Archive of Articles for March, 2009

A Surprise In Obama's Poll Numbers

[ Posted Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 – 16:28 UTC ]

It really is a bit early to focus on President Obama's approval ratings in the polls, I know. But, rather than looking at the overall picture of how he's doing, I have been noticing something interesting which I don't believe others have picked up on -- Obama's numbers dramatically improve depending on the sample used by the pollsters. When "likely voters" (LV) are polled, the numbers they give are different from when either "registered voters" (RV) or "all adults" (A) are polled. Obama's LV approval rating is about five points lower than the RV/A numbers. The difference is more pronounced in the disapproval ratings, where LV numbers are fully ten points higher than RV/A numbers.

Read Complete Article »

Blarney, Blarney, Blarney!

[ Posted Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 – 14:20 UTC ]

You know what I have to say to any member of the House or Senate who is channeling fake populist rage over the AIG bonuses? Blarney!

Read Complete Article »

Missing The Point On AIG Bonuses

[ Posted Monday, March 16th, 2009 – 15:37 UTC ]

It's easy to get outraged at the announcement that AIG will be paying over one hundred and fifty million dollars out as bonuses, after taxpayers have pumped over one hundred and fifty billion dollars into the failing company. But the populist outrage this has sparked off needs to get a little more focused. Because we're about to get lost in a thicket of legalese about "compensation" and "bonuses" and "deferred stock options" and all the rest of it, which only serves to detract from a very basic truth -- which should be the real point of discussion here. This truth is that whatever you call it, and whatever little box it gets entered into on the tax forms, these people make an obscene amount of money. And nobody is even saying (because nobody in the media is even asking) exactly how much money they make. This should be the real target here, because it has much broader implications. Also, because it is a lot easier to fix than just getting back some bonuses.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [69] -- It's All Too Much (For Republicans To Take)

[ Posted Friday, March 13th, 2009 – 16:38 UTC ]

In today's main event we will discuss the idiocy of the most recent Republican talking point -- "Obama's trying to do too much, too fast" (which is weak, to be sure, but then they had to kind of scramble after their last talking point "Obama is killing the stock market" became inoperative due to a rally). But before we get to that, we have some housecleaning to do. Call it "old business" -- a few new developments in things that I've commented on previously.

Read Complete Article »

Bipartisan Budget Passes

[ Posted Thursday, March 12th, 2009 – 16:35 UTC ]

So where was the reporting on the improvement of those numbers with the votes on the 2009 budget bill? Where were the stories on the nightly news shows praising Obama for getting about a tenth of Republican House members to vote for the 2009 budget, and almost one in five Republican senators? It's pretty hard to call this anything other than "bipartisan," especially since we lost a few of our own Democrats on the votes as well. Where were the headlines screaming "bipartisan budget passes!" Where were the followup stories to your "sky is falling" theme from a few weeks ago, telling the public that Obama was making definite progress in reaching out to Republicans, and Republicans were responding to do what is best for the country rather than blindly following partisan demands? I must have missed those stories, since you obviously are all such good journalists that you followed up on your previous "Obama is a failure" stories with some "Obama makes bipartisan progress" stories, right?

Read Complete Article »

Exclusive Interview With Rep. Bruce Braley, Populist Caucus Founder And Chairman

[ Posted Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 – 13:06 UTC ]

Representative Bruce Braley recently announced the formation of a new congressional caucus dedicated to the economic concerns of the middle class. The Iowa Democrat (as reported in The Huffington Post) unveiled the new Populist Caucus last month, and as its chair immediately set to work addressing their concerns in the stimulus package in the House. But since the term "populism" has been used for a variety of movements throughout American history, I thought I'd ask Representative Braley himself what the caucus is all about, and what they're trying to achieve. The interview below is a transcript of our conversation.

Read Complete Article »

Outside The Beltway (But Not From The Hustings)

[ Posted Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 – 18:38 UTC ]

Kathleen Parker is not my favorite Washington Post columnist. I just wanted to say that up front, to get my own biases out in the open. But I have to give her credit, for stating some truth last Sunday on not one but two Sunday morning news shows. She said almost the same thing on both CBS' Face The Nation and NBC's The Chris Matthews Show. Such honesty from the Washington crowd -- especially from someone many label conservative -- is rare. So I wanted to give her some credit today.

Read Complete Article »

Why Won't Harry Reid Kill Budget Filibusters?

[ Posted Monday, March 9th, 2009 – 16:46 UTC ]

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a very powerful tool at his disposal, but (true to form) he's not even admitting it exists, much less threatening to use it. The tool is called "reconciliation" and means (as I have written about previously) that budget bills which go through a certain committee process cannot be filibustered when they reach the Senate. Democrats would only need 50 votes (and Joe Biden's tiebreaker, if they couldn't get 51) to pass budget bills. Senate Republicans would be denied using their favorite obstructionist tactic, the cloture vote (the modern equivalent of the filibuster). Which may be the only way to pass President Obama's budget without significant parts of it being removed by balky Republicans.

Read Complete Article »

Friday Talking Points [68] -- Obamacare Pre-Emptive Strike, And An Anti-Rush Slogan Contest

[ Posted Friday, March 6th, 2009 – 18:08 UTC ]

The Democratic National Committee is running a contest for a slogan (10 words or less) to plaster on a billboard in Rush Limbaugh's hometown. The winner will also receive a T-shirt with their winning slogan on it. Submit your suggestions over at the DNC's site.

Read Complete Article »

Are We All Populists Now?

[ Posted Thursday, March 5th, 2009 – 17:27 UTC ]

For all the terminology of the political world, all the divisions and divisions-within-divisions, there is no term which defies definition quite the way populism does. When we speak of conservatives or liberals or progressives or even libertarians, we pretty much all agree what the label means, and who it covers. Hyphenation and neologisms abound to adequately describe individual factions of the major groups; such as social conservatives versus fiscal conservatives, or neo-conservatives versus paleo-conservatives. But there's no disagreement with the general scope of what "conservative" means. The concept of populism doesn't have this generally-agreed-upon consensus among the public, however. Even historians define the term differently amongst themselves. And this is just within America's politics -- populism can mean even more diverse movements when talking about the rest of the world.

Read Complete Article »