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Posted at 8:46 AM ET, 01/18/2011

The Morning Plum

By Greg Sargent

* 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 or somewhat likely that incendiary or violent rhetoric and imagery could cause a future incident similar to the Arizona shooting. Meanwhile, Americans are almost exactly split, 48-49, on whether rhetoric caused that shooting in particular.

Bottom line: Though the public is not prepared to blame the political climate or any specific figures directly for the Arizona massacre, many Americans agree that it's perfectly legitimate to suggest a possible connection between political culture and political violence in a general sense. No matter what you've read to the contrary, this is the point many leading commentators on the left have sought to make.

* Relatedly, a new Washington Post/ABC News poll finds that a majority says the political climate was not to blame for this specific shooting, but the public is split 49-49 on the broader question of whether the climate can cause violence.

* Plurality thinks Tea Party has "crossed the line": The Post poll also finds that a plurality, 49-39, think the Tea Party's political discourse has "crossed the line," and finds more think the GOP has crossed the line than Dems, 45-39.

But in fairness, in this regard the public sees the right and left in almost identical terms, with 51 percent saying both right-wing and left-wing commentators have gone too far.

* Public sees Obama as empathetic: Also from the Post poll, the number who think Obama understands the problems of people like them is up to nearly six in 10, and has risen among independents, moderates and non-college educated whites, all key gains in terms of his reelection hopes.

* CNN also finds that 57 percent think Obama "cares about people like you."

* An Obama rebound? ABC's analysts discern a "remarkable rebound" as Obama's approval rating is up to 54 percent and he has inched ahead of the GOP in trust on the economy, though pessimism about the economy remains widespread.

* Repeal fight gears up: With the House GOP set to move forward with repeal tomorrow, the Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a new report claiming that up to 129 million people with preexisting conditions could suddenly find themselves unprotected if reform is repealed.

* Also: Americans United for Change is going up with a new ad on national cable saying that Republicans want to deprive your kids of the same protection enjoyed by the children of members of Congress under their plan. Both moves are part of a broader push to use the repeal fight to reeducate people about what's in the law by highlighting what would be taken away from them.

* The GOP's repeal long game: Beyond the largely symbolic repeal vote this week, Republicans are trying to pick off Dems to join them for the long game -- the push to alter, defund and undermine various parts of the law that some Dems don't like. Definitely a dynamic worth watching.

* Repeal also a test for House Dems: The repeal battle will also serve as the first major test of what House Dems can accomplish in the role of opposition with their severely limited power.

* Health industry trade groups remaining mum on repeal: Some of the GOP's most powerful allies against passing the health law are remaining neutral in the battle over repeal, perhaps because they recognize repeal is a non-starter and they have a far better shot at achieving targeted changes to the law.

* Obama to take on "cumbersome" regulations: The President has a new Op ed this morning outlining his plan to sign an executive order calling for a "government-wide review of outdated regulations that stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive."

Expect a lot of commentary today to the effect that this supposedly represents an ideological move to the "center." It's more a preemptive strike by Obama in advance of the GOP's push to portray Obama as an unrepentant advocate of excessive government, which will be at the center of the coming fights over spending.

* 2012 GOP hopefuls against raising debt ceiling: Newt, T-Paw and Mike Pence scramble to outdo one another in their opposition to raising the debt ceiling, another indication of how far to the right the 2012 hopefuls will have to move in order to remain viable.

* The right's comically absurd persecution complex: Pat Buchanan says the left is "conducting something of a lynch mob against Glenn Beck, against Sarah Palin, against Rush Limbaugh."

* Special bonus right-wing persecution complex sighting: Sarah Palin, in her interview on Fox News, says she's "not going to shut up" and defends her "right right to vigorously yet respectfully debate ideas and intentions in this country." Of course, no one of any stature has questioned that right or tried to silence Palin in any way.

* And it looks like the public is persecuting Palin, too: The internals of the new Post poll show that only 30 percent approve of Palin's handling of the shooting, while 53 percent approve of its handling by the news media, which Palin has criticized for supposedly trying to blame her for the massacre.

What else is happening?

By Greg Sargent  | January 18, 2011; 8:46 AM ET
Categories:  2012, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Political media, Tea Party, debt ceiling  
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Next: Even Republicans say media handled shooting better than Sarah Palin did

Comments

Greg writes:

Political climate can cause political violence.

___________________


Reading Greg's pieces can cause violence.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 9:06 AM | Report abuse

No comments?

No comment.
.

Posted by: jprestonian | January 18, 2011 9:07 AM | Report abuse

"But in fairness, in this regard the public sees the right and left in almost identical terms, with 51 percent saying both right-wing and left-wing commentators have gone too far."

Not surprising given the media default to equivalency.

Someone (Jay Rosen?) recently made a very good point re this media default position - it allows the commenter to appear objective (no stand is taken). But if he/she was really being objective (in the sense of the scientific model on observation/conclusion) objectivity is being abandoned when real differences are in place.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 9:08 AM | Report abuse

The liberals simply do not realize they have been PROVOKING the nation.

Apparently, the liberals believe they are justified because of the Florida recount 10 years ago, and on account of the Iraq War, which many democrats voted FOR. If the democrats in the Senate all voted against the war, the war would have been blocked.

However, the CAUSE of this situation is the liberals NEVER accepted Bush as legitimate - and have become nasty, vile creatures. They care little about civility and the truth is now a foreign language to liberals.

The 2008 campaign was nothing but a series of deceptions and lies - repeated by liberals all over the nation.

So after all that nastiness, the liberals decided to throw aside their commitments to the nation made in 2008, and instead HIJACK the government in order use a temporary majority to IMPOSE permanently their liberal agenda.

Nasty, vile, deceptive, tone-deaf with a full attack of False Charges of Racism.


American government depends on the consent of the governed, which clearly the liberals have not had since the minute they decided on their Bait and Switch operation.

These people are now dragging down the Economy which their crazy taxes and uncertainty created by their health care plan - creating the imperative to get them out of office as soon as possible in order to BEGIN to solve the Economic Crisis.

The liberals are REFUSING to act properly to solve the Economic crisis, instead demanding that the implementation of their liberal agenda is more important than the Economy and jobs.

The liberals have to be driven from office.

Case closed.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Greg, why haven't you banned caothien9?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 18, 2011 9:17 AM | Report abuse

The WSJ op-ed by BHO is worth a look.

My clients and I could catalog perhaps two hands full of regulations operating at cross purposes; impossible to follow to the letter for one agency without causing the appearance of violation to another. Not all of the instance of which I am aware are federal, of course.

Still, if the COC and NFIB are worth anything to their constituent members, they will list all the examples of cross-purposed regs their members are dealing with and all the examples where the compliance with regs is overly burdensome from an adminstrative POV. When I suggest the latter, I am not talking about regs with whose purpose one does not agree, but regs that could be enforced with less paper and time burden on the regulated. BHO's "little" initiative is a real invitation, I hope, to public input about efficiency.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 18, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Obama's people run a 5-day smear campaign - which the country rejects.

So, in response, the tone-deaf liberals decide to start attacking Sarah Palin's response to their smear campaign.

Meanwhile, the nation sees clearly what the liberals have been up to - a smear campaign filled with false linkages is not very different from the False Charges of Racism, which the liberals have been using to attack for the past 3 years.

So, in the midst of calls for civility we still hear the democrats attack Sarah Palin.

AND the New York Times is NOW reporting that the the Arizona shooter hated Bush - which makes him a democrat. That is not the headline - that is buried on the third page.


Vile, dishonest.


The American People are repulsed by this behavior of the liberals. Obsessed with their liberal agenda and racing to IMPOSE their will on people, instead of seeking the consent of the governed, the liberals are racing to do what they can now BECAUSE they are convinced they will now lose election after election.

If the liberal agenda was so good, the liberals would have won the election last November. They lost.

And yet the liberals REFUSE to respect the results of the November election.

UnAmerican, vile, nasty, deceptive - and why don't the liberals start making the False Charges of Racism fly again? Why not? Might as well.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

I'd been thinking about Palin's recent communications and the over-arching concentration on self and her "victimization", all very common to the tea party crowd and modern conservative movement generally.

A real oddness in this is the difference between "victim" as understood by this mindset and "victim" as understood in a different way. For example, the victims of Katrina or the victims shot in Arizona or, more broadly, those among us who, for whatever set of reasons, end up at the very bottom of the social pile.

The modern conservative movement has, it seems, almost no empathy for those who are the real "losers" as a consequence of our social structures or birth factors or even chance events. In some sense or manner, for the modern conservative mind, these people sort of deserve their place or circumstance. One can see Calvinist roots to this (the winners are clearly graced by a fair-minded God and the losers are seen as opposite by that just God). In this mindset, I think, there is the presumption that "losers" are uniquely and solely responsible for their state.

But most tea party types or modern conservative voters are quite a bit more fortunate than the real losers. And somehow, to them, this provides a validity for their sense of unique victimization.

I have to think some more about this but I think it's quite interesting. It's the difference between being a real victim and a faux-victim.

One way this difference manifests is in Palin herself. She has to find some way to extricate herself from consideration as a candidate but frame this as victimization rather than as being a loser. For this mindset, being a victim (of the faux-victim sort) is holy but being a loser is definitely not.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 9:26 AM | Report abuse

While this may seem like another screed about Sister Sarah I'm not concerned about her personally, I am concerned about the pandora's box she has opened as revealed earlier this morning by Bernie's catch from the Guardian.

"It remains kind of amazing that this very well-known political figure can live an almost totally journalism-free existence. This is completely new in American society. I think now she understood when she quit the governor's job that this, in addition to minting money, which seems to have been priority number one, would be a distinct advantage of not being a current office-holder."

I have made this point many times myself.
The 4th estate is the only realistic way for the majority of our citizens to become informed. But when one simply does propaganda...a paid employee being interviewed by her employer is hardly an interview, but rather simply another thinly veiled guise at propaganda and salesmanship.

There were so many points in the Palin/Hannity interview that screamed for followup. E.G. When she talked about not being silenced on the issues...a montage of her greatest "hits" on the campaign trail should have been played..."Palllin around with terrorists..Sarah was that really an issue? He doesn't look at America like you and me. Really? That's an issue..or your opinion? Real America?
What did you mean by that Sarah...are there some folks who are not real Americans? Were you confining yourself to illegals or are folks in NYC, Boston not "real" Americans. These are issues?

It would also be nice if a "real" journalist got to interview Sarah and ask for some specificity. Exactly who in what she refers to as the lamestream media are after her. We get Olbermann, Schulz, and pundits on MSNBC as well as plenty of lefty bloggers (are your ears ringing Greg?) but does she REALLY believe every major anchor is out to get here?

The simple truth is obvious. The more people get to know Sarah, the less the majority of them like her. Since the 08 election Palin's numbers have headed one direction...DOWN. An obvious question that eluded Hannity's pea brain...And so Sarah do you think this is completely the result of a left wing attack? Sarah could you have ANY culpability in your declining popularity. How is it that Obama has stayed above 50%? Is it anybody's suggestion he hasn't received at least as much vitriol directed at him as Palin? Racial stereotypes...he's a Muslim..he's not one of us..he's not a citizen...attempts to delegitimize his Presidency by elevating a group of wack jobs called birthers into an actual point of discussion. I get the pundits..but how many R elected pols waffled when asked the "birther" question...the freaking R's had a birther caucus. Did Palin endure any of this?

While I am obviously disgusted by Palin's behavior...it's the precedent of avoiding answering to the people that upsets me most. Is that the wav of the future. R's avoid everybody but Fox?

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 9:31 AM | Report abuse

"Also: Americans United for Change is going up with a new ad on national cable saying that Republicans want to deprive your kids of the same protection enjoyed by the children of members of Congress under their plan."

Good. This presses an effective emotional button (children). Republicans excel at language and framing that achieves emotional resonance and we have to do that too.

But we have to differentiate ourselves by doing it honestly and with real principle rather than proclaimed and empty or false principle.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

It was only after Loughner turned out not to be a "Right Wing Nut" and reasonable people werent buying that Granny and Grandpa in the Tea Party were connected somehow to the shooting incident did the Media move on to the next narrative that this was a "teachable moment" to connect political culture, uncivil discourse and possible political violence.

BTW, I was hopeful that a Columnist at the Post would go against the tide today and write an entire article without mentioning the unelected previous governor from a small state but my hopes were dashed near the end of your Post. I realie there are quota's and financials goals to achieve.

Also,

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 18, 2011 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Greg,

It was only after Loughner turned out not to be a "Right Wing Nut" and reasonable people werent buying that Granny and Grandpa in the Tea Party were connected somehow to the shooting incident did the Media move on to the next narrative that this was a "teachable moment" to connect political culture, uncivil discourse and possible political violence.

BTW, I was hopeful that a Columnist at the Post would go against the tide today and write an entire article without mentioning the unelected previous governor from a small state but my hopes were dashed near the end of your Post. I realize there are quota's and financials goals to achieve.

Also,

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 18, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Bernie.....I agree with your 9:35 and am happy to see the left responding to the R attacks on the ACA...may I add that actually there are two emotional buttons in the message...I agree with you that children are the hottest button...but another button being pressed here that seems to work is the old meme..."They have it for themselves and their children but they want to take away yours." Nothing like playing the hypocrisy card when it comes to talking about Congresscritters.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

@ru - Yes, we're on the same page there. One simply cannot speak coherently about the present political divide without introducing the coincident phenomenon of a separate media system quite purposefully expanded and jiggered so as to set up a partisan epistemology.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Bernie (brought forward):

""That sums it up rather well.""

Sums what up?

""Not sure how this will work but likely swat teams from the ATF and teachers' unions busting down the radio/TV station doors and hauling these patriots away to special camps.""

Or, even more likely, something like the Fairness Doctrine will be advanced.

""Take for example the set of claims that have this form (and they are extremely common):"

Well, if that are extremely common, perhaps you could provide us with 2 or 3 examples of "the modern conservative movement" advancing the notion that same sex marriage laws represent an assault on religious liberty. Or would this be yet another of those "dishonest" requests, hence relieving you of the trouble of substantiating your claims with actual evidence?

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 18, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Correction to my first post up top... it was Glenn Greenwald, not Jay Rosen.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Don't ever forget:

"It was a quixotic quest, but not an unreasonable one given the way Fox — and Glenn Beck in particular — seem to be inspiring conservatives to engage in armed civil war with their liberal neighbors. Perhaps advertisers don’t know quite how extreme Fox and Beck have become: The recent incident in which a Kentucky county campaign coordinator for Senate candidate Rand Paul stomped on the head of a female protester is not an isolated example. Here are six actual terrorists inspired by Fox News. They have killed six Americans and wounded six others between them. (Seven, if you count the woman who took a sneaker to the skull from Paul’s man):"

http://www.bnet.com/blog/advertising-business/6-lunatics-inspired-by-fox-news-and-glenn-beck/6399

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 18, 2011 9:51 AM | Report abuse

Some hypothetical for active minds to consider...

If through some time warp magic Richard Nixon could have married Sarah Palin and they produced children would we even have to wait or could we diagnose them as paranoid schizophrenics before they even came out of the womb. Sister Sarah and Tricky Dicky...talk about kindred spirits.

If a Communist dictator on the model of Fidel Castro had been in power in Mexico since 1959 would we be treating all those illegal immigrants the same way? Or would we give them a free pass as we did the Cubans?

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Question...If we all wanted Sarah Palin to go away do you think the Washington Post would let us?

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 18, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

"It was only after Loughner turned out not to be a "Right Wing Nut" and reasonable people werent buying that Granny and Grandpa in the Tea Party were connected somehow to the shooting incident did the Media move on to the next narrative that this was a "teachable moment" to connect political culture, uncivil discourse and possible political violence."
------------------------------------------

Surely you can cite, quote or link to numerous pieces of evidence showing all the Media jumping on board the blame Palin and the Tea Party screed. As Greg linked to yesterday, there's strong evidence that no such smear campaign occurred anywhere than in the hearts and minds of conservatives like yourself and Palin. Other than one NYT editorial (it's opinion) and some HuffPo pieces (suddenly they count to conservatives) there isn't much support for the comment above linking the Media to a smear campaign.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 18, 2011 9:56 AM | Report abuse

GREG SARGENT

You yourself have threatened POLITICAL VIOLENCE against your own readers.

Just recently you THREATENED TO "WHACK A TROLL."

Let's be serious here. Have any of you listened to liberal talk radio, or the Ed Show on MSNBC. It is much worse than you might think.

And WHY the focus on the Tea Party???

ALL WE HEAR FROM THE LIBERALS is the Tea Party is doing "something wrong." Oh yea? When is FREEDOM OF SPEECH WRONG? All we hear from the liberals is somehow the Tea Party is not legitimate.


The same garbage was beaten like a dead horse about Bush - somehow he was not legitimate or what he was doing was not legitimate.


EVEN though the democrats in Congress were FUNDING what Bush was doing.

It is all political attacks on the Tea Party - zero basis. Zero constructive debate coming from the liberals. Just hate and bogus justifications why someone else is not legitimate.


The nation is telling the liberal "GO AWAY."

DO YOU GET IT?

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Sarah's vulgarities are too hard to ignore. Every time she opens her mouth the nation gasps in disbelief. Of course they'll never let us.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 18, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

@Scott
re your request for some link re assault on religious liberty claims such as I've suggested above, I'm not going to take the time to retrieve examples for you because I don't want to use up the little time I have for such a purpose. You can complain or you can think about it and do some research. Either is fine with me.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 10:00 AM | Report abuse

REVEALED NEW INFORMATION FROM WIKILEAKS


Buried deep inside the latest release from Wikileaks was GREG SARGENTS list of topics for the next two years:


Greg Sargent THE PLUM LINE


List of Topics for 2011 - 2012


1) Harp on Health Care

2) Sarah Palin

3) Gay Rights

4) Rinse

5) Harp on Health Care

6) Complain about Sarah Palin

7) Gay Rights

8) Rinse

9) Secret money

10) Only the Republicans take secret money, not Obama

11) Harp on Health Care

12) Sarah Palin

13) Gay Rights

14) Rinse

15) Harp on Health Care

16) Complain about Sarah Palin

17) Gay Rights

18) Rinse

19) Secret money

20) Only the Republicans take undisclosed money, not Obama

21) Harp on Health Care

22) Sarah Palin

23) Gay Rights

24) Rinse

25) Harp on Health Care

26) Complain about Sarah Palin

27) Gay Rights

28) Rinse

29) Secret money

30) Only the Republicans take secret, undisclosed money, not Obama

31) Harp on Health Care

32) Sarah Palin

33) Gay Rights

34) Rinse

35) Harp on Health Care

36) Complain about Sarah Palin

37) Gay Rights

38) Rinse

39) Secret money

40) Only the Republicans take money, not Obama

41) Harp on Health Care

42) Sarah Palin

43) Gay Rights

44) Rinse

45) Harp on Health Care

46) Complain about Sarah Palin

47) Gay Rights

48) Rinse

49) Secret money

50) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

51) Harp on Health Care

52) Sarah Palin

53) Gay Rights

54) Rinse

55) Harp on Health Care

56) Complain about Sarah Palin

57) Gay Rights

58) Rinse

59) Secret money

60) Only the Republicans take secret money, not Obama

61) Harp on Health Care

62) Sarah Palin

63) Gay Rights

64) Rinse

65) Harp on Health Care

66) Complain about Sarah Palin

67) Gay Rights

68) Rinse

69) Secret money

70) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

71) Harp on Health Care

72) Sarah Palin

73) Gay Rights

74) Rinse

75) Harp on Health Care

76) Complain about Sarah Palin

77) Gay Rights

78) Rinse

79) Secret money

80) Only the Republicans take money, not Obama

81) Harp on Health Care

82) Sarah Palin

83) Gay Rights

84) Rinse

85) Harp on Health Care

86) Complain about Sarah Palin

87) Gay Rights

88) Rinse

89) Secret money

90) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

91) Harp on Health Care

92) Sarah Palin

93) Gay Rights

94) Rinse

95) Harp on Health Care

96) Complain about Sarah Palin

97) Gay Rights

98) Rinse

99) Secret money

100) Only the Republicans take secret undisclosed money, not Obama

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 10:01 AM | Report abuse

"Charles Wilson: Sentenced to prison last week for repeatedly threatening to kill Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). His cousin, in a letter to the court, said: “While his actions were undeniably wrong and his choices were terrible, in part they were the actions of others played out by a very gullible Charlie. He was under the spell that Glenn Beck cast, aided by the turbulent times in our economy. I don’t believe that Charlie even had the ability to actually carry out his threats.”"

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 18, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Surely you can cite, quote or link to numerous pieces of evidence showing all the Media jumping on board the blame Palin and the Tea Party screed. As Greg linked to yesterday, there's strong evidence that no such smear campaign occurred anywhere than in the hearts and minds of conservatives like yourself and Palin. Other than one NYT editorial (it's opinion) and some HuffPo pieces (suddenly they count to conservatives) there isn't much support for the comment above linking the Media to a smear campaign.
---------

Thanks for labeling me since you know so much about me...OK here's an example. In the Washington Post's very first account written by Shaleigh Murray, minutes or at best a few hours after the shooting, Shaleigh somehow was able to include paragraph's about Sarah Palin and the Tea Party and possible motives or reasons why Loughner did what he did. Yes, not an accusation, but the connection was made and it went downhill from there. Why is Palin and the Tea Party mentioned in the very first written account of the shooting scene minutes after it occurred?

Also, the fact that the Post wrote more articles about Sarah Palin last week then Jared Loughner seems interesting as well.
I dont like Palin and wish she would go away but it appears the Post doesnt want her too.

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 18, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Bcjbs1 said "Question...If we all wanted Sarah Palin to go away do you think the Washington Post would let us?"

There's a symbiosis here, yes. But if she goes away, coverage of her will sharply decline or cease (losers are to be avoided). But if she keeps herself up front (and is kept up front as a means to stoke the right wing base) then everyone else ought to attend to her for a bunch of obvious reasons.

***

I caught part of the Frum/Fineman/O'Donnell discussion last night. Found it very good and once again found Frum to be smart and rational. Recommended...

http://tpmlivewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/david-frum-reacts-to-hannitys-palin-interview-she-should-stop-talking-now.php?ref=fpblg

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 10:08 AM | Report abuse

@ruk: "The 4th estate is the only realistic way for the majority of our citizens to become informed. But when one simply does propaganda...a paid employee being interviewed by her employer is hardly an interview, but rather simply another thinly veiled guise at propaganda and salesmanship."

But that provides information, Ruk. There's no conclusion for you to reach about Sarah Palin and, say, her fitness for office based on the fact she doesn't do hostile interviews?

Take a look at her numbers in any given popularity poll, and you can't really reach the conclusion that most people are listening to the spin. They may not have every questioned answered, but the citizens are apparently capable of making up their own mind without being spoonfed their opinions by the 4th estate, and (I would argue) can make up their own minds, even with limited information (which is, in itself, a form of information; you yourself have identified it as a problem) when they are spoonfed the "correct" opinion.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh great, Kent Conrad is retiring.

What a shame.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | January 18, 2011 10:10 AM | Report abuse

@bernielatham: "re your request for some link re assault on religious liberty claims such as I've suggested above, I'm not going to take the time to retrieve examples for you because I don't want to use up the little time I have for such a purpose."

Heh. Bernie is the Sarah Palin of the Plum Line. Who plays Sean Hannity to Bernie's Palin, that's what I'm trying to figure out.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - and even if I accept your bizarre framing, just what the hell is wrong with a "hostile interview"?

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 10:14 AM | Report abuse

rukidding

Julie Nixon Eisenhower was on television the other day - talking about Eisenhower's "military-industrial complex" speech which was 50 years ago yesterday.

She and her husband had some really important points about Eisenhower and Nixon.

I think you comment is offensive.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 10:15 AM | Report abuse

John Bolton says:
" "Well, I think I could win the Republican nomination if I chose to run, because I do think I'm in the mainstream of the Republican Party."

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2011/01/bolton-i-could-win-the-gop-nomination-in-2012.php?ref=fpb

Which brings up the interesting question... what is more frightening, an uneducated, unbright and incompetent maniac as president or an educated, bright and competent maniac as president? I don't know.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

@bernie: ""@Kevin - and even if I accept your bizarre framing""

Just because you say it's bizarre doesn't make it so. Why, in your opinion, do you find my framing bizarre?

"" just what the hell is wrong with a 'hostile interview'?""

Nothing. What in the world makes you jump to the bizarre conclusion that I was saying there was anything wrong with a hostile interview? Hostile interviews can be very revealing.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

BREAKING NEWS


Regis Philbin is taking retirement advice from Brett Favre.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""You can complain or you can think about it and do some research.""

I don't complain about your consistent refusal/inability to support your claims with evidence. To complain would suggest that I expect anything different, and I have long since stopped expecting such things from you. (You are a preacher speaking to the faithful...no questions allowed.) I merely point them out and offfer you the opportunity to surprise us all. No surprises yet.

And I have done a bit of research. Can't find any of the standard voices of the "modern conservative movement" making any argument similar to the one you assert is extremely common.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 18, 2011 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin - Sorry, there was a question mark at the end of the relevant sentence. Careless reading on my part.

Re your other comment, I'm not interested in playing that game. Do as you wish but I won't engage.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I dont like Palin and wish she would go away but it appears the Post doesnt want her too.
----------------------------------------

All the comments about the media err...Media blaming Palin nearly instantly change from "blaming" to "linking". Do you not see a difference? If there had been liberals who had cross-hair graphics on a political official who was nearly assassinated or in a state where a Tea Party candidate referred to second amendment remedies do you really think the media wouldn't have discussed it?

As for your comment above, did the Post ask Palin to appear on Hannity or force her to do so? She has her own reality TV show, is the Post to blame for that as well?

Palin defenders (not that you are one of them) have lamented that Palin has even had to defend herself, yet she keeps willingly defending herself every chance she gets. Sort of hard to feel sorry for her when she does that.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 18, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

The bottom line is that there was a mass murder in Arizona - and all the democrats have done is attack the Tea Party and Sarah Palin ALL WEEK.

There is something seriously WRONG with the liberals if they believe that this behavior is appropriate.

Perhaps Federal Mental Health Funds are needed for the liberals, because even after the entire country agreed that the liberals should knock it off, the liberals have continued their attacks.

Somehow, the liberals are unable to accept that they are wrong - they just continue talking until they go off on some tangent and convince themselves they are right about something.

Anyway - the behavior of the liberals continues - and the ECONOMY AND JOBS is what is IMPORTANT - not any of this garbage the democrats are talking about. This week PROVES AGAIN THAT OBAMA AND THE LIBERALS ARE UNFIT TO GOVERN.... ANYTHING.

.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Kevin:

""Heh. Bernie is the Sarah Palin of the Plum Line.""

Damn sharp insight.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 18, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I would like to remind everyone what wbgonne said the other day - reflecting on his judgement:

________

That's funny b/c I grew up in Jersey and I was a Football Giants fan and a Mets fan when I moved here 25 years ago. In fact, my first year in Boston was the 86 World Series which I'm sure you recall and if not here's a hint: Bill Buckner. But I'm basically a homer and I've been Sox and Pats all the way for a long time.

The Pats do look good and they demolished the J-E-T-S a little while ago at Foxboro. Brady is as good as I've ever seen him and Belichick just plugs bodies into his system and everything spins like a top. He's like the Hoodie Football Genius. Plus, I'm not sold at all on Sanchez and I think he's banged-up besides. If the J-E-T-S can run the ball they have a shot. Otherwise, I think the Big Mouth gets what Big Mouth's usually get. (Poor Giants. And speaking of shaky QBs ...)

Gotta run. Enjoy!

Posted by: wbgonne | January 15, 2011 12:40 PM

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Just recieved this email "Alert" from Modern Healthcare:

"As many as 129 million who have pre-existing medical conditions would be at risk of losing health insurance or denied coverage altogether without the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a new report from HHS."

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 18, 2011 10:44 AM | Report abuse

All, it looks like even Republicans think the media handled the shooting better than Sarah Palin did:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/even_republicans_say_media_han.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | January 18, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

@Scott - last comment to you on the above.

In another context and situation with another individual, the request for further clarifying data would be a reasonable one (even if that request would demonstrate a surprising lack of familiarity with the christian right wing of your party). But your mode of discourse here is almost always to try to locate some weak point (in your estimation) of a liberal argument or claim and then attack that. You are out fighting liberals. Fine. But I don't have the time to play that sort of game with you and no longer the interest. I have no idea how you went about spending the ten minutes or whatever looking for instances of what I claim is a recurring and common component of the religious rights' behavior on this point and you can set my claim aside and consider it unproven or bs or keep it in mind and watch for it or whatever you like. Anyone of those is fine with me.

Posted by: bernielatham | January 18, 2011 10:45 AM | Report abuse

Ashotinthedark

That is a LIE - those people are covered NOW

YOU ARE A COMPLETE LIAR

More of those people are going to lose their JOBS because of Obama - and THAT will cause them to lose their health insurance

YOU ARE A DECEPTIVE LIAR.


.

Posted by: RainForestRising | January 18, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

All, it looks like even Republicans think the media handled the shooting better than Sarah Palin did:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/even_republicans_say_media_han.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent
------------------

Thanks Greg! I know the next time I am accused of being an accessory or even mentioned as a possible contributor to the murder of 6 people that I handle my response better than Sarah Palin did!

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 18, 2011 10:51 AM | Report abuse

All, it looks like even Republicans think the media handled the shooting better than Sarah Palin did:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2011/01/even_republicans_say_media_han.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent
------------------

Thanks Greg! I hope the next time I am accused of being an accessory or even mentioned as a possible contributor in some way to the murder of 6 people that I handle my response better than Sarah Palin did!

Posted by: Bcjbs1 | January 18, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@Kevin "They may not have every questioned answered, but the citizens are apparently capable of making up their own mind without being spoonfed their opinions by the 4th estate"

Ahhhh my Memphis friend your very vocabulary shows your bias. "spoonfed"? "spoonfed?"

You can do better Kevin. Talk about a leap.
Nobody is talking about "spoonfeeding" anybody. We are talking about an "honest" discussion of "issues".

You seem to believe that if something ends well that means everything is fine. Personally I think "luck" sometimes intervenes and one should always be careful before attributing success to something besides luck. “Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.” Barry Switzer 1986.

Yes Kevin people have finally figured out Sister Sarah and in this case...even her Fox interviews and carefully choregraphed and scripted videotapes are finally running out of effect. We were very lucky Kevin. We've learned the truth about Sister Sarah two years too late. It could have truly been a disaster for our nation.

Thanks to one of the lowest forms of campaign officals, Rick Davis, who famously claimed...it's OUR campaign and we'll showcase Palin how WE see fit. And so obviously they hid Palin as much as possible. Do you really dispute that fact Kevin? That she was kept away from the media..minimal interviews...what? Two with members of a non partisan major network because her campaign LITERALLY knew she was unqualified and didn't want their "Hail Mary" pass exposed as the fraud she was, a pathetic attempt to lure the PUMA's to vote R.

I believe you are actually making my point. Yes the public is finally catching on NOW that they've had two years of unrepentant bleating from the Alaska victim. This country came perilously close to electing a completely unqualified person to sit a 74 year old heartbeat away from the Presidency. The reason for this is because the 4th estate was shut out...the American people were shut out..
Even the ONE debate she was FORCED to participate in revealed little when she began by telling Gwen Ifil..paraphrasing.. I'm not going to answer your questions the way you want I'm going to say what I have to say.

The proof is in the pudding Kevin and it doesn't need to be "spoonfed" (sorry Kevin since I am an expert at it myself :-) I must say you have slid down that ole slope of hyperbole). As long as Palin was restricted in her exposure to the public...she was popular...as time went on and more and more people finally got to put the bits and pieces together they finally concluded Palin is not really qualified to be President. And that's all that really counts. Another large segment of our populace have also come to the conclusion that Palin isn't a "serious" person...others have also concluded that Palin is a grifter and a mean spirited harpy...the quintessential bully who can dish it out but not take it.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

"Bottom line: Though the public is not prepared to blame the political climate or any specific figures directly for the Arizona massacre, many Americans agree that it's perfectly legitimate to suggest a possible connection between political culture and political violence in a general sense."

And in a general sense drunk drivers cause accidents, even though the particular accident you were in may not have involved alcohol at all.

"No matter what you've read to the contrary, this is the point many leading commentators on the left have sought to make."

B.S. The left thought this guy was going to turn out to be another Tim McVeigh and launched the prepackaged "the right wing is to blame" stories before having all the facts. The walk back has been unpleasant, especially since President Obama waited until he had more information before commenting and thus undercut the initial liberal reaction. Just give it up and move on to another (more fact based) subject.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 18, 2011 11:02 AM | Report abuse

IMHO, Greg posted two substantive links above, one was the WSJ link I alluded to earlier and one was about the health care industry. IMHO, the rest was all polls-and-puffs.

But no one wanted to discuss the two topics I liked, so I am going off to pout now.

Actually, I have to, you know, work, so have a good day y'all.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | January 18, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

The left thought this guy was going to turn out to be another Tim McVeigh and launched the prepackaged "the right wing is to blame" stories before having all the facts. The walk back has been unpleasant, especially since President Obama waited until he had more information before commenting and thus undercut the initial liberal reaction.
------------------------------------------

What has been unpleasant about this for the left? The media, perhaps, but not the left as a whole.

The public, with their logic problems identified by jnc4p, have connected violent political rhetoric to the possibility of actual violence. It looks like the right has been surprised by this and miscalculated their response. How else do you explain how Palin and many commentators here have responded? If the right anticipated the public making this connection, they would have responded like Obama did. Instead they seemed to think the public would see the left as trying to score political points in the wake of a tragic event. As jnc's response shows, they still are clinging to this believe in the wake of poll after poll saying otherwise.

I shouldn't attribute this response to everyone on the right, many conservatives quickly joined Obama's call for increased civility.

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 18, 2011 11:29 AM | Report abuse

@jnc4P Are you dismissing out of hand the effect the "seemingly" prescient comments from the REAL victim made about the dangers of Palin's infamous crosshairs map.

You all must live in Wonderland somewhere...
A Congresswoman states in a very sincere, empathy producing soundbite that she is uncomfortable with Palin's gunsight metaphor.
That Congresswoman is subsequently shot.
WTF do you all think would be the first question out of the box?

Did some on the left overreact. Absolutely. Did SOME write scurrilous screeds..ABSOLUTELY...was this the entire left or even a majority....ABSOLUTELY NOT.

The connection was kismet...Congressman Giffords soundbite is just too dramatic and too eerie. Minus that soundbite there is every chance that Sharron Angle would have received most of the ire for her 2nd Amendment remedies. In fact I find it funny that few on the right...none on this blog took exception to Dem Clyburn's comment that Loughner availed himself of his 2nd Amendment remedies.

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@rukidding7 "@jnc4P Are you dismissing out of hand the effect the "seemingly" prescient comments from the REAL victim made about the dangers of Palin's infamous crosshairs map."

No, I'm dismissing them after subsequent reporting established that this guy was a nut-job/stalker with a personal grudge.

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/01/jared-lee-loughner-friend-voicemail-phone-message

The right wing/gun nuts/Sara Palin are no more to blame for this than they were for the shooting of John Lennon.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 18, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

HOLY FLURKENSHMIDT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I just opened the package for our health insurance renewal. I was already trying to figure how I can possibly make up the budgetary shortfall caused by the big jump in my premium(double digits for the past 6 years). And so I tossed the packet on the desk literally afraid to look.

Holy moley...I open it with my breath held and it's a 2.3% increase. 2.3% !!!!!!!!!
And NO JUMP IN DEDUCTIBLES. Thats the first time that's happened in four years!
The exact same coverage for just 2.3% more!
Woooohooooo!!!!!

Can anybody tell me what happened. I'm serious...this is such an anomaly...I'm truly stunned!!!! 2.3% after these years of double digit increases.

REALLY WTF happened. Can anybody explain?
I'm a progressive and an Obama supporter but before anybody credits ACA with this please be prepared to point out specifically HOW ACA made this happen. Honestly, I thought United would jump in there for a final gouge ala last year.

2.3% I am so freaking happy you trolls can call me every name in the book!!! This doesn't just make my day it makes my week...my month!!! Yeeeeeehaaaaaa!!! 2.3%!

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 11:52 AM | Report abuse

@jcnp

"The right wing/gun nuts/Sara Palin are no more to blame for this than they were for the shooting of John Lennon."

With the possible exception of early Saturday...we on this blog...left and right and indy have been agreeing with you all week. We all KNOW that THIS specific shooting was a lone nut...and nobody can really connect a causal relationship to the shooting.

A day late with this question but still appropriate...Would you say James Earl Ray might have been influenced by right wing hate groups?

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Greg, why haven't you banned caothien9?

Posted by: clawrence12 | January 18, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Bernie:

""But your mode of discourse here is almost always to try to locate some weak point (in your estimation) of a liberal argument or claim and then attack that.""

Well, my time is limited too, and I can rarely get into everything that is wrong with your pontifications, so naturally I narrow my focus to manageable and often times what seems to me essential pieces. And we could, I suppose, get into each others' "mode of discourse" (yours, of course, being to make claims and expect that they will be accepted as fact simply because you said them, with any questioning of them being deemed a priori to be "dishonest" or "uninteresting" or some other characteristic designed to relieve you of addressing any challenge.). But I am more interested in the substance of your claim, which is, it seems to me, simply false.

You originally claimed that it was extremely common in the "modern conservative movement" to hear arguments such as that laws permitting gay marriage are an assault on on religious liberty. Now you are narrowing that claim to merely the "christian right wing" or the "religious right". Perhaps you are conflating the "religious right" with the "modern conservative movement", which presents its own problems, but in either case I still think the claim is false.

Of course, many Christian organizations do oppose gay marriage. But I am not aware of any which do so on the grounds that allowing gay marriage would be an assault on their religious freedom (unless perhaps there was a law requiring Christian churches to marry gays, which of course would indeed be an assault on the religious freedom of such churches). For example, Focus on the Family, a well-known Christian organization, issued a position statement on same-sex marriage, in which FotF put forward its reasons for opposing gay marriage. You will search this document in vain for any mention of such marriages being an assault on religious liberty. It simply is not a part of their argument, which is odd indeed if this argument is so "extremely common".

http://www.citizenlink.com/2010/06/focus-on-the-familys-position-statement-on-same-sex-marriage-and-civil-unions/

I welcome any evidence to the contrary, Bernie, but I suppose you have made it clear that presenting evidence is just not something you do. Apparently you want to preach, not discuss or debate. Which is fine, I suppose, but you will have to forgive me if I continue to offer you the chance to be a little more intellectually rigorous.

Posted by: ScottC3 | January 18, 2011 12:19 PM | Report abuse

@bernielatham:

""Re your other comment, I'm not interested in playing that game. Do as you wish but I won't engage.""

You just did. Point, set. I win! Score!

And they say the only win is not to play. •**Wrong!**•

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 12:35 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: ""Ahhhh my Memphis friend your very vocabulary shows your bias. 'spoonfed'? 'spoonfed?'""

Code words, Ruk! Those are my codewords. Don't diss the codewords.

[in gradeschool sing-song]: I pressed your button, I pressed your button . . . dude, you're too easy.


@ruk: "I believe you are actually making my point. Yes the public is finally catching on NOW that they've had two years of unrepentant bleating from the Alaska victim."

Unfortunate that they couldn't figure it out before the elected John McCain president . . . oh, wait.

""...the quintessential bully who can dish it out but not take it.""

Perhaps you're right, but I remain dubious.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse

@mark_in_austin "The WSJ op-ed by BHO is worth a look.

My clients and I could catalog perhaps two hands full of regulations operating at cross purposes; impossible to follow to the letter for one agency without causing the appearance of violation to another. Not all of the instance of which I am aware are federal, of course.

Still, if the COC and NFIB are worth anything to their constituent members, they will list all the examples of cross-purposed regs their members are dealing with and all the examples where the compliance with regs is overly burdensome from an adminstrative POV. When I suggest the latter, I am not talking about regs with whose purpose one does not agree, but regs that could be enforced with less paper and time burden on the regulated. BHO's "little" initiative is a real invitation, I hope, to public input about efficiency."

If Obama means what he says, then this will represent a constructive change of direction for his administration.

Or Greg could be right when he says it's all for show:

"It's more a preemptive strike by Obama in advance of the GOP's push to portray Obama as an unrepentant advocate of excessive government, which will be at the center of the coming fights over spending."

For myself, I find it hard to square President Obama's position in the Op-Ed

"And finally, today I am directing federal agencies to do more to account for—and reduce—the burdens regulations may place on small businesses. Small firms drive growth and create most new jobs in this country. We need to make sure nothing stands in their way."

with the 1099 reporting requirements enacted in the Health Care Law.

Posted by: jnc4p | January 18, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

@ruk: "A day late with this question but still appropriate...Would you say James Earl Ray might have been influenced by right wing hate groups?"

James Earl said he didn't do it (after having confessed). But, yeah, no doubt he was influenced by right wing hate groups, folks he was in prison with, and the government of Rhodesia.

Similarly, Lee Harvey Oswald was probably influenced by far left revolutionary groups. What's to be done that doesn't come off as overly oppressive of free speech or the right to assemble?

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

It's still really difficult for me to believe that Palin as double digit support in this country. 30% really? and 37% would vote for her for president? i'm shocked. are those numbers worth worrying about or are polls most likely to be administered to conservatives? i'm puzzled that she has any more than 2% appeal.

Posted by: tonil901 | January 18, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

Similarly, Lee Harvey Oswald was probably influenced by far left revolutionary groups. What's to be done that doesn't come off as overly oppressive of free speech or the right to assemble?
------------------------------------------
Other than acknowledging that we have all used such unneeded, violent language in the past, vowing we will refrain from doing so in the future and encouraging others from doing the same, I'm not sure there is anything we can do. Has anyone proposed something other than taking those steps?

Maybe it is hopeless, but that doesn't mean we sholdn't try. What's the worst that can happen, particularly to us blog posters if we give up violent rhetoric but our fellow bloggers don't?

Posted by: ashotinthedark | January 18, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"Perhaps you're right, but I remain dubious."

As well you should. Dubious is my middle name. I am a "doubting Thomas" of the first magnitude.

And perhaps you're right. Maybe enough of the electorate did catch on to the fact that Palin hadn't earned her spurs...wasn't qualified whatever and that decided the election. Perhaps it was just too close for comfort for me. :-)

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

@Kevin

"What's to be done that doesn't come off as overly oppressive of free speech or the right to assemble?"

Just one man's opinion of course...I'm certainly not in favor of legislation...but the country could move to a form of shunning. The NRA could point out that responsible gun owners do not wave around loaded weapons at a political rally. Rights and responsibility seem to me to have some connection. We could all stop listening to the most egregious examples of what is nothing more than hate speech, not political dialogue. We could address each other more civilly on our blogs...in town hall meetings....there is a lot that COULD be done...but I'm not one for coercion. I suspect that when the court of public opinion finally judges these things as "inappropriate" they wont completely disappear but would be diminished so greatly as to no longer even be a topic of discussion. And so that is where my efforts are directed...not in new legislation but influencing the "opinion jury" in that ephemeral "court of public opinion."

Posted by: rukidding7 | January 18, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

@ashot: "Has anyone proposed something other than taking those steps"

No, indeed, but sometimes more draconian measures seem •implied*. If you know what I mean. Code words, dog whistles, all that.

The problem is, the people really engaged in dangerous violent rhetoric are the ones least likely to pay any attention to any of this. We can all agree to be more polite (and this is a good thing), but the folks who really influence a Loughner, James Earl Ray, or a Oswald are not going to tone things down. But I suppose the more marginalized they are, the better.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | January 18, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

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