Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

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90 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Wednesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Montana Could Force SCOTUS To Re-Hash Citizens United

    Benjy Sarlin-June 20, 2012, 2:33 PM

    The Supreme Court could give Citizens United a second look this month as it decides whether to take up a lawsuit against the state of Montana, which wants its century-old state law restricting corporate influence in elections to stay in place.

    Montana is the only state so far to assert its existing corporate-money ban should still stand after the court ruled in 2010 that corporations could spend unlimited amounts on election ads via independent groups. The Montana Supreme Court upheld the 1912 Corrupt Practices Act, but the Supreme Court ordered that the law not be enforced while it reviewed a challenge by the conservative group American Tradition Partnership. The court is widely expected to strike the law down in keeping with its previous decision.

    Still, advocates view the case as their best chance yet to force the justices to re-examine elements of their landmark 2010 opinion that they say have already proven flawed in light of the subsequent deluge of campaign spending. Twenty-two states and Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) have signed on with Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock (D) in support of their claim.

    The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision rested in part on its claim that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption.” Bullock and his supporters are asking them to look at Montana’s own history and then decide whether that assumption is still valid.

    The state’s early years were defined by an epic battle between spectacularly wealthy mining barons over the state’s vast resources. Copper billionaire William Clark’s election by the Montana state legislature to the Senate in 1899 was considered so blatant a product of bribery that the Senate refused to seat him, to which he reportedly retorted, “I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale.” Cases like Clark’s were considered a factor in the passage of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which provides for direct election of senators. And widespread allegations that legislators had been wholly purchased by Montana’s “copper kings” prompted voters to go around their lawmakers and pass the Corrupt Practices Act via referendum.

  2. rikyrah says:

    June 20, 2012 4:13 PM
    Consequences of a Split Decision on ObamaCare

    By Ed Kilgore

    The entirely plausible outcome of the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act that has received the least attention is what might be called a “split decision:” an invalidation of the individual mandate alone, with the rest of the law left to stand. This possibility has been shirked in part because it’s easier to do so, and in part because the Obama administration did not defend “severability” in the famous oral arguments before the Court in March (though an “independent” attorney did). But as TNR’s Jonathan Cohn notes today, the latest hot rumor is that this is in fact the issue the Court is still agonizing over (there’s also been a rumor, he says, that one Justice became so wrought up over the deliberations that he or she took his or her clerks out for a drinking binge).

    Cohn goes on to argue passionately that ACA would still do an enormous amount of good even without the mandate, which is usually considered essential to the task of building a broad enough risk pool to make the expansion of coverage feasible (i.e., to avoid big and politically disastrous jumps in premiums). But he admits no one really knows exactly how it would all play out.

    But regardless of the long-term effects, a split decision would create some really interesting political challenges to Republicans. Without the mandate as a straw man, GOP demands to repeal the entire law would have to focus more squarely on the more popular aspects of ObamaCare, most notably the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions. Republicans have campaigned avidly on the “Medicare cuts” in the law, but without the complex dynamics introduced by the mandate, continuing that talking point would more obviously align them with a budget-busting demand to restore a Medicare Advantage program whose main fans are insurance companies. And while they might go after the subsidies designed to make the new, expanded coverage affordable—which would be even more important to the law’s design if the mandate is gone—as “welfare,” an awful lot of middle-class folk would be eligible for the subsidies. More subtly, the complexity of ACA, which has worked to the political advantage of its critics, might begin to work against them if they are forced to justify more specific objections.

    Above all, for all the talk on Capitol Hill of Republicans getting themselves prepared for the questions they will face if ObamaCare is overturned, I doubt they’ve been successful in game-planning a split decision. Without the unifying emotionalism associated with the mandate, maintaining unity between pols-reading-polls and conservative activists who think any kind of action to deal with the uninsured is socialistic won’t be easy.

    In any event, it shouldn’t just be Democrats who are nervous about the possibility of a 5-4 decision that strikes down the mandate but leaves the rest of the law intact. Things will get crazy very fast.

  3. rikyrah says:

    The Wall Street Journal’s Evan Perez reports that the Justice Department Inspector General’s probe of the botched ATF investigation known as Fast and Furious has led to a criminal investigation into the accidental disclosure of court-sealed wiretap applications.

    Perez reports that Joshua Levy, a lawyer for an ATF supervisor who oversaw the Arizona-based operation, “inadvertently included court-sealed material in a batch of documents he turned over to the congressional investigators.” Congressional staffers reportedly told Levy of his error but declined to return the documents.

    The mistaken disclosure stands in stark contrast to Rep. Darrell Issa’s account of how the Oversight Committee received sealed court documents. He said earlier this month that the documents came from “whistle-blowers that are tired of your stonewalling.” Issa claims the documents show that senior Justice Department officials were aware of the “gunwalking” tactics being used, an assertion disputed by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and Attorney General Eric Holder, who is facing a contempt vote this afternoon.

    An Issa spokeswoman did not immediately respond to request for comment.

  4. rikyrah says:

    What executive privilege isn’t

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Jun 20, 2012 3:52 PM EDT.

    As we discussed earlier, the White House asserted executive privilege this morning on certain Justice Department documents related to the so-called “Fast and Furious” controversy. The Republican talking point of the day seems to be pretty straightforward: this must mean the president is directly involved.

    A spokesperson for House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the decision “implies” that White House officials were involved in the operation. Fox News’ Andrew Napolitano made the same argument on the air: “Executive privilege protects communications with the president, the human being of the president, not with people that work for him and the Justice Department.”

    No matter what one thinks of the underlying controversy — and for the record, I think the right’s interest in the matter is kind of silly — it’s worth pausing to clarify that executive privilege doesn’t necessarily involve communications with the president. Josh Israel noted there are actually “two types executive privilege: the robust ‘presidential communications privilege’ and the more limited ‘deliberative process privilege.'”

    The White House may invoke the latter to apply to executive branch officials outside of the president’s inner circle, as long as they were involved with the government’s decision-making process. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all asserted executive privilege in matters not involving presidential communications.

    And Bush Administration Attorney General Michael Mukasey invoked the same “deliberative process privilege” as recently as 2008, rejecting congressional subpoenas for reports of Department of Justice interviews with the White House staff regarding the Valerie Plame Wilson identify leak investigation.

    Republicans, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), are well aware of this — they endorsed the distinction during the Bush/Cheney era — and have acknowledged that executive privilege is not limited to the president’s direct communications.

    But they’re playing a political game today, hoping you aren’t well aware of this.

  5. rikyrah says:

    It’s No Accident: Obama Opens Huge Lead As Voters Reject Romney’s Out-of-touch Vision

    Back in April, I wrote about why the media talking heads were wrong about the president’s focus on Romney’s conservatism as opposed to his flip-flopping, and why that focus was exactly the right thing to do. Here’s proof that it was: In a new Bloomberg survey, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by a whopping 13 points – 53% to 40% – among likely voters.

    Here’s some other key numbers from the poll:

    •Over 50% Approval Rating: President Obama’s approval rating, at 53%, matches his support in the contest – a strong indication that the president is gaining both policy and electoral support.
    •Favorability: President Obama’s favorability rating is at 55%, compared to Mitt Romney’s 39%. Note how closely these numbers track their actual support in the poll for the election.

    •Enthusiasm gap: 76% of Obama supporters support the president “very strongly” or “fairly strongly,” compared to only 52% of Romney supporters. Only 6% of the president’s supporters describe their support as “not strong,” while Romney doubles that number at 12%.
    •Economy – Advantage Obama: The president beats Mr. Romney not only on understanding the problems of people like the respondents themselves (55 to 35), the president has succeeded in breaking through the media barrier and establishing that his vision is better for the economy, with voters now giving him an edge by 48-43.

    If these numbers are anywhere close to a correct snapshot of the public mind (and I will discuss below why there is reason to believe that it is), what could it mean? It’s pretty simple, really: as the media and the conservative outlets have sought to make this election a referendum on a caricatured version of President Obama, the Obama campaign is succeeding in its goal to define Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch, far-Right conservative on policy based on nothing more than positions Mitt Romney has himself staked out. The proof is in the pudding: 55% of voters now describe Mitt Romney as an out-of-touch, entitled snob, compared to only 36% who see Obama as out-of-touch. But what I want to note is that this isn’t just about Romney the person as out-of-touch with the average person, but Mitt Romney and the Republican party’s vision that is being shown to be out of touch.

  6. rikyrah says:

    The National Rifle Association (NRA) will score a House panel vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt.

    The NRA has longstanding issues with Holder, something it said was “no secret” in a letter the group wrote to leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announcing its decision.

    The nation’s most powerful gun lobbyist group said it has decided to score the vote over Holder’s handling of the “Fast and Furious” program because of what the group calls the “open defiance” of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the face of a congressional investigation into the botched gun-running operation.

    In a letter to leaders of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is spearheading the investigation, the NRA’s chief lobbyist warned that the highly influential firearms advocate will be watching closely as lawmakers cast their votes on contempt.

    “This is an issue of the utmost seriousness,” Chris Cox wrote, “and the NRA will consider this vote in our future candidate evaluations.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    NRA to score Holder contempt vote

    By Ian Swanson – 06/20/12 09:58 AM ET

  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:15 PM ET, 06/20/2012
    The Fed punts
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    If you’re following the political blogs today, what you’re seeing is mostly the Fast and Furious fuss up on the Hill, and more on the Veepstakes. Neither is likely to affect the November elections — or, for that matter, the lives of most Americans.

    What will? The Federal Reserve’s decision today to hold steady for the time being, instead of easing monetary policy policy in response to recent signs of weakening in the economy. In other words, the Fed is not doing anything new to get people back to work.

    The reviews (mostly over twitter so far) from liberal and centrist economists and economy-watchers have not been kind. It’s summarized in the first two questions to Fed Chair Ben Bernanke at his afternoon press conference: “You’ve downgraded the outlook a lot, but not done much. Why?” In other words, the Fed board agrees that the economy needs help, but for whatever reason has chosen not to provide it, at least right now.

    The point here is that there’s plenty that the Fed could do, and for better or worse they are the only game in town, given that Congress is not going to do anything helpful, certainly not until after the election. That’s a long time for Americans who are suffering from the continued downturn to wait.

    More to the point, there’s a real divide between the parties on how the Fed should be responding to the weak recovery. It’s true that Barack Obama has not made monetary policy a priority, and has (at least publicly) declined to put any pressure on the Fed to act. But Mitt Romney wants the Fed to go in the other direction entirely: He opposes any further efforts by the Fed to help the economy. He has gone at least half-Paulite and seems far more concerned about (phantom) inflation fears than he does about economic growth.

    Indeed, on Sunday, in a little-noticed part of his Face the Nation interview, Romney bashed “politicians” who “want to do everything they can just before an election to try and temporarily boost something” when they should be concerned about “the potential threat down the road of inflation.” Greg earlier today talked about about how Romney benefits from a “presumption of deficit hawkery.” What we have here is Romney also benefiting from a presumption that he cares about economic growth, when in that interview he’s explicitly expressing far more concern about inflation.

    So enjoy the silly season. But keep in mind that what the Fed did today is what really matters, in terms of policy and electoral politics — and to the lives of millions of Americans.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:31 PM ET, 06/20/2012
    GOP wins message war over health care — with big assist from media
    By Greg Sargent

    A number of people are pointing to this big Pew poll today to argue that it shows that Republicans won the message war over health care reform. I don’t think there’s any doubt that this is true. But one of the reasons Pew cites for this victory seems particularly interesting

    An analysis by PEJ of the language used in the media (PEJ research) reveals that opponents of the reform won the so-called “messaging war” in the coverage. Terms that were closely associated with opposition arguments, such as “government run,” were far more present in media reports than terms associated with arguments supporting the bill, such as “pre-existing conditions.”
    To conduct the analysis, researchers examined and identified three of the most common concepts being pushed by opponents of the bill and the three concepts being promoted by supporters and then examined the news coverage for the presence of those concepts and language. The concepts used by opponents were nearly twice as common as those used by supporters.

    Pew finds that the press coverage was also more more preoccupied with the political strategies employed by both sides than it was with the policy specifics of the law itself.

    The health law remains unpopular, but as Adam Serwer notes, this study also suggests that the press’s failure to inform Americans about the law may be a key reason why

    Pew describes the situation here as the White House having lost the “messaging war.” It’s also possible that most Americans don’t like the Affordable Care Act, and that more favorable coverage wouldn’t have convinced them otherwise. The phrase “messaging war,” however, seems like a deeply shallow way of saying that most Americans, who are neither health care wonks nor constitutional scholars, believed what they were hearing from the media. Journalists are supposed to separate truth from falsehood, but instead spent the bulk of their resources speculating about “politics and strategy.” This is the result.

    There’s no denying that Dems did get outplayed in the “message war.” Their talking points simply had no chance against the diabolically perfect “government takeover” of health care line, which is probably a key reason why Republican language did dominate press coverage. But it also happens to be true that falsehoods about the law went widely unrebutted in the media. When Politifact pronounced the “government takeover” line its Lie of the Year at the end of 2010, it also took a look at whether media figures rebutted it with any frequency. Politifact’s conclusion

  10. Ametia says:

    Voting on strictly partisan lines, a House committee recommended Wednesday that Attorney General Eric Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the botched Fast and Furious weapons sting operation.

    The measure now goes to the full House for consideration, expected next week, of what would be an unprecedented event — Congress holding a sitting attorney general in contempt

  11. rikyrah says:

    Toward a Politically Correct Conservatism, Cont.
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Jun 20 2012, 1:30 PM ET 123

    The tactic of rebutting a legitimate charge of racism by taking loud and oafish offense is not simply the tactic of David Yerushalmi, but of ridiculous bigots in general. We’ve seen this tack taken over the years by everyone from Geraldine Ferraro to Rush Limbaugh. The practice is indeed as old as slaveholding white supremacists insisting that the abolitionists would make slaves of white.

    One thing I’ve never seen is a bigot cite actual racism as a defense against their own racism. Enter the bizarre case of Barbara Espinosa, a right-wing radio host in Arizona who said the following of Barack Obama:

    “I don’t believe in calling him the first black president,” she said, “I voted for the white guy myself. I call him a monkey.”

    When confronted with the fact that what she said might be racist Espinosa insisted that
    “with a last name of Espinosa I’m anything but racist.” She then rather spectacularly claimed that she was referring to a cartoon, as though this were a defense. You can click through at your peril. Suffice to say it’s merely a Google image search of cartoons depicting Obama as a monkey.

    I don’t even know how one begins to follow that logic. It’s worth noting that the head of the Arizona GOP was a guest on the show when the monkey remark was made. The gentleman stayed silent through the entire exchange, intervening only to denounce Obama as a “national sickness.”

    As a footnote, I need to say that it has been pointed out that cataloging racism is a sight below the standards of this blog. I sort of agree. But over the course of the Obama presidency I have become convinced that no single force exerts a greater pull on his presidency than white racism. Not white resentment. Not white populism. White racism. I don’t know how else to explain a health care denounced as reparations, the rather continuous disrespect, the sense that he is a Kenyan illegitimate or all of the attendant theories. I do not know how else to explain a state like West Virginia, arguably the most racist in the country, where delegates are now refusing to endorse the president.

    There will be more on this in the coming months. I don’t want to scoop myself. But my point is I can only stop talking about racism, when it ceases to be a significant force in our politics. When the mere act of being white gives Obama’s opponent “a home-state advantage nationally,” I can’t stop. It would be deeply wrong to stop.

    • Ametia says:

      I posted the vid of this clown espinoza yesterday. Great thread and the comments are insightful.

      THE GOP is full of racists and anyone connected with it, that don’t speak out against are complicit. THE.END.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Setting the Table for Second Term Impeachment
    Posted on 06/20/2012 at 11:40 am by Bob Cesca \

    Mitch McConnell — albino sleestak and the most powerful Republican in the Senate — accused the president of, basically, Watergate. Not the actual Watergate, but a high crime that’s almost exactly the same.

    [T]he Senate’s top Republican also accused the [Obama] administration of improperly using government agencies to exert political pressure.

    “What they’re trying to do is intimidate donors to outside groups that are critical of the administration, McConnell said. “The campaign has rifled through donors’ divorce records. They’ve got the IRS, the SEC and other agencies going after contributors trying to frighten people and intimidate them out of exercising their rights to participate in the American political discourse.”

    Again, he’s in charge of the Senate Republicans — not some fringy right-wing talk radio goon. I think they’re getting ready for a potential impeachment process if the president wins in November and the Republicans take the Senate.

  13. rikyrah says:

    What the Gobshites Are Saying: Fast & Spurious Edition
    By Charles P. Pierce at 1:35PM

    Well, we seem to have a real rage-gasm on our hands now. The president has gone and said the conjuring words, “executive privilege,” thereby presuming to do something once that the previous president did four times in a month back in 2007. And, as we know, for some odd reason —Ooh, ooh, I know! Ask me!— whenever this president does something that other presidents have done, it is a constitutional outrage of biblical proportions.

    “Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ were confined to the Department of Justice. The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?”

    And that’s from the spokesman for the Speaker of The House, who is, theoretically, a part of the national political power elite. What might we expect from out in the hinterlands of enraged wingnut blogistan? Let’s stop first at the home office, shall we? is an important little bistro because its guiding intellectual meathead is considered by liberal CNN to be worthy of a slot as a “political analyst.” Anyway, he seems to be off-duty today, or at least relegated to the magical Twitter machine and the blithering has been outsourced:

    The GOP was a step ahead of them and released a video reminding everyone just how committed then Senator Obama was to transparency related to documents in the now hilariously trivial “AttorneyGate” involving the alleged political firings of attorneys by the Department of Justice under AG Alberto Gonzales.

    Expect to hear a lot of this — here’s the dumbest man on the Internet playing the same tune — but do not expect to hear much about how horrified they all were when the previous administration invoked the same privilege to monkey-wrench an investigation into how thoroughly they’d politicized the DOJ. (Please, someone explain to me that whatever is in those documents that the Congress so desperately wants could possibly be anything more than how this administration made the mistake of signing onto a policy idea promoted by the previous gang of idiots. Maybe, if I buy this toy book, I’ll find out…. The Obama administration’s continuing assault on Second Amendment rights. Why Fast and Furious could be a bigger scandal than Watergate. Glorioski!)

    I’d like to believe that this is all now just a war of tactics leading toward some sort of resolution — I’ll see your contempt citation and raise you executive privilege — just as I’d like to believe that Darrell Issa would awaken tomorrow morning as something more than Lee Atwater with a seat in Congress. I am not optimistic. If this is more evidence that the president has tumbled to the fact that his political enemies are completely unappeasable, well, that penny took god’s own time to drop, but I’m glad it did. They want Eric Holder’s head on a stick. They should be told, repeatedly, where that stick should be stored.

    Read more:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:13 PM ET, 06/20/2012
    Take your pick: GOP plans would either explode deficit, or hike taxes on middle class
    By Greg Sargent

    That’s the conclusion of a new report Senate Dems released today — one that was reviewed by nonpartisan experts at the Tax Policy Center.

    Mitt Romney and Republicans like Paul Ryan regularly benefit from what you might call a presumption of deficit hawkery. Their fiscal plans cut taxes in ways that disproportionately benefit the rich, without specifying what loopholes and deductions would be closed to pay for those tax cuts and keep the budget balanced. But polls regularly show Romney is trusted on the deficit, and many commentators regularly claim Ryan is Very Serious about fiscal matters.

    The new report from Senate Dems is designed to break that hold on the discourse Republicans enjoy.

    “This report will help change the debate and show that Republicans are far more concerned with lowering tax rates on the very wealthy than on reducing the deficit,” Schumer said on a conference call with reporters. “So far Romney and Ryan have gotten away with not having to answer tough questions about their plans.”

    “This report pulls up the skirts,” Schumer said.

    The report finds that the Ryan budget — which Romney has endorsed — would require the middle class to pay much more in taxes to keep it revenue neutral. The Ryan plan would cut the top rate from 35 percent and replace the tax code with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent. The report says the only way to make up those revenues would be by getting rid of deductions that would mean taxes would go up by $2,700 on households that make between $100,000 and $200,000 per year.

    Republicans are arguing that the report is way premature, and that there may be other ways to make up the savings. A Ryan spokesman has now said he’s open to “changes” in the low capital gains tax.

    I asked Roberton Williams of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center to assess the Dems’ claims. He said Dems were merely making assumptions about the deductions the Ryan plan would close. But he also noted that until the Romney and Ryan plans specify how they would pay for their tax cuts, they should be considered deficit busters. Williams:

    “The Ryan plan as laid out is a revenue loser and would make it harder to bring the deficit under control. As laid out, both plans lose lots of revenues and would make the deficit worse.”
    The larger context here is that Romney has embraced Ryan economics, and has openly suggested he sees no need to specify what loopholes and deductions he’d close to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy — for the duration of the election. There’s been some chatter today about that big Politico story lamenting that Campaign 2012 has been about trivial matters and suggesting reporters need to do a better job taking on the important questions at the heart of this election. This might be a good place to start.

  15. rikyrah says:

    June 20, 2012
    Let Mitt be Mitt

    In his political love life, Ross Douthat yearns for a little excitement, a few fireworks–a bit of real passion, something perhaps less than Byronic but more than the phonebook. Douthat’s trying, he’s really trying, to love the one he’s with, I’ll give him credit for that, but his man keeps dozing on the sofa by dusk:

    [L]ately the Romney campaign seems to have decided that they can win this election without taking any substantial risks at all…; his general-election campaign seems carefully constructed to be as cautious and boring and even attention-repelling as possible…; the riskiest move the presumptive Republican nominee has made in the last two months was his decision to attend a fund-raiser with Donald Trump.

    Douthat seems surprised, and for the life of me I can’t understand why. In Romney’s robotic ways he represents the McDonaldization of American politics: you can have that tasteless, artery-clogging gob of processed animal flesh and perfect(ly) white bread with mustard or without, with onions or without, with pickles or without; but however you have it, it’ll be bland, because it’s meant to be tasteless, because some tastes offend.

    Douthat urges behavior modification:

    [S]ometimes the best way to win a bloc of voters is to actually try to win them. In this case, that would probably mean offering a policy agenda more attuned to the ways in which recent Republican economic policy hasn’t always delivered for middle-income voters – a health care agenda that promises more to the uninsured, say, or a tax agenda that’s more family-friendly than the current Romney proposals.

    In other words, Douthat suggests that at the eleventh hour the Republican presidential candidate woo him and others with wholly non-Republican policies. Douthat’s gentle, euphemistic counseling and attempt at “meaningful” communication is hilarious: Dear Mitt, please scuttle, if you wouldn’t mind, “recent Republican economic policy [which] hasn’t always delivered for middle-income voters”–yes, a gut-wrenching, retirement-demolishing, house-foreclosing, job-obliterating great depression is generally deemed short in the middle-class, happiness-delivery department–and “a health care agenda that promises more to the uninsured” is love’s way of saying either an individual mandate or single-payer.

    But I’m going to defend Mitt here. He should, with no little manly justification, just tell Ross: “You knew who I was, you knew what I was, before we got engaged. So don’t try to change me now.”

  16. rikyrah says:

    How President Obama drives the GOP off an extremist cliff
    First of all, let me say that President Obama’s move on giving young immigrants a reprieve was absolutely the right thing to do. Its good policy. End of story.

    But its also a perfect example of how his conciliatory rhetoric acts as ruthless strategy…something I’ve been writing about for a very long time now.

    We all know that Senator Marco Rubio was working on a Republican alternative to the DREAM Act as a way to soften the blows they’ve inflicted on their support in the Latino community. And we also know that what President Obama did was to basically implement Rubio’s alternative via directive.

    In a world where Republicans were sane, this would result in someone like Rubio congratulating the President and joining him in implementing a policy that he supported. But of course that’s not what happened. Rubio is now crying, taking his toys, and going home. And its all big bad Obama’s fault!

    It comes as no surprise that Obama’s directive is celebrated by immigrants and Latinos. And today we find out that it is generally supported by likely voters 2:1 (64% to 30%). Ruh-roh Republicans.

    We’ve watched this happen over and over again over the last 3 1/2 years. Whenever President Obama embraces something Republicans say they support, they become terrified of what it would mean if they actually worked with him to tackle the challenges that face us. And so instead of working with him, they go into obstruction mode and paint themselves into an ever more extremist corner.

    You want to know why Republicans keep insisting on jumping off an extremist cliff? There’s your perfect example of how/why it keeps happening.

    I’ll close with 2 quotes that regular readers will have seen here before. The first is from Mark Schmitt.

    One way to deal with that kind of bad-faith opposition is to draw the person in, treat them as if they were operating in good faith, and draw them into a conversation about how they actually would solve the problem. If they have nothing, it shows. And that’s not a tactic of bipartisan Washington idealists — it’s a hard-nosed tactic of community organizers, who are acutely aware of power and conflict.

    And the second from Jonathan Chait.

    This apparent paradox is one reason Obama’s political identity has eluded easy definition. On the one hand, you have a disciple of the radical community organizer Saul Alinsky turned ruthless Chicago politician. On the other hand, there is the conciliatory post-partisan idealist. The mistake here is in thinking of these two notions as opposing poles. In reality it’s all the same thing. Obama’s defining political trait is the belief that conciliatory rhetoric is a ruthless strategy.

  17. rikyrah says:

    June 20, 2012
    Fatuous and Furious
    Michael Steel, spokesman for John Boehner:

    Until now, everyone believed that the decisions regarding ‘Fast and Furious’ were confined to the Department of Justice. The White House decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation or the cover-up that followed. The Administration has always insisted that wasn’t the case. Were they lying, or are they now bending the law to hide the truth?

    Adds Politico:

    Some House Republicans also tried to invoke the famous Watergate-era mantra, “Who knew what and when did they know it?” That was meant to suggest a more extensive scandal, though the lawmakers offered no new evidence to back up such a claim.

    My italics.

    In a sane world, italics wouldn’t be needed, because no such histrionic rot would be available to report. In a political season–by definition, insane–we expect bad, overwrought theatre from both parties; however until 14 years ago we never expected one of those parties to attempt a nullification of the last presidential election by congressional fiat–a coup, really. And until now, we certainly never expected the same party to so consistently reveal itself as ruthlessly hostile to the nation’s best interests and better angels.

    It seems there is no goodness, no virtue, no honor so historically engrained in the American character that it’s to be left unmolested by the GOP. The party is fully deployed in the broadest of broadside assaults on all legitimate political opposition, on republican integrity, on any sense of fair play, on public civility, even on plain human decency.

    There is, as they say, nothing sacred to these contemporary pseudoconservatives, except power–theirs.

    Lately my memory banks have experienced some serious flashbacks to something Bertrand Russell once wrote on the pitfalls of a liberal democracy in which executive and legislative powers are separated:

    Where such a doctrine is embodied in the Constitution, the only way to avoid occasional civil war is to practice compromise and common sense. But compromise and common sense are habits of mind, and cannot be embodied in a written constitution.

    There, in a mere two sentences, is the heart of the Mann-Ornstein diagnosis, “The Republicans are the problem”–for among them, there is no corresponding compromising or commonsensical habit of mind. They are instead the embodiment of a mindless rage in full pursuit of total power regained. Should the country go down as collateral damage, so be it.

    Prior to virtually every national election we are tutored by excitable pundits and sonorous politicians that this election could very well be America’s most crucial one. We generally dismiss their alarm as self-serving hype. But this time, they’ll be right.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Why Artur Davis is wrong: Republicans squandered any black good will

    Former Democratic representative Artur Davis (R-AL) gets an A for effort. His attempt to put a positive spin on Republicans’ popularity among black voters requires a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance. Davis, who lost in his Democratic primary in 2010, recently announced he’s switching parties and is voting for Mitt Romney in 2012. The newly-minted member of the GOP is taking his show on the road, calming the waters for black voters to potentially take a serious look at the GOP in upcoming elections.

    Davis told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that even though he supported President Obama in 2008 the reality of the first black president in the White House didn’t meet his expectations. “The reason I got behind [President Obama] was twofold,” said Davis. “Number one, perhaps naively, I believed that if Barack Obama got elected that it would completely change race relations in this country. Number two, I believe that the Democratic party would change because I believed, again perhaps naively and it turns out mistakenly, that Barack Obama represented the kind of center-wing of the Democratic party that Bill Clinton represented.”

    Davis claims Obama didn’t deliver, but fails to mention Republican obstruction, and goes on to conclude that after Obama leaves office, presumably if Romney wins, black voters will begin to join him in an exodus over to the Republican party.

    “I do think that after President Obama leaves the scene, win or lose he will not be on the ballot again,” said Davis. “When he leaves the scene, I do think African-Americans are prepared to look seriously at the Republican party, as are Latinos, if the Republican party earns those votes.”

    Davis’ assertion is way off the mark. Perhaps he may have overlooked the plethora of reasons why black and Latino voters, even if they are unhappy with the president, are not going to take a serious look at the Republican party until drastic changes are made to the party’s platform. The truth is the Republican party, hasn’t earned the votes of any person of color because the party hasn’t taken the issues that impact people of color seriously for nearly a generation. Their overt pandering to the far right of their base alienates black voters.

    In some ways it’s a very simple proposition. The Republican party must seek to be more inclusive in their rhetoric and policy proposals before black voters will look to them in any substantial way as a reasonable alternative to Democrats. Black voters migrated to the Democratic party because of policy and they stay because there aren’t viable policy alternatives being proposed by Republicans, particularly in the Obama era.

    Republicans have also created a dynamic in the Obama years, perhaps as a result of the most high profile and loud pundits on their side, that they do not even think the first black president is a legitimate holder of the office. The “birthers” may be a political sideshow with Donald Trump as ringmaster, but for black voters the failure of Republican leadership and the nominee to denounce those who question the president’s citizenship is a dealbreaker. There are many African-Americans who simply view “birtherism” as racism under a different name.

    Furthermore, the Republican obstruction over the past three and a half years has diminished their stature and level of seriousness. The GOP hasn’t simply disagreed with Obama on policy, they have blatantly said they are unwilling to work together with him to pass any legislation that might be viewed as a positive politically for him, even if doing so hurts the country. The economic recovery has stalled by and large because many of the proposals, including the tax-cut-laden stimulus, have been blocked, attacked, and manipulated by the GOP.

    Much of the American Jobs Act remains a figment of the Obama administration’s imagination as Republicans feign outrage over Americans suffering through tough economic times. African-American voters are paying attention not just to the economic situation but also to the opposition, who is blocking progress every chance they get.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Another Republican Lie: GOP Admits They Have No Plan to Replace ObamaCare
    By: Sarah JonesJune 17, 2012

    Remember the Republican 2010 “repeal and replace” Obamacares mantra? Well, kiss that goodbye. Their new mantra is “repeal” and deal.

    With the Supreme Court expected to rule on the Affordable Healthcare Act within the next two weeks, Republicans are taking yet another out of touch, premature victory tour, gloating about having no plans to replace healthcare reform. They are swearing to repeal any parts left standing. No, seriously — Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) explained, “The goal is to repeal anything that is left standing.”

    The reason Republicans won’t give reporters their plan to replace Obamacares is because they have no intention of replacing it any time soon. Michael Steele dodged the question with the two year old stale talking point that Republicans won’t be making the mistake that Democrats made in “passing a bill no one read.”

    What Steele meant, of course, was that he figures most Americans will buy that Republicans did not read it, or have their highly paid aides read it. In theory, the people should be outraged by this, as they pay legislators to do just this – read bills. But instead, Republicans have sold a segment of the population on how wrong it was for Democrats to expect them to do their jobs. In reality, most legislators never read full bills but that doesn’t stop them from voting. Furthermore, Republicans confuse ideology with governing, as we’ve seen in their two page “plans” that are nothing but empty bumper sticker slogans.

    Republicans are disingenuously claiming that because some health insurance companies say they will keep parts of AHA, there’s no need for Republicans to come up with a replacement plan. Of course, when you look at the fine print, only a few companies have offered to do so, and those offers are very limited in terms of whom they impact. Folks with individual polices and small group plans will get a few of the benefits of AHA, but those with large employer plans will be subject to their employer’s whim.

    As for the Medicare doughnut hole, seniors are on their own under the Republican wing. The framing on this is just priceless, “I don’t think anybody intends to get involved,” is how Republicans are responding to questions about Medicare prescription coverage. Give Republican spin doctor Luntz a Krispy Kreme for ducking the ramifications while alluding to “less government involvement” as a way of avoiding telling seniors they will be paying more for prescription coverage.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney plans posh weekend donor retreat featuring Rove and V.P. hopefuls
    By Philip Rucker,
    Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 10:26 AM

    The Washington Post Fresh off the best fundraising stretch of his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney plans to spend this weekend strategizing and fraternizing with his biggest bundlers at a posh resort in Park City, Utah.

    The presumptive nominee and his senior advisers and aides are hosting two days of policy sessions and campaign strategy discussions at a Deer Valley resort for more than 100 top fundraisers and their spouses. Those who raised more than $100,000 are expected to attend.

    More than a dozen Republican heavy-hitters are scheduled to join the private retreat as special guests. According to a fundraiser who is attending, guests include some GOP stars believed to be contenders to be Romney’s vice presidential running mate: Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Sen. John Thune (S.D.).

    Bush strategist Karl Rove, who helps run American Crossroads, the well-funded GOP super PAC, is planning to speak at the retreat, said the fundraiser, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the event. Rove’s appearance could raise questions because of campaign finance laws barring any coordination between super PACs and actual campaigns.

    Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, also is scheduled to attend, according to the fundraiser.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Things Black Presidents (and First Ladies) Are Not Allowed to Do
    The growing list – according to Republicans and Republican-leaning media – of things white Presidents and their first ladies can do, but black ones can’t:

    1.Deliver State of the Union without being heckled
    2.Complete Rose Garden remarks without interruption
    3.Call for a joint session of Congress (the NERVE!)
    4.Take a vacation (LAZY!)
    5.Play golf (ELITIST!)
    6.Play basketball (GHETTO!)
    7.Attend Harvard (QUOTA!)
    8.Have a birthday party (must instead be called “hip hop barbecue”)
    9.Invite other black people to White House (THUGS!)
    10.Speak to school children
    11.Appoint judges
    12.Serve without providing long-form birth certificate to douchebag rich guy and racist Sheriff
    13.Serve without providing SAT scores (see #7)
    14.Lawfully use executive authority when Congress refuses to act
    15.Issue orders as Commander-in-Chief of the military
    16.Take a single scintilla of credit for killing the world’s biggest terrorist
    17.Run for re-election
    18.Raise funds for said run
    19.Go on late night TV
    20.Encourage healthy eating
    21.Have garden
    22.Do push-ups
    23.Display awesome arms
    24.Be larger than size 6
    And finally (for now), the big one…

    25. Use teleprompter

  22. rikyrah says:

    Ken Bennett should have quit while he was behind
    By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:21 PM EDT.

    About a month ago, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), who oversees the state’s elections, caused a giant mess, threatening to keep President Obama off the Arizona ballot due to imaginary questions about the president’s citizenship. He eventually backed down and said, “If I embarrassed the state, I apologize.”

    As it turns out, Bennett’s not quite done embarrassing Arizona.

    If you forward this clip to the 6:24 mark, you’ll notice that Bennett, who says he’s not a “birther,” has a new conspiracy theory. Nick Martin has the story of Bennett’s comments last week at a Republican event.

    Secretary of State Ken Bennett says he’s convinced Obama was born in Hawaii, but he now believes the president fraudulently claimed to be born in Kenya so he could get into college. He also believes the president has spent millions of dollars since then to cover it up. […]

    “Now, I know there’s a lot of people that are very skeptical as to whether he was born in Hawaii,” Bennett told the crowd. “Personally I believe that he was. I actually believe he was fibbing about being born in Kenya when he was trying to get into college and doing things like writing a book and on and on and on.”

    In the same video, you’ll notice Bennett telling the crowd that voters should “send him back home … wherever home is.” He added that Obama “has spent $1.5 or $2 million” to hide his college records.

    It’s worth noting that Bennett isn’t just the top election official in Arizona, he’s also the state co-chairman of Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in Arizona.

    So, here’s a question for the Republican presidential nominee: how comfortable is the candidate with his Arizona co-chairman’s crackpot ideas about the president

  23. rikyrah says:

    Ron Paul: I take Social Security checks but will eliminate it for others

    Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul on Tuesday admitted that he got a monthly Social Security check, a program that he eventually wants to eliminate.

    During an interview on MSNBC, Paul insisted that he would preserve Social Security longer than some of the others in his party.

    “I want young people to opt out of Social Security,” the Texas congressman told MSNBC contributor Mike Barnicle. “In my more pragmatic stands on how we get to the place I want to go, actually I’m probably offering a program where some of these programs that we have taught people to be so dependant on, I would probably preserve them longer than others because we are going to lose them because of the bankruptcy that is coming.”

    “Are you on Social Security,” The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein wondered. “Do you get Social Security checks?”

    “I do,” Paul replied

  24. rikyrah says:

    To Hannity, Ann Romney Is Off Limits, But Michelle Obama Is Fair Game

    Fox News host Sean Hannity hypocritically lashed out at MSNBC for comments critical of Ann Romney, claiming NBC’s “news brand deteriorate[d] with this attack.” But Hannity has repeatedly attacked First Lady Michelle Obama on everything from policy, to her clothing, to her views on race issues.

  25. Ametia says:


    Monday, June 18, 2012
    Slavery, Race, and Reunion: The NY Times White Washes the Rape of Michelle Obama’s Ancestors (Again)

    Why would any person honor rapist’s blood?

    Read it here:

  26. rikyrah says:

    Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 07:23 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney still trying to take credit for Obama’s auto rescue, claiming he would have done better

    Mitt Romney campaigned in Michigan Tuesday, which inevitably means he made a fresh round of fraudulent claims about President Obama’s auto rescue and the wisdom of Mitt Romney’s suggestions thereon:

    My policy had the same objective as the people in Detroit: I wanted to see the auto industry thrive and grow, and felt it needed a managed bankruptcy to be able to do so. It took the president a little longer to come around to that way of thinking,” Romney told WOOD TV8, according to a portion of the interview the network previewed. “He ultimately took the auto industry through bankruptcy. They went through that process. And now, with support they have received from government and the American people, they have come back strong. That’s a good thing. I would have done it faster than he did and saved us about $20 billion.”

    This is the problem when Mitt Romney is relatively consistent: It is so wearisome to have to list, again and again, the ways he is shamelessly distorting the facts. Here we have his tale of himself as a prophet, ignored at first but then heeded, only to have his prophecy denied by those who benefited from it. This is, of course, false.
    Romney continues to insist that the auto companies should have been put into managed bankruptcy at a moment when that was impossible, when bankruptcy would have meant liquidation. There was no private money available for a managed bankruptcy; the only way to keep GM and Chrysler open was government money, and the alternative was, yes, liquidation. There are only so many ways to say this, but it has been said by sources as varied as the Bush administration, the Obama administration, Chrysler’s bankruptcy judge, and independent economists from both parties.

    But Romney is not interested in the facts. He’s banking on not being called out on his lies consistently enough to make lying a losing strategy. Claiming credit for the managed bankruptcy that happened months, and one bailout, after his at-the-time-impossible call for managed bankruptcy is a winner for Mitt Romney as long as, I don’t know, maybe two out of three reporters let him get away with it. So, damn the facts, he’s going with it. This should not be a hard one for reporters: if you’re planning to ask Romney about the auto rescue, you know his talking points ahead of time, and the needed follow-up is not a mystery. Press him on this one.


  27. rikyrah says:

    Warren Campaign: What’s Scott Brown Afraid Of?
    Eric Kleefeld- June 20, 2012, 9:45 AM

    The Elizabeth Warren campaign is taking aim at the latest move by Republican Sen. Scott Brown to reject a debate invitation from the Edward M. Kennedy Institute — when the institute’s president Vicki Kennedy, widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, would not accept Brown’s demand that she pledge to not make any endorsement in the Massachusetts Senate race.

    “Elizabeth appreciated the invitation from UMass and from Mrs. Kennedy and was looking forward to participating in what would have been a fair and open debate, as it has been in the past,” Warren campaign manager Mindy Myers said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Scott Brown refused to participate in that debate hosted by one of the largest academic institutions in our state as well as a respected, non-partisan foundation, a debate he accepted and in which he participated two years ago. It’s not clear what he’s afraid of.”

    Brown’s campaign manager Jim Barnett said in an open letter to the institute on Monday:

    As the President of the Board of Trustees, Vicki Kennedy assured us in her June 8 letter that the Kennedy Institute is “non-partisan” and would therefore be an appropriate setting for a Senate debate. In order to proceed, we need to know that in keeping with the spirit of neutrality expressed in Vicki Kennedy’s letter that she will not endorse or otherwise get involved in this race.

  28. rikyrah says:

    When maturity is abandoned
    By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:42 AM EDT.

    Earlier this week, President Obama’s senior campaign strategist David Axelrod took a firm stand against heckling. “I strongly condemn heckling along Mitt’s route,” he said of the hecklers targeting Mitt Romney in Ohio. Axelrod added, “Let voters hear BOTH candidates & decide.”

    Obama spokesperson Ben LaBolt added, “We have sent a strong message to our supporters that this campaign should be an open exchange of ideas, not one where we drown out the other side by heckling and crashing events.”

    Any chance the Republican will also aim for the high road? Apparently not.

    Mitt Romney has declined to call on his supporters to stop heckling President Barack Obama’s campaign. […]

    Romney was asked if he would also condemn heckling during Obama events. He declined…. Romney says American politics has a “long history of heckling and free speech.”

    Romney specifically told Fox News Radio yesterday he doesn’t believe in “unilateral disarmament” when it comes to his supporters disrupting Democratic campaign events.

    Keep in mind, we’re talking about a fairly specific, deliberate plan from Romney Campaign HQ. They sent hecklers to disrupt an Obama campaign event in May, and last week, Team Romney sent its bus to circle an Obama event in Cleveland, honking its horn repeatedly, for no other reason than to be obnoxious. It’s presidential politics at a junior-high-school level.

    Most striking of all, instead of distancing himself from ugly tactics, Romney claims credit for this nonsense. As we talked about a few weeks ago, it’d be easy for the Republican to say, “If people are going to try to disrupt public events, that’s up to them. I’m running for president of the United States, and I don’t have time to concern myself with who is or isn’t heckling.”

    But that’s not what Romney is saying at all.


    On the contrary, he seems almost proud of the disruptions. Remember this from three weeks ago?

  29. Ametia says:

    The 7 Major Issues Mitt Romney Won’t Take A Position On

    Here are seven major issues on which Romney has refused to take a stand:

    1. Romney won’t say whether he would undo Obama’s decision to end deportations of DREAM-eligible immigrants. Romney and his campaign passed up numerous opportunities over the weekend to say whether he agreed with the substance of the Obama administration’s order to stop deporting some young undocumented immigrants and whether a President Romney would rescind the order, saying only, “We’ll look at that — we’ll look at that setting as we– as we reach that.”

    2. Romney won’t say whether he’d support the Paycheck Fairness Act.Romney repeatedly dodged questions about whether he’d support the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill to crack down on wage discrimination and close the wage gap between men and women. His campaign didn’t respond to five requests by the conservative Washington Times seeking his stance on the bill.

    3. Romney won’t specify which tax loopholes he’d close. Asked yesterday which tax deductions he would eliminate to offset his massive proposed tax-cuts for the rich, Romney refused to offer any specifics on a plan that he has admitted is so vague it cannot even be scored, saying only, “We’ll go through that process with Congress.”

    4. Romney won’t say which federal agencies he’d eliminate. At a private fundraiser, Romney reportedly told donors he would eliminate or combine “a lot of departments in Washington,” but that he was “probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go.” Why? Because he feared telling the voters his plans before the election might hurt his political chances, just as it did in his 1994 Senate race.

    5. Romney won’t say whether he supports the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Romney’s campaign refused to say whether he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a law that helps women hold employers accountable for discriminating in the pay practices based on gender. Romney said, “I’m not going to go back and look at all the prior laws and say had I been there which ones would I have supported and signed.”

    6. Romney won’t say whether he’d support full reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Offering only general support for renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, Romney would not specify whether he supported the bipartisan Senate version or the GOP House rolllback bill. His spokeswoman said only that he “hopes can be reauthorized without turning it into a political football.”

    7. Romney won’t say whether say whether he’d eliminate the “carried interest” tax break for private equity partners. Romney’s campaign hasrefused to answer questions about whether he supports eliminating the “carried interest” tax break for private equity partners, even when asked directly, saying only that we should probably “take a close look at to see if we’re treating capital gains as capital gains or are we treating, in some cases, carried interest as capital gains when it’s more like ordinary income.”

  30. Ametia says:


  31. rikyrah says:

    In Ohio, Confident Dems Say Romney’s No Match For Their Ground Game
    Pema Levy- June 20, 2012, 11:26 AM

    Democrats’ crushing loss in the Wisconsin recall has forced a round of self-examination within the party over how to best spend precious resources: building a sophisticated ground game, or bulking up their presence in TV attack ads. Democrats in Ohio — a battleground state considered the top electoral prize by both campaigns — have landed squarely on the former.

    After a 7-to-1 spending advantage helped Gov. Scott Walker defeat his recall in Wisconsin earlier this month, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel sent out a panicked email. “The Wisconsin results should serve as a wake-up call for Democrats,” he wrote. “[O]n the ground organizing is critically important, but it must be coupled with an aggressive air campaign.”

    The rest of the party is sounding a similar alarm, worrying about being massively outspent in the first election cycle since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision opened the floodgates of unlimited campaign spending. If Wisconsin showed anything, they say, it’s that Democrats’ ground operation was no match for Republicans’ air campaign, which aims to hit $1 billion this cycle.

    But in Ohio — a state no Republican has won the presidency without — state Democrats insist that their massive ground game will repel whatever Republican bombardment comes over the airwaves.

    You know the old saying: Can’t buy me love,” Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio state Democratic Party told TPM. In Ohio, Redfern said, “We’re fully confident that infrastructure will overcome massive amounts of money on television.”

    Redfern, a former state senator, has staked his reputation on taking the Ohio Democratic Party from an organization in shambles to one with the most sophisticated ground-game operation of any state party in the country. The party’s website boasts of Redfern’s “88-County Strategy,” which “recognizes that Democrats win by competing for votes in every area of Ohio,” it reads. Ohio Democrats believe the strategy helped win big victories in 2006, 2008 and 2011.

    “The fact of the matter is, you cannot invent infrastructure overnight. It has to be sustained, it has to be well-funded,” Redfearn said. In 2005, when Redfearn took the helm, the party was in tatters and had only six employees, he said. Now they have more than 100, the largest of any state Democratic party in the nation. Combined staffing for the Obama campaign in Ohio, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown’s re-election campaign and the Ohio Democratic Party will be about 500 people, with thousands of volunteers, said Redfern. Redfern says this summer they will have offices in all 88 counties, with up to seven offices in some locations — on top of the 100 field offices the Obama campaign intends to have in the state.

  32. rikyrah says:

    White House asserts executive privilege before Holder vote
    By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:30 AM EDT.

    As part of the House Republicans’ laser-like focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs,” the House Oversight Committee scheduled a vote today on holding Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) wants more documents related to the so-called “Fast and Furious” controversy, and he’s been unsatisfied with Holder’s efforts to reach a compromise.

    Last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said, “The only constitutionally viable exception to the Department of Justice`s obligation under the subpoena would be executive privilege.” So, today, the White House asserted executive privilege.
    “I write now to inform you that the president has asserted executive privilege over relevant … documents,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole wrote to the committee.

    Executive privilege allows the White House to argue that some private communications between the president and members of his administration cannot be divulged to Congress.

    In theory, this should probably affect the contempt vote — Issa recently explained, “We very clearly want to respect the history of executive privilege” — but it won’t. The far-right committee chairman said the assertion of executive privilege in this case is “untimely,” so the vote will proceed anyway, because Issa wants it to.

    The White House’s message, meanwhile, has the benefit of being accurate: “President George W. Bush asserted executive privilege six times, while Bill Clinton did so in 14 instances, ‘both of whom protected the same category of documents we’re protecting today (ie after-the-fact internal Executive Branch materials responding to congressional and media inquiries — in this case from the Justice Department). In fact, dating back to President Reagan, Presidents have asserted executive privileged 24 times. President Obama has gone longer without asserting the privilege in a Congressional dispute than any President in the last three decades.'”

  33. rikyrah says:

    GOP Leaders Line Up Against Obama’s Immigration Move — While Romney Remains Mum
    Sahil Kapur- June 20, 2012, 5:50 AM

    Republicans are lining up against President Obama’s end-run around Congress to administratively grant immunity to some undocumented immigrants, effectively ensuring that he reaps the political dividends of the move among Hispanic voters — and deepening Mitt Romney’s predicament with Latinos and conservatives.

    New polls suggest that Obama is gaining support among Hispanics, who have been unhappy with him for failing to pass immigration reform and for deporting illegal immigrants at a record pace.

    Even as prominent conservatives like George Will and Bill Kristol give their party leaders an escape hatch by praising Obama’s move, elected Republicans have instead decided to take cover with their anti-immigration base and stand against it. Careful to wrap their critique in procedural concerns and avoid discussing the substance, GOP lawmakers are lining up in droves to decry Obama’s shift as executive overreach. Joining the pack Tuesday was House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), even as he expressed sympathy for the plight undocumented youth brought to the U.S. by their parents.

    “The question remains whether he violated the Constitution,” Boehner said, adding that “the president’s actions make it much more difficult for us to work in a bipartisan way to get to a permanent solution.”

    Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that Obama last year expressed doubts about the legitimacy of such a move. Asked Tuesday whether the new policy is “amnesty,” McConnell responded, “If it leads to citizenship as a reward for some kind of illegal entry, that could be argued.” But he added that members of his conference intend to “withhold judgment” until Romney takes a stance, “and I think many of them will have similar views.”

    So far, Romney has offered few hints on where he stands.

  34. rikyrah says:

    ‘Where’s the president’s plan?’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:36 AM EDT.

    Complaining about President Obama’s new immigration policy, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said yesterday the move will make it more “difficult” to pass a comprehensive reform package. Since reform efforts are impossible in this Congress anyway, it wasn’t much of a complaint.

    But Boehner added something else that struck me as interesting.

    Where’s the president’s immigration plan? Where does the president stand on this issue? Instead of campaigning all the time, maybe he ought to come back to Washington and go back to work,” Boehner said.

    It was an odd thing to say. If the House Speaker wants to know where President Obama’s immigration plan is, he can type “President Obama’s immigration plan” into the Google machine and, wouldn’t you know it, one of the first results is President Obama’s immigration plan. It’s 29 pages long, written in easy-to-read language, and it’s been online since May 2011.

    Maybe Boehner isn’t much of a reader? Well, Obama also delivered a detailed speech, outlining his immigration plan, last summer in Texas. The Speaker can watch the video.

    When Boehner asks, “Where’s the president’s immigration plan? Where does the president stand on this issue?” it’s disconcerting because it suggests the Speaker doesn’t just disagree with Obama’s approach; it suggests the Speaker doesn’t understand that Obama’s approach exists.

    What’s more, I feel like this sort of thing comes up all the time, with folks demanding Obama produce plans he’s already unveiled.


    Mitt Romney recently complained that the president refuses to present a jobs plan, conveniently overlooking the president’s presentation of a detailed jobs plan. The New York Times’ Thomas Friedman complained last November that Obama hadn’t put forward a plan for debt reduction, apparently unaware that the administration published a detailed, 80-page report, outlining exactly what the White House supports. Officials even prepared fact sheets and summaries for more casual readers.

    Now Boehner is under the impression that Obama’s immigration plan is a well-kept secret, despite the fact that it’s been publicly available for over a year.

    Obama’s critics realize the White House has a website, don’t they?

  35. rikyrah says:

    20 Jun 2012 10:00 AM
    The Obama Campaign’s Nuclear Option

    Frank Rich implores Obama to destroy Romney with negative ads:

    Doing it right doesn’t necessarily mean doing right by the facts. An effective attack ad doesn’t require strict accuracy as long as its broad caricature rings true. It has to land a punch as propaganda, not journalism. For all his trigger-happy rhetoric, Goldwater was not in favor of starting World War III, whereas the theoretically peace-loving Johnson would prove, after reelection, to be an enthusiastic escalator of the disastrous war in Vietnam. But if the “Daisy” ad was not determinative in Johnson’s reelection victory and not a balanced depiction of Goldwater, it remains the gold standard of attack ads for good reason. Now that Obama is trying to fend off a GOP as radically right wing as Goldwater was, it’s a standard he will have to meet.

    Galupo finds “something rank about this business”:

    I don’t mean the dodgy attack ads, which like the poor will always be with us; I mean Frank Rich’s embrace of them. Partisan tribalism, with its tolerance of behavior that would elicit howls of outrage if the other side were doing it, is one of the most dispiriting aspects of modern politics. I have a hunch liberals will hate the executive orders of a President Romney, and I’m pretty sure Frank Rich would not have even considered writing this piece in 2004 on behalf of the Swift Boaters

    But if your enemy brings an AK-47 to the fight, what’s a man gonna do? Become Dukakis?

  36. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:16 AM ET, 06/20/2012
    No end to the cynicism
    By Greg Sargent

    Top Romney adviser Kerry Healey, pushing back the other day on the Obama campaign’s attacks on Romney’s 47th-in-the-nation jobs record as Governor of Massachusetts

    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. …
    “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.”

    From the Romney campaign’s press release this morning arguing, in effect, that jobs have been destroyed on Obama’s watch

    Under President Obama, The Nation Has Lost 552,000 Jobs.

    I know I’m repeating myself here, but as long as the Romney campaign keeps doing this, it should be pointed out. The Romney camp has been claiming that the “net” jobs lost on Obama’s watch proves his policies failed, even though it is calculating that job loss number by factoring in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs the free-falling economy was shedding when Obama took office, before his policies took effect.

    Yesterday the Times alluded to this in a piece fact-checking the two candidates

    Is it reasonable to start counting in January 2009? The economy was already shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, and none of Mr. Obama’s policies would take effect for some time. Starting the count just one month later would show a small net increase in jobs for the president’s tenure in office. Yet if he cannot be blamed for job losses in the early months of his term, can Mr. Obama be held responsible for not replacing the lost jobs more quickly?

    Yes, Obama’s policies can, and should, be held at least partly responsible for the slow pace of the recovery, as should Republicans for refusing to allow Senate debate on the second round of Obama jobs proposals. But as the Times notes, the metric Romney is using to make its argument doesn’t make any sense. And yet the Romney camp has been using this metric for months and months and months, in every conceivable forum, and it is absolutely central to his whole case for the presidency. What’s more, as the Healey quote above shows, the Romney campaign doesn’t want this standard applied to his record.

    Yet the basic absurdity at the heart of this is almost never noted in the national press. Indeed, the Times piece is notable simply because it took the trouble to mention the problem here, which is extremely rare, even though the Romney camp’s ongoing use of this metric could not be more relevant to what this whole campaign is about.

    Paul Krugman’s question continues to remain relevant: “Has there ever been a candidacy this cynical?

  37. rikyrah says:

    Make Them Debate the Issues
    by BooMan
    Wed Jun 20th, 2012 at 10:31:56 AM EST

    Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman have a long piece in Politico about why this presidential campaign seems so lame. I have a simple answer for that. Our politics have been broken by a combination of Republican strategy and tactics, divided government, and the Senate rules. Simply put, the Obama administration can do all sorts of things right, but they can’t implement any policies legislatively on their own terms. That’s why you see them do things like decline to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court instead of simply repealing it, or deciding not to deport certain people rather then signing the DREAM Act. Obama can’t offer big sweeping changes because no matter how this election turns out, he won’t have enough political support to overcome Republican filibusters in the Senate.
    As for Romney, he has endorsed completely radical and deeply unpopular policies that he is unwilling to discuss in any detail because it would hurt him politically. So, he’s reduced to sniping and voicing platitudes. Obama is too honest to promise large changes. Romney is too dishonest to admit that he’s proposed them.

    Conservatives really don’t like their candidate, so their only enthusiasm is for voting out the Democratic president. Progressives have mixed feelings about the president, but share his frustration about the way the Republicans are able to block reforms.

    If the press wants this election to be a less desultory affair, they should force Romney to debate the Ryan budget with the president. Romney will lose that debate very badly, but that is his own fault. If the press’s job is to inform the electorate, they should make this election a clear choice between two alternate visions for the country. Don’t let either candidate go day after day without defending the implications of their own proposals.

    And let’s discuss why our political system is paralyzed and who is at fault for that. People need to be clear about that, too. If people prefer the president’s balanced approach to the apocalyptic Ryan budget, they should know that the president needs control of Congress to do what he wants to do. Reelecting him will prevent the worst from happening, but that alone will not be enough to break us out of this gridlock.

  38. rikyrah says:


    The Honorable Darrell E. Issa
    June 20, 2012
    Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
    U.S. House of Representatives
    Washington, DC 20515
    Dear Mr. Chairman:

    After you rejected the Department’s recent offers of additional accommodations, you
    stated that the Committee intends to proceed with its scheduled meeting to consider a resolution
    citing the Attorney General for contempt for failing to comply with the Committee’s subpoena of
    October 11, 2011. I write now to inform you that the President has asserted executive privilege
    over the relevant post-February 4, 2011, documents.

    We regret that we have arrived at this point, after the many steps we have taken to
    address the Committee’s concerns and to accommodate the Committee’s legitimate oversight
    interests regarding Operation Fast and Furious. Although we are deeply disappointed that the
    Committee appears intent on proceeding with a contempt vote, the Department remains willing
    to work with the Committee to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues.
    Over the last fourteen months, the Department has provided a significant amount of
    information to the Committee in an extraordinary effort to accommodate the Committee’s
    legitimate oversight interests. The Department has provided the Committee with over 7,600
    pages of documents and has made numerous high-level officials available for public
    congressional testimony, transcribed interviews, and briefings. Attorney General Holder has
    answered congressional questions about Fast and Furious during nine public hearings, including
    two before the Committee. The Department has devoted substantial resources to responding to
    these congressional inquiries.

  39. rikyrah says:

    A BLACK MAN becomes President and suddenly it’s ‘ should we respect the office?’



    Must We Respect the Office of the Presidency?By Jonathan Chait

    As disturbing as it was when Neil Munro of the bottom-feeding right-wing publication the Daily Caller heckled President Obama last week, some of the condemnations of Munro have a disturbing royalist undertone to them. The phrase that keeps popping up is “respect for the office.” Conservatives and liberals alike are making the point, the most recent example being my friend Dana Milbank in the Washington Post, who accuses Munro of “debasing the presidency itself.”

    This wave of fretting over respect for the institution implies that we owe the president more respect than we owe other Americans — a common belief, but one at odds with the democratic spirit. In his farewell address, Jimmy Carter (or his speechwriter, Hendrik Hertzberg) summed up that spirit quite pithily when he said that he “will lay down my official responsibilities in this office to take up once more the only title in our democracy superior to that of president, the title of citizen.”

    The problem with Munro’s heckling of Obama is that heckling is wrong, whether the speaker is president or a candidate for the PTA. You don’t start screaming at somebody in the middle of prepared remarks. You wait until the speech is over. Likewise, the deranged smears of Obama that have lurked unmolested around the edges of the Republican Party — Birtherism and other wild theories — can be faulted on the simple grounds that they are insane. You don’t need to invoke any special rights for the president to attack them.

    This urge to express condemnations of right-wing ugliness as an affront to the dignity of the presidency — and not merely as an affront to a level of decency owed to one and all — implies that we owe the president more respect or deference than we owe other Americans. Hardly anybody spells out that argument, because to spell it out would be to expose its ridiculousness.

    The President commands a vast apparatus designed to imbue him with dignity — the backdrops of the White House, a team of speechwriters, saluting military members, Secret Service, Air Force One. All these things may be necessary for the functioning of the job, but they also create an atmosphere of grandeur and quasi-royalty that’s at odds with what is supposed to be a public servant. Whatever we think of the person who holds the job at any particular moment — I happen to respect him a lot — the presidency itself has, if anything, too much public esteem.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Road Trip Helps Romney Brush Up on Banter

    Mitt Romney’s English is direct and to the point, useful for attacking President Obama on the stump or dismantling his Republican opponents in primary debates. He is even fluent in French. But the one language Mr. Romney doesn’t seem to speak is small talk.

    Over a five-day “Every Town Counts” bus tour through six swing states that is scheduled to wrap up on Tuesday, Mr. Romney’s attempts at banter were on sometimes painful display as he toured a factory floor here; scooped chocolate chip ice cream in Milford, N.H.; and served pancakes at a Father’s Day breakfast in Brunswick, Ohio.

    At the breakfast, Mr. Romney introduced two of his sons, Matt and Craig, in a slightly unusual fashion. “I love them,” Mr. Romney said. “I love them like they’re my own. And they are! Craig!”

    With that, Craig Romney rescued the microphone from his father.

    The bus trip was perhaps Mr. Romney’s deepest plunge into retail politics since the primaries, when he delighted his traveling press corps by guessing voters’ ages and ethnicities (often incorrectly) and proving himself a gaffe-prone jokester.

    Mr. Romney joins a long list of presidential candidates who sometimes struggled with the basics of presidential campaigning. Former President George W. Bush was a fumbling and at times hilariously clumsy orator, so much so that entire books were devoted to his malapropisms.

    The Mr. Romney who emerged over this recent tour still came across as goofily old-fashioned, but he was also more polished on the stump, able to improvise and riff and better handle the surprises that naturally accompany a rambling motorcade through the heartland.

    As Mr. Romney’s traveling press secretary, Rick Gorka, said before the buses set off, “Welcome to Day 1 of summer camp!”

    • Ametia says:

      Sorry NYT; the Romney Road trip did nothing but further alienate him from regular Americans, and it further proved how OUT OF TOUCH, FAKE, EVASIVE, and ENTITLED he is. *looking@u2missANN.

  41. Ametia says:

    Good lawd, “NAUSEATING” Has Corey Booker been hanging with this turd Tucker?

  42. Ametia says:

    First Lady Michelle Obama touted her husband’s accomplishments before a crowd of more than 1,000 supporters at a rally Tuesday in Henderson. 6-19-12

  43. Ametia says:

    First Lady Makes Southern Nevada Campaign Stop

    HENDERSON, Nev. – First Lady Michelle Obama was back in southern Nevada Tuesday afternoon for a campaign event in Henderson. Obama rallied Democratic Party volunteers, hoping Nevadans will vote for her husband as they did in 2008.

    This was not a policy speech. This was a rally designed to fire up the volunteers. An estimated 1,000 people filled the Henderson Convention Center to hear the first lady’s pitch for her husband President Barack Obama.

    “Just last week, this administration announced new measures to lift the shadow of deportation from many of these young people who came here as children and were raised here as Americans,” she said.

    Some in the room were volunteers in the 2008 campaign. With Nevada still suffering from recession, the first lady told volunteers to remind voters the economy is rebounding – albeit slowly – from the 2008 crash.

    “Let them know that for the past twenty seven straight months, this economy has actually been gaining private sector jobs, a total of more than four million jobs in just two years,” she said.


    • Ametia says:

      Michelle Obama hugs campaign volunteer Teresa Crawford before speaking to a room full of volunteers Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Las Vegas. Michelle Obama urged voters in Nevada’s most politically divided city to give her husband four more years. It was the first lady’s third visit to southern Nevada this year and her first foray into the state’s all-important swing neighborhoods.

  44. Ametia says:

    Obama’s Lawyer Demands Information on Group’s Donors

    The lawyer for President Obama demanded on Tuesday that Crossroads GPS disclose its donors, saying in a complaint to the Federal Election Commission that the group is plainly a “political committee” subject to federal reporting requirements.
    In the complaint, obtained by The New York Times, Robert F. Bauer, the campaign’s chief counsel, writes that the group — founded by Karl Rove, among others — can no longer shield the identity of its donors by defining itself as a “social welfare” organization.
    “Crossroads seems to believe that it can run out the clock and spend massive sums of money in this election without accounting for a trace of its funding,” Mr. Bauer wrote in the complaint, filed Tuesday. “Now, a federal appellate court has issued a ruling that makes clear that Crossroads is out of time.”
    The case Mr. Bauer cites is “Real Truth About Obama v. FEC,” in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the government must determine the “major purpose” of groups like Crossroads.
    In a letter to Mr. Rove and Steven Law, the president of Crossroads, Mr. Bauerurges them to immediately disclose their donors.

    “Will Crossroads fight this out, knowing that disclosure is inevitable but looking to delay until after the election?” Mr. Bauer wrote.

    A spokesman for Crossroads did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

    So far this year, Democrats have been severely out-raised by groups like Crossroads GPS, which have tapped millionaires and billionaires to build war chests for the coming Congressional and presidential campaigns.
    Official “super PACs” that openly back candidates are required to disclose their donors. But there is no disclosure requirement for groups that are formed as educational groups under a special part of the tax code.
    Those organizations can raise unlimited sums from wealthy individuals without ever disclosing where the money came from. It is information from those groups that Mr. Obama’s campaign is hoping to pry open with the complaint.

    But even if the election commission were to agree with the Democratic position, the argument would likely end up in court, where it could take months before a decision would be rendered — possibly after the 2012 campaign were over.
    That would provide little comfort to Mr. Obama or his Democratic allies who may have found themselves buried by an avalanche of negative advertising financed bygroups like Crossroads.

    • Ametia says:

      Thanks for this. Love this photo; it speaks volumes…

      Campaign volunteers for President Barack Obama listen to a speech by first lady Michelle Obama, Tuesday, June 19, 2012, in Las Vegas.

  45. rikyrah says:

    June 19, 2012 5:26 PM
    Wherever the Backpack Roams

    By Ed Kilgore

    I continue to be amazed at how little general attention has been drawn by Mitt Romney’s radical proposal to turn all federal K-12 education dollars into vouchers that will, as one of his advisors, Grover Whitehurst, likes to put it, follow kids around like a backpack wherever their parents choose to send them.

    If the Romney proposal is implemented and becomes, as it appears designed to become, a super-charged magnet for state as well as federal money to flow into private schools, some pretty big questions will have to be asked about whether any conditions will be placed on private use of public dollars. Will schools all over the country receiving public largesse be like some of those which are beginning to receive state money via Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s new “scholarship” (just another word in this case for “voucher”) program? Here’s a report on those fine institutions from the Independent Weekly’s Walter Pierce:

    The tally of private schools approved by the state Department of Education to accept voucher students reads like a who’s-who of who’s-that; one sees few big brand names — no St. Thomas Mores or John Curtises. Evangel, a football powerhouse in Shreveport, jumps out, but the vast majority is overwhelmingly small, Christian schools — evangelical mostly along with a fair number of Roman Catholic schools — tiny operations with fewer than 100 students…

    Most appear to be tied to evangelical churches with names like Eternity Christian Academy, Old Bethel Christian Academy and Boutte Christian Academy. In fact, “Christian” and “academy” dominate the nomenclature….

    The most brazen example is Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake. The school has been approved to accept 135 new students. That’s a considerable uptick in enrollment, which at the end of this school year stood at 38 — a more than 300 percent increase. Talk about buttressing the budget; $1 million in tax dollars will be diverted from the public school system to Eternity Christian, a school that, according to its mission statement, offers “a quality faith-based curriculum that is soley [sic] based on principles from the Bible

    So the Louisiana program is using state funds to prop up marginal church-based schools with zero vetting of their curriculum, facilities, instructional credentials or standards. “The market,” or, I suppose, the Good Lord will sort them out eventually.

    A separate piece on the Louisiana program by Alternet’s Bruce Wilson (published at Salon) notes that a number of beneficiary schools use textbooks that explicitly preach anti-evolution and anti-gay nostrums as science, along with revisionist history and political preferences.

    Is this where Mitt Romney wants to push American education? And if he suggests (in the unlikely event he has to clarify his proposal anytime soon) schools will be vetted for quality or competence, how long will it be before that idea collides with the belief of Romney’s evangelical and conservative-Catholic allies that any regulation of religious bodies for use of public dollars is an assault on “religious freedom?”

    The disconnect between Romney’s nice, vague rhetoric and his toxic policy specifics, and his ability to get the media to focus on the former rather than the latter, is becoming one of the defining characteristics of the general election contest so far.

  46. rikyrah says:

    GOP waits for marching orders on immigration
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:42 AM EDT.

    From time to time over the last few years, there’s been some debate about who, exactly, is the nation’s leading Republican. Is it John Boehner or Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill? How about Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor? Maybe the RNC chair? Roger Ailes? Rush Limbaugh?

    As of a few months ago, the mystery ended. America’s leading Republican is the man the party — or at least most of it — wants to be president: former one-term Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

    His transition from candidate to GOP standard bearer carries consequences Romney may not yet fully appreciate. Indeed, we saw the manifestation of this dynamic yesterday when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) balked at giving his opinion on President Obama’s new immigration policy.
    McConnell said he would wait — until presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney had taken a position first.

    “I think we’re going to wait and see what governor Romney has to say, and we’re going to be discussing his views on this,” McConnell told reporters at the Capitol Tuesday. “I think many of us may have similar views. Others may not.”

    McConnell said he was deferring to Romney because the former Massachusetts governor is “the leader of our party from now until November — and, we hope, beyond.”

    Three times McConnell was asked for his position, and three times he said he would wait for guidance from Romney.

    At the surface, it’s rather amusing to see Mitch McConnell refuse to take a position on a controversial issue, waiting for his party’s inexperienced, flip-flopping nominee to tell McConnell what to think.

    But just below the surface, there’s another problem that Romney needs to acknowledge and address: as McConnell made clear, without saying so explicitly, leading the Republican Party at the national level comes with responsibilities. In GOP politics, members tend to get in line, and take specific cues from the man out front. Romney may not hold office right now, but there’s an expectation that he’ll giving marching orders and … lead.

    This is a role that Romney is not accustomed to. Indeed, it’s part of his background that generally goes overlooked, but Romney has never actually led. He’s never tried. He’s never had to.


    As McConnell’s comments yesterday helped remind us, Romney may prefer to stick to vague positions, while ducking controversial positions on controversial issues, but there are limits to this strategy. Namely, Romney’s party wants to reflect his beliefs, and if he displays “a great allergy to specifics and details,” as Rich Lowry put it, Republican officials are paralyzed.

    And with Romney dodging questions about immigration, the GOP has no idea what to say or do.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown’s debate clarity became muddled with proposed muzzle on Vicki Kennedy
    06/20/2012 4:00 AM

    By Glen Johnson, Globe Staff

    When it came to talk of debates with reelection opponent Elizabeth Warren, Scott Brown initially controlled the argument.

    Now, that clarity is muddled.

    This week he insisted that Victoria Reggie Kennedy, who had proposed hosting a debate, abandon her right to endorse a candidate in the race as a precondition to Brown accepting the invitation.

    In other words, an incumbent senator demanded that the patron of a debate abandon their First Amendment rights if that sponsor wanted to provide a forum for the free exchange of ideas.

    A Kennedy, even one by marriage, agreeing to put a muzzle on her political views?

    The demand was destined at the outset for rejection, as, perhaps, was Vicki Kennedy’s debate invitation itself.

    The question comes over any fallout.

    Does rejecting a request made by the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy come off as churlish and petty, hurting Brown not just with liberal Democrats but independents? Does it enhance his stature with Republicans and more conservative Reagan Democrats, who feared a debate trap and urged him to display backbone?

  48. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Rubio: Obama immigration move “borders on unconstitutional”

    On Fox News last night, Marco Rubio wasn’t quite ready to dub Barack Obama’s immigration move as “unconstitutional”, but he did say it ignored the constitution and bordered on unconstitutional.

    Further, he reserved the right to upgrade and outright call it “unconstitutional” in the future.

    “I think it borders on unconstitutional. It’s not that I don’t want to tell you that it’s unconstitutional, because I probably am going conclude that it is. But I think it is a strong statement, and before I say that I should study all of the applications of the law to make sure that is exactly the case.”

    Let me put it this way. I think it ignores the constitution. I don’t think it is constitutionally defensive. I think he had reached that conclusion. And I think I believe that after I’m he fully done analyze analyzing the situation I think all of us will arrive at the conclusion this is unconstitutional.”

  49. rikyrah says:

    GOP Senators send letter to Obama challenging immigration directive

    By Jonathan Easley – 06/19/12 07:14 PM ET

    A group of 20 Republican senators led by Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a letter to President Obama late Tuesday questioning the legality of his recent directive to stop deporting illegal immigrants who come to the country at a young age.

    “Not only do we question your legal authority to unilaterally act in this regard, we are frustrated that you have intentionally bypassed Congress and the American people,” the letter read in part. “As president you swore to uphold and defend the constitution and enforce laws. Your recently announced directive runs counter to that responsibility.”

    The letter requests documents from President Obama proving that he sought legal counsel to ensure that he had the right to issue the immigration directive.

    Obama announced on Friday that his administration would stop deporting illegal immigrants who come to the country at a young age and meet certain requirements. The policy change will apply to those who came to the United States before they were 16 and who are younger than 30 if they have lived here for five years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or served in the military.

    The change in policy could allow as many as 800,000 immigrants who came to the United States illegally not only to remain in the country without fear of being deported, but to work legally.

    The letter alleges that Obama’s directive “runs contrary to the premise that American workers must come before foreign nationals.”

    “It is astonishing that your administration would grant work authorizations to illegal immigrants during this time of record unemployment,” the senators said.

    The senators laid out dozens of questions for the administration in regard to the policy, and requested Department of Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano and two immigration officials be made available to respond.

    The GOP has struggled with how to respond to the administration’s policy announcement.

    • Ametia says:

      GOP can go have a seat and STFU. They care nothing for American workers or immigrants. SIGN THE FUCKING AJA and the Transportaion bill GOP HOUSE

  50. rikyrah says:

    Scott Milk?

    By Betty Cracker June 20th, 2012

    When Romney campaigns in Florida, there is one person who is notably absent: hard-right Republican Governor Rick Scott. It’s not hard to understand why; Scott’s approval rating in the state slightly trails that of the clap.

    Still, the explanations of why the governor and the GOP nominee keeping coincidentally “missing” each other on the campaign trail are getting kind of strained. And Scott has apparently been told to make like a prairie dog and disappear down a hidey-hole during the GOP convention: Where he once bragged about a prime-time speaking slot at the event, now he says this:

    I’ve never done a convention before,” Scott said. “My goal is just to be helpful in whatever they ask me to do.”

    The Republicans think it might be helpful for Scott to schedule a trade mission to Australia in late August. Or maybe visit a leper colony.

    Speaking of Florida politicians Team Romney would rather forget, does anyone believe Romney’s hastily concocted statement yesterday about vetting Rubio? What a load of horseshit.

    Romney claimed that the vetting process is known only to himself and Beth Whoziwhatzit—who doesn’t talk!—but of course the sheer volume of paperwork involved in any proper vetting (i.e., one more rigorous than that conducted for Quitting Bull by Team McCain in 2008) means scads of underlings are in on the process.

    I saw the clip of Romney’s statement last night, and he certainly is enjoying this being the undisputed nominee thing. I’m sure it’s been hell for such a spoiled, pampered princeling to grovel for votes, campaign cash and approval from social inferiors for the better part of two decades, and Romney is starting to give in to the temptation to use his “boss” voice more and more now that he’s coming into the home stretch and has finally subdued the tea party loons and evangelical nutbags who hated his guts.

    Can you imagine what an insufferable prick he’ll be if he actually wins? Watching Romney puff up from the ultimate fulfillment of his Oedipal ambitions would be damn near as painful as seeing him complete our national journey back to the Gilded Age.

  51. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:49 AM ET, 06/20/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obamacare or no, Americans really, really want health reform

    By Greg Sargent

    As Jonathan Bernstein and I have noted, a court decision against the Affordable Care Act would not necessarily change the basic parameters of the health care debate in the context of the 2012 campaign. I don’t see any upside for Dems in a decision striking down the law, as others have.

    But if it is is repealed, Americans may naturally ask what lawmakers intend to replace it with — which could renew attention on the specific reforms Dems have been championing, and highlight the fact that Republicans and Mitt Romney are not suggesting any meaningful alternative to some of those reforms.

    Today’s Associated Press poll finds that an overwhelming majority, 77 percent, want the President and Congress to start work on a new health bill if Obaamcare is ruled unconstitutional. Only 19 percent want the system left as is. In other words: Americans want reform.

    There’s no denying that public opinion on Obamacare has not turned around, as some of us predicted it would. The new poll also finds that only 33 percent support the law, versus 47 percent who oppose it (though the AP doesn’t break out those who think it didn’t go far enough).

    But many other polls have shown that the individual reforms Dems support are quite popular. While this didn’t swing opinion on the overall law, there may be an opening for Dems to renew the debate over the reforms themselves if it’s struck down. The ban on discrimination against those with preexisting conditions has overwhelming support. But Romney has confirmed that he would not ban discrimination against those with preexisting conditions who have not had continuous insurance. And House Republicans seem to have decided that if the law is voided, it will be on the White House, not them, to come up with a replacement solution for the sick and those with preexisting conditions.

    So if the law is nixed, you can expect more Dems to do what North Dakota Senate candidate Heidi Heitkamp is doing — tout specific reforms, and blast Republicans for returning us to a pre-reform era. Which only 19 percent of Americans want.

  52. Ametia says:

    The eight states where Latinos could sink the GOP
    Posted by Aaron Blake at 06:30 AM ET, 06/20/2012

    Republicans’ emerging problem with Latino voters looks even worse when you factor in the electoral college.

    A look at Latino population trends in swing and key red states shows just how ominous the GOP’s future could be if it doesn’t do something about its current struggles with Latino voters.

    We noted yesterday that nationwide population and minority voting trends paint a haunting picture for the GOP. But the problem is particularly acute because of the states where Latino growth has been strongest — particularly several key swing states


  53. rikyrah says:

    Michael Tomasky: Stop the Obama ‘Enemies List’ GOP Lies
    by Michael Tomasky Jun 19, 2012 4:45 AM EDT

    There they go again: the Republicans are spreading nonsense about the president in order to increase the political power of billionaires.

    This is the world conservatives now want to create—unlimited campaign donations, and we’ll never know from whom. That’s the goal.

    Those of you who read and listen to the actual news, as opposed to what is peddled as news in the right-wing-propaganda mills, may be unaware of the scandal that threatens to turn Barack Obama into the new Richard Nixon. There is a scandal here, all right, involving an alleged Obama “enemies list,” but naturally it isn’t what conservatives say it is. It’s that the right wing is trying to use the existence of this utterly boring nonscandal into a justification for moving to an even more reactionary and pernicious position on campaign-finance reform, with the excuse that it’s all the fault of the Constitution-shredding tyrant in the White House. Here’s the story.

    There is an Obama campaign-affiliated website, I suppose written by some mid-level aides in Chicago (because high-level aides do more important things than this), called the Truth Team. The site has a blog and other features dedicated to exactly the things you’d expect: correcting Romney and other GOP misstatements and lies, spinning the news in the usual positive ways, and so on. Then there’s one page on the site under the rubric of something called, that went up on April 20 and lists eight “high-dollar and special-interest donors” to the Romney campaign. Of course it presents these men unflatteringly—a few are outsourcers of jobs, one paid a hefty fine, another is a bitter foe of gay rights. The page doesn’t tell the visitor to do anything—like click here to tell Mitt Romney you’re taking a stand against this or that. It just lists the names with one short (and not positive) paragraph about them. It was one post, on a blog that puts up roughly one post a day every work day (so in other words, 42 posts ago).


    Before we go any further, let’s consider the actual Nixon enemies list. Emanating from within the White House and at the highest levels—it was drawn up by special counsel Charles Colson—the list had two important qualities, indeed the two qualities that made it a shocking thing in the first place. No. 1, it was secret. No. 2, its stated (privately, of course, not publicly) purpose was to use the machinery of the state to bring harm to these people—or, as a John Dean memorandum once put it, to “use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.” I might add a third point, now that I think of it. The Nixon list eventually ran to hundreds of people from many walks of life, people who were obviously no serious threat to Richard Nixon’s political career, unless you think Joe Namath or Carole Channing or Dr. Michael DeBakey stood ready to accept the directives of the SDS and lay Dick low.

  54. rikyrah says:

    The eight states where Latinos could sink the GOP

    Posted by Aaron Blakeat 06:30 AM ET, 06/20/2012

    Republicans’ emerging problem with Latino voters looks even worse when you factor in the electoral college.

    A look at Latino population trends in swing and key red states shows just how ominous the GOP’s future could be if it doesn’t do something about its current struggles with Latino voters.

    We noted yesterday that nationwide population and minority voting trends paint a haunting picture for the GOP. But the problem is particularly acute because of the states where Latino growth has been strongest — particularly several key swing states and red states that Democrats are hoping to put in play in the coming elections.

    The United States’ Latino population increased from about 35 million in 2000 to 50 million in 2010, and about 45 percent of that growth occurred in the eight states in the graph above.

    Of that 15 million-person increase, nearly 20 percent came in five key swing states — Florida, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina and Virginia.

    The common thread between those five states? All of them had gone regularly for Republicans, at least before 2008. In the seven elections between Jimmy Carter’s win in 1976 and Obama’s election, Democrats only won four out of 35 contests in those five states. But they carried all five in 2008.

    In addition, in every state but Florida, President Obama improved on Al Gore’s 2000 showing by between 7 points and 12 points — far better than his 4.6 percent overall improvement nationwide.

    In other words, these states are trending in Democrats’ favor. And the Latino population growth is both the reason that has happened and the reason it could continue if Republicans don’t do something about it. If the Latino population keeps growing and voting Democratic, there’s little reason to think these states won’t get bluer.

    Beyond those five swing states are three other states with fast-growing Latino populations that Democrats hope to put in play in the near future.

    The next line includes two states that Democrats hope to target at the presidential level: Arizona and Georgia. And perhaps most important — and potentially game-changing — is the situation in Texas.

    While the five swing states mentioned above combined for about 20 percent of the Latino population growth over the last decade, another 20 percent came in Texas alone, and about 7 percent came in Arizona and Georgia.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Middle class would face higher taxes under Republican plan, analysis finds

    By Lori Montgomery, Published: June 19

    The tax reform plan that House Republicans have advanced would sharply cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans and could leave middle-class households facing much larger tax bills, according to a new analysis set to be released Wednesday.

    The report, prepared by Senate Democrats and reviewed by nonpartisan tax experts, marks the first attempt to quantify the trade-offs inherent in the GOP tax package, which would replace the current tax structure with two brackets — 25 percent and 10 percent — and cut the top rate from 35 percent.

    Those changes would benefit virtually every taxpayer, but they also would reduce federal tax collections by about $4.5 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. To avoid increasing the national debt by that amount, GOP leaders such as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) have pledged to get rid of all the special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code.

    Republicans have declined to identify their targets. However, some of the biggest “loopholes” on the books are popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, state and local taxes, and retirement savings, which disproportionately benefit the upper middle class.

  56. Ametia says:

    1984 Bain Capital money photo captured Romney on eve of major success
    By Philip Rucker, Published: June 19

    Boston — The seven Bain Capital founders believed they were so destined to make millions that the young men posed for a photo on the grand marble staircase of Boston’s Copley Place with $10 and $20 bills popping out of their shirt collars, tucked behind their eyeglasses and clutched in their teeth.

    Their confidence was warranted. One went on to run an airline, another to buy a basketball team, and another to oversee two health-care companies and build custom roadsters.

  57. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama the Underdog Against ‘Change’ Slogan
    By Stuart Rothenberg
    Roll Call Contributing Writer
    June 19, 2012, Midnight

    Back in October, President Barack Obama’s job approval rating stood at 44 percent in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey and only 17 percent of voters said that things in the country were “generally headed in the right direction.” Those numbers suggested that the president would lose re-election unless he was able to change the direction of public opinion.

    Five months later, with the GOP embroiled in something of a civil war over its presidential nomination and new job numbers suggesting that an economic recovery was under way, consumer confidence surged.

    In fact, the nation’s outlook was so bright that one of my favorite columnists on the economy, Steven Pearlstein, wrote in the Washington Post in March that “the economy is actually getting better … the recovery has reached a point where it looks to be self-sustaining, that magic point when growth begets more growth, hiring begets more hiring, spending begets more spending.”

    Not surprisingly, the March NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found fully half of those polled approved of the president’s performance. So that revised trendline showed the president was likely to win a second term.

  58. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown Dictates His Own Terms

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 9:44AM

    Last week, I mentioned that Scott Brown was being cautioned by his pet newspaper not to debate Elizabeth Warren at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute up here because of the nasty liberal Democrat cooties that are floating around the facility. This, of course, made both the newspaper and Senator McDreamy look like tiny poltroons in search of tiny rocks under which they could hide until all this campaigning stuff blows over.

    Well, today, we discover that McDreamy has agreed to cross the Bridge Of Death… er… debate Warren at the institute. This brave stand has attracted the praise of the William J. LePetomaine Professor of Law at the University of Tennesee, who apparently believes that, rather than arriving at Columbia Point in a limo, McDreamy will be coming ashore in a Higgins boat on Omaha Beach:

    “He’s agreed to appear in the enemy’s stronghold, so I think they have to be willing to appear at some place he thinks is more congenial or fair,” said Glenn Reynolds of

    However, sneaky liberals aren’t going to put one over on McDreamy. Hell, no. He’s been around this block a few times….

    Brown yesterday accepted a proposed Sept. 27 debate sponsored by the Democrat-dominated Edward M. Kennedy Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Boston under two conditions – that local media, not MSNBC, sponsor the showdown, and that (Vicki) Kennedy pledge she won’t endorse anyone in the race.

    It’s always been my contention that Senator McDreamy actually bought heart and soul into all that bushwah about what a towering historical event his freakish election was, and what a world-changing figure it had made out of him. He has now crossed the International “Who The Fk Are You When You’re At Home?” Line with a lot of room to spare. (Actually, we know who he is at home. It’s in all his commercials.) He won’t debate at the Institute unless the widow of its founder refuses to inconvenience his campaign? That takes some big clanging brass ones right there. At least now we have some idea of what the airspeed velocity of an unladen chicken is.

    Read more:

  59. Ametia says:

    Southern Baptists elect 1st African-American president, the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. of New Orleans
    By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 4:16 AM

    NEW ORLEANS — At the end of the day Wednesday, the presidency of the Southern Baptist Convention will pass to an African-American pastor for the first time.

    The nation’s largest Protestant denomination voted Tuesday to elect the Rev. Fred Luter Jr. to lead them, an important step for a denomination that was formed on the wrong side of slavery before the Civil War and had a reputation for supporting segregation and racism during much of the last century.

    In a news conference after the vote, Luter said he doesn’t think his election is some kind of token gesture.

    “If we stop appointing African-Americans, Asians, Hispanics to leadership positions after this, we’ve failed,” he said. “… I promise you I’m going to do all that I can to make sure this is not just a one-and-done deal.”

    Faced with declining membership, the SBC has been making efforts to appeal to a more diverse group of believers.

    Some Southern Baptists also believe a proposal to adopt an optional alternative name, Great Commission Baptists, will bring in believers who have negative associations with the current name. The results of a vote on that proposal was to be announced Wednesday.

    Luter was unopposed when he was elected by thousands of enthusiastic delegates Tuesday at the SBC annual meeting in his hometown of New Orleans

  60. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio on Obama DREAM Job: ‘It Just Poisons the Well’ — The Politics Blog Q&A on Immigration Pushback, Romney’s Choice, Voting Beyond Consensus, and More

    By Charles P. Pierce

    at 9:20AM

    Last Friday, just as he was beginning his book tour, and just as speculation heated up (again) that he was being seriously considered by Mitt Romney to be Romney’s vice-presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio got caught in a bear trap. President Obama announced that he was ordering the Department of Homeland Security not to pursue immigration-law cases against young people who were brought here by their parents and who have lived here for most of their lives, a decision directly affecting as many as 800,000 people and indirectly affecting a huge swath of the new American electoral demographic. The president’s move surprised the Republican party on the issue of immigration. Romney hedged during an interview with Bob Schieffer of CBS News on Sunday.

    But nobody got caught out as badly as Rubio, a charismatic conservative, the son of Cuban emigres, and the primary figure through which the GOP sought to reach out to Hispanic voters. The 41-year-old Florida senator had proposed his own version of the president’s DREAM Act, which had been a topic of much ridicule during the Republican primaries but which Rubio shrewdly noted had come to stand for something among the voters the Republicans wanted to attract. Except what the president proposed on Friday was pretty much the same thing that Rubio had proposed in his legislation.

    We had scheduled an interview with the senator a few days before the president made his announcement. Within hours after that interview concluded on Monday afternoon, Rubio had scuttled his own DREAM Act, saying in another interview, “When the president ignores the Congress, ignores the Constitution, and forces a policy like this down the throat of the American people, it’s going to make it harder to have a conversation like that. It’s going to make it harder to elevate the debate.” When we talked, he was unshakably on message — he was promoting a book, after all — but he was also clearly crafting the position that he would take later in the day, and expressing the frustrations and the “sense of urgency” that led him to it.

    CHARLES P. PIERCE: Really deeply personal, your book is. It really is the story of how, if you come to this country and get one little finger hold on the way up, you can pull yourself up the rest of the way. And I was wondering if, while writing the book — because I know the experience of writing a book myself — whether you were uncomfortable with the kind of dogmatic approach a lot of your party takes on issues like immigration.

    MARCO RUBIO: No, I think it reaffirms to me. I think “dogmatic” could be used to describe both sides of the debate, and I talk about that in the book, where neither one of us views immigration as a black-or-white issue. It’s much more complicated than that, because it’s deeply personal. You’re talking about human beings who come here for a lot of different reasons — political reasons, economic reasons. Some come to this country legally, and then their visas expire and they find themselves here undocumented. Others are brought here as children. Others come because they’re desperate — I mean, life is miserable in the country of their birth, so they’ll do anything they can to put their families in a better position or to send money back home to them. And so on the one hand, we have to recognize that what we’re talking about here are human beings, not statistics. On the other hand, however, we have to recognize that we do have an illegal-immigration problem. And I think sometimes there’s an effort to delegitimize concerns about it — that if somehow you’re in favor of enforcing the immigration laws, you’re anti-immigrant. I think the left is guilty of that.

    CPP: Well, that —

    MR: Anyone who doesn’t agree with the left’s approach to immigration oftentimes gets stigmatized as anti-immigrant or anti-Hispanic. And so I think that finding a solution that balances these two sides is very difficult. It’s not easy. You can’t just do that with a magic wave of the wand.

    CPP: There’s nobody that I can see on the left that’s quite as — I won’t even use “dogmatic” — quite as harsh as, say, Steve King.

    MR: Well, I would say that’s not as — well, for example, I’ve been called anti-immigrant.

    CPP: By whom?

    MR: People on the left say that —

    CPP: Who on the left has called you anti-immigrant? That would be enormously silly, it would seem to me.

    MR: The chairman of Univision [Randy Falco] called me anti-immigrant — he’s a huge Democratic donor. I’d be more than happy to provide you with a detailed accounting of some of the most outrageous things that have been said about me, and you’ll have those today, but my point is that neither side is blameless in the rhetoric of this issue. And by the same token, it’s not just the rhetoric, it’s this view — that somehow this is a very easy, black-and-white issue that there is an obvious solution to — that is not accurate. Both sides are making that argument.

    Read more:

  61. rikyrah says:

    Obama Leads in Poll as Voters View Romney as Out of Touch

    Barack Obama has opened a significant lead over Mitt Romney in a Bloomberg National Poll that reflects the presumed Republican nominee’s weaknesses more than the president’s strengths.

    Obama leads Romney 53 percent to 40 percent among likely voters, even as the public gives him low marks on handling the economy and the deficit, and six in 10 say the nation is headed down the wrong track, according to the poll conducted June 15- 18.

    The survey shows Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has yet to repair the damage done to his image during the Republican primary. Thirty-nine percent of Americans view him favorably, about the same as when he announced his presidential candidacy last June, while 48 percent see him unfavorably — a 17-percentage point jump during a nomination fight dominated by attacks ads. A majority of likely voters, 55 percent, view him as more out of touch with average Americans compared with 36 percent who say the president is more out of touch.

    Taken together, the results suggest an unsettled political environment for both Obama and Romney five months from the November election, with voters choosing for now to stick with a president they say is flawed rather than backing a challenger they regard as undefined and disconnected.

  62. rikyrah says:

    McConnell’s imaginary high crimes

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:34 PM EDT.

    Late last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) spoke at a conservative think tank to make a spirited case against public disclosure in the campaign-finance system. As far as the Republican Leader is concerned, there’s nothing wrong with wealthy interests buying American elections — the real scandal is a proposal to let American voters know who’s doing the buying.

    But that’s not the only scandal. Kevin Drum noted what McConnell went on to say later in the day during a Fox News interview

    [T]he Senate’s top Republican also accused the [Obama] administration of improperly using government agencies to exert political pressure.

    “What they’re trying to do is intimidate donors to outside groups that are critical of the administration, McConnell said. “The campaign has rifled through donors’ divorce records. They’ve got the IRS, the SEC and other agencies going after contributors trying to frighten people and intimidate them out of exercising their rights to participate in the American political discourse.”

    Look, I realize that Republican members of Congress, just as habitual reflex, target President Obama with all kinds of over-the-top accusations. Those of us who remember the Clinton/Gore years know this isn’t at all new. Ideally, folks like McConnell — a man who’s served in the Senate for more than a quarter of a century — would leave garbage attacks to House backbenchers, but that would presuppose a level of decency and decorum that doesn’t exist.

    But McConnell’s comments aren’t just casual nonsense — the Senate Minority Leader appeared on national television and accused the sitting president of impeachable offenses. If the Obama administration actually “rifled through” donors’ private records and directed federal agencies to “go after” and “intimidate” political contributors, the scandal would rock the federal government, indictments would be issued, and the president would almost certainly be driven from office.

    Indeed, the very crimes McConnell alleged actually occurred roughly four decades ago, and the result was one of the most monumental political scandals in American history.

    And therein lies the point: Obama hasn’t done any of this — McConnell just made it up. For the leading Republican member of the Senate, casually accusing a sitting president of high crimes is just a way to kill a Friday afternoon in June.

  63. rikyrah says:

    No muzzle, no debate in Massachusetts

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:00 AM EDT

    As Rachel explained last night, “Something weird is going on with Republican Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts.” As we discussed yesterday, Brown and his campaign team have been highly reluctant to debate Democrat Elizabeth Warren, and announced this week that the senator would only participate in a Kennedy Institute event if Brown’s demands were met.

    And what were the demands? There were two: (1) MSNBC could not air the debate and (2) Vicki Kennedy, the late senator’s widow, had to agree not to endorse Warren, even after the debate.

    The first condition was easy to meet — MSNBC had not even been approached about airing the event — but Vicki Kennedy didn’t see the need to be muzzled by the Republican lawmaker. It led Brown to reject the debate yesterday.

    Senator Scott Brown [Tuesday] rejected a debate proposed by Victoria Reggie Kennedy, after the widow of Senator Edward M. Kennedy refused his precondition that she not endorse a candidate in his reelection campaign against Democrat Elizabeth Warren. […]

    In a letter today to Brown and Warren, Lisa McBirney, chief operating officer of the Kennedy Institute, and Christopher Hogan, chief of staff in the chancellor’s office at UMass Boston, the other debate co-sponsor, made clear that Vicki Kennedy would not relinquish her right to endorse in the race.

    “Given the goodwill and understanding of the nonpartisan mission of the institute that Senator Brown has thus far shown, it seems inconsistent that he would now attempt to restrict the activities of Mrs. Kennedy as a condition of accepting a debate that is co-sponsored by an organization with which she is affiliated,” McBirney and Hogan wrote.

    Remember, the Kennedy Institute also co-sponsored a debate in the 2010 Senate race, which Brown won, and which Brown participated in without trying to silence the late senator’s widow. What’s more, Vicki Kennedy wouldn’t be a part of the debate itself, which would have been moderated by Tom Brokaw.

    Indeed, the larger point is that this sitting senator, in the middle of an election year, thought it’d be a good idea to try to muzzle the late senator’s widow, and then refused to attend a debate after she reserved the right to speak. As Rachel asked last night, “What is going on with Scott Brown? What is wrong with Scott Brown?”

    Those need not be rhetorical questions.


    Certainly, it’s deeply strange that Brown is afraid of televised debates that he wants to silence Vicki Kennedy. But let’s not forget that the senator’s recent troubles go much further. Rachel noted in last night’s segment, for example, that he falsely accused her of launching a campaign against him. For proof, the Republican pointed to … nothing at all.

    But we can go further. During a debate on Wall Street safeguards, Brown opposed the legislation, but couldn’t say why. When he was asked what kind of changes he’d like to see to the bill, Brown asked a reporter, “Well, what areas do you think should be fixed?”

    Around that time, a deranged man crashed a small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas. Brown said the incident reminded him of his own campaign.

    Last year, he also looked deeply foolish falling for an Internet hoax on a photo of Osama bin Laden. A writer for the conservative Boston Herald went so far as to call Brown “Dan Quayle in a barncoat” after he decided to engage in a pointless feud with the non-partisan League of Women Voters.

    And now Scott Brown wants to muzzle Ted Kennedy’s widow. What strategic genius at Brown Campaign HQ thought this was a good idea?

  64. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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