Thursday, January 28, 2010

Last Call

Which Winger meltdown was the best today?

Andrew Breitbart's screaming match with David Shuster?

Sen. Judd Gregg's hissy fit with Contessa Brewer and Melissa Francis?

How about the Tea Party Convention melting down with Bachmanniac pulling out?

Scott Roeder's meltdown on the witness stand was outright frightening.

Obama's SOTU address has driven the Wingers over the edge here in the last 24 hours.  The Obama Derangement Syndrome Meter is pegged all the way into the red.  They hate the idea of him getting even mildly positive press, and I honestly think many of the Wingers were truly expecting the reaction to SOTU to be so utterly negative that the Village would be actively calling for him to resign.

That wasn't the case.  They thought they had finished him for good.  The Death of Liberalism and all.  But if anything, the SOTU address is getting very positive reviews.  America likes what Obama had to say.

And that drove the Wingers off the cliff today.  As Matt Osborne wisely points out, Obama took back the center last night.  The GOP knows it.  And Obama got them to go postal all over the airwaves today.  All of a sudden it's the Wingers who are on the defensive.  They despise Obama for doing that.  But that anger is what will ultimately undo them.  Just like in July, the mask on the Teabaggers is slipping.

Zandar's Other Thought Of The Day

Andrew Breitbart has a really, really bad will save.  Should you encounter him, exploit it by using mind-affecting spells, appeals to his ego, a white panel van, and a sack of Ginger Snaps.

Also, that rapid fire ka-chunk sound you've been hearing all day is basically every conservative in America rushing to throw James "Secret Agent Pimp" O'Keefe under the bus.

The Peter King Opposite Rule

Whatever Rep. Peter King (R-Captain Insaneo) thinks is a horrible idea should be something the Democrats need to be 100% behind.
Rep. Peter King says he has introduced a bill that would prevent the Sept. 11 terrorist trial from being held in New York City.

King said Thursday that his bill would prohibit the use of Justice Department funds to try Guantanamo detainees in federal civilian courts.

Last month, the Obama administration announced that professed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others would be tried in federal court in lower Manhattan.

The New York congressman calls it "one of the worst decisions ever made by any president." He says terrorist suspects should be tried by military commissions. 
I think President Obama should make sure Rep. King gets two things:

1) A front row seat to the trial in the courtroom to see how actual justice works, and

2) A case of Depends. 

Both should be presented to Rep. King on live television.

I Thought You Were In Charge Of Plan B

Despite the headline at TPMDC tonight, it looks like the White House didn't get concerned on Martha Coakley losing up until, oh, January 9th or so.
President Obama's senior advisor David Axelrod said there "wasn't much discussion" about an alternative path to passing health care with just 59 Democrats in the Senate because there was "widespread assumption was that that seat was safe."

"The truth is the flares went up about 10 days before that election," Axelrod said during a briefing today with reporters and opinion-makers.

"There wasn't much discussion about the implications if the thing went the other way," he said.
Hmm.  January 9th was the day that PPP poll came out showing Brown up 48%-47%.  Only then did the White House go into gear.

I was still poo-pooing Brown back on January 5th, myself.   Brown didn't even show up on my radar until New Year's Day, as a matter of fact.

But the fact that it was only ten days before the election that Coakley and the White House got into gear shows there was a major problem.  Brown should have never been that close.  Coakley ran the worst campaign possible, pretending to be an incumbent in a year where incumbents are not doing too well on either side.

My problem is I had faith in these guys, and so did a lot of people.

I Faced It All, And I Stood Tall, And Did It My Way

Scott Roeder, the man accused of murdering abortion provider Dr. George Tiller last year, took to the stand today in his trial in Kansas and admitted to his crime, citing no regrets whatsoever.
"There was nothing being done and the legal process had been exhausted, and these babies were dying every day," Roeder said. "I felt that if someone did not do something, he was going to continue."

Roeder is charged with one count of first-degree murder. Tiller ran a women's clinic at which he performed abortions, including the controversial late-term procedure.

During Roeder's testimony Thursday, Tiller's widow, Jeanne, and other family members sat in the gallery. Initially stoic, they began to dab at tears as Roeder described putting a gun to Tiller's head.

Asked if he regretted what he did, Roeder said, "No, I don't." Upon learning that Tiller's clinic was shut down after his death, he said he felt "a sense of relief."

Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and a red patterned tie, Roeder calmly testified that he thought about different ways to kill the doctor -- driving a car into his, perhaps, or shooting him with a rifle. His main concern, he said, was that he might harm others.

Under cross-examination, he told Sedgwick County District Attorney Nola Foulston he also considered cutting Tiller's hands off with a sword, but decided that would not be effective, as Tiller would still be able to train others.
No regrets, confident that his God will approve of what he did in His name, not even trying to deny the crime of murder in the the first degree.

Here's the kicker:
Asked if there are any circumstances in which he believes abortion is acceptable, Roeder said he thought it could be if the mother's life was in "absolute" danger. "I struggle with that decision," he said, "because I believe that ultimately, it is up to our heavenly father. But if there was a time, that would be it."

When defense attorneys asked about his belief regarding abortion in the case of rape, Roeder said, "I do not believe that is justified. You are taking the life of the innocent. You're punishing the innocent life for the sin of the father. Two wrongs don't make a right."

Asked about incest, he said his beliefs were the same. "It isn't our duty to take life, it's our heavenly father's," he said.
And Scott Roeder's duty is to take that life too.  I would hope that whatever deity does exist out there will correct Scott there when he gets to where he's finally going.  And anyone who says America should be worried about Muslim fanatics killing people, well, Scott's not exactly a Muslim now, is he?

And It Begins, Ladies And Gentlemen

Yesterday's story that Hillary Clinton did not see herself as a two-term Secretary of State under Obama was bound to generate the next obvious question, I just didn't think it would be this quickly.  The Village has fired the first shot in the Hillary Plan 2012 war.  Enter US News's Peter Roff on Hillary:
She is not, unsurprisingly, speaking publicly about her intentions beyond saying, as she told PBS's Tavis Smiley in an interview that airs Wednesday night, that she is "absolutely not interested" in running again for president of the United States. But in the same interview Clinton also allows that her current job is a difficult and time-consuming one and that, while she is honored to have it, she cannot see herself serving in the same post in a second Obama administration.

The ongoing decline in the president's approval ratings has more than a few Democrats concerned. The Democratic defeats in the Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial elections and the Massachusetts Senate race have a number of them running scared, in much the same way that the party's poor performance in 1978 helped propel Sen. Edward M. Kennedy forward to challenge incumbent President Jimmy Carter in 1980.

The chatter has increased in recent days about Clinton leaving the cabinet sometime in the first term, likely over some matter of principle, so that she can position herself to challenge Obama in 2012. Perhaps it is just wishful thinking on the part of those Democrats who have already grown tired of Obama. What is true is that Clinton can still mobilize the political infrastructure necessary to mount an effective challenge to the sitting president. A primary challenge against a sitting president whose approval numbers are above 50 percent and one mounted against an incumbent who is below 50 percent are two very different things, a fact of which the Clinton political team is surely aware.
And so it begins.  How long until the Village turns this into The Story Of 2010?

My guess is it won't take long.  An Obama/Hillary "fight" for the next three years?  You can hear the fapping already.  And somewhere, Karl Rove has his fingers steepled and is saying "eeeeeeexcellent."

Helicopter Ben Flying High Again

In the end, Republicans really do love Helicopter Ben and the banks because they refused to filibuster the hell out of his nomination.
Enough Senators voted Thursday to clear the way for a final confirmation vote for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's second term.

The vote to end debate on the nomination passed by a 77-23 margin. The procedural move required 60 votes and depended on Republicans, because several Democrats voted no.

The vote cleared the way for a subsequent final confirmation vote requiring only 51 votes, Senate leaders said. That vote was also expected to pass more smoothly.

Bernanke's term is scheduled to end Sunday.

The final vote came after heavy lobbying by Democratic leaders and the Obama administration. President Obama, himself, made calls last weekend. And Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had been talking with Republicans, making sure he had enough votes.
Making sure banksters get their billions, worth bi-partisan cooperation for 77 Senate votes.

Health insurance coverage for poor people?  Screw 'em.  God I hate Washington at times.

Epic Grounded For Life Fail

James O'Keefe, the new Jack Reacher, has had his brilliant career as a conservative black-ops field agent interrupted by The Man sending him to live with his parents.
As if James O'Keefe hasn't suffered enough indignity after botching an alleged phone tampering operation at a U.S. senator's office, getting arrested, and being photographed leaving jail, the judge in the case has now ordered that he reside with his parents until the next hearing.

Magistrate Judge Louis Moore made the order Tuesday as part of the conditions of release for O'Keefe, 25. (Read them here)

The young conservative filmmaker is free on $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing in the case is set for February 13.
Grounded, dude.  Totally grounded.


Zandar's Thought Of The Day

The Village effort to change the subject away from Obama's substance in the SOTU speech to how "arrogant" and "uppity" he was for "calling out the Supreme Court" is really starting to grate on my nerves.

[UPDATE 2:13 PM] Double G lays it out.
Right-wing criticisms -- that it was Obama who acted inappropriately by using his  SOTU address to condemn the Court's decision -- are just inane.  Many of the Court's rulings engender political passions and have substantial political consequences -- few more so than a ruling that invalidated long-standing campaign finance laws.  Obama is an elected politician in a political branch and has every right to express his views on such a significant court ruling.  While the factual claims Obama made about the ruling are subject to reasonable dispute, they're well within the realm of acceptable political rhetoric and are far from being "false" (e.g., though the ruling did not strike down the exact provision banning foreign corporations from electioneering speech, its rationale could plausibly lead to that; moreover, it's certainly fair to argue, as Obama did, that the Court majority tossed aside a century of judicial precedent).  Presidents have a long history of condemning Court rulings with which they disagree -- Republican politicians, including Presidents, have certainly never shied away from condemning Roe v. Wade in the harshest of terms -- and Obama's comments last night were entirely consistent with that practice.  While Presidents do not commonly criticize the Court in the SOTU address, it is far from unprecedented either.  And, as usual, the disingenuousness levels are off the charts:  imagine the reaction if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had done this at George Bush's State of the Union address.
The real problem is the Citizens United ruling itself.

If Obama Does Have A Failure Right Now...'s the fact he hasn't dealt with the foreclosure crisis in this country at all.
Las Vegas homeowners had the highest U.S. foreclosure rate last year, and California and Florida cities accounted for 17 of the nation’s 20 worst markets as unemployment extended the housing recession.

Rising foreclosure rates in Utah, Illinois, Oregon and Arkansas metropolitan areas showed home-loan distress spreading to “previously insulated areas,” Irvine, California-based RealtyTrac Inc. said today in a report. A record 3 million homes will probably be seized this year, RealtyTrac has forecast.

“The dam will break and we’ll see a significant increase in foreclosures,” Michael Lea, a finance professor at San Diego State University, said in an interview. “The banks can’t continue to hope the economy starts growing.”

The U.S. jobless rate will probably stay at 10 percent in 2010, according to the median estimate of 60 economists in a Bloomberg survey. House prices that gained in the past six months will falter again after the government ends support for the mortgage market, Robert Shiller, co-creator of the S&P/Case- Shiller home price index, said yesterday.

The Federal Reserve’s $1.25 trillion program to buy mortgage-backed securities is set to conclude March 31, raising the risk that borrowing costs will jump. The purchases helped drive the rate on 30-year fixed U.S. home loans down to 4.71 percent in early December, the lowest level in Freddie Mac data going back to 1972.

“There is evidence that we’re entering a new wave of foreclosures, driven more by unemployment and economic hardship than what we’ve seen over the past few years,” James Saccacio, RealtyTrac’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Regular readers know I've been talking about the wave of foreclosures coming in 2010.  Guess what?  It's 2010.  And on cue, here they come.  Three million foreclosures this year.  If Obama doesn't do something immediately, 2011 may very well be worse.  And yes, this means this has to go to the top of the list, or the economy is screwed.

Just Stop Talking Already, Rudy

The TPM crew catches Rudy outright lying again on national TV about Obama.  He figures nobody will check.  Nobody in the Village will check or correct him.  There's a difference.

But the larger point is Rudy knows at the time, he'll get away with it.

The even larger issue is why Rudy's still called on as an expert.

If It's Thursday...

...I might remember that today is jobless number day as opposed to SOTU aftermath day too.

470k new claims, 4.6 million continuing claims, but total number of people on jobless assistance is well over 10 million.

Still a big problem.

The Soft Bigotry Of Expecting The Village Not To Be A Bunch Of Morons

Chris Matthews:  still amazed that our African-American president can do things like "talk."
MATTHEWS: You know, I was trying to think about who he was tonight, and it’s interesting: He is post-racial by all appearances. You know, I forgot he was black tonight for an hour. You know, he’s gone a long way to become a leader of this country and passed so much history in just a year or two. I mean, it’s something we don’t even think about.
I was watching, I said, Wait a minute, he’s an African-American guy in front of a bunch of other white people. And here he is President of the United States and we’ve completely forgotten that tonight — completely forgotten it. I think it was in the scope of his discussion. It was so broad-ranging, so in tune with so many problems, of aspects, and aspects of American life that you don’t think terms of the old tribalism, the old ethnicity. It was astounding in that regard — a very subtle fact. It’s so hard to even talk about; maybe I shouldn’t talk about it, but I am.
No really, he said this. On television.

What a coincidence. As a black man, I forgot Chris Matthews could be a racist idiot.

 It's annoying as hell to see this man blithely talk like this, and yet I am reminded that there are Americans out there that are similarly amazed at what Barack Obama (or any black person, apparently) is able to do.  Like be President, for example.

Still Not Serious About Debt

Yggy has a hell of a point (emphasis mine):
I was watching my boss John Podesta on Charlie Rose last night, but found myself really struck by what David Brooks said, namely his voicing of an all-purpose sense of despair about the long-term fiscal deficit: “I just don’t see a way out of it.”

I’ve said things like that myself in the past, but I think it’s wrong. The way out is actually pretty obvious. You need a combination of tax increases and overall spending cuts, with defense and Medicare on the table. This doesn’t happen because it’s politically impossible. But it’s politically impossible because it’s not really necessary. You can see the lines on the charts easily enough, but it’s just not the case right now that there’s a crisis in the market for US treasury bonds that’s forcing action. And the action that would be needed is the kind of unpopular action that nobody would undertake unless forced.
And that's the real heart of the matter.  Until we're willing politically to make massive cuts in defense and entitlement spending, we'll never solve the deficit issue.  At some point, a President will have to do it.  Democrats aren't about to do this.  But it's important that any Republican calls to balance the budget are met with the truth about our massive increase in war spending.

Republicans want to keep the defense spending and kill entitlements.  Democrats want to do the opposite.  Both are wrong.

Epic Republicans Still Can't Do Math Fail

Johnny Volcano should probably hire better writers, as Josh Marshall points out:
Look at this line from the email John McCain sent out tonight to curry favor with Tea Partiers whose support he needs to keep to ward off a primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth ...
During his first year in office, President Obama and Congressional Democrats have amassed a $12.4 trillion deficit that is growing each day.
$12.4 trillion deficit? Obama? He's borrowed a trillion a month?
And he's from Kenya and he's going to sleep with your nubile daughters.  Besides, your average Teabagger doesn't understand math either.

EPIC FAIL.  By about, oh, $12 trillion bucks or so.

Making The Rounds

Reactions to President Obama's State of the Union address from last night varied.  Maha just wasn't impressed:
I’m going to guess the pundits will grade this speech in the C+ to B – range, except on Fox News, where it will of course have completely failed.
OK, but dude, you’ve got to be more visible, more engaged with what’s going on in Congress.

Anyone else want to grade this? I don’t think the speech itself will have much impact on current political momentum.
Chris Cilizza had a good point on health care reform:
While Obama took a cue from former presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton by eating a slice of humble pie after a legislative (or political) setback, he was adamant that health care could not simply fade away in the wake of the Massachusetts special election and challenged Republicans (and Democrats) to bring forward better ideas -- if they had them -- on health care. Left unsaid, of course, is that health care was the President's number one legislative priority and the burden of proof, therefore, rests with him.
E.J. Dionne dissects the speech, but more importantly gets the GOP Plan as well:
Obama had once hoped to be a conciliatory president who heard his critics and his philosophical adversaries. He is still that man. But it was clear that the Obama who addressed the nation on Wednesday understood that he confronts a Republican Party that sees unflinching opposition as blazing a path to victory. We heard a president ready to do battle, and determined to win.
(More after the jump...)


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