Happy HUMP DAY, Folks! Today’s 3 Chics featured artist are The Brothers Johnson.
WIKI: The Brothers Johnson is a band consisting of American musicians and brothers George aka ‘Lightnin’ Licks’ and Louis E. Johnson aka ‘Thunder Thumbs’ Guitarist/vocalist George and bassist/vocalist Louis formed the band Johnson Three Plus One with older brother Tommy, and their cousin Alex Weir, while attending school in Los Angeles, California. When they became professionals, the band backed such touring R&B acts as Bobby Womack and the Supremes. George and Louis Johnson later joined Billy Preston’s band, and wrote Music in My Life and The Kids and Me for him before leaving his group in 1973. In 1976, The Brothers covered the Beatles’ song, Hey Jude, for the ephemeral musical documentary All This and World War II.
Quincy Jones hired them to play on his LP Mellow Madness, and recorded four of their songs, including Is It Love That We’re Missing? and Just a Taste of Me.
After touring with various artists like Bobby Womack and Billy Preston, Quincy Jones hired them for a tour in Japan and produced their debut album Look Out For #1, released in March 1976 (#9 U.S.) Their Right On Time album was released in May 1977 and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 200.
GET THE FUNK OUT OF MY FACE
Lawrence O will have on the lttle boy who touched PBO’s hair in the WH tonight. See pic on the sidebar to the right of this page.
Why is the Romney Campaign Denying Running Anti-Immigration Ads?
June 6, 2012 | 8:10 am
If you’re waiting for the Romney campaign’s “etch a sketch” moment on immigration, it seems to have quietly arrived.
Last week I had a revealing email exchange with a Romney advisor. I had written an item about Mitt Romney’s trouble with the Latino vote and referred to an anti-immigration advertisement from the Romney camp. A few days later, I got an email from an advisor to the Romney campaign, letting me know that I’d mistakenly referred to a Romney ad that ran during the 2007-2008 cycle. He explained that this has been a minor recurring problem because, for some reason, the YouTube videos of some of Romney’s old TV advertising spots have been incorrectly labeled with 2012.
But in the email, he also wrote something that surprised me: that Romney hadn’t run any ads on illegal immigration in the 2012 cycle. This immediately struck me as false—I clearly remember a Romney video last September that attacked Rick Perry for his defense of Texas’s policy of giving in-state college tuition to children of illegal immigrants. The ad raised eyebrows because it included a clip of Mexico’s former president, Vicente Fox, praising Governor Perry for the policy, implying that any support from the Mexican president, who is our ally, was somehow sinister. But when I reminded him about the video, the advisor clarified that it was a web video—not a television spot. This seems like splitting hairs, but is, I suppose, technically true. Fair enough, I guess.
What the exchange reflected, though, was a real—and justified—concern in the Romney camp: that the candidate’s anti-immigration rhetoric last fall will ruin his chance with Latinos this November. A Pew poll in April showed that Romney is at a significant disadvantage with Latino registered voters. Only 27 percent supported him, compared with the 67 percent supporting Obama. (For context, McCain secured 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008, and the magic number generally thought necessary to win the presidency is 40 percent.) Romney didn’t help things by taking a hardline stance on immigration during the primary, promising to veto the Dream Act if elected president and advocating for a border fence.
Mittens is a HOT MESS.
Obamas invited to June 16 Kenwood-Hyde Park wedding of Valerie Jarrett’s daughter
It could become the backyard wedding of the year!
It’s very hush-hush, but Sneed hears President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have been invited to the June 16 Kenwood/Hyde Park backyard wedding of attorney Laura Jarrett, daughter of Obama’s best friend/senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.
A contingent from the president’s Cabinet including Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, as well as Chicago attorney Allison Davis and Valerie’s close friend Susan Sher — Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff — also made the invited list.
“It could be the wedding of the year — considering how many powerful people may attend,” said a top Obama insider.
The wedding, which is scheduled to take place in the large backyard of Jarrett’s family home — is located near the Obama compound in Kenwood.
It’s a hop, skip and a jump from President Obama’s close buddy Marty Nesbitt. Barack pal Eric Whitaker will also be in attendance.
“It’s like a gathering of African-American royalty,” said the source. “They are all close friends who care a great deal about each other. Valerie Jarrett was raised in the Kenwood house and her mother, Barbara, still lives there.
“For the president and first lady not to come, it would have to be a security issue at the last moment.”
A call to Laura Jarrett’s finance, Tony Balkissoon — an attorney with the Sidley Austin law firm — netted the following polite response: “I’m not going to answer any questions, but thanks so much.”
The couple met while attending Harvard Law School and celebrated their engagement at the Paris Club.
Wed Jun 6th, 2012 at 03:44:42 PM EST
At some point, Matt Stoller lost his damn mind. I don’t know how you can spend long enough on the Harvard campus to earn a degree and still have such weird ideas about our elites. Peggy Noonan writes less meandering columns than Stoller. He wants us all to know that one man, Barack Obama, has ruined the institutions of the American left. To prove this, he uses a chart that covers 65 years of history, 40 0f which are relevant. As further proof that Obama is the devil, he blames Wisconsin Democrats for doing everything wrong. Then, after offering no proof and no explanation for why Obama is at fault, he proceeds to blame everyone else:
But it’s not complete to say this is just Obama’s doing. Obama has done everything he’s done with the support of labor leaders, Democratic supportive groups like Moveon, foundations, liberal pundits, African-American church networks, feminist groups, LGBT groups, and technology interests. Any of these could have stopped him by withdrawing support and overtly attacking him, but only the LBGT community fought for their rights. This American labor bureaucracy, which simply does not strike and therefore has no leverage against capital, operates largely as a group of fragmented business unionists.
Yes, everyone of the left is doing it wrong because they haven’t , like Matt Stoller, taken leave of their senses and attacked the most brilliant and decent and politically talented president we’ve had in decades.
He concludes with some nonsense about interfering with the flow of commerce, which sounds a little Unibomberish. Maybe Stoller would be happier as a Somali pirate.
Oh, but we know how the president deals with those folks.
Townhouse must be a ghost town these days. What a freak show.
here’s a reply by BooMan in the comments of this post:
I mean, look at Clinton’s legislative record after 1994. It’s pure neo-liberalism, and you can add the ongoing privatization of our military and intelligence service during his presidency, as well as NAFTA pre-1994.
When the GOP took over, Clinton immediately moved to do Welfare Reform in a ridiculous way, and totally deregulated Wall Street with three major bills in 1998, 1999, and 2000. He was just lucky the economy was booming almost to the very end.
And how has Obama reacted to the Republican takeover? He’s giving them nothing. He’s made overtures. But he’s known full-well that the GOP will never accept anything remotely reasonable, so he can offer what ever he wants without worrying he’ll have to deliver. It makes him took reasonable. Which, by the way, he is.
The only thing he’s done is finalize the free trade deals with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea, and I don’t personally have any problem with those deals. The first two are two small to cost us any jobs and the last one is actually a good deal for us.
If you want to make a neo-liberalism argument against Obama, it really amounts to blaming him for stabilizing the banking sector without doing enough on foreclosures. But that’s a stretch. There’s a difference between doing triage in a way that helps the rich more than the poor and, say, having a New Democrat ideology.
by BooMan on Wed Jun 6th, 2012 at 04:58:13 PM EST
Romney To Attend Fundraiser With Billionaire Accused Of Ducking Millions In Taxes
By Pat Garofalo on Jun 5, 2012 at 10:35 am
2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will hit the fundraising circuit in Texas tomorrow, attending a fundraiser in San Antonio hosted by billionaire Billy Joe McCombs. Likely not on the table for discussion, though, is the fact that McCombs was ordered by the IRS to pay $44.7 million after using a scheme meant to avoid capital gains taxes:
McCombs is contesting the IRS’ assertion that he should have reported $213.4 million in long-term capital gains in 2002 from the sale of 11.3 million shares of Clear Channel Communications Inc., the company he cofounded in 1972. He’s also disputing an additional $3.3 million in 2003 capital gains in connection with the same purported sale. In all, the IRS asserts, McCombs had $245 million in taxable income for 2002 and 2003, rather than the $18 million he reported and owed $53 million in income tax, not the $8 million he paid.
The case involves a complicated strategy, which was widely peddled by Wall Street as a way for rich folks like [billionaire Phil] Anschutz and McCombs to raise cash from highly appreciated stock positions, while deferring capital gains tax.
In the last few years, the IRS has attempted to crack down on these schemes, much to the chagrin of the billionaires who use them. McCombs settled his case last year
Wisconsin, The Day After
Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 08:31:28 AM CDT
The central issue in yesterday’s election –recalling Gov. Scott Walker (R) — did not turn out as most of us had hoped. Recalling Walker was always a long shot, according to both the polls and historical precedent.
Wisconsin didn’t get a new governor yesterday, but they did get a majority-Democratic State Senate.
The spending gap was huge … Walker’s campaign spent roughly $31 million compared to only $4 million by Democrat Tom Barrett. And that is just spending by the actual campaigns. Campaign watchers say TV ads made the difference for Walker, while Democrats had invested heavily in a ground game.
Exit polls of yesterday’s
Democrat Declares Victory in Wisconsin Senate Race That Could Flip Majority Control
—By Andy Kroll
| Wed Jun. 6, 2012 6:45 AM PDT
In the 21st senate district in southeastern Wisconsin, Democrat John Lehman declared victory late Tuesday night in the recall election of Republican state Sen. Van Wanggard. With all precincts reporting, Lehman led Wanggard by just 779 votes.
The race matters because a Lehman win would hand Democrats control of the state senate for the first time since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011. It would also mean Democrats and labor unions avoided a clean sweep in Tuesday’s six recall elections in Wisconsin.
“Tonight, the citizens of Racine County voted for checks and balances in our state legislature,” Lehman said in a statement. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the state senate.”
The Dark Money Behind the Wisconsin Recall
—By Gavin Aronsen| Tue Jun. 5, 2012 3:00 AM PD
CHECK OUT THE PIE
Read about here:
Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:58 AM PDT.
Mitt Romney demands President Obama’s jobs plan. Apparently, he forgot the one Republicans blocked.
Willard wants a jobs plan:
“[W]ith America in crisis, with 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work, he hasn’t put forth a plan to get us working again,” Romney said Tuesday. “Now I know we’re getting close to an election so he’ll come out with one soon, but three and a half years later, we’re waiting.”
What a great idea. So great that President Obama has already done just that. He did it in September. And other than its tax cuts, House Republicans refused to pass it. (Even passing those was like pulling teeth.)
Republicans had so little interest in moving forward with Obama’s jobs plan that when he originally requested a joint session of Congress to propose it, John Boehner said no—because Mitt Romney and the other Republican clowns were having a presidential debate. Boehner literally put debates before jobs.
Just in case Mitt Romney was too focused on battling Rick Perry and Rick Santorum to have noticed, President Obama offered a reminder on Friday of some of the things that he proposed—and House Republicans blocked. Things like putting teachers, cops, and firefighters back on the job to combat the bleed of jobs from state and local governments. Things like putting construction workers back to work rebuilding roads, bridges and airports. Things like helping small businesses hire workers and boost income. Things like allowing homeowners to refinance to take advantage of lower rates.
Things, in short, that would boost the economy and create jobs. And things that House Republicans refused to pass. If Mitt Romney really wanted economic growth, he’d be asking why Congress hasn’t done more with President Obama’s plan. Instead, he’s pretending that Obama never offered it
Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 07:08 AM PDT.
Some thoughts on last night
After a few too many beers, a shocking call for Walker way earlier than anticipated, and quiet desperation about the future of our nation I was finally able to get some sleep and woke up feeling slightly less hopeless.
I’ve read a couple articles about the polling, in particular about people’s fondness of recalls (or lack thereof) and the belief that misconduct needs to be the reason and created my own theory or two.
Welcome to my first ever diary and please continue below to see if my beliefs are sound, or just the desperate attempt to beat back the despair and frustation that are a progressive’s constant partner in politics.
As I was reading the polls I thought back to what started this whole thing and what really increased the protests. Obviously, Scott Walker’s goal of breaking the backs of unions was a big deal…but what made it different. Was it because he didn’t campaign on it? Was it because it was in Wisconsin?
After a close win last night it looks like the Democrats have taken back the Senate which is a great victory due to creating a check on Walker’s power, especially now that he can claim the recall victory as a mandate. Why did the senate recalls go over so well? Obviously some happened earlier which could have to do with increased momentum and also you need less voters to win, but I think it had more to do with the misconduct response in the poll. Much of the outrage was sparked by the refusal of the Republican led Senate and Assembly to follow acceptable procedure. Although Walker may have made the call for some of the behavior, the legislature was the face of flouting grand tradition in Wisconsin. They are the ones who broke open meeting laws, they are the ones who shouted down protestors and created controversy. They are the one who held a secret meeting and broke apart the law to push through the bill. On Walker’s orders, yes, but they were the face of much of the procedural “misconduct.” I believe that this is truly why the senate recalls were much more productive. It was easier to convince people that misconduct had occurred to overcome their disgust with recalls in general.
The second theory is more my lament that the John Doe probe did not gain focus until the end. I have read on this site that some polls show late deciders broke for Barrett by 30% which did imply momentum was on his side. Those late deciders witnessed two debates, an increase in focus on John Doe and the idea that Walker himself might be facing indictment soon. Hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t want to diminish how much Walker hurt Unions and other citizens of Wisconsin but, that is often Democrats battle cry against Republicans (to our credit, it’s because it’s true) and polls have show this is not the way to win a recall. I do believe that if the John Doe probe had been able to be more front and center earlier things might have turned out differently for our side. The reality is Walker was either involved in a criminal activity or was such a bad manager that 13 of his closest aides were involved in criminal activity and he had no idea which doesn’t say much about his ability to effectively manage a state. By it’s very nature this Recall was a long time coming but which also means the narrative kept shifting in ways that nobody could control. It started with the assault on public unions and other ways he had screwed the citizens but ended up switching to jobs and eventually, to John Doe. Each of those areas had the ability to shore up both opposition to Walker and support which probably led to the small amount of undecideds by the time the election got underway. Barrett was at a distinct disadvantage right away by this because of his inability to really set the narrative. I think the narrative he would have went with would have been successful because it did focus on Walker’s misconduct and bad judgement, but unfortunately by the time that happened too many views were already set in stone.
Romney surrogate boosts Obama’s jobs message
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 12:38 PM EDT
.Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has had six years to come up with an explanation for his poor job-creation record in Massachusetts. Amazingly, Team Romney still doesn’t know what to say.
President Obama’s campaign has raised a straightforward and accurate point: during Romney’s one term as governor, his state ranked 47th in job creation. Romney had a chance to put his private-sector expertise to work in Massachusetts, but the experiment failed.
Last night, Kerry Healey, who served as Romney’s lieutenant governor, talked to CNN’s John King about this, and as Greg Sargent noted, her argument took the Romney campaign’s “double standard” problem to a whole new level.
As Healey sees it, the Obama campaign is being unfair by evaluating Romney’s job-creation record “with one number,” which obscures “a progression” in which Massachusetts’ jobs picture improved over four years. She added:
“Do you embrace this notion of averaging? Should we average the four years? Does that make any sense? Does that tell the voters anything? What the voters want to know is, what direction are you moving?
“Using one number, this odd average of four years, to come up with 47th in the nation, doesn’t really show what happened.”
The lack of self-awareness is hard to believe. It’s almost as if the Romney campaign and its surrogates haven’t paid any attention at all to their own attacks.
In case this isn’t obvious, let’s spell it out as simply as we can.
* Summarizing a jobs record using one overall figure: The Romney campaign says it’s fair to do this with Obama’s jobs record, but unfair to do the same thing with Romney’s jobs record.
* Inheriting a weak economy: The Romney campaign says this shouldn’t be taken into consideration when critiquing Obama, but must be taken into consideration when evaluating Romney.
* Including the first year in office:The Romney campaign said Obama’s first year counts when looking at his jobs record, but also says Romney’s first year doesn’t count when looking at his jobs record.
* Progress: The Romney campaign says it’s irrelevant that job creation improved at the national level on Obama’s watch, but it’s critically important that job creation improved at the state level on Romney’s watch.
This double standard has been on display for nearly two weeks now, and slowly but surely, some are beginning to notice.
Ideally, the Romney campaign’s standards would be seen as so brazen, they’d start to influence the way in which the political world perceives all of the Republican’s arguments. The next time Romney attacks Obama on unemployment, poverty rates, economic growth, or any related metric, observers should stop to think, “But if we’re playing by Romney campaign rules, would this criticism hold up?”
Florida Prepares To Defy Justice Department, Continue Voter Purge
By Judd Legum on Jun 6, 2012 at 9:31 am
Florida Governor Rick Scott sent the strongest signal yet that he plans to defy the Department of Justice and continue purging registered voters the rolls. Last week, the Justice Department sent Scott a letter demanding an end the voter purge because it was in violation of federal law. His deadline for responding to the letter is today.
Although Florida has not formally responded to the Justice Department letter, a Scott administration spokesman strongly indicated to the Miami Herald that Governor Scott had no intention of ending the purge:
“Our letter will address the issues raised by DOJ while emphasizing the importance of having accurate voter rolls,” said Chris Cate, spokesman for Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, who’s in charge of the state’s elections division.
Cate would neither confirm nor deny what was in the state’s response, but he acknowledged that the state disagrees with the federal government and doesn’t plan to throw in the towel. “We know we’ve been acting responsibly,” he said…
“DOJ is making the same argument as the groups that have sent letters to us,” Cate said. “If we disagree with the interpretation — it doesn’t matter who’s raising it — we disagree with the interpretation”…
“We’ve been acting responsibly through this process,” Cate said. “And our letter will reiterate that while addressing the concerns raised by DOJ. We have continued our efforts to identify ineligible voters.”
It’s unclear what the practical impact of Governor Scott’s decision will be, however. All 67 county election supervisors, in light of the Department of Justice letter, have suspended executing the purge. Some have even reinstated voters purged previously. The local election supervisors, not the state, has the ultimate authority to remove names.
As ThinkProgress has documented, hundreds of eligible U.S. citizens — including two 91-year-old WWII veterans — have been wrongly targeted by the purge.
Declare the War on Terror Over
Wed Jun 6th, 2012 at 01:37:45 PM EST
If Peter Bergen is right and Ayman al-Zawahiri is the only still-living al-Qaeda leader of any consequence, then the president deserves some serious credit for getting the military focused on the main post-9/11 goal. And if Peter Bergen is right that we are 30 times more likely to be killed by lightning than to be killed by a jihadist terrorist, then I expect these drone strikes to stop. They appear to have been very effective in decimating al-Qaeda. They were certainly more effective than invading and occupying Afghanistan for eleven years. They were more effective than bombing pharmaceutical plants in Sudan or empty training camps. They were more effective than getting lost in Mesopotamia for eight years. But they come with a heavy cost, too. And they set dangerous precedents. Congress authorized “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”
Unless we want to go into Pakistan and destroy Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), our work here is done. If we find Zawahiri, we will kill him. Other than that, there’s no need to be doing drone strikes in Pakistan.
What about the Taliban, you ask? Well, until our last forces are out of Afghanistan, they have to protect themselves. If the Taliban tries to train in the open, they’ll be targeted. But we don’t need to be doing drone strikes in Pakistan to kill them. If they’re in Pakistan, they’re not bothering our troops. Let them stay there.
We still have bad guys in Yemen who seem intent on attacking civilian aircraft. Obviously, we’re going to continue to hunt them down. But the War on Terror is basically complete. We should begin to treat it that way. And that includes ending all this bedwetting about the people at Gitmo. If the president wins a second term, he needs to tell Congress to man-up and stop acting like cowards.
Companies Run By Romney’s Private Equity Firm Received Millions In State And Local Government Subsidies
2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been campaigning hard against government spending, blasting “crony capitalism” and criticizing the Obama administration for providing economic development subsidies. Romney has blasted the “endless subsidies and credits intended to shape behavior in our economic society,” calling them “intrusion in the workings of the free marketplace itself.”
However, as Bloomberg News reported, the companies run by the private equity firm Bain Capital when Romney was its CEO had little problem accepting subsidies from state and local governments:
During Romney’s years as chief executive of Bain Capital LLC, companies owned by the firm received millions of dollars in benefits from a variety of state and local government economic development programs.
In California, taxpayer money built one Bain company a conveyor bridge between two of its buildings. New York City gave another Bain company tax breaks and lower energy bills to discourage it from moving to New Jersey. And in Indiana, a county government issued bonds to help buy new equipment for a Bain-owned steel plant — a business success featured in a Romney campaign ad touting his private sector prowess.
As ThinkProgress has reported, in his campaign ads, Romney has been citing the Steel Dynamics as an example of where his business acumen help turn around a company and create jobs. Steel Dynamics benefited from $37 million in subsidies from the state of Indiana.
More food fun & pics at Obama Foodorama
Making the ‘sabotage’ argument more explicit
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 11:30 AM EDT
.For quite a while, the notion that Republican policymakers might be trying to hurt the American economy on purpose was a charge too provocative for Democrats to make out loud. It’s one thing to say the GOP’s economic ideas are wrong; it’s something else to ask whether the GOP is waging a deliberate campaign against the nation’s wellbeing.
Slowly but surely, though, it appears Democrats are becoming more comfortable broaching this provocative line.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), for example, argued last fall, “Republicans think that if the economy improves, it might help President Obama. So they root for the economy to fail and oppose every effort to improve it.” This week, in reference to the Paycheck Fairness Act, Reid said, “Unfortunately, it seems Paycheck Fairness may have two strikes against it. It would good for women and good for the economy.”
And yesterday, referencing the stalled-but-critically-important highway bill, Reid said, “I’m told by others that [House Majority Leader Eric Cantor] wants to not do a bill to make the economy worse, because he feels that’s better for them. I hope that’s not true.”
Republicans aren’t pleased.
“Leader Reid’s claims are ridiculous and patently false,” said Cantor’s spokeswoman Laena Fallon via email. “Rather than making up stories that have no basis in reality, Leader Reid should follow the House’s example and focus on pro-growth measures that will get the economy going and get people back to work.”
Nor was Boehner’s office about to let Reid’s remark slide. “That’s bulls**t,” said his spokesman Michael Steel
Maybe it’s time for a larger conversation about this? At a minimum, it’s a question quite a few credible observers are asking, whether that infuriates the GOP or not.
Posted at 11:39 AM ET, 06/06/2012 TheWashingtonPost
Romney unmasked: Top adviser undercuts his main argument
By Greg Sargent
Last night, CNN aired a terrific segment that spent a solid eight minutes taking apart one of the core arguments at the heart of Mitt Romney’s case for the presidency. It looked at Romney’s ongoing claim that the “net” jobs lost on Obama’s watch prove his policies failed — even though that metric factors in huge job losses at the start of his term, before those policies took effect. And it also looked at the Romney camp’s insistence on a different standard for itself — that his record should be judged by the job gains later in his term.
That’s good, but it gets better.
On the segment, a top Romney adviser inadvertently admitted, as clearly as you could want, that the whole “net” job loss calculation is thoroughly bogus, undercutting Romney’s whole case.
Watch the whole thing (the video was clipped by the pro-Obama American Bridge), but the key moment comes at around the 3:10 mark:
Kerry Healey, the former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and a member of Romney’s inner circle, was asked whether Romney’s aides have made a mistake in the use of their double standard. Healey then criticized the Obama administration for attacking Romney’s record as 47th out of 50 states in job creation by saying:
“The Obama administration has been trying to characterize the entire Romney administration with one number, which they keep saying again and again: 47th out of 50th in job growth. But in truth, really it’s a progression. “
Healey then argued at length that Romney had slowly brought the state up to 30th in job creation, and pointed out that Romney had brought the unemployment rate down in the state, unlike Obama. But when pressed again on whether Romney should be she said:
“Do you embrace this notion of averaging? Should we average the four years? Does that make any sense? Does that tell the voters anything? What the voters want to know is, What direction are you moving?
“Using one number, this odd average of four years, to come up with 47th in the nation, doesn’t really show what happened, which is a progression towards … full employment in Massachusetts.”
This “notion of averaging,” this use of “one number,” is precisely — precisely — the metric that the Romney camp uses to make its main case against Obama, i.e., that the “net” overall job loss on his watch shows that he destroyed jobs.
Now, if the Romney camp wants to start using just the unemplomnent rates to compare the two records, that’s one thing. And no one is saying that Obama’s policies haven’t underperformed. But at this point, the metric that until now has formed the foundation of Romney’s main argument against Obama has been throughly discredited.
Between this CNN segment and Michael Shear’s terrific New York Times piece yesterday, it looks as if the big news orgs are starting to get serious about getting to the bottom of this. One more, and we’ll have a trend!
Posted at 09:04 AM ET, 06/06/2012
On Wisconsin, the conventional wisdom is mostly wrong
By Jamelle Bouie
The reaction to the failed recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker varies, although conventional wisdom has settled on a few points. To Politico, in its write-up of “winners and losers,” the election was validation for both Walker and conservative governors around the country, as voters endorsed a strategy that balances the budget through cuts to public sector unions, cuts to services, and lower taxes. For the team at ABC News, Wisconsin is a preview for the general election, where both parties will spend millions in an attempt to attract a small number of swing voters.
Buzzfeed focuses on disappointed Barrett supporters to argue that this is a bad omen for President Obama, and CNN highlights the extent to which Republicans are optimistic about their chances in the state. Among liberals, the early reaction is alarm at the power of unregulated money in elections–Walker outspent Barrett, 7 to 1–and anger toward Obama for staying away from the state. Conservatives, on the other hand, are jubilant.
There are a few places where the conventional wisdom is right. Wisconsin was a testing ground for November, and both parties will build on and improve the strategies they used for charging up supporters and getting voters to the polls. Likewise, as Greg pointed out in his analysis, this was a sign to Republicans that they can break public sector unions — a key Democratic constituency — without significant political damage. Thanks to his initial move to break the unions, Walker has the highest profile of any Republican governor in the country.
Where the conventional wisdom goes off the rails is in the attempt to draw broad lessons for November, and attribute motives to Wisconsin voters. At this point, there’s little evidence to suggest an easier battle for Republicans in Wisconsin. According to exit polls, Walker won 17 percent of Obama supporters in the state, and overall, last night’s electorate favored the president over Mitt Romney by a significant margin, 52 percent to 43 percent. It’s a smaller margin than 2008, where he won the state by 14 points, but it’s a solid performance, and a sign that — in reality — Wisconsin is less vulnerable than it looks. Indeed, as of last night, President Obama’s Wisconsin effort is in great shape, and conservatives should temper their view of their chances in the state
Of course, this leads to a question; who are these pro-Walker, pro-Obama voters? Simple. For 60 percent of last night’s voters, a recall is only acceptable in cases of offical misconduct. For 10 percent, a recall is never acceptable. It’s not that these voters are pro-Walker, pro-Obama as much as they are pro-Obama, anti-recall. To them, this is a question of stability — “how are we supposed to govern a state if a governor can be deposed for controversial policies?” You may not like Walker — and see him as a dangerous ideologue — but it’s a fair point.
What’s more, this throws water on the idea that Obama could have turned the tide had he campaigned for Barrett. If a substantial portion of Wisconsinites are opposed to the recall qua the recall, then there’s not much Obama could have done to change minds. That was a job for Wisconsin Democrats, who should have done more to show voters that Walker had sprung a radical and unprecedented agenda on the electorate, and deserved to be removed from office.
Finally, while the Republican money advantage was huge, it’s not clear that it overwhelmed grassroots efforts, or made a decisive difference in the election. Improved economic conditions in Wisconsin left Walker with a stronger image, and many voters held procedural objections to the recall. Both of those could have been the product of ads and outside spending, or both could have been the result of prior views. It’s hard to say. Regardless of how money influenced the race, this is a wake up call to Democrats around the country, who now see the extent to which Citizens United has allowed Republicans to raise massive amounts from a handful of wealthy people. There’s no doubt that both the DNC and the Obama campaign is using this to try scare donors into further giving.
As for rank-and-file Democratic voters, particularly liberals, I thought David Frum had the most insightful take:
Democrats interpret Wisconsin not as a battle over wages and benefits, but as an illegitimate attempt to rewrite the rules of politics to their permanent disadvantage. They are confirmed in a view that the Republican party is a force for concentrated wealth, contemptuous of democracy and fair play. Democrats will emerge from this loss radicalized, not chastened.
This is exactly right. More than anything, the GOP is working to destroy the infrastructure of the Democratic Party, and so far — with the assault on public sector unions — it’s been a tremendous success.
Wed Jun 06, 2012 at 05:48 AM PDT.
GOP outplaying its Wisconsin hand
I’m not going to sugarcoat it, losing the governor’s race in Wisconsin sucked. While we’ll crunch the numbers on turnout in a later post, the exit polls point to two major reasons why we weren’t able to recall Scott Walker.
First, 60 percent of voters thought that recall elections were only appropriate for official misconduct, while 27 percent said “any reason.” Another 10 percent said “never”—and those voted for Walker 94-5. It’s hard going into any election with 10 percent immediately off the board, and for those who said “only official misconduct,” Walker won 68-31. Turns out people just didn’t like the idea of a recall—something worth filing away as an important lesson learned.
Second of all, young people didn’t turn out. Only 16 percent of the electorate was 18-29, compared to 22 percent in 2008. That’s the difference between 646,212 and 400,599 young voters, or about 246,000. Walker won by 172,739 votes. Turns out having the recall in the summer, when the universities were out, was among the biggest strategic miscalculations.
So given all that, it was interesting to see Republicans pretend Wisconsin will be in play in November. The GOP chair, Reince Priebus:
Republicans have the infrastructure and enthusiasm that will help us defeat President Obama in Wisconsin. In that respect, it was a great ‘dry run.
“Romney now plans to compete in the state aggressively, looking to capitalize on the Republican momentum … His team considers Wisconsin a top target, … and more attractive than even Romney’s native Michigan, where the campaign had hoped to establish an Upper Midwest beachhead. ‘The close vote on Tuesday confirms that Wisconsin will be a swing state,’ said Republican strategist Terry Nelson, an adviser to George W. Bush
The reality is, yesterday’s election was better than any phone poll, because it gave us the voting preferences of two and a half million actual voters, and this is what the exit polls tell us:
If the presidential election were today, for whom would you vote?
Barack Obama 51
Mitt Romney 44
A seven-point lead, Obama over 50 percent, despite lacking participation of one of Obama’s biggest constituencies (young voters), does not suggest a particularly close race this November. If Republicans want to dump their millions (and they’ll have plenty of those) here, they’re free to do so. If nothing else, we just learned that money really can talk with these elections.
But the Right’s messaging tapped into voter discontent with the whole concept of the recall election itself. That won’t fly in November. Nor will Republicans win back the 18 percent of Obama supporters who pulled the trigger for Walker.
Or put in real numbers, there were almost 230,000 Obama supporters that opted to let Walker finish out his term but have no current interest in voting for Romney. How will Team Red flip that vote while contending with other pro-Obama constituencies that didn’t turn out last night?
Thoughts on Wisconsin
Wed Jun 6th, 2012 at 09:57:00 AM EST
There’s a danger that people will learn the wrong lessons from last night’s election returns in Wisconsin. While exit polls are imperfect, they were fairly clear last night. Among the people who voted, Obama was preferred to Romney by a healthy 52%-43%. When you consider that the profile of the electorate was at a middle point (both in terms of turnout and ideology) between the 2008 and 2010 electorates, it’s pretty clear that Wisconsin in not a swing state in the fall.
While it was a disappointing night for the Democrats and progressives, it was a split decision. The state Senate race in Racine appears to have gone to John Lehman, the Democratic challenger, and that flips control of the upper chamber to the Democrats. It’s true that the state Senate is in recess for the rest of the year and that redistricting makes it likely that the Republicans will win back their majority in November, but the governor can always call for a special session. Now he has no reason to do that, since he won’t be able to ram his agenda through the legislature for at least the remainder of the year. It may feel like a hollow victory, but clawing back control of the Senate took a sustained effort that involved seven elections over the last two years.
I mention these things to help offset the palpable feeling of panic many progressives are feeling this morning. I’d be dishonest if I didn’t admit to feeling a little jumpy this morning, too. Labor took a big hit last night and we cannot afford to lose that leg of our stool or we’re finished as a party and a country. Labor took a hit because we only won enough power to stall Walker’s radicalism, but not enough to undo it. And union membership in Wisconsin is in free-fall do to the damage Walker has already done.
The Citizens United ruling remains the most dangerous and corrupting problem we face politically in this country, and we’re going to have to keep working until that ruling is overturned. Everything else is window dressing at this point.
This: “The Citizens United ruling remains the most dangerous and corrupting problem we face politically in this country, and we’re going to have to keep working until that ruling is overturned. Everything else is window dressing at this point.”
Murkowski breaks ranks on Solyndra
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 10:39 AM EDT.
When Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) expressed concerns over his party’s Bain Capital criticism, it was considered a critically important development. With that in mind, we’ll see if it’s as important when a sitting Republican senator has no use for her party’s Solyndra criticisms.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is breaking with Mitt Romney and some Capitol Hill Republicans by expressing support for federal green-energy programs, including the one that provided loan help to the now-bankrupt Solyndra.
Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said she supports continuation of the Energy’s Department loan-guarantee program for green energy, and more broadly backs a federal role in boosting market deployment of alternative energy.
“I do believe there is a role, and perhaps that sets me apart from some of my other colleagues on Capitol Hill,” said Murkowski, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Murkowski warned against a “knee-jerk” response to Solyndra — which seems to be a fair description of the Romney campaign’s message — adding, “We are focusing right now on the failures instead of also recognizing that we have done good things for the loan guarantee program.”
Oddly enough, Karl Rove, of all people, offered related remarks this week, arguing, “We’ve got a growing economy that’s increasing energy consumption and wind energy should be part of the solution.” Though Rove wasn’t specifically referring to federal loan guarantees, he nevertheless endorsed taxpayer subsidies to the wind industry — the very subsidies Romney rejects as government meddling in free enterprise.
Romney’s entire line of attack on Solyndra appears to be crumbling. For one thing, he lied about Solyndra and got caught. For another, there’s ample evidence that Romney, as governor, made Solyndra-like loans to energy companies that went bankrupt, too.
And now, some of his high-profile allies are endorsing the kind of government intervention in the market he’s forcefully denounced.
Murkowski VOTED AGAINST THE FAIRNESS PAY ACT.
The Nevada GOP crack-up continues
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 10:06 AM EDT.
The Las Vegas Sun’s Jon Ralston tweeted this rather remarkable photo this week, showing a new billboard in Las Vegas, which offers “a stark reminder of the Ron Paul takeover of the Republican Party in the state’s largest county.”
The message is unmistakable: Ron Paul is like Ronald Reagan and Mitt Romney is like George W. Bush. The latter is not meant kindly, I assure you.
Also advertised on the billboard is Oathkeepers, a group calling its members patriots but who critics refer to as paranoiacs of the first order…. I swear, folks: The Republicans here are better than any act on the Strip.
Three-quarters of Nevada’s residents live in Clark County. For its Republican Party to have been taken over by Ron Paul acolytes who have little use for Romney’s candidacy is no small development in an election year in which Nevada is expected to be a key battleground.
Indeed, the larger significance goes well beyond the billboard. Paul supporters have seized control of much of the state party’s apparatus, which in turn has caused panic among GOP officials in Nevada and D.C.
Ralston reported a few weeks ago that major Republican donors have begun setting up a “shadow state party,” organized in part with the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, to function outside the Paul-run state party. A GOP consultant told Ralston, “There will still be a significant amount of money spent here,” said Robert Uithoven, a GOP consultant. (But) the money will be spent around the state party and not through it. And that’s never a good thing.”
Another Republican official added that if the party does well in 2012, “it will be in spite of the state party, not because of it.”
Remember, Nevada is a state where party organizations and machines are considered critically important, and the state isn’t just home to a presidential battleground — there’s a very competitive U.S. Senate race in Nevada this year, and the fate of the Senate majority may rest on the outcome.
President Barack Obama has a comfortable, 12-point lead over Mitt Romney in Pennsylvania, the latest state poll found. The president currently leads Romney 48 percent to 36 percent with 12 percent undecided, according to the Franklin & Marshall College Poll.
In a break from some national polls, nearly half — 47 percent — of Pennsylvanians surveyed felt Obama is most prepared to fix the nation’s economic problems, compared to 38 percent who felt Romney was better on the economy. More than half said they believe Obama is better prepared to handle foreign policy, the duties of commander-in-chief and best understands the concerns of ordinary Americans.
“The president enjoys significant advantages over Romney in his personal popularity and most voters believe he is better prepared to handle the presidency even though they are ambivalent about some of his major policy initiatives,” Franklin & Marshall wrote in its analysis.
The poll surveyed 412 registered Pennsylvania voters between May 29 and June 4 and has a margin of error of +/- 4.8 percent.
The results bolster speculation as of late that Pennsylvania may not be a true battleground state this year, tilting more Democratic than analysts initially thought.
How R-money sold Romneycare, from the WSJ no less, who got access to the e-mails that Mehmey tried to delete.
h/t DesertFlower1 from PeoplesView.net who advised to spread this far and wide
Senate power shifts to Dems as Lehman narrowly defeats Wanggaard
Control of the state Senate appeared to have been wrested from Republican control early Wednesday as late results showed former state Sen. John Lehman beating incumbent Sen. Van Wanggaard by less than 1,000 votes.
With all wards reporting, Lehman came out on top with 36,255 votes to Wanggaard’s 35,476 in preliminary returns. It was unclear early Wednesday if there would be a recount of the vote.
Lehman declared victory, although Wanggaard refused to concede, saying he will review the results.
Though taking control of the Senate is a huge moral victory for the Democrats, they won’t be able to do much with it, at least for a while. The Legislature isn’t scheduled to convene again until January, and Democrats will have to defend their majority in November’s elections.
But Democrats will be able to block any Republican legislation should Walker call for a special session of the Legislature. And if the Democrats maintain their majority, it would make life politically difficult for Walker for the first time; his fellow Republicans have controlled both the state Assembly and Senate since he took office in January 2011.
Wanggaard was one of four GOP Senate incumbents Democrats forced into recalls for supporting a host of Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s contentious policies.
One of the Republican senators, Pam Galloway of Wausau, resigned rather than face a campaign. State officials decided to let the recall election in her district go forward anyway.
Galloway’s resignation left the chamber evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, 16-16, going into Tuesday’s elections. Democrats needed to win just one race to seize the majority. Republicans needed to take all four.
And the GOP came up big, lodging three convincing wins:
•Senate Republican Leader Scott Fitzgerald easily dispatched Democratic challenger Lori Compas in southeastern Wisconsin’s 13th Senate District.
•Sen. Terry Moulton defeated Democrat Kristen Dexter in northwestern Wisconsin’s 23rd Senate District.
•Republican Jerry Petrowski topped Democrat Donna Seidel to win Galloway’s open seat in northern Wisconsin’s 29th Senate District.
11:45 AM: The Vice President speaks on Bringing Manufacturing Jobs back to America
WATCH IT LIVE HERE:
The war Romney ‘longed’ for
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 9:29 AM EDT.
Romney in 1965, seen on the far right, protesting in support of the Vietnam War.
At this point in American politics, whether a presidential candidate avoided service in Vietnam is probably an issue that has lost its electoral salience. While the controversy undercut Bill Clinton — and to a lesser extent, George W. Bush — its relevance in national campaigns seems to have come and gone.
So, when the AP ran a 1,200-word piece yesterday on Romney’s Vietnam-era deferments, it’s tempting to think the story just doesn’t matter. As the argument goes, his unwillingness to serve, though perhaps embarrassing, doesn’t seem to tell us anything important now.
But these assumptions aren’t quite right. The story matters in large part because this appears to be yet another area in which Romney hasn’t been honest with the public.
Though an early supporter of the Vietnam War, Romney avoided military service at the height of the fighting after high school by seeking and receiving four draft deferments, according to Selective Service records. They included college deferments and a 31-month stretch as a “minister of religion” in France, a classification for Mormon missionaries that the church at the time feared was being overused. The country was cutting troop levels by the time he became eligible for the draft, and his lottery number was not called. […]
[B]ecause Romney, now 65, was of draft age during Vietnam, his military background — or, rather, his lack of one — is facing new scrutiny as he courts veterans and makes his case to the nation to be commander in chief.
This scrutiny is turning up some underappreciated details, which raise some legitimate questions. Indeed, there’s clear evidence to suggest Romney hasn’t told the truth about his actions during the war.
In 1965, as an undergraduate at Stanford, Romney not only supported the war in Vietnam, he participated in pro-war protests. That same year, he sought and received his first deferment.
A year later, Romney received a longer-than-usual 4-D deferment, which allowed him to do Mormon missionary work in France, despite the fact that other “young Mormon men elsewhere were denied that same status,” and the Mormon Church, which backed the war, “limited the number of church missionaries allowed to defer their military service using the religious exemption.”
By 1969, Romney had completed his work in France, but sought and received new deferments.
Many years later, in 1994, Romney said, “It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam, but nor did I take any actions to remove myself from the pool of young men who were eligible for the draft.” That wasn’t true — he took several steps to remove himself from the eligibility pool.
By 2007, Romney, a presidential candidate, argued. “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there, and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”
But that’s not what he said in 1994, and if “longed” to serve in the war he protested to support, Romney probably shouldn’t have gone so far out of his way to make sure he didn’t have to go.
Again, I can appreciate why this all seems like ancient history. But if Romney has misled voters about his decision to avoid military service during a war — and there’s ample reason to believe he has — that’s clearly a legitimate campaign issue. For that matter, if Romney benefited from preferential treatment, unavailable to those who weren’t born into a wealthy and politically influential family, that matters, too.
Romney’s a MOFO COWARD.PERIOD. How you gonna be pro war, then dodge going to war, by taking off for France under the guise of a missonary? MAJOR FAIL!
I will remind folks that when asked, in 2008, why none of his sons had served, Willard said that working on his campaign was comparable to young men strapping on backpacks and rifles serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Seriously?!!!! Can you provide a link to this foolishness?
if true that 30% of union households voted for Walker…
you can’t help people if they don’t want to help themselves.
tired of these muthafuckas that vote against their own best interests and think folks should coddle them.
It’s hard to believe anything about the outcome of this recall election. But if the majority of Wisconsinite VOTERS can be bought with Koch money or believe Walker is their man. More powere to them.
Why the GOP is the Party of Choice for Sociopaths and Psychopaths
By: Hrafnkell Haraldsson
June 6, 2012
O]utlaw the practice of witchcraft and Satanism in the US military, lest we offend the God of Heaven.”
– John Hagee
“But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.”
– Thomas Jefferson
The Republican Party has become the party of choice for sociopaths and psychopaths. By now it should be more than obvious why this is true. Sure, these people are going to have problems regardless, but conservatives are more than happy to supply them with ammo, both literally and figuratively.
Do I even have to write an article after providing the very different quotes given above? Okay, I suppose I do. But rather than talk about bullets and guns laws and “Second Amendment remedies”, I am going to talk about the hate that pulls the trigger. Let’s be up front about this: most of what I want to say I can’t put into print. But let me take a deep breath and try.
John Hagee clearly needs a refresher course in American history and in particular the Constitution. Likely, if he reads anything it was written by David Barton or by somebody equally ignorant and dishonest.
Look, I just took after these people yesterday (Trapped by Religion) and here they have me back at it the very next day. There is simply no excuse for this sort of willful ignorance on the part of people who should know better (by that I mean people with at least a grade school education and a better than room temperature IQ), and no clearer example can be made of Gerd Lüdemann’s assertion that Hagee’s religion is incompatible with the pluralism inherent in a modern liberal democracy.
It fits in pretty well with the sort of theocracy the Constitution prohibits, however. In fact, it fits in very well with the sort of tyrannical religious bigotry inherent in the church for the better part of 1500 years before the Enlightenment freed the human mind from religious superstition and intolerance.
To make matters worse, Hagee told atheists to get out of America “if our belief in God offends you.” What happened to turning the other cheek? Isn’t that what Hagee is supposed to do according to his professed belief in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? If he wants to be like Jesus, what he should have said was, “We’ll turn the other cheek if our belief in God offends you.” I won’t even get into how he missed the boat on the whole “love your enemy” thing.
I read the Bible. I’m pretty sure that’s in there.
Posted at 04:53 PM ET, 06/05/2012
New York Times nails Mitt Romney’s dissembling
By Greg Sargent
As I’ve been noting here far too often, the core claims that form the basis for Mitt Romney’s entire case for the presidency have been allowed to escape scrutiny for months and months on end. Romney claims that we know Obama’s policies have destroyed jobs because of the “net” job loss on his watch — a metric that includes the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost during the first months of Obama’s term, before those policies took effect.
I know you’re sick of hearing me say this. But it’s important.
And so it’s good to see that the New York Times’s Michael Shear has now published a whole article that gets right to the heart of what this is all about:
Mr. Romney frequently says that Mr. Obama has presided over an economy that has lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. In a recent news release, the Republican campaign said, “Under President Obama, the nation has lost 552,000 jobs.”
But that statistic includes Mr. Obama’s first year in office, and especially the months of February, March and April, when monthly job losses from the economic collapse were at 700,000 or higher.
Just ignoring February of 2009, before any of Mr. Obama’s policies — including the economic stimulus — had been put into place, would wipe away all 552,000 lost jobs, giving the president a record of creating 172,000 jobs.
If Mr. Romney’s team were to ignore Mr. Obama’s first year in office — as Mr. Gillespie suggested should be done for Mr. Romney’s first year as governor — then the president would have added about 3.7 million jobs to the economy.
Of course, Mr. Romney’s campaign is unlikely to change its rhetoric or strategy. His bid for the White House depends on the idea that Mr. Obama has made the economy worse. Because the country has been adding jobs for nearly two years, Mr. Romney’s argument depends on the steep job losses in Mr. Obama’s first year in office.
The key here is Shear’s claim that Romney’s presidential candidacy “depends” on the idea that Obama’s policies have “made the economy worse.” This is Romney’s central message — any job growth that’s taken place has only done so in spite of Obama’s policies, and the recovery would have proceeded faster if Obama had never been president at all. Also key is Shear’s observation that this case in turn “depends” on factoring in the job losses at the start of Obama’ term.
“Depends” is exactly the right word. Indeed, this series of claims is absolutely central to his candidacy. This article is front page material, folks!
Shear is well respected by political reporters and observers, and isn’t just some dirty hippie liberal blogger. So maybe this will start persuading people that this is a real story that deserves serious and sustained attention.
Clinton didn’t side with GOP on taxes
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 8:41 AM EDT.
After a handful of off-message comments from Bill Clinton, much of the political establishment has decided that the former president has become a thorn in the White House’s side, taking positions that undercut the Democratic agenda. Most of this has been overblown, but it’s a meme now, and the political establishment seems to like it.
So when Clinton appeared on CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo” yesterday, and raised the prospect of extending Bush-era tax rates, Republicans and reporters pounced.
They should have looked before they leaped. Here’s what the former president told Bartiromo
“[Policymakers] will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people.
“And I don’t think the president should do that. That’s what they’re fighting about. I don’t have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level. They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession. So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth. And the spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people are Medicaid.
“But the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think is an error.”
Many saw Clinton use the word “extend,” and immediately assumed the former president was taking the Republicans’ side in the upcoming fight. He wasn’t.
Clinton was effectively taking the line of leaving existing policies in place temporarily — a policy the Obama White House could certainly live with — and rejecting Republican calls for permanent tax breaks and massive spending cuts. He even went on to say, “[T]he thing that cost jobs here has been the Congress’s policies.”
The former president didn’t agree with the GOP in the interview; he did largely the opposite.
But since the interview caused such a stir, his spokesperson issued a statement, clarifying matters.
Posted at 11:30 PM ET, 06/05/2012
A wake-up call for Dems, labor, and the left
By Greg Sargent
Scott Walker’s victory in tonight’s recall battle is a major wake-up call for the left, Democrats, and unions about the true nature of the new, post-Citizens United political landscape, and it should force a major reckoning among liberals and Democrats about what this means for the future.
There’s no sugarcoating what this loss means for organized labor. Unions invested heavily in this battle in order to make an example of Walker. The goal was to show that Republican governors who attempt to roll back organizing rights will pay the ultimate political price. That effort failed, and the failure will have major repercussions for labor groups as they gear up for future fights over bargaining rights in states.
But Walker’s win also has major implications for Democratic elected officials across the country. It shows with crystal clarity that Republicans may very well be able to successfully use the new, post-Citizens United landscape to weaken the opposition in a structural way, and to eliminate major sources of support for that opposition.
“This has enormous implications for Democratic elected officials everywhere,” Andy Stern, the former president of SEIU and now a senior fellow at Columbia University, tells me. “Under the guise of acting to restore balance, [the right] is dramatically decreasing the amount of resources public unions have to participate in the political process.”
Indeed, one way of thinking about tonight’s results is that they say at least as much about Citizens United, and the ways it has empowered opponents of organized labor, as they do about the very real decline of union power. An analysis by the Center for Public Integrity found that Walker outraised his vanquished opponent Tom Barrett by nearly eight to one, and that outside groups supporting Walker vastly outspent unions, thanks to Citizens United.
Unions and Dems had hoped that grassroots organizing would be enough to offset that spending advantage, and they did in fact mount a huge effort along those lines. The labor-backed We Are Wisconsin signed up 50,000 volunteers in the last 96 hours, a volunteer army that knocked on 1.5 million doors throughout the state. It wasn’t nearly enough.
“It’s pretty clear that the voices of ordinary citizens are at permanent risk of being drowned out by uninhibited corporate spending,” said Michelle Ringuette, an official with the American Federation of Teachers.
Conservatives will respond to this by insisting that this battle proves that they’re winning the war of ideas, and indeed, national Republicans were quick to claim that tonight’s results bode well for November. Recalls are quirky; exit polls showed a big Obama lead; and polls have not shown national support for Walker’s agenda. So it seems unlikely that tonight’s outcome says anything too predictive about this fall.
But the outcome does say something important about the developing post-Citizens United landscape, and should prompt a major reckoning over how Dems, the labor and the left should deal with this new reality going forward
The lasting impact of the Wisconsin recall
By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 6, 2012 7:59 AM EDT.
As the dust settles in Wisconsin, and the right basks in Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) recall victory, the obvious question is coming to terms with how the incumbent managed to overcome the extensive grassroots opposition to his agenda and candidacy. There is, however, no great mystery here — consider this chart we aired on last night’s show:
Those pie charts are to scale, by the way. Walker’s financial edge over Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D) was nearly eight to one, thanks to far-right support from across the country. (By some estimates, the margin may have even been closer to 10 to 1.)
Money doesn’t always translate into success, but in a compressed calendar, and coming quickly on the heels of a heated Democratic primary, this kind of enormous financial advantage meant the deck was stacked in the governor’s favor. Democrats, unions, and progressive activists gave it their all, but they ran into a juggernaut of conservative cash that proved to be too formidable.
Going further, however, the reason Wisconsin’s gubernatorial recall race mattered so much, and generated so much national attention, is because the traditional Democrat-vs-Republican contest was only part of the larger picture. Walker faced this challenge, not because he’s an unsuccessful far-right ideologue, but because he set out to rig the game — stripping unions of their power in order to rewrite the political rules and make it all but impossible for Democrats to ever win a statewide race in Wisconsin.
Walker’s agenda has always been about taking a level playing field and making a permanent change, tilting it in the GOP’s favor forever more. And after last night, he’s gotten away with it.
In the process, the governor, his party, and his very wealthy allies have also created a blueprint for other Republicans to follow elsewhere — crushing public-sector unions in order to destroy one of the pillars of the Democratic Party’s electoral foundation. If labor can’t organize, Democrats can’t compete.
Tom Barrett lost last night, but he wasn’t the only one.
I miss SouthernGirl2.
that is all:(
Good Morning, Everyone :)
Herb Reed dies at 83; founder of the Platters
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times
June 6, 2012
Herb Reed was in his 20s when he founded the Platters in Los Angeles in 1953, naming his vocal group after the term used by radio DJs for the vinyl records of the day.
Well into the digital download era — and into his 80s — Reed was still touring and singing bass on “Only You,” “The Great Pretender,” “Twilight Time” and the other hits that made the Platters one of the top R&B groups of the 1950s.
“Every audience is different,” he told the Lowell Sun newspaper in Massachusetts in 2004. “No matter where you get on stage, it’s like starting over. They haven’t seen you before.”
Reed, the last surviving member of the five original members of the Platters when they signed with Mercury Records in the 1950s, died Monday in a hospice house in Danvers, Mass., said Fred Balboni Jr., his personal manager. He was 83.
Tribute to the LEGENDARY PLATTERS
Good Morning, Everyone! :-)
OFA-Wisconsin statement on tonight’s Governor’s race
“While tonight’s outcome was not what we had hoped for – no one can dispute the strong message sent to Governor Walker. Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsinites from all walks of life took a stand against the politics of division and against the flood of secret and corporate money spent on behalf of Scott Walker, which amounted to a massive spending gap of more than $31 million to $4 million. It is a testament to all of those individuals who talked to their friends, neighbors, and colleagues about the stakes in this election of how close this contest was. The power of Wisconsin’s progressive, grassroots tradition was clearly on display throughout the run up to this election and we will continue to work together to ensure a brighter future for Wisconsin’s middle class. This vision was shared by the voters tonight, as exit polling showed President Obama beating Mitt Romney 52-43, a 9-point difference. On the questions of who would do a better job on the economy and who would help the middle class the most, President Obama again held a strong advantage over Romney. These data points clearly demonstrate a very steep pathway for Mitt Romney to recover in the state.”
—- Tripp Wellde, State Director, OFA-Wisconsin