the bottom 90% the system is unfair by definition." This can only mean that it is the ratio of one person's wealth to another, not the absolute level of wealth that any person holds, that defines "fairness". And, manifestly, you think that an equal distribution of wealth is more "fair" than an unequal distribution. Hence, it must necessarily be more "fair" if everyone lives in poverty equally than if most people have a modest amount of wealth while a few have a vast quantity of wealth.

Which of the following 2 situations is more "fair"?

In a population of 100 people, all 100 people own X units of wealth each.

In a population of 100 people, 98 people own Y units of wealth each, while 2 people own Z units of wealth each, where the ratio of Z to Y is 49 to 1.

According to your claim about what is "fair", the former is necessarily more "fair" than the latter "by definition", regardless of the actual values of X, Y, or Z. So even if X=1, while Y=100 and Z=4900, you, if you are consistent, would still hold that the latter is "unfair" while the former is not.

"When a few use their POWER (however it was obtained) to reward themselves disproportionately..."

Very few, if any, people in our country "reward themselves" with wealth at all, much less "disproportionately" (BTW, disproportionate to what?). Most people are, generally speaking, rewarded by those to whom they are providing a service, whether that is an employer or directly by consumers.

"The shrinking middle class is not a myth."

I don't know what the means, really. Most of the stats that I see associated with this claim actually indicate simply that the upper teir of income earnings has grown faster than other teirs. That doesn't mean that the population in other teirs is shrinking. So, really, I don't know what this claim is supposed to be referring to.

"Where is the fairness in robber barons like the Koch brothers or Rupert Murdoch having such overwhelming influence on our electoral process."

You are changing the topic, which was "fairness" in wealth distribution, not "fairness" in electoral influence.

"...have used that influence to increase their own wealth through favorable policies that often times come at the expense of the middle class and poor."

Can you provide an example of Murdoch increasing his wealth "at the expense of the middle class and poor"?

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 8, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Scott...again you can do sooo much better.

"This can only mean that it is the ratio of one person's wealth to another, not the absolute level of wealth that any person holds, that defines "fairness". And, manifestly, you think that an equal distribution of wealth is more "fair" than an unequal distribution."

That is totally fallacious and your premise and conclusion are completely inaccurate.

If someone believes that 1% possessing what the bottom 90% is unfair...it does NOT mean that person is arguing for absolute wealth equality..nor that they are even arguing for a perfectly distributed ratio. It simply means what it SAYS...that 1% possessing what the bottom 90% is unfair. The remedies for this are numerous and they include making the tax system fair.

All that x y stuff is simply a load. Your mistake is in viewing "fair" as an absolute. Fair is clearly a relative term. The dictionary definition most accurately describing what I'm talking about...fair- marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism"

Marked by Scott...not totally controlled by. Fair is also obviously a subjective word as well but again going to the DICTIONARY definition...that is precisely my point!!! Our economic distribution system is not marked by impartiality, nor honesty and it is certainly not free from prejudice and favoritism.

" Most people are, generally speaking, rewarded by those to whom they are providing a service, whether that is an employer or directly by consumers."

I'm not speaking of "most" people now am I?
I'm talking about the top 1-2% If they can control politicians and policy and influence it for their personal gain..i.e. tax law...subsidies (big oil comes to mind)..wars..(Cheney and Rummy "earned?" 100's of millions they would have otherwise NOT EARNED for performing the service of sending us to war?)

If you believe the wealthiest amongst us are not utilizing their influence to make sure the economic pie is cut up in their favor then Scott..I don't mean to name call but you are simply naive, or disingenuous.

"Can you provide an example of Murdoch increasing his wealth "at the expense of the middle class and poor"?

Yes Fox News!!!

You can x - y - z all day long Scott. You continually argue from the most extreme philosophical position possible without any relationship to REALITY!

Reality in the next post...

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Again Scott...a few FACTS..not x y & z's to consider. Get in the REAL world.

We are one of the lowest taxed people of all of the Western developed nations. Please do not cherry pick the odd small nation tax haven...the preponderance of Western nations tax 10-20% more than we do.

Combine that with the fact that their nations do not spend 23% (on the books) 54% when you add in the two unfunded wars..at least unfunded on paper...on defense..and you can see a HUGE disparity in what remains for the government to use to help their citizens.

This results in EVERY OTHER CIVILIZED nation in the world providing health care.
Providing free or very low cost education through grad school when appropriate. Providing triple the time off for their workers. These societies not only function very well they are regularly at the top of the numerous surveys measuring happiness...in contrast the U.S. rarely even breaks into the top ten. Scandinavian countries match our productivity and produce great products like Volvo or Nokia.

And yet Scott you consistently come down on the side of the Robber barons...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robber_baron_%28industrialist%29

Robber baron is a pejorative term revived in the 19th century United States for businessmen and bankers who dominated respective industries and amassed huge personal fortunes, typically by anti-competitive or unfair business practices. THE TERM MAY NOW RELATE TO ANY BUSINESSMAN OR BANKER WHO USED QUESTIONABLE BUSINESS PRACTICES TO BECOME POWERFUL OR WEALTHY.

Our current political system is driven almost totally by money...giving those with wealth power to create policies that favor them. Who is going to speak out for the middle class Scott? You?

You continue to try and portray me as some wild eyed idealist who is out to bring socialism and redistribute the wealth. That is EXTREME Scott...I'm simply saying we have some systemic problems...the root of which is the fact that money now controls our politics and thus our policy.
The wealthy have amassed disproportionate..disproportionate to the rest of our society.

We do not live in a theoretical model...we live in reality! While the people you continually defend are sailing in large yachts..flying lear jets...with multiple homes...(no I'm not envious I'm very content and have never aspired to become material for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous) we have millions of homeless people..we have a middle class struggling mightily...they don't give a rat's arse about your x y and z's...the live in reality...not theory.

Posted by: rukidding7 | September 8, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse

@ BGinCHI | September 8, 2010 12:24 AM:

Whenever anyone asks me what the difference is between the Democratic and Republican parties in a nutshell, I always tell them Republicans are the party of selfishness, Democrats are the party of real self-interest. Whatever your definition of economic well-being is, whether it's low unemployment, high profits, healthy markets or fiscal responsibility in government, what Republicans promise the Democrats actually deliver.

When I was a kid, the Republicans were considered the party of serious adults and Democrats were the starry-eyed idealists. Sometime in the 1980s or '90s they exchanged rolls and it's been that way ever since. We're still idealistic but we've long since become the grown-ups as well in any real since. And quite obviously, given the disastrous results of their recent stewardship of the nation's economy policy and the federal budget, Republicans have got a lot of damned nerve to be preaching to anyone about fiscal responsibility at this point.

Posted by: CalD | September 8, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

ruk:

"It simply means what it SAYS...that 1% possessing what the bottom 90% is unfair."

Well then explain why. You originally said that this was unfair "by definition", which means necessarily that the definition of fairness includes a reference to wealth posessed as a ratio to that posessed by others. What principle of "fairness" determines that this allocation of wealth is necessarily "unfair"?

"Your mistake is in viewing "fair" as an absolute."

It's not my mistake. You were the one who claimed that a certain circumstance was unfair "by definition", not me.

"I'm talking about the top 1-2%"

So am I. As I said, they do not "reward themselves". They are generally rewarded by those to whom they are providing a service.

"If they can control politicians and policy and influence it for their personal gain..."

...then those politicians should be blamed for being corrupt. Rich people who attempt to influence policy to their advantage are no different from anyone else...like you as you attempt to tax them at ever greater rates...who attempts to get a policy favorable to them implemented.

"...to make sure the economic pie is cut up..."

This is an inevitable fallacy that leftists cannot seem to grasp. The amount of wealth in the world is not a static "pie" to be cut up and distributed. Wealth is created (and sometimes destroyed), it is not "cut up" like a pie sitting on a table.

"Yes Fox News!!!"

Please be more specific. What "expense" has been paid, and how has it increased Murdoch's wealth? FOX News has contributed to Murdoch's wealth through the generation of advertising revenue. No one other than the firms that advertise has paid an "expense" for that. Certainly not the middle class or poor people...who, BTW, to whatever extent they have a relationship with FOX News and Murdoch, do so willingly. No one is forced to watch it.

"And yet Scott you consistently come down on the side of the Robber barons..."

I don't consistently come down on anyone's "side". I argue from principles and logic, not emotion. Would that you would do the same. Your inevitable retreat into unthinking bromides does not advance the conversation. Calling someone a "robberbaron" certainly conveys your disapproval, but it doesn't, as you seem to think, establish the justice, logic, or coherence of your disapproval.

Unlike most people here, I do not already share your prejudices and preconceived notions about those who have wealth. If you want to convince me that your disdain is justified, you have to do more than call them names.

"You continually argue from the most extreme philosophical position..."

I haven't the slightest idea what philosophical position I have taken that you think is "extreme".

"Our current political system is driven almost totally by money..."

Yes...the liberal desire to take from Peter and give to Paul. If you don't like the focus on money, they you should stop focusing on it.

Posted by: ScottC3 | September 8, 2010 4:55 PM | Report abuse

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