Saturday, February 13, 2010
I have a day to kill at the Saddlebrook Resort near Tampa, which would be awesome if the temperature were not 44 degrees outside, expected to peak at 51 degrees, far below the average for this date of 71 degrees. It is like March in New Jersey, and so I have perched myself in the lobby coffee shop with a huge pile of newspapers, my laptop, and about 400 emails to scan and delete. Suffice it to say that the tabs come first. They are juicy. Chew them well, Grasshopper.
Every traffic-hungry blogger on the right is going to link to Glenn Reynolds' column in the Wall Street Journal this morning, so why be coy about it? It's a sharp look at the "tea party" movement, including its manifest grass-rootiness.
Peggy Noonan argues that Barack Obama may actually mean it when he says "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." Unlike Noonan, I call bullshit. There is no way that Barack Obama would "rather be" a "really good" one-term president than a mediocure two-termer. However, I suspect most former presidents would rather have been the former than the latter, which is a difference. Recognizing that President Obama is at some risk of being neither (that is, he might be a mediocre one-term president), he is implicitly comparing himself to James Polk and John Adams, the two one-termers (excluding Lincoln and Kennedy) who are usually ranked in roughly the top quartile of American presidents. Well, good! The sooner President Obama starts adding to American territory, the better.
The John Mayer kerfuffle, and a thoughtful reflection thereon.
A really interesting analysis of the crisis in the Eurozone. If things keep heading south, this might be the summer to go on that trip to Europe.
Word of the day: Fissiparous. Blogger's spell-check function does not recognize it as a word at all.
In case you missed it, lefty pundit and former West Wing writer Lawrence O'Donnell completely lost his shit on MSNBC the other day. Power Line notes the requirement for an apology. (As an aside, I've never understood the value of an apology that is demanded or otherwise extracted. Seems like "honor culture" nonsense. Give me an apology sua sponte, or do not do it all.)
Ezra Klein examines the list of Senators and Members who got a "golden ticket" to the health care summit and finds it wanting.
This seems like too many people to get anything done. And where are the good-faith folks who'd actually have something interesting to say? Ron Wyden's not on there. Jay Rockefeller's not on there. Even Olympia Snowe's not on there. They've left off the people who know the most about the subject and would be likeliest to cut a deal. Obviously, that's not an accident: The guest list would swell dramatically and there'd be more hurt feelings. But in confining this to leadership and committee chairs, something will be lost, too.
Ezra is too kind. There are only two explanations for this list. First, that the typical Washington nonsense -- it is not what you know or are capable of, but who you are -- still obtains even in this supposedly crucial test of the Obama presidency, or, second, that the White House is not actually interested in striking a deal. Pick your poison, both are mistakes.
Three Dog Night was all wrong. "Four" is the loneliest number.
TPM: "Man Charged With Stockpiling Weapons Was Tea Partier, Palin Fan." Yeah, well, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers are "Democrats, Obama fans", but that wasn't a problem, was it?
Orwell nods: The new commandments on the barn wall.
Nested tabs: The links dump at Maggie's Farm.
Holy separation of powers Batman!
The Blair House Health Care Summit is just a media spectacle being staged by Obama & Co to harangue the Republicans as the bad guys for holding up much needed reform. It won't win over any Republican support -- and will likely only harden the Republican opposition.
So which way is Obama headed on Healthcare?
1) Blame Republicans for the failure of Democrats to pass Healthcare, or
2) Jam Healthcare through using reconciliation -- saying it's necessary because of Republican obstinance ?
My bet is #2 -- Obama wants to be a transformational President and will gladly only be a one-termer to achieve his ends.
ABC's Jack Tapper did an interesting interview of Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan earlier this week. Ryan has put out a realistic healthcare / entitlement reform plan as a platform for discussion. At his recent meeting with the Republicans at their retreat, Obama actually wound up having to speak about Ryan's plan ... as Ryan got a lot of air time. Obama called Ryan's plan an "entirely legitimate proposal."
In his later interview of Ryan, without prompting from Ryan, ABC's Tapper put out the facts to show that the Obama White House started an orchestrated disinformation attack campaign on Ryan's plan the very next day.
But while meeting with the Republicans, Obama said the following about Ryan's plan: "And I raise that not because we shouldn't have a serious discussion about it. I raise that because we're not going to be able to do anything about any of these entitlements if what we do is characterize whatever proposals are put out there as, "Well, you know, that's -- the other party's being irresponsible. The other party is trying to hurt our senior citizens. That the other party is doing X, Y, Z."
It didn't take much digging back in June 2008 for me to conclude that Obama's public persona is very different from how he actually operates. A new politics of "Hope and Change" is total bullshit. Nothing is beneath Obama-Axelrod. Obama seems to have a particular hard-on for guys named Ryan.
ABC's Tapper has now figured this out. Let's see if he runs with it.
At the Blair House summit, I predict Boehner will get just enough of a soapbox to call out Obama on the total bullshit of his Healthcare plans. It's a tricky thing, as Boehner has to find the right balance between being indignant without being disrespectful. Developing ...
well, if anyone was wrong, it was more accurately Nilsson, not 3DN, who just mouthed his words. He did a better version anyway, they inexplicable changed the iconic chords to something less dissonant (resolving on a dom7), but also less interesting.
Aimee Mann had a nice version though, interweaving Nilsson's "Together" from the same album as "One".
"Yeah, well, Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers are "Democrats, Obama fans", but that wasn't a problem, was it?"
Actually, the issue wasn't so much whether they were fans of HIS as the extent to which he was a fan of theirs.
The guy in Mass. only had 20 rifles, shotguns and pistols and he's supposed to be some kind of nut with a "stockpile" of weapons? WTF!? 20 isn't a lot of guns. I have more than that and friends tease me for having so few. And none of us are preparing for civil war or armageddon.
It's a tricky thing, as Boehner has to find the right balance between being indignant without being disrespectful.
Heh. So "tricky" from the GOP's standpoint that some people are calling it "the tar baby conference."
For those of you playing the home game, "stockpiling weapons" is not illegal, nor was he charged with "stockpiling weapons". Just more tree-hugging fear-mongers trying to scare the bejeezus out of people. I assume he was charged with possession of some type of illegal weapons (i.e. a DD or Class III weapon, etc.)
Now, if we can just get the Retraction Alpaca to hammer them on this....
btw, I'm in Brandon, I've lived here since jr. high and I wouldn't consider this a particularly cold winter for Tampa standards. I'm from Ohio and I have no idea why people put up with Northron Winters. Ignorance of how nice a Florida winter can be is the only explanation. I laugh when I see them digging out their rusted cars from the mountains of dirty snow.