Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

December 7, 2010

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

* Just a reminder, the Monthly's annual pledge drive is underway. We sincerely appreciate those of you who've already shown generous support, and hope other readers will take a moment to help out.

* So far, the reaction to the tax policy agreement among Senate Democrats is quite poor. I continue to think those who assume this will pass are making a mistake.

* Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.) believes the defense authorization bill, including the provision repealing DADT, "will get to a vote" in the lame-duck session. Here's hoping he's right.

* Boosting hopes for ratification, at least a little, Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) all but endorsed the pending arms control treaty, New START, during an interview this afternoon.

* Elizabeth Edwards died today at the age of 61.

* WikiLeaks founder in police custody: "Julian Assange, the founder of the beleaguered WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group, was denied bail by a London court on Tuesday after he was arrested on a Swedish extradition warrant for questioning in connection with alleged sex offenses."

* On a related note, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) thinks the New York Times should be subjected to a criminal investigation for publishing materials released through WikiLeaks.

* The now-complete bailout of Citigroup generated a $12 billion profit for American taxpayers.

* The Campaign for America's Future's Bill Scher, who doesn't always share the Obama administration's priorities on economy policy, ran a compelling defense for the tax deal.

* Andy Sabl considers the agreement as it related to the ethics of compromise.

* Jonathan Bernstein: "The truth is that there are a lot of people who just don't accept that the President of the United States can want something, fight for it, fight effectively and correctly, and still not get it. If it doesn't happen, it must have been -- in Obama's words -- a 'betrayal.' Those people are wrong."

* How should Americans spend public money to get good teachers? Turns out, it's a big question.

* Today is Dec. 7, known for being Pearl Harbor Day. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) encouraged his fans to honor the anniversary by buying his books. What a shameless hack.

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Steve Benen 5:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (37)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

RIP Elizabeth

Posted by: puravida on December 7, 2010 at 5:35 PM | PERMALINK

Having got boxed into this the Democrats have to pass it or they'll be accused of trying to hurt the unemployed at Christmastime.

I swear to god.

Posted by: cld on December 7, 2010 at 5:47 PM | PERMALINK

-How should Americans spend public money to get good teachers? Turns out, it's a big question-

I'm sure it is. Perhaps we could ask Barack Obama himself how he has gotten such great teachers for his kids.

Posted by: Bored of Ed on December 7, 2010 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

I just read The Campaign for America's Future's Bill Scher defense to the tax breaks...at best from my prespecive...lame

Posted by: antiquelt on December 7, 2010 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

Anyone hear the report on NPR this morning, about education and our (U.S.) ranking? China is #1 and the U.S. is around 30th among about 80 or so who provided statistics of the standardized tests measuring math, language and science. I don't have a lot of data to present here, but it was quite clear that the way the U.S. does education does not bode well for how we will function in the new economies of the world.

You may look it up at NPR.org, "U.S. Students Again Trail Other Nations"'
7:04 a.m. | Mark Memmott | National Public Radio

It is not about competition, as some will say, but about how we respect ourselves and our future, the children. Though I have no children of my own, I consider all children as worthy of respect. They deserve a healthy start in life and we are all responsible for providing it; and, we are all worthy of respect and "should" be caring for each other.

Posted by: st john on December 7, 2010 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

I still hoped for more, but indeed Obama can't make people vote (he can do better messaging and praise for the better and/or what he wants.) As useful counter to the "Obama failing among his base", we have a reminder from Sullivan off http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/06/5596757-obama-core-coalition-hardly-shattered
latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll that looks at Obama's approval among some of those "core" groups:


- Blacks: 90% approve/6% disapprove
- Democrats: 82/12
- Liberals: 79/16
- Latinos: 56/33
- Post grads: 56/41
- UPDATE: 18-29: 53/38
- UPDATE 2: NBC's Ana Maria Arumi notes that in the 2010 midterm exit polls, voters 18-29 said they approved of the president's job by a 62/38 margin, which is close to how they voted in 2008 -- 66/32
- Women: 52/43
- 18-34: 49/43


Posted by: neil b on December 7, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

The set up here was very easy for Obama and the Democrats. The Republicans passed Bush tax cuts and set them to expire at the end of 2010. Democrats had nothing to do with that.

All the Democrats had to do was keep proposing good legislation: middle class tax cuts, unemployment benefits extensions, etc etc. The Republicans then would have a clear choice:

They could then be responsible for voting them down, and making clear to the voters who and what they stand for, or

They could help the Democrats to pass these good laws, and show they really do care about governing effectively for the good of all people.

Instead, by letting the Republicans get what they want, Obama allows the Republicans to continue their "patriotic" and "Constitutional" rhetoric while secretly working against the American people and for the benefit of the super-rich.

Here's another point: by leaving more money in the hands of the super-rich, Obama helps them continue to fund Republican campaigns. They sure as heck are not going to use these tax windfalls to fund Democratic campaigns. So this compromise makes Republicans stronger.

Posted by: Robert Moskowitz on December 7, 2010 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

Education is about respect for the student, respect for his interest.

How often do we see that as a priority in the public schools?

Posted by: cld on December 7, 2010 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

"The truth is that there are a lot of people who just don't accept that the President of the United States can want something, fight for it, fight effectively and correctly, and still not get it. If it doesn't happen, it must have been -- in Obama's words -- a 'betrayal.' Those people are wrong."

I don't buy it, and that's why I am so furious. I don't want a President who fights behind closed doors. I want a President who will say straight up, in public, and over and over until he is blue in the face, "The Bush tax cuts have not helped the economy. The wealthy pay a lower rate now than they have in decades, corporate America just posted a MASSIVE profit margin, the top 1% has 35% of the countries wealth. . . and it has not helped anything. It does NOT trickle down to you, and it does NOT pay for our national needs."

I want a President -and a political party- that will shout the facts from the highest peaks. Because the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows that the Repugs do not hesitate to repeat their spin and lies over and over as if it were Gospel.

I want a President who relishes their hatred, but FDR and his breed are long gone. Just like the American dream.

Posted by: Mitch on December 7, 2010 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

You think Tue problem dems have right now is that they alone have had to do all the heavy lifting for the nations economy? I mean think about it from tarp to health care to wall street just about everything dems had to take tough vote after tough vote and republicans have done nothing. And that's partly because imo republicans don't have a vested interest in seeing the govt work. I think we as a party have to get on the same page and move that way. Jfk wanted civil rights but lbj got it through. Clinton wanted health care but Obama got it through. Maybe there's things that we want but Tue next democrat president will have to get through

Posted by: allamr18 on December 7, 2010 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

You know Mitch is on to something. Obama's problem isn't that he has to give in behind close doors. It is that he publically signals surrender out of the shoot. Fire Axelrod and Gibbs and hire replacements who stand firm right up to the moment a compromise has to be reached. That is where Obama went wrong in the tax cut negotiation. All of his public signals were that he was bending over. Hell he appointed Timothy Geithner his chief negotiator. When in his entire life has Timothy Geithner ever given a shit about anybody who made less than a million dollars a year?

He could have gotten more if he had been tough right up to the end. He could have gotten more if he appointed somebody his negotiator who had some credibility as a strong supporter of the middle class.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 7, 2010 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

You know, while I generally agree with the criticism of Obama on this issue, I wonder if the announced 'compromise' hasn't in some ways shifted the legislative dynamic in some potentially positive ways. Remember: the Republicans really really wanted that millionaires' tax giveaway. They are bought and paid for by the millionaires, and their owners will be pretty pissed if they have to pay sharply higher taxes this coming year.

Now, the general perception is that the Repubs 'won': they got an agreement for their extension of the tax giveaways, in exchange for the payroll tax cut, unemployment insurance funding, etc.

But now, the Republicans own the compromise. They're responsible, in the dynamics, for bringing the votes to pass it. And whereas the Republicans paid little price up to now for blocking compromise, and Democrats got blamed for the gridlock they didn't cause, now it's different. I suspect that the progressive (relatively) Democrats who slow this 'compromise' down, who block elements, who put holds and filibusters and refuse unanimous consent won't pay much price either, nor will their party.

In the 'backstabbing caucus' and Fox News, they'll be blamed, no matter what happens, but those folks weren't persuadable anyway. But many low-information and 'independent' voters may now think of the "Obama-McConnell" plan, and if it stalls, they'll ask why Obama and McConnell can't get it done. Thus, McConnell now finds himself in a dynamic where he may need to compromise with Reid to set up a passable bill... Of course, Reid will say he's doing his best, he's sincere, he's there, but alas he can't control those crazy progressives -- but if McConnell can only deliver a longer extension of unemployment benefits and a tighter estate tax setup, the sensible moderate middle-of-the-road Dem Senators will support the new compromise, and help get it done.

After all, everyone knows the Repubs blocked all efforts up to now. If the Repubs are now on board, what's the problem? The shoe is finally on the other foot, at least partly.

Well, at least one can hope...

Posted by: PQuincy on December 7, 2010 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, there's precedent for Noot the Coot's shameless hackery. Remember, we sold the Japanese a great big pile of scrap metal in the '30s---and look what they did to us with it. So by following the same methodology, we'll just let the filthy little twit sell us a bunch of his books, and then we'll convert them into military weapons with which to assail him without mercy, and with both malice and intent.

Banzai, y'all!

Posted by: S. Waybright on December 7, 2010 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

I know some naysayers will say 'that's just a costume',

http://patrickmacias.blogs.com/.a/6a00d8341bfb8d53ef0133f557f8c7970b-pi

but what if he took the costume off and underneath --he looked exactly the same?

That's what Republicans are like.

Posted by: cld on December 7, 2010 at 6:52 PM | PERMALINK

WikiLeaks founder in police custody: ‘Julian Assange, the founder of the beleaguered WikiLeaks anti-secrecy group, was denied bail by a London court on Tuesday after he was arrested on a Swedish extradition warrant for questioning in connection with alleged sex offenses’.

Interesting that originally the Swedish authorities and prosecutor in the jurisdiction where the complaints were lodged dismissed the charges after interviewing Assange, so the charges were subsequently refiled in a different city with a different prosecutor.

Couldn’t possibly be about WikiLeaks.

NAH.


Posted by: Joe Friday on December 7, 2010 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Re: Jonathan Bernstein's quote: Does this mean the Republicans' position was so unassailable and they are so strong and popular and clever that neither the President nor any of the Democrats in D.C. could outflank them on this? In a word...puuuhhhleeeeze.

Posted by: digitusmedius on December 7, 2010 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Ron!

I would like to have faith in Obama and the Dems, but -let's face it- todays politics is NOT about effectiveness. If it was then Bill Clinton would be the most beloved American in the nation.

Nope, today's politics is all about the Spin Machine. Unfortunately the Repugs own the media. The only way real good will occur is if Obama (Congress, too, but mostly the Pres) loudly and aggressively challenges the G.O.P. (Grand Oligarch Party) and their lies.

Posted by: Mitch on December 7, 2010 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

"On a related note, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) thinks the New York Times should be subjected to a criminal investigation for publishing materials released through WikiLeaks."

Liberfool also believes Assange should be tried for *tee hee* treason.

Pity Assange isn't a US citizen.

Posted by: getaclue on December 7, 2010 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Here are 3 new terms we should start using.....

1 Afnam not Afghanastan

2 The Industrial-Military-Israeli complex not...

3 It's now All-American as mom, apple pie,
torture and baseball.

Posted by: Oklahoma farmer on December 7, 2010 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Here are 3 new terms we need to start using.....

1 Afnam instead of Afghanastan

2 The Industrial-Military-Israeli complex not...

3 It's now As All-American as mom, apple pie, torture and baseball.

Posted by: Oklahoma farmer on December 7, 2010 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

You know, I tend to agree with Pquincy's take on this, it does shift the policy blame more equitably, and it veers back to the policy frustrations being perpetrated by the republicans s, so the public could be more in tune to what republicans are actually bringing about.
At the same time, the job creation and the unemployment are not a bad outcome as well, it is now just our own base who are going to need to hold back their indignation and see what is REAlly going on . . .

Posted by: Michael on December 7, 2010 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Are we still alowed to talk about Assange? Just wondering? Time magazine has today removed Julian Assange from their person of the year poll. He was well ahead in the lead!

Hitler won Time Man of they Year in 1938. It is if Time, which is supposed to represent the free press, is saying Julian Assnge is a greater threat to national security than the Nazi leader was then.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on December 7, 2010 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers, I am your fair weather acolyte. And I totally agree with the party about Axelrod and Gibbs. Not Geithner though. Look at Geithner's life and career - he knows the rich people, for sure, but he coulda been a contender. Instead, he chose public service. I totally admire him.

Not sure that Obama could have gotten more, but he could have pissed off progressives* less.

*not base, because these progressives weren't his base. Lots of these progressives were reluctant Hilbots who weren't inclined to give him much of a break in the first place. And they fail to see that Hillary wouldn't be giving them a pony either.

Posted by: Sapient on December 7, 2010 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

My bad or Wikleaks'. Julian Assange is still leading the poll.

Posted by: Steve Crickmore on December 7, 2010 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

But in light of recent events, Jon Chait notes that

$30.

two links to The New Racist in two days is two too many, Steve.

Posted by: some guy on December 7, 2010 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Today is Dec. 7, known for being Pearl Harbor Day. Disgraced former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) encouraged his fans to honor the anniversary by buying his books. What a shameless hack.
~~~
Much as the former half-wit governor and Beckenstein (ab)used the 9th anniversary of 9/11 for a rally to make money for themselves in Alaska.

Posted by: Hannah on December 7, 2010 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

So far, the reaction to the tax policy agreement among Senate Democrats is quite poor. I continue to think those who assume this will pass are making a mistake.

Well thats just great! So what are they going to do about it? I mean, they are the legislators and they completely punted on doing anything about this before the elections when the White House wanted them to and when they were in the strongest possible position to get something they wanted passed. But now their reaction is "poor" to the deal that was made when any deal at all was only necessitated by their political cowardice , their unwillingness to fucking do their job, keep their caucus, and legislate when they had the chance. So I think its just peachy that they're upset but what the hell do they propose to do about it? They have got a couple of weeks to make something happen and in a month the crazies take over after which nothing that helps anyone in America (except the very wealthy) will be coming out of the congress for the next two years.

My prediction: all of this is bluster to make themselves look good to the base and enough Democrats will sign off in the end to pass the deal almost exactly as written with perhaps some sort of cosmetic additional concession thrown in. I am not the least bit convinced by their pretense of courage now at this late date. They had their chance to control this debate and they tossed it aside because they were frightened of being called bad names in attack ads. Screw them and their displeasure with the deal. They knew something like this was coming the second they decided not to fight on this before the election and frankly, this has to be a better deal than they really expected.

Posted by: brent on December 7, 2010 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to second what Brent wrote. As much as progressives like to have a big bad villain to demonize (was Bush, now Obama), this was never about him. It was about Congress. The Progressive Wrath should have been focused exclusively on them, to make sure they'd give Obama what he needed to give us what we needed. Our system is NOT supposed to have a president dictating demands to Congress.

And for all those who insist that Obama should have been taking the fight to Republicans, sorry, but that's YOUR job. Presidents need to stay clean and above the fray, while we work the trenches and sling the mud. That's how things worked with Bush, as Bush rarely threw mud at his opponents. Somehow, Obama's progressive critics punted the ball to him and then consistenly yelled at him for not scoring all by himself. Again, this isn't how our system is supposed to work.

We're supposed to lay the groundwork to make things easy for him. Attacking him for not doing it all himself can never possibly work.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on December 7, 2010 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

This shall not pass apologists.

Posted by: Sparko on December 7, 2010 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Steve Crickmore, forget Hitler, that's ancient history. Do you mean the Time magazine that ran Ann Coulter on the cover? That Time magazine?

But it's nice to see the biggest story in the world get at least passing mention here, isn't it?

Posted by: Squeaky McCrinkle on December 8, 2010 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2010/12/152465.htm

This was issued today by the State Department. Try to get through it without laughing.

Posted by: ishmael on December 8, 2010 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

As ugly as the tax compromise is, if it gets rejected by Congress Obama's presidency is over. OVRER. Just a two year benchwarmer until we get another Republican president. And now, he/she will by no means be "just as bad".

Congressional Dems should pause and think this through for a minute.

Posted by: Basilisc on December 8, 2010 at 4:22 AM | PERMALINK

Newt encourages people to celebrate Pearl Harbor Day by buying his book - Would that be the Draft Dodger's Handbook?

Posted by: nonheroicvet on December 8, 2010 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

If Congress didn't have the balls to address the tax issue over the last two years -- leaving it to the very last minute -- why do you expect them to act any differently today?

Posted by: CT Voter on December 8, 2010 at 7:44 AM | PERMALINK

This, "Why conservatives can't govern" by Alan Wolfe, orig. in WaMo mag Jul-Aug 2006, is a classic explanation:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_7_38/ai_n26701362/?tag=content;col1
See also "Time For Us To Go" - Conservatives on why the GOP should lose in November. - from WaMo mag October 2006.

Posted by: Neil B on December 8, 2010 at 7:53 AM | PERMALINK

Excellent points about our lagging in education. However, one must keep their own perspective in place, mustn't one?

While Nike U spends far less than any other Pac-10 university on the basis of per student funds (Nike is in the mid $3,000 range, while Stanford and USC are over $13,000 and incoming Colorado University spends just under $10,000 per student) and Nike U rarely rates high in any academic category, "WE ARE NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION IN FOOTBALL", they cry, (Oops, Auburn just slipped ahead).

Perspective, St John, perspective. Why do Ducks have to be intelligent, as well, eh?

Posted by: berttheclock on December 8, 2010 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

-Not Geithner though. Look at Geithner's life and career - he knows the rich people, for sure, but he coulda been a contender. Instead, he chose public service. I totally admire him.-

WTF?! That guy can't even get away with cheating the IRS!

Posted by: Charlie on December 8, 2010 at 8:46 AM | PERMALINK
Post a comment









Remember personal info?










 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly