Archive of Articles for September, 2009

Baucus' Bill Not Bipartisan, But Panmedia

[ Posted Wednesday, September 16th, 2009 – 15:45 UTC ]

Senator Max Baucus has released (finally!) his Senate committee's healthcare reform bill. This was supposed to be the "bipartisan" bill, but the only way it can truly be referred to as "bipartisan" is in the growing bipartisan distaste for the bill. Which was not the intent. But, while the mainstream media has been borderline obsessive over Baucus and his Gang and his bill, the real question over Baucus' ultimate meaning to the healthcare reform debate is whether he'll be named to the conference committee between House and Senate whose purpose it will be to hash out the final language, and (if so named) what Baucus will do there.

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Counting Crowds In D.C.

[ Posted Tuesday, September 15th, 2009 – 15:42 UTC ]

Crowd size means support for the issue being protested. A bigger crowd is supposed to translate into larger support in the general public. This is not always true, as sometimes the organization of busing people in to participate can only be called "Astroturf," because of the tactics and groups involved. This happens on the left and the right, I should add; as well as the forward, backward, up and down. It takes money to get hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of D.C. It virtually never happens spontaneously (I'm talking of rallies, demonstrations, and marches here -- not historic events such as President Obama's inauguration, which drew close to two million people, and was largely spontaneous). The organizers of protests usually put up quite a bit of money (in one way or another) to help get people to the protest. Even if they don't put up any money, they still have a vested interest in showing how successful their protest was. So organizers' claims are always suspect, because they are always exaggerated. Always.

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Emerging GOP Theme: Nullification

[ Posted Monday, September 14th, 2009 – 16:46 UTC ]

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

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Friday Talking Points [93] -- Lies, Lies And Propaganda

[ Posted Friday, September 11th, 2009 – 17:28 UTC ]

This is due to the fact that political discussions in America are fast becoming solely theological in nature. Allow me to explain this concept. Each side has their beliefs. Each has their tenets which they fervently defend. Much of this is done on faith. And, when your entire world view is radically different than the person you're arguing with, there is very little chance of either agreement or mind-changing. It's like the Jews and the Muslims arguing not over where the boundaries of Israel and Palestine are, but over whether Moses or the Prophet were right. In other words, it is like just about every disagreement over religion you can think of -- from all of history. If my core beliefs do not agree in a factual way with your core beliefs, then we can discuss things up to a point, but once we both hit that point then we just stop listening to each other, and begin talking past each other instead. Or, even worse, shouting at each other.

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What To Do About Joe Wilson

[ Posted Thursday, September 10th, 2009 – 17:04 UTC ]

We speak today not of Valerie Plame Wilson's husband Joseph, but instead a different "Joe Wilson" in the world of politics. This particular Joe is a representative from South Carolina. This Joe was rude to the president last night during his speech in the House chamber by yelling out: "You lie!" There were other similar grumblings and outright heckling from the Republican side of the aisle last night, but none of the rest were as loud and clear on the microphones as Wilson. By his volume and clarity, he elected himself poster boy for the disrespect shown by members of Congress for the president. The other voices in the crowd will likely be swept aside, as everyone in the media and in politics focuses on Joe as the designated heckler of the night.

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Did Obama's Speech Change The Game?

[ Posted Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 – 19:21 UTC ]

President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress on healthcare reform needed to be a game-changer of a speech. That, it seemed was just about the only thing everyone could agree upon before the speech. Everyone -- even conservatives -- were saying Obama had to either take control of the process or watch it slip away from him. Of course, after the speech, we'll all go right back to disagreeing with each other about whether (or how much) the game was changed, and whether the changes are good things or bad. Such is the nature of politics.

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Crazy Talk

[ Posted Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 – 17:43 UTC ]

There's a cardinal rule in American politics that anything regarded as too crazy loses the support (and attention) of the mainstream voters. And once someone or some group is relegated to this zone of lunacy in the public's perception, it's hard to get back out. Today may be a turning point for the rational middle-of-the-road in how they view the anti-Obama movement in this country. Because there simply was no Marxist revolution among schoolchildren after the president spoke to them, and it was pretty insane to believe that there ever was going to be one. Which is becoming more and more apparent.

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Taking Things Off The Table

[ Posted Monday, September 7th, 2009 – 16:50 UTC ]

President Barack Obama will address Congress and the nation this Wednesday night on the subject of healthcare reform. What he'll say is anyone's guess, at this point. Which (by the way) is exactly the problem he's trying to fix. Nobody's really sure what Obama will fight for, and what he will toss overboard in the name of political expediency. Even staunch Obama supporters would be hard-pressed to say, right now, what Obama will say in his speech this Wednesday. But whatever he says, one fact remains crystal-clear: Obama has got to be specific in his speech, or else the healthcare reform effort may collapse of its own weight soon after. And by being specific, Obama's got to start taking some things off the table. If Obama attempts more lofty (but detail-free) rhetoric, and does not (his other favorite metaphor for this situation) "draw bright lines in the sand," then he is going to disappoint a lot of people who voted for him because they thought he would be a good leader.

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Friday Talking Points [92] -- The End Of Silly Season

[ Posted Friday, September 4th, 2009 – 16:41 UTC ]

Perhaps President Obama thought his address to the nation's schoolchildren would generate a similar touching moment with parents across the country. But instead, it has become yet another target for his political opponents (as if they didn't already have enough fronts in this battle). Sadly, the event has become mired in manufactured controversy from the right, with typical sky-is-falling rhetoric about how the evil, evil man who occupies the Oval Office is going to brainwash all of our children into being either: (a) Marxists, (b) Socialists, (c) Obamamaniacs, or (d) all of the above. No matter that presidents have been doing this sort of heartwarming photo-oppery since the time of Kennedy (do some pushups, children!), and that Saint Ronald of Reagan actually used such an address to children to hawk his tax cuts. No, none of this matters, because... well, to tell you the truth, it's hard to figure what some of these people are thinking.

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Honest Weblog Award

[ Posted Thursday, September 3rd, 2009 – 17:15 UTC ]

So this column would like to thank its hairdresser, its agent, its publicist....

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