Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Last Call

Maybe Obama does get the GOP Plan.(emphasis mine:)
At the private White House meeting today between Obama and Congressional leaders, the President and John Boehner got into a testy exchange, aides say, with Obama charging that the GOP is just out to kill all his initiatives.

According to aides familiar with the discussion, Boehner made the case that long-term concern over Dem policies — health care, cap and trade — was leading to uncertainty in the private sector, damaging job creation efforts. Boehner said the only way to get the economy moving again is to put these issues behind us.

That apparently irked the President, aides say, who accused Boehner of just wanting to kill all his initiatives. Boehner shot back that this was false, that Republicans are serious about bipartisan cooperation.

That prompted the President to push back again, aides say, arguing that the White House isn’t getting enough credit for the part of the stimulus that boosts federal funding for state Medicaid programs, arguing it has had a positive effect on the economy.
Seems Obama and Orange Julius have had enough of each other.  Did anyone laugh I wonder when OJ said Republicans were serious about bipartisan cooperation?  The American people beg to differ, sirA healthy majority say the GOP has failed at bipartisan cooperation.

Obama's starting to get through.

Handy Man

 Gibbs wins hands down.

The comedic stylings of White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, ladies and gentlemen, in front of a brutal Village audience too.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Morning Joe, Andrea Mitchell and Dylan Ratigan are there to balance Ed Schultz, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

That means Tweety is the center fulcrum (in more than one way) of this particular Rogue's Gallery on MSNBC.

Fair and balanced, you see.  Can't have a network full of hippies in prime time without the Blue Dogs and Serious Centrists from 8 to 5.

Party Of Oh No

It's funny...even 44% of Republicans think the Republicans aren't doing enough to work with President Obama.
Americans spread the blame when it comes to the lack of cooperation in Washington, and, in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, most want the two sides to keep working to pass comprehensive health-care reform.
Nearly six in 10 in the new poll say the Republicans aren't doing enough to forge compromise with President Obama on important issues; more than four in 10 see Obama as doing too little to get GOP support. Among independents, 56 percent see the Republicans in Congress as too unbending and 50 percent say so of the president; 28 percent of independents say both sides are doing too little to find agreement.

As party leaders tussle over the proposed bipartisan health care summit, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they want Congress to keep working to pass comprehensive health-care reform. Democrats overwhelmingly support continued action on this front, as do 56 percent of independents and 42 percent of Republicans.

The sticky part of widespread desire for compromise is that it's simple to want it from the other side. About three-quarters of Democrats see the congressional Republicans as intransigent, while a similar proportion of Republicans see Obama that way. But even Republicans are critical of their congressional leadership, with 44 percent seeing them as doing too little to strike deals with Obama; that compares with just 13 percent of Democrats worried about inaction on Obama's part.

At the same time, the president does pick up some criticism from the left here: 18 percent of liberal Democrats say Obama is doing too much to compromise with the GOP on big issues.
I want to meet the 18% of Dems who say Obama's not doing enough to get things working, and let them know that with more Republicans in Congress that the plan will get better!

Blue Dogs Bite Holder

Must be an election year.  A pair of Blue Dogs are signing onto the House GOP bill to deny any federal funding for civilian terror trials.
Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.) and Mike McMahon (D-N.Y.) last week joined Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) and 16 other Republicans in sponsoring the legislation, which would deny the Justice Department any funds for trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and other suspected terrorists in federal civilian court.

In the weeks since GOP Sen. Scott Brown’s historic election in Massachusetts, King said he believes support in the Democratic Caucus for President Barack Obama’s detainee policies has eroded and predicted the measure would pass if Democratic leaders allow a floor vote on it.

“I have no doubt that if it comes to a vote on the House floor, it will pass,” King said. “You cannot underestimate that impact of the election in Massachusetts, especially when so much of his [Brown’s] messaging dealt with terrorism.

“A number of Democratic members and senators have come up to me and have thanked me for leading on this,” he added.

Obama has not ruled out putting Mohammed on trial in New York City, but said Sunday that he is taking into account objections of the city’s mayor and police commissioner.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg originally supported the plan, but balked when costs for security reached an estimated $1 billion. He has since said holding the trials elsewhere, such as a military base, would be more feasible. The city’s police commissioner, Ray Kelly, has said he was never briefed by the Justice Department about its plans to possibly hold the trials in lower Manhattan.

On Monday, Bloomberg said he wants assurance from the Obama administration that it will help pay for the additional security the city would need to provide for the trials to be held there.
And no funding, no trial.  It's a good plan, too.  So what happens when Obama vetoes the measure?  Don't see a veto-proof margin here, guys.

It's funny to see that Peter King is so scared of terrorists that he's willing to cut the budget to keep them from getting a trial.

It's sad to see Altmire and especially McMahon sign on as well.

The Capital Job, Part 3

Harry Reid says he has Republican support for the President's jobs bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will introduce a jobs bill on Tuesday that he said would have Republican support.

Reid told reporters the bill would be introduced on Tuesday, and that it would include an extension of the tax breaks, known as tax extenders, that expired last year. 

“As of last night, there will be Republican support for this bill,” Reid told reporters. 

He added that he doesn’t foresee changes to the bill that would cause it to lose Republican support. 
I didn't think Republicans were that suicidal in an election year.  I wonder who that support will be?

Calling For Recess

President Obama went on the offensive today, saying he'll consider making recess appointments if the Senate won't allow nominees to come to a floor vote.
In a surprise appearance before the White House press corps on Tuesday, President Barack Obama announced he would consider using recess appointments to get his nominees to their posts if Senate Republicans deny them an up-or-down vote.

Speaking to reporters shortly after he met with a bipartisan group of congressional leaders, Obama said that he informed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that he would "consider" such a course of action if the GOP obstructionism continued.

"In our meeting I asked the congressional leadership to put a stop to these holds in which nominees for a critical job are denied a vote for months," he said.

"If the Senate does not act, and I made this very clear," Obama continued, "I will consider making several recess appointments during the upcoming recess because we can't afford to let politics stand in the way of a well functioning government."
Worked for Bush.  Worked for Clinton too.  In fact, Obama's the only President in recent history not to have made any recess appointments during his first year in office.
All modern Presidents have made recess appointments both during the shorter breaks within a session of Congress as well as during the longer recess between the two sessions.   In fact, the last five Presidents used it with frequency: George W Bush 171 times, Clinton 139, HW Bush 77, Reagan 242 and Carter 68. Presidents Jackson, Taylor, and Lincoln made hundreds of recess appointments during their terms.

President John F. Kennedy appointed our nation’s first black Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October 1961, getting around opposition from Southern senators.  President Dwight Eisenhower made three recess appointments to the Supreme Court: Chief Justice Earl Warren (1953) and Associate Justices William Brennan (1956) and Potter Stewart (1958). Each later received Senate confirmation.  On one day alone, President Reagan made a record forty-six recess appointments.
If anything, Obama's been about six months into the "far too nice" category. Time to fill those vacancies.

Steele Playing The Victim After All This Time

Michael Steele is playing the race card as the GOP Cult Of The Professional Victim continues.
Steele acknowledges that at times he has a tendency to take things too far. “And I get checked on that, just as when I was a young boy and I pushed the envelope too far and my Mama was there to check me.”
But there’s an edge to his voice when he talks about a double standard that he believes has been applied by his critics, and he posits racism as the cause: “I don’t see stories about the internal operations of the DNC that I see about this operation. Why? Is it because Michael Steele is the chairman, or is it because a black man is chairman?”
Nice. But I thought Republicans didn't play the victim card?

After all, any criticism of Sarah Palin is automatically misogyny, so why shouldn't Steele play the race card whenever he can?

Those poor Republicans.  When they're not making ridiculous demands, they're whining like children that the mean old Democrats aren't taking them seriously.

Talk The Trash But Take The Cash

Republicans are eager to dump on the stimulus for "not creating a single job" and yet line up to take as much stimulus money as possible.  Today's hypocrite and liar?  Sen. Kit Bond.
In some circles, it's come to be known as the "cash-and-trash" strategy -- Republicans hate the stimulus package and "trash" it at every available opportunity, but love the stimulus package and grab the "cash" when it comes to creating jobs in their own states/districts. It's been going on for a year, but the phenomenon keeps spreading.

And becoming even more humiliating.
Sen. Christopher S. Bond regularly railed against President Obama's economic stimulus plan as irresponsible spending that would drive up the national debt. But behind the scenes, the Missouri Republican quietly sought more than $50 million from a federal agency for two projects in his state.
Mr. Bond was not alone. More than a dozen Republican lawmakers, while denouncing the stimulus to the media and their constituents, privately sent letters to just one of the federal government's many agencies seeking stimulus money for home-state pork projects.
The letters to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, expose the gulf between lawmakers' public criticism of the overall stimulus package and their private lobbying for projects close to home.
"It's not illegal to talk out of both sides of your mouth, but it does seem to be a level of dishonesty troubling to the American public," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
This report is pretty astounding. More than a dozen GOP lawmakers who said the recovery package is simply incapable of creating jobs and generating economic growth pleaded with the Agriculture Department to spend stimulus dollars in their areas to "create jobs" and "spur economic opportunities." In several instances, far-right lawmakers would publicly condemn the very idea of economic stimulus efforts and request stimulus dollars within a few days of each other.
And it's getting worse. (More after the jump...)

Greek Fire, Part 3

Looks like the EU has made Germany an offer it can't refuse.  The EU is bailing out Greece after all, with Germany taking the lead.
U.S. stocks rose, recouping yesterday’s losses, as a European Union official held out the prospect of bailing out Greece in return for progress in reducing its budget deficit.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index climbed to its highest level of the session after Olli Rehn, who takes over as EU economic affairs commissioner tomorrow, said support for Greece will be discussed in coming days.

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. and ConocoPhillips rose at least 2.7 percent as metals advanced and oil rebounded above $73 a barrel. Coca-Cola Co. jumped 3.7 percent after sales grew in China and India.

The S&P 500 climbed 1.6 percent to 1,073.44 at 12:05 p.m. in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average increased 185.39 points, or 1.9 percent, to 10,093.78 after closing below 10,000 for the first time since November yesterday. Six stocks rose for each that fell on the New York Stock Exchange. 
What's the price Greece will have to pay?  More importantly, what's the price that Germany will have to pay for being saddled with Greek debt?  I didn't think the Germans would be this dense, but there you go.  The problem is the Greek Fire has already spread to Portugal, Italy, and Spain.

They will want a bailout too.  And now things get interesting.  Germany will have demands to make.  The EU will have to meet that price or no help.  The haggling is always the best part of any deal, and now the haggling will begin in earnest.  Pay close attention to the details of the deal...if there is one.  This all could be wishful thinking on the part of the EU.  Either way, Europe is in serious trouble right now...almost as much trouble as the United States.

[UPDATE 12:51 PM] And the Germans are already denying there's any sort of deal.  Oops.  Dow was up 200.  Not for much longer.

How The Hell Does That Work?

My problem with Sarah Palin is not that she is a woman, or a mother, or from Alaska, or even that she's a Republican or even that she's a conservative pro-life Republican.

My problem with Sarah Palin is that she is blindingly, willfully ignorant.
Citing a column by Pat Buchanan that clearly argues against conflict with Iran, Sarah Palin on Sunday suggested that a war with Iran would be good policy and a boon for President Obama's 2012 reelection hopes.

Buchanan's column, "Will Obama Play The War Card?" was a rebuttal of Daniel Pipes call last week for Obama to bomb Iran to save his presidency. "Will Obama cynically yield to temptation, play the war card and make 'conservatives swoon,' in Pipes' phrase, to save himself and his party?" Buchanan writes.

Buchanan, a longtime anti-interventionist, comes out against more sanctions, arguing that "the families of the sick, the old, the weak, the women and the children who die are unlikely to feel gratitude toward those who killed them." He says the prospects of Iran developing a nuclear bomb are much overstated.

But during an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace in which she cited the Buchanan column, Palin spoke approvingly of the "bomb Iran" idea.
She didn't even read the column that she cites as a reason to support her argument.   If she did read it, she did not understand it.
PALIN: It depends on a few things. Say he played, and I got this from Buchanan, reading one of his columns the other day. Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years. Because I think if the election were today, I do not think Obama would be re-elected.
She is terribly ignorant.  If you're going to cite Pat Buchanan as a positive reference you have a problem.  If you're going to cite Pat Buchanan as a reference and then completely misconstrue what he said, then you have a problem and you're ignorant.

God help us all.

SNOWPOCALYPSE II: This Time It's Personal

Nothing like being critical IT personnel and having to schlep through the snow to work, only to have more snow fall during the day meaning even more schlepping will be required on the way home.  I went and bought a new snow brush/scraper with the intent that buying the thing would cause it not to snow, too.

Those of you with snow days, bask in the warmth of my hate.

Running Away From Responsibility

Like whining children throwing a tantrum, House Republicans want 100% of their demands met on health care reform, the President to scrap both health care bills in Congress, and to pass the GOP House health care bill before they will even negotiate.
Leading House Republicans raised the prospect Monday night that they might refuse to participate in President Obama's proposed health care summit if the White House chooses not to scrap the existing reform bills and start over.

In a letter to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (Ohio) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) expressed frustration at reports that Obama intends to put the Democratic bills on the table for discussion at the Feb. 25 summit.

"If the starting point for this meeting is the job-killing bills the American people have already soundly rejected, Republicans would rightly be reluctant to participate," Boehner and Cantor wrote.
In other words, House Republicans want the starting point of negotiations to be the House GOP bill.  They want all the negotiations and all the legislation crafted over the last year scrapped.  The minority party wants the starting point to be a complete victory for the Republicans.

And then, only then, will they come to the table to tell the Democrats what they will allow the American people to have in a health care plan.  After all, didn't you hear the GOP controls Congress?

I'm with Nate Silver.  Show the empty chairs at the health care summit.  Then pass the damn bill.  The GOP will never, never negotiate.  It's time to stop trying.

[UPDATE 7:32 AM] Ezra Klein sums it up:
The Republicans might want to act like they're the majority, but they remain the minority. That's why they're afraid of this summit: They know that the majority can still pass a bill, and it's in the majority's interests to pass a bill, and they want to keep that from happening. But they can't. Only the Democrats can.
Pass the damn bill.

[UPDATE 9:24 AM] John Cole too sees an opportunity.
I know you all won’t do it, but this really is a gimme. Set up the room with a side for the Democrats, including nameplates, one for the Republicans, including nameplates, and hold the summit no matter what. If they come, you can have the summit. If they don’t, then you can have the summit without them, and can use the time (as the camera pans over their empty seats) to promote the positive aspects of the current bill all while discussing the only GOP plan out there- the Paul Ryan bill. I’d suggest panning the room a good bit.

And if the Republicans don’t take a hit in the polls for refusing to show up, and if the media does not rip the Republicans apart, then you all can take out a shovel, beat bipartisanship in the back of the damned head until dead, and bury it in the WH yard, and start acting like you have large majorities.
Amen, Brother Cole. If they bail on this, annihilate them.  It's well past time America saw the Republicans for what they are:  the Party Of We'll Let America Go To Hell In Order To Get Power Back.


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