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Posted at 8:35 AM ET, 11/18/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Dems to Obama: Let's NOT cave on Bush tax cuts! Carrie Budoff-Brown reports that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are privately urging the President to stake out a tough and coherent position on the tax cuts. Other Dems are telling Obama not to waver publicly or telegraph weakness.

While that's a good message, it really is dispiriting to see this same old B.S., where Congressional Dems try to preemptively blame their own lack of spine on Obama's alleged failure to provide them with marching orders. Yes, the White House is important in setting direction and tone. But if Pelosi and Reid want a vote on extending just the middle class cuts, they can simply hold one. If you want a tough and coherent position in this fight -- as Pelosi surely does -- adopt one! Not rocket science.

* More key movement on DADT: Ed O'Keefe reports that the Senate leadership will allow Senators of both parties to bring amendments, which will ideally remove the last pretext Senate GOP moderates had to oppose DADT repeal. That's a real step forward.

ICYMI: My take on why repeal is not dead is right here. As Steve Benen notes, all it will take is "two Republicans willing to do the right thing."

* Not a compromising bunch: Perry Bacon lays out all the reasons why House Republicans have "little enthusiasm for compromise."

* Nor does the public expect the GOP to "compromise": So finds the new NBC/WSJ poll:

Almost 70 percent said Obama is likely to work with Republicans versus just 45 percent who said the same of the GOP's likelihood of reaching across the aisle.

Too bad such numbers are largely meaningless: No matter what people tell pollsters, in reality one cares about compromise for its own sake.

* Question of the day: From Joe Klein: "Why are we spending so much time and effort bloviating about long-term deficits and so little trying to untangle the immediate economic mess that we're in?"

Klein is hardly a dirty hippie blogger, so maybe someone will listen to him on this.

* A more liberal, unified Dem caucus? Pelosi's new army:

Pelosi will lead a more liberal caucus stacked with members from urban areas on the East and West coasts. After losing the majority, the biggest change for House Democrats is the depleted number of voices from the industrial Midwest and South. Dozens of moderate Democrats were defeated, many of them after serving just one or two terms.

As one Dem Rep. puts it: "The caucus that Nancy is now representing is much more consistent with her own personal views and beliefs."

* The Tea Party's true creed: E.J. Dionne argues, provocatively, that the Tea Party may merely represent a backlash against Bush's alleged "compassionate conservativism": Conservativism without any compassion.

* White House pushes back on terror civilian trial verdict: Jake Tapper has the adminstration's pushback on claims that the Ghailani verdict -- he was acquited of all but one charge -- undermines calls for civilian criminal trials for Guantanamo detainees.

Short version: Under Bush this guy was tortured and kept at Gitmo for four years with no "end game" in sight. Now -- despite all the resulting evidence problems -- he's going to jail for a minimum of 20 years and possibly much closer to life.

* And: Glenn Greenwald sums it up: "So typically Orwellian that Obama is being blamed for the Ghailani verdict when it was Bush and Cheney's torture that caused it."

* Will GOP's House gains evaporate? A fascinating look at why the House could swing back towards Dems in only two years.

* And the "next Sarah Palin" joins GOP leadership: Tea Party rock star Kristi Noem, who unseated Blue Dog Dem Stephanie Herseth-Sandline, is elected to leadership as the representative for incoming Tea Partyers and GOPers.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | November 18, 2010; 8:35 AM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: A victory for the rule of law

Comments

For almost a year now I have been stating clearly, in capital letters, that Obama is Soft on Terrorism

Obama has gone to extremes trying to downplay almost every terrorist incident, except the most recent one right in front of an election.


Obama has done this to support his left-wing policies. Obama has been attempting to manipulate the media into under-reporting terrorism. It is that simple.

Obama's other objective has been to get the country to accept his left-wing and ridiculous version of terrorism law and the necessity of civilian trials.


These ridiculous ideas were born NOT of a desire to keep Americans safe, or even on the basis of sound law.

These ridiculous ideas were born of a PARTISAN desire to make Bush look bad, and somehow make the case that Bush was handling the Terrorism Crisis improperly.


The problem Obama and the other leftists faced has been exposed: "they got nothing"


Bush and his body of legal work after 9/11 was really good. It was well thought-out and it was Constitutional.


Obama was incorrect. Obama never admitted that his version of the legal procedures would make the country LESS SAFE and provide a flawed set of legal procedures to deal with the ONGOING Terrorist Threats.


And that is just the key - the threat is ongoing and no one knows where this is going. If the whole threat ends tomorrow, nothing has to be done. However if we have a great number of new terrorist attacks, we have cause for concern.


That is exactly the nature of security and protecting civilian lives. Second-guessing after one has eliminated uncertainty is simply NOT the task at hand.


The TASK at hand is adequately meeting the challenge of the UNCERTAINTY.


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Yes, the White House is important in setting direction and tone. But if Pelosi and Reid want a vote on extending just the middle class cuts, they can simply hold one. If you want a tough and coherent position in this fight -- as Pelosi surely does -- adopt one! Not rocket science."

I hear what you are saying, Greg, but Pelosi and Reid also have to be confident that the POTUS has their back. They need to stick together and sing from the same song sheet. If he wanders away or wavers, they are screwed.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 18, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Greg

Some morning plum from you. First you appear to be demanding that Obama and the democrats NOT compromise.

Then you slam the Republicans for NOT compromising.


Such is the issue with Obama's campaign commitments: the democrats want to do something different, and at the same time criticize the Republicans for not going along with Obama's version of candyland.


The liberals can not have it both ways.


It is pretty sad, how you have exposed all this so starkly.


You can not ESCAPE the fact that Obama went around the nation telling the nation that he could do the heavy lifting necessary to make compromise in Washington.


That was the commitment. If Obama and the democrats DON'T WANT to do that for FOUR YEARS, Obama should give back the votes he got as a result of that commitment and resign.


Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 8:48 AM | Report abuse

Can't agree with you, Greg. This is from the Politico article:

"Many House and Senate Democrats want to force only one vote – on renewing the middle-class tax cuts – and dare Republicans to oppose them. They like the contrast it would offer voters. They believe it makes the most economic sense. And they know their base supports it. But what they don’t know is whether the president would stand with them. Gibbs would not commit to the one-vote strategy Wednesday, dodging the question by saying he'd "have to talk to the (legislative) affairs office.""

The Dems don't trust the White House because the White House is spineless. Of course, so is the Dem Caucus but at least they are are admitting it and asking for help. It's all on Obama. Sad but true.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 18, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

"At a summit in Lisbon this weekend, Obama and other NATO leaders will endorse a plan to gradually turn combat responsibility over to the Afghan army and police by 2014, a timetable that will keep tens of thousands of U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan well beyond the end of Obama's first term."

http://articles.latimes.com/2010/nov/17/world/la-fg-us-afghan-20101118

(repost)

Posted by: wbgonne | November 18, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

This could be the backbreaker for Obama with Liberals. Ironically, Obama may get challenged by an anti-war candidate (or undermined by the antiwar movement), just as he secured the Dem nomination for his opposition to the Iraq War. In any case, I don't see how this goes well for Obama's presidency. Very sad for him, but far worse for the nation.

Gov. Chris Chris is the true embodiment of today's GOP. He is utterly selfish and resolutely myopic. Chris Chris for President 2012 illustrates what is accelerating America's decline. The ship is sinking so steal what you can, jump in the lifeboat, and let the suckers fend for themselves. Great American Patriots, one an all.

"Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is the darling of the Republican right for bleeding his state budget and rebuffing billions of dollars in federal funds. Back home, however, the picture is very different ... While Mr. Christie was busy hacking away at public education in his state so he could preserve lower tax rates for multimillionaires, his administration also bungled its application for education money through the Race to the Top program and lost $400 million. He also lost federal matching funds for family planning by vetoing the state’s share. Perhaps some sage from one of the big universities — Princeton or Rutgers? — could help the state spend almost $60 million from the federal government to weatherize New Jersey homes. After all, Mr. Christie is busy making news and charming the right by downsizing his state, so it falls on others to think about the future."

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/opinion/18thu3.html?ref=opinion

(repost)

O&O.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 18, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

Oops. The first paragraph of the second re-post belongs at the beginning of the first re-post. Or something like that.

Bye bye now.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 18, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne-

Wouldn't it be inconsistent with Obama's comments about wanting to talk, negotiate and compromise with Republicans if he just came out and said he'll vote for a bill that absolutely zero republicans are going to support?

Don't get me wrong, I get your point. But I'm just holding out hope (it's probably blind hope at this point) that Obama isn't so spineless that he wouldn't sign the bill. Hopefully Obama realizes that there is no reason to compromise on middle class tax cuts (heck he should increase them) because nobody opposes extending the cuts. If everyone agrees, just do it.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 18, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

"Why are we spending so much time and effort bloviating about long-term deficits and so little trying to untangle the immediate economic mess that we're in?"

_______________________________


Um, no, we weren't "bloviating" on anything but health care for the past two years, and now Obama is telling us that he didn't communicate enough on health care.


What a bunch of complete fools.


Obama has the country two years down the wrong path - and now we have to repair the damage that Obama has created during the past two years. Obama has made the LOST FOUR YEARS.


These four years have become a complete waste.

A complete waste, of talking about the wrong things, doing the wrong things and weighing down the economy with an ill-conceived and expensive health care plan that MUST be dismantled.


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

"Wouldn't it be inconsistent with Obama's comments about wanting to talk, negotiate and compromise with Republicans if he just came out and said he'll vote for a bill that absolutely zero republicans are going to support?"

It would be inconsistent. But bi-partisanship doesn't exist and Obama dis-serves himself and the country by pretending it does. The GOP will cooperate with Obama if and when they fear him; until then it will be more of the same. The Repubs don't respect Obama and they just won the election. They aren't about to "compromise" now. This is the time for forceful presidential leadership but I fear Obama doesn't have it in him. And I suspect the Dem Caucus fears the same thing. A very bad situation.

Posted by: wbgonne | November 18, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

"So typically Orwellian that Obama is being blamed for the Ghailani verdict when it was Bush and Cheney's torture that caused it."


___________________________


Economic Translation "So trypically Orwellian that Bush is being blamed for the Economic Crisis when it was Bill Clinton's economic policies which caused it"


Right back at you.


AND no, the problem was the legal procedures used by Obama, not the necessity of making sure this guy didn't know something about ANOTHER terrorist attack.


We have to STOP TERRORISM - and if these detainees know something that could SAVE AMERICAN LIVES, we have to find that out.


Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 9:06 AM | Report abuse

Some of you will have caught the recent claims from Palin as to how (warning: you may want to cover your keyboard before proceeding) books and reading had always been central to her life. I'm relieved to hear this as I'm sure you are too. The reading of book is, of course, a recognized and appreciated and traditional aspect of American cultural life. The framers were great readers, likewise, Glenn Beck. And let's not forget that The Bible is a book. And a big one at that. If you're pressed for time, you can go to that uniquely American solution, the Reader's Digest condensed version (Moses and his people wander for a day and a half).

You'll be further relieved to know that other Republicans are zesty readers too. Tevi Troy at NRO fills us in...

"Fast-forward 16 years, and Republicans have once again taken over the House of Representatives, and once again books and ideas were central to that effort. In contrast to the last group of GOP leaders to take over the House, however, the new leaders — who were formally elected by the GOP Conference this Wednesday — are far less dependent on one man to inspire their reading selections. And the books and periodicals favored by the class of 2010 are deeper and more varied than what Gingrich suggested back in 1994."

Given what follows in the piece (favorites of "big readers" Cantor, Ryan, Price and Boehner) I'm not sure about that "deeper and more varied" claim but check for yourself. Rather amusing, all in all.

Still, you have to sympathize with a movement which finds itself in the position where, after its representatives open their mouths, everyone else in the room checks to see if there is any evidence of ink smudges on their fingers. It must be disconcerting.

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/253488/republican-reading-tevi-troy

And ps, check out this link on Arthur Brooks book, mentioned in the above. Illuminating.

http://www.tnr.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/78110/arthur-brooks-free-enterprise-big-government

Posted by: bernielatham | November 18, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

@RedTeaRevolution;

Reading your posts makes one yearn for substance. Cloud-shoveling has its limits you know.

Posted by: grosmec | November 18, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Democratic Caucus


I seem to remember all this crap coming from the democrats two years ago about how the Republicans were becoming a regional party.

Well, no, it's the democrats who are the regional party.

____________________________


The democrats have a unique problem now. They have trashed and made life difficult for their Blue Dogs.

However, the Blue Dogs really have to BE Blue Dogs in order to have appeal in competitive districts, especially in the Midwest and South.


So, by having such a High-Profile Grilling of the Blue Dogs over health care and recently, who would WANT to run for Congress as a democrats NOW ????


Let's look at it: Candidate Recruitment. A businessman or some executive has to be convinced to leave their position, or spend a great deal of their own money for a campaign for office. This is at a minimum a year-long commitment, in many cases longer than a year.


WHO wants to do that, in a Blue Dog district, only to get to Washington to be SLAMMED AND SMASHED BY THE LIBERALS???


And only to see liberals HYJACK the agenda, pursue silly and fiscally irresponsible policies - and CREATE the conditions for another difficult race and potental loss in 2 or 4 years.


SURE, that sounds great from a safe democratic seat in some other area of the country, especially for the Congressional Black Caucus members, some of whom have had no credible challenges for decades.


The gerrymandered districts have created divides in both parties, however at this point, the gerrymandered districts have created such a disconnect, it is difficult to see how the democrats are going to move forward.


The democrats have become a VICTIM of their own gerrymandering.


The gerrymandered "safe" democrats are POOR LEADERS for their own party.


More competitive districts would actually serve the democrats well - by making those Congressmen in the East and West more responsive to the competitive situations in the other parts of the country.

It just isn't Nancy Pelosi that has to go - it is ALL the democrats in the "safe" gerrymandered democratic districts.


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

EJ's thesis is interesting. There is a divide in the American christian community as to whether proper belief and observance ought to acknowledge and seek to alleviate suffering or whether that suffering is simply the consequence of God's just judgement on the sufferer's behavior and godliness, thus deserved.

This second theological view happens to correspond well with the notions of "libertarian" small government - tough luck for those on the bottom and we ain't gonna set up some oppressive system which might actually presume I have any responsibility for my neighbors regardless of their plight.

And that correspondence continues with the corporate community who do not wish to see government as anything but small and powerless (government being the only real constraint on them) and working in the service of anyone but them.

But I think EJ might have also recalled or noted that "compassionate conservatism" was also a necessary propagandist slogan designed to counter the extant notion that Democrats were more concerned with citizens' well-being whereas Republicans were more concerned with serving the interests of the wealthy business community.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 18, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

bernie I am glad to see your sense of humor, some days you seem so serious.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 18, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

grosmec at 9:17 AM

Not exactly sure what you are attempting to say.

If I make a longer post, with an amount of reasoning behind it, people say they don't like the long posts.


If I post a shorter post, they say that statements are unsupported.


At least if I give a few reasons to support a major idea, you at least know my reasoning.


I'm not asking you to agree with me on anything. I'm just asking you to make some effort to understand the reasons I say what I do.

.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Bernie- That National Review article was very amusing. My favorite line was this:

"Speaker-to-be John Boehner, while not flashy about it, is a quiet, behind-the-scenes reader, who opens up a book as soon as he gets on an airplane."

I'm a very flashy reader myself. I read with one hand holding the book sometimes. I'll read upside down. I have a blinged out bookmark, not to mention my iPad. I'm not sure there is a more flashy reader than me.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 18, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

I am an ostentatious reader, at book club meetings, I'll loudly drop a worn out hardcover Brothers K on the floor all full of page darts and notations, while someone else is discussing the book of the week.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 18, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

In Russian of course.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 18, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

@shrink - Yeah, I know. It's a bi-polar thing. One pole is Lincoln and the other is Glenn Beck. The arc is huge.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 18, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"In Russian of course."

Of course.
I only read in Latin, but I only buy books in English. So I quietly read them in English then I read them out loud in Latin.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 18, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Pelosi's caucus now mirrors her beliefs.

The problem with that premise is Pelosi's beliefs do not reflect the beliefs of the majority of the American people.

Posted by: mwhoke | November 18, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

ashot and shrink - you know, I actually missed that line. Good catch.

Posted by: bernielatham | November 18, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

And this is the best idea I've bumped into all week...

"House Dems Press GOP To Abandon Their Federal Health Benefits"

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/11/house-dems-press-gop-to-abandon-their-federal-health-benefits.php?ref=fpb

Posted by: bernielatham | November 18, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

"Too bad such numbers are largely meaningless: No matter what people tell pollsters, in reality one cares about compromise for its own sake."
----------------------------------------
Ah, more proof that liberalism is a mental disorder. Those who voted to get the Dem idiots OUT of D.C. want no compromises with those Dem morons left. In Obie's own words, "elections have consequences, Repubs won, he can go to the back of the bus".

I wonder if The Obumbler regrets his non-bipartisan posture now? I doubt it. He has an IQ<80.

Posted by: illogicbuster | November 18, 2010 9:49 AM | Report abuse

bernie: ""House Dems Press GOP To Abandon Their Federal Health Benefits"

Love this! LOVE THIS! More of THIS, please!!

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 18, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"House Dems Press GOP To Abandon Their Federal Health Benefits"

I'm having Déjà vu all over again.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 18, 2010 9:59 AM | Report abuse

"Those who voted to get the Dem idiots OUT of D.C. want no compromises with those Dem morons left. In Obie's own words, "elections have consequences, Repubs won, he can go to the back of the bus"."

I didn't realize we could take separate quotes made at different times and string them together to make them one quote. Good to know that's completely acceptable.

I'd also point out that Republicans refused to acknowledge any consequence of 2008 as they actively fought against anything and everything the Dems tried to do. Surely you agree that the Dems have the same right?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 18, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

wbgonne | November 18, 2010 8:49 AM


This tax issue was brought up during the campaign and the democrats lost.

That should be enough.

However, such votes are going to do damage to the democratic party - one, the American People will say to themselves the democrats were not listening and should be thrown out again, and two, the atmosphere will become even more poisoned for next year.


It really is short-sighted.


What, in exchange for a day or two of headlines, the democrats are willing to do long-term damage to their party ??? That in itself is evidence that the democrats are not fit to govern the nation.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

"This tax issue was brought up during the campaign and the democrats lost."

You have no idea what you're talking about. A huge majority of Americans opposes extension of the upper-income tax cuts. Repukes are blocking a vote on a decoupled extension because they know that would result in a HUGE -- AND POPULAR -- victory for Obama.


Posted by: Observer691 | November 18, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"I didn't realize we could take separate quotes made at different times and string them together to make them one quote. Good to know that's completely acceptable."

If it weren't, 'Brigade' couldn't post. But then once one wing nut had fun mashing up "quotes" in order to ridicule their creation, they are all going to get in on the act. It is a crude variation on the straw man argument.

By the way, I have the first explication of the straw man argument here next to me, in Greek of course. But I could translate it into English for the masses.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 18, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Palin-Christie 2012!

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 18, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The black gerrymandered districts are beginning to hurt the democratic party - clearly

they are dragging down the party.

Look at the Pelosi vote - there are 42 democrats with black majority districts who just want to be UNRESPONSIVE to the competitive situation around the nation.

That is wrong.


It is horrible for the democratic party.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Observer691 at 10:07 AM

Did you forget that the Blue Dogs sent a letter to Pelosi telling them they would not vote for the 250K discrimination ???


The country thinks it is retaliation for the Jim Crow era.


Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 10:22 AM | Report abuse

"While that's a good message, it really is dispiriting to see this same old B.S., where Congressional Dems try to preemptively blame their own lack of spine..."
---------------------------------------------

Oh, for the love of god. Again with the "spineless" meme?

Please stop it, Greg. Stop it now.

Posted by: CalD | November 18, 2010 10:23 AM | Report abuse

This is a real hoot. The economy is in shambles, unemployment is over 10%, there's a war on, the hapless Obamacrats were finally pushed over the cliff by an American uprising of historic proportion........AND....

......the best legislation the liberals can come up with is making sacred cows out of a tiny minority of severely, sexually disoriented soldiers???

It boggles the sane mind!

And then there's Nancy Pelosi, the queen killer of Democrat careers, back in action.

Are we living in bizarro world, or what?

Posted by: battleground51 | November 18, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"By the way, I have the first explication of the straw man argument here next to me, in Greek of course. But I could translate it into English for the masses."

I'm not sure that's ostentatious enough. Could you translate it from Greek to Sanskrit, then to English?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 18, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"And that correspondence continues with the corporate community who do not wish to see government as anything but small and powerless (government being the only real constraint on them) and working in the service of anyone but them."

"Government being the only real constraint on them" may not be working out real well for the banks right now. Did anyone else catch the English Only version of the AP article this morning regarding class action law suits against the banks spreading across the country by we the PEOPLE? Some of the charges include racketeering and fall under RICO. There's talk of setting up a victim's fund to settle some of the suits. A ponzi scheme called by any other name is still just a ponzi scheme.

Posted by: lmsinca | November 18, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse


CalD

You are 100% correct that the rhetoric of the democrats has become tiresome.

________________________________

Chuck Todd of NBC had a great point today. An Independent run by Bloomberg would only help Obama - by handing Obama the South in a three-way race.


So that has been EXPOSED.

If one thinks back, Clinton won only with Ross Perot in the race. Jimmy Carter won on the heals of Watergate.


Going back, Joe Kennedy won the 1960 election.


So, it is not unfair to state clearly that the democrats have not won a Presidential election since 1948 without an extraordinary influence on the election.


AND if you look at the map in 1948, the parties are almost reversed right now, all the issues are different and the economy is different. This is little to compare 1948 with now.


Hence the issue and the challenge for the democrats - look at the urban, liberal-centric gerrymandered party of today, and kick around a Bloomberg Independent run to see if that would work.


At this point, Illinois is competitive. Mark Kirk won. Wisconsin went red. A Republican won as Governor in Michigan. The Republicans won in Ohio. Pennsylvania went red.


Only the onslaught of democratic money saved the democrats in some states.

The party has become one of money - and that money might be drying up soon.

Certainly a set of issues

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Let me see if I understand this. Before the midterms, when the WH was saying there should be a vote on the tax cuts, and the congressional leadership said no, let's put if off 'til after the elections, did they have obama's back? So now after the election when they've the majority and seats in the senate, NOW they are pre-emptively claiming that Obama should have their backs, when it was them who wanted to push off the vote til now
And this is obama's fault...really?

I'm sorry that's bullshit.

Posted by: lynell33 | November 18, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

A senior Administration official responds to criticism of the big terror trial and verdict.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~`

"He was convicted by a jury of a count which carries a 20-year minimum sentence," the official says. "He will very likely be sentenced to something closer to life. (The judge can, and very likely will, take into account things that the jury did not, and he can and will consider conduct that the jury found him not guilty of -- e.g., murder). He will never be paroled (there is no parole in the federal system). There are very few federal crimes that carry a mandatory MINIMUM of 20 years. What that means is that he was convicted of a crime that is a very big deal."

"So, we tried a guy (who the Bush Admin tortured and then held at GTMO for 4-plus years with no end game whatsoever) in a federal court before a NY jury with full transparency and international legitimacy and -- despite all of the legacy problems of the case (i.e., evidence getting thrown out because of Bush-Admin torture, etc,) we were STILL able to convict him and INCAPACITATE him for essentially the rest of his natural life, AND there was not one -- not one -- security problem associated with the trial."

"Would it have been better optically if he had been convicted of more counts? Sure. Would it have made any practical difference? No."

Posted by: lmsinca | November 18, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

"I'm sorry that's bullshit."

I agree. Now we can watch a two year Democratic Folie à deux. Both are dancing around the other as if it is the other that needs to be strong, or take the lead, or at least take the blame, or have my back, whatever some one is saying they need to ask of the other. Its crazy. It is bad choreography.

Point is, the Ds squandered their historical opportunity (not entirely, but badly) and are not going to get another chance for a long time. Now it is all about damage control, not leadership.


Posted by: shrink2 | November 18, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

All, nice Adam Serwer post on civilian trials for terrorists:

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

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 18, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

lynell: "I'm sorry that's bullshit."

No one says it isn't B.S., however, that doesn't change the facts that at this point, right now, sticking together and being united is critical.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | November 18, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

More humor for your day.

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/79227/fox-news-exposes-obama-indian-not-kenyan-anti-colonialist

Posted by: ashotinthedark | November 18, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Glad to see a little of the old bounce down the thread levity here this morning. My thought of the day, which must have come to me first in Arabic though I can't remember--the Republicans of this era don't play hardball. They play beanball.

(And while most of the umpires turn a blind eye.)

Posted by: AllButCertain | November 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

lynell33 | November 18, 2010 10:33 AM


It is wrong to divide the nation along a 250 K level

Above - mostly white people

Below - practically all of the black people


It is a "CODEWORD" for RACISM


.

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"House Dems Press GOP To Abandon Their Federal Health Benefits"

Could be a good political strategy. Although I'm not sure what the lesson is: as elected officials, they work for the government, who happens to offer outstandingly excellent benefits to our imperial legislators. However, so does Google. The GOPs position is not that Google shouldn't offer excellent health plans, but that the government shouldn't be mandating coverage for those who can't, or choose not, to get it.

Ergo, urging Republicans to abandon their employer-provided health insurance may not be as illustrative as it seems, given Republicans haven't been railing about employer-provided insurance. But it may resonate. Certainly, better than sitting on their hands.

That being said, they could all renounce the fancy healthcare facilities, doctors, nurses, and pharmacy available right in the Capitol building. But then, they all consider themselves kings among men, so why should they not have free X-rays and EKGs down the hall?

That's good healthcare.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 18, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Obama needs to use the damn bully pulpit.
Give an Oval Office address, speak directly to the voters and explain that the GOP is acting in bad faith when it comes to the tax cut issue, and don't want to compromise. Therefore, the Dems acting alone, have to pass the middle class cut and let the extension for the top 2% lapse. The Blue Dog Dems, after seeing so many of their colleagues beaten just might now be wobbly enough to vote for this, realizing their chances for 2012 in their districts might depend on it.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 18, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

@RedTeaRevolution:

For almost a year now I have been stating clearly, in capital letters, that Obama is Soft on Terrorism

Yes the all caps makes you really smart...

Funny, you only showed up in the last 3 weeks. What name were you posting under before?

Could it be savetherainforest,orangeforces, ***tea***, etc.

Why is it that you need to change screen names so often....

Why not use ihateobamademocratssocialjusticetheconstitutionruleoflawbasicfairnessandanythingthatmultinationalcorporationshate? Then you could just sign your name and everybody would know where you stand on these issues.

I think being soft on terror is resorting to torture and unlimited detention instead of having the moral courage and faith in the constitution to try defendants in the way that the founders specified, trial by jury... Exactly how many convictions have the military commissions gotten and what were the sentences?

crickets...

Posted by: srw3 | November 18, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

SRW3

Read the posting above and try to understand the points,

Then you can get back to me

Posted by: RedTeaRevolution | November 18, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Re: Books. Books are for dinosaurs. And fussy folks in powdered-wigs.

At one time, I read hundreds of books a year. Most of them schlock or higher quality fiction, so that's not an attempt to claim intellectual credentials I do not have. A lot of art and design books in college. Some poetry.

Now, I perhaps read 5 books a year. Maybe. Although I perhaps read more now, or at least as much, in terms of paragraphs consumed. And out of those 5, I will have already read 3 or 4 of them before. I am excluding technical manuals, which I do not read from cover to cover, even if I try to.

I read some books online. Consume maybe 15 to 20 audiobooks per year, sometimes more. The year before last, it was probably 100, much of it listening to books I had previously read, more than 75% of if fiction, but still. Had to swear of podcasts to get that many books, some of the quite long, in.

I can't recall the last physical book I read that I had not read before. A year or so ago, I re-read Stephen Jay Gould's The Mismeasure of Man. And will probably re-read it again in the not too distant future. I plan to re-read Drexler's Engines of Creation. Maybe one of the Unfinished Tales books from the Tolkien estate.

While I'd like to say I've read Plutarch in the original Greek, I haven't, and I never, ever will. So, not only do I not read many books, I'm not particularly flash about it, when I do.

BTW, if you want to read an excellent (and short) romantic novel (one of classical, unfulfilled yearning) I recommend Alessandro Baricco's silk. If you can read it in Italian, good on you, but the English translation is excellent. Beautifully written.

http://www.amazon.com/Silk-Alessandro-Baricco/dp/0307277976/

Almost every review is 5 stars, btw.

Also--and this goes along with rarely reading physical books anymore--I got sucked into Machine Man by Max Barry. Light action-adventure-sci-fi, but tight, tight, tight.

http://maxbarry.com/machineman/

Warning, you get sucked in (at least I did), and then you gotta pay to finish reading it. I also read John Dies at the End online, but it's no longer available for free, as far I know. But David Wong writes like a gen-y Stephen King.

BTW, if you can stand Harry Potter, listen to the audiobooks. UK or American editions are both excellent. And listening to them all in a row leaves any but the most hardened cynic and contrarian impressed with just what Ms. Rowling pulled off.

And Minsky's Society of Mind. If you've never read it, do yourself a favor, and do. Another book where almost every review is 5 stars. That's one of the titles I watch, waiting for a Kindle version. There's some books I'd like to have conveniently in electronic form, and that's definitely one of them.

And, like Forrest Gump, that's all I've got to say about that.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 18, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Re: Obama being soft on terror.

In what respect? He may not talk like John Wayne, but the drones are killing high-value Al Qaeda operatives, and we're still on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq. A lot of drone strikes under Obama. And gitmo, BTW, is still open.

Hard to argue that, when the rubber meets the road, the Obama admin is particular soft on terror.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 18, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

@strf/oc/rtr/etc

I guess you admit to be all these other sock puppets since you didn't dispute that they are you. It's easy to tell because your posts are all the same...

I read your points, they are the same ones you post every day..I hate obama, obama is incompent, obama is soft on terror, obama is ruining the economy, obama is in the pocket of labor unions, obama is bad...All demonstrably false, but don't let pesky facts and logic get in the way of a good character assassination...All of your ire focused on Obama and not word 1 about how repubs drove the country into the ditch and proceeded to blame the outcome on Obama and dems. The MSM played along by not insisting that repubs actually have legislation (as opposed to their "economic plan" and "health care plan" with no numbers in them, but I guess you like the fact free atmosphere of farrightwingnutistan...

I think that kevin_willis pretty much destroyed your argument about obama being soft on terror, since he has a better record than bush (of course my dog has a better record than bush as he didn't invade a country that had nothing to do with 911 and had no active wmds or even programs going...

So strf, going to another sock puppet.

Posted by: srw3 | November 18, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"* Dems to Obama: Let's NOT cave on Bush tax cuts! Carrie Budoff-Brown reports that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are privately urging the President to stake out a tough and coherent position on the tax cuts. Other Dems are telling Obama not to waver publicly or telegraph weakness.

While that's a good message, it really is dispiriting to see this same old B.S., where Congressional Dems try to preemptively blame their own lack of spine on Obama's alleged failure to provide them with marching orders. Yes, the White House is important in setting direction and tone. But if Pelosi and Reid want a vote on extending just the middle class cuts, they can simply hold one. If you want a tough and coherent position in this fight -- as Pelosi surely does -- adopt one! Not rocket science."

Of course, if what you want is for tax cuts to expire in toto, but you would be breaking a promise not to raise taxes on the middle class, what you do is posture and talk, AND FAIL TO PROPOSE LEGISLATION.

To extend some subset of Bush's tax cuts, somebody has to introduce a bill. Right no there isn't a bill of any kind to vote on.

Next week is Thanksgiving, so the House and Senate will shortly adjourn 'til December. Still no bill so still no voye. Five weeks away is Christmas, and again Congress goes home, probably not to return.

Half a billion in returned tax revenue shows up in next year's budget. In fact, half a trillion in returned revenue shows up in THIS YEAR'S budget, which never got passed.

The Republicans in the house step on any new spending, and Obama reduces the deficit by half a trillion or more THIS YEAR. And Next year, and the Year after. That year he runs on reducing the deficit by 1.5 trillion dollars.

What do the Republicans run on? "WE cut the deficit by blocking renewal of the Bush Tax Cuts?"

There are many ways to win a battle, and subtlety has been a hallmark of Clinton and Obama.

Know when to pick your fights, and know how to get the rules in your favor. If your opponent wants to be the party of no, arrange your bills so that they say no to what it is they say they want.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 18, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Funny, you only showed up in the last 3 weeks. What name were you posting under before?Could it be savetherainforest, orangeforces, ***tea***, Posted by: srw3 "

And 37th & O.

Even totally ignoring 37 won't keep him off a blog, only banning, and he immediately sprouts unfer a new cognomen.

But responding to him is like clicking on Remove Me from Your Mailing List. It confirms that you foolishly clicked on him.
Best is just download the troll removal program available and load him as a troll to ignore.

Waring though, you find certain other trollsters you also delete and GS becomes particularly more readable. You get spoiled.

If the new protocols we have been promised appear with a Big Billygoat Gruff function, he gets to choose a name and keep it. We ban him individually and he disappears forever. Almost as much fun as butting him off the Rochambeau Bridge. In Rush Hour, for entertainment.

Posted by: ceflynline | November 18, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"While, then, every part of our country thus feels an immediate and particular interest in union, all the parts combined cannot fail to find in the united mass of means and efforts greater strength, greater resource, proportionably greater security from external danger, a less frequent interruption of their peace by foreign nations; and, what is of inestimable value, they must derive from union an exemption from those broils and wars between themselves, which so frequently afflict neighboring countries not tied together by the same governments, which their own rival ships alone would be sufficient to produce, but which opposite foreign alliances, attachments, and intrigues would stimulate and embitter. Hence, likewise, they will avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty. In this sense it is that your union ought to be considered as a main prop of your liberty, and that the love of the one ought to endear to you the preservation of the other."

He also warned about "the insidious wiles of foreign influence.". Another retired GENERAL (Eisenhower) more recently pointed out the pitfalls of the military-industrial complex. Were they "distrusting" as well? You betcha!

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 20, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Wrong thread (see "Retired Generals").

Posted by: clawrence12 | November 20, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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