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The Morning Plum

* Maybe Dems haven't given up on beating Rand Paul, after all: There was a flurry of speculation last night that national Democrats had canceled their ads in the Kentucky Senate contest, leading some to assert that Dems no longer see that race as winnable. But that story has now been corrected, and a Dem source confirms to me that the DSCC is in fact planning to stay up on the air from October 12th through the election.

* Did Rahm nix hiring of Howard Dean? With Rahm Emanuel departing the White House today, Rahm continues to be pilloried by liberals for hastening the deterioration of relations between the White House and the left. Ari Berman's new book, Herding Donkeys, adds another data point, reporting that Rahm was the force behind the White House's refusal to hire Howard Dean, something that enraged lefty grassroots activists. From page 204:

Those with firsthand knowledge of the transition process said that Emanuel, an infamous score settler, made his intentions regarding Dean perfectly clear. "There was never any intention to hire Dean, and in fact there was a great deal of satisfaction at dissing him," said a senior member of the transition team. "The orders were coming down from Rahm that Dean was not to be considered for anything [high-ranking] and he didn't want anything to do with him."

Also: The Nation has posted an excerpt from Berman's new book that deals at length with Rahm, Dean, and the larger meaning of their schism.

* Will Rahm's departure mean a White House truce with the left? Jonathan Cohn games it out, concluding that Rahm's replacement, Pete Rouse, doesn't have the centrist instincts or ties to moderate Dems that Rahm does. But things aren't likely to change much because Rouse is also a consumate "Beltway creature."

* The new Rahm will be very boring to cover because he doesn't curse a lot: Much more than you ever wanted to know about Pete Rouse, Rahm's replacement. And: Don't miss Ann Kornblut's profile detailing how Rouse is the anti-Rahm, at least tempermentally.

* Pelosi to Obama: Get fired up! Nancy Pelosi is privately urging the president to get out on the trail and show more of the kind of energy and drive he displayed earlier this week in Wisconsin. Dems particularly want him to continue hammering the GOP on jobs and the economy.

* Could Obama make the difference? Bob Shrum says Dems will hold the Senate and the House -- because Obama, who's now rallying in the home stretch, will successfully "change the political weather by a few degrees."

Quick take on this: Whatever the importance of Obama's impact on the national climate, I continue to believe Dem hopes hinge largely on whether their candidates prove to be of higher caliber and better prepared than their GOP counterparts, as Dems keep insisting. If this is true, it can't be picked up in national polling and will assert itself to the Dems' advantage late in the game, when voters focus harder on the choices before them.

* Not so fair and balanced? News Corporation gave $1 million to the Chamber of Commerce, which is itself spending huge money to elect Republicans. This News Corp. contribution is only slightly less direct than the previous $1 million given to the Republican Governors Association.

* Despite second guessing, White House health care push continues: It constantly gets lost amid discussions of whether Dems erred politically by passing health reform, but the White House quietly continues to inform people about the new law's policy benefits.

The latest: The administration's Website on the law, HealthCare.gov, is rolling out a new feature that gives consumers new information on how thousands of private health plans treat their customers in terms of pricing and denial rates -- transparency, the White House argues, that is the direct result of the Affordable Care Act.

* About that much-maligned stimulus: While you weren't looking, a new White House report to be released today will find that it's coming in on time and under budget, and with very few claims of fraud or abuse, reports Lori Montgomery.

* Ad of the day: The SEIU launches a hard-hitting Spanish language spot slamming California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman for hiring an undocumented immigrant as her housekeeper: "Whitman attacks undocumented workers to win votes, but an undocumented woman worked in her home for nine years."

This could matter, because as Chris Cillizza notes, Whitman has tried very hard to make inroads with Latinos with Spanish-language radio and TV ads.

* Are Charlie Crist and Kendrick Meek handing Marco Rubio a Senate seat? Mark Murray asks: "Are the Meek and Crist camps engaging in mutually assured destruction, guaranteeing a Rubio win?"

* And the world's greatest deliberative body has stopped deliberating: A strikingly pessimistic assessment of the current state of the Senate from Oregon's Jeff Merkley:

It's absolutely impossible to make the Senate any less deliberative than it is at this moment...the Senate, in its role of consulting and confirming, is basically damaging the other two branches of government.

What else is going on?


By Greg Sargent  | October 1, 2010; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Next: The Rouse era won't be better than the Rahm era

Comments

RU, lmisnca, Mikefromarlington, BG, Kevin, and other regulars, if you're around, mind sending me an email?

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 1, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

Re: Rahm v. Dean

This isn't anything new. There were many reports, particularly during the search for a head of the HHS, that came out saying that Dean wouldn't/hadn't gotten the call because of Rahm. In fact, it could probably be considered the first "battle" between progressives and Rahm as Chief of Staff.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 1, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

Re: NewsCorp (FOX)

Again...it's not at all shocking that NewsCorp would give $2 million to the GOP during this election cycle.

However, it IS shocking that any other media outlet still considers FOX a legitimate news organization.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 1, 2010 8:45 AM | Report abuse

This is a key quote, and one with historic implications: "the Senate, in its role of consulting and confirming, is basically damaging the other two branches of government."

Posted by: michiganmaine | October 1, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

The Dems cancelled their ad buy in Kentucky for the week of October 4. The week of October 12 is the following week. They don't need to make decisions on those weeks following yet. If they remain 'up' it will have no bearing on their view of the KY race, and all bearing on things like National Review 'calling the election' for Rand Paul last night based on the Dems' decision to pull their ads as much on yesterday's Rasmussen poll showing Rand Paul still 11 points ahead.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | October 1, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

The Dems cancelled their ad buy in Kentucky for the week of October 4. The week of October 12 is the following week. They don't need to make decisions on those weeks following yet. If they remain 'up' it will have no bearing on their view of the KY race, and all bearing on things like National Review 'calling the election' for Rand Paul last night based on the Dems' decision to pull their ads as much as on yesterday's Rasmussen poll showing Rand Paul still 11 points ahead.

Posted by: sailingaway1 | October 1, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

In the interest of transparency Greg, I will just state my opinion here in the open regarding the comment section of the Plum Line.

I love this place and have appreciated everything I've learned and enjoyed here over the past year. I appreciate your hard work and will continue to read your posts everyday, especially the morning and evening roundups.

With the exception of STRF I believe we still have a group of both old and new commenters that are smarter and more interesting than the average blog.

However, STRF is a thread bomber, an experienced one if some of the reports are true, and it's simply gotten to the point where too many threads devolve into name calling and nonsense.

Maybe that's something that people enjoy and so it's up to me to act accordingly, not them to change for my sake. I'm just one anonymous person and have no control over anyone other than myself.

Whether it's all his fault or not, who can say. What matters to me is that I'm not personally enjoying the experience or learning as much from the comments section as I used to.

Banning or not is entirely up to you, but I believe the only entity here that may deserve anything of the sort would be STRF, and I'm not even convinced of that.

Sometimes things just evolve and it's time to move on.

Posted by: lmsinca | October 1, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

It seems clear that the Crist/Meek situation is resulting in MAD but the Murray piece is perhaps the least competent bit of reporting I've seen for a while.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

A rather scary piece on the Stuxnet worm and how cyber-warfare is escalating...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/sep/30/stuxnet-worm-new-era-global-cyberwar

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

The stimulus article is a BIGTIME must-read, esp for Republicans who want to be taken seriously.

2% complaint rate and 0.2% fraud for success rates of 98% and 99.8% respectively, owed to the administration's built-in oversight:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/30/AR2010093007382.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse

The NR Holland America Cruise...and the real reason I'm quite busy presently (just try building a submarine in your garage)... http://www.postelectioncruise.com/

Note the presence of Rasmussen.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"And the world's greatest deliberative body has stopped deliberating: A strikingly pessimistic assessment of the current state of the Senate from Oregon's Jeff Merkley:"

What is clear is that one Senator has to much power. One Senator can shut down the government which is power no one individual has in any other branch of government and really destroys the concept of a democracy governed by the will of the people.

Also, watching Jim DeMint exploit rules that now make him the gatekeeper of what goes to the floor for a vote or not is proof that the Senate rules must be revamped and the good ole boys club must be changed into a functioning deliberative body in order for us to proceed in this very partisan atmosphere.

It is ok that one side feels we need less government, however, each of them intentionally has one vote and so the power of each Senator should be 1/100th of the Senates capabilities. No one Senator should be able to indefinitely stop a nomination, legislation or anything else. Those things should only be possible with a majority in agreement...

Posted by: soapm | October 1, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"While you weren't looking, a new White House report to be released today will find that it's coming in on time and under budget, and with very few claims of fraud or abuse"

Nothing about claims of "waste", I notice. But the larger problem is that it came in "under budget". How often have I heard that the stimulus wasn't more effective simply because we didn't spend enough? If the only flaw to the stimulus was the amount of spending, then, pray tell, why is it "under budget"? Was that to purposely sabotage the American economy by depriving us all of the benefits of that stimulus spending? :)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Re Imsinca's comments above...

STRF's activities here are pretty precisely parallel to the townhall disruption strategies we saw earlier. They aren't an instance of free speech but an instance of disrupting all other speakers or the room such that free speech is made difficult or impossible. Disruption is the troll game.

Some years ago, I helped set up and moderate a political discussion group and read some of the research that had been done on online communities and troll problems/troll solutions. Absolutist rules that left serial disrupters free to do their thing almost never ended up happy for the overall community.

It isn't merely that the joint gets raucous and mean or just tiresome for regular members but that potential new contributors will walk in and then walk right back out as they look for some more hospitable environment.

But of course, as a liberal, I'm a law and order kind of guy.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Good morning everyone. So far so good in here. Looks like the resident rightwingnut trolls have realized that O'Donnell is toast and aren't going to waste any more time defending her lies.

Now back to Angle, Paladino, Ellmers, Miller, Buck, Paul, Ben Quayle, and the rest of the nutty buddy brigade.

Oh let's not forget Maine GOP gubernatorial candidate and teabag favorite Paul LePage, who announced that if he is elected, you can expect to see a lot of headlines saying "Governor LePage tells Obama to go to hell."

A real class act, that guy.

Posted by: Observer691 | October 1, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Imsinca: "Sometimes things just evolve and it's time to move on."

Hi Ims,

That's the conclusion I came to some weeks ago. I realized I was spending more time wading through the comments to find the gems than actually reading comments. I've looked in from time to time, and always read Greg's posts once a day, but the comment section became, for me, just not worth the effort.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | October 1, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

A question for you TheBBQChickenMadness ~ so Newscorp makes a donation and that no longer means they carry news?

That's what you are saying when you state: "However, it IS shocking that any other media outlet still considers FOX a legitimate news organization"

Yet, I can tune into various FOX broadcast outlets and get the weather, accidents, murders, stock markets, and so on, and check those stories against other broadcast outlets and the stuff is all the same.

Are you suggesting that in some manner ~ metaphysical perhaps although I've noticed few Lefties openly recognize any gods at all ~ NEWS turns into NON NEWS upon the presentation of a sum of money to a politician?

Totally bizarre thought process fella'.

Fox carries news. MSNBC, in contrast, carries claptrap ~ particularly that one fella' known as "Special Ed" ~ boy is he full of it.

I hope you don't think that's news.

Posted by: muawiyah | October 1, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "Note the presence of Rasmussen."

Note the predictive accuracy of Rasmussen. Whatever nefarious biases Rasmussen (or is it . . . Rasputin?) may labor under, the relevancy of Rasmussen's polling seems no worse, to me, than that of other organizations, and better than some.

Although there is no shortage of evidence that organizations like Pew Research and Zogby have at least a minor leftward tilt, the proof is in the pudding: what are the polls internals, and how predictive are they, if there is a result they are anticipating?

I'd love to do an NR cruise, one day. May never happen. I'd also like to do a Mac Geek cruise. That seems pretty unlikely, too. I haven't even managed to hit MacWorld or ComicCon yet (two other things that I would have done by now had I not gotten married to my college sweetheart). And the sort of stuff we'd been doing now, if we had refrained from procreating. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

US papers and TV media have been typically silent on this UN report...

"As Gareth Porter documents in an excellent article at The Huffington Post, the report "shows conclusively, for the first time, that US citizen Furkan Dogan and five Turkish citizens were murdered execution-style by Israeli commandos." In particular:

The report reveals that Dogan, the 19-year-old US citizen of Turkish descent, was filming with a small video camera on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara when he was shot twice in the head, once in the back and in the left leg and foot and that he was shot in the face at point blank range while lying on the ground.

The report says Dogan had apparently been "lying on the deck in a conscious or semi-conscious, state for some time" before being shot in his face..." http://www.salon.com/news/israel_flotilla_attack/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/10/01/flotilla

This isn't merely a matter of the murderous criminality of Israel's actions and policies here but of a long-running campaign to bully the media (and individuals) into silence or passivity in those instances where Israel is deserving of the most severe criticisms, or even of war crimes trials.

One of the few hopeful trends here is the rise in profile of many young Jewish voices via the blogging/online world who have not been so intimidated and who remain outside the range of typical tools for bullying.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

After taking the summer off to clear my head and enjoy some hiking, I've been lurking (mainly) since Labor Day to kind of ease back into the PL community. Overall, the commenters are an interesting and informative bunch (Kevin_W and TrollMcWingnut in particular are a nice addition on the right)(yes, I actually laugh at most of Troll's comments). But a couple of newer commenters are distracting, annoying, sophists, or all of the above (I'm lookin' at you here, STRF and JakeD). I thought that ruk had a good suggestion with posting the commenter's name at the beginning of the post so that we can just scroll past those we don't learn anything from. I'm all for give-and-take, but interruption for the sake of interruption and using arguments that rise merely to the level of "I know you are, but what am I" don't really do readers any good, nor contribute to the community.

Posted by: Michigoose | October 1, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Hey, Sue! How's the gubernatorial race shaping up in MI? Is the tough geek gonna win?

Posted by: Michigoose | October 1, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Sinking in Florida"

This is incredible. Scott is literally a crook. How bad of a candidate must Sink be to be collapsing against this jerk?

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/10/01/sinking-in-florida/#comment-3561690

Posted by: Observer691 | October 1, 2010 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - I can't validate your assertion that Rasmussen is dependable. I can't credibly argue that it's not either. I simply haven't studied this area enough. My interest is primarily propaganda techniques and structures and polling has, in this modern situation, high propaganda value. This isn't Rasmussen's first appearance within the context of rightwing media/propaganda functionaries and thus, as I said above, it is note worthy.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Damnit, I am so glad Rahm is leaving, not cause I think he's the devil, but because I hopefully won't have to hear anymore evil Rahm stories.

Can we please have a moratorium once Rahm gone please!!!

Posted by: lynell33 | October 1, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Hey Sue, where you been? :)

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 1, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago.
Many of those infected were encouraged to pass the infection onto others as part of the study.
About one third of those who were infected never got adequate treatment." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39456324/ns/health-sexual_health/?ocid=twitter

This horrible tale isn't unique in its moral failings or in its American genesis. Canadians did some horrible stuff too with covert LSD experimentation on unwitting victims, for example. Germany wasn't the only ugly feature of the first half of the last century in the west.

One of the great advances that came as a consequence of the sixties revolution hinged on a broad rejection of automatic trust in those at the top whether political, financial, scientific or whatever. Where my parents' generation often assumed benevolence and openness, my generations' education levels and the spread of information systems disabused us of such blind trust.

One of the very real and significant dangers of the modern conservative movement is its trust in authoritarian voices, its rejection of broad and open educational structures, and its embrace of secrecy.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Must run.

Posted by: bernielatham | October 1, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

AP:

Consumer spending rose by a moderate amount in August while incomes increased by the largest amount in eight months, a gain that was propelled by the resumption of extended unemployment benefits.

Spending increased 0.4 percent in August, matching the July increase, the Commerce Department said Friday. The two increases followed June's flat reading on spending.

Incomes were up 0.5 percent, better than a 0.2 percent rise in July and a flat reading in June.

[...]

The August rise in incomes would have been much lower — just 0.2 percent — without the extended unemployment benefits. The program had temporarily lapsed in July after Republicans blocked an extension. That lowered incomes in the July report by about $17 billion at an annual rate.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/10/consumer_spending_and_incomes_both_rise_in_august.php

That last graph bears repeating:

"""The August rise in incomes would have been much lower — just 0.2 percent — without the extended unemployment benefits. The program had temporarily lapsed in July after Republicans blocked an extension."""

Why do Republicans want lower incomes and less consumer spending? Anyone who opposed extending unemployment benefits ought to be ASHAMED at the damage they caused to the U.S. economy and Americans' well-being.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

@Bernie: "US papers and TV media have been typically silent on this UN report..."

I suspect it will make the rounds. I ran into it here (via Ezra Klein's blog, where I also posted the following):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/29/un-factfinding-mission-sa_n_743873.html

From the report: "The OHCHR report confirms accounts from passengers on the Mavi Marmara that defenders subdued roughly ten Israeli commandos, took their weapons from them and threw them in the sea, except for one weapon hidden as evidence. The Israeli soldiers were briefly sequestered below and some were treated for wounds before being released by the defenders."

How, exactly, do peace activists subdue roughly ten Israeli frackin' commandos?

Not saying the Israeli military was not acting improperly, but something about that story ain't right.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"Nothing about claims of "waste", I notice.... If the only flaw to the stimulus was the amount of spending, then, pray tell, why is it "under budget"?"

First of all...what would you define as "waste"? Fruad and Abuse both have fairly well defined meanings in this context. If "waste" to you is simply money spent when it wasn't needed to be spent, then the "under budget" part of that actually answers the question for you.

Secondly, just because the stimulus should have been bigger doesn't mean that projects coming in under budget is a bad thing. It means that more money can be spent elsewhere on other projects. You may like to paint all liberals or progressives as mindlessly spending government money just for the sake of spending, but it does a great disservice to your credibility.

Government spending was/is the key to economic recovery, but no one on the left has ever advocated just throwing taxpayer money off buildingtops as a solution. Progressives actually believe in an honest day's work...it's Conservatives that believe that a business can't be profitable without cutting corners and exploiting it's workers.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 1, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

This is fairly important for me and folks from NY who don't want a violent, racist, misogynist Governor in Albany:

* Molinaro To Endorse Cuomo For Governor *

Sources tell NY1 that Staten Island's Conservative Borough President James Molinaro will endorse Democrat Andrew Cuomo for governor later this morning.

This endorsement, which is expected to take place in the St. George Ferry Terminal, could undermine the borough's support for Republican and Conservative Party nominee Carl Paladino.

In March, Molinaro threw his support behind Democratic Congressman Michael McMahon's bid for re-election, and the borough president received criticism from Conservative and Republican colleagues.

This comes as Paladino is backing off his claims that Cuomo cheated on his ex-wife.

http://www.ny1.com/content/top_stories/126395/molinaro-to-endorse-cuomo-for-governor

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I know this blog's about politics, not so much the social, but this is just sad.

"Horrific"
via TPM

"Via MSNBC: "U.S. government medical researchers intentionally infected hundreds of people in Guatemala, including institutionalized mental patients, with gonorrhea and syphilis without their knowledge or permission more than 60 years ago."

This ghastly project was recently discovered by a professor of women's studies at Wellesley College in the course of her research on the Tuskegee experiment.

Hillary Clinton and Kathleen Sebelius will offer public apologies today for the role of the U.S. Public Health Service in the Guatemala project."

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/10/horrific.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: lynell33 | October 1, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Why do Republicans want lower incomes and less consumer spending?"

I've often wondered the same thing. Here's Linda McMahon's take on it, and I'd love to hear Kevin's read on how it will play:

http://www.theday.com/article/20100930/NWS12/100939977/1047

Posted by: Michigoose | October 1, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Re: NewsCorp (FOX)

Again...it's not at all shocking that NewsCorp would give $2 million to the GOP during this election cycle.

However, it IS shocking that any other media outlet still considers FOX a legitimate news organization.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness
____________________________________

This again? It was the parent corporation, no one is shocked by this donation. Why is it though no one seems to care that the vast majority of journalists that don't work for fox identify as Democrats? Do you care who Disney, the parent of ABC, gave to each party? Or GE gave to Dems?

This fixation the left has with Fox is unhealthy. Take a cue from one of your organizations and Move On.

Posted by: Bailers | October 1, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

All, very good post, just up, from Adam Serwer on Rahm and Pete Rouse:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/10/why_the_rouse_era_wont_be_any.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | October 1, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"You may like to paint all liberals or progressives as mindlessly spending government money just for the sake of spending, but it does a great disservice to your credibility."

True.

And the stimulus was SO efficient with the people's money that they were able to fund an additional 3,000+ projects that weren't considered previously.

The idea that the stimulus was a waste or ineffective is not only factually incorrect, it is a WILLFUL ATTEMPT TO LIE about an important economic boost to this country.

Then again, these same lying Republicans made a concerted effort to block unemployment benefits which added to American family's incomes and boosted the economy.

Again, why do the Republicans want to slash the American economy and lie about the success of the stimulus?

Oh right, because they are craven political animals who put their party and their ego above everything, including but not limited to the American economy and the well-being of American families and workers.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Oooh! There's a new HCR website with some sort of calculator? And to think we liberals fought for public insurance instead of an ad for private insurers. Well, at least we can calculate how much more of our check has to go to something that should be a human right.

Posted by: stonedone | October 1, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

"Did Rahm nix hiring of Howard Dean? "

If you needed Ari Berman to figure that one out for you, you simply haven't been paying attention. But as much as I was a big fan of his 50 State program -- something that I feel that Dean had never been properly credited for and neither has its role in the results of the 2006 and 2008 elections -- and I tend to regard the administration's treatment of him as a little shameful, Dean I have to say has failed to distinguish himself in my esteem since leaving the DNC. I'll probably never be able to take him seriously again myself after some of his shenanigans during the healthcare reform fight, e.g.

"Will Rahm's departure mean a White House truce with the left?"

If that's a serious question, you obviously have no idea who you're dealing with. But in a word, no. "The Left" (I take it that the term now excludes anyone who has no real problem with the Obama administration or most of its policies?) has no real interest in truces with anyone operating in the realm of the possible, I think.

Posted by: CalD | October 1, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

@Ethan2010: "want a violent, racist, misogynist"

He's really a violent, racist misogynist? What's wrong with Cuomo that this think isn't already a done deal and he's measuring the curtains?

That being said, I call this one for Cuomo. Paladino will not win in New York. It's the State Unemployment vs. Blueness-of-State ratio.

@BBQChicken: "First of all...what would you define as 'waste'?"

Well, my definition is highly technical. It's any money spent on stuff I don't care about. ;)

More broadly, though, my problem with stimulus spending, in and of itself, isn't going to be "stimulative" in any real sense. What the money is spent on is critical. Infrastructure? Where and why? Etc. It seems to me (maybe I'm wrong) that the stimulus is normally discussed in terms of: throw money into the economy -> ???? -> stimulus! Yet, what stimulus money is spent on would seem to have great implications for both the short and long term consequences of said spending.

@BBQ: "You may like to paint all liberals or progressives as mindlessly spending government money just for the sake of spending, but it does a great disservice to your credibility."

I think maybe you're reading a lot more into what I said than what I actually said? You have inferred, my dear gentleman, what I did not imply.

Perhaps I have mentioned, I am a public employee (in a school system). I would not suggest any such thing. I see a fair bit of how the sausage is made. What issues there may be seem to me to be natural outgrowths of the (in many ways necessary) nature of the system, not a drive by liberals to mindlessly spend money.

Still, I think it was fair to suggest that "we needed more spending" and that "the stimulus was under budget" are bits that ought to have been reconciled, and you reconciled them well. ;)

"Government spending was/is the key to economic recovery"

Well, I'm not sure I entirely agree, but I grant you, properly applied, it can certainly do some good.

"but no one on the left has ever advocated just throwing taxpayer money off buildingtops as a solution."

Oh, I'm pretty sure many politicians have advocated exactly like that--just so long as those buildingtops were in their district.

"Progressives actually believe in an honest day's work...it's Conservatives that believe that a business can't be profitable without cutting corners and exploiting it's workers."

Ah! An acute awareness of errant and cliched thinking when it comes to liberals throwing money about mindlessly vanishes when it comes time to share obtuse stereotypse of conservatives as uniformly cost-cutting, quality-degrading, and exploitive. As if no conservative believes in an honest days work. Really?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mark Murray asks: "Are the Meek and Crist camps engaging in mutually assured destruction, guaranteeing a Rubio win?"

Well yeah, except that in one of those cases, their destruction was pretty well assured to begin with. I'm still half expecting to see Meek's numbers tank again in the next couple of weeks though, with a corresponding bump for Crist.

But even if I were right about that, I wouldn't give you better than even odds that it would be enough to put Crist back in the race. Rubio simply seems to have done a better job of lining up the Republican vote than I expected (which is a little frightening for sane people). In the rosiest scenario I can at this moment imagine for Crist, he'd still need to carve at least another 3% or so out of Rubio's current share of the market to win it.

Posted by: CalD | October 1, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Well - If the liberals want to be nice - be nice -

However all I hear is name-calling, "Im scrolling past"

"Im not listening to you"


Is that civil discussion ?

Posted by: SaveTheRainforest | October 1, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

America's liberals just don't get it. The nastiness and condescension is driving people away from their faltering movement.

I offer egregious examples of the kind of "thinking" that is expressed by the lefties here as proof that the acolytes are doing their faith harm. Here's a classic:
"the stupidity of the american people is a force to be reckoned with. it is a mighty stupidity, deep and wide and unyielding on all manner of subjects. from politics to economics to history to culture, this land is a cesspool of ignorance, half-truthss, lies and legends all believed by the common man to be bedrock fact, whether it's true or not. this is how flim-flam men like glenn beck popular every generation. he plays to the fears of the uneducated, tells them spooky atories and then! shows them a way out. but this path out requires a few purchases mr beck just happens to be a sellin. now you're on you're way. Ever stupider and ever more misinformed, but the American voter feels like he's been in the light of the enlightened one. Watch the Beck Cultists--thy could be trouble."

Nothing like insulting the entire population of America in one single, densely packed clichee strewn paragraph.

If this is what the left really thinks of those with the temerity to disagree the movement has little chance of a resurgence any time soon.

Oh, and lefties, I don't much care about your "respect". What you think of me matters not a whit. Given the nastiness quoted above, why would anyone care about your opinions about anything of substance?

I'll be judged, but not by this group. Of that I'm certain.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

@Michigoose: re, minimum wage

As to how it will play, I don't know.

I do believe we'd be fine without a minimum wage, and would love it if we could have a test case--grant Texas a minimum wage exclusion and see what happens to wages in the state over a 3 year period, or something to that effect.

Simply put, I've been offered minimum wage jobs (in the past) and responded by not taking them. There are arguably some jobs that cease to exist--most of them opening positions--as the minimum wage goes up, which starts the cycle of "can't get the job if I don't have the training, can't get the training if I don't have the job". Which is a negative.

I don't believe that our current minimum wage, or even mild increases in it, is "harmful to small businesses" per se. But I don't think it's always helpful to the potential employee (especially the young and inexperienced) or demonstrably stimulative of consumer spending.

There are ways to address the problems with the minimum wage that don't involve getting rid of it (although I'd be fine with that; I believe it would result in a net increase in income, over time, but we'll never know, will we?). Minimum wage exclusions for businesses that make under $250k a year, for example. Or for new hires under 20 years old. Or for folks who have been unemployed over a year, if both employer and employee sign and agreement . . . something like that.

Lowering the minimum wage in times of high unemployment, however, is not exactly an irrational position. It would encourage both hiring and training, and could be stimulative.

Re: "Why do Republicans want lower incomes and less consumer spending?"

Could also be phrased as "Why do Republicans want to increase employment and give kids and the unemployed opportunities to learn on the job?"

I don't think opposition to the minimum wage, or increases in it, is because Republicans for some reason want folks to spend less and have lower incomes.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for your answer, Kevin!

I get your point about taking (or not) minimum wage jobs and the training vs employment cycle. Here's an idea that I've been kicking around in my head and not seen elsewhere (yet): why not tie the minimum wage to entry-level pay in the Armed Forces? They're paid while they're being trained, but then they owe some minimum amount of time to the employer (Big Government) to do the job. Granted, I'm mixing apples and oranges with private vs public sector jobs, and a Private is heavily underwritten with housing/food expenses, but wouldn't you agree that looking at basic pay alone that seems like a fair living wage? I remember as a young college graduate in the early '80s that the $$$ I was getting as a 2LT seemed quite as good as anything I could have reasonable expected in the private sector in that economy. I got some great job training that my subsequent private employers didn't have to pay for, and by the time I got out I was a well-trained--but UNDER-payed by private sector standards, and therefore pretty cheap--hire. If I'd been working for a private company while being trained they'd have had to do the training but I still would have felt fairly compensated. . . so wouldn't that pay scale be a fair place to start?

Posted by: Michigoose | October 1, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

@skip: "America's liberals just don't get it. The nastiness and condescension is driving people away from their faltering movement."

People have said this sort of stuff about the opposing time since the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans were going at each other. And don't get me started on those Whigs!

Nastiness and condescension have been part of politics since--well, since there has been electoral politics. Before that, civilization was mostly tribal or monarchical (with some notable exceptions, that still ended up with Caesar getting stabbed on the steps of the senate), and was nasty more in the sense of wars, conquest, poisonings and whatnot.

While I find myself more sympathetic to the Tea Partiers, they can be as polarizing--just ask any liberal. But you're right in one sense. The broader they cast their net, the more it motivates and inspires and increasingly smaller, fringe element of their base. Most of the hyper-partisanship of the GOP and Tea Partiers are reserved for the president (the Kenyan anti-colonialist (as if this is bad) secret Muslim/agnostic/socialist), Hollywood liberals, the MSM, or what have you.

Red meat for the fringe elements, but not directly attacking the majority of the electorate. Folks on the left have a tendency to attacking the "stupidity" of the American people--especially when they aren't giving them dictatorial control of everything /snark--a little more, and I agree that it hurts them in certain election cycles. But it's not going to spell the end of liberalism. Liberalism, like conservatism, will never end, but simply transform; marginal elements will move to the forefront and forefront elements will marginalize, but there will always be 2 dichotomous philosophies competing for dominance in the political sphere (or 3, or 4, but 3 and 4 will always be 80% or more just more extreme manifestations of philosophies 1 and 2).

Plus, I'd remind anyone talking about the left's "faltering" movement--remember, in 2008, Republicans and conservatives were on their last legs, and were looking at 40 years in the wilderness, out of power and out of favor with Americans (who were now smart, because they were electing Democrats). Only 2 years later, that scenario has been turned on its head. 2 years from now . . . ?

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@Michigoose: ". . . so wouldn't that pay scale be a fair place to start?"

Sounds find to me, but I'm not sure we'll see much compromise. Although a raise in the general minimum wage being tied to exceptions for small businesses or young employees or folks who have been unemployed for more than a year makes sense to me, it's an issue where both sides (in the political realm) like to stake out hard and fast with-us-or-against-us sides, and fight to the political death. Alas.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | October 1, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Words are indeed transformational. It's funny how an illegal alien can become an undocumented worker, just like years ago the jungle became the rainforest!

Posted by: 54465446 | October 1, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

So the WH issues itself a report declaring its "Stimulus" a model of efficiency and success.

In other news, Lohan declares self drug-free, Don King declares boxing free of graft, and Joe Biden will be having lunch at Katie's today.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 1, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

"The idea that the stimulus was a waste or ineffective is not only factually incorrect, it is a WILLFUL ATTEMPT TO LIE . . . ."

Oh, give it a rest. Your immaturity and simplistic howling are so beyong played out. NO ONE NEEDS TO HEAR YOU YELL THIS GARBAGE ANY MORE. WE GET IT.

Posted by: quarterback1 | October 1, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"More broadly, though, my problem with stimulus spending, in and of itself, isn't going to be "stimulative" in any real sense. What the money is spent on is critical."

Food stamps are the most stimulative way for the government to spend money, because almost every dollar the goverment spends makes it into the broader economy. Infrastructure spending is 2nd, because it provides jobs.

Where? Anywhere. Why? Because our infrastructure is cumbling around us. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that it would take $2 trillion just to bring our infrastructure up to spec.

"It seems to me (maybe I'm wrong) that the stimulus is normally discussed in terms of: throw money into the economy -> ???? -> stimulus!"

Maybe that's true on mindless political pundit shows, but anyone serious about understanding our economy isn't talking about stimulus like that. I'd suggest finding better sources of information if that's all your getting from the discussion.

"As if no conservative believes in an honest days work. Really?"

I didn't say that...there are certainly self identified Conservatives that have a progressive streak in them and just don't know it. ;-)

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | October 1, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

Kevin, note that I did not say that the liberals' behavior would result in the end of the movement, rather it would stall any form of resurgence. There's a difference.

I've noted how the political leaders of the left went to work "re branding" themselves. Mr Lackoff and his ilk, as I recall, offered up such marketing goodies as "pro choice" and "We support the troops but not the mission" and so forth.

the effort was to cloak that wolf in sheep's clothing. It worked for a while, but ultimately the disguise fell away. Lincoln explained why that was inevitable.

When Americans behave in a manner that meets with the approval of the liberals we are "praised" for our insight. When we don't, we get the kind of quotes I share here routinely.

Further, I seek to insure that the liberals here have an opportunity to see how thier nastier cohorts are portraying their movement.

They seem completely fine with nastiness as no one has said otherwise.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

QB, you are a pathological liar and I could care less about your delusions. End of story.

@Kevin

"Re: "Why do Republicans want lower incomes and less consumer spending?"

Could also be phrased as "Why do Republicans want to increase employment and give kids and the unemployed opportunities to learn on the job?"

Um, no, it can't be rephrased. Not unless you want to be ignorant of the real, measured, factual outcomes of unemployment benefits. If you don't care about workers' incomes and you don't care about consumer spending, then you don't care about the real-world impact of unemployment benefits. And that is the travesty and joke about the GOP's harmful and irresponsible economic positions.

Go ahead and read the article I linked to.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

No, the stimulus may provide "work" but it can't provide "jobs". The difference is duration. When the stimulus money is gone, the underlying economic desperation returns.

Will the Obama and the Democrats borrow and spend forever in the hopes that somehow history won't repeat itself and show "pump priming" for the failure that it is?

BTW, here's an excellent take down of the Democrat/Obama economic policies:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704116004575522351201224286.html?mod=WSJ_newsreel_opinion

Basically we're seeing the FDR two step: First step, borrow and spend with abandon. Second step: bash the engine of prosperity at every opportunity.

FDR's approach lead to America lagging behind other industrialized countries in recovery. Obama and the democrats are doing the same thing. As the op ed offered above clearly demonstrates.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Skip,

READ THE ARTICLE:

2% complaint rate and 0.2% fraud for success rates of 98% and 99.8% respectively, owed to the administration's built-in oversight.

READ:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/30/AR2010093007382.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Why read the article? does it refute my basic contention that the stimulus MAY provide "work" but does not provide "jobs"?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Yes, it refutes your basic contention.

"That figure includes $242 billion in tax breaks to families and businesses"

Those tax breaks -- about 33% of the total package -- helped enable thousands of businesses to hire people to newly created permanent jobs. I would find it extremely odd if you, a Republican, happen to think that giving tax breaks to small businesses does NOT create jobs. It clearly does.

"The administration has also written $77 billion in checks for thousands of public works projects"

Only $77B of the total (about 10% of the total package) went to public works projects that created short term "work" as opposed to long term jobs. And that's not even taking into consideration the medium-to-long term benefit to the economy of that infrastructure investment, which for some unknown reason you are want to do.

So, yes. Your basic contention is false as is proven by the article that you didn't read.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"... Rahm, Dean, and the larger meaning of their schism."

I may be wrong, but I suspect that Rahm's main problem is that Dean's program to engage everyone and Rahm's failed program to only push right wing candidates showed which one knew what he was doing and which one didn't. It can't make Rahm feel too good to know that all his vaunted political acumen lost to a New England governor.

Posted by: dkmjr | October 1, 2010 2:28 PM | Report abuse

"... Rahm, Dean, and the larger meaning of their schism."

I may be wrong, but I suspect that Rahm's main problem is that Dean's program to engage everyone and Rahm's failed program to only push right wing candidates showed which one knew what he was doing and which one didn't. It can't make Rahm feel too good to know that all his vaunted political acumen lost to a New England governor.

Posted by: dkmjr | October 1, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

skipsailing, your argument depends on a very simplistic understanding of how an economy works. Once money is spent it doesn't just disappear to never be seen again. It is usually spent on other goods and services enabling other people to earn money. So injecting money into an economy that doesn't have enough by supporting one job will support more down the road. Once you get the money flowing, then it becomes a self reinforcing process, assuming that people don't make it disappear by not spending it (the usual event if uberrich get ahold of it). The trick is to get to the famous "tipping point" where spending takes off by itself at which point no more stimulus is needed.

As too many economists pointed out at the time of the original stimulus, it wasn't big enough to reach that tipping point and another stimulus would be needed later on. That's also why supporting jobs of people lower down on the scale (teachers, police, other state employees) and things like food stamps that go to those who desperately need services are so much more effective in stimulating the economy than the favorite Republican tactic of getting money to those people who will make it disappear in Jamaica, Switzerland, the Bahamas, or similar off shore places.

Posted by: dkmjr | October 1, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

first to dkmjr.

It is clear that the keynesian approach doesn't work.

It didn't work for FDR

and it didn't work for the USSR.

If government largesse resulted in such vast multipliers, why did the soviet system fail?

Why did FDR's attempt to restore the national economy fail?

Why is American recovery now lagging behind other industrialized countries?

Once again, just like the thirties, we spent beaucoup and got little but debt to show for it.

It is simple really: The American people don't believe the stimulus achieved anything and they will express that early in November.

But I appreciate the attempt to justify sending even more money to spendthrift states so that they can stave off the day of reckoning they face for a while longer. That's just masterful. Instead of making necessary adjustments to spending, Obama rewarded his union cronies with my money. the states will face even larger issues next year when the stimulus is gone and the problem of funding their stupid committments continues.

Under performing teachers and over paid civil servants got it finger licking good. Yeah, there's a flag to rally around!

Ethan, let me be sure I'm getting this right: I am supposed to believe that VP Biden (the three letter word guy!) produced and honest and forthright review of the performance of one of his bosses's legislative center pieces? Really? As was noted earlier, in other news Lindsay Lohan claims to be drug free.

Tell me about the "tax breaks" Ethan. How many people got hired? and don't rely on the CBO, their "model" doesn't comport with actual facts.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

first to dkmjr.

It is clear that the keynesian approach doesn't work.

It didn't work for FDR

and it didn't work for the USSR.

If government largesse resulted in such vast multipliers, why did the soviet system fail?

Why did FDR's attempt to restore the national economy fail?

Why is American recovery now lagging behind other industrialized countries?

Once again, just like the thirties, we spent beaucoup and got little but debt to show for it.

It is simple really: The American people don't believe the stimulus achieved anything and they will express that early in November.

But I appreciate the attempt to justify sending even more money to spendthrift states so that they can stave off the day of reckoning they face for a while longer. That's just masterful. Instead of making necessary adjustments to spending, Obama rewarded his union cronies with my money. the states will face even larger issues next year when the stimulus is gone and the problem of funding their stupid committments continues.

Under performing teachers and over paid civil servants got it finger licking good. Yeah, there's a flag to rally around!

Ethan, let me be sure I'm getting this right: I am supposed to believe that VP Biden (the three letter word guy!) produced and honest and forthright review of the performance of one of his bosses's legislative center pieces? Really? As was noted earlier, in other news Lindsay Lohan claims to be drug free.

Tell me about the "tax breaks" Ethan. How many people got hired? and don't rely on the CBO, their "model" doesn't comport with actual facts.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

here's politifact:
"Here, we wanted to check Obama's statement that he cut taxes for 95 percent of working families.

The key word in his statement is "working." Obama's claim is based on a tax cut intended to offset payroll taxes. Under the stimulus bill, single workers got $400, and working couples got $800. The Internal Revenue Service issued new guidelines to reduce withholdings for income tax, so many workers saw a small increase in their checks in April 2009."

I wonder why 400 for working people didn't cause the economy to Zoom Ethan. Any Ideas?
this is from "Saving to invest" website.
"How the Credit will be Paid: If you’re eligible, your payroll administrator will make the withholding adjustment automatically and thereby increase your take-home pay. The average worker will see this tax credit in the form of a $13 bump in weekly paychecks starting in early Spring 2009. You may prefer not to adjust your withholding amount and can get your stimulus in a lump sum payment as a tax refund when you file your 2009 taxes."

Sooooo, 13 a week or for me, 26 a paycheck. Let's see, how can I use such a vast sum of money? Pizza? Too fattening. Sushi? too little food for too much money? Wine? a fruity little cork finished number sounds good! Pay down a debt? OK, that's prudent, but isn't it my patriotic duty to spend this so it magically multiplies?
Save it? Nah dkmjr doesn't approve of saving, even if I'm not "uberrich"!

so again, Ethan, why didn't the tax credits work? Why did unemployment zoom beyond this regimes predictions?


Posted by: skipsailing28 | October 1, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Skip, you are a fundamentally dishonest person and as such it is impossible to have an intellectual discussion with you.

Substantively, I guess you think that small business tax breaks DON'T create jobs. I find that odd considering the fact that you are a self-professed conservative.

But then again, you are as dishonest as you are ideologically extreme so it's impossible to know what you truly think about an issue and it's impossible to even ascertain how much you are fundamentally misunderstanding and how much you are ignoring because it doesn't fit your ideology that liberals are the cause of all the problems in the known universe.

Either way, I could care less.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | October 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

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