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The Plum Line: January 16, 2011 - January 22, 2011

Open Thread

Eliminationist rhetoric will get you eliminated from the comments section by any means necessary....

By Greg Sargent  | January 22, 2011; 11:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (194)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Keith Olbermann out at MSNBC

So Keith Olbermann is out. As best as I can tell, none of the news accounts about his departure have gotten to the bottom of what happened here. But Olbermann himself offered enough clues in his final broadcast for us...

By Greg Sargent  | January 22, 2011; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (91)
Categories:  Political media  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* The Post has a great look at the millions and millions of dollars that banks, health insurers and other major business interests are pumping into the coffers of new House GOP committee chairmen, in hopes that they will roll...

By Greg Sargent  | January 21, 2011; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (111)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House GOPers, Tea Party  
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House liberals urge Obama to draw hard line: "Hands off Social Security!"

In a letter delivered to the White House moments ago, several dozen House liberals urged President Obama to use his State of the Union speech to draw a sharp line on the popular program for seniors that has helped define...

By Greg Sargent  | January 21, 2011; 3:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (26)
Categories:  House Dems, Social Security  
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Historian: Thomas Jefferson supported `government run health care'

I see that the Rick Ungar post I flagged yesterday arguing that John Adams supported a 1798 measure similar to health reform's individual mandate is starting to get some traction on the Web. Good. Now I've got a bit more...

By Greg Sargent  | January 21, 2011; 1:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  Health reform, Tea Party  
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Is support for repeal vastly overstated?

As you regulars know, I've been arguing here for days that overly simplistic polling has been exaggerating the support for blowing up the Affordable Care Act. When pollsters drill down with fine-grained questions, support for full repeal plummets. The internals...

By Greg Sargent  | January 21, 2011; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (45)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Defunding USAID Is a bad idea

Yesterday the Republican Study Committee released a plan for cutting government spending more geared towards pleasing its base than actually governing, targeting the minimal government funding for NPR, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and, of course, the United States Agency...

By Adam Serwer  | January 21, 2011; 10:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers  
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The Morning Plum

* Obama vulnerable on jobs and the economy: Yes, Obama is in the midst of a rebound, particularly among independents, but two new polls out this morning offer a sobering reminder of the ground he needs to make up on...

By Greg Sargent  | January 21, 2011; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
Categories:  House GOPers, Tea Party, economy  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Breaking: Yet another national poll finds the public thinks job creation is a far higher priority than addressing the deficit. * Also: 56 percent do not believe the impact of the health law has been clearly explained. One wonders...

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 6:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Why Americans think Obama is too liberal

A new Gallup poll finds that a solid 50 percent of national adults want Obama to govern in a more "conservative" fashion, while only 30 percent want him to continue along his current ideological course. A majority of independents want...

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 4:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (41)
Categories:  Senate Republicans  
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Newsflash: Founders favored "government run health care"

Forbes writer Rick Ungar is getting some attention for a piece arguing that history shows that John Adams supported a strong Federal role in health care. Ungar argues that Adams even championed an early measure utilizing the concept behind the...

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 2:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
Categories:  Health reform  
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Steve Cohen: I regret that Goebbels crack created "distraction," but Republicans are still liars

Dem Rep. Steve Cohen, who refused to back off last night in the face of criticism of his reference to Goebbels and the GOP's "big lie" technique, is out with a new statement on the matter: Taken out of context,...

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 12:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (39)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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The Miranda dodge

Following the domestic apprehensions of suspects after several high profile attempts to commit acts of terrorism, Republicans managed to gin up political controversies over whether or not the suspects were read their Miranda rights. Justin Elliott at Salon reports that the...

By Adam Serwer  | January 20, 2011; 11:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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Delusions of world-historical grandeur

One thing that is endlessly amusing about the contemporary right is their comical lack of historical proportion, their frequent tendency to compare their current situation to the plight endured by history's leading victims of oppression, persecution, and genocide. Here, for...

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (43)
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers  
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The Morning Plum

* Dem pollsters plead with Obama: Don't touch Social Security! An important read from Dan Froomkin, who quotes prominent Democratic pollsters telling the White House that agreeing to some kind of "deal" to cut Social Security would spell disaster for...

By Greg Sargent  | January 20, 2011; 8:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (84)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, deficit  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* The House voted today to repeal Obama's signature domestic achievement. * Only three Dems voted for the repeal bill -- Mike Ross, Dan Boren, and Mike McIntyre -- suggesting the repeal fight has the capacity to unite Dems in...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 7:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Dem Rep: No apology for saying GOP mendacity is worthy of Goebbels

Uh oh. Dem Rep. Steve Cohen has no intention to apologize for insisting in a controversial broadside on the House floor that GOP lies on health reform are worthy of Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels. In a lively interview with me...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (137)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems  
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Dem Rep says GOP health care rhetoric worthy of Goebbels

Just when you thought the debate over our political climate had died down a bit, along comes Dem Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennesee. He has now poured a can of gasoline on those dying embers with an extraordinary diatribe on...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (32)
 
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More House GOPers giving up their insurance

Looks like we've got another House GOPer who has decided to forgo the health insurance members of Congress enjoy -- because he says members of Congress should not support laws they don't want applied to themselves. From The Daily Courier...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 3:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (49)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Bad polling exaggerates support for repeal

Okay, I noted here yesterday that a clear pattern has emerged when it comes to polling on whether Americans support repealing the health reform law. When pollsters offer respondents a straight choice between full repeal and leaving the law as...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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The mixed record of Joe Lieberman

Ezra Klein makes the only somewhat counterintuitive argument that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who is retiring and would likely have not prevailed in a Democratic primary, turned out to be a net win for liberals after all: Lieberman's behavior during...

By Adam Serwer  | January 19, 2011; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Senate Dems  
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Lieberman to invoke JFK Democrats and decry "partisan boxes" in farewell presser

A source close to Joe Lieberman sends over an advance excerpt of what he will say at his presser today announcing his retirement. He plans to place himself in the tradition of Kennedy Democrats, and argue that today's partisan categories...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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The Morning Plum

* Can Washington remain "civil" while GOP tries to roll back Obama's entire agenda? With the House set to vote to repeal health reform, the GOP leadership continues to seek a delicate balance between keeping the tone civil while pursuing...

By Greg Sargent  | January 19, 2011; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (90)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, gay rights  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Chris Cillizza quotes two Democratic sources saying Joe Lieberman will announce his retirement tomorrow. * I asked below whether polling gurus could explain the wild variation in polling on repeal, and Stefan Hankin, the president of D.C.-based Lincoln Park...

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 6:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (157)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Political media, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans  
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Joe Scarborough to right wing: Stop whining about shooting!

Well, take a look at this. Joe Scarborough, in an open letter of sorts to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, has managed the impossible. He says Beck and Palin are not to blame for the shooting, while simultaneously saying that...

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 4:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (85)
Categories:  House Dems, Political media  
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Do Americans really want health law fully repealed?

Paging all polling experts... It's becoming more and more obvious that polling on whether the public supports repeal of health reform turns very, very heavily on the question wording. Specifically: Polls that offer a straight up choice -- do you...

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 2:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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An eloquent case for filibuster reform

Senator Tom Harkin, who has been thinking hard about this issue for years, made what I thought was a particularly eloquent case for filibuster reform on a conference call with reporters this morning. Here's a lightly edited transcript of what...

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, filibuster  
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Bush doesn't deserve credit for Tunisia

The ultimate prospects for democracy in Tunisia are still very uncertain. While the former head of the secular, autocratic government, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, has fled the country in the face of a popular uprising, efforts to form a government...

By Adam Serwer  | January 18, 2011; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Political media  
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Even Republicans say media handled shooting better than Sarah Palin did

Sarah Palin's accusation that journalists engaged in "blood libel" by allegedly blaming her for the shooting appears to have been a flop -- even among Republicans. Even Republicans say the media handled the shooting better than Palin did, according to...

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
Categories:  House Dems, Political media  
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The Morning Plum

* The public agrees: Political climate can cause political violence. CNN released a new poll this weekend on attitudes towards the Arizona shooting, and the key number from the internals is this one: A majority, 54 percent, thinks it very...

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 8:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (66)
Categories:  2012, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Political media, Tea Party, debt ceiling  
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MLK day roundup

* Civility sighting! Or...not. Today's Times reports that John Boehner, in describing the health reform law, substituted "job-destroying" for "job-killing," and speculates that this may have been a gesture towards improving the tone. But a GOP aide emails that this...

By Greg Sargent  | January 17, 2011; 9:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (302)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, debt ceiling  
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Sunday Open Thread

Thank God for the First Amendment, which protects my speech by prohibiting any and all criticism of it....

By Greg Sargent  | January 16, 2011; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (207)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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