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Posted at 8:38 AM ET, 12/22/2010

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* Obama to wrap up a successful lame-duck session today: President Obama may hold a press conference today after Wednesday's main events -- the signing of the bill repealing don't ask don't tell and the final vote on New START's ratification. If he does hold a presser, he'll have a lot to crow about.

You can see why the White House wanted START done so badly before the end of the session -- and why it's the best possible final act the White House could have hoped for after a very difficult year. For the President, it's a straight-up victory over the GOP and an assertion of strength in a way his other lame-duck achievements aren't. Obama's tax deal required major compromises to Republicans. DADT repeal was largely driven by Senators and was mostly a priority of the left. But Obama was front and central in the battle over the START victory, and put simply, he got his way.

As Peter Baker notes this morning, the victory amounts to the lame-duck session's "clearest assertion of his authority in the face of an emboldened Republican Party." Along with the tax deal and DADT repeal, his START victory sends a clear message to media and Congressional elites that Obama has not been crippled by the midterm election results, leaving him on a firmer footing heading into next year than he otherwise might have enjoyed. After the 1994 debacle, the elites smelled Clinton's blood in the water. Obama has left them scrambling to explain his resilience.

Of course, all this is decidedly temporary. Next year Republicans are only going to be more powerful.

* Obama's executive order for indefinite detention: The President is preparing an executive order that would formalize indefinite detention without trial for some Gitmo detainees, while allowing them to legally challenge their incarceration.

While the administration has long signaled that this was part of the larger plan to close Gitmo, the problem is that it seems to be the only element of that plan that's moving forward. And civil libertarians aren't going to agree that the administration's solution represents middle ground. As the ACLU's Laura Murphy puts it: "Our Constitution requires that we charge and prosecute people who are accused of crimes."

* The Census, made simple: Aaron Blake has a very useful guide to how the Census will impact our politics. The bottom line is Dems are the big losers:

At least seven of the 12 new congressional seats are likely to be drawn for Republicans (two seats in Texas, at least one in Florida and one each in Arizona, Georgia, South Carolina and Utah), while most of the seats that are disappearing are likely to come at the expense of Democrats. Republicans control the redistricting process in eight of 18 states that are gaining or losing seats, while Democrats control it in just two.

* But does the big picture favor Dems? Yes, the Census will favor Republicans, but Christopher Beam says the bigger picture is that long term demographic trends suggest the country is turning bluer.

Core point: "When we talk about population growth in the United States, we're almost invariably talking about a group that votes Democratic."

* DADT dead-enders just won't give up: A last minute effort by GOP Senators to scuttle DADT repeal bites the dust.

* 9/11 health bill to move forward today: With Senate Dems calling the GOP's bluff on an issue that seems to be trending their way, supporters are confident they have the votes for passage.

* Quote of the day: "When we were digging for survivors or recovering bodies, we didn't ask, 'Oh there's a Republican body, don't touch that one, or there's a Democratic survivor, don't go near that one," Brooklyn first responder T.J. Gilmartin tells Keith Olbermann.

* Obama to renew push for immigration reform next year? That's what the President pledged yesterday to Hispanic members of Congress. As unlikely as this seems, given the incoming House GOP majority, it's perhaps another sign that Obama isn't playing the triangulation game and hopes to bring the left along whenever he thinks he can.

* Meanwhile, Obama is rising among Republicans: Taegan Goddard ferrets out a key finding from the new Gallup poll: Obama's approval has jumped nine points among moderate Republicans -- and GOP-leaning independents.

* The larger meaning of the Haley Barbour flap: As Matthew Cooper puts it rather delicately, the bigger story is that more and more Republicans are "reexamining" the consensus view that "the segregated south was a deeply unfair place."

* Whoops! That anti-Murkowski campaign didn't work out too well: If her recent votes are any guide, Lisa Murkowski's sudden independence could prove very helpful to Obama and Dems over time.

* Unsung hero on DADT repeal: Steny Hoyer hasn't gotten much credit for it, but gay rights advocates say he was instrumental in bringing repeal back from the dead -- twice.

* And here's the fantasy of the day: Rudy Giuliani in 2012. The argument -- no joke -- is that Rudy's bullying ways make him particularly well suited to today's partisan and bear-knuckled politics.

Of course, Rudy hasn't held public office in a decade and his last effort to ride his 9/11 magic carpet into the White House was a colossal failure and a joke.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | December 22, 2010; 8:38 AM ET
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights, race  
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Next: Deal reached on 9/11 bill, clearing way for passage

Comments

Greg - if you hadn't seen it, a post from Mike Tomasky yesterday was headed...

"Where lame ducks soar"

Not bad, eh?

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

"And here's the fantasy of the day: Rudy Giuliani in 2012."

They just don't make saviors like they used to.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

gee greg, guess "the meaning of the 2010 election" is relative and subjective. for some - those republicans who did vote for the repeal of DADT, and those who will vote for the new START, they must have heard the country wants our elected officials to actually get some things accomplished; not just obstruct to bring obama down. the dana milbank label, the petulants who will be more in control this next year, will continue with their stated goal, of "downsizing the government until it can be drowned in a bathtub" and we do, if not already, become the united corporate states. ah, rollerball lives.

Posted by: sbvpav | December 22, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

"The British government has been training a Bangladeshi paramilitary force condemned by human rights organisations as a "government death squad", leaked US embassy cables have revealed."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/21/wikileaks-cables-british-police-bangladesh-death-squad

I'm sure this won't have any influence on the pristine Brit legal system and future moves to take down Assange.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of re-evaluating, how do the 'necks, like the Tea Party Express now? Murkowski, Reid, not to mention Coons, those people were goners until the TPE showed up and bought the movement. Funny thing is, the TP vanished soon thereafter.

"DADT dead-enders just won't give up." Greg, Christians do what they do for a reason; just like the JWs that keep showing up at my house because they found out a Moslem lives there (they don't recognize apostasy), they believe they are feathering their nests.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

The Bush administration, it seems, didn't have Michael Moore on its Christmas card list...

"Whatever else WikiLeaks may have revealed, one fact has been repeatedly confirmed: the US government under George Bush really loathed the documentary filmmaker Michael Moore.

After a leaked cable from US diplomats in Havana falsely claimed Cuba had banned Moore's documentary Sicko – when in fact it was shown on state television – another cable reveals US officials flying into a panic after hearing a rumour that a New Zealand cabinet minister was hosting a screening of Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/22/wikileaks-cables-michael-moore-nz

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:26 AM | Report abuse

That demographic turn for the Dems is starting to sound like the old saw about Brazil - an important development in the future that will always remain so.

Posted by: zimbar | December 22, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

For those who are seriously weirded-out by the State Department sending in to Washington false information on Cuba refusing to screen Sicko, you can add this item re New Zealand, Israeli spies and lamb to your confusion...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/21/wikileaks-cables-lamb-new-zealand-israel

The similarity is, apparently, sending reports that are designed to correspond with the administration's worldview rather than to provide the administration with notes from reality. How common might this be? And what are the dynamics of it... job security? It's bizarre.

A historical footnote... some years ago, NZ was seriously contemplating legalizing marijuana. A big push came through the US State Department to quell this initiative and the club was the threat of serious ramifications to NZ's lamb exports.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Obama's popularity with moderates depends on consumer confidence, or economic growth.

"Many analysts, however, predict the economy strengthened in the October-December quarter. They think the economy is growing at a 3.5 percent pace or better mainly because consumers are spending more freely again."

If he had done more early on to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and to help state and municipal governments [which contrary to Republican belief, are second only to consumer spending as a driver of gdp], he would have helped himself a lot more, but the past is ashes. Too much for the rich and not enough bailout for the workers is what you get from supply siders like Orzag and Summers.


Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2010 9:39 AM | Report abuse

"Of course, all this is decidedly temporary. Next year Republicans are only going to be more powerful."

I keep wondering how a Republican Majority in the House will make actual outcomes much different in the next two years than they have been in the past 2 years. Republicans do not need more than 40 seats in the Senate to eff everything up and put the business of the people on permanent hold.

There are over 450 bills passed while Dems held the majority and Pelosi was speaker that NEVER CAME UP FOR A VOTE in the Senate.

Posted by: bcinaz | December 22, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

A bunch of really bright people writing here...

http://www.democracyjournal.org/

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Oh no Bernie, another reading list. My friends already call me the man who knew too much (a nice way of saying jackass-know-it-all).

To a shrink, this is a funny line..."Two years into Barack Obama’s presidency, we can’t doubt his intelligence, but we can wonder whether there are more important qualities."

Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Lisa M. ran against a quintessential far right candidate in the primary, and refused to outflank him to the right, paying the price of losing the nomination. Once she had done that [as I wish McC had done, for instance], she determined that she could run to the near right and capture enough votes in AK. She got some union support, I have read.

"What you have seen since the election are a series of bills that are high-profile, and yes the president has supported them," she said. "But you have to ask the question: Where are Alaskans on these bills? It's always a question of 'What is the next vote?' And where are Alaskans on that next vote?"

When it came to "don't ask, don't tell," for example, Alaskans were overwhelmingly in support of doing away with the policy, Murkowski said.

She said it's the same with the DREAM Act, an immigration bill that would have given students in the United States illegally a chance to become residents. The president had nothing to do with either decision, she said, and when it came to her support of the START nuclear arms treaty with Russia this week, she was more swayed by the military leaders' backing it than Obama's phone call to her.

Courtesy *Anchorage Daily News*

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 22, 2010 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Populism of the non-punitive, pro-liberty, help the little guy rather than the mega-corporations sort...

"Montana Jury Pool Stages 'Mutiny' Over Pot Possession Charge"

http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/12/montana_jury_pool_stages_mutiny_over_pot_possessio.php?ref=fpblg

Bravo.

Posted by: bernielatham | December 22, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

With regard to Michael Cooper's suggestion that we're starting to hear revisionist talk about life in the segregated South, I just want to recommend Isabel Wilkerson's The Warmth of Other Suns again. It's an even-handed look at the racial situation that caused the migration north starting with World War I and going into the 1970's. And clear-eyed and calm as it is, it's absolutely hair-raising. We need to keep remembering the actual history so we don't relive it. It's outrageous if we don't. This can't be one of those areas where we let something like a Haley Barbour's romanticized view of his youth create and spread an idea that has nothing to do with reality.

Posted by: AllButCertain | December 22, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"For the President, it's a straight-up victory over the GOP and an assertion of strength in a way his other lame-duck achievements aren't."

It's a victory of an alliance between the President and the 20th century GOP. Unless that alliance recurs often it's a one-time accomplishment for the country, but not a politically significant one for the President. An echo of Clinton's "pretty good Eisenhower Republican" economic policy in the first two years, even with a Dem majority on the hill.

Posted by: zimbar | December 22, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

C'mon, GOP, join the rest of in the late 20th Century (not to mention 21st). Even a blind hog can find an acorn now and then.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 22, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

And lest we Yankees get too high and mighty about that bad old South, there is this book:

The Death of Reconstruction: Race, Labor, and Politics in the Post-Civil War North, 1865-1901. Heather Cox Richardson

Short version, Northern politics not only made Jim Crow possible, it made it Jim Crow inevitable.

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674013667

Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

When one needs Republican votes to pass something, it is stupid to characterize the passage as a victory for one side.

REALLY STUPID

If I have to explain it..... you are too dumb to understand. How will one gain cooperation on the next issue if all you do is act like a child and claim victory every time the other side works with you???

Stupid


And this behavior is a BETRAYAL of the American People - because it is their work which is supposed to be done

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 22, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

A great point zimbar.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Greg, PLEASE stop using this meme: "DADT was driven largely by Senators."

Do you think this vote would have been as solid if Obama's long-term strategy of building support with the Pentagon, Joint-Chiefs, conducting the survey, etc hadn't delivered the military to the Senate on a silver platter? Without that there would be nothing.

PLEASE kill the meme that it was a Senator-driven victory.

Posted by: dansachar | December 22, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

the bigger story is that more and more Republicans are "reexamining" the consensus view that "the segregated south was a deeply unfair place."


_________________________________

This statement is RACIST against WHITES


It is also a lame attempt to create a STEROTYPE.

.
.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 22, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

the myth that will not die:
=============
which contrary to Republican belief, are second only to consumer spending as a driver of gdp
==================

Let's be sure we understand this process. The government confiscates money that people earn in the private sector and showers it on its employees. And, somehow, this is supposed to spur GDP.

Just a few questions:

If government spending was so important to GDP, why weren't the citizens of the Soviet Union rolling in dough?

If this really works as advertised, why don't liberals simply demand that the government confiscate ALL the money and shower it on its employees? Wouldn't we all be rich?

For example, why were the people in Bell, CA so outraged? Shouldn't a spokeperson for the Democrat/liberal cause, oh say Dennis Kuchinich, have been able to show the taxpayers in that town just exactly how smart it was to pay all that money to that handful of "civil servants"?

Honestly, this is just madness. The unfunded pension liability of the states is reliably estimated at 3 TRILLION. Where is this money to come from?

My prediction is that this comment will result in a few sneering, snotty responses. Since the loss in November the liberals have descended, rather rapidly I might add, into nothing more than name calling as "argument".

I look forward to some really well turned sarcasm. Don't disappoint me.

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 22, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Nobody out here cares about Haley Barbour, what he says or what he does. It's boring!

Repeal of DADT has become boring. Whoopee! Now the "gay" caballeros amongst our troops can march boldly down the streets of San Fransisco in the annual "gay" pride parade without worrying about being kicked out. Most Americans will look the other way.

The good news is that the miserable, Obama lame ducks are about to be dead ducks. No more left-wing stink bombs from them, ever. This is the most hated session in American history and according to Gallup, satisfaction remains at 17%. That's about rock bottom because that's about the percentage of leftist wingnuts, in America.

Also, Obama's approval is slipping among liberal Democrats but who cares? They got nowhere else to go.

Obama is the conservatives' best friend. He and his soulmate, Nancy Pelosi have done what even Ronald Reagan failed to do. They have made conservatives the largest, ideological group in America. They even outnumber moderates, at this point. Way to go Barry!! You de man!!

And, the left-wing, homocentric, Washington Post is in full, Republican bashing mode again. Look at the headlines there if you doubt this. It's incredible bias but hey, they no longer care.

What else is happening??

Posted by: battleground51 | December 22, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Movement conservatism, like communism and fascism, needs to constantly revise history for its propaganda program. It's harder to demonize the 'other' -- the boogeymen you need to unite your base in fear and hatred -- if they are reminded that these are people who were terribly wronged.

So when enough time has passed and people have forgotten, you can whitewash terrible times, as the gop is now trying to do with the south.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 22, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

The truth is the democrats hurt themselves badly with this Lame Duck session.


The American People voted these people OUT OF OFFICE


The democrats have HIJACKED THE GOVERNMENT and they are operating WITHOUT the support of the American People - they have no mandate. Last time hey twisted the meaning of their mandate - NO ONE can trust them.

.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 22, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Fiona

The democrats ABUSED THEIR OFFICES and got thrown out - the are prtending.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 22, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

fiona5 writes

harder to demonize the 'other' -- the boogeymen you need to unite your base in fear and hatred

__________________________


Exactly what Greg is doing with his reference to the Matthew Cooper article

Posted by: RainForestRising | December 22, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

battleground -- your apparent angst might be relieved by leaving this reviled place -- you hate it, why stay? and going to visit the Fix, which is devoted to daily democrat bashing.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Most Americans now expect Obamacare to be repealed according to Rasmussen. Will the next Congress disappoint them??

Most Americans believe America is an exceptional nation while most think Obama does not. That means most Americans are optimists and they view B.O. as a pessimist. It's a dim view, indeed.

In the "What did you expect?" department, Barack Obama is pandering to outlaw "immigrants" and their crybaby sympathizers, again. Is Obama really that dense?? How many times does America have to scream "NO AMNESTY, EVER!!" for him to understand??

Obama is a true ideologue. He really does not care what most Americans want or believe. It's all about HIM. He's a cosmo Clinton without the personality or easy flexibility. I think he will be a one termer but anything's possible.

Posted by: battleground51 | December 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

And, the left-wing, homocentric, Washington Post is in full, Republican bashing mode again. Look at the headlines there if you doubt this. It's incredible bias but hey, they no longer care.

==

Actually it looks like the Republicans tactic of acting like spoiled toddlers is finally starting to catch up with them.

And since they'll spend the next two years acting even less mature (count on it), they'll use theire newly-captured seats to marginalize themselves a lot further than they had in 2006 and 2008. Phony investigations, birth certificate junk, trying to rekindle the culture wars.

And they still have nobody to run in 2012. Yeah, Fatty Barbour. That should sell.

Maybe Carly Fiorina will run for President on a "nobody owes you a job" ticket.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 22, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Yeah battleground go hang out at Cillizza's blog with the twitter twirps. You'd be a lot happier there. Cillizza would drop to his knees and BJ a bull elephant if it would get some ink for Tim Pawlenty, and you can read his daily fawning over Republicans nobody else in the world cares about.

You can also be as bigoted as you like and feel welcome. For you, anyway, it will never get stale.

On the one hand, on the other hand, it remains to be seen, _cum grano salis_.

Posted by: caothien9 | December 22, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Even though my TrollHunter did not seem to work this morning, I want to take the moment to thank Kevin for his timeless contribution. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Kevin Willis.

Skip, I refer you to

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_federal_budget

for a quick-and-dirty look at the revenue-expenditure picture.

Details are available at "Thomas". Your tax dollar pays for interest on the National Debt, to foreign sovereigns and major investors. It pays for procurement for the military and for highways and for Ag and for space to major corporations.
It really does not pay much at all to the employees who work for the government.

One comparison the federal judges make is that the judiciary is one of the three branches of the Federal Government. Well, the annual cost of this entire branch of the government is less than the ost of one aircraft carrier. In fact, each of the new Ford class carriers are projected to cost *twice as much* as the whole judiciary.

Have some aesthetic distance here, please.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 22, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

When the "Tax Deal" came out, I didn't really like it all that much, but constantly had to tell people that there was more in the deal than what was in the deal. You had to look at the big picture to see it all.

Dem-Cons:
Extention of the Tax Cuts for the Rich
Bad Compromise on the Estate Tax

Dem-Pros:
Extention of Unemployement Insurance for 13 Months
Extention of the Middle Class Tax Cuts
Passage of START
Passage of DADT Repeal
Passage of DREAM Act
Passage of 9/11 Responders Bill

I think it's safe to say that if the tax deal wasn't made, DADT, DREAM, and the 9/11 Bill would have been off the table for the lame duck session, START might have been in trouble, and there was every reason to believe that the GOP would allow all the cuts to expire and blame Dems for the tax hikes. Only the passage of DREAM didn't make it, and even that actually got a vote.

This would have been considered a very successful lame duck session in ANY year, much less one with so much political turmoil and obstruction.

I don't subscribe to the 11-Dimensional-Chess line about Pres. Obama...but his reasons for making this deal were pretty obvious and played out right in line. This was just regular chess, and he seems to have mostly won.

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | December 22, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

This one's for clawbrain and battleground:

~Lame duck? For Obama, it could be the golden goose~

His biggest win was shepherding passage of an $858 billion bipartisan tax cut package tailored to help the economy rebound along with his political stature.

Almost as stunning was the historic bipartisan Senate vote to repeal the military's ban on openly gay troops.

He also triumphed by holding out for a strengthened free-trade deal with South Korea that will boost exports of U.S. autos and beef even though he suffered initial criticism for failing to get it during his November visit there.

As the lame-duck congressional session drew toward a close Tuesday, he capped those achievements when 11 Senate Republicans went on record in support of the New START treaty. Final passage is all but certain Wednesday.

"There's no way you can credibly say anybody could have delivered more," said presidential historian H.W. Brands of the University of Texas at Austin. "Obama to me is basically a centrist, a pragmatist."

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/21/105656/lame-duck-for-obama-it-could-be.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 22, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

The Obama administration is preparing an executive order that would formalize indefinite detention without trial for some detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/21/AR2010122105523.html

On the plus side, gays soon will be able to serve openly at Guantanamo.

Posted by: NoVAHockey | December 22, 2010 11:05 AM | Report abuse

'Most Americans believe America is an exceptional nation while most think Obama does not. That means most Americans are optimists and they view B.O. as a pessimist. It's a dim view, indeed."

It always amuses me that wingers see themselves with such grandosity that they ascribe their own beliefs onto others -- despite striking evidence to the contrary.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 22, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Somebody thinks I write what I write out of hatred for the Democrat party. Nothing could be further from the truth. I am trying to save the Democrat party because I have seen it slowly destroying itself for the past 50 years. It is a slow, painful suicide.

What is killing the Democrat party is the diseased, Marxist fringe that has held the party hostage since the 1960s.

Look at how far the party has fallen since the villainous LBJ held office, if you doubt my word. The Democrat party was an all-American, patriotic, all-powerful, ruling entity pre-LBJ. Today it is a shadow of its former self with left-wing loonies at the helm.

It rallied, temporarily, when B.O. came on the scene but now it is worse off than ever.

If this scenario is not altered, the party will be over. How does ONE PARTY RULE by Republicans sound to you people.

I thought so!

Posted by: battleground51 | December 22, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

As if battleground could distinguish Marxism from a hole in his sock

Posted by: caothien9 | December 22, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

battleground: "Somebody thinks I write what I write out of hatred for the Democrat party. Nothing could be further from the truth. "

Yeah, your deep abiding respect is shown three separate times in just this post when you misname the DEMOCRATIC party.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON - Tow truck driver T.J. Gilmartin, who hauled ruined FDNY vehicles away from Ground Zero and now suffers from breathing problems, headed to Washington this week to lobby for the $7.4 billion James Zadroga 9/11 health bill.

The 50-year-old Brooklyn native came down with a display of 29 badges of cops who've died from 9/11-related illnesses. With 30% of his lung capacity gone, he was huffing and puffing as he trekked across Capitol Hill in hopes of swaying a host of GOP senators, John McCain among them. It didn't go well. Here's his story:

...
"I couldn't get to see McCain at all. I went to his office four times, and it was all like 'you need an appointment.'
...
"Our country took care of him when he came back. He was a POW. I respect that.

"I wasn't stalking him or anything, but then I saw him in a hallway going to an elevator near the rotunda.

"I stepped in front of him, and I was very respectful. I told him who I was and I asked for his help on the Zadroga bill.

"It lasted maybe 10 or 15 seconds.

"He said 'Thank you for your service.'

"And 'I can't help you.'

"Then, bang, he stepped around me and onto the elevator.

"If his eyes were daggers, I'd be dead.

McCain's spokeswoman, Brooke Buchanan, remembers the brief interaction differently...She doesn't think McCain showed any sign of anger, and added that a member of the senator's staff would be happy to meet with Gilmartin.

http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/12/04/2010-12-04_911_hero_mccain_snubbed_me_senator_shot_daggers_at_his_lobbying_effort_sez_ailin.html

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 22, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Where's the WaPo coverage of 9/11 First Responder bill?

See what's happening on NY Times today?

Posted by: boscobobb | December 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

well, this doesn't come close to answering my questions:
====================
Details are available at "Thomas". Your tax dollar pays for interest on the National Debt, to foreign sovereigns and major investors. It pays for procurement for the military and for highways and for Ag and for space to major corporations.
It really does not pay much at all to the employees who work for the government.

=====================

Again, if all this confiscation of our hard earned money by the government is supposed to result in gdp growth, why didn't the soviets succeed? Why don't the liberals demand that every cent generated in America be given to the government? Wouldn't we all be rich if they did?

Why were the people in Bell, CA so unhappy? Shouldn't you liberals be convincing them that they are actually very, very rich thanks to the massive salaries thier city government paid itself?

Oh, and let's talk redistricting for a moment. I see that Mr Sargent is vainly attempting to put lipstick on this pig. You go Greg!

the facts are simple, the Republicans scored a major victory in November. the Redistricting that results from the new census will largely be controlled by Republican state officials.

Here in Ohio we'll lose two seats. First, I think that the government of the state should be embarrassed. They aren't but hey what can one expect from hide bound Democrats?

Next, it is clear that two Democrats will lose seats. the speculation is that one of those losers will be Dennis the menace Kuchinich. Quel Domage. What will we do without our resident UFO believing whacko? On whom with the misguided folks on cleveland's west side waste their vote in the future?

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 22, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

I am trying to save the Democrat party because I have seen it slowly destroying itself for the past 50 years.
---------------------------------------------------
Bwahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is the Lie.Of.The.Day.

If you wanted to save the Deomcratic party, you'd be a Democrat.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 22, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

'battleground: "Somebody thinks I write what I write out of hatred for the Democrat party. Nothing could be further from the truth. "

roflol... funniest thing I've read all day!

Posted by: fiona5 | December 22, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Actually, the Obama, lame-duck session is the grand finale of the Obamanation and it came as a result of very bad planning from the Obamatons. They had two years to do all that stuff but waited until they had nothing to lose and little time to lose it to take action.

And look what they sacrificed. Scores and scores of Obamacrats at the federal and state level. Obama has crippled the Democrat party for years, down the road, to ram through a few of his pet projects.

All because he and his cronies are hardbitten, partisan ideologues.

Republicans took a few hits but they will reap a reward that stuns the thinking man.

Who would have thought it only two years ago??

Posted by: battleground51 | December 22, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I'll take battleground's "concern" seriously when he manages to deal with history as it is, rather than thru his obviously slanted take on it.

"Villainous" LBJ and those Congresses managed to do some pretty great stuff. Battleground should be happy about Vietnam, unless he wanted it wiped off the face of the earth.

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 22, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Obama's speech at the signing ceremony. "Today is a good, day."

Indeed!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-MjLWkDNqY&feature=player_embedded

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 22, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

If you wanted to know what the GOP really objects to in the 9/11 responder's bill, here it is:

Opponents of the bill, lead by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), call the bill a "new entitlement" and object to the fact that it's paid for by closing *foreign corporate tax* loophole.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 22, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

“The Supreme Court has been eating Congress’ lunch by invalidating legislation with judicial activism after nominees commit under oath in confirmation proceedings to respect congressional fact finding and precedents,” said Specter, who voted in favor of both Roberts and Alito when the Bush appointees came before his panel.

Specter specifically took issue with the court’s controversial 5-4 decision early this year, in which it relaxed federally-imposed campaign finance regulations for corporations and unions.

“Ignoring a massive congressional record and reversing recent decisions, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito repudiated their confirmation testimony given under oath and provided the key votes to permit corporations and unions to secretly pay for political advertising – thus effectively undermining the basic Democratic principle of the power of one person, one vote,” said Specter. Chief Justice Roberts promised to just call balls and strikes and then he moved the bases.”

Arlen Specter and others of the old guard, finally waking up to the fact that the radicals they installed are going to screw the country, destroy democracy utterly, and put transnational corporation and foreign governments in charge. Too late.

Posted by: fiona5 | December 22, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

12BB,

That's because the Chamber of Commerce, that fine bastion of American patriotism, lobbied against that funding mechanism.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 22, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Here's another guy who is out to protect the Democratic Party (bwahahahaha):

Sen. DeMint compares Democratic Congress to fired employee who should have been escorted out immediately rather than stay for lame duck.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 22, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

12BB:

http://thinkprogress.org/2010/12/21/chamber-911compensation-oppose/

Despite New Funding Offsets, US Chamber Of Commerce Still Opposing 9/11 First Responders Bill

Last week, ThinkProgress reported that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had quietly lobbied to help Republicans kill the “James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010,” a bill to compensate the first responders and emergency workers who suffered illnesses from working at Ground Zero.

The Chamber — a powerful trade association representing the health insurance industry, ExxonMobil, as well as dozens of foreign corporations — opposed the bill because it paid for health care benefits by ending a special tax loophole exploited by foreign corporations with business interests in the United States. The Chamber also demanded that Congress should stop deliberating over benefits for 9/11 heroes, and instead focus on extending “all of the expiring 2001 and 2003″ tax cuts.

Posted by: suekzoo1 | December 22, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

give up, battleground, nobody's buying it

Posted by: caothien9 | December 22, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

battleground: "Somebody thinks I write what I write out of hatred for the Democrat party. Nothing could be further from the truth. "

If he/she/it "loves" the Democratic Party the way he/she/it "loves" the Constitution, LOOK-OUT!

Posted by: Ethan2010 | December 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

You betcha, 12Bar -- don't you know it's far more important to protect foreign corporation's profits than the lives of american heroes? Silly girl!

Posted by: fiona5 | December 22, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I never thought that Obama and the Dems would be able to pull through in the lame duck session the things they have. It sure is bringing out the haters this morning.
They are foaming at the mouth.

Posted by: filmnoia | December 22, 2010 11:40 AM | Report abuse

The Chamber also demanded that Congress should stop deliberating over benefits for 9/11 heroes, and instead focus on extending “all of the expiring 2001 and 2003″ tax cuts.
----------------------------------------------------------
The Chamber certainly has their priorities clear for all to see.

The memory of the 9/11 responders going into those buildings, which were all filled with employees of large corporations,

--risking their lives to get these employees out

--and then for the Chamber to say "wait a minute here"

--we can't deal with the 9/11 responders because *nothing* is more important than our tax breaks.

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 22, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

You poor fools! You seem to know not what the Obamanation wreaks upon you.

I do.

If you consider the political werewolf, LBJ, as a positive, than you are hopelessly blind with no hope of recovery.

Obama was an LBJ wannabe and now a Clinton copycat. All Democrat presidents since LBJ have been hollow shams. All three of them.

Enjoy B.O. He stinks but will be the last Democrat, for awhile.

Posted by: battleground51 | December 22, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

You poor fools! You seem to know not what the Obamanation wreaks upon you.

I do.
-----------------------------------------------------
Bwahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thank God you're on this blog, to save us all from certain destruction!

Posted by: 12BarBluesAgain | December 22, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

All, it looks like talks over the 9/11 bill have hit a wall, as Coburn is refusing to budge:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/12/supporters_of_911_bill_not_sur.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | December 22, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Skip asks me:

*Again, if all this confiscation of our hard earned money by the government is supposed to result in gdp growth, why didn't the soviets succeed? Why don't the liberals demand that every cent generated in America be given to the government? Wouldn't we all be rich if they did?*

With the caveat that I am not answering for "liberals", but for me, a 67 year old capitalist:

Increased taxation is not posed as a GDP accellerator. Many economists, including liberal ones, pose tax reform that closes loopholes or encourages spending within the USA as somewhat stimulating. All economists believe that tax rates can be too high, impeding growth, but very few think they are too high now. I do not believe that state socialism provides any mechanism but force for growth. I believe in the competitive mechanism and entrepreneurship.

I believe that we ran federal surpluses in the late 90s with higher tax rates and no wars, and lowering tax rates while fighting two wars was unprecedented tomfoolery.

I believe that the corporate tax rate must be reformed in two ways - the top rate should be as low as our major competing nations' rates, and it should be reserved for the largest earners.
Presently, midsize corps pay a higher rate than biggies. You can look it up.

I thought Kemp and Bradley were right in the late 70s and that they are still right today [may Jack Kemp rest in peace].

I think the personal tax rate should be progressive, with higher earners paying higher rates. I think that,because it is the way to raise the funds to pay for those major expenditures I cited to you earlier, and those major expenditures put the funds back into the hands of higher earners.

I have answered for myself, only.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 22, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

skip, no one is going to argue with this kind of thing.

"Again, if all this confiscation of our hard earned money by the government is supposed to result in gdp growth, why didn't the soviets succeed?"

The Soviets were corrupt, murderous, incompetent, paranoid, I could go on and on about their failures, who couldn't? In my view they were socialists in name only, my favorite Soviet era name, the German Democratic Republic dripping with irony.

Would you want to argue this? If no government and unregulated relationships between sellers and buyers (the free market) is such a great idea, why did the economy of [insert name of any number of government free failed states here] fail?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 22, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Oh, I get it. Battleground wants Blacks to sit at the back of the bus and pay poll taxes, less child saftey, less highway safety, less funding for eduaction, and when he/she gets old, he can just refuse Medicare.

And that's a *short* list...

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 22, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Shrink2 first. What does my question about taxes have to do with regulation? Where did I say that I prefered absolutely NO regulation?

Let me be sure I'm getting this right, the soviets failed because the government was corrupt? I see. so, what assurances have we that our government isn't already corrupt? I have massive evidence that it is indeed corrupt, perhaps beyond recovery.

This is part of the liberal dilemma. The movement advocates for ever larger and more intrusive government at the same time refusing to acknowlege the failures of that government thus far.

the impetus to corruption isn't the exclusive possession of Russians. If you recall the saying "power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely" predates Marx himself.

So basically your answer is this: just send your money to DC, and hope that the guys there are less human than the guys in Moscow.

yeah, right.

mark_in_austin, I thank you for a thoughtful reply. I disagree with your contention that most economists think that tax rates are presently too low.

Here is Larry Kudlow, a prominent economist:
"I can’t for the life of me understand why any conservatives would want tax rates to jump up, or would want to drain $600 billion or more from the private economy. Some of the goofy spending increases in the package — which are probably only 5 percent of the total — can be fixed later. Let Paul Ryan take them out. Or fund them out of the leftovers from the stimulus package, which failed so badly"

so I disagree. Among the problems I have with high tax rates is that this encourages cheating and loophole seeking. Low, fair taxes will put a lot of tax accountants and lawyers out of business because their fees wouldn't be offset by tax savings. To me, that's a good thing.

My original disagreement is with the notion that state government spending is a great way to grow or sustain gdp. Sorry, but I believe that if we keep the government at all levels small, the private economy will more than offset the alleged gdp loss from laying off all those guys and the lost electricity reclamation bureau. (with apologies to firesign theatre)

Posted by: skipsailing28 | December 22, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

skip wants to lay off hundreds if not thousands of federal workers in, say, OSHA or the EPA.

I'm sure his beloved private sector fox will guard the henhouse, right?

Posted by: ChuckinDenton | December 22, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"Sen. DeMint compares Democratic Congress to fired employee who should have been escorted out immediately rather than stay for lame duck."

What part of "two year term" does DeMint not understand. I thought his ilk looooved the Constitution.

Posted by: zimbar | December 22, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

mark in austin,

As another capitalist, entrepreneur and inventor I think your response is excellent.

Our current tax rates are DEMONSTRABLY too low as they are not promoting reinvestment in growth and 'creative destruction' which is necessary for capitalism's continued success.

Instead, with low tax rates and low inflation, too many investors are literally sitting on low return investments, and still doing just fine. Or they are able to do nothing and sit on their money in hopes of an opportunity in the next two years - note the $2 trillion in corporate profits sitting on the sidelines.

The counter-intuitive tax model is to raise rates to spur investors to seek higher returns - which traditionally has meant higher risk and emerging industries.

Evidence indicates the Clinton tax rates were just fine for promoting growth and balancing the budget.

Posted by: boscobobb | December 22, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

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