Friday Talking Points [170] -- Newt Loses Two, Huntsman Gains An "H"

[ Posted Friday, June 24th, 2011 – 16:13 UTC ]

Well, it's certainly been an eventful couple of weeks, hasn't it?

We're back on our regular weekly schedule here after returning home from our second trip this month (this one to Netroots Nation), after which I can firmly conclude that flying, these days, sucks. Big time. Sigh.

Personal travel observations aside, though, plenty has been happening elsewhere in the political world while all the Lefties where having fun in Minneapolis. So much has been happening that I'm bound to miss at least one or two of them, for which I apologize in advance. By next week, we'll be back up to our usual fighting trim here, and promise that not so many things will be falling through the cracks.

Speaking of fighting trim, the president made news on two of our wars in the past few weeks. Oh, excuse me, Libya is now officially not a "war" or even "hostilities" anymore, according to the White House. Um, OK. More on this in a bit, of course. This news was soon overshadowed by Obama's announcement of his withdrawal schedule for Afghanistan. Out of roughly 100,000 American troops currently in the country, 10,000 will be out before the end of this year and another 23,000 will come home by next September. This equation did not please the anti-war crowd or the pro-war crowd, it should be mentioned, but the jury's still out on what the public at large thinks of it. Again, much more on this subject in a bit.

Obama's Afghanistan withdrawal plan was denounced as some sort of political ploy by some Republicans, who noted that the schedule conveniently pulls these troops out right before next year's election. But the real purely political move Obama made this week didn't cause quite as much grumbling, mostly due to the fact that it will likely be wildly popular with the public, as the White House moved to bring down the price of gasoline for the summer driving season by releasing millions of barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is already serving to drive speculators out of the oil market, and since oil prices were already dropping from the spike they hit a few months ago, it will hopefully hasten the downward trend in gas prices all summer long.

It should be noted that it is very hard (if not almost impossible) for any American politician to make any sort of political hay over the fact that consumers are paying less at the pump. Which Republicans quickly realized, and immediately muted their complaints. They would be right to call the move by the president a purely political gambit deployed to increase the chances of Barack Obama getting re-elected, but when the public is overwhelmingly for the action it's hard to get any political traction against it.

In other presidential news, Republicans are forcing Obama himself to get involved in the talks to raise the debt ceiling. Eric Cantor decided he wasn't going to participate in the discussions with Vice President Biden any more, and now the word is that Obama will be meeting directly with Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell to hash out a deal. We'll see what sort of fruit this movement will bear in the weeks to come (if any).

Gay rights groups are apparently not happy with the president again, this time because he's doing nothing to support the effort in the New York state legislature to pass a gay marriage bill. But this time around, as the 2012 election approaches, it seems the gay rights folks aren't quite as annoyed with Obama as they have been in years past. As one participant told The Huffington Post after a gay rights fundraiser this week, "[Obama] has done a lot. ... As every constituent group, we want 100 percent of what we can get. But getting 70 to 80 percent is better than anyone else has gotten. Look at the Hispanic groups, which are still waiting for a breakthrough on immigration reform." This seems to me to be a much more realistic assessment of President Obama's record on gay rights, especially as "President Bachmann" is now a real possibility out there on the horizon. Obama may not toe the perfect line on gay rights, but he's going to be a lot better than the alternative.

This, to be blunt, is going to be the choice many former supporters of Barack Obama face in the upcoming election: to offer their support, however begrudgingly, or be faced with an alternative which will definitely be worse for their own important issues. It's not exactly a great campaign slogan or anything ("Consider the alternative!"), but it will be the choice many will be making in the months to come.

Luckily for Obama, the Republican field isn't anything much to worry about, at least for now. John Huntsman... whoops, took that from their own campaign materials passed out to reporters, sorry... let's just start over... Jon Huntsman announced he was running for president, to a giant collective yawn outside the Beltway and to cheers and celebration within the Washington punditry. Hey, at least Newt's people spelled his name right in his disastrous campaign launch! Speaking of Newt Gingrich, his two top fundraisers just quit, following the 16 other high-level staffers who bailed out a while back. So it goes, in the Republican primary contest, I guess.

But enough of this meandering, let's get on with the awards and the talking points, shall we?


Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

Knowing full well this is going to annoy some people, we're going to give President Obama an Honorable Mention this week for his Afghanistan pullout plan. It is not as fast as some would have liked, and it is much too fast for others. But it seems Obama has chosen a fairly good middle road in his decision to pull out 10,000 troops by the end of the year, and the remainder of his second "surge" by the end of next summer. This was a tricky needle to thread for the president, because so many objectives had to be weighed. If he had done what the public overwhelmingly wanted him to do (pull the troops out much faster), then he would have sparked enormous pushback from the Pentagon. If he had listened to those counseling pulling out just enough troops so he could politically say "I'm withdrawing our troops" without actually doing so (the Pentagon wanted only 3,000-5,000 troops out, for instance), the public would have rejected the plan, and Congress would have gotten a lot more aggressive in challenging the president.

No plan is going to please everyone, in other words. But Obama has chosen a route which has a little bit of good news for everyone, and not enough bad news to enrage any particular faction too severely. The troops are coming home faster than was expected before Obama gave his speech (especially next year), but slower (especially this year) than many had hoped for. Obama, it bears pointing out, campaigned on ramping up the war in Afghanistan, so none of this is all that surprising.

Obama has chosen a route which could allow the main objective to work -- put pressure on the Afghan government and military to take over the problem themselves -- without too high a risk of letting the Taliban retake the initiative the surge has denied them.

So while we know Obama's plan isn't perfect, it is decisive and it fulfills the promise he made when he announced his second surge -- the troops will start coming home next month. This wasn't enough to win Obama the coveted Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award, but it certainly was enough to win him an Honorable Mention, in our opinion.

Also deserving of an Honorable Mention this week was Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, whom we had a chance to sit down with during Netroots Nation and discuss Social Security. Senator Whitehouse is a powerful voice for fixing Social Security's shortfalls by "scrapping the cap" on payroll deductions (which I will be writing about in detail in future columns). For his strong support of Social Security, for his insistence that benefits not be cut nor retirement ages hiked, and for being a founding member of the "Defend Social Security Caucus" in the Senate, Senator Whitehouse deserves an Honorable Mention this week. [If you'd like, you can sign on to a petition agreeing with Whitehouse's Social Security and Medicare stance on his official House website.]

But the real winner of the MIDOTW award this week is none other than Barney Frank. Frank teamed up with fellow House member (and Republican presidential candidate) Ron Paul to introduce a bill to legalize marijuana on a federal level. From the press release:

"The legislation would limit the federal government’s role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal. The legislation is the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition."

Now all they need to do is get the House to vote on it. Maybe Ron Paul will get the media interested in the bill, since he is running for president. Regardless of the bill's chances, though, we simply have to honor Barney Frank for calling for an end to the federal War On Marijuana -- the most ineffective social "war" experiment in United States history.

Someone's got to take that first step, and Barney Frank is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week for doing so. Well done, Congressman Frank!

[Congratulate Congressman Barney Frank on his House contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

To be scrupulously fair, in addition to honoring President Obama in the "impressive" category, we also have to award him a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week as well, on the same subject (war) but in regards to a different country (Libya).

No matter what you think of America's military efforts in Libya (and the thinking is all over the map, and not constrained to political party, I should point out), President Obama's declaration last week that the War Powers Act simply did not apply to what was going on in Libya because it "wasn't a war" was just pathetic.

This is the worst hair-splitting to come out of a Democratic White House since "It depends on what the meaning of 'is' is." Now, the War Powers Act is a serious bone of contention between Congress and the White House, and it always has been -- no matter who is running which end of Pennsylvania Avenue at the time. Congress passed the law after Vietnam, to restrain the ability of the president to order American troops anywhere he wanted to for as long as he felt like keeping them there. But all successive presidents have, in essence, declared that they feel the law is an unconstitutional power grab by the legislative branch. All successive Congresses have, in essence, replied: "No, we're rectifying unconstitutional behavior by the executive branch, since we're the ones who are supposed to declare war." The issue has never been tested in the courts. So it's basically a standoff -- a very long and protracted example of "checks and balances" (which, incidentally, does not refer to political parties, the way some would have you believe).

Previous presidents (again, of both parties) have waffled and fudged on keeping to the letter of the War Powers Act. But President Obama's declaration that Libya doesn't even constitute "hostilities" (much less a "war") is impossible to defend. It was nothing more than a lazy way out of giving lip service to the War Powers Act, in order to completely ignore it. Now, other presidents have ignored the law in other creative ways, but Obama's explanation of why it doesn't apply to Libya simply strains believability. Which is why Obama gets a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week. I realize the campaign is starting and everything, but couldn't the folks at the White House have come up with something a little better than this?

But the real Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week is a woman named Sammie Spades. Spades is giving new salacious meaning to the phrase "former Clinton intern," although -- believe it or not -- Bill was not even involved!

Spades apparently took a convoluted career path through life. She was a summer intern for Hillary Clinton in Buffalo, New York, back in 2006 (when Hillary was just a senator). These days, Sammie is appearing in adult movies, according to TMZ. But the really disappointing thing about the situation was the following quote:

Sammie says, "I was planning on becoming an attorney and then going into public office" -- however, a couple years later she ran into money problems, abandoned politics ... and claims having sex on tape was the best way to pay the bills.

She is also quoted saying: "I don't think Hillary would be too happy, but I have nothing but respect for Mrs. Clinton."

[While normally political interns are not considered public figures, actors (of any type) most definitely are. However, we're not even going to attempt to find contact information for Sammie Spades, sorry about that.]


Friday Talking Points

Volume 170 (6/24/11)

These are kind of all over the map, this time around. But then, it's been a busy few weeks!

As always, these talking points are provided for the benefit of Democrats everywhere, from those getting interviewed on the Sunday political chatfests to those who get into political discussions around the water cooler, in an attempt to better frame the discussions.


   Don't throw Grandma out of her nursing home

I defer to the professionals in the Democratic Party who are testing their messaging for the first of our talking points this week. The brunt of this talking point was taken from a recent article on Democratic framing research.

"The Republican Ryan budget would cut $750 billion from Medicaid, including funding for 80 percent of nursing home residents, forcing many seniors to be kicked out of their nursing homes. That's right away, folks, not in ten years. Democrats think this is unacceptable. Join us in telling Republicans in Congress: Don't throw Grandma out of her nursing home!"


   Some needed perspective on Afghanistan

No matter whether Democrats agree with the president's Afghanistan pullout plan or not, they should at the very least be pushing back against the pro-war Republican faction's wild claims. Agree with the president, or think his pullout is too slow -- either way, you should be able to say some version of the following.

"Let's just put things in some perspective, here, shall we? When the president finished withdrawing the second of his troop surges -- the second surge, mind you -- over a time period of not three months, not six months, but over the course of fifteen months, then America will still have approximately twice as many troops in Afghanistan than George W. Bush ever sent there in the seven years he had to conduct the war. How can anyone in their right mind say that Barack Obama is somehow leaving Afghanistan to its fate, given those hard facts?"


   The jobs bill clock is ticking...

Nancy Pelosi's on to something. Start the clock! Update and repeat this figure every time you face a member of the media, especially on television. The following is how Minority Leader Pelosi opened her press conference this week:

As you know, I like temporal markers. Here we are, 170 days into the Republican majority in the Congress, and still not a jobs bill in sight.


   Stop the speculators!

This one is already pretty popular, but it needs to get cemented in people's minds as something which Barack Obama did to make their lives better. If you're going to make political hay, then you've got to draw attention to these things.

"President Obama has made a decisive move to get the speculators out of the oil market. It has been estimated that up to a dollar of the price Americans have recently been paying at the pump can be laid at the feet of these Wall Street speculators. By signaling that America is betting on the price coming down over the summer, the president has made the oil market extremely unattractive to such speculation. Since the upshot of all of this is the American consumer paying a much more fair price for gasoline -- without having to line the pockets of speculators -- it's pretty hard to see this as anything but a good idea."


   Cut federal programs which are expensive and a failure!

Democrats could quite brilliantly turn the stock Republican argument in their favor on this particular issue.

"If Republicans want to slash some federal budget money by ending a program that has been nothing short of a gigantic failure and an enormous waste of money, they should allow Barney Frank and Ron Paul's bill ending the federal War On Marijuana to come to a vote on the House floor. Their bill would allow states to make their own mind up when it comes to how to treat marijuana -- in keeping with another supposed Republican tenet these days, that of returning power to the states. The federal War On Marijuana has failed. The highest members of America's government -- Democrats and Republicans -- have at this point admitted to smoking a little pot at some point in their lives. Supreme Court nominees, members of Congress, and even presidents have owned up to smoking marijuana. It's time to end this expensive farce. We just can't afford wasting money like this anymore."


   Poor Newt

This one is just pure, Grade-A snark.

"I see Newt Gingrich is having a major unemployment problem of his own -- within his campaign staff."


   "John"? Really?

Actually, this one's pretty snarky, too.

"I hope that as the Republican presidential primary campaign develops, that eventually everyone's campaign -- even Jon Huntsman's -- will learn how to spell their own candidate's name correctly."


-- Chris Weigant

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground
Cross-posted at: Democrats For Progress
Cross-posted at: The Huffington Post


16 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [170] -- Newt Loses Two, Huntsman Gains An "H"”

  1. [1] 
    dsws wrote:

    The president's reelection prospects are toast.

    Even though the statements at the time included plenty of wiggle room, everyone "knows" that he made a read-my-lips promise to have absolutely all US forces out of Afghanistan by the end of next month. Republicans won't try to argue Afghanistan policy with him. Instead, they'll make up complete nonsense on which to call him a liar. The specific accusations will be implausible enough to leave the viewers of Fox News scratching their heads, but that won't matter. It will stick because everyone "knows" he said he would get out of Afghanistan by the end of July and then didn't.

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    how about getting speculators out of the education market?

  3. [3] 
    dsws wrote:

    The core of the War Powers Resolution is so blatantly unconstitutional that it's hard to see how anyone takes it seriously. It can be summed up as "stop us before we authorize again", or "Congress shall not have the power to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval force, only to authorize specific actions one by one". At issue is whether the Senate can ratify the North Atlantic Treaty and Congress can pass relevant statutes, and have them be law governing the deployment of US forces in the situations they apply to. The Resolution says no, that would be general authorization, and Congress has taken away its own power to enact such general authorizations. The Constitution, however, stubbornly continues to insist that Congress shall have the power to make general rules about the military, and that the president is commander-in-chief.

    Then there's the other interpretation: The Resolution isn't an attempt by Congress to take away its own powers. It's an explanation of Congress's understanding of what those powers are. "Congress shall have the power to" really means "Congress shall not have the power to", at least according to Congress.

    On that interpretation, the Resolution is perfectly constitutional. After all, Congress has the same right to expound hare-brained theories of Constitutional construction as anyone else does. But so what? There's no reason at all why anyone should pay any more attention to that "understanding" of the Constitution than to the chattering of any other pack of poorly-trained baboons.

    Then there's the plausibly-separable question of imposing reporting requirements. The Resolution in full can be summed up as "'shall' means 'shall not', and by the way the president has to send Congress some paperwork when US forces are involved in certain hostilities". Even though presidents of both parties have rightly ignored the first part, the second part probably is still valid.

    However, it's not clear to me that providing logistical and intelligence support for allies involved in hostilities would by itself be enough to constitute US involvement in the same same hostilities. Nor is it clear to me how far US involvement in the Libyan civil war extends beyond that, since the end of the 60-day reporting period. Media coverage tends to say that US and NATO forces did such-and-such, without saying what role the US played and what role the foreign forces played.

  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    No matter what you think of America's military efforts in Libya (and the thinking is all over the map, and not constrained to political party, I should point out), President Obama's declaration last week that the War Powers Act simply did not apply to what was going on in Libya because it "wasn't a war" was just pathetic.

    Beyond the obvious, what really pisses me off about this latest Lack 'O Leadership indicator is that it simply insults the intelligence of the American People..

    It's as if the White House is saying, "The American people are morons. They'll accept anything we say and LIKE it!!"

    It's actually the Left and us Independents that are more insulted than the Right. The Right is going to be pissed at Obama no matter what.

    And, as usual, I have to wonder how the Left would have reacted if Bush had tried something this pathetic...

    Obama better hope and pray that there are no American casualties in his Libya "non" war... If there is, he is going to look like a complete and utter buffoon..


  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Personally, I think Hillary Clinton is a MUCH better choice for Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week Award..

    "I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration somehow you’re not patriotic. We should stand up and say we are Americans and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!!"
    -Hillary Clinton, 2008

    "Do you want to side with Col Qadaffi or do you want to side with the freedom-wanting people of Libya. Whose side are you on?"
    -Hillary Clinton, 2011

    Hillary is much more deserving of the MDDOTW Award, IMNSHO.. :D


  6. [6] 
    dsws wrote:

    President Obama's declaration last week that the War Powers Act simply did not apply to what was going on in Libya because it "wasn't a war" was just pathetic.

    Was it as pathetic as using quotation marks for an inaccurate paraphrase?

    The word in both the Resolution and Obama's statement is "hostilities", not war. The question isn't whether the war is going on, but whether the US counts as "involved" in it by providing logistics, surveillance, search-and-rescue, and drone strikes. It's somewhat shaky, but not in the same universe with the statement that there's no war going on in Libya.

    The truth of such an accusation doesn't matter. What matters is that it resonates with other accusations and doubts people have about the politician in question. People doubt the honesty of all politicians by default, and Obama's iron-clad promise to have the last US personnel leave Afghanistan on July 31 2011 has really painted him into a corner.

  7. [7] 
    BashiBazouk wrote:

    The president's reelection prospects are toast.

    Killing OBL means republicans won't even bring it up. All Obama has to say: I wanted to get out early but I received information about OBL and well, we know how that turned out. And what are the far left going to do about it? Vote republican?

    Libya is a dangerous game that I generally don't agree with constitutionally but will be brilliant if it works. What is the one thing every American knows about Libya? They are state sponsors of terrorism. OK, technically they officially got out of the terrorism game shortly after 911 but I don't think many remember that. I think Obama is goading the republicans in to making a big deal about it. If they do, added to killing OBL, the republicans loose the "T" word in the upcoming election season as well as no longer being seen as protectors of homeland against all threats real and imagined. Or he could be impeached. Hence the dangerous game.

    Was it as pathetic as using quotation marks for an inaccurate paraphrase?

    Heh, I guess that puts all Michale's quotes past and future in to question :D

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    Heh, I guess that puts all Michale's quotes past and future in to question :D

    Hay now!!

    "And the ref takes a point away!!"
    -Jim Carrey



  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    Killing OBL means republicans won't even bring it up.

    Killing OBL did not do nearly enough for Obama. Bush got a buttload better bump for a lot longer when Hussein was cuff'ed and stuff'ed..

    And what are the far left going to do about it? Vote republican?

    That and that alone is the ONLY reason that many on the Left have to vote for Obama.

    Which, as CW indicates above, is pretty pathetic in it's own right...

    If the Right gets someone that is even remotely appealing to Joe Q Public, you can bet Americans will desert Obama in droves...


  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    dsws [1]-

    Oh, I don't know, 18 months is a long time. By next year, Obama could conceivably be running on his "wartime record" -- "I got all our troops out of Iraq, we killed OBL and Ghaddafi, and we're safely getting our troops out of Afghanistan..."

    That's pretty rosy-colored, I'll admit, but like I said, a year and a half is a long time to predict where things will be...

    nypoet22 -

    Break into the Strategic Math Teacher Reserve! Heh.

    dsws [3]-

    You know, I was largely agreeing with you up until the end. But now you've got me thinking technically.

    If you define "hostilities" as "US soldiers could get killed" or maybe "US soldiers participating in hostilities" then things get dicey. Putting aside the initial phase (first 2-3 weeks), from what the media has reported, the US is involved in:

    1 - refueling aircraft midair
    2 - intelligence (satellite, AWACs, etc)
    3 - intelligence on the ground (when they admitted the CIA was in-country)
    4 - (assumed) out-of-theater support (ships, airbases, whatever)
    5 - supplying NATO forces when necessary (laser-guided bombs)
    6 - psyops (cracking into the Libyan military communications networks with propaganda saying "give up! abandon your leader!" etc)
    7 - communications jamming
    8 - drone overflights and missile attacks from drones

    A lawyer could argue that 1 + 4 were participating in hostilities (fuelling jets and bombers about to attack), but only indirectly. 2 and 3 maybe not, although nobody precisely knows what those CIA/SpecialOps folks are exactly doing, do we? 5 is a little dicier, but could probably be filed with 1+3. I'm not sure 6 is the US, could be other NATO, the reports didn't say. 7 is somewhat hostile, but could be explained away.

    That brings us to 8. Now, if you define "hostilities" as the possibility of US soldiers being injured, then this wouldn't qualify, as the drone operators are reportedly in places far away, like Nevada. BUT on the other hand, if you define "hostilities" as "the US shooting or bombing people" then I would think this definitely qualifies. When the drone operators see valid targets, they launch missiles. Yet another example of the advance of war technologies beyond our normal ability to pigeonhole them (I wrote awhile back about the strange places the robot war strategy is going to lead us all in...).

    Food for thought, though.

    Michale -

    It's actually the Left and us Independents that are more insulted than the Right. The Right is going to be pissed at Obama no matter what.

    And, as usual, I have to wonder how the Left would have reacted if Bush had tried something this pathetic...

    This is (kind of) my point. (1) that the White House should have gotten a bit more (or maybe less) creative in ignoring the WPA -- use one of the tried-and-true methods other presidents have used, in other words, and (2) what are Lefties going to say when a Republican president tries something like this? It's only fair to ask.

    Apart from the Libyan reality, just as a technical exercise, what do you think of my list above? How would you define number 8? Just curious.

    dsws [8]-


    Yeah, you are entirely correct, I was just too lazy to look up Obama's quote. I thought I could skate this one by, but my eagle-eyed readers have caught me out once again. Mea culpa maxima!


    As for the rest of it, I think I answered it above. And I did use "hostilities" elsewhere in the article, you've got to give me credit for that...

    Here's the gauntlet right back at you, though. You say Obama gave an iron-clad promise... can you dig up a quote? From when he was sitting president, or just on the campaign trail (it would make a difference)?

    BashiBazouk -

    Excellent point about the terrorism issue. I guess you could add that to my first paragraph here (the possibility Obama will run on his war record).


  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:


    what are Lefties going to say when a Republican president tries something like this? It's only fair to ask.

    And you can bet it's going to happen...

    If anything, Obama has given the Right the perfect excuse to completely ignore the WPA. Don't even pay it lip service.


  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Apart from the Libyan reality, just as a technical exercise, what do you think of my list above? How would you define number 8? Just curious.

    It's a pretty good list...

    The whole question kinda reminds me of the old-fashioned New York cop when questioned on what the definition of pornography is..

    "I may not be able to define pornagraphy, but I sure as hell know it when I see it!!"


    My personal take is, if there are hostilities and the US is involved, either by way of command & control or by assets then the US is involved in hostilities..

    The idea that it's NATO involved and NOT the US is redonkulus...

    "And YOU.... are redonkulus!!"
    -Puss 'n Boots, SHREK 4ever After


    NATO *IS* the US. Period.

    NATO couldn't exist with the US and NATO doesn't take a dump unless the US OKs it...

    So this idea that "it's NATO, not the US" is so much felgercarb...

    Obama would have done himself a MUCH better service by simply saying the WPA is unconstitutional and he is not going to abide by it..

    This idea that the WPA is constitutional but simply doesn't apply in the Libya TOP is simply a pathetic (and vane) attempt to have his cake and eat it too.

    A man of Obama's oratory and loquacious skill SHOULD have come up with something better..

    The fact that he felt he didn't even need to try is simply insulting...


  13. [13] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    there's no national reserve for math teachers, but there does appear to be a battle underway for the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of parents. the ed-speculators are out in full force, pushing charters, vouchers, corporate control of public education, and of course even more standardized testing.

  14. [14] 
    dsws wrote:

    BashiBazouk [7]:

    Killing OBL means republicans won't even bring it up.

    It's not that they're going to bring up Afghanistan. It's that they're going to smear him as a liar over something completely spurious. They'll say he claimed to have invented Facebook, or some such. It will have legs because everyone "knows" he lied about having all the troops would be out by 2011.07.31.

    CW [10]

    You say Obama gave an iron-clad promise

    Not seriously I don't. In [1] I say that everyone "knows" he gave a read-my-lips promise. In [6] I refer to it but forget to include the (sarcasm)(/sarcasm) tags. He said he was going to do basically what he did: have the number of troops peak on 2011.07.31 and then bring some home but no hint about how many. But the MSM circulated it as a promise to have them basically all out by that date, and he never made any known effort to correct them.

  15. [15] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    If Obama corrected all of the nonsense emanating from the MSM, then he would have no time for anything else ... whatsoever!

    Besides, that's what we're here for, right!? :)

  16. [16] 
    dsws wrote:

    For the most part, yes. But this one he's culpable for. When you say "withdrawal ... July '11", swing voters hear "the troops will basically be home in July".

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