Posts Tagged ‘klein



28
Jul
11

farce

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Steve Benen: …. Speaker Boehner’s budget proposal doesn’t have the votes. In the hopes of twisting a few arms, the House proceeded to take up a few measures related to — I kid you not — naming post offices. (Yes, five days before an economic catastrophe of Republicans’ making, they’re reduced to naming post offices on the House floor.)

Nearly two hours later, GOP leaders have said they still expect to hold a vote “tonight,” though that’s a time frame that could conceivably go into the morning. Democratic leaders also anticipate a vote this evening, and have told members not to leave Capitol Hill.

By most accounts, Boehner is a vote or two shy of what he needs to pass a bill … which everyone knows will then be promptly killed by the Senate. The Speaker’s argument to his caucus is that passage of his budget plan will give him greater leverage in the final round of talks, after this bill dies, but as it turns out, that’s not much of a rallying cry for a right-wing caucus that doesn’t like Boehner’s bill much anyway.

At this point, it’s also worth noting that Boehner’s hold on the Speaker’s gavel is weakening, and failure tonight, if there’s a vote, would be a stunning rebuke of his leadership by dozens of members of his own caucus.

Harry Reid’s communications director, meanwhile, explained about an hour ago, “The Senate stands ready to defeat the Boehner plan whenever House Republicans can get their act together.”

…. Update: At about 8:10 p.m., Eric Cantor’s spokesperson said the vote will occur “before tomorrow.”

More here

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Joe Klein (Time): Let us not put too fine a point on it: Thursday’s House vote on Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling proposal is a joke. If it passes the House, Harry Reid has said it is dead on arrival in the Senate. If it somehow passes the Senate, which it won’t, President Obama will veto it. It is, therefore, a symbolic act that is wasting precious time. It follows last week’s Republican theatrics, the passage of the Cut and Demolish Act (or whatever they called it), which also was a waste of time. These are the actions of a party that has completely lost track of reality – and of a leader, John Boehner, who has lost the support of his party.

…. This has been an exhausting process – one that might have resulted in an exhilarating triumph, if the Republican party were not led by nihilists like Rush Limbaugh and Grover Norquist. But one senses that the President is feeling the exhaustion and frustration. He is preparing himself for the worst of all possible scenarios: the uncertainty caused by the Republican anarchy has already damaged the economy, businesses are waiting to see what the interest rates will be and therefore delaying plans to expand. That uncertainty, added to the higher oil prices caused by Arab Spring, the European Debt crisis and the Japanese earthquake could well bring us a double-dip recession.

… And so, here we are. Our nation’s economy and international reputation as the world’s presiding grownup has already been badly damaged. It is a self-inflicted wound of monumental stupidity. I am usually willing to acknowledge that Democrats can be as silly, and hidebound, as Republicans–but not this time. There is zero equivalence here. The vast majority of Democrats have been more than reasonable….

The Republicans have been willing to concede nothing. Their stand means higher interest rates, fewer jobs created and more destroyed, a general weakening of this country’s standing in the world. Osama bin Laden, if he were still alive, could not have come up with a more clever strategy for strangling our nation.

Full article here

President Obama talks with staff during a Domestic Policy Council meeting in the Oval Office, July 28 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Andrew Leonard (Salon): As I write these words, the U.S. House of Representatives is debating the appropriate name for a post office in Pasadena, Calif. Meanwhile, C-SPAN is running a crawl at the bottom of the screen that reads “Final Vote on Speaker Boehner’s Plan to Raise Debt Ceiling Postponed.”

And so, ludicrously, is history made. The Republican Party is on the cusp of one of the greatest self-inflicted disasters since a crack cadre of two-bit bumblers broke into the Watergate Hotel. Right now, John Boehner cannot count on enough Republican votes to pass his own debt ceiling bill….

…It is still, at this point, nearly inconceivable that Boehner’s bill could go down in flames. Because if it does, intransigent House conservatives will have handed President Obama one of the biggest victories of his term.

Here’s why: The Boehner bill is already a conservative bill that won’t pass the Senate. But if House Republicans can’t pass it on their own, they will have conclusively demonstrated that it will be impossible for them to come to agreement on any kind of compromise deal acceptable to both parties. They will have effectively declared themselves incapable of governing …. exposed as both irresponsible and incompetent.

… Washington will be a different town, and Boehner will be a neutered political leader. And those of us who lived through this period will wonder how in the world this man managed to hold the U.S. government hostage for so long, when he couldn’t even control his own party.

Full article here

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26
Jul
11

embarrassing…..

Extreme Liberal: This is a must see, vintage smackdown of the “firebaggers.” Lawrence O’Donnell and Ezra Klein educate the foaming at the mouth “progressives” Jane Hamsher, Adam Green and some other firebagger wanna-be named Mike Roger Hodge. Watch and enjoy!

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Good grief, these Firebaggers truly are clueless 😳

03
Jul
11

“so yesterday”

16
Jun
11

oh dear….

Steve Benen: For a guy whose awkward sense of humor keeps raising eyebrows, this incident in Florida this morning probably won’t help Mitt Romney’s reputation:

Mitt Romney sat at the head of the table at a coffee shop … listening to a group of unemployed Floridians explain the challenges of looking for work. When they finished, he weighed in with a predicament of his own.

“I should tell my story,” Mr. Romney said. “I’m also unemployed.”

……comments like these may very well be a deliberate self-deprecating strategy because Romney strutted around New Hampshire on Tuesday as if he’d already won the presidency, and no one likes an overconfident jerk.

But when an extremely wealthy person jokes to people who are actually struggling about being “unemployed,” it rankles. Indeed, Mitt Romney became extremely wealthy in a way that seems relevant to this discussion. (See here)

To be fair, there’s at least a kernel of truth to it. Mitt Romney hasn’t worked a day in over five years …. but if memory serves, Romney had a job. During his brief tenure, he struggled with his duties, received poor performance evaluations, and his employers were ultimately relieved to see him quit.

Maybe Romney should mention this at his next diner stop.

Full post here

Ezra Klein disagrees with Benen about the ‘joke’ (“It’s pretty clear from the context that he was making a joke”) but picks up on something else Romney said today:

I’d focus instead on Romney’s comment that “We have seen the most anti-investment, antigrowth, antijob strategy in America since Jimmy Carter. The result has been it’s harder and harder for people to find work.” By any measure, this is absurd. Taxes are at a 50-year low. The Dow has staged a roaring recovery. Business profits are near record levels. And the economy has gone from losing 780,000 jobs a month to gaining about 160,000 jobs a month. That is to say, it’s getting easier and easier for people to find work, even if it’s not nearly easy enough.

I don’t mind bad jokes. What I mind is bad economic analysis.

30
Apr
11

oh, facts are pesky things….

Nate Silver (NYT): Earlier this week, Ezra Klein of The Washington Post published a column titled “Obama Revealed: A Moderate Republican”….he argued that the president’s policy preferences in some key areas, including health care, resemble those of a Republican from the early 1990s….

….I’m a big fan of Mr. Klein’s work, but I don’t find his thesis persuasive in this case … It’s fairly easy to demonstrate that Mr. Obama’s policy preferences resemble those of a typical Democrat in today’s Congress … A system called DW-Nominate rates each member of Congress on a scale from negative 1 (very liberal on economic issues) to positive 1 (very conservative) based on their roll-call votes. The system also creates a score for each president based on cases in which the outcome he desired from a vote in Congress was clearly articulated.

According to the system, the score for the average Democrat in the 111th Congress was -0.382, although there was a fairly significant range, from very liberal Democrats like Dennis J. Kucinich (-0.612) and Barbara Lee (-0.743) to moderates like Heath Shuler (-0.100) and Ben Nelson (-0.030).

Mr. Obama’s score of -0.399 was very close to the average, splitting the difference between his party’s liberal and moderate wings….

Mr. Obama’s positions are also broadly in line with the median Democratic voter. According to polling conducted by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, 70 percent of Democrats think Mr. Obama’s positions are “about right”, and those who disagreed were about as likely to say he was too conservative (12 percent) as too liberal (14 percent).

Read full article here – and more here at The People’s View

Thank you Dorothy 😉

30
Mar
11

‘the dim-witted freak show’ (updated)

Joe Klein (Time): ….It is excruciating watching the Republican Party presidential candidates who, on a daily basis, pronounce some ignorant racist or irreligious twaddle…today’s example primo is Newt, who really needs to get back on his meds, worrying about his grandchildren:

“I have two grandchildren – Maggie is 11, Robert is 9,” Gingrich said at Cornerstone Church. “I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

There is genius in this: no other human had located the secular humanist wing of radical Islam before. And then there is Herman Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza who is pretending to run for President, proving that a black man can be as gutter-cheap bigoted as anyone. If elected, he would not appoint a Muslim to his cabinet or the federal bench because: “There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.”

…This is my 10th presidential campaign, Lord help me. I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party’s banner. They are the most compelling argument I’ve seen against American exceptionalism. … this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012…

Full article here

Here’s a reply from Steve Benen to Klein’s ‘plea’ for Mitch Daniels and Jeb Bush to run (see the link above, Klein mentions them at the end of his article):

“….where I part ways with Klein is his expectation that Daniels and Jeb Bush could somehow put things right. For one thing, when it comes to the major issues of the day, the substantive differences between these two and the Seven Dwarves (Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee, Barbour, Gingrich, Santorum, and I suppose Bachmann) are quite narrow.

For another, Klein doesn’t explain how a sensible, self-respecting, qualified Republican is going to win primaries without also becoming some ridiculous caricature. Indeed, note that Klein made no mention of Jon Huntsman — who presumably would qualify as a reasonable GOP candidate unwilling to “behave like a public clown” — probably because no one seriously believes the party base will tolerate him.”

08
Mar
11

put up, or shut up

Ezra Klein (Washington Post): It’s put-up-or-shut-up time for Republicans. They managed to make it through the health-care debate without offering serious solutions of their own, and – perhaps more impressive – through the election by promising to tell us their solutions after they’d won. But the jig is up. They need a health-care plan – and quickly.

The GOP knew this day would come. In May 2009, Republican message-maestro Frank Luntz released a polling memo warning that “if the dynamic becomes ‘President Obama is on the side of reform and Republicans are against it,’ then the battle is lost.” Repeal, Luntz argued, wouldn’t be good enough. It would have to be “repeal and replace.” And so it was. That, however, is easier said than done.

To understand the trouble the Republicans find themselves in, you need to understand the party’s history with health-care reform…. (see here) …Conservatives once offered solutions competitive with what the Democrats were proposing, but over the past 30 years, they’ve abandoned each and every one of them to stymie Democratic presidents. Confronted with a challenge to provide broader access to better health care at a lower cost, they’re reduced to complaining that those aren’t the right goals for health-care reform…..

…..For decades, Republicans have chosen stopping Democratic presidents over reforming the American health-care system. Now that reform has passed, the solution for members of the GOP is to press the rewind button. They’re about to find out that it’s not enough.

On that much, Luntz and I agree: If the public comes to see the GOP as opposed to reform, “the battle is lost” – at least if you believe “the battle” is to beat the Democrats rather than provide quality health insurance to every American.

Full article here

08
Mar
11

‘romneycareless’

Cartoon from here

Joe Klein (Time): ….Mitt Romney is having a heckuva time trying to explain why doing the right thing – introducing universal health care with an individual mandate – was the wrong thing in Massachusetts. The problem when a politician starts making an argument he doesn’t really believe is that there are bound to be loose ends. Here’s one hilarious howler:

“Our experiment wasn’t perfect — some things worked, some didn’t, and some things I’d change. One thing I would never do is to usurp the constitutional power of states with a one-size-fits-all federal takeover.”

To which one can only ask: What about Medicare? That was one-size-fits-all. It usurped states’ rights to deny health care to the elderly. And it’s wildly popular. I don’t suppose Romney is against that.

Romney remains a mystery to me: He’s smart … but he has made an utter fool of himself flip-flopping and fudging – and taking wildly stupid positions (against the START treaty, for example) on issues about which he knows little or nothing.

It almost seems a personality disorder…. (an) embarrassing spectacle of an intelligent man acting like a semi-coherent jerk.

Full article here

02
Mar
11

oh mike……

Jonathan Chait (New Republic): Apropos of Mike Huckabee’s quasi-endorsement of the “Kenyan anti-colonialism” theory of Barack Obama, there’s something I’ve been wondering about this. The theory holds that Barack Obama, through his father, acquired a worldview twisted by opposition to British colonialism.

But the people most enamored of this theory are also highly enamored of the Tea Party, which is steeped in worship of… opposition to British colonialism!

Wouldn’t this theory mean that our Founding Fathers were also twisted by opposition to British colonialism? Or maybe the idea is that we had a right to throw off the British yolk, but the Kenyans should have put up with it, because the British occupation there was so much more benign.

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Love this – and this:

Joe Klein (Time): ….Mike Huckabee made a toxic fool of himself on the subject of Barack Obama’s upbringing and heritage…

…Huckabee was never an entirely plausible candidate for President … but he always struck me as a good guy, more concerned about working-class America than most of his rivals. These comments, however, and his subsequent lie that he really meant Indonesia not Kenya, really show a demented, perverse sensibility, and they demonstrate some of the ugliness at the heart of Obama hatred.

I’m talking about the Mau Mau comment, especially. When I was growing up, Mau Mau was shorthand for: Extremely Scary Black People. The brutality of the Mau Mau rebellion was legendary (and, who knows, perhaps even accurate). It became a term of art in the sixties: to mau-mau was to intimidate white people. (As a young reporter in Boston, I covered a would-be black militant group that called itself, with brilliant irony, De Mau Mau.) To associate Barack Obama with the Mau Mau rebellion is to feed all the worst, paranoid fears of Glenn Beck’s America – and, as any sane person knows, completely ridiculous.

But with Newt Gingrich … about to enter the presidential race, the question of where and how Barack Obama grew up should be a bright line test for every Republican candidate. If a candidate is willing to endorse, or equivocate, on these racist fantasies, we of the wildly powerless Mainstream Media Priesthood should shun and shame him or her. At the very least, a candidate who seeks to run against Obama should know where and how Obama grew up: in Hawaii, with a four-year detour to Indonesia, raised mostly by his white, Republican, Kansan grandparents.

15
Feb
11

medal of freedom




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