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The Plum Line: February 13, 2011 - February 19, 2011

Open Thread

Enjoy....

By Greg Sargent  | February 19, 2011; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (103)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Birtherism: Worst. Trap. Ever.

For the past couple of weeks, I've been writing about Republican politicians' birther problem. Whether or not the issue is one of mere symbolic belief or genuine agreement among large segments of the Republican base, GOP leaders feel obligated to...

By Adam Serwer  | February 19, 2011; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (302)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* The White House stands by Obama's firm opposition to rolling back the bargaining rights of Wisconsin public employees. * MSNBC's First Read gang hits on a crucial point about the anti-public employee drive: "they could be waking up a...

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 6:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (80)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House Dems, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, abortion  
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Frontiers in targeted advertising

The labor-backed group Americans United for Change has hit on an interesting way of pushing back on the House GOP's drive to repeal the Affordable Care Act: An ad campaign on Facebook that targets people by House district and age....

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 4:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers  
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Polling public employee unions

Ben Smith flags a corporate-funded poll that asks: "Do you think government employees should be represented by labor unions that bargain for higher pay, benefits and pensions ... or do you think government employees should not be represented by labor...

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
Categories:  Labor  
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The stakes in Wisconsin, ctd.

E.J. Dionne makes an important point about what Governor Scott Walker's proposal is really designed to accomplish: It's not unreasonable for the politicians who lead those jurisdictions to ask for givebacks from public employees: Wage freezes, higher pension or health-care...

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 1:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (93)
Categories:  Labor  
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Cops now pursuing missing Wisconsin Dems, senator alleges

Wisconsin state police have visited the home of at least one of the missing Wisconsin state senators in an apparent effort to force him to return to the capitol to vote on the proposal to roll back public employees' bargaining...

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  Labor  
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House Dem reveals abortion on the House floor

Strong stuff from Dem Rep. Jackie Speier of California, who delivered an emotional speech on the House floor last night, revealing she had an abortion as she dressed down a Republican colleague for trivializing the decisionmaking that goes into deciding...

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 10:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
Categories:  House Dems, abortion  
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The Morning Plum

* Wisconsin Dems hanging tough: The leader of Wisconsin Senate Dems tells the Milwakee Journal Sentinal that Dems won't buckle and have no intention of returning until the GOP takes the assault on public employee bargaining rights off the table:...

By Greg Sargent  | February 18, 2011; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Tea Party  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Some of the missing Wisconsin Dems have been located at an Illinois hotel. * A new poll finds Americans sympathize more with public employee unions than with the plight of municipal governments. * David Dayen has more on how...

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 6:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (122)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House GOPers, Labor, Political media, budget  
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Missing Wisconsin Dem speaks: We're MIA until GOP drops assault on workers rights

I just got off the phone with Wisconsin State Senator Chris Larson, one of the Democrats who has left the capitol in order to stall the GOP's plan to rolll back the bargaining rights of public employees. Speaking to me...

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 4:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (132)
Categories:  Labor  
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The stakes in Wisconsin

It's worth stepping back and trying to appreciate how big the stakes have become in Wisconsin for public employees and for organized labor in general. Union officials say they're investing a surprising amount of energy in trying to defeat the...

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (102)
Categories:  Labor  
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Wisconsin Dems in hiding to avoid law enforcement, Dem aide says

Things are moving very rapidly in Wisconsin right now, and the latest is that State Senate Democrats are refusing to show up at the state capitol to prevent the measure to strip public employees of their bargaining rights from moving...

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  Labor  
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Please define `fiscal hawk'

Jon Chait has been tearing his hair out because many media figures have conferred automatic credibility on Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP's front man on the budget, as a "fiscal hawk." Chait points out that no media figures seem to...

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 12:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (60)
Categories:  House GOPers, Social Security, budget, deficit  
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Fox News isn't just `negative' about Islam. The network tells nonstop lies about it.

Following up on yesterday's posts on the poll from the Public Religion Research Institute showing "a significant correlation between trust in Fox News and negative attitudes about Muslims," Alex Seitz-Wald posts a chart that helps illustrate just how much more...

By Adam Serwer  | February 17, 2011; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (100)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Political media  
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The Morning Plum

* Obama voices strong support for Wisconsin public employees: With the standoff continuing to rage over Governor Scott Walker's push to strip public employees of bargaining rights, Obama has now waded into the debate, denouncing Walker's proposal as an "assault...

By Greg Sargent  | February 17, 2011; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Social Security, Tea Party, deficit  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* With protests in Wisconsin raging over Governor Scott Walker's push to strip public employees of their union rights, he first tried claiming that the tens of thousands of protestors are not significant because there are "about 5.5 million people...

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 5:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (127)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Political media, Social Security  
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Poll: Fox News watchers far more likely to have negative views of Muslims

The new poll by the Public Religion Research Institute, which I linked to below, also contained this interesting nugget: The survey findings also show a significant correlation between trust in Fox News and negative attitudes about Muslims. Americans who most...

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 3:58 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (57)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Political media  
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Does public support Pete King's hearings into Muslims? Yes and No.

The other day, a number of groups called on Pete King to broaden his planned hearings into Muslim extremism to include other extremists, including ones of the home-grown variety. King scoffed loudly at the demand, dismissing it as "political correctness...

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 2:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers  
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Obama saying right things on Social Security -- so far

Yesterday I argued that this quote from Obama at his budget presser was potentially important: The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other two entitlements are. I'm confident we can get Social...

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 1:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (56)
Categories:  Social Security  
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Rand Paul doesn't get to be Russ Feingold yet

Last week, the new overblown political meme was that the Tea Party derailed the PATRIOT Act reauthorization. Now that the reauthorization debate has moved on to the Senate, we've got a new one: Rand Paul is the new Russ Feingold....

By Adam Serwer  | February 16, 2011; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (54)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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South Dakota lawmaker, under fire, is now mulling changes to "justifiable homicide" unborn proposal

South Dakota state representative Phil Jensen -- who unexpectedly found himself in the center of a national firestorm yesterday over his proposal to expand the state's definition of "justifiable homicide" to apply to killings in defense of the unborn --...

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 10:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  abortion  
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The Morning Plum

* House GOP budget cuts would cost 1 million jobs? Read of the morning: Dana Milbank has a provocative take on the GOP's proposed cuts, calculating that they could lead to a loss of 650,000 government jobs, and a related...

By Greg Sargent  | February 16, 2011; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (64)
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Obama vows to veto the House GOP's proposed $60 billion in spending cuts. * Organizing for America is ramping up a new push to sell the stimulus, health reform and other Obama policies to small business people across the...

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 6:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (103)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Tea Party, abortion, budget, deficit  
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Obama: Social Security isn't the problem

These lines from Obama, at his presser today on the budget, struck me as potentially significant: You talked about Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The truth is Social Security is not the huge contributor to the deficit that the other...

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Social Security  
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The Leonard Lance saga, ctd.

Okay, so yesterday I brought you the tale of one Leonard Lance, a GOP House member from New Jersey who got called out by his local paper for supporting repeal of the Affordable Act even while he enjoys a very...

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 3:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  Health reform, House GOPers  
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Birthers love Sarah Palin far more than any other 2012 GOP hopeful

The new poll from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling finds that a majority of likely GOP primary voters falsely believe Obama wasn't born in the United States. But this breakdown of their attitudes towards Sarah Palin is of particular...

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (276)
Categories:  2012  
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South Dakota legislator defends bill to make killing to defend fetuses a "justifiable homicide"

An incendiary story by Mother Jones making the rounds on the Web reports that a law being considered in South Dakota would expand the definition of "justifiable homicide" to apply to killings intended to prevent harm to unborn children. Mother...

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (192)
Categories:  abortion  
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What happened to the Tea Party revolt over the PATRIOT Act?

Last week saw the emergence of one of the dumbest recent political memes, the idea that the vote reauthorizing three expiring PATRIOT Act provisions failed because of Tea Party Republicans waging a principled anti-government rebellion against the party establishment. What...

By Adam Serwer  | February 15, 2011; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers  
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The Morning Plum

* The first steps in a months-long showdown: Now that both sides have shown their hands in the budget fight, some key narratives are emerging. Was Obama's decision to avoid dealing with "entitlement spending" a shrewd gambit to force the...

By Greg Sargent  | February 15, 2011; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
Categories:  House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Senate Republicans, Social Security, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Despite the Egypt crisis, Obama's budget includes cuts to organizations that promote democracy abroad. * Reality check of the day: Josh Green digs into the historical record to remind us that "deep cuts in government are nearly impossible to...

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 6:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (134)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Senate Republicans, Social Security, budget  
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How Obama views the budget fight

Reactions on the left to Obama's proposed budget can be rougly broken down into two camps. There is the camp that says he has needlessly capitulated to the GOP's anti-government rhetoric and has effectively ceded the game to the GOP...

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 3:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  House GOPers, Senate Dems, budget  
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Conservatives won't let poor Mitt Romney off hook on health care

On Friday I argued that Mitt Romney's health care dilemma is akin to a Gordian Knot. Conservatives are insistent that Romney explain his previous support for the individual mandate, in order to prove he's not ideologically suspect, but when he...

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 1:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (133)
Categories:  2012, Health reform  
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House GOPer against big government health care enjoys taxpayer-funded state government insurance

Okay, this one is funny. As you know, Dems and lefty groups have been loudly insisting that House Republicans in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act should forego the "government run" insurance they enjoy as members of Congress. One...

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 12:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers  
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Obama invokes specter of Eisenhower

President Obama, unveiling his budget just now, said: As a start, I called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade,...

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 11:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  House GOPers, Senate Republicans, budget  
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Boehner shows off the other kind of post-birtherism

Last week I wrote about Republicans' embrace of post-birtherism: Republican politicians, rather than rejecting birtherism outright, have instead turned to joking about it. This allows them to appease the fringe while shielding themselves from accusations of trafficking in conspiracy theories....

By Adam Serwer  | February 14, 2011; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (50)
Categories:  House GOPers  
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The Morning Plum

* Battle lines drawn in budget fight: As expected, Obama's budget proposal responds to the GOP demand for downsized government with a series of steep cuts of his own to core liberal priorities such as low-income heating assistance and community...

By Greg Sargent  | February 14, 2011; 8:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, Health reform, House Dems, House GOPers, Morning Plum, Political media, Supreme Court, budget  
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Sunday Open Thread

Enjoy....

By Greg Sargent  | February 13, 2011; 8:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (275)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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