ChrisWeigant.com

Friday Talking Points [197] -- White House Fumbles

[ Posted Friday, February 10th, 2012 – 17:02 PST ]

Before we get to the week that was, politically-speaking (and, with it, our final football metaphors of the season), we've first got to call another state in the Republican primary season race. Last week, we almost forgot to predict Nevada's race, and this column went out without containing such a prediction to many readers, for which we apologize (we had to quickly paste in an "Update" at ChrisWeigant.com, which smacks of last-minute-ism, we fully admit).

While many haven't even noticed it, the state of Maine will wrap up its caucuses tomorrow. If there has been any polling out of the state, we certainly haven't been able to find it, so predicting the outcome is a true gut-feeling exercise. From conversations with the Mainers we know, nobody seems to have a clue what the results will be.

One interesting comment: virtually no television ads have run in the state, from any of the candidates. Which just adds to the free-for-all nature of the race.

Based on absolutely nothing more than tossing a mental dart at the wall, I think Mitt Romney's going to win the Maine caucus. Mitt could certainly use some good news right about now, especially since the only contest in the next two-and-a-half weeks is the Northern Marianas (which I will predict right now will generate almost zero interest in the media). But folks in Maine are in Massachusetts' back yard (fun Maine trivia fact number one: the state used to be part of Massachusetts), so they likely have formed a pretty solid opinion of Romney by now. Also, Mainers are a down-to-earth bunch who are not as impressed by glitz (Gingrich, for instance) or fire-breathing (Santorum, perhaps) as voters elsewhere.

The biggest news out of the Maine caucuses will be that Ron Paul chalks up second place, after doing so decisively in Minnesota earlier in the week. I think Paul is the only candidate who actually bothered to visit Maine, which will pay off for him in a light-turnout caucus. Third place is anyone's guess, but I flipped a coin and it came up Santorum, so let's call third for Rick.

So, Maine prediction, in the following order: Romney, Paul, Santorum, with Gingrich barely even registering. Those are my picks, feel free to share yours in the comments, as always.

As for my record, I only did OK last Tuesday, although I did nail 3-for-3 in Missouri. Overall, though, I only chalked up 5-for-9 for the entire night (which I've belatedly decided to call "MinneRockyShowMe Tuesday"), which leaves my overall percentage at:

Total correct 2012 primary picks so far: 14 for 24 -- 58%.

Fun Maine trivia fact number two: Maine is the only state's name which contains only one syllable. But enough silliness, let's get on with the show....

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

In what can only be called the best-yet example of "How To Springboard Off Stephen Colbert," Nancy Pelosi branded her effort to pass a political financial disclosure bill as the "Stop Colbert" campaign. So far, we're pretty impressed at her grasp of hilarity. Here's Pelosi, from the video:

Stephen Colbert used to be my friend. I even signed the poor baby's cast when he hurt his hand. But since the day he started his super PAC, taking secret money from special interests, he's been out of control, even using his super PAC to attack my friend, Newt Gingrich. And if that weren't enough, I hear he doesn't even like kittens.

Heh. Love that part about Pelosi's "friend" Newt Gingrich. It's a serious piece of legislation, but that doesn't mean you can't have some fun with it and get your message out as a direct result. For doing so, Pelosi wins at least an Honorable Mention this week.

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week winner was Senator Barbara Boxer, for being the woman leading the effort to provide political cover for the White House this week on the birth control controversy (much more on this later in this column). Perhaps we're biased, since we do reside in Boxer's home state of California -- there were some other Democrats out there in the media mounting a strong defense of the new policy, as well. But Boxer has made women's reproductive health one of her signature issues in the Senate, so it was her voice that carried the most weight in the debate from the Democrats' side.

For being a consistently-strong advocate of women's rights, and for stepping up to the plate this week on the birth control decision, Barbara Boxer wins the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week. Well done, Senator Boxer, well done.

[Congratulate Senator Barbara Boxer on her Senate contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Moving along, we have the "How Not To Springboard Off Stephen Colbert" category, it seems. Colbert apparently, right after the BP oil spill, proposed renaming the Gulf of Mexico the "Gulf of America" (on the you-broke-it-you-buy-it theory), as a joke. Mississippi state representative Steve Holland just introduced a bill in the state legislature which would do just that.

The only problem is, it's very easy to miss the fact that he's joking. After all, it wasn't that long ago our country's national legislators were spending their valuable time coming up with such neologisms as "freedom fries." So while Holland was shooting for some Colbert-inspired humor, he missed the mark for a lot of folks. We don't think this rises to the level of even a (Dis-)Honorable Mention, but we did at least think it was worth pointing out here.

In other news, the Obama White House had rather a bad week... but again, we'll get to that in a moment.

The disgrace of the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week belongs to another state legislator, Bill DeWeese of Pennsylvania.

DeWeese has now been convicted of five out of six corruption charges against him. This will make him a convicted felon, once he is sentenced. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 24, which is the day Pennsylvania holds primary elections. In an astounding display of chutzpah, however, DeWeese is trying to move his sentencing back past the November election, so he can get re-elected. He is not just some backbencher, either, but the majority leader of the state house of representatives.

What he should be doing instead is writing his resignation letter. If he's sentenced as a felon, he will either have to step down or face the certainty that he's going to be kicked out. Rather than putting Pennsylvania voters through that disgrace, however, DeWeese should "take more time to work on my legal problems and my appeals" and resign his office.

For not immediately doing so -- and with golden "I'm Entitled To This Office, Dammit!" poison-ivy-leaf clusters -- Bill DeWeese is our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. Do the right thing, Bill. Resign.

[Contact Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese on his official contact page, to let him know what you think of his actions, even though he is not likely to pay the slightest attention.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 197 (2/10/12)

We're going to forgo enumerated talking points this week, to follow the White House's lead.

That was sarcasm, just for the record.

For the past week the political world (outside of the Republican primary race) has been consumed by a gigantic policy fight. Barack Obama and the White House were supposedly at the heart of this battle, but they were (for the most part) missing in action. This left the field for the opposition, who successfully framed the entire issue in their own terms -- which was very damaging to Obama, to say the least.

The issue, of course, was the administration's decision to require religious organizations who operate secular businesses such as universities and hospitals to provide health insurance for their employees (who are also secular, not religious employees) which fully covered birth control. Churches themselves would continue to be exempt from this requirement, but hospital workers would not.

This decision was announced a while back, and it was greeted with a full-scale attack by the Catholic Church and (once they realized what was going on) most Republicans. Inexplicably, the White House was caught flatfooted in their response.

No matter what you think of the administration's decision (agree, kind-of-sort-of agree, disagree), I think we can all agree that it was handled extremely badly from the get-go. This is not the way to roll out a contentious policy, guys and gals.

This policy has been a long time in coming. I first read about it last fall, when many on the Left were predicting that Obama was going to cave in and give the churches what they wanted, rather than stand up for employee rights. This worried tone continued, with an article every few weeks on the immanence of the decision the administration faced. To put it another way: the White House had plenty of time to plan for this rollout. It seems they didn't bother to do so, or if they did plan for it, the person responsible should be fired immediately for rank incompetence.

The political implications should have been obvious. This is, after all, an election year. Catholics make up a large proportion of some very important swing states in the Midwest (such as: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan). Putting yourself in opposition to the bishops is going to have repercussions, in other words.

To be charitable, maybe the White House wanted to pick this fight. Maybe it was part of some multi-dimensional political chess where Obama could benefit from the backlash to the backlash. Birth control, after all, is a lot less contentious than gay marriage or abortion. Maybe it was some sort of attempt by the Obama team to create a wedge issue of their own, rather than fighting over the same old Republican wedge issues.

Even assuming this, however, you'd be a fool to say that it's been successful so far. If you're going to wage culture war, you have to get in there and strongly make the case for your side. If you're going to take a moral high road, you have to be aware that the other side is taking their own moral high road -- even if it's a different path than yours. You've got to plan for it and attempt to counteract it, by explaining your side of the story.

This, to be blunt, was noticeably absent. Once again, to be charitable, perhaps the White House was caught by surprise at the ferocity of the backlash, and has (instead of fanning the flames) been working diligently ever since to come up with a compromise. This compromise was announced this morning (which, incidentally, is why I'm ranting here instead of providing the talking points I had sketched out for today's column -- in support of the White House's position -- which are all now mostly moot).

But even this was handled badly. The bishops weren't on board, and may still fight back with everything they've got. If you hammer out a compromise, it would behoove you to make sure everyone's in agreement before announcing the compromise to the world.

The compromise itself didn't sound so bad, on the face of it. The women affected would still get the exact same thing: free birth control. Accounting hairsplitting may pass muster with the bishops, but the women affected won't care, because they're more concerned with managing their own health than in debating some "pinhead-dancing angels" theological conundrum.

Whether the bishops do agree to the new rule, or whether this is just the first round of attempting compromise remains to be seen, as of this writing. But no matter the outcome, the entire matter has so far been badly fumbled by the White House. They knew this was going to be a political decision -- just like their ruling on not offering the morning-after pill to women of all ages over the counter. If they intended on caving completely to the churches, they could have done so months ago and announced it at the same time as the morning-after pill decision -- before the presidential election really got going in full swing. If they intended to pick this fight as a political wedge issue, then they didn't just fumble, they fumbled the ball in the wrong end zone. OK, I know it's too late for bad football metaphors, but still.

If this was a political fight the White House was relishing, then there is a tried-and-true way to mount such an operation. You get everyone who will strongly agree with your decision completely on board. You coordinate with them, so they know when the decision is coming. You line up heavyweight members of Congress and have meetings with them so they're ready to be interviewed as well. Then, when everything's in place and everyone's on board, you call a press conference and roll the whole thing out to the media. Your supporters get on the news with their rehearsed talking points, while the other guys are left scrambling.

None of this, quite simply, was done. Democrats and other advocates didn't even have a fact sheet of handy things to talk about before they found themselves in the political firestorm. Even worse, the other side had done a superb job of preparation, and many otherwise-liberal pundits and media voices were -- from the very beginning -- saying what a horrible political misstep the White House had just taken. Democratic legislators began to peel off as well.

It was like watching a high school football team take on the Oakland Raiders (our next-to-the-last football metaphor of the season, promise). No matter what metaphor you choose, though, watching the whole thing was very disturbing to anyone who would like to see Barack Obama win a second term. We're in election season, folks. This isn't the time for rookie mistakes, or being caught so flatfooted. Granted, we've got quite a few months to go, but this isn't a good start for Team Obama.

The White House's political shop can be better than this, however. They can put this behind them and hone their skills for the upcoming race, but they've got to do so quickly. Because of this, and because we wanted to end on an upbeat note, we will close today with the full script of the outstandingly good Super Bowl ad featuring Clint Eastwood. The best thing Obama's re-election team could do right now is immediately hire whatever genius wrote this ad, and give him a free hand for the upcoming campaign. Because this is how it is supposed to be done, folks:

It's halftime. Both teams are in their locker room discussing what they can do to win this game in the second half.

It's halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they're hurting. And they're all wondering what they're going to do to make a comeback. And we're all scared, because this isn't a game.

The people of Detroit know a little something about this. They almost lost everything. But we all pulled together, now Motor City is fighting again.

I've seen a lot of tough eras, a lot of downturns in my life. And times when we didn't understand each other. It seems like we've lost our heart at times. When the fog of division, discord, and blame made it hard to see what lies ahead.

But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one. Because that's what we do. We find a way through tough times, and if we can't find a way, then we'll make one.

All that matters now is what's ahead. How do we come from behind? How do we come together? And, how do we win?

Detroit's showing us it can be done. And what's true about them is true about all of us.

This country can't be knocked out with one punch. We get right back up again and when we do the world is going to hear the roar of our engines.

Yeah, it's halftime America. And our second half is about to begin.

-- Chris Weigant

 

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

 

39 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [197] -- White House Fumbles”

  1. [1] 
    Michale wrote:

    Personally, I prefer the Chuck Norris version, as opposed to the Clint Eastwood version.. :D


    Halftime in America -- the Chuck Norris version

    By Jon Kraushar

    Here is the fantasy transcript of the Super Bowl ad that didn’t air, narrated by actor Chuck Norris:

    It’s the other halftime in America. The Democratic quarterback is in the locker room, giving a pep talk to his team.

    He says:

    “We will divide and conquer. We will try to get the people watching the game to boo and throw trash at the strongest and wealthiest players on the field and in the stands.

    “We will do this to distract from our frequent fumbles, the many yards we’ve lost, the numerous field goals we’ve missed, and the several times we’ve punted lamely.

    “We will complain that the playing field is tilted, even though we’re the ones who have dug it full of ditches, poured quicksand in the holes, littered the field with penalty flags, fertilized the field with seed money for greens that don’t grow, and made it difficult for doctors to work anywhere in the stadium, when players or fans are injured.

    “We will win because we’ve appointed referees to call plays in our favor and we have the press on our side.”

    In the other locker room, the Republican players are arguing among themselves. One gets up and says:

    “Our loss would be a defeat not only for us but also for all the people watching the game.

    “That’s because the Democratic team wants to control every aspect of the game and take money from just about everyone: the taxpayers and investors who built the stadium, the rich folks in the sky boxes, the small business people selling everything from peanuts and beer to pennants and popcorn, the inventors hawking their novelties in the stands, and the athletes, too.

    “The fans who think the Democratic team is playing for them are mistaken. Eventually the Democratic game of envy, giveaways and weakness will also tackle everyone, because the Democratic appetite for power, money, accumulating debt and ignoring the blind side on security is insatiable.”

    During halftime, a singer in a skimpy outfit simulates sex while one of the other entertainers flips the middle finger to the crowd.

    A woman in the stands says to her husband: “There’s a lot at stake in the second half, which ends in November.

    Whatever the outcome, we’re looking at a game changer.”

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2012/02/08/halftime-in-america-chuck-norris-version/#ixzz1m25uT8fh

    CW called it exactly right..

    The White House fumbled.... AGAIN...

    Michale.....

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the sports cliché that has been bugging me the most lately is "in this league." everybody and his brother says it, and it sounds so poser when people use it who aren't in the league themselves. clint eastwood's halftime metaphor was really pretty good, but i don't think it was partisan at all. it didn't say anything nice about obama or other democrats, just general optimism about the strengths of the american people. jon kraushar's (as quoted by michale) is so eye-rollingly full of pointless partisan mudslinging that i can't even muster the interest to go about dissecting it.

    that said, the white house does have a serious communication issue. i don't think it's limited to birth control, either. for some odd reason, they seem to think they can address criticism by making compromises that they define themselves, without the participation of the people with whom they're supposed to be compromising. let's take a different example, from this year's state of the union address:

    "Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making."

    notice how nobody seems to have polled any teachers to see whether or not this sounds good to them? sure, to someone who doesn't know anything about the education system, it sounds reasonable. the trouble is that standardized tests are still being used as one of the main criteria for evaluating teachers, even though the teacher's contribution to test scores is at most about twelve to fifteen percent. it's hard to stop teaching to the test if a standardized test is still the yardstick by which you're measured, paid and fired, even if you happen to teach art, orchestra or phys-ed. the "compromise" may seem reasonable on the face, but the biggest problem isn't being addressed, and the people who understand it best aren't being consulted.

    see the parallel between this and the birth control debate? the white house wants to take actions that seem reasonable, but neglects to seriously consult the other people involved. it might be politically expedient, but it's not conducive to good policy.

    ~joshua

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    see the parallel between this and the birth control debate? the white house wants to take actions that seem reasonable, but neglects to seriously consult the other people involved. it might be politically expedient, but it's not conducive to good policy.

    It's the community organizer mentality..

    As a community organizer, you don't have to actually talk to the people to get their input on what they REALLY want. After all, you're doing them a favor so they will like anything you do...

    For an Administration that ran on the platform of HOPE and CHANGE, they are remarkably deaf to the real problems facing this country..

    With a few exceptions, every major initiative coming out of the Democrats, the majority of Americans have been against...

    Michale.....

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    With a few exceptions, every major initiative coming out of the Democrats, the majority of Americans have been against...

    i think that's an oversimplified view. most of the president's initiatives have had broad support in the conceptual stages. only when the policy debate was in progress did that support begin to erode. i think this has been partly due to the complete unwillingness of republican leadership to ever compromise on anything, no matter how small; that's been their expressed strategy since day one. this allowed corporatist democrats to hold the process hostage.

    meanwhile, the administration has had a real problem listening to professionals who disagree with them. it seems unable to distinguish intelligent criticism from kneejerk obstruction. both exist, but failing to make the distinction and reacting the same to both, tends to turn the former into the latter. the "professional left" comment was kind-of telling - there seems to be some sort of underlying assumption, i'm not sure how to define it. it's like, "let's compromise, i'll tell you how."

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    i think that's an oversimplified view.

    Yet, accurate nonetheless...

    it seems unable to distinguish intelligent criticism from kneejerk obstruction.

    Agreed....

    both exist, but failing to make the distinction and reacting the same to both, tends to turn the former into the latter.

    Well said... Damn well said...

    the "professional left" comment was kind-of telling - there seems to be some sort of underlying assumption, i'm not sure how to define it. it's like, "let's compromise, i'll tell you how."

    Yep.. Yep....

    The attitude is, "Everyone is entitled to my opinion.."

    or

    "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."

    Take your pick...

    Michale..

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i think that's an oversimplified view.

    Yet, accurate nonetheless...

    it's also accurate that the packers didn't win the super bowl this year. i wouldn't necessarily call that the best summary of their season. would you?

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    The attitude is, "Everyone is entitled to my opinion.."

    or

    "When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."

    Take your pick...

    i think it's more like, "i know your opinion better than you do."

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    it's also accurate that the packers didn't win the super bowl this year. i wouldn't necessarily call that the best summary of their season. would you?

    Zzzzziiiiinnnggggg :D

    Good one...

    Michale.....

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    On another note, since it's Friday and Obama hasn't been slammed for any Foreign Policy debacle in ages.. :D

    Assad forces mull use of chemical weapons in Homs, opposition says
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/middle-east/assad-forces-mull-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-homs-opposition-says-1.411954

    This is what happens when you lead from behind. When you spend all your time talking about a problem and building a consensus and all that other crap..

    People die...

    Michale.....

  10. [10] 
    Chris1962 wrote:

    Syria's military has begun stockpiling chemical weapons and equipping its soldiers with gas masks near the city of Homs, opposition sources reported on Thursday.

    Kinda makes a body wonder what was in that convoy of trucks that Saddam sent into Syria a few days before Shock n' Awe went down.

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Sad thing about Whitney Houston... I actually teared up a little listening to her music yesterday..

    She was an unparallelled talent of my generation.

    She will be missed..

    Michale

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    i think it's more like, "i know your opinion better than you do."

    It's like I said before adnasuem...

    This Administration's idea of "compromise" seems to be, "we'll tell you what to do and you'll like it"...

    That's not compromise in any way, shape or form..

    Just like the CrapCare that brought us this current debacle...

    The only thing the GOP got out of it was a "promise" from Obama to review tort reform..

    And, like all of Obama's promises, it ain't worth the air it's uttered with...

    Michale.....

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Since the current "OH MY GOD, THINK OF THE CHILDREN" hysteria is out of the way with regards to Catholics and contraception.....

    Let's talk about Obama's embracing of the Citizens United ruling and SuperPACs...

    Michale.....

  14. [14] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Let's talk about Obama's embracing of the Citizens United ruling and SuperPACs...

    Let's not and say we did, shall we? Heh.

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    Let's not and say we did, shall we? Heh.

    hehehehehehehe :D

    I understand the reluctance..

    When this was discussed a couple months back, I went on record as saying that if the Citizens United ruling would benefit the Left, then Democrats would be all over it like stink on rice...

    I never realized that my point would be proven so adamantly so quickly.... :D

    Michale

  16. [16] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    Sad thing about Whitney Houston... I actually teared up a little listening to her music yesterday..

    She was an unparallelled talent of my generation.

    She will be missed...

    Well said, Michale.

    I doubt there was a single dry eye in the house last night at the Grammy's. It's been a while since I last watched one of these but I would bet that the 54th Grammy Awards show will go down as the best ever! Whoever put that show together deserves an award, to be sure.

  17. [17] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    As for the CU thing ... surely you don't blame Obama for not wanting to fight his re-election campaign with one hand tied behind his back, do you.

    Why should he do that? He can take full advantage of this law and still be doing everything he can to take corrective action to have that decision overturned. The two are hardly mutually exclusive.

  18. [18] 
    Michale wrote:

    Well said, Michale.

    Thank you.. I have always had a soft spot for Whitney Houston every since I saw her in a guest stint on SILVER SPOONS.

    She was a beautiful talent..

    Why should he do that? He can take full advantage of this law and still be doing everything he can to take corrective action to have that decision overturned. The two are hardly mutually exclusive.

    You can't demonize something and then use that same thing to your advantage.

    At least, you can't and expect to be taken seriously or not have your principles questioned..

    Obama could have (and SHOULD have) took the moral high road and appealed to grassroots donors who would, likely, have contributed to him ANYTHING that SuperPACs could have matched.

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002286937

    Obama chose the low road, thereby proving he is nothing more than a politician.. A person out for himself and himself only, at the expense of the country..

    Michale.....

  19. [19] 
    Michale wrote:

    On an unrelated note...

    http://www.wsoctv.com/news/news/local/albemarle-man-shoots-daughters-laptop-after-readin/nHZPK/#comments

    I read that and the only thing going thru my mind was.... "I can fix that"... :D

    Michale

  20. [20] 
    Michale wrote:

    You can't demonize something and then use that same thing to your advantage.

    It's like a anti-gun nut who claims that guns are evil and serve absolutely NO useful purpose, but has a CCW for self-defense..

    If CU/SuperPACs would destroy our democracy, why the hell is Obama availing himself of them???

    Michale....

  21. [21] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    You can't demonize something and then use that same thing to your advantage.

    But that's just it, Michale! He's not using this to his advantage. He's using it so that he is not at a distinct disadvantage during this campaigne when the Republicans are taking full advantage of it.

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    It's like a anti-gun nut who claims that guns are evil and serve absolutely NO useful purpose, but has a CCW for self-defense...

    Very bad analogy ... apples and unicorns, or something.

    If CU/SuperPACs would destroy our democracy, why the hell is Obama availing himself of them???

    Asked and answered. Obama is availing himself of them because he has to if he doesn't want to get railroaded by the other side. This isn't rocket science. :)

  23. [23] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Michale,

    So, what do think of Obama's fiscal 2013 budget proposal?

  24. [24] 
    Michale wrote:

    Very bad analogy ... apples and unicorns, or something.

    Actually, it's the perfect analogy...

    If someone makes a living at claiming something is evil or wrong or dangerous, then why on earth would they embrace that same thing???

    Asked and answered. Obama is availing himself of them because he has to if he doesn't want to get railroaded by the other side.

    But that's just it.. Obama doesn't HAVE to avail himself of the "threat to our democracy"... If Obama proved ANYTHING in 2008, it's that he can mobilize the grassroots and they can beat ANY corporate machinations any day of the week and twice on Sunday...

    So, why doesn't Obama take the high road and appeal to the grassroots again??

    Is it because the grassroots know that Obama is nothing more than a political animal, the same as the corporate puppets he runs against???

    Riddle me this...

    If a man has to use nefarious, evil and threatening means to put forth his agenda.....

    What does that say about the agenda???

    So, what do think of Obama's fiscal 2013 budget proposal?

    It's giving a lot of money towards governments that are pursuing actively anti-American agendas...

    That's for starters...

    Michale.....

  25. [25] 
    Michale wrote:

    $1M to see a cabinet secretary? New Obama ruling reopens the door

    President Obama's decision to encourage his donors to give to a super PAC does more than just empower an outside group looking to level the playing field with Republican groups.

    It also opens to the door to a kind of influence peddling that was banned a decade ago under a landmark campaign finance law — with ramifications that go far beyond the scope of the Citizens United case that the White House professes to disdain. By granting permission for White House staffers and Cabinet secretaries to appear at super PAC events, the White House has returned to a system where corporate donors, unions and other wealthy individuals are able to pay big money for access to policymakers, lawmakers and key administration aides.

    http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/02/m-to-see-a-cabinet-secretary-new-obama-ruling-reopens-114326.html

    What could possibly go wrong???

    And Democrats are different than Republicans exactly how???

    Michale.....

  26. [26] 
    Michale wrote:

    For all you people searching for a good Valentines gift??

    Give that special someone a heart...

    http://www.pushindaisies.com/candypress/ProdImages/cho_chocolate_heart_lg.jpg

    :D

    Michale.....

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    This Administration's idea of "compromise" seems to be, "we'll tell you what to do and you'll like it"...

    That's not compromise in any way, shape or form...

    but the thing is, he's not just forcing his own views on others. he seems genuinely convinced that his proposals really are compromises. i think he believes he already understands everyone else's points of view, and triangulates a policy somewhere in-between. perhaps there's someone in the administration relaying, "the concerns of doctors and nurses," or "what teachers are worried about."

    if that's the case, this second-hand information skips the step of really paying attention to the priorities of the people who will be most directly affected. obama is far from the only president to be insulated from popular opinion by the "bubble," it's just more obvious now because what the general population wants is in such stark contrast to the interests of anyone who could conceivably be picked as a presidential adviser. that goes for both parties. if the president or any of his challengers were really bright, they'd organize hundreds of town-halls where regular citizens could speak directly to members of their team.

    the other thing that's kind-of unique about obama is that there really are quite a few knee-jerk racists who won't accept that the guy is "one of us." it's not an excuse, but it might explain the administration's difficulty identifying and responding to legit criticisms.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value."

  29. [29] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ya know, I guess I have been spoiled by ya'all here..

    I have always assumed that liberals and progressives actually don't support Obama channeling Bush. Based on ya'all, I assumed that liberals and progressives just don't like to talk about how their guy is doing wrong, but they are still against it nonetheless.....

    Seems ya'all are unique as it is clear that, out in the real world, Liberals and Progressives are whole-heartedly behind Obama and his continuation of the Bush CT policies...

    Yet, none of this seems to be having any effect on Obama's political standing -- even among Democrats. The results of a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll provide compelling evidence of how little a price Obama has paid for these policies. According to the poll, 70 percent of respondents support the president's decision to keep Guantanamo Bay open. Indeed, backing for Gitmo is actually higher today than it was in 2003. Among the president's political base, 53 percent who self-identify as liberal Democrats -- and 67 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats -- are also supportive.

    What about drone strikes? In total, 83 percent of Americans are on-board with the use of drones -- a mere 4 percent are strongly opposed. Even more shocking, when asked if they still back the policy if American citizens are being killed without due process (like Anwar al-Awliki), 65 percent approve and only 26 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, the policy has broad, majority support.

    What is one to conclude from these numbers? Are progressives, as Glenn Greenwald suggests, "repulsive hypocrites" who have shifted their position on civil liberties simply out of political expediency? Well, perhaps. After all, in December 2008, 52 percent of Democrats were in support of closing Guantanamo Bay -- in February 2009 just after Obama took office and promised to close the facility the number jumped to 64 percent. It's not hard to draw the conclusion that Democrats who strongly opposed Bush-era policies on civil liberties are a tad less outraged today at the same decision because their party's president is in the White House.
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/02/13/counterterrorism_consensus_obama_bush

    Interesting...

    Michale.....

  30. [30] 
    dsws wrote:

    If we're going to kill people with airplanes, and having a pilot in the airplane just makes the whole thing less efficient, then I don't see any reason to insist on having a pilot in the plane. That doesn't mean I'm entirely happy about killing people in the first place.

    I just don't see how being killed by a piloted plane is a civil liberty.

  31. [31] 
    dsws wrote:

    And of course, citizenship does not matter. All the relevant constitutional protections are stuff like "no person shall be ..." and "the accused shall ...".

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    If we're going to kill people with airplanes, and having a pilot in the airplane just makes the whole thing less efficient, then I don't see any reason to insist on having a pilot in the plane. That doesn't mean I'm entirely happy about killing people in the first place.

    I have no problem with killing people who deserve to be killed..

    I just don't see how being killed by a piloted plane is a civil liberty.

    Not sure what you are trying to say here..

    And of course, citizenship does not matter. All the relevant constitutional protections are stuff like "no person shall be ..." and "the accused shall ...".

    With respect to you and Captain James T Kirk, I don't think the US Constitution should apply to everyone...

    If one agrees to abide by the responsibilities of the Constitution and the Declaration, then one could be allowed it's protections as well..

    But if one is only going to claim it's protections and ignore it's responsibilities, then take a frakin' hike... "sans humanité"

    Michale

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, under the "Oooooooo I WANT ONE!!!" category.... :D

    Mattel's hoverboard keeps McFly planted on terra firma, away from water
    http://www.engadget.com/2012/02/14/back-to-the-future-mattel-hoverboard-replica/

    :D

    Michale

  34. [34] 
    dsws wrote:

    I just don't see how being killed by a piloted plane is a civil liberty.

    Not sure what you are trying to say here.

    You cite numbers who approve of drone strikes, which supposedly show that we're repulsive hypocrites who have shifted our position on civil liberties simply out of political expediency. I've never cared whether the planes that kill people have pilots in them or not, and I don't think that the presence of a pilot is a civil-liberties question.

    I don't think the US Constitution should apply to everyone.

    It applies, first and foremost, to the US government. It says what the government can't do -- to anyone. If you can just disappear non-citizens, with no opportunity to defend themselves in any way, that means you can just disappear citizens. You declare them non-citizens, and then they don't have any opportunity to challenge it.

    If one agrees to abide by the responsibilities of the Constitution and the Declaration, then one could be allowed it's protections as well.

    The Constitution spells out the structure and powers of the US government, including some key limits on those powers. It doesn't have anything to do with individuals' responsibilities. The Declaration isn't law at all. And even if it were, what, we have a responsibility not to encourage those Catholics in Québec or to make the nominal power of the British crown in its colonies a practical reality?

    That aside, we do have responsibilities under various statutes. You're saying we should eliminate birthright citizenship, and anyone who doesn't want to be a citizen is excused from such responsibilities as paying taxes?

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    You cite numbers who approve of drone strikes, which supposedly show that we're repulsive hypocrites who have shifted our position on civil liberties simply out of political expediency. I've never cared whether the planes that kill people have pilots in them or not, and I don't think that the presence of a pilot is a civil-liberties question.

    Ahhhh I see...

    I don't think the pilot-vs-drone is the real question that is being asked..

    You're right, they could have phrased it better...

    It applies, first and foremost, to the US government. It says what the government can't do -- to anyone. If you can just disappear non-citizens, with no opportunity to defend themselves in any way, that means you can just disappear citizens. You declare them non-citizens, and then they don't have any opportunity to challenge it.

    Again, I disagree... To hamstring our government in that manner would make us prey for any two bit dictator or psychotic scumbag (Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, etc etc) to have their way with us and then hide behind the protections of the US Constitution.

    Like it or not, we are at war with an ideology that HAS declared open season on all Americans..

    The US Constitution is a peace-time document not applicable in times of war.

    You're saying we should eliminate birthright citizenship,

    I am saying that if a persons what the rights and protections of a US Citizen, then they should also meet the responsibilities of being a citizen.. It's like that reporter guy who was a Pulitzer Prize winner etc etc.. He was in this country illegally, but he did good for himself... Which is all fine and dandy..

    But did he pay ANY taxes??? No, he did not..

    That's what I mean by availing one's self of all the opportunities of this country, but ignoring all the responsibilities...

    and anyone who doesn't want to be a citizen is excused from such responsibilities as paying taxes?

    That's fine.. But then that person should revoke his citizenship and not avail himself of all the perks and bennys of being a US Citizen..

    Michale.....

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    http://freebeacon.com/anita-dunns-hedge-fund-shake-down/

    When Dunn was in the administration, Hedge Funds were the root of all evil..

    Now that Dunn is being paid by the lobbyists, Hedge Funds are the epitome of all that is good and right in the world..

    Before, Obama said that Citizens United/SuperPACs were "a threat to our democracy"...

    Now that Obama can get money from SuperPACs/Citizens United, all of the sudden, they are A-OK in his book...

    The hypocrisy is simply blinding....

    This is why it is simply IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to take the Obama administration seriously...

    Michale.....

  37. [37] 
    dsws wrote:

    To hamstring our government in that manner would make us prey for any two bit dictator or psychotic scumbag (Hitler, Stalin, Bin Laden, etc etc) to have their way with us and then hide behind the protections of the US Constitution.

    The way Hitler was dealt with was entirely in accordance with the Constitution. Congress declared war. FDR was commander-in-chief. Congress controlled the purse strings, and made "rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces".

    There were unconstitutional actions against Americans of Japanese ancestry, but that had little if any effect on the fight against Germany.

    The US Constitution is a peace-time document not applicable in times of war.

    Absolutely 100% false. If we threw out the constitutional role of president as c-in-c in war time, and left every general to try to implement his own opinion about who should command, we would be fighting a series of coup attempts while our enemies advanced to victory.

    The worst war we ever had, in terms of US losses in blood and treasure relative to US population and GDP, was the Civil War. Lincoln pushed the boundaries of c-in-c powers, but he went ahead with elections he thought he was likely to lose. He was fighting specifically to uphold the Constitution.

    But did he pay ANY taxes??? No, he did not.

    I don't know who you're talking about, but he can't have been in the US very long if he never bought anything except non-taxable groceries.

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    I don't know who you're talking about, but he can't have been in the US very long if he never bought anything except non-taxable groceries.

    "Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas reveals in The New York Times Magazine that he's lived in the United States for nearly 20 years as an illegal immigrant."
    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/pulitzer-prize-winning-journalist-comes-illegal-immigrant-153525263.html

    Now if you are going to claim that, by paying sales tax on items that he had purchased, he was in effect paying his taxes, I would have to say that THAT argument....

    ".... will never be known for it's logic and cognizance"
    -Commander Spock

    :D

    Absolutely 100% false. If we threw out the constitutional role of president as c-in-c in war time, and left every general to try to implement his own opinion about who should command, we would be fighting a series of coup attempts while our enemies advanced to victory.

    I am not saying that it doesn't have relevance. I simply meant that it's protections CAN be suspended in time of war...

    The worst war we ever had, in terms of US losses in blood and treasure relative to US population and GDP, was the Civil War.

    Makes sense since both sides were Americans...

    The way Hitler was dealt with was entirely in accordance with the Constitution. Congress declared war. FDR was commander-in-chief. Congress controlled the purse strings, and made "rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces".

    And yet, we never Mirandized war criminals or gave them civilian trials....

    A lesson SHOULD be learned from that..

    Michale......

  39. [39] 
    dsws wrote:

    if you are going to claim that, by paying sales tax on items that he had purchased, he was in effect paying his taxes

    You said he wasn't paying ANY taxes, not that he wasn't paying all his taxes. However, I see no evidence that he failed to pay any of the taxes that were due, or that would have been due if he had been a citizen. His NY Times piece he says, "I was paying state and federal taxes, but I was using an invalid Social Security card and writing false information on my employment forms." http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/my-life-as-an-undocumented-immigrant.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

    It would make no sense for someone who was trying to pass as a citizen to possibly attract attention by cheating on his taxes.

    And yet, we never Mirandized war criminals or gave them civilian trials.

    Miranda v Arizona wasn't until 1966, and I don't think it applies to service members being tried under the UCMJ even in peacetime. UCMJ gives service members its own set of procedural protections, but the "due process" that's due is different in different situations. For example, I'm pretty sure hot pursuit is different in some legal respects from a raid planned by the police. The UCMJ is designed for US personnel operating in situations that would otherwise be outside US jurisdiction.

    How often have war criminals been tried within US jurisdiction, anyway?

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