Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 24, 2010

FRIDAY'S MINI-REPORT.... Today's edition of quick hits:

* A "stronger-than-expected increase in orders for manufactured goods in August" signaled encouraging economic news.

* The House probably won't vote on tax cuts before the midterm elections, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hinted today that the schedule is far from final.

* Mahmoud Ahmadinejad argued yesterday that much of the world believes the U.S. government was responsible for 9/11. In an interview today, President Obama was not pleased: "It was offensive. It was hateful. And particularly for him to make the statement here in Manhattan, just a little north of ground zero, where families lost their loved ones -- people of all faiths, all ethnicities, who see this as the seminal tragedy of this generation -- for him to make a statement like that was inexcusable."

* For those of us who eat food, the news from the Hill isn't good: "Sen. Tom Coburn objected again Thursday to bringing up a sweeping overhaul of food safety regulations, putting the future of the bill in doubt as the 111th Congress enters its final months."

* The Justice Department feels compelled to defend the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law in court, but the White House went out of its way to make clear that "the legal maneuver was a formality, not an indication of presidential policy." Press Secretary Robert Gibbs even issued a statement: "This filing in no way diminishes the president's firm commitment to achieve a legislative repeal of D.A.D.T. -- indeed, it clearly shows why Congress must act to end this misguided policy."

* On a related note, when the DADT policy ends, Harvard will reinstate its ROTC program on campus.

* In media news, Jonathan Klein is leaving CNN, and Jeff Zucker is leaving NBC Universal.

* Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked today to identify some government program congressional Republicans would cut if they were in the majority. He couldn't name anything.

* Does Fox News' lawsuit against Senate candidate Robin Carnahan (D-Mo.) have merit? No, actually, it doesn't.

* If "Young Guns" is going to be a best seller, folks probably should check the comprehensive fact-check of the book.

* The New York Times reports on Americans for Job Security really being a front for political operatives funneling corporate money for electoral ends. Of course, Washington Monthly readers learned all about this in our magazine six years ago.

* The Tea Party crowd thinks it embodies the traditions of the Founding Fathers. That's absurd.

* In case you missed it, Stephen Colbert testified -- mostly, but not entirely, in character -- before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Immigration, Citizenship, Refugees, Border Security, and International Law this morning, speaking at a hearing on "Protecting America's Harvest." It was pretty amusing, but Fox News and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) really didn't think so.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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but Fox News and Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) really didn't think so.

Of course, conservatives are on the cutting edge of defining comedy in America.

But not in the way that they think.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© on September 24, 2010 at 5:37 PM | PERMALINK

Since it's one of the topics, I'm going to repost ~ my comment from the original tax vote thread:

Zasloff^1 is wrong too, IMHO. Without a vote, then all taxes would go up. The Dems needed to hold a vote on a bill just to extend the middle class tax cuts to show everyone who would vote yes or no, and use that. So what if the vote was "fractured." The technical triangulation is not what matters either to one's base, to the voting public, or to one's enemies. What matters is trying to get what you think is right and looking strong whatever the outcome of the vote. Democrats will fail and fail until they get the point of this basic fact of life and human nature. Nerds lose.

1 http://www.samefacts.com/2010/09/politics-and-leadership/self-fulfilling-prophecy-department-the-democratic-punt/

Posted by: Neil B on September 24, 2010 at 6:29 PM | PERMALINK

"Does Fox News' lawsuit against Senate candidate Robin Carnahan (D-Mo.) have merit? No, actually, it doesn't"

Tort reform!!!

Posted by: petorado on September 24, 2010 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

The Economy: 2010 and 2012

I keep thinking about that graph Krugman posted back in January 2009.
The one that Jonathan Chait picked up on and reposted in August 2010...

Back in 09 I read it totally focused on 2012. I was relieved. The economy would be sufficiently recovered to assure a zombie defeat. That was a giddy moment..

Alas I never read it in terms of the midterms. How dumb. It shows exactly why Dems are running for the hollows now. And given the prospects they faced in early 2009 looking ahead to 2010, the Democratic Party did some great things this year.

Teabaggers and firebaggers and other random ingrates aside, this has been a very successful Congress.
Well done and thank you Nancy!

Posted by: koreyel on September 24, 2010 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

Founding Fathers: professed willingness to die for their fellow countrymen.

Teabaggers: profess willingness to shoot their fellow countrymen.

Big difference.

Posted by: petorado on September 24, 2010 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

But does he hit for the cycle?

Ahmadinejad argued that much of the world believes the U.S. was responsible for 9/11.

Okay...
So we know he is a Holocaust denier and a Truther...
But is he a Birther and Global Warming denier too?

On the more serious side: Ahmadinejad's injudicious comments hint at a deeper anger.
I wonder if Stuxnet hit home...
That would cause a few blown mechanical and human gaskets...

Posted by: koreyel on September 24, 2010 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

if you think S 510 is a "food safety bill" I think you need to dig a little deeper...

Posted by: andyvillager on September 24, 2010 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Ahmadinejad argued that much of the world believes the U.S. was responsible for 9/11."
You may not like it, but in a way he is right. Not that we necessarily planned and plotted the entire scenario, but that the Pentagon and World Trade Center represent the U.S. and multinational entities that are at the root of much of the rest of the world's suffering. There are too many unanswered questions about the details and facts of that day in September 2001. Even if the original plan was not of the U.S.'s making, the execution of the response to the events is very suspect.
Call me a Truther, but tell me why the interceptor jets did not fly...

Posted by: st john on September 24, 2010 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

@ Neil B: The Dems needed to hold a vote on a bill just to extend the middle class tax cuts to show everyone who would vote yes or no, and use that.

But wouldn't that just play out as everyone voting for middle-class tax cuts, some of the liberals not voting for upper-class tax cuts but everyone else doing that too? Then Obama is put in a position where he has to veto the upper-class tax cut bill, which we'd want him to do, but then the Republicans could still say that The Democrats just raised taxes by billions of dollars (they won't explain that it was on the rich and not on you; they've been fooling people for years with that one).

I know the thinking is to shame the Republicans by forcing them to vote against a tax cut, but would that really happen? And even if it did, would anybody actually care about it? I can all too easily envision Republicans saying, "We voted against this so-called tax cut bill because it was a political stunt. Who do you trust on taxes, us or the Democrats?" And they'd walk away scot-free even after voting against a tax cut, the very thing that would be deadly to wavering Democrats.

It's weird. It sounds like a political winner, but then I have a hard time figuring out a path by which the expected win ever happens.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on September 24, 2010 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

Tea Party and Founding Fathers HA!

If the tea partiers has 1/10th the educaton of the Founding Fathers they might be worth listening to. But they don't. Most of the founding fathers spoke Greek, Latin, German and French. They read everything. They understood the Enlightenment and embodied many of its principles in our governent. They understood Roman and Greek history and adapted the structure of the Roman Republic (Hence our early architecture) for the Federal Government.

When the tea party starts quoting Loche, Burke, and Hume, making references to the Republic of Venice, and marching Cicero and Livy out to close their arguements I might start taking their intellect seriously.

Until then, they might have an effect on politics, but they have nothing new, interesting, or intelligent to say. So I will continue to treat them like the intellectual lightweights they are.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on September 24, 2010 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Head on over to Scientists for 9/11 Truth (http://www.scientistsfor911truth.org/) and spend some time. Even if all you do is to watch the last video by David Chandler on the sound analysis of the collapse of WTC7, you would have to say that we need a real investigation.

Posted by: LJ on September 24, 2010 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked today to identify some government program congressional Republicans would cut if they were in the majority. He couldn't name anything.

Because you can’t get there from here by cutting spending. The independent non-partisan CBO has stated that both the current federal deficits and future projected federal deficits are overwhelmingly as a result of the numerous rounds of tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate enacted by Chimpy Bush & the Republican Congressional Majority.

Posted by: Joe Friday on September 24, 2010 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

The Republican Tea Potty is one crappy right-wing movement, with the Tea Potty filled to overflowing with racists, religious bigots, bad spellers, fear-mongerers, and funded through slush funds provided by flush right-wing billionaires, who would just as soon flush all the Tea Potty members as look at them.


And come November, the Tea Potty should be flushed along with the Republican pledge. Down the Tea Potty crapper with them both, into the sewer where they both belong!!!!

Posted by: The Oracle on September 24, 2010 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

FlipYrWhig, I don't think so. If the vote passed, the Democrats would still have extended middle-class tax cuts and not the top bracket ones. Then they could say, this is what we did and the Republicans (and some "Democrats") voted against it. Also remind people that if the Bill had failed, then all rates would go back up (it isn't like passing "a tax bill" per se, it's to amend an existing sunset provision!) You can try too hard to "cleverly" imagine that nothing at all can go right, and BTW you still missed the basic point at the end.

Posted by: neil b on September 24, 2010 at 9:22 PM | PERMALINK

@ neil b, But why would Republicans vote against any of it? The whole gambit is based on the premise that Republicans would be put in a position where they had to vote against middle-class tax cuts, but why would they? Why wouldn't they let the Democrats split the bill in two, then vote for both parts, leaving some Democrats voting for the ones aimed at the top 2% -- enough to join with Republicans and pass it?

I think the original idea was clever, but now that we know there are enough Blue Dogs and Blue Doggish people to join with Republicans for an upper-class bonus tax cut, I'm not sure the Republicans can be maneuvered into a position where they have to vote No on anything.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on September 25, 2010 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I'd like to ditto that...

KurtRex:

"If the tea partiers has 1/10th the education of the Founding Fathers they might be worth listening to. But they don't. Most of the founding fathers spoke Greek, Latin, German and French. They read everything. They understood the Enlightenment and embodied many of its principles in our government."

The Journal Nature:

"Limbaugh, for instance, who has told his listeners that “science has become a home for displaced socialists and communists”, has called climate-change science “the biggest scam in the history of the world”. The Tea Party's leanings encompass religious opposition to Darwinian evolution and to stem-cell and embryo research — which Beck has equated with eugenics. The movement is also averse to science-based regulation, which it sees as an excuse for intrusive government. Under the administration of George W. Bush, science in policy had already taken knocks from both neglect and ideology. Yet President Barack Obama's promise to “restore science to its rightful place” seems to have linked science to liberal politics, making it even more of a target of the right."

Posted by: koreyel on September 25, 2010 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:s510rs.txt.pdf

The current wording does say:
(5) Recommendations on whether and how to
harmonize requirements under the Codex
Alimentarius.

as opposed to the now-struck
(5) Recommendations to harmonize require-
ments under the Codex Alimentarius.

I doubt that will make anyone happier.

Posted by: Forrest on September 25, 2010 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

It seems fiting that a party as childish as the GOP would start marketing itself as "The Young'uns". Though I think "L'il Peeps" works better.

Posted by: Newton on September 25, 2010 at 7:16 AM | PERMALINK

On your place I would not do it.
It is remarkable, a useful phrase

Posted by: bet365 on September 25, 2010 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Flip, the whole point should be to present the tax cut extension for the middle class as such as a bill. If that bill passed, then tax cuts extend only for the middle class - there would not be a second half etc. Maybe you're doing that "over-thinking" on this.

Posted by: neil b on September 25, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

@ neil b, for more than a week everyone including Steve has been saying that what they should do is have two separate votes, one on the cuts for dollars $1-$250,000 and another for the extra cuts for dollars $250,001-infinity. That's what I've been assuming here.

To do just one bill, the $1-$250,000 one, means deliberately spiting the Blue Dogs, who also want the tax cut on the top 2%. I think that would be gratifying, because they are unbelievably irritating and counterproductive to things I believe in, but that would have repercussions for the Democratic cause and "brand" too.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on September 25, 2010 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe we're getting to some consensus, at least about having only one vote (extend only the MCTCs) and not bother with the other. The upper class extension just wouldn't happen by implication. If they had the vote to extend the UCTC, then it might pass. The one vote would have been right.

Posted by: neil b on September 25, 2010 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, having just one vote would be better for policy and better for "the base." The cost would be that Blue Dogs would pitch a fit and it might not clear the Senate, giving rise to another "Dems in disarray" media ruckus. It still might be worth it, but I can see why the strategists might not want to upset some of their more vulnerable members this close to an election.

Posted by: FlipYrWhig on September 25, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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