Saturday Open Thread

The Christmas Song”, commonly subtitled  “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire or, as it was originally subtitled, “Merry Christmas to You”, is a classic Christmas song written in 1944 by vocalist Mel Tormé and Bob Wells. According to Tormé, the song was written during a blistering hot summer. In an effort to “stay cool by thinking cool,” the most-performed (according to BMI) Christmas song was born.

The Nat King Cole Trio first recorded the song early in 1946. At Cole’s behest — and over the objections of his label, Capitol Records — a second recording was made the same year utilizing a small string section, this version becoming a massive hit on both the pop and R&B charts. Cole re-recorded the song in 1953, using the same arrangement with a full orchestra arranged and conducted by Nelson Riddle, and once more in 1961, in a stereophonic version with orchestra conducted by Ralph Carmichael. The latter recording is generally regarded as definitive and continues to receive considerable radio airplay each holiday season, while Cole’s original 1946 recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1974.[1] Mel Tormé himself eventually recorded his own versions in 1954 and again in 1965 and 1992.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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86 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Herman Cain’s Failure to Be a ‘MackDaddy’ Killed His Campaign
    Dec 3, 2011 7:18 PM EST
    If Herman Cain was serious about running for president, he would have at least been able to hide his alleged affair better, writes Mansfield Frazier.

    There was always something vaguely familiar about Herman Cain, ever since I saw him with that cheap hat on (as a fairly dapper black man, I know hats, and if he paid a penny over $39 for that sucker he got robbed). Then it struck me: he’s the “Kingfish.”
    Click here to find out more!

    For those of you too young to be in the know, there used to be a very popular radio show (which morphed over to television) named Amos ’n’ Andy. The forerunner of the modern-day sitcom, the show (which portrayed black life in Chicago) was originally conceived in 1920 and performed by two white radio actors, Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll, who pretended to be black. When television came along, black actors took over the roles.

    One of the main characters—other than Amos and Andy—was George “the Kingfish” Stevens, the leader of the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge. He was always trying to lure Amos and Andy into his get-rich-quick schemes, or otherwise get the duo into hot water. The “Kingfish” popularized the catch phrase “Holy Mackerel!” and with his trademarked oversize Homburg hat and ever-present big cigar he came to epitomize the black huckster/MackDaddy of his day. He was the prototype for Herman Cain … sans the white women.

    Herman Cain could be forgiven his self-admitted lack of sophistication in matters of international import and concern—he readily mocked himself for knowing nothing about “Isss-becky-becky-becky-stan-stan-stan,” and the rubes he was playing to loved him all the more for his ignorance. They don’t know shit either, but they knew he couldn’t look down on them for their own shortcomings in the brains department. Plus, his candidacy gave the right-wingers the perfect opportunity to say, “See, we’re not racists!”

    But Cain’s candidacy wasn’t torpedoed by his well-known ignorance (something he was being given somewhat of a pass on). He was undone by his failure in the area he should have excelled at: MackDaddying.

    Come on, you’ve got an (alleged) 13-year affair with a woman who, by her own admission, is as broke as the Ten Commandments, and with your wealth you’re not MackDaddy enough to at least keep her quiet—if not ecstatically happy?

    If Ginger White is telling the truth, Cain actually is giving real MackDaddies the world over a bad name, and here’s why: when you have a main squeeze for that long (as opposed to playing ‘hit it and quit it” with a woman for a few months), she becomes akin to a crime partner and you’re joined at the hip with her forever. She knows where the bodies are buried (probably helped you bury a couple of them) and the details of all your other high crimes and misdemeanors. Under any and all circumstances you’ve got to keep her happy—and quiet.

    Any MackDaddy worthy of the title would have been able to accomplish this with ease. This dude couldn’t manage a sordid little sex affair (she says it never was about love) and he wanted the American public to entrust him with managing sensitive, delicate, and potentially explosive world affairs? Please.

    The man never was serious, and going out like a sucker proves it. He was just being kept in the race for comic relief; so the other candidates—before taking the stage for a debate—had a head to rub for luck.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Following in the footsteps of George Wallace
    by Dennis G.

    George Corley Wallace is remembered as a symbol of American racism. Folks remember the image of him standing in the school house door to block integration and his words “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”. Folks remember his two runs for the White House on a “Law and Order” platform that seemed to be entirely built out of racist code talking and dog whistles. Wallace worked hard to earn his status as an icon of racism.

    And yet, I don’t think George Wallace was a racist. Rather, I think he was an ambitious man who decided that pandering to racists was his best path to power. In his early political life, Wallace was liberal—a progressive. He was an alternate Democratic delegate to the 1948 Convention and did not join most of the Alabama delegation as they walked out to protest the Civil Rights plank Harry Truman had added to the platform. He returned to Alabama and served on the Board of Trustees of Tuskegee Institute. He was elected a Circuit Court Judge and was remembered as being pretty damn fair regardless of race. In 1958 he ran for Governor and sought the endorsement of the NAACP while speaking out against the KKK and refusing their support. His opponent pursued the opposite strategy. Wallace lost badly and told a friend “you know why I lost that governor’s race?… I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again.” In response, he tossed his values and beliefs overboard and perfect the pander to assholes as a winning political strategy.

    And this brings me to Willard “Mitt” Romney. He is just as ambitious as George Wallace and like the former Alabama Governor willing to say and do anything in the pursuit of that ambition. Like Wallace, Romney has decide that pandering to racists and stoking their fears is a winning political strategy.

    Now, you could argue that this is true of most of the GOP Presidential Candidates and there would be some truth to that. But many of the other candidates have built their entire political careers by shameless pandering to racists for their votes—they never had a moment where they could have been identified as a moderate let alone a progressive. For example, you could never identify a moment of his political career when Gingrich wasn’t pandering to assholes. It is all he has ever done. Newt is more like Strom Thurmond or Jessie Helms. Romney is different. He is more like Wallace.

    The GOP clown car in this election cycle is filled with crazy and that has let a lot of Romney’s code talking and pandering slide under the radar, but it is there. In fact, if you strip away the pandering, there is absolutely nothing left to Romney. Nothing. He has built his entire campaign on a few regularly repeated lies like President Obama hates America that basically boil down to “he is not like us”. Last weekend he sent out mailers in Iowa. Both had images on one side and text on the other. Here is one:

    The text side of this was a series of anti-immigration talking points. It was very much a “Fear of a Brown Planet” coded piece. The image of the other mailer used a photo of President Obama with his feet on the desk (I’m almost surprised that Romney didn’t photoshop in a bucket of fried chicken—but perhaps he’s saving that for the General Election). Ironically, the reverse of this mailer had Mittens talking about his “values”.

    Willard has become so used to telling lies in his efforts to pander to assholes that he even created his own rules about how to take audio out of context in the service of his bullshit.

    In his early political life, one might argue that Romney had values and beliefs. His father did and so it is quite likely that Willard had them as well. In today’s politics, his father would have been a moderate-to-liberal politician and would be as welcome in the GOP as Lincoln Chaffee. Whatever beliefs Willard once shared with his father have been tossed aside. All that matters now is winning and Mittens has decided that walking in the footsteps of George Wallace is a better strategy than walking in the footsteps of George Romney.

    And yet, even as I write this I am concern that I am being unfair—to George Wallace. While there are similarities between the two and their chosen path to pursue power, it would be unjust to completely equate Wallace to Romney. After all, Wallace was a successful Governor of a State who was re-elected over and over. More than that, Wallace was aware of the downside to his strategy and had the self awareness to regret the path he chose. In the excellent PBS documentary, “Setting the Woods on Fire”, there is a scene where an old failing, George Wallace looks at the camera and says through a haze of cigar smoke “I was wrong, I was wrong…”. This is a level of awareness that I expect Mittens will never find because when you strip his ambition away, there is nothing there. Nothing at all.

    Poor Mittens. He weakly imitates Wallace and hopes that there will be enough assholes who buy his pander to carry him to the White House. But if the Republican Nomination is decide by which candidate does the best job of pandering to assholes for their votes, then Mittens is doomed. In this Gingrich is a Master and Mittens is a frustrated child.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Head’s Up on cspan tonight:

    White House Holiday Decorations

    NEWFirst Lady Michelle Obama shares the White House decor.

    10:30 PM EST

  4. Ametia says:

    The Soul Tain Music Awards are on BET now. Gladys Knight just received a Legend Award.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Look back in anger
    by DougJ

    I know I give fellow academics a lot of shit for being politically naive, but the mathematicians I talked to in London last June were all saying exactly what Brad DeLong and Krugman are saying now (via), that Cameron is fucked and that Clegg has probably permanently completely destroyed the Lib Dems (whom most of them voted for).

    Note that Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats in Britain could end this farce tomorrow, and give their country a chance. It would be the end of Nick Clegg’s political career, of course—but his career is over already. It may be the end of the Liberal Democrats—but they have a much better chance if they admit they made a big mistake in selling their soul to the Conservatives for a mess of pottage than if they try to brazen it out and support the current government.

    It is long past time for the Liberal Democrats in Britain to go into opposition: for them to cross the aisle and declare that they have no confidence in the Cameron-Osborne government. The longer they delay, the worse for Britain.

    It’s been so long now, but it seems now it was only yesterday that Sully and Bobo were celebrating all those tough bi-partisan spending cuts that Cameron and Clegg did.

    This is why I don’t feel at all guilty rooting for Cain or Gingrich. Romney, and maybe even Huntsman, are just as dangerous. The serious people are the ones who may destroy us in the end.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Thursday, December 01, 2011

    Is Luntz losing his touch, or are conservatives that desperate?

    by David Atkins

    It may be bad form to harp on the same item three posts in a row, but I can’t resist taking a few jabs at Frank Luntz based on his latest talking points for Republicans concerned about Occupy Wall Street and rising inequality. It’s important to talk about this because Luntz’ latest talking points represent a significant danger not to Democrats and progressives so much as to conservatives themselves.

    The genius of Luntz has always been his ability to use the emotional power of language to bullshit the public at a slant, while maintaining a connection to reality and avoiding direct, outright lying. The “death tax” is a perfect example of this: it’s an emotionally gripping negative phrase that paints an incomplete but not entirely inaccurate picture of a tax on the estates of wealthy people after they die. “Estate tax” and “inheritance tax” are the most accurate descriptors, but do little to engage emotionally. “Paris Hilton tax” is a good progressive substitute, as it also has resonating emotional associations, while telling a progressive and positive story of the tax in just three words. It’s not the most accurate description perhaps, but neither is death tax.

    But the key to making framing work is that any language you substitute has to have 1) a connection to reality; and 2) move the language more strongly in the direction of the story you want to tell in a way that can’t be co-opted by the other side. Most of Luntz’ language on inequality here fails on one or both of these fronts. Let’s peruse some examples:

    1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’

    “I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz said. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”

    The retreat from capitalism is astonishing, if not altogether surprising. The Occupy movement can’t really take credit for this, as the polling on capitalism versus socialism has been been weak for years now since the economic crash. Still, there’s no question that with income inequality having been successfully vaulted to the forefront of the national discourse by the Occupiers, the perception of capitalism as a system has taken a hit. But to retreat from capitalism as an idea isn’t just a big loss for the right wing alone: the problem is that “economic freedom” can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. Single-payer healthcare and free public education means economic freedom. Forgiveness of student loan debt means economic freedom. George Lakoff wrote a great book Whose Freedom? on the way the Right and Left perceive that all-encompassing word. “Freedom” has always been a weak frame for the Right, because it’s so easily muddled and put in more progressive terms. Shifting from “capitalism” to “freedom” and calling that a positive message development for the Right is like calling a “retreat” an “advance in the opposite direction.” Moving on:

    2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’

    “If you talk about raising taxes on the rich,” the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But “if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes.”

    3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.’

    “They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage

    The problems with this approach for conservatives are numerous. First off, it’s a retreat from the issue of taxes–an acknowledgment that a word they used to spin as entirely evil (“taxes”) no longer carries such a negative punch. Instead, they are recommended to use more violent imagery of theft. The only problem with that is that everyone pays taxes: most people who aren’t libertarian anarcho-capitalists get that taxes aren’t exactly armed robbery. Besides, Robin Hood has always been and continues to be a pretty popular legend. I recently did a series of focus groups on progresssive framing with mostly political moderates, and many respondents in almost all the groups advocated forceful approaches to redistributing the wealth stolen by Wall Street. Many advocated more than just violence against their pocketbooks. So if Luntz is hoping that the rich will get sympathy by using the language of violence, he’s mistaken on two counts.

    The other failure here is the sleight-of-hand equation of the super-wealthy with “hardworking taxpayers.” This won’t work, either, in large part due to right-wing message machine itself. “Hardworking Americans” has long been code in Republican and conservative Democratic circles for (mostly blue collar) white America. When we hear the phrase “hard-working American”, most of us are instantly primed to think of a Republican-voting white male construction crew foreman in a hard hat driving a Ford F-150. Those with more progressive leanings will see this phrase more inclusively. But no one sees a fat cat in a $3,000 Armani suit when you say that phrase. Using it to defend investment bankers comes off poorly and won’t really work.

  7. rikyrah says:

    3 Dec 2011 01:55 PM
    Newt’s Appeal, Ctd

    Kathleen Parker is the latest to throw in her two cents, with a lovely turn of phrase:

    Most Americans would rather embrace a man who has fallen and climbed back to his feet than one who has never stubbed his toe on temptation. The successful protagonist is always flawed. In Romney breaking news: He removes the cheese from his pizza but has a weakness for chocolate milk. Mr. Squeaky not only has no skeletons in the closet; he has no closets.

    He’s in that uncanny valley. But I suspect Kathleen under-estimates what many readers have argued: that the appeal of Gingrich to many Fox News viewers is that he will finally reveal Obama as that empty-suited, know-nothing, affirmative action dunce that they believe him to be. Gingrich’s genius ingredient is this Lincoln-Douglas debate idea, which combines a historical luster with the hint that Obama couldn’t handle it.

    Of course, when you actually imagine a Gingrich-Obama debate, and you are not living in a cocoon that insists that Obama is both dumb and a commie, you see how fatal a trap this could be for the GOP.

    It’s not just that Obama is a smart person whereas Gingrich is simply a dumb person’s idea of a smart person. It’s that Obama has always excelled up against a volatile, angry opponent. He is a master of allowing them to self-destruct. He got that Houdini-like master of political survival, Bill Clinton, to blow up in the primaries. In a matter of days, he got McCain to destroy his bid with his frantic response to the Lehman collapse.

    I mean: who’s gonna seem like the angry guy in a Newt-Barack match? Who’s gonna seem like the old, rather than mature, one? Even when Gingrich was Speaker, he couldn’t muster any grace or authority or calm: things we like in a crisis and a president.

    I can’t believe the GOP is going to fall for this yet another time. But their loathing of Obama seems to trump all reason, prudence, or guile. Once again, the jujitsu Obama model of politics emerges as his strongest weapon. Given the economy, it may not be enough. But man, does Obama get lucky sometimes in his opponents.

  8. Ametia says:

    Vice President Biden Attends Summit to Champion Entrepreneurial Spirit Around the World
    Posted by Amy Dudley on December 03, 2011 at 03:45 PM EST

    Earlier today in Istanbul, Vice President Biden addressed the second Global Entrepreneurship Summit, convened by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Vice President is leading the U.S. delegation to the summit, which follows the 2010 Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship hosted by President Obama in Washington, D.C.

    This year’s summit comes at a critical moment in the Middle East and North Africa as millions have risked their lives for political freedom and economic opportunity.

  9. rikyrah says:

    The Second Coming Of George Wallace?

    That’s how John Cassidy sees Newt:

    If Gingrich comes surging out of South Carolina and Florida, the specter of George Wallace will start to haunt Romney and his backers in the Republican hierarchy. George Wallace wasn’t considered electable in 1972, when he entered the Democratic primaries, but that didn’t prevent the populist and pro-segregationist governor of Alabama from winning the Florida primary and chasing the establishment favorites Ed Muskie and Hubert Humphrey out of the race before a bullet from an attempted assassin left him paralyzed.

    Suderman focuses on the lack of enthusiasm Republicans feel for Romney:

    Try talking to Republicans about Mitt Romney, and you’ll find two things: First, a lot of them don’t want to talk, and when they decline they frequently stress the need for maintaining a good working relationship should Romney become the nominee. Those who do talk tend to say a few cautiously nice things about him. He’s a decent guy. He’s a good manager. He’s intelligent. He knows business. But it’s hard to find party insiders or activists who are genuinely enthusiastic about his candidacy. The people who like him best—self-styled moderates and business folks who shy away from the rougher edges of the party’s activist base—are merely comfortable with him, because they see, or think they see, a familiar type of individual.

  10. rikyrah says:


    ‘What about if you ain’t WHITE, don’t you understand? ‘ Law


    Saturday, December 3, 2011
    Auto-Neurotic In Alabama
    Posted by Zandar
    One has to wonder what Alabama cops have against foreign car executives anyway. Oh wait: they have no choice but to ask for papers, please.

    The Guardian reports that Honda manager Ichiro Yada was arrested earlier this week at a checkpoint in Leeds, Alabama, despite being able to show police his passport, US work permit, and international driver’s license. He was not taken into custody, however, but was ticketed and released on a signature bond.

    Yada’s international license was apparently not sufficient to satisfy the letter of the law, which required him to carry either an Alabama license or one issued by Japan. The charges were dismissed only when his attorney faxed a copy of his Japanese driver’s license to the judge.

    The mayor of the city of Leeds defended his officers, saying, “The police are instructed to follow the law as written. People are trying to use this to make the law look bad. That’s not our problem. We’re going to enforce the laws of state of Alabama.”

    And you know, when laws against interracial marriage (which by the way technically existed as part of Alabama’s state constitution until 2000 long after the Loving v. Virginia decision in 1967) and Jim Crow laws were in place in Alabama, they used the exact same excuse. Here’s a tip, man: it’s the law itself that makes Alabama look bad, not the stringent efforts to enforce it.

    And yes. It is your problem as an elected official in the state. It’s a law forcing you to be a racist, reactionary douche bag. Saying “that’s the law, it’s not our problem” immediately makes it your problem.

    I’m guessing at some point, these automakers and other foreign companies are just going to stop doing business with the state. Alabama’s already lost major agriculture business due to the law. It really is an example of “job-killing regulations”.

    But it doesn’t matter. Gotta rid the state of the unclean and the impure.

  11. Ametia says:

    CNN is pushing jobs at Burger King, Micky D’s Nordstroms. PUSHING LOW WAGE JOBS!

    This little hobbit is a mofo Stein is FULL OF SHIT.

  12. rikyrah says:

    TPM Editor’s Blog
    That Won’t Work

    Josh Marshall December 2, 2011, 1:56 PM

    In the words of the British moral philosopher David St. Hubbins, it’s such a fine line between stupid and clever. And in the line Mitt Romney’s campaign is giving to Politico and other outlets, I think they’re coming down in the former category.

    According to Mitt advisors, one of their key hits against Gingrich will be that he’s a flip-flopper. And this won’t just hurt Newt, apparently, it will also serve to inoculate Romney from charges that he’s a flip-flopper.

    Did you hear that? Pushing the flip-flopper issue against Gingrich will help Romney? There are plenty of ways to hit Newt and by any reasonable measure he’s a very vulnerable candidate. But for Mitt Romney to push the idea that Newt’s a flip-flopper seems wildly nuts — one of those over-clever ideas that political operatives are spinning out to reporters all the time but usually wise-up before actually trying.

    Yes, Newt’s changed positions on some issues — less because he’s actually changed positions as because he always wants to be the smart guy so often he’ll just make up his positions as he goes — as he did, famously, on Libya.

    But does anyone really doubt that Newt’s a really conservative guy and that that’s been pretty consistently the case for about 35 years? Of course not. And can you really name a big issue where you can say he’s flip-flopped? Arguably you might say he did on health care mandates. But that’s not really fertile ground for Romney, is it?

    But, has Newt really shifted around a lot on taxes? How about abortion? What about gay rights? What about guns? Really, what about anything (with the exception of health care mandates, which most conservatives changed positions on) substantial?

    It’s true that there are lots of little things here and there where Newt’s contradicted himself. But the real issue with flip-flopping for Romney is the big picture. He was kind of conservative. But then he had to run for office in Massachusetts. So he became a liberal Republican. Then he needed to run for President — so he got conservative. Then he wanted to run for president again and he got a lot more conservative.

    That’s pretty damaging if you’re a conservative ideologue. It’s damaging in a different way if you’re a swing voter.

    But does anyone think anything remotely like this is true of Newt? Of course not.

  13. rikyrah says:

    GOP Nominee Will Cause Fissures

    by BooMan
    Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 at 11:12:04 AM EST

    While it is still possible that none of the current Republican presidential candidates will earn enough delegates to claim the nomination, it’s becoming clear that the nomination of any of the current field of candidates will cause huge fissions in the Republican coalition. One piece of evidence for this comes from George Will. He uses today’s column to eviscerate Newt Gingrich in the harshest tones, and to compare Mitt Romney to Tom Dewey (who lost to Harry Truman in 1948). Mr. Will advises against nominating either of the two front-runners. Instead, he makes a quarter-hearted pitch for Rick Perry:

    Rick Perry (disclosure: my wife, Mari Will, advises him) has been disappointing in debates. They test nothing pertinent to presidential duties but have become absurdly important. Perry’s political assets remain his Texas record and Southwestern zest for disliking Washington and Wall Street simultaneously and equally.

    That’s literally all Mr. Will can muster in Perry’s favor. I get the feeling he only mentioned him to keep a degree of harmony in his household. His real pitch is for Jon Huntsman, who he assures us is the most conservative of all the candidates.

    I am sure that Mr. Will will find a way to adapt and get onboard if either Romney or Gingrich becomes the nominee. But he won’t do it happily. Romney is too much of a flip-flopper with too much baggage as a moderate. Gingrich has made too many enemies and is too erratic. Rick Perry can’t even present a defensible argument that he’s prepared. Michele Bachmann is too extreme. Ron Paul’s foreign policy is totally indigestible. And Rick Santorum is a cartoon. That leaves Hunstman, who not only served in the evil Obama administration but has been dismissive of the anti-science base of the GOP.

    None of these candidates can unite the Republican Party. In fact, all of them will divide it in more or less devastating ways. Just imagine how two different communities would react to potential nominees.

    How would Delaware County Republicans, in the Philly suburbs, react to the nomination of a dumber version of George W. Bush, or an egomaniacal Georgian huckster, or a starry-eyed rural Minnesotan wing-nut who espouses ludicrous conspiracy theories? How would they respond to Ron Paul’s pro-life isolationist libertarianism? The truth is, suburban Philly Republicans would bolt.

    On the other hand, how would a Southern Baptist megachurch community in North Carolina react to Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman? I think they’d be somewhat less than enthusiastic. Romney comes off as insincere and opportunistic. Huntsman comes off as dismissive and disparaging. And they both come from a church that openly competes for converts with evangelicals.

    Still, Romney and Huntsman would have an easy time getting the GOP base to close ranks than any of these other candidates. They might not be ideal, but they won’t make too many people embarrassed to admit that they’re a Republican. You can’t say that about Bachmann or Gingrich or Perry. And Ron Paul? He’d split the Republican Party so badly they might just go the way of the Whigs.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Everybody hates Newt Romney
    Neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich pose a threat to President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, says author.
    Cliff Schecter

    Last Modified: 02 Dec 2011 12:07

    Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney – the perfect dynamic duo for our times, if not the end times.

    A Batman and Robin for the one per cent. Defenders of truth, justice, and a Gulag Achipelago filled with child janitors and the fandango of the foreclosed.

    If you’re rooting for President Obama, or just plain enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching a Real Housewives of the Neo-Confederacy, your dream contest has arrived. Even before the news cameras and nation’s attention trek north to the frostbitten fields of Iowa, these two should provide constant amusement as they do battle over who’s had the most swift conversion to the principles of the Tea Party.

    While they may be very different, they’re also one in the same. Romney’s a patrician’s patrician, a guy who naturally grows khakis as a sort of protective exoskeleton and makes John Kerry seem like Jack Hanna. Gingrich grew up in more humble circumstances, a “historian” whose second wife (I think, allow me to consult my calculator) told Esquire a year ago that her former husband “always wanted to be somebody” and didn’t feel a need to privately live up to the principles he espoused publicly (I smell sitcom!).

    Romney is handsome with his hair dry-iced to his scalp. Gingrich, well, let’s just leave it at this: go back and watch some old 1980s episodes of Jake and the Fatman.

    The similarities, however, once you get past the surface, are striking. Both started off as Rockefeller, or moderate, Republicans, and moved expeditiously right to stay in tune with the base of an increasingly radicalised party. Both have no patience for government assistance, even though they’ve grown wealthy via the tried and true path of Washington political welfare – where your father’s name or a former position in Congress takes the place of a dollar and a dream.

    Gingrich cut a television ad with Nancy Pelosi warning that we had to address climate change, a scientific phenomenon that Romney believed included “human contribution”. Meanwhile, Romney passed the pre-cursor to “Obamacare” (you may remember Tim Pawlenty’s lone memorable phrase from his 2.5 weeks as a GOP presidential candidate, when he referred to “Obamneycare”) and Gingrich, as recently as a few years ago, was “earning” the whopping $37 million given by Big Health Care to his “Center for Health Transformation” by advocating for the very same individual health care mandate that can be found in Romney and Obama’s health care laws.

    As I bet you’ve guessed by now, Romney has disavowed his own health care legislation as nationally relevant (and climate change as real), and Gingrich goes all Jason Bourne when it comes time to discuss his climate-change ad with Pelosi (ditto his advocacy for the “individual mandate”). They’d have you discover any solutions to these two crucial issues by attending the dinosaur exhibit at The Creation Museum or a board meeting at the Chamber of Commerce. In fact, a current Democratic National Committee advertisement hitting Romney and a Ron Paul web savaging Gingrich for their ever-changing ideologies are almost interchangeable.

    What they most possess in common, however, is personal. They may literally be the two least popular men in their party. In a recent piece by Charles Pierce for Esquire, he reminded us that “one of the few insights worthy of anyone’s time in that horrible Game Change book was the fact that, by the end of the 2008 presidential cycle, all of the other Republican candidates had come to despise Willard”. Willard being Romney’s real first name, even though he (yes, really) denied it during a recent debate.

  15. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2011 3:15 PM
    What’s next for Cain and the GOP

    By Steve Benen

    With Herman Cain’s presidential campaign on ice and his political career finished, there are a couple of questions to consider in the short term: (1) what will Cain do now? and (2) where will his supporters go?

    Up until relatively recently, Cain seemed destined to become a conservative star on the media/lecture/publishing circuit, conceivably even offering a justification for his absurd campaign. But over the last several weeks, it probably became apparent, even to Republican voters, that Herman Cain is a not-terribly-bright guy with a scandalous personal life. The more we learned about Cain, the harder it was to respect him.

    That said, Cain remains a GOP player of some notoriety, and the remaining Republican presidential candidates were tripping over one another this afternoon to offer praise for Cain, hoping to woo not only the man but also his remaining supporters. When Cain declared today, “I will be making an endorsement in the near future,” this only intensified the other campaigns’ eagerness.

    We’ll see what happens, but today’s announcement certainly doesn’t do Mitt Romney any favors. The former governor, who’s had a rough couple of weeks, benefited greatly from Cain’s presence in the race — Cain was the unelectable sideshow who took attention and support away from stronger challengers.

    For that matter, the more candidates stuck around to dilute the anti-Romney majority, the easier it was to imagine Romney winning with underwhelming levels of support.

    At least in the very near term, I would imagine Newt Gingrich is smiling this morning, for the reasons Chris Cillizza outlined a few days ago:

    Gingrich appears to be the latest in a long string of candidates — reality star Donald Trump, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Cain — that have emerged as the conservative alternative to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

    With Cain, Perry and Bachmann — all of whom continue to target social conservative voters — struggling, Gingrich can now reasonably make the case (and he has already started to do so) that he is the last conservative standing who has a real chance to unseat Romney as the nominee.

    “I think it benefits Newt because it is in Romney’s interests to have the conservative vote as widely disbursed as possible,” said Rich Galen, former aide to Gingrich who is neutral in the current race.

    The Iowa caucuses are 31 days away.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, December 3, 2011
    Why is President Obama going to Osawatomie, Kansas?

    The White House announced that on Tuesday, President Obama will visit Osawamomie, Kansas – a town of just more than 4,000 people in the reddest of red states. The reason why he would choose that location has been a bit of a mystery.

    This morning WH Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer had a little fun on Twitter asking people to guess the reason for the trip. When someone guessed the right answer, he confirmed it with this tweet:

    Just over 100 years ago, President Teddy Roosevelt came to Osawatomie, Ks and called for a New Nationalism

    Pfeiffer then encouraged us to read Roosevelt’s New Nationalism speech and I did. All I can say is “WOW!”

    First of all, just a bit of context. Roosevelt had gone to Osawatomie for the dedication of the city’s John Brown Memorial Park. And so the speech is built of the foundation of the lessons learned and accomplishments of the Civil War.

    Kansas was the theatre upon which the first act of the second of our great national life dramas was played. It was the result of the struggle in Kansas which determined that our country should be in deed as well as in name devoted to both union and freedom; that the great experiment of democratic government on a national scale should succeed and not fail. In name we had the Declaration of Independence in 1776; but we gave the lie by our acts to the words of the Declaration of Independence until 1865; and words count for nothing except in so far as they represent acts.

    And then he goes on to challenge America to continue that effort.

    In every wise struggle for human betterment one of the main objects, and often the only object, has been to achieve in large measure equality of opportunity. In the struggle for this great end, nations rise from barbarism to civilization, and through it people press forward from one stage of enlightenment to the next. One of the chief factors in progress is the destruction of special privilege. The essence of any struggle for healthy liberty has always been, and must always be, to take from some one man or class of men the right to enjoy power, or wealth, or position, or immunity, which has not been earned by service to his or their fellows. That is what you fought for in the Civil War, and that is what we strive for now.

    At many stages in the advance of humanity, this conflict between the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess is the central condition of progress. In our day it appears as the struggle of freemen to gain and hold the right of self-government as against the special interests, who twist the methods of free government into machinery for defeating the popular will. At every stage, and under all circumstances, the essence of the struggle is to equalize opportunity, destroy privilege, and give to the life and citizenship of every individual the highest possible value both to himself and to the commonwealth. That is nothing new…

    Now, this means that our government, National and State, must be freed from the sinister influence or control of special interests. Exactly as the special interests of cotton and slavery threatened our political integrity before the Civil War, so now the great special business interests too often control and corrupt the men and methods of government for their own profit. We must drive the special interests out of politics. That is one of our tasks to-day…For every special interest is entitled to justice, but not one is entitled to a vote in Congress, to a voice on the bench, or to representation in any public office. The Constitution guarantees protection to property, and we must make that promise good. But it does not give the right of suffrage to any corporation.

    The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth; who insists that the creature of man’s making shall be the servant and not the master of the man who made it. The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.

    The absence of effective State, and, especially, national, restraint upon unfair money-getting has tended to create a small class of enormously wealthy and economically powerful men, whose chief object is to hold and increase their power. The prime need to is to change the conditions which enable these men to accumulate power which it is not for the general welfare that they should hold or exercise…We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary…

    I do not ask for the over centralization; but I do ask that we work in a spirit of broad and far-reaching nationalism where we work for what concerns our people as a whole. We are all Americans. Our common interests are as broad as the continent…

    The object of government is the welfare of the people. The material progress and prosperity of a nation are desirable chiefly so long as they lead to the moral and material welfare of all good citizens.

    I’ve tried to pull some highlights to give you an idea of the importance of this speech and its relevance to us today, but you can read the whole thing at the link up above.

    For those of us who have followed President Obama closely, its amazing to see the parallels between he and Roosevelt. For example, I think of Obama’s speech about race where he focused on the development of A More Perfect Union. Roosevelt also goes to great lengths to not simply demonize special interests and corporations – but he clearly calls them to account for their role in our commonwealth.

    I expect that this speech by President Obama will likely be a defining moment in his presidency and will lay the groundwork for the campaign and his second term. So you can bet I’ll be watching!
    Posted by Smartypants

  17. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2011 11:27 AM
    Rubio, Republican Dream VP, Won’t Fix Party Woes

    By Jonathan Alter

    With Newt Gingrich’s surge, the Republican presidential race is more uncertain than ever. But the party’s pick for vice president has for months seemed like a foregone conclusion.

    Although he claims to have no interest in the job, Florida Senator Marco Rubio is still the most likely VP choice for any Republican nominee, especially Gingrich, who has mentioned Rubio specifically.

    Rubio is young, bright, handsome and from a critical swing state that he carried in 2010 by nearly 20 points. Most important, he’s Hispanic. He doesn’t have to help Republicans win Hispanics outright, but merely cut into the Democrats’ mammoth advantage. The Obama campaign knows that if the president, who won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008, can be held below 60 percent this time, he’s almost sure to lose.

    But in truth, Rubio is not the ideal vice-presidential candidate to solve Republicans’ trouble with Hispanics. Cuban- Americans have a big voice in Florida politics (where they already vote Republican) but make up only 4 percent of Hispanics nationwide. Mexican-Americans make up 66 percent of Hispanics, and tapping their potential at the polls may determine the results in swing states such as Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

    There’s no evidence that a Cuban-American who opposes even the DREAM Act (which would create a path to citizenship for children of illegal immigrants who finish high school and join the military or attend college) will bring other Hispanics out to vote or get them to switch parties.

    A better option for Republicans might be New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, but party operatives tell me that after Sarah Palin they aren’t likely to bet again on a new and obscure female governor.
    Two Flaps

    So Rubio sits atop the short list. This should have Republicans worried, and not just because Rubio arrived in the Senate less than a year ago and carries the risks of any rookie. He’s been scuffed up in two flaps this year that highlight the complexities of being a minority of an ethnic minority in a party that’s shooting itself in the foot with minorities.

    First, the Washington Post reported in October that he “embellished” his background by falsely claiming throughout his political career that his parents fled Cuba after Fidel Castro’s Communist takeover in 1959. The article said Rubio’s parents in fact came from Cuba to Miami in 1956. At first glance, that might not seem like a big deal. And Rubio claimed there was no “functional difference” between the two dates in his heroic family story. “The essence of the story was not the date,” he told the Miami Herald.

    Except that it was. Those Cubans who came to the U.S. in 1956 when Cuba, under Fulgencio Batista, was still a close American ally were economic immigrants like the millions of others who have arrived here seeking a better material life. Those who came after the 1959 revolution were political exiles. In the context of the Cuban-American experience, the “functional difference” is huge.

    Rubio placed his family among the latter group when he emotionally told their story on the stump and in his campaign literature. This narrative was false, and it raises fundamental questions about his truthfulness.

    Rubio’s friends and supporters in Miami’s Little Havana don’t care about the episode. But Hispanic economic immigrants could react differently if they see him as a pull-up-the-ladder guy. They have long envied and even resented political exiles because exiles are welcomed into the U.S. with open arms and allowed to settle here permanently. To learn that Rubio’s family was actually little different than the millions of immigrants seeking economic opportunity — the same ones that Rubio and other Republicans now say deserve no “amnesty” — might not go down so well.
    War with Univision

    It doesn’t help that the senator now seems to be at war with the most powerful force in Hispanic media — Univision, which has the largest Spanish-language audience in the country. In July, Univision aired a story about the drug arrest 24 years ago of Rubio’s brother-in-law. It was a meaningless tabloid report with no impact on Rubio’s political standing. But the senator handled it badly.

    His staff told reporters that Univision had offered to kill the story in exchange for Rubio appearing on the network’s Sunday show. Even if true, that hardly justified the next step. Rubio’s surrogates demanded that Univision’s president of news resign and that the Republican presidential candidates boycott the Jan. 29 Univision debate on the eve of the Florida primary. (Telemundo, owned by NBC, will sponsor a debate instead.)

    The boycott will conveniently allow the presidential candidates to avoid being confronted by Univision’s lead news anchor, Jorge Ramos, a fierce advocate of immigration reform who is also wildly popular in the Hispanic community. Imagine if President Barack Obama was feuding with a combination of Bryant Gumbel, Al Sharpton and Oprah Winfrey. Might cost him a little with black voters.

    None of this is likely to dissuade the eventual Republican nominee from picking Rubio if he thinks it will help him win the White House. But will it?

  18. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2011 8:05 AM
    Perry’s ‘faithful’ boast

    By Steve Benen

    In August, it looked awfully likely that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), fresh off his massive prayer rally, called “The Response,” would use religion as the basis for his presidential campaign and capture the overwhelming support of the religious right. If that was the strategy, it never came together.

    It looks like the former frontrunner hopes it’s not too late. Here’s the message in his new ad, running in Iowa:

    “When you run for president, you get a bunch of questions about your faith. People want to know what drives you, how you make decisions. Now, some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness. Well, they’re wrong. I think we all need God’s help. America’s greatest leaders have been people of strong faith, strong values. That makes for a strong America. I’m Rick Perry. I’m not ashamed to talk about my faith.

    It’s an interesting message for all kinds of reasons. At face value, religious-right voters are a powerful force in the Iowa Republican caucuses, so it’s not surprising candidates would shape their messages accordingly. Also, by emphasizing he’s “not ashamed,” he’s drawing a subtle contrast with Mitt Romney, who tends not to make similar boasts about his Mormonism.

    But ultimately, the ridiculous shots at the left appear to be an effort to set a trap.

    Greg Sargent mocked Perry yesterday for the response liberals are supposed to make: “Outrage! Fury! Liberals, to the battlefield! Shine the spotlight on this man — he’s the scourge of liberals everywhere! Remind all the conservatives who have already written him off for dead just how much liberals loathe the prospect of a Perry presidency!”

    Exactly. Perry says that “some liberals say that faith is a sign of weakness” — quick, governor, name one — in the hopes that liberals will push back. Suddenly, Perry becomes the champion of religious values, going up against outraged liberals, giving the political world an excuse to give the Texan some coverage again.

    It’s not a bad idea, I suppose, though I don’t imagine it’ll work. Much of the left seems far more interested in candidates who are far more competitive than Rick Perry.

  19. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2011 2:25 PM
    Cain Train goes off the rails

    By Steve Benen

    It seems like only a month ago when Herman Cain was riding high. He looked like the favorite in the Iowa caucuses; he had surged to the front of the GOP field at the national level; his fundraising was going strong; and despite his ridiculousness, it wasn’t completely implausible to think Cain might seriously compete for the Republican presidential nomination.

    A lot can happen in a month.

    An unapologetic and defiant Herman Cain suspended his presidential campaign on Saturday, pledging that he “would not go away,” even as he abandoned hope of winning the Republican nomination. Instead, Mr. Cain announced what he called a “Plan B,” continued advocacy of his tax and foreign policy plans.

    “As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign,” Mr. Cain said. “Because of the continued distractions, the continued hurt caused on me and my family, not because we are not fighters. Not because I’m not a fighter.”

    By “suspending” his campaign, rather than officially ending it, Cain could conceivably still return to the campaign trail, but for all intents and purposes, he’s done — and he’s never coming back.

    History might look back at the last couple of weeks and suggest Cain was done in by a 13-year “friendship” with a woman who was not his wife, but I don’t think that’s what did him in. Cain began his tailspin much earlier — the fact that he forgot about the U.S. mission in Libya strikes me as the turning point — and his apparent effectively sealed the deal.

    For those who watch campaigns the way some people watch car racing for the crashes, Cain’s departure is disappointing. The man had no meaningful understanding of any area of public policy and even less familiarity with the basics of American government — at times, he seemed to encourage Republicans to support him because of his ignorance, not despite it — and this led to frequent amusement.

    But we were laughing at Cain, not with him, which is generally not a recipe for electoral success.

    It’s never been altogether clear why Cain even began running in the first place. I’ve long suspected that this was a silly vanity exercise, launched by a man who saw a business opportunity — run a campaign, raise additional visibility, pick up some new fans, sell some books, charge more for speeches once the campaign comes and goes.

    And for all I know, this strategy will succeed. But the fact that Cain., at least for a while, thrived as a Republican presidential hopeful, despite routinely humiliating himself, is not at all encouraging.

    Indeed, Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign, was right when he said, “That Cain’s candidacy was taken seriously for longer than a nano-second in a time of genuine crisis for the country raises fundamental questions about the health of the political process and the Republican party.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2011 9:10 AM
    It’s going to be a long year, redux

    By Steve Benen

    In the months leading up to the 2010 midterms, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce effectively served as an appendage to the Republican attack machine. The Chamber’s anti-Democratic ad campaign included plenty of claims that are “demonstrable distortions or have been repeatedly debunked as false by independent fact-checkers.”

    For the 2012 cycle, the Chamber has been reduced to photo manipulation.

    Apparently Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) usual tousled hair just wasn’t scruffy-looking enough for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who recently launched an attack ad against him.

    Ohio Democrats are crying foul over the ad, which includes a grainy photo of a disheveled Brown, with a growth of stubbly beard. There’s just one problem: While Brown’s messy hair is certainly recognizable, he is not known to go out in public unshaven.

    I’m not even sure why the business lobbying group would bother pulling a stupid stunt like this. By adding stubble to the senator’s face, I guess voters are supposed to think Brown is disheveled? (“Vote Republican; they’re not scruffy looking”?)

    Also note, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce isn’t even denying having manipulated the image.

    If the group has been reduced to sleazy tactics like these 11 months before Election Day, I shudder to think how loathsome its efforts will be by, say, September.

  21. rikyrah says:

    A Different View on Gingrich

    by BooMan
    Sat Dec 3rd, 2011 at 08:56:31 AM EST
    Newt Gingrich recently had the following to say about poor kids in poor neighborhoods:

    “Really poor children in really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around them who works,” the former House speaker said at a campaign event at the Nationwide Insurance offices. “So they literally have no habit of showing up on Monday. They have no habit of staying all day. They have no habit of ‘I do this and you give me cash,’ unless it’s illegal.”

    Most of the reaction has been focused on two things. First, that Gingrich was blowing his dogwhistle and taking a shot at black people. Second, that he’s factually wrong. Charles Blow took the latter approach. My reaction was a little different.

    I’ve worked with poor kids in poor neighborhoods. In 2004, as a county coordinator for Project Vote, I worked out of the North Philadelphia ACORN office. Part of my job was to interview (mostly) black kids, hire the ones I thought were promising, and train them to do voter registration and Get Out the Vote canvassing campaigns.

    Of course, I wasn’t dealing with a totally representative sample of the neighborhood. Everyone I dealt with was actively seeking legal work. Very few of them had other “legit” jobs. And, in any case, I knew nothing about their parents or their parents’ employment status. If kids had full-time work, they weren’t coming to see me. Almost everyone I hired was flat broke, which presented a problem when the ACORN home office in New Orleans was slow processing paperwork or issuing checks. There were utility bills that needed to be paid.

    I learned some valuable things during my months working with these kids. I learned so much I could go on writing about it forever. One thing I learned was that the best canvassers and the most reliable workers were the ones that had learned how to master some hustle. By hustle, I mean roughly what Newt Gingrich meant. In our American ghettos, where there are way too few jobs to keep people legitimately employed, there are microeconomics and black markets. People find a way to survive. I knew kids who sold fraudulent car tags for inspection and registration. I knew kids who sold bootleg DVD’s. I knew kids who magically “found” boxes of t-shirts. I knew kids who, lucky enough to own or have access to a car, operated as a taxi service. Technically, they were all committing crimes to a greater or lesser extent. But they were the kids with the best work ethic, the ones most likely to keep their word, the best leaders, the most ambitious, the least lazy, and the ones I’d trust most to carry out a task without supervision. And they were smart. Really smart. Yes, they were street smart, but they were intellectually sharp, too. These kids could have handled college. And, what’s more, when a legitimate job opened up, they were first in line to apply.

    So, when I read what Gingrich wrote, my first reaction wasn’t to question the ways in which he was wrong but to ponder the ways in which he was right. The problem is that there are not enough legitimate jobs in our inner cities. The answer isn’t to have people scrub toilets. But they need something legitimate to do.

    Don’t get me wrong. Mr. Gingrich wasn’t making a constructive suggestion. He was pandering to people’s worst prejudices for political gain. He’s a despicable person. And he knows better than to question the work ethic of these kids and their parents because he’s toured our inner cities and met with them. I am not conceding anything to Gingrich’s point.

    Yet, he opened the door for a conversation. We are wasting so much talent in our cities and in our poor black (and brown) communities. I can’t tell you how many kids I met who had every thing they needed to be successful but a legitimate shot to get started. And they were driven to petty crimes by sheer necessity. It’s a sad thing when the kids with the best character are also the ones with the most effective hustles. And, of course, it’s only a small step from the petty crime to the major one. The major crimes pay better. These kids want legitimate jobs. They are capable of doing the work. And that gets squandered, over and over again.

    Things are undoubtedly much worse today than they were in 2004. Programs that pluck talented kids out the inner city and give them a chance will pay off many times over. But the real solution is to bring jobs back to our cities and give even the less talented a real shot at a middle class life.

    It’s not work ethic that is a problem. It’s a lack of work.

  22. LiberalPhenom:
    Oh Lord Fox saying no one had swagger like Cain. They so want a Pres Obama.

    SG2: Poor thangs. Now this is swagger, baybee! Hot damn!

  23. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2011 9:50 AM
    Dems fight to save Bush programs from GOP

    By Steve Benen

    Annie Lowrey has a gem of a story this morning on a fascinating budget fight on Capitol Hill, which has become vaguely surreal.

    Policy experts and academics consider home-visiting programs — where nurses counsel teenage mothers and other at-risk parents — to be among the most effective social interventions. The programs slash the incidence of neglect, bolster infant health and in some cases save taxpayers money by cutting costs.

    But not all programs follow best practices, or even track their results. To tackle that problem — to make the initiatives more effective and accountable — the Bush administration created a pilot program tying federal financing to policy outcomes. States could get federal financing if they put in place research-supported best practices.

    There are now six such “evidence-based” pilot programs that make taxpayer dollars contingent on results and that would seem to have natural appeal to Congressional Republicans.

    Or so one might think.

    Everything about a story like this challenges basic assumptions.

    * The Bush administration, known for creating its own version of reality, pursued effective domestic policy initiatives that connected public investments to research-supported best practices.

    * Democrats and the Obama administration, instead of playing the role of reflexive partisans who simply reject all Bush/Cheney ideas out of hand, have embraced the Bush policies and want to keep them in place.

    * Congressional Republicans, who gladly went along with the Bush administration’s efforts at the time, now want to kill the Republican administration’s programs, including the highly-effective home-visiting program.

    The GOP efforts, Lowrey added, “have bewildered social scientists and good-government experts.”

    “Why, in a constrained budget environment, do you cut the programs that have to show they’re working?” asked Ron Haskins, a former Republican Congressional staff member and White House adviser who is co-director of the Brookings Center on Children and Families. “It makes no sense.”

    The White House has also strongly objected to the subcommittee’s zeroing out financing. Jacob L. Lew, the White House budget director, sent a letter acknowledging the necessity of budget cuts, but asking that Congress retain spending for programs that can help states save money and improve outcomes. “In a period of limited resources, these initiatives encourage and reflect the systemic changes and evidence-based interventions that can achieve the greatest impacts at the lowest cost,” he wrote.

    The extent to which congressional Republicans have gone over the edge is truly a sight to behold.

  24. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2011 10:50 AM
    Profiles in courage

    By Steve Benen

    National Journal’s Josh Kraushaar criticized President Obama this week over his style of decision making. (thanks to F.B. for the tip)

    One of President Obama’s political weaknesses in his first term has been that he’s all-too-willing to avoid making tough decisions, hesitant to expend political capital for potential long-term gain. Throughout his first term in office, he’s had a cautious governing style, and has avoided taking on some of his party’s core constituencies. […]

    Team Obama has been eager to characterize Mitt Romney — for good reason — as a fly-by-the-wind politician who’s flipped on core issues. But when it comes to political bravery, Obama isn’t going to win any profiles in courage, either.

    I’ve seen this criticism from political observers before, and I’ve never fully understood its appeal. It certainly makes sense for the president’s detractors to disapprove of Obama’s tough decisions, but to argue that he just doesn’t make tough decisions at all belies what we’ve seen for the last three years.

    Jamelle Bouie called Kraushaar’s critique “demonstrably false.”

    Even if you don’t include the Affordable Care Act — and I don’t see why you wouldn’t — this is demonstrably false. For the first eight months of this year, Obama did nothing else but “expend political capital for potential long-term gain.” Indeed, given the extent to which liberals are still angry over his willingness to compromise their interests, I’m not sure how else you would describe his approach vis a vis the debt-ceiling negotiations and everything preceding.

    There’s ample room for discussion about the merit of the president’s decisions. Obama’s supporters will defend them, and his opponents will condemn them. Fine.

    But if we look past that debate, I’m hard pressed to imagine how even the fiercest presidential critics can see him as someone lacking the courage to make tough calls. Health care reform, for example, was put on the national agenda because Obama put it there, despite the risks, and it passed because he stuck with it, even when he was urged to walk away and let the insurance companies win.

    It took courage to rescue the auto industry, when public opinion pushed in the other direction. It took courage to launch the strike on Osama bin Laden’s compound. It took courage to take on Wall Street and pass sweeping financial industry reforms. It took courage to intervene militarily in Libya, where there was little appetite among Americans to do so. It took courage to go much further than his party was comfortable with and offer congressional Republicans an overly-generous $4 trillion debt-reduction deal.

    Indeed, Kraushaar’s claim that the president “has avoided taking on some of his party’s core constituencies” would probably be news to some of his party’s core constituencies, including Democrats who didn’t approve of the escalation of the war in Afghanistan.

    It’s not that I think a leader’s bravery and/or courage is irrelevant; it’s that I don’t see how this is a legitimate knock on Obama.

    If pundits were looking for actual example of a politician reluctant to make tough decisions, loath to challenge his party’s core constituencies, and generally lacking in political bravery, could there possibly be a better example than Mitt Romney? The former governor, unlike the president, appears to be a genuine coward.

    Romney’s afraid of journalists; he’s afraid of scrutiny; he’s afraid of saying something that might cost him votes; he’s afraid to take stands on all kinds of issues; and he’s afraid of all of his previous personas and disregarded worldviews. The guy is practically allergic to valor, and he considers “courage of one’s convictions” to be more of a punch-line than a principle.

    He’s running for office, for Pete’s sake.

    When it comes to the 2012 presidential race, there’s nothing wrong with evaluating Obama and his challenger based on courage, but let’s make sure the measurements are based on the facts.

  25. rikyrah says:

    ahh….an oldie but a goodie…

    Nat King Cole OWNS this song….

    the others merely sing it

  26. Ametia says:

    Herman Cain, a little known businessman who unexpectedly became a front-runner in the Republican presidential race, suspended his campaign Saturday in the wake of allegations of an extramarital affair and claims of sexual harassment.

    He has denied the charges but his support has fallen and campaign donations stalled.

    Read more at:

  27. Mr. President, Herman Cain announced he’s suspending his campaign but says “I am not gonna be silenced and I am not going away.”

    What are your thoughts, Mr President!

  28. Get the fk out, Cain! Bye ass clown!

    Don’t let the door knob hit you where the good Lord split you!

  29. Ametia says:

    Hermie’s game: Come out and BASH the media, the Dems, his party, everyone, don’t ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY for his LEWD BEHAVIOR. He’s getting OUT, cause, Gloria gave him the 411

  30. Ametia says:

    You’re a MESS, Herman Cain. Take off your glasses so we can see you. did Gloria punch you in the EYE?

  31. Ametia says:

    Understanding the Minnesota miracle
    Posted by Sarah Kliff at 01:45 PM ET, 12/01/2011

    After an intense battle over government spending shut down its government for 20 days this summer, the state now is forecasting an $876 million surplus over the next two years. That’s a huge surprise compared to the $5 billion projected deficit that Minnesota expected in July, setting off a national, highly-partisan battle over the best way to close that gap.

  32. Oh gawd! Alveda King!

  33. Jonathan Capehart:
    John Roberts accidentally called Herman Cain’s wife “Ginger Cain” on Fox News//ZOINKS

  34. Ametia says:

    Please, Alex Wittless, there is NO CROWD at the Cain sideshow. 300 people does not a crowd make.

  35. ProChoiceGrandma:

    Oh barf! The “little woman” showed up holding hands with Her Man Cain. My respect for Gloria Cain just fell by 90%. Now for the perp walk…

  36. Ametia says:

    Everybody hates Newt Romney

    Neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich pose a threat to President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, says author.
    Cliff Schecter Last Modified: 02 Dec 2011 12:07

    A Batman and Robin for the one per cent. Defenders of truth, justice, and a Gulag Achipelago filled with child janitors and the fandango of the foreclosed.

    If you’re rooting for President Obama, or just plain enjoy the guilty pleasure of watching a Real Housewives of the Neo-Confederacy, your dream contest has arrived. Even before the news cameras and nation’s attention trek north to the frostbitten fields of Iowa, these two should provide constant amusement as they do battle over who’s had the most swift conversion to the principles of the Tea Party.

    While they may be very different, they’re also one in the same. Romney’s a patrician’s patrician, a guy who naturally grows khakis as a sort of protective exoskeleton and makes John Kerry seem like Jack Hanna. Gingrich grew up in more humble circumstances, a “historian” whose second wife (I think, allow me to consult my calculator) told Esquire a year ago that her former husband “always wanted to be somebody” and didn’t feel a need to privately live up to the principles he espoused publicly (I smell sitcom!).

    Romney is handsome with his hair dry-iced to his scalp. Gingrich, well, let’s just leave it at this: go back and watch some old 1980s episodes of Jake and the Fatman.

  37. Ametia says:

    Hermie Cain giving presser today at 1pm or earlier. Taking bets on what he’s going to say.

    1. I’m being perscuted by the media and the Democrats! I’m staying in this race to the very end.
    2. I’ve spoken with my wife and family and due to the emotional trauma inflicted on them with all the LIES & ACCUSATIONS, I thought it best to end my candidacy to spare them in further duress.


  38. Elon James White:

    The fact that Gingrich can piss on poor children across the country & remain frontrunner in the #GOP says A LOT.

    • Ametia says:

      If the MSM were really legitimate and in the business of serving Americans, they would air PBO’s weekely addresses. 2-5 minutes every week; that’s all the time it would take for these lying fake reporters and cable stations can cover the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA’s message to AMERICANS.

      But no, we have ***BREAKING NEWS- Sexual harrassment presidential candidate Hermie Cain making an announcement. 8.6% UNEMPLOYMENT this week, and it’s all Hermie
      Cain; just infotainment and sideshow politics.

  39. Ametia says:

    Center of Penn State Scandal, Sandusky Tells His Own Story
    Published: December 3, 2011

    The former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, in his first extended interview since his indictment on sexual abuse charges last month, said Coach Joe Paterno never spoke to him about any suspected misconduct with minors. Mr. Sandusky also said the charity he worked for never restricted his access to children until he became the subject of a criminal investigation in 2008.

  40. Jerry Sandusky Speaks Out on Camera

  41. Ametia says:

    U.S. Urges Creativity by Colleges to Gain DiversityBy SAM DILLON
    Published: December 2, 2011

    The Obama administration on Friday urged colleges and universities to get creative in improving racial diversity at their campuses, throwing out a Bush-era interpretation of recent Supreme Court rulings that limited affirmative action in admissions.

    The new guidelines issued by the Departments of Justice and Education replaced a 2008 document that essentially warned colleges and universities against considering race at all. Instead, the guidelines focus on the wiggle room in the court decisions involving the University of Michigan, suggesting that institutions use other criteria — students’ socioeconomic profiles, residential instability, the hardships they have overcome — that are often proxies for race. Schools could even grant preferences to students from certain schools selected for, among other things, their racial composition, the new document says.

  42. Ametia says:

    George McGovern taken to South Dakota hospital after fallFrom Chandler Friedman, CNN
    updated 11:13 PM EST, Fri December 2, 2011

    CNN) — Liberal Democratic icon George McGovern was taken to a South Dakota hospital after falling Friday night at a nearby university, a library staff member told CNN.

    The library staffer at Dakota Wesleyan University — who asked not to be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the incident — said McGovern fell on the campus in Mitchell, South Dakota.

    McGovern was initially sent to Avera Queen of Peace Hospital in Mitchell after the fall, according to a member of that hospital’s nursing staff who asked not to be named, because she was not authorized to speak on the hospital’s behalf

    He then was transferred to Avera McKennan Hospital about 75 miles east in Sioux Falls, because he required a higher level of care, the nursing staff member said.

    McGovern is in “guarded condition … not in critical condition, but his injuries bear watching,” added the hospital staffer.

  43. Obama Urges Voters To Get Involved In Tax Cut Fight.

  44. Good Morning, Ametia, Rikyrah, 3 Chics, Friends & Visitors! myspace graphic comments

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