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The Plum Line: February 27, 2011 - March 5, 2011

New ad turns up heat on Wisconsin Republicans as Walker's poll numbers sink

Unions are going up with a hard-hitting new ad in Wisconsin, a labor source says, that takes direct aim for the first time at Republican state senators who continue to stand by Governor Walker, even as he sinks in the...

By Greg Sargent  | March 5, 2011; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (124)
Categories:  Labor  
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Open Thread

All yours....

By Greg Sargent  | March 5, 2011; 9:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (69)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Andy Kroll has a very comprehensive and detailed behind-the-scenes look at how unions rapidly mobilized to turn Wisconsin into a national showdown that could revitalize the labor movement. * Eric Kleefeld has the latest on Governor Scott Walker's layoff-threat...

By Greg Sargent  | March 4, 2011; 6:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (76)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, budget  
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Are Wisconsin Republicans preparing to break with Walker?

I don't know if these reports are true or not, and we should treat them with caution. But we now have two news outlets, one local and one national, claiming GOP defections from Governor Scott Walker may be in the...

By Greg Sargent  | March 4, 2011; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (86)
Categories:  Labor  
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Mike Huckabee backtracks on Natalie Portman criticism, but it's too late

Has Mike Huckabee developed a kind of culturally conservative version of Tourette's syndrome? As you may have heard, Mike Huckabee got in a bit of trouble again today because he appeared to criticize actress Natalie Portman, suggesting she is a...

By Greg Sargent  | March 4, 2011; 2:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (131)
Categories:  2012  
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Will Walker layoffs backfire on Wisconsin Republicans?

It's been widely assumed that once Governor Scott Walker starts sending out pink slips to public employees, it will increase pressure on fugitive Dems to return to Wisconsin and vote on Walker's measure rolling back bargaining rights. But what if...

By Greg Sargent  | March 4, 2011; 1:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (62)
Categories:  Labor  
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Krauthammer and the "Bush freedom agenda" fallacy

Ever since the uprisings began unfolding in the Middle East, conservatives have struggled to make the case that they vindicate George W. Bush's vision of history. This morning, Charles Krauthammer attempts a somewhat nuanced rendition of this argument, insisting that...

By Adam Serwer  | March 4, 2011; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (168)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security  
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The Morning Plum

* Lefty groups expand advertising in Wisconsin: Over $400,000 has now flowed in from around the country to support the airing of that ad featuring ordinary Wisconsinites making the case against Governor Scott Walker. And the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's...

By Greg Sargent  | March 4, 2011; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (87)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Political media, Senate Dems, Social Security, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* What if the American people declared that they think the best way to fix the deficit is to cut defense spending and hike taxes on the rich, and no high level politician in either party cared? * Governor Scott...

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 6:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (82)
Categories:  2012, Foreign policy and national security, Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, energy, gay rights  
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Police union chief says Wisconsin GOP's proposal to detain missing Dems may be unconstitutional

By now you may have heard that Republican state senators in Wisconsin have unanimously passed a resolution ordering missing Dems to return to the capitol or face possible detainment by police. The top senate republican justified this by claiming Dems...

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Labor  
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Senator Merkley unleashes harsh attack on GOP budget cuts

Senator Jeff Merkley opens fire on the House GOP plan for budget cuts in some of the harshest terms I've heard yet: The GOP budget plan will destroy 700,000 jobs. The last thing our nation can afford right now is...

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 3:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (53)
Categories:  House GOPers, Senate Dems, budget  
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Latest B.S. controversy: Obama said Tea Partyers driven by race!!!

One of my favorite right wing fantasies has it that Democrats are broadly convinced that the vast majority of Tea Partyers are closet or overt racists. You hear this so often that it often seems as if some folks wish...

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 1:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (96)
Categories:  Tea Party, race  
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Predictably, conservatives distort Holder's testimony on New Black Panthers Case

Testifying before a House appropriations subcommittee two days ago, Attorney General Eric Holder told Texas GOP Rep. John Culberson he was offended by Culberson's suggestion that the New Black Panther voter intimidation case was comparable to the discrimination faced by...

By Adam Serwer  | March 3, 2011; 11:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (44)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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Public rejecting bogus "public employee versus taxpayer" frame?

You already know that the new NBC/WSJ poll finds strong support for public employee bargaining rights, with 62 percent opposed to eliminating them. But here's another crucial number from the internals: Do you think public employees who belong to a...

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (77)
Categories:  Labor  
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The Morning Plum

* National liberal money flows into Wisconsin fight: Yesterday I first reported on a new ad being aired by progressive groups featuring ordinary Wisconsites making the case against Scott Walker, and in the 24 hours since, the spot has now...

By Greg Sargent  | March 3, 2011; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (95)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Joe Klein calls on his media colleagues to demand all the 2012 GOP hopefuls take a position on Obama's heritage, and to mercilessly hound them out of town if they equivocate. * Mike Huckabee is now claiming that Obama...

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 6:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (88)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, Tea Party, budget  
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Four national polls show solid support for public employees

The First Read gang reports that the forthcoming NBC/WSJ poll, like other previously released surveys, will show strong public opposition to rolling back public employee bargaining rights: In the poll, a whopping 68 percent find it acceptable requiring public employees...

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 4:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (75)
Categories:  Labor  
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Breaking: Wisconsin Dems throw their weight behind drive to recall GOP Senators

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has decided to throw its weight behind a nascent grassroots drive to recall a number of GOP state senators, a move that will considerably increase the pressure on them to break with Governor Scott Walker, the...

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 2:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (81)
Categories:  Labor  
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No, it's not okay to traffic in pure fiction about Obama's heritage

Ben Smith writes that my criticism of Mike Huckabee is unfair: Is the idea that Obama's intellectual history should be tied to his personal narrative and to a father whom he barely knew really all that crazy or racist? I...

By Adam Serwer  | March 2, 2011; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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CNN and John King get played

I was hoping to avoid writing any more about Erick Erickson's dishonesty, since the book has already been closed on that topic. But now that CNN and John King have provided Erickson a platform on CNN's Web site to spread...

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
Categories:  Labor, Political media  
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Why did Huckabee think Obama 'grew up in Kenya?'

Yesterday, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee told conservative radio host Steve Malzberg that President Barack Obama had "grown up in Kenya," and cited the president's father's background as proof that Obama has an abiding hatred of Western culture: HUCKABEE: I...

By Adam Serwer  | March 2, 2011; 10:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (42)
Categories:  2012, Labor  
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The Morning Plum

* Lefty groups enter the ad wars in Wisconsin: Progressive groups are going up in Wisconsin today with an interesting new ad that lets ordinary Wisconsinites make their case against Governor Scott Walker, an effort to harness the grassroots nature...

By Greg Sargent  | March 2, 2011; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (78)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, Senate Dems, Tea Party, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

* Next up in Wisconsin: Tonight Governor Scott Walker is proposing a budget containing more than $1 billion in state aid cuts to schools and local governments. Key question: Whether other groups gearing up to battle the budget will join...

By Greg Sargent  | March 1, 2011; 6:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (143)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, budget  
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Will Americans' support for public workers matter?

As Greg noted this morning, three national polls have shown that Americans may not like unions, but they're supportive of public workers' basic right to organize. A Pew Center poll found that Americans support the public workers' position over that...

By Adam Serwer  | March 1, 2011; 4:11 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (61)
Categories:  Labor  
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Did Ben Bernanke undercut key Dem talking point about GOP budget cuts?

It's being widely reported right now that in testimony before a Senate committee today, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke undercut the key Dem talking point that GOP budget cuts risk hampering the recovery. As you know, Dems have been pointing...

By Greg Sargent  | March 1, 2011; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  House GOPers, Senate Dems, budget  
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Cuts for thee, but not for me

The other day, the Associated Press reported that House Republicans were going easy on their own budgets for staff and salaries even as they hack away at the budgets of many federal agencies. Along these lines, constituents in Arkansas' third...

By Greg Sargent  | March 1, 2011; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  House GOPers, budget  
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GOP ad badly distorts history of Wisconsin standoff

This new ad from the Republican Governors Association backing up Scott Walker in Wisconsin is getting a ton of media attention today, but no one seems to want to point out that the spot is premised on a serious distortion...

By Greg Sargent  | March 1, 2011; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (37)
Categories:  Labor  
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Poll: Scott Walker losing P.R. battle

The Dem-leaning firm Public Policy Polling releases its full poll out of Wisconsin, and the numbers are striking. Fifty-one percent of voters side with the unions, and 52 percent side with Wisconsin senate Dems. Meanwhile, 47 percent back Governor Scott...

By Greg Sargent  | March 1, 2011; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (204)
Categories:  Labor  
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The Morning Plum

* Three national polls show scapegoating of public employees is a bust: We now have three big national polls showing that Americans back public employees in their standoffs with governors who would roll back bargaining rights -- clear evidence that...

By Greg Sargent  | March 1, 2011; 8:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (48)
Categories:  House GOPers, Labor, Morning Plum, budget  
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Happy Hour Roundup

UPDATE, 9:00 p.m.: I've been arguing that the big story in Wisconsin is that the showdown proves that the scapegoating of public employees is not proving so easy, after all, and the new New York Times/CBS poll demonstrates this as...

By Greg Sargent  | February 28, 2011; 6:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (101)
Categories:  Happy Hour Roundup, Health reform, House GOPers, Labor, budget  
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Dem poll: Republicans turning on Scott Walker

Everyone has already blogged on the forthcoming poll from the Dem firm Public Policy Polling, which finds major buyer's remorse in Wisconsin, with voters saying they'd support Scott Walker's opponent by 52-45 if they could hold a do-over election. But...

By Greg Sargent  | February 28, 2011; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (79)
Categories:  Labor  
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In which I advocate for union thugs to get violent (not really)

I usually try to avoid getting into blogwars about this kind of stuff. But the buffoonish dishonesty on display today from CNN contributor Erick Erickson and others on the right is revealing and worth responding to in a bit of...

By Greg Sargent  | February 28, 2011; 3:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (51)
Categories:  Labor, Political media  
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Wisconsin GOPers angered by Republican official's efforts to reach compromise with labor, Dems

Here's a pretty good indicator of just how resistant Republicans allied with Governor Scott Walker have become to reaching a compromise of any kind with labor and Dems to end the standoff in Wisconsin over the Governor's proposal to roll...

By Greg Sargent  | February 28, 2011; 1:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (58)
Categories:  Labor  
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Will Haley Barbour's race strategy work?

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, whose rather selective memories of racial turmoil in the South during the Civil Rights Movement have drawn unflattering attention to his possible presidential bid, has settled on a defense strategy: Barbour said the controversies over race...

By Adam Serwer  | February 28, 2011; 11:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  2012, race  
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Report: House GOP budget cuts would destroy 700,000 jobs

Lori Montgomery scoops: A Republican plan to sharply cut federal spending this year would destroy 700,000 jobs through 2012, according to an independent economic analysis set for release Monday. The report, by Moody's Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi, offers fresh...

By Greg Sargent  | February 28, 2011; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (52)
Categories:  House GOPers, budget, deficit, economy  
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The Morning Plum

* No end in sight for Wisconsin standoff as Dems refuse to budge: With Governor Scott Walker threatening to initiate a process leading to layoffs if his budget repair bill doesn't pass by his latest "deadline" of this Tuesday, state...

By Greg Sargent  | February 28, 2011; 8:39 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (99)
Categories:  Foreign policy and national security, House GOPers, Labor, Senate Dems, budget, gay rights  
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Sunday Open Thread

All yours....

By Greg Sargent  | February 27, 2011; 8:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (171)
Categories:  Miscellaneous  
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