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The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* GOP, mindful of difficulties of repealing health reform, plans investigations into it: Mitch McConnell spells out the game plan:

"Oversight will play a crucial role in Republican efforts. We may not be able to bring about straight repeal in the next two years ... but we can compel administration officials to attempt to defend this indefensible health spending bill."

The question is whether a show of hearings -- rather than full repeal -- will be enough to satisfy Tea Partyers who sent these new Republicans to Washington to roll back Obama's entire agenda, and won't look kindly on any failure to do that.

* Special bonus McConnell health reform chest-thumping: He throws in his lot with those suing to overturn health reform as unconstitutional.

* GOP rank-and-file gung ho for investigations into Obama: Two thirds of Republicans support the House GOP's plans for expansive probing of the Obama administration, suggesting pressure on Darrell Issa to cast a wide net.

* No compromise on Bush tax cuts: Still more reasons why it's not going to happen. The only question is who will blink first.

Indeed, Senate Dems are already coming around to a temporary extension of all the cuts, which is effectively agreeing to do it the GOP's way for now on the understanding that we'll have this conversation again in a couple of years, as a way out of the standoff.

* My true loyalty is to the Tea Party: Rand Paul claims he's not backing off of his Tea Party-friendly anti-earmark pledge at all, blaming a reporter for misquoting him after angry right-wingers accused him of selling out.

Key takeaway: New members of Congress who owe their ascension partly to the Tea Party are going to be under extraordinarily close scrutiny and called out loudly for even the slightest deviation from the Tea Party line.

* And right on cue, a Tea Party chieftain makes a power play: Jim DeMint is pushing for GOP Senators to vote on a full earmark ban, a direct challenge to McConnell.

Meanwhile, McConnell, in a move that will cause much gnashing of teeth among Tea Partyers, is maneuvering behind the scenes against it.

* Dear Obama: Don't cede "big government" rhetorical turf to your foes: Jonathan Cohn on how Obama is giving up "too much ground to the conservative critique of government."

* Yes, the secret cash did matter: Dem strategists claim the outside money put far more House seats in play and forced Dems to divert resources to counter it.

* Counter-intuitive take of the day: David Frum on why GOP moderates matter in the 2012 GOP primary: With Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee dividing up the Tea Partyers, moderates give Mitt Romney the lead.

* Glenn Beck flirting with anti-semitism? Justin Elliott on how Beck's description of the ubiquitous George Soros as a "puppet master" skirts awfully close to the line.

I still don't get why Soros didn't employ his omnipotence to bring back the economy in time for the midterms to rescue his beloved Dems.

* And there's no end to Sarah Palin's phony grievances: John Dickerson on how it's all about her image as a heroic defender of Real Americans against the elites who disdain them.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | November 10, 2010; 8:37 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Campaign finance, Health reform, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Tea Party  
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Next: Earmark debate another example of Republican fiscal fraudulence

Comments

While I disagree with the most of the Tea Party positions, good for them for holding these candidates to their word. Maybe Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Socialists, Communists, Independents, and everyone else can learn something from them.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 10, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

No there is no end to Sarah Palin's phony grievances. She is a one trick pony. Complaining about other people is her trick, that is what she does. The McCain campaign realized that early on, it is about time the people who think there is more than that going on between her ears did to.

Meanwhile, there must be some way for Democrats to drop a gas can into the Republican dumpster fire. DeMint v McConnell, what an opportunity. The Ds will probably waste it though, gazing at their navels, longing for compromise and bipartisanship.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Greg:

"Glenn Beck flirting with anti-semitism?"

In what way is describing someone as a "puppetmaster" skriting close to the line of anti-semitism? What am I missing?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Moderate Senate Dems are calling on continuing the Bush tax cuts for two years in exchange for tax code overhault that brings down the deficit.

Mark Warner says he will have his own proposal that gets rid of tax cuts for the rich and instead use that money to do tax cuts for businesses to bring in their 2 trillion off the sidelines and into the economy.

Posted by: maritza1 | November 10, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

What am I missing?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 9:05 AM

The list is far too long for a 3000 character post.

;)

Posted by: pragmaticagain | November 10, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

What am I missing?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 9:05 AM

A fair question, asked of the wrong witness, however. Greg linked to this story:

http://www.salon.com/news/glenn_beck/index.html?story=/politics/war_room/2010/11/09/glenn_beck_soros_puppet_master

Perhaps because my "Flashplayer" is balky, I did not receive the image that is apparently of significance to the Salon author. Scott, when you travel to the link, let us know if you can read the image in the middle of the story and if the story makes sense.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 10, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"The question is whether a show of hearings -- rather than full repeal -- are enough to satisfy Tea Partyers who sent these new Republicans to Washington to roll back Obama's entire agenda, and won't look kindly on any failure to do that."

This just kind of cracks me up. I thought Greg was a little sharper than this.

Remember the 2004 election when the right wing noise machine turned the guy who during the Vietnam War didn't even bother to finish his stint in a champagne unit into a hero while simultaneously turning the guy who actually served overseas and received purple hearts into the war joke. I remember it well and am still amazed at it.

The tea partiers will believe WHATEVER it is Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to believe.

Again, The teatards will believe WHATEVER it is Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to believe.

Period. Full stop. And you can take that to the bank.

Posted by: unymark | November 10, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

@ashotinthedark: "No there is no end to Sarah Palin's phony grievances"

While I like Sarah Palin quite a bit, and don't necessarily consider her grievances phony (presumably, the addition of "phony" is used to distinguish her grievances from the numerous, often questionable grievances aired on the left side of the aisle), I do wish she'd stop.

There are more positive things to focus on than a laundry list of how you and your side are supposedly "done wrong". Since you can complain about everything, and find something wrong in anything, and spin everything in a negative way (should you so choose), I think it would be beneficial to focus on the positive.

Reagan had a few witty one-liners that could have been perceived as negative, but for the most part, he was positive and optimistic. Even when talking about a certain Evil Empire's philosophy relegating it to the ash heap of history.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "In what way is describing someone as a 'puppetmaster' skriting close to the line of anti-semitism? What am I missing?"

The compulsion to make the facts fit the narrative? Conservatives are bigots. Their fear and bigotry is their primary motivation for all things. Thus, anything they do has an explanation that involves their racism and bigotry. Proceeding from that foundation, it's a matter of applying Occam's razor. The simplest explanation (that involves racism or bigotry) must be correct.

A more rational interpretation would be to see Glenn Beck flirting with anti-wealthy, anti-rich class warfare, as that's essentially his assertion: he's accusing George Soros of being John Galt, in a manner of speaking. Except for his advocacy of quasi-socialist government intrusion into the lives of average citizens for their own good, one would think Ayn Rand would have much admiration for the self-made, self-interested example of George Soros.

Seeing Glenn Beck as flirting with anti-semitism because he uses the phrase "puppet master" (a term popularized, as far as I know, in this country by Robert A. Heinlein as a criticism of communism, Soviet Russia, and the American Communist Party, and had nothing to do with Judaism.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Resentment is her product, it is what she sells. The Tea Party is a reactionary movement. Reagan was not a reactionary, he was a progressive conservative (in the manner of Billy Graham), which I don't think is an oxymoron, though most on the left do.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - The allusion is to various conspiracies of Jews running the world, Protocols of Zion and such, than a specific term. My recollection is that Puppetmasters owed more to horror movies (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) than anti-communism. Of course, he'd give the right wing the heebie jeebies with his attitudes on social mores.

Most important words written today: New members of Congress who owe their ascension partly to the Tea Party are going to be under extraordinarily close scrutiny and called out loudly for even the slightest deviation from the Tea Party line.

For those who think Obama can't adapt, let me introduce you to President Hillary Clinton.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | November 10, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

@unymark: "Again, The teatards will believe WHATEVER it is Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to believe."

That's simply not true. They are going to listen to people who call them "teatards", but they aren't going to listen to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck if they feel betrayed by the freshmen class of Republicans.

And guess what? They already are.

And fissions are already there, too. The small government types, all of them prepared to be betrayed, already think they are being betrayed, by Rand Paul and others. The fiscal conservatives are irked by DeMint's insistence that you can't be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative, because they don't see those things as being married at the hip.

And so on. The Republicans aren't going to be able to keep it together over the next 4 to 6 years any better than the Democrats.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin- That quote wasn't from me, it was from shrink, but no harm done.
I agree with you for the most part. I think some of her grievances are phony, but for the most part they are just numerous grievances. I'm not holding my breath on her stopping anytime soon though. Her comments keep her in the spotlight, get additional media attention, fit with her anti-media message, and fit with her "I'm an outsider message". What baffles me is why more media members don't just largely ignore her, especially someone like Greg. I understand why they can't completely ignore her, but they don't have to continue with articles that really provide no additional insight into Palin or her positions.

I'm also having trouble with the "puppet master" comment being anti-semetic. Maybe I'm not familiar enough with anti-semetic propoganda to connect the dots, but the salon article should have done a better job (or any job) connecting the dots for me. The initial graphic was hilriously ominous. And your thought about the anti-wealthy nature of the criticism was my first thought too.

And I really can't handle too much more of Glenn Beck's specious arguments like the blurb pulled out in the Salon article concluding that Soros was at the center of 80 years of disasters. The lack of people calling Beck out for connections he draws is sad.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 10, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

The tea partiers will believe WHATEVER it is Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to believe.

Again, The teatards will believe WHATEVER it is Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Fox News tell them to believe.

Period. Full stop. And you can take that to the bank.

*******

I think you are correct. For goodness sake, they think the Nazis were liberals. They believe in death panels. They think waterboarding is the equivalent of having water splashed in your face.

They are just so gullible and simple minded. They never question the nonsense spewed by Limbaugh, Savage and Liddy. One of their heroes is an anti-gay "woman" with man-hands and an adams apple.

They think Limbaugh and those like him know more about global climate change than all the worlds climate scientists combined because all of the worlds climate scientist are involved in a conspiracy.

They are willing to believe anything at all. Sad.

Posted by: nisleib | November 10, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I am left asking Scott's question as I begin my workday. I hope someone who follows the link to the Salon story is able to see and describe the supposedly offensive image so that I have a clue as to what Salon was griping about. I'll check in later.

Kevin, shrink, would y'all go to the link and see if you can see the image flashed in the midpoint of the story?

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 10, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

pragmatic:

"The list is far too long for a 3000 character post."

Well that, no doubt, is true.

Kevin:

"The compulsion to make the facts fit the narrative?"

I suspect yes.

It seems to me that accusing Bill Kristol, a Jew, of using Jedi mind-tricks in order to manipulate the public into voting for certain people/things is, in essence, a claim that he is a puppetmaster. Is that flirting with anti-semitism too?

mark:

"A fair question, asked of the wrong witness, however."

I don't think so. Surely Greg wouldn't have linked to the story if he thought it was a bunch of bunk. Or, if he did, he would have said so. If Greg is going to pass on such insidious insinuations as if there is something to them, he ought to be up for defending them.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Mark I did, I found nothing antisemitic at all in the otherwise ridiculous screed.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

@Fairlington: "My recollection is that Puppetmasters owed more to horror movies (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) than anti-communism."

That, too, but Heinlein was (in addition to being a free-loving nudist New Ager) a vigorous anti-communist, and freely drew the parallels being Soviet-era communism and The Puppetmasters himself. Not sure if there's much about it in Grumbles from the Grave (just don't remember), and I'm pretty sure there's some stark criticism of Soviet Russia in Tramp Royale, but I do know I'd recommend both books if you've enjoyed much Heinlein at all.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

@mark: "Kevin, shrink, would y'all go to the link and see if you can see the image flashed in the midpoint of the story?"

I'm the wrong person to ask. I'm behind a million filters. Half the Internet doesn't work for me. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

"I'm the wrong person to ask. I'm behind a million filters."

Hard to imagine that the brilliant inventor of Troll Hunter would be hampered by such trivialities.

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "I think you are correct. For goodness sake, they think the Nazis were liberals. They believe in death panels. They think waterboarding is the equivalent of having water splashed in your face."

Actually, they think the Nazis were socialists. Not the same thing, although equally incorrect. The Nazis adopted some minor left-liberal rhetoric and social policy (the accusation does not come out of nowhere, wrong though it may be), but the basis of that was not liberalism or progressivism, but nationalism. To some it may be a distinction without a difference, but that nationalism led to fascism, not Soviet-style Communism.

"They are just so gullible and simple minded."

But apparently you're side can't convince them of anything. I'm not sure "gullible" is the right word.

"They never question the nonsense spewed by Limbaugh, Savage and Liddy."

That's funny, after the "they think Nazi's were liberals" comments. That's like saying liberals never question the nonsense spewed by Bill Clinton, Keith Olbermann, or Josef Stalin. Limbaugh does not equal Savage or Liddy, and an inability to distinguish them reminds me of the inability of some on the right's inability to distinguish Obama from a socialist Kenyan anti-colonialist.

Just sayin', ;)


One of their heroes is an anti-gay "woman" with man-hands and an adams apple.

"They are willing to believe anything at all. Sad."

Yet, liberals can't convince any of them of the most basic truths, apparently.

I'm not sure that's entirely a failing of the hayseeds, hicks, rubes and teatards. I could be wrong, of course.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

@ScottC3: "Hard to imagine that the brilliant inventor of Troll Hunter would be hampered by such trivialities."

Well, I could pay Sprint $xx a month for a personal Mifi, if I wanted to, but I don't. :P

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

fairlington:

"My recollection is that Puppetmasters owed more to horror movies (Invasion of the Body Snatchers) than anti-communism."

Recall that the original movie poster for the movie The Godfather (http://www.impawards.com/1972/godfather_ver1.html) was a black background with a hand holding one of those puppet controls, with strings coming down into the title, ie a puppetmaster, a reference to Vito Corleone's comment to Michael right before he dies about his refusal to "dance on the strings" held by all those "bigshots", and his hope that Michael would one day be the one "holding the strings".

Perhaps Beck was being anti-Italian, not anti-semitic. Greg?

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

All, new Adam Serwer post on the GOP's fiscal fraudulence:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/earmark_debate_another_example.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 10, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Kevin - Of course my side can not convince them of anything; we are their "enemy" that is more dangerous to them than Al Queada. (According to Tom Tancredo and other wingnuts).

Limbaugh tells them regularly that liberals lie and that you shouldn't believe anything liberals say.

This is Limbaugh a few days ago:

"What have I told you about diet and exercise? Exercise is irrelevant.... 'How do you know all this?' One of the reasons I know what I know is that I know liberals, and I know liberals lie, and if Michelle Obama's gonna be out there ripping into 'food desserts' and saying, 'This is why people are fat,' I know it's not true. 'Rush, do you really believe that? It's that simple to you, liberals lie?' Yes, it is, folks. Once you learn that, once you come to grips with that, once you accept that, the rest is easy. Very, very simple. Now, my doctor has never told me to restrict any intake of salt, but if he did, I wouldn't. I'd just spend more time in the steam or the sauna sweating it out."

Posted by: nisleib | November 10, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

here is the money quote:

In a mini-documentary on Fox that at once accused Soros of anti-Semitism (primarily for not being a Zionist) and flirted itself with anti-Semitism, Beck claims that ***Soros is planning some sort of coup to bring down the United States.*** (Soros survived the Holocaust by posing as a Christian in his birth country of Hungary.)


I think that the accusation has to do with the 'secret cabal' implication, a staple of the imagined rothchild international zionist conspiracy theorists to control the world through "puppet" leaders controlled behind the scenes by the cabal.

This may qualify as "flirting with antisemitism" but its not what I would call conclusive proof so flirting is a good descriptor...

The contradiction between fanatical support of Israel and accusing Jews of secretly wanting to control the world is farcical.

Ignore the real influence that Israel exerts on the US political scene, while simultaneously decrying the international Zionist conspiracy to control the world....

the best of all possible worlds for the paranoid, delusional, conspiracy kooks like Beck (multimillionaire rodeo clown.)

Posted by: srw3 | November 10, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

"I'd just spend more time in the steam or the sauna sweating it out."

Brilliant health advice from a man who's already been rushed to an ER for chest pains. . .

Posted by: Michigoose | November 10, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

@Michigoose and nisleib

I think anyone foolish enough to take health advice from that quadruple bypass in the making will kinda get what they deserve.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | November 10, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

This blog needs less Sarah Palin.

Posted by: adammc123 | November 10, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

This blog needs less Sarah Palin.

*****

The same can be said about this country.

What this blog really needs is more cowbell.

Posted by: nisleib | November 10, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "Kevin - Of course my side can not convince them of anything; we are their "enemy" that is more dangerous to them than Al Queada. (According to Tom Tancredo and other wingnuts)."

Then, ipso facto, they are not gullible. Indeed, it would be more likely that Rush Limbaugh is confirming their own thoughts, beliefs, experience, and prejudices than acting as a Svengali to millions of mind-numbed robots.

"Limbaugh tells them regularly that liberals lie and that you shouldn't believe anything liberals say."

He does indeed. However, you should then be able to counter that conservatives lie, and you can't believe anything conservatives say, and have the great mass of people believe that (until they are told the opposite, later on), if they are simply gullible and "willing to believe anything".

Re: exercise and weight loss. Limbaugh is speaking from what he believes is his personal experience--he has said this dozens of times. And it's true that no amount of exercise is going to overwhelm a murderously caloric diet.

However--and I speak from my personal experience--no amount of dieting will let me lose weight, without stimulating my metabolism via exercise. Especially at my age. I did lose a lot of weight without exercise, once . . . when I was 19.

Apropos of nothing, but, yes, Limbaugh is apparently convinced that liberals lie about everything.

But, of course, he could be lying about that. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

...you should then be able to counter that conservatives lie, and you can't believe anything conservatives say, and have the great mass of people believe that.

****

No Kevin, anything I, or someone like me, says is instantly discounted because I'm not an approved source of information.

One of the reasons I'm "liberal" is that my parents get their news from hate radio. I've tried to convince them of many things. I've provided analysis and impartial source material. So have the rest of my siblings. Nothing can get through to them because we aren't an approved source of intel. Maybe we would be if we were on hate radio.

Does my inability to convince them that Limbaugh, and those like him, are full of it mean that they are not gullible? No, what it means is that they've been hardened against the truth because they ARE gullible. The big lie, the lie that all the other lies depend upon, is that the other side is incapable of telling the truth. Once you can find people gullible enough to believe that it allows you to make all kinds of outrageous claims. After all, who will contradict them? Well, obviously, only people who are incapable of telling the truth.

Posted by: nisleib | November 10, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

@nisleib: "Does my inability to convince them that Limbaugh, and those like him, are full of it mean that they are not gullible? No, what it means is that they've been hardened against the truth because they ARE gullible. "

And you're hardened against their beliefs because you aren't gullible?

I dunno, nisleib. That's seems awfully convenient. ;)

Gullible people are, by definition, easily convinced. I they cannot be convinced because they have been "hardened against the truth", then they may be many things, but gullible is not one of them.

I think the word you're looking for is "brainwashed". Even then, I think that's a lot to invest in a description of people who stubbornly refuse to agree with you about things, despite the fact you are clearly and indisputably right. ;)

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin- What would you call the people nisleib is talking about? I mean you both have a point. Calling them gullible is inaccurate as you point out, since brilliant people like myself (note sarcasm here) can't convince them they Rush may be wrong on occasion. But I'm not sure what the appropriate adjective would be then.

I would note, I have not run into any such people. The conservatives I socialize with appear to be able to sort pretty well with such transparent BS.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 10, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Eric Hoffer to the rescue!!

nsleib, Mr Willis, this speaks to your discussion:

"The truth seems to be that propaganda on its own cannot force its way into unwilling minds; neither can it inculcate something wholly new; nor can it keep people persuaded once they have ceased to believe. It penetrates only into minds already open, and rather than instill opinion it articulates and justifies opinions already present in the minds of its recipients. The gifted propagandist brings to a boil ideas and passions already simmering in the minds of the hearers. He echoes their innermost feelings. Where opinion is not coerced, people can be made to believe only in what they already "know"."

The True Believer, section 83.

If propaganda were as effective as some think, Hitler, Stalin or any other dictator would not need a secret police.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | November 10, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

nisleib:

"Nothing can get through to them because we aren't an approved source of intel."

Goodness...if your parents don't trust you, why should anyone else? ;)

Posted by: ScottC3 | November 10, 2010 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@ss28:If propaganda were as effective as some think, Hitler, Stalin or any other dictator would not need a secret police.

ever heard of redundant systems? just because dictators depend on secret police, doesn't mean that they think propaganda doesn't work.

Look at advertising. Does it work? if so why do companies offer other inducements to buy their products, (sponsoring events, giving away free samples, etc). If not why do corps spends billions every year on this?

Posted by: srw3 | November 10, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

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