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Posted at 8:38 AM ET, 12/ 9/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Senate Dems warming to Obama tax cut deal: With Senate Democrats set to debate the deal on the Bush tax cuts, it's hard not to notice that there's a growing sense that the deal is going to pass into law pretty much as it is. Senate Dems are coming around to the idea that Obama won important concessions from the GOP in exchange for extending the high end tax cuts, making it more likely to pass the Senate.

* Is it dead in the House? Also in the above link, House Dems remain furious about the deal, and Chris Van Hollen says it's a "very serious question whether this package can pass in the form it's in now."

* Sorry Dems, no real changes to tax deal: But Joe Biden informs House Dems that the deal is final, meaning they may be forced to swallow it against their own will.

* And Barney Frank predicts it will pass the House: Even though he's a vocal opponent of the deal, he says it "will be passed by virtually all the Republicans and a minority of Democrats."

* Can libs get anything in return? Jonathan Bernstein suggests that angry liberals should at least try to squeeze out something in return for supporting the tax deal.

* The great "triangulation" debate rages on: I argued here yesterday that Obama isn't "triangulating," and Dick Morris, the architect of Clintonian triangulation, tells Ben Smith that Obama is not in fact practicing that dark art, because unlike Clinton he opposes some of the policies he's embracing in order to achieve compromise.

* Also: Glenn Thrush on why the triangulation comparison doesn't wash:

Obama is the unabashedly progressive architect of the biggest federal expansion in a generation. Clinton, by comparison, was a centrist Democrat committed to running a leaner, meaner bureaucracy that generated budget surpluses and a sweeping welfare-reform law.

* But: Digby dissents, arguing that Obama "may think he's `a pragmatic, non-ideological' politician but what he is in practice is a centrist."

* Dear Dems: Give GOP moderates what they want on DADT: If GOP moderates will support repeal of don't ask don't tell in exchange for a few days of floor debate, Senate Dem leaders should give it to them. Much more on this later today.

* No primary for Obama! Joan Walsh argues that Congress is the problem, and that the left should put "time and money into electing courageous folks to the House and Senate," rather than wasting it on a quixotic attack on Obama, which would "probably hand the presidency to Republicans."

* Counterintuitive take of the day: Perry Bacon on why Obama needs to win back the "professional left" and can't afford to lose his liberal base.

* And: As Atrios keeps reminding us, the real problem with Obama's attacks on the left is that they don't accomplish anything whatsoever.

* DREAM Act becoming a nightmare? It passed the House last night, but it appears headed for failure in the upper chamber, and needless to say, its prospects for passage won't improve next year when the GOP takes over the House.

* Fox News shocker of the day: You'll be startled to learn that Fox News brass instructed its employees to spin the news in a way that might tilt public opinion against the public option.

* And it's axiomatic that tax cuts for the rich have no cost: It never ceases to amaze that right wingers continue to assert with a straight face that tax cuts for the rich have no cost, even as they argue we can't afford any extension of unemployment benefits.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 9, 2010; 8:38 AM ET
Categories:  2012, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, taxes  
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Next: Obama has always triangulated

Comments

Fair and balanced my a$$:

At the height of the health care reform debate last fall, Bill Sammon, Fox News' controversial Washington managing editor, sent a memo directing his network's journalists not to use the phrase "public option."

Instead, Sammon wrote, Fox's reporters should use "government option" and similar phrases -- wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended in order to turn public opinion against the Democrats' reform efforts.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/201012090003

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 9, 2010 8:46 AM | Report abuse

And what exactly is a "GOP moderate?" Even the farthest left Democrats believe in free markets and support Israel. Isn't this language just a tad cynical?

Posted by: caothien9 | December 9, 2010 8:51 AM | Report abuse

"the real problem with Obama's *attacks* on the left"

Common usage but I think we ought to reflect on the ways in which it is really quite inappropriate. We're talking about a handful of statements from Obama or staff which are nothing more than criticisms. To use the verb above not only forwards a stark and near absolutist politics-is-war binary framing, it carries the same sort of victimization sentiment we hear from the right - which presumes some species of sacredness violated.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

What is coming next after the tax debate in the Senate? Is START or is the Defense Act?

The House is leaving on December 18th so it would be better for the Senate to take up the Defense Act and debate it the four days that Collins want it debated then get it passed so that the House can then pass the Defense bill it there are any amendments attached to it.

Then the should take up START.

I still see the Senate staying in session until at least December 20th to finish their business. I think the December 17th date was stated to put pressure on everybody that there is a clock. That doesn't mean that the Senate can't stay in a few more days until their business is completed.

Posted by: maritza1 | December 9, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Wow, I can't imagine living in a place where people have to pay to play. No wonder those Danes are so smug, a 0% bribery rate.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-11954667

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Oh stop it Bernie, everyone loves attacking the left. It is fun and easy, especially since it doesn't even exist.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 9:04 AM | Report abuse

@bernie-
And it seems only fair to turn the qeustion around and ask the Left why they attack Obama and what does it accomplish?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 9, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm off to the airport this morning so I don't have much time, but here's some excerpts from an interview Ezra Klein did with Mark Zandi. Now we have some markers to see how well tax cuts work as stimulus. He claims we'll have growth and lower unemployment rates next year and going forward. Enjoy the news, whatever works right?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"This will make a difference," he says. "It will add a lot to growth in the first half of next year, when the recovery will be at its most vulnerable. It really seals the deal for the recovery evolving into a self-sustaining economic expansion."

"I also asked him about the Bush tax cuts. His own figures say they're a horrible deal on stimulus grounds, returning only 35 cents in new economic activity for each dollar we spend. "In normal times," he says, "tax cuts to this upper income group wouldn’t add a whole lot of economic juice, and tax increases wouldn’t be a detriment to economic growth. But these aren’t normal economic times. Given the uncertainties involved and the risks, I just don't think it’s worth battling over."

And as for jobs, he now expects to see a substantial reduction in the unemployment rate over the next two years. "By the end of next year," he says, "we’ll be south of 9 percent, and probably approaching 8.5 percent. And then by the end of 2012, we’ll be below 8 percent and closing in on 7.5 percent." Those numbers are far from what we'd consider normal, but they're a legitimate improvement over the current situation. Here's hoping."

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/ezra-klein/2010/12/mark_zandi_on_the_tax-cut_deal.html

Posted by: lmsinca | December 9, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

@greg: "You'll be startled to learn that Fox News brass instructed its employees to spin the news"

But but but Journolist GAKK!

@MM: "wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended"

Makes sense. Journalism is all about telling people what they want to hear, it's not an unbiased summation of the facts. Oh wait...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 9, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

@greg: "You'll be startled to learn that Fox News brass instructed its employees to spin the news"

But but but Journolist GAKK!

@MM: "wording that a top Republican pollster had recommended"

Makes sense. Journalism is all about telling people what they want to hear, it's not an unbiased summation of the facts. Oh wait...

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 9, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse

ashot,

Don't try to deny me my victim status. Yesterday I was called petulant, thumb sucking, immature, spoiled, only capable of appreciating political positions as one would a hood ornament on a car...nothing bordering on hate speech, but it was excruciatingly painful, or funny, one or the other.

It reminded me of The Clintons and their supporters' behavior back when Obama was "unelectable". In those days, backing Obama was considered the only way the Republicans would win in '08.

Here is a good example of the case against Obama. Please note it has nothing to do with ideology.

Adam_Smith wrote:

"The problems with his main "accomplishment", health care reform, were that it was done when the wars and the economy presented far more pressing issues and the public was, quite properly, not prepared to participate in development of the issue. Consequently the parties that were prepared, the special interests, had a field day and the result was a package of "reforms" so deeply flawed as to be doomed to broad unpopularity and, therefore, such a wasteful expenditure of political capital as to make useful progress on other matters, like the tax issue, practically impossible."

If I could have said it better, I wouldn't have made a better point.

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

As I keep reminding you, the real problem with the left's attacks on Obama is that they don't accomplish anything whatsoever.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 9, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"@bernie-
And it seems only fair to turn the qeustion around and ask the Left why they attack Obama and what does it accomplish?"

Again, I don't like the verb in use here for the reasons mentioned above.

I have no problem with criticisms going in both directions (that's as it ought to be). But you are entirely correct to toss into the debate questions and arguments related to what gets accomplished.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

The public was not prepared to participate in the development of the issue?

Really, shrink? Tell that to the right-wing crazies that over ran every town hall in the country last year without any corresponding reaction from the left. Was that also the President's fault?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 9, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Accomplishment? Now that takes me back. When was the last time our government had anything to do with achieving anything?

Thanks for the nostalgia, BB.

We now return to our regularly scheduled program of "Choose Your Myth."

Posted by: caothien9 | December 9, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

@shrink - the comment I wrote yesterday wasn't directed with any specificity at you, though your remarks were among the many which I thought representative. Not that I wish to deny anyone victimhood through dilution by numbers.

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

shrink-
How do you type while sucking your thumb? That sounds like quite a talent. :)

That quote raises a whole host of questions. Should health care have been put on hold? What "reform" wouldn't have been a waste of political capital?

What I find interesting will be what meme will Republicans narrow in on now that Obama is about to sign a bill that will probably lead to a larger wealth disparity (I don't see why the Bush Cuts that contributed to that trend would suddenly undo it). Will they just keep arguing that he is a seeking to redistribute wealth? The seem to have lost some ground on the deficit issue by demanding the top 2% keep their cuts. Sadly I doubt the left will capitalize on the opportunity to show the Republicans were just fear mongering.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 9, 2010 9:32 AM | Report abuse

"The problems with his main "accomplishment", health care reform, were that it was done when the wars and the economy presented far more pressing issues and the public was, quite properly, not prepared to participate in development of the issue. Consequently the parties that were prepared, the special interests, had a field day and the result was a package of "reforms" so deeply flawed as to be doomed to broad unpopularity and, therefore, such a wasteful expenditure of political capital as to make useful progress on other matters, like the tax issue, practically impossible."

No offense, but this is nonsense. First, HCR is pressing. It is just a chronic issue rather than acute, so pundits downplay its importance. Second, it's not like Obama can go out and do something every day to go and fix the economy even more than the last. It took a huge amount of political capital to pass even the meager stimulus that was passed. And even during the HCR debate, Congress was working on small fixes.

And the unpopularity of the law had absolutely nothing to do with the other issues and you know it. It blows my mind that you're pushing such an inane meme,

Posted by: DDAWD | December 9, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

"When was the last time our government had anything to do with achieving anything?"

- the last time you drove on a highway in a safe car and over a bridge that didn't collapse as a fire truck was coming in the other direction to put out a fire which are now exceedingly rare because of building codes.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

bernie-
"Again, I don't like the verb in use here for the reasons mentioned above."

I agree, but false dichotomy and binary arguments make nice rhetoric! The comment was really more directed at Greg who seems to agree with Atrios' point.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 9, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

I'm curious about how the payroll tax reduction will be written.

Will it AUTOMATICALLY expire and return to the previous of 6.2% in a year or will returning to the higher rate take another act of Congress.

If the latter, then you might as well kiss Social Security goodbye now, because Republicans will never vote to raise it.

And Obama and the Democratic leadership must know this. So if the deal he has negotiated doesn't include an automatic return to the higher level, and the Democrats vote on a bill that doesn't include an automatic return to the higher level, then the only conclusion is that Obama and the Democrats WANT Social Security to die. And it will.

And they will have killed their own party as well in the process...

Posted by: unymark | December 9, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

@ashotanywhere
Gotcha. thanks.
Actually though, I expect that Greg and Atrios wouldn't object much if at all to my hair-splitting on words and nuances that piggy-back.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Extremely good radio interview with Greenwald on wikileaks

http://www.salon.com/news/wikileaks/index.html?story=/opinion/greenwald/2010/12/08/wikileaks

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

TPM has a great graph showing presidential popularity over first two years in office. Guess which other President most closely mirrors Obama in plot? (Its almost spooky)

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/gallery/2010/12/approval-by-numbers-how-obama-compares-to-past-presidents.php?img=5

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

And if the new libertarianism gets any more traction. Bernie, that fire truck won't come unless the firemen are promised a huge payment, and only then assuming the homeowner isn't outbid by someone who wants to see him burn. Free market, you know.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 9, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

So the point is, Obama is perfect and so is everything he does, has done and will do, not only that, even if he isn't, pointing that out accomplishes nothing so we go back to the top.

Sorry, but many mistakes were made and many of Obama's strongest, might I add again, original supporters were and are still pointing out those mistakes along the way. You can pretend its all good. Meanwhile, America's income disparity gets worse and worse. You know what that leads to, right? Do you travel much?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 10:01 AM | Report abuse

in response to this:
=========================
"When was the last time our government had anything to do with achieving anything?"

- the last time you drove on a highway in a safe car and over a bridge that didn't collapse as a fire truck was coming in the other direction to put out a fire which are now exceedingly rare because of building codes.

====================
Building highways with tax dollars is something we've come to accept as the proper role of government. yet Several states have leased their turnpikes to private companies as a means of raising money. Why would a private company take such a deal? Because they can maintain the road and turn a profit on the take at the toll booth. The reason for this is simple: the difference between overpaid, under performing gummint employees and private sector employees.

Volvo sold their cars based on enhance safety for years. Meanwhile GM incurred the wrath of that madman Ralph Nader. The underlying assumption liberals make is that absent compulsion from the government, auto safety would never happen. Volvo clearly gives that the lie. But by all means continue to dwell in the myth lefties.
And let's talk building codes for a moment. Ostensibly aimed at insuring the safety of free citizens these codes have become a source of shake downs instead. The local government gets to shake down ordinary citizens by demanding the purchase of "permits" which are simply pieces of paper proving that the citizen has paid the shake down.

Meanwhile the building inspectors get to shake down ordinary citizens in the time honored fashioned of petty bureaucrats everywhere. Anyone naive enough to think that graft and corruption aren't rampant in this little arena needs to spend sometime in Ohio, specifically Cuyahoga county. Heck, just about any county on the erie shore will do. Those youngstown boys know how to wring a buck from a builder, that's why there's so little building going on!

and the firemen? Such a noble calling. Heck they are almost worth the extravagant salary, lavish health benefits and million dollar defined benefit pension plans their unions "negotiated" with the politicians they helped to get elected.

Yeah, our government, screwing us repeatedly while the liberals applaud.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 9, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

"Not that I wish to deny anyone victimhood through dilution..."

Other victims make me jealous, besides, they don't know how to wear their hurts on their sleeve the way I do.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

"So the point is, Obama is perfect and so is everything he does, has done and will do, not only that, even if he isn't, pointing that out accomplishes nothing so we go back to the top."

It's probably not likely that someone who keeps posting links to, for example, Greenwald's commentary on what the wikileaks story means and what the docs have revealed isn't going to be claiming that Obama is "perfect".

Or there's the comment directly above that criticism of this or any president is entirely proper. Indeed, the absence of it would be proof of something quite dire and ugly.

Further, if any other poster here has tossed in more passages from or links to both Krugman and Digby than I have over the last couple of years, I don't know who it would be.

So, if you move the conversation away from the utterly simplistic, we might have some stuff to valuably talk about.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Fox should have its press credentials yanked.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 9, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

unymark, the Obama administration's supply siders seem to be planning to roll Social Security into the deficit, though many believe that already happened, that is, that its balance sheet was decoupled years ago.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

So, Youngstown is now on the shores of Lake Erie, skip? You sure you live in Ohio?

And as far as bribery problems, are you suggesting that these problems are limited to the government? That none of that kind of thing goes on in the private sector?

And you think it's a good idea for our roads and highways to be owned and operated by the private sector, with profit as their only motive? What happens then, when the new private operator of the Ohio Turnpike, the only road that efficiently spans the state from east to west, falls into disrepair because the private owner realizes that it need not be properly maintained because truckers trying to get from the east coast to Chicago have no other option but to pay whatever toll they choose to set but that they can pocket all of the money since they have a monopoly on the route?

Posted by: pragmaticagain | December 9, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Wanted to make a quick point re wikileaks and the rhetorical or propaganda campaign against the operation.

As in the Greenwald radio interview above, you'll hear this one slipped in regularly... "revealing private conversations and communications". Key word, obviously, being "private".

The desired implication is that what Assange is doing is equal to, say, the government listening in to private conversations between citizens.

Notice how the liberty issue gets turned upsidedown here. Where the government ought not to listen in to or reveal citizens' conversations, it ought to be the case that citizens can view what the government is up to. This transparency thing is pretty much one way and this bastardization above has it going the wrong way.

We could, for example, define the contents of the Nixon tapes as "private" and Haldeman and others sure as hell tried to argue that totalitarian or authoritarian case.

Or how about corporate communications? How ought we to think about the "privacy" matter here? Well, we could take the phone conversations between energy traders at Enron who were defrauding taxpayers by falsely manipulating electricity (and causing the running blackouts in California) merely to fill up their personal bank accounts.

" "I'd love to see Ken Lay be secretary of energy," one trader said, referring to the now-disgraced former Enron chief executive whose ties to the Bush administration have drawn criticism from Democrats.

In one transcript, a trader asks about "all the money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers of California."

To which the Enron trader responds, "Yeah, Grandma Millie, man. But she's the one who couldn't figure out how to (expletive) vote on the butterfly ballot."

"Yeah, now she wants her (expletive) money back for all the power you've charged right up -- jammed right up her (expletive) for (expletive) 250 dollars a megawatt-hour," the first trader says."

http://www.seattlepi.com/business/176135_enrontranscipts03.html

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Some people are REALLY homophobic. Wikileaks was caused by gay stuff

"Bryan Fischer, the "Director of Issues Analysis" for the conservative Christian group the American Family Association, wrote on his blog this week that gays -- not Julian Assange -- are responsible for the thousands of government documents released by Assange's WikiLeaks."

But this lovely fellow has company...

"Apparently Fischer isn't the only one who feels this way. Ann Coulter also wrote last week that Manning's supposed homosexuality is to blame for his alleged decision to leak the documents, calling him a "poster boy" for Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/bryan_fischer_blame_the_gays_for_wikileaks.php?ref=fpb

What they aren't going to say (though in one sense it would fit their demonization needs) is that the pervasive use of torture and other war crimes committed by the Pentagon and US forces and by the US government were all generated by homosexuality.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Didn't see Stewart last nite but this is perfect! (h/t TPM)

"Daily Show: Julian Assange Is A Steve Jobs-Lex Luthor Hybrid"

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

This should finally and PERMANENTLY put the nail in the coffin of the lie that the Tea Party represents anything other than the corporate elite establishment:

~New Republican lawmakers are hiring lobbyists, despite campaign rhetoric~

During his campaign to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate, GOP nominee Ron Johnson accused Democratic incumbent Russell Feingold (D) of being "on the side of special interests and lobbyists."

[...]

But after defeating Feingold, Johnson himself has turned to K Street for help - hiring homeland security lobbyist Donald H. Kent Jr. as his chief of staff.

Johnson is not alone: Many incoming GOP lawmakers have hired registered lobbyists as senior aides. Several of the candidates won with strong support from the anti-establishment tea party movement.

These cases illustrate the endurance of Washington's traditional power structure, even in the wake of an election dominated by insurgent rhetoric.

[...]

"Lobbyists for the most part are hired guns that represent corporations and other special interests that pay for them," Holman said. "Those lobbyists now have direct access to the political agenda of these lawmakers."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/08/AR2010120806221.html

Lying scumbags is all these Republican politicians are, every one of them, and it couldn't be more transparent. The Republican Tea Party voters are dupes, there is no kind way of putting it. They WERE duped by the liars and they ARE dupes for falling for the corporate propaganda. Frigging sad.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 9, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

bernie, that is an example of the "free" enterprise system. Last week, someone was arguing, since values are subjective and people can just choose not to buy electricity, it's all good. If someone has a lot of money, they must've earned it, this is a free country. Looting after all, is only done by poor people.

Widening income disparity is a bad road to be on, it leads to many worse things. This tax "compromise" leads to more income disparity, it is a bad thing. Sorry to be simplistic, but it is another mistake and I don't want to hear about how Obama had no choice but to pretend he got a good deal. He is in the weak position he is in because he did not husband his political strength, he just forgot, I don't know, he just didn't realize why he got elected.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Some more on that here, Ethan...

"At Least 13 New Republican Members Of Congress Hire Corporate Lobbyists To Manage Their Office"

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/09/gop-freshmen-lobbyist-cos/

Two quick points to make:
1) this demonstrates again how the Tea Party phenomenon was fundamentally a "rebranding" project carried out to make people believe something different about the GOP - who it is and who it represents. These PR agencies know what they are doing and they present a formidable problem for us on the left (not to mention for the poor suckers who fall into the con)
2) DC is run by monied interests and corporate connections - that's where the power is.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 9, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Health care reform by the way, is destined to become an inadequately unfunded mandate. That is its problem, its Byzantine payment and revenue structures are unsustainable. So if it is to survive, its losses will have to be thrown into the deficit, just like Social Security.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

"So if it is to survive, its losses will have to be thrown into the deficit, just like Social Security. "

SS is adding to the deficit? Show me.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | December 9, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

All, new Adam Serwer post on Obama's version of triangulation:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/obama_has_always_triangulated.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 9, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

You are really looking for nits to pick pragmatic one. If you didn't understand my meaning, the fault is in your need to fight, not my ability to convey my message.

Yet you fly in an airplane operated by a company that exists to make a profit. Are you really trying to convince me that a government run airline would be safer than, oh say, Southwest?. Sorry pragmatic one but yours is a weak and discredited argument, at best.

And it seems I know Ohio geography far better than you. The truckers have several alternative routes, such as 224 to traverse the state from east to west or vice versa. In fact the volume on these surface roads was so high that governor Taft reduced tolls on the turnpike to encourage truckers to use it instead of the surface roads.

So again you are using a weak and discredity argument.

I think it is an excellent idea that roads be owned and operated by the private sector. I'm a big fan of the entire concept of private property and free markets. I've never fallen under the spell of marx, unlike some I could mention.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 9, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "this demonstrates again how the Tea Party phenomenon was fundamentally a 'rebranding' project"

Could it be any more obvious?

Is the press "shocked" at these revelations?

Will the press actually do their jobs?

Sadly, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding NO. America is in a sorry and pathetic state right now thanks to these lying corporate establishment politicians and their lemmings.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 9, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

"SS is adding to the deficit? Show me."

By The Associated Press
Monday, September 28, 2009

WASHINGTON — Big job losses and a spike in early retirement claims from laid-off seniors will force Social Security to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes the next two years, the first time that's happened since the 1980s.

The deficits — $10 billion in 2010 and $9 billion in 2011 — won't affect payments to retirees because Social Security has accumulated surpluses from previous years totaling $2.5 trillion. But they will add to the overall federal deficit.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/s_645306.html

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 9, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

skippy is very entertaining this early in the day....

LOL

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 9, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

@suekzoo1-

You can't argue with Skip's point that privately owned companies have succeeded every where they have succeeded.

@shrink-
Maybe you misunderstood my point. I'm certainly not saying nobody can criticize Obama. I'm just asking why Obama shouldn't get to criticize the critics.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 9, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: "If any other poster here has tossed in more passages from or links to both Krugman and Digby than I have over the last couple of years, I don't know who it would be."

Um, yeah, Bernie - "thanks" for that.

Posted by: sbj3 | December 9, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

How to tell when liberals don't have a valid counter:

(1) I get called skippy. Oh yeah, cut me to the quick. Just sooooo weak.

(2) The substitution of snottiness for argument becomes obvious. Again, just soooo weak.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 9, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

'I'm just asking why Obama shouldn't get to criticize the critics."

He can, we're tough, we're used to it...but he has to realize some of his sharpest critics are his biggest fans and he can change that if he tries hard enough.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

How to tell when liberals don't have a valid counter:

(1) I get called skippy. Oh yeah, cut me to the quick. Just sooooo weak.

(2) The substitution of snottiness for argument becomes obvious. Again, just soooo weak.

----------------------------

Do you have these lines set up as auto-text along with your "you made this bed now lie in it" line?

What if all the posters agree that these argument are always to be read into any of your posts?

As someone else previously pointed out, the validity of your argument or the availablity of a counter-argument are in no way impacted by a poster's decision to call you skippy.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | December 9, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"I'm just asking why Obama shouldn't get to criticize the critics [on the Left]."

He can and he does. But it's so obviously stupid that the real question is why you defend it.

Posted by: wbgonne | December 9, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The President and "the left" worry about each other too much. It's like when a sports team is bickering with one another on the field/court; it isn't pretty, it isn't helpful, and they rarely win the game. Everyone on the team needs to get focused, know their role, and play hard.

Posted by: matt_ahrens | December 9, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

(1) I get called skippy. Oh yeah, cut me to the quick.

You think that's bad? How about, "Shrink2 needs to see Shrink1."

Or Hans Solo et al perseverating on my infantilism. Don't try to upstage my victim status skip. Don't try to beat me to the floor. I can flop and cry faster than anyone, anyone I tell ya.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

so do you have a counter or not? It seems to me, and to any reasonable observer imho, that if you had a counter you'd offer it.

Instead you provide snark.

It is fair to conclude then that snark is actually all you and suzie have.
QED

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 9, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Me? A counter? I was just trying to beat you to the floor. And as an aside, Snark can be very funny, whole comedic careers are built on snark, Sarah Palin for example.

So, what are you trying to argue about? This time of day I can't go back to find out. But if you want a counter, heck yeah, counter is my middle name, Shrink "the counter" 2.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 9, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Let it be know that I'm NOT playing the victim at all. One is a victim only if one choses that role. Not I.

I am merely pointing out the scarcity of either true wit or valid argument from Suzie and ashot.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 9, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Skipsailing, your reverence for the private sector is simpleminded libertarian junk, and it's been debunked so many times that you must have just woken up from a thirty year nap to still be pushing it.

Look at American healthcare. We pay more than twice as much per capita as the next most expensive country, and we get less for our money than just about any other country. Japanese pay less than half we do but see a doctor a dozen times a year; we see one once a year.

The goal of maximization of shareholder value leads only one way: charge the highest premiums possible and deny benefits when people need them which is exactly what we have. Meanwhile healthcare in America is barely veterinary in its reach and its profits are obscene (watch skip go sideways into "who gets to decide how much profit is too much").

Your precious free market *stinks on ice* and the only reason some private sector solutions work well is because they're highly regulated.

Privatized highways would mean unpaved deathtraps with lots of expenses for use, and if you don't know that then you are a fool.

Now go off on another rant about "government employees," rewarmed Reagan era junk.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 9, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

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