Rightwing Dominance of our National Debate

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(The Overton Window)
This is a guest post by Peter Daou who previously served as Internet Director for Hillary Clinton for President. Daou publishes the Daou Report.
peter daou.jpgThe Glaringly Simple Formula for Rightwing Dominance of our National Debate
There is a simple formula for rightwing dominance of our national debate, even when Democrats are in charge: move the conversation as extreme right as possible, then compromise toward the far right. It’s negotiation 101.
And it’s completely lost on Democrats.
It’s what John Boehner knows that Obama and Democrats can’t seem to get a clue about:

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) will call Tuesday for the mass firing of the Obama administration’s economic team, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and White House adviser Larry Summers, arguing that November’s midterm elections are shaping up as a referendum on sustained unemployment across the nation and saying the “writing is on the wall.”

In one fell swoop, this is the starting point of a conversation. For Democrats it would be an end point — if they ever reached it.
It’s no accident that in 21st century America, torture has been mainstreamed, climate denial has taken firm hold, book burning, racial dog whistles and brazen religious intolerance are part of our discourse and par for the course. This is how the right plays the game, using Limbaugh, Hannity, Fox, Drudge, blogs, chain emails, talk radio, etc. to shamelessly and defiantly drag the conversation as far right as possible.
Forget the thousand explanations pundits have offered for the administration’s beef with the left; this is the single biggest reason the left is furious with Obama: that one by one, he has willingly and unnecessarily bargained away the progressive positions that would move the national debate back to the center. After all, the counterweight to the right is not the mushy middle, it’s the principled left. Did progressive bloggers really think Obama was going to establish a single payer health care system, bring all Bush warmongers to justice, stop the looting of the poor by the ultra-rich, revitalize the environmental movement, undo Bush-Cheney’s executive power excesses, bring about true social justice and stop needless wars? No. They’re far more jaded and pragmatic than anyone admits. But at least make those the debate points rather than ditch them unilaterally.
As I’ve argued, it matters not one iota if Obama is a progressive at heart. What matters is that Democrats run away from the left like it’s the plague while Republican run to the right like it’s nirvana. The net effect is that the media end up reporting far right positions as though they were mainstream and reporting liberal positions as thought they were heinous aberrations. And you wonder why America is veering off the rails?
– Peter Daou

Comments

126 comments on “Rightwing Dominance of our National Debate

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  7. Nikki says:

    The media’s not on the right wing’s side (except FOX and most of talk radio), they just let them spew their bullshit, or else they run the risk of being called “liberal, biased media.” They also waste too much time on process stories (“Dems in disarray”) and less time talking about policy/facts in their quest for ratings/sensationalism.

    Reply

  8. Moby says:

    Of course there is a third choice. Not compromising at all on anything. In fact the Democrats should pass as much legislation as possible before the midterms by reconciliation votes, and just ignore the rightwing altogether. Then if, and i mean if, they manage to gain any seats during the midterms, the President should veto every single piece of legislation they submit. It’s called what goes around comes around for two years of being obstructionist morons.

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  9. Alex says:

    Absolutely. At some point, I think it becomes more likely than not that a sizable chunk of the Democratic caucus and not just the leadership is getting exactly what they want.
    How many election cycles can Democrats ask the electorate to assume that they are powerless? I refuse to believe that anyone, Democrats included, can be that hapless, incompetent, taken advantage of, victim of circumstances, etc.
    At some point, I think it becomes obvious that the vast majority of the American public is being fucked by the Democrats. Maybe they aren’t being fucked as hard and as rough as they would be by Republicans, but they are being fucked nonetheless.
    Just my $.02.

    Reply

  10. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    An article on the role of PR in politics and shaping how voters “think” and another supporting Peter Daou’s position that demz need to polish up their message.
    http://www.truth-out.org/flying-flag-faking-news62920
    http://www.truth-out.org/the-cry-democratic-moral-leadership-and-effective-communication62894

    Reply

  11. Nifty Nighter says:

    here’s one that hits both sides of the aisle –
    “Wealthy lawmakers increased their riches as economy sputtered in ’09″
    http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/116489-wealthy-lawmakers-increased-their-riches-as-economy-sputtered-in-2009-

    Reply

  12. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    questions…under Busholini wshen Repugs were in the majority, the Senate operated by simple majority because Demz were snookered into agreeing never to filibuster. Quite recently Harry Reid was going to require a Republican to actually filibuster…I’m sorry I can’t remember who and which issue, but it was this year.(I’ll remember the specifics in the middle of the night, no doubt.)The Repug backed down, the obstruction was removed and Demz went on to pass the bill.
    PR won’t effect anything the way you think???What does that mean? PR is the honing of one’s message and delivering it convincingly so that you create public support/presure…with a hefty majority you don’t need to get Lieberman or any southern Repugs tobreak ranks and change their vote…you just need to make it impractical for them to filibuster.
    The word of the day is political reality???I wish! Unfortunately it’s nothing that meaningful…it’s tired, unimaginative hot air, alllll daaaay long and then some.
    More importantly, the sun’s out…it’s going to be a gorgeous week so I’m going to the beach before Earl hits.

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  13. questions says:

    OOPS, 41.

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  14. questions says:

    Here’s recently for the not standing and delivering….
    ” Since the 1960s the “two-track” system devised by Mansfield has prevailed, preventing old-fashioned filibusters. As John W. Dean, President Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel, has written: “On the one hand, the two-track system strengthened the ability of the majority to withstand a filibuster by enabling it to conduct other business. On the other hand, it made it easier for the filibustering minority, which did not have to constantly hold the floor.”
    The “two-track” system appears to have changed the culture of the Senate and seems more suited to the age of soundbites and a heavy legislative workload. When there are filibusters, they are usually scheduled so that other Senate business isn’t delayed. Usually, however, if a filibuster is threatened, the leadership won’t even attempt to bring the issue to the floor unless it is sure it has the support of at least sixty Senators (three-fifths). In essence, the filibuster has changed from a noisy propeller airplane to a silent Stealth Bomber. The merits of the modern filibuster can be debated endlessly, but it continues to play its historical role in the Senate in giving extra power to the minority, especially nowadays in a closely divided Senate, which needs a super-majority for highly contentious matters. ”
    http://hnn.us/articles/1818.html
    So maybe 40 years now?? That is recent for the Senate, admittedly, but it’s not like it happened yesterday.
    If you want, I’ll find more specific info on the particular rules changes/reforms that led to the 2 track system.
    And no, PR and the like won’t affect anything the way you think.
    The problem is that the Senate is anti-majoritarian on many levels. 60 votes, smaller share of the populace can block stuff, state boundaries rather than community boundaries, a lot lot lot of power given over to any one individual senate b/c of unanimous consent rules. And holds. And of course, a small, regional, conservative bloc can gunk up the works.
    What fucking PR gets Lieberman or any southern Republican to break ranks?
    The break only when it’s in their re-election interest.
    The phrase of the day is political reality. There’s only so much a gov’t can do ahead of the desires of a bloc of 40 senators who represent a minority of the country and a minority of the Senate.
    Funny, that.

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  15. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    questions…so I guess if you don’t swallow the talking points whole and echo the shallow CW that reverberates through the media, you’re crazy…
    Not knowing how the Senate works??? Up until recently, a simple majority was enough because Senators couldn’t just threaten to filibuster, they had to stand there and do it.
    In your opinion, if one disagree, you’re ill informed or crazy. You share Gibb’s contempt….seeing similarities is not saying there’s not one iota of difference.
    What I call crazy is winking at torture, warrantless wiretapping, executive orders, Military Tribunals, loss of habeaus corpus, secret prisons.
    Progressives are not angry because they didn’t get EVERYTHING they wanted….it’s because they didn’t get ANYTHING they wanted and Repugs didn’t even have to follow through with a filibuster making their case to the public, on the record, not in slinky campaign ads.
    Knowing the rules of the Senate is not nearly enough…that’s the first step…but knowing how to work it, is how you prevail…a lot of it is knowing the art of PR, honing your message, knowing the angles…Demz current lack of real know how is excruciating to watch…ergo, Dauo on this topic.
    Incidentally, people who just accept the CW are the lazy middle with their microwave mentality…give it to me in 10 secnds or I’ll miss it and repeat it a kajillion times, too cause I’m busy twittering about the minutia of my bland, conformist middle of the road existence. What’s the phrase of the day? Professional Left?

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  16. questions says:

    “deaniac” is a NAME THAT SOMEONE USES on kos, for heaven’s sake. Actually, it’s “deaniac83″ maybe, but I can’t remember the number. Maybe it’s “deaniac84″ or “82″…..
    Crazy left? Absolutely.
    Crazy as in intolerant of the political process, not understanding how the Senate works, making demands beyond what the political system is ever going to be able to manage such that the coalition breaks down.
    Crazy to think there’s not a “dime’s worth of difference” between Bush and Gore, as was famously noted.
    Crazy to think that just cuz Obama doesn’t do everything that one faction, group or individual wants, that then we should let the Republicans win so that they can ravage the country for a little longer and THEN finally we’ll vote for REAL PROGRESSIVES….
    Now, that’s crazy, if you ask me.
    To defend the status quo over the HCR bill is foolish, why, even crazy.
    To freak about the TARP and corporate bailouts is also foolish, if you ask me.
    To work for years at changing the political discourse, at getting elected and then working WITH people with whom you disagree is actually preferable.
    I am an Obama-maniac. Got no problem with being thought a little crazy, actually. And around here, I certainly am considered pretty loopy.
    And Obama should give Arne Duncan a new job.

    Reply

  17. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    questions…the “crazy left”? How disdainful… “Deneacs”? Again how disdainful…as Chairman of the DNC, Dean just won the DNC the majority again with his 50 state strategy…
    No one is talking about accomplising goals by hysteria…we’re takling about smart, effective strategy, smart marketing…we contribute millions of dollars to campaigns, surely they can hire a Madison Ave firm that can sell soap, for starters… the days of master strategists, like Sam Rayburn, LBJ, Tip O’Neil seems to be over…
    There is no way you can say the votes were never there for a public option, given that BO’s opening salvo was to tuck tail and take Single Payer off the table…that was his strongest shot and he flubbed it….that was the signal to Repugs that his resolve to reform health care was squishy…and that he would yield without any pressure….Why didn’t he just wave a white flag?
    Obviously, you still believe in the myth of bi-partisanship…it doesn’t exist because Repugs think bi-partisanship is Demz yielding on everything…it takes two to tango and Repugs can only square dance. Attempting “bi-partisanship” wasn’t even logical…anyone who knows anything about “mass persuasion”, propoganda, marketing,if you will, knows you that you ride a tide of public opinion…you don’t put on the brakes….
    The election results were a RESOUNDING rejection of Repugnicanism. Why give them a leg up?
    Your use of the term “crazy left” and “Deneacs” indicates that you agree with Gibbs, that those who see similarities between BO and Busholini need to be drug tested, wink, wink.
    What exactly is a “Deaneac”? He was, afterall, the Governor of a State that had health care and a doctor himself. Do you think voters who supported him are crazies…maniacs?
    If the votes for a public option weren’t there, it’s because Team Obama set the tone to yeild, rather than stand firm. If Demz had opened with Single Payer legislation, Repugs would have come up with the public option themselves and been relieved to get it. Which, I think, is Peter Daou’s point.

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  18. questions says:

    “if dems lose seats” it’ll be because the in-party typically does lose seats in the midterms, and because unemployment is near 10 percent and because the credit market is shattered….
    As “deaniac” on kos challenged, find the 60 senators who would have voted for the public option — it was never in the cards…. The Senatesimply doesn’t follow any kind of majoritarian politics, but these people do want to be re-elected. More than anything else, re-election concerns dominate.
    kos has had long-running battles over the health care reform effort and the purists really do think that the good guys lost and the status quo ante would have been better and…. Gibbs is right to point out the folly of this position.
    Policy doesn’t move according to fantasy, and everything we could criticize the crazy right for we can see as well in the crazy left.
    Now, in general, I pretty much agree with the goals of the crazy left, BUT not with the means. Read enough policy and you realize that legislation needs to sit around in Congress for eons before it gets taken up. And when something gets pushed through under national emergency conditions, we tend to regret big parts of it and we have to redo things.
    The 300 million of us who are pretty much stuck here with each other really have to compromise, put up with getting less than we want. If I’m satisfied, there are some 299,999, 999 people who are dissatisfied.
    The “professional left” missed out on that fact. Gibbs’s frustration over the admin’s not getting credit for getting some stuff through is legit, descriptive, accurate.
    I got no problem with it. I actually agree that the “professional left” has no political strategy whatsoever and plays the same fear and anxiety cards as does the loony right.
    While I share the left’s policy goals, I don’t think we get there via hysteria.

    Reply

  19. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    questions…I disagree that a public option was never going to happen and Nadine, et al, are in the minority, so concinving them is not a requirement…that’s the whole point…voters gave Demz the wherewithall to do things without GOP votes…Demz keep coming up short because, as Daou points out, Demz do not know how to frame the debate in such a way that they prevail, even when they have an overwhelming majority…
    I also disagree that it was natural for Demz to want bi-partisanship…voters resoundingly rejected Repugs…that was the message., but Demz still were outfoxed…over and over again…instead of running with the ball, riding the huge wave of support, they frittered away their momentum, and instead tucked tail and went to Repugs, hat in hand, like they were still in charge.
    Demz can’t even come up with a winning slogan…”We can do better” is the best they could do? Puhleeze. If Demz lose seats in the midterms, it will be because Progressives are disillusioned and unmotivated to turn out. Maybe we should all go get drug tested on election day…then Gibbs can spend more time with his family.

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  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “To be honest, I’ve never been in Rush Limbaugh. I’m not even sure where it is”
    Well, you won’t get there with a map. If ya really wanna find it, you’ll need a colonoscopy scope.

    Reply

  21. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “ohh, but yeah, the left says that belief in God is bad. Oh well, we’re just stuck aren’t we?”
    See now???? What kind of asshole makes a statement like that?
    “The left says that belief in God is bad”.
    HUH?????
    I mean think about it. Do these assholes ponder this stuff before it leaves their keyboard? Did Silverslipper sit for a moment, pre-spew, and form the question; “Gee, what kind of stupid jackass thing can I say next?”
    However, I appreciate her candor. Its not everyone that is so unabashedly willing to warn the world that they’re dealing with an honest to goodness asshole.

    Reply

  22. nadine says:

    “Note #2 above — the logic here is what Cassidy points out about how during a bubble it is more rational to jump in and do what everyone else is doing than it is to be a contrarian. F and F followed the crowd to the extent that they could.
    But they didn’t tank the market.
    Rational irrationality is probably the word of the day.”
    Investors behave ‘rationally irrationally’ in bubbles all the time. The only working rule in bubbles is ‘devil take the hindmost’.
    BUT Fannie and Freddie weren’t your ordinary, average mortgage investor who might wind up busted when the music stopped. Nooooo, F&F were Government investors, with implicit Treasury guarantees, so everybody knew they couldn’t go bust — they’d get the taxpayer to bail them out (which they have, to the tune of 100s of billions). Since everybody KNEW that F&F were Government investors, their heavy involvement in market changed everybody else’s calculation of how long it was safe to keep playing. They helped blow up the bubble to its ginormous size.

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  23. questions says:

    No, public option wasn’t going to happen regardless of the opening move.
    I am on the left and I am not in the least disappointed with anything save education — about which I could scream. Really really scream.
    The Senate is not a popular vote-determined institution and it was not going to go for anything other than a market-based piece of legislation.
    Going for bi-partisanship was a rational first step. And my guess is that it may well have bought the dames from Maine on future votes, and it may well have made a little space for Scott Brown and anyone else who is feeling just a little bit off the right wing of things Republican.
    Remember, no one vote is isolated from the rest of the chamber’s conduct. It’s an ongoing relationship that has to be maintained in some kind of working order. You can’t just bash the other party and expect cooperation on the next vote.
    The Senate is a funny place, but if you give some respect to or at least understanding of its sense of itself, you do better than if you just ignore all of that.
    Besides, the place is the original model of the death panel.
    The movement of the discourse to the left so that something like a public option becomes the median choice isn’t something that is issue specific. It is a broad social change that takes time, investment, media attention, electoral pressure, catchy slogans….
    Until we all forget that idiotic Reagan/scariest words quip, we’re not going to be anywhere near the public option.
    Just read SilverSlipper’s posts. THAT’S what has to shift all over the country.
    So you give it a try.
    Write up a post defending governmental action that convinces SilverSlipper.
    (And while you’re at it, convince nadine, drew, and the other wingers around here.)
    When you can convince them that an expansive government is better than an expansive corpulent, corporate corpse-generating machine, let me know. We aren’t there yet, and Gibbs knows that. So does Emanuel. And so does the pres.
    (Oh, and check out the Jon Stewart clip with Asif and the cultural center in Murfreesboro, TN. Fuckin’ hilariously sad and tragic.)

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  24. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    questions…Gibbs said those who see a similarity between BO & Busholini need to be drug tested…in other words, if you wanted impeachment hearings, you’re a druggie.
    Daou is talking about the strategy of mass persuasion…how to lead public opinion with your positions….had BO opened the health care reform debate with single payer, he would have ended up with the Public Option, as a compromise…instead, it became the extreme position.
    The left, professional or otherwise, was disappointed when Demz caved before the dialogue began, in homage to the myth of bi-partisanship, only to be faked out again…Repugs got everything they didn’t want eliminated and still didn’t support the health care bill and the left is supposed to cheer the admin for this? Gibbs needs to write to Santa for that.

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    SS,
    Have you read anything about chicken/egg farming? Do you know anything about regs for monitoring salmonella?
    Did you know that the state of Maryland tried to go after the guy but couldn’t because it was interstate, and the Dept of Ag I think it was couldn’t go after him b/c the chickens didn’t appear diseased, and so he kind of slipped through.
    Regs didn’t cause salmonella. It’s an infection that comes because of poor farming practices and poor hygiene.
    Striving is insufficient. We need to force integrity on people, and we do that through incentives, regulations, and fines and jail time.
    When we do it right we don’t get sick and/or die. When we fuck up, we really fuck up.
    For example, google up the story about the pregnant woman who lost her baby and then her own life because the gastro-feeding food was put into her vein instead of into her gut. OOOPS.
    And why does this happen? Well, because there should be a regulation that makes all the tubes be incompatible and unmix-up-able. But we don’t have that. And we don’t have enough nurses.
    How many people will die before conservatives realize there’s a lot to regulate when there are a lot of interactions.
    And when those interactions are huge — Macondo-sized, we need really big regulations to go with.
    I’m sure it won’t convince you, though. So pray to your deity that the nurses aide doesn’t shove food into your vein by accident.
    Pray to your deity that the local power company doesn’t electrocute you.
    And go ahead and strive your way to non-toxic food, non-toxic grocery receipts, non-toxic egg breakfasts. You can do it! Reach for the stars! And hope to hell that if you end up in the hospital, it’s been REGULATED so that your food poisoning is dealt with in a non-fatal way!
    As for me, I’m gonna hopey changey for an ever more massive regulatory structure with fines, jail time, and disclosure.

    Reply

  26. Silverslipper says:

    Questions: It’s funny how your examples don’t give place to the truth that life is not perfect. We don’t live in Heaven, or the Garden of Eden, or where ever you could imagine to be perfect! The half a billion recalled eggs could be because of our excessive regulations! As they are recalled, it’s reported that they really don’t know where the contamination came from! Half a billion eggs are recalled because there MIGHT be salmonella in them. And the solution to this would be – cook the eggs thoroughly please! But instead our protocols require a recall.
    Is the lack of integrity also why our Congressmen don’t report their taxes correctly? Is it also why most of our Congressmen/women are millionaires? Is it maybe because they do give in to the lobbyists? And if they do, again, how do they do “good” for us?
    In my previous post, I did not say that we have a lot of integrity. I said we all need to strive for it. The best source of integrity is from God – ohh, but yeah, the left says that belief in God is bad. Oh well, we’re just stuck aren’t we?

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    SilverSlipper,
    People respond to incentives.
    If you give them incentives to be good, they’ll be good.
    If you give them incentive to profiteer, they’ll profiteer.
    If you pay bonuses to the rig repair guys to rush the repairs, they’ll rush the repairs.
    If you have a culture that prefers high risk then people will prefer high risk.
    “High integrity” isn’t something you’re likely to find when huge sums of money are at stake.
    In fact, you’re not likely to find it much of the time.
    But if you want to dismantle the federal and state regulatory apparatus just to see how much “high integrity” there is, go for it.
    Oh, wait. We did that.
    And we got the Macondo/BP/Transocean et al disaster.
    We got Katrina and its aftermath.
    We got half a billion recalled eggs.
    We got the dry wall from China and the pet food from China and the children’s jewelry laced with heavy metals from China.
    We got the “mosque” complex. We got the return of virginity speech on the Mall this weekend.
    We surely have a lot of high integrity going around!! Woohoo! Let’s hear it for the ‘pubs.
    As for how I expect fair regulations to come about — I expect that significant amounts of watchdogging, publicity, transparency, and mutual suspicion can go a long way towards making regulations work.
    When the regulators are literally in bed with their regulatees, when there are huge incentives to avoid taxes but grant services…when the Republicans are running things in other words, we get the worst of all worlds. Poor regulation poorly enforced, corruption, budget woes, and stupid demagoguing of issues to make people frightened and more unthinkingly conservative.

    Reply

  28. Silverslipper says:

    Sounds like you (Mr. Norheim and Questions) might like reading “Crimes against Liberty: An Indictment of President Barack Obama”! The book sounds like it’s a pretty good explanation of why the public is moving more toward supporting conservative politicians!
    Questions: I’m confused with how you say people are not “good”, but yet you expect your government to enforce/regulate “good”. I mean, isn’t it people who run the government? Isn’t President Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Kerry, etc… people? So they aren’t “good” either, are they? How can we trust them to make fair regulations?
    All of us need to strive to have high integrity in all of our actions. If each of us did, it would definitely decrease the need for regulations, and therefore decrease the power of our government – which I think might have been one of our founders’ basic ideas.

    Reply

  29. Paul Norheim says:

    According to my friends, Questions, I’ve read Bovary, but not yet
    Bouvard and Pecuchet. I think I agree with them. They are good
    people.

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    Oh, Paul,
    We write “nyet”. Sheesh. You’re a fake conservative!
    I bet you’re a soshalist!
    Have you read Bouvard and Pecuchet? Fun!

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    From the Bleckster himself regarding his restoration of virginity ceremony on the anniv. of MLK’s I Have a Dream speech….
    “”Whites don’t own Abraham Lincoln,” he said. “Blacks don’t own Martin Luther King. Those are American icons, American ideas, and we should just talk about character, and that’s really what this event is about. It’s about honoring character.” ”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/25/AR2010082507063.html?hpid=topnews
    So I ask you “mosque” opposed people who love the bleckster,
    Who OWNS 9/11?
    Who OWNS memory?
    Who OWNS trauma?
    And who the fuck would bother going to hear Palin and bleckster? Or is it geckster? Gleckster? Blech.

    Reply

  32. Paul Norheim says:

    Silverslipper,
    To be honest, I’ve never been in Rush Limbaugh. I’m not even
    sure where it is. According to the majority in my conservative
    neighborhood, it’s a small town in Southern France populated by
    Russian immigrants – njet?
    Sounds interesting. Been in Nice once, and in Aix-En-Provence
    twice. Would love to visit Rush Limbaugh one day too. I’m a big
    fan of Dostojevskij, the former Major of Moscow, and Flaubert,
    the popular Mongolian mandolinist (according to Gallup).
    BTW: do you guys have an opinion on this Gallup guy? Are we
    talking about the reality star, or the vegetarian heavy metal guy
    with the funny face?

    Reply

  33. questions says:

    “Wanting Obama to uphold the rule of law…”
    This is not what Gibbs was dealing with.
    Rather, he was referring to the very constant criticism that the admin has been getting for: not FORCING a public option through Congress (the pres can do no such thing), for not FORCING far more thorough financial reform through Congress (again, the pres can do no such thing), for not being way out front on gay marriage and on and on and on.
    The problems with the “professional left’s” positions are that first, there’s this funky institution called the Senate to deal with. Second, there are often not the votes even for medium left desires. Third, once you’re president, you have a profound responsibility for something called “governance” which is all about making sure that we can handle coming events as opposed to dealing with past events. Tit for tat strategies are not on the side of effective governance, so impeaching Bush and Cheney as payback is not going to help with the financial crisis, with the next 50 years of American history, and so it was nixed.
    What Gibbs was trying to say, ineffectively clearly, is that the bloggers on the left who give no credit to the admin for getting anything through, for starting the task of cleaning up the Augean stables, is likely turning off voters, slowing the energy towards another dem Congress.
    W/o a dem Congress, of course, the “professional left” will get even less of anything. They should remember that.
    Further, the Gibbs comment is a rebuttal of Gingrich’s “court the base” strategy, which as I pointed out, was actually bad for the Republican party in short term and long term ways.
    The Republicans are stuck with a non-functioning, self-contradictory coalition that they have to court with ever more extreme language. They are anti-government and desperately campaigning to be in that very government they campaign against.
    Dumbfuck move.
    Gibbs is right to court the center a little more, Obama is totally right to try for a coaltion that is safe for western senators, urban south MCs, and the northeast. He’s not going to keep it together by insisting on purity.
    There are more than 300,000,000 of us at this point. We are not all going to love our coalition fellows. But we need their votes.
    The professional left ought to figure this out, but they are on the infantile side of the desiring equation. Just like the Tea Partiers.
    For now, the public discourse is pretty far to the right. Daou is correct. We should move the discourse over to make the country safe for a public option. But for now, it’s not safe for a public option and until it is, it won’t be.
    The bloggers didn’t really help, near as I can tell.
    AND PAUL– if you drive a Golf, why you’re just an Obmanisto or a Boehnerian. Too much golf, dammit.
    And if you don’t drive you’re probably a soshalist.
    I’m guessing you’re a soshalist golfer. And that’s not very christian of you at all. And the internet is Christian, so you lose. I will not vote for you.

    Reply

  34. silverslipper says:

    Mr. Norheim: Glad to know you listen to Rush Limbaugh! LOL!
    I’m not sure how the conversation changed to is President Obama is Christian or Muslim – It’s been a while since I’ve been on this site, but last I remember, Mr. Clemons stated he would take out comments that were not on topic. He may have to do quite a bit of deleting!
    Does anyone even know why a poll was even done with the question of President Obama’s religious beliefs? I’ve been confused as to why it’s become such an issue. We should really be focusing on keeping the economy from going down the tank, and on keeping radical al Queda from attacking us.

    Reply

  35. Paul Norheim says:

    “If Obama wants to fix this, he needs to golf less and
    attend church more.”
    Tell me, Nadine and Drew: who’s saying that this bizarre
    and exotic Hussein fellow plays golf?
    According to a Rasmussen report in April, he’s actually
    playing chess with some old Persian friends within the
    exiled Zoroaster community in Hawaii.
    And according to the latest Gallup (medio August), he’s
    spending every weekend swimming in the Victoria Lake
    (on the Kenyan side) together with his Muslim half-brother
    - on your dime.
    These polls are pretty unambiguous (in contrast to the
    enigmatic POTUS himself); and I would certainly not be the
    one telling the American people that it has been
    manipulated on this issue.
    So please stop opining – in the face of millions of white,
    freedom loving patriots – that he’s playing golf on
    Sundays. The American People beg to differ. And can you
    blame them for expressing their opinion?

    Reply

  36. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    drew….I disagree that I handilly disprove Daou’s thesis…he was talking about party leaders and spokespeople taking the extreme left position to move the center towards the left…I’m just an average voter, not a party leader….and further, as disappointed as we are with the administration cowtowing to the Minority party, it is not likely that there will be a primary challenge to Obama’s nomination for a second term as there was in 1968 when Gene McCarthy challenged LBJ….that is just not going to happen, primarilly because there is no draft to cause the two wars to effect the broad population. I may wish Dennis Kucinich would be president, but he is not likely to bolt and challenge Obama to a primary.
    Gibbs ridiculed the Left and made us seem more extreme than we are. Wanting Obama to uphold the rule of law and investigate office holders who lied to Congress and engageed in torture, etc. is not extreme…if it is, we are no longer a free society….suggesting that we should be drug tested was an unecessarilly low blow to the people who put BO over the top. Team Obama can get there without us next time and Gibbs can get his much deserved pink slip.

    Reply

  37. Cee says:

    From TPM
    A law enforcement source tells Ben Smith that Enright made “nonsensical statements” to police after his arrest,
    Late, Late Update: Michael Enright was arraigned on a hate crimes charges this afternoon. Classmates told TPMMuckraker that Enright had a serious drinking problem, and a top Muslim American organization said the event shows the dangers of extreme anti-Islamic rhetoric.

    Reply

  38. Cee says:

    Post-Zionism – When You Say No
    by Uri Avnery
    August 21, 2010
    Before the victory of feminism, there was a popular Israeli song in which the boy asks the girl: ‘When you say No, what do you mean?’
    This question has already been answered. Now I am more and more tempted to ask: ‘When you say Zionism, what do you mean?’
    That is also my answer when asked whether I am a Zionist.
    When you say Zionist, what do you mean?
    Lately, associations for the defense of Zionism have been springing up like mushrooms after rain. Poisonous mushrooms.
    All kinds of American Jewish multi-millionaires

    Reply

  39. Paul Norheim says:

    “Well, Paul,
    Which one do you drive?”
    Well, Questions, that’s not as straight forward to answer as
    you may think. According to the majority of Norwegians, I
    drive a Volkswagen Golf, but there is also a vocal minority
    on the left who claim that I drive a Chevrolet Tahoe.
    What do YOU think?

    Reply

  40. questions says:

    Well, Paul,
    Which one do you drive? And didn’t Ford give money to Volvo, so in fact you can’t be trusted as you’re making a distinction where there isn’t one. I’m guessing you are the “northern OTHER” and I’m frightened of you.
    I want a “Paul-free Zone” around every car dealership in this great NATION of ours.
    And I want a car-free zone around all car dealerships, too.
    And if I don’t get that, I’m not voting for Rand Paul. Who can’t campaign near car dealerships, come to think of it!
    *******
    nadine,
    The gov’t regulates lots of stuff because there is lots of stuff to regulate.
    For example, here’s a link to a very detailed paper on the Macondo well. It goes from the drilling technology through what we know at this point about the wreck.
    https://www.energytrainingresources.com/data/default/content/Macondo.pdf
    There was a fair amount of poor enforcement of regulations, it seems that many mistakes may well have compounded so that fixes became impossible as they bumbled along. Apparently, the BOP was connected to the wrong “pipe”, among many other odd fuck ups. Totally worth the read!
    Now, personally, what I want is better enforcement of regulation, better cooperation between those being regulated and the regulators so that the regulations are rational, well-structured, and even helpful.
    We live in an insanely complex society at this point. The number of “hands” touching any product we use, the number of transactions underlying everything around us is so large, the complexity of relationships is so massive that we need local knowledge and global regulation all over the place. And we need them to work together in a corruption-free zone.
    Without regulation, your electricity supply would be dangerous. It would be risky to plug things in, to turn things on.
    We need regulation to make sure we’re not eating salmonella for breakfast — oops! the egg farmers beat the government on that one too! But that’s ok. It’s only been a half-billion eggs. Not bad for a lay’s work.
    We are not a nation of “good” people, we are a nation of competitors in a race for the bottom.
    Indeed we need regulation. And since we’ve structured it all under executive agencies, we will have a massive bureaucratic entity under the pres and yup, the pres will have to delegate to competent people.
    It’s a system that can work when we hire competent people, when we take seriously the amazing benefits of standards and regulations as means of ensuring basic rational competition and fairness. We don’t really want a race to the bottom. That seems to have been part of the problem with Macondo, with Enron, with the mortgage meltdown and the derivatives market.
    In a complex society, with complex interchanges, we need communication and assurance and standardization (which actually is communicative and assurant). We cannot function without the bureaucratic mess that is Washington.
    So stop complaining. You don’t have an insight, it only feels like one because you feel like you’re being robbed of your precious bodily fluids.
    And next time you plug something in, drive a Ford or a Volvo, don’t die from a nuke plant accident, are able to get gas at a station, don’t check your tomato sauce for botulism, don’t do bacterial analysis on your food… be thankful for the bureaucracy, the regulations that standardize practices all over the place, and the beauty of the American political system that has brought all of this about.
    What a country!
    **********
    Much of what regulation does is preventive. Since the horrific doesn’t happen, we think we can live without the regulation.
    The right wing plays on so many cognitive biases, it’s downright sickening.

    Reply

  41. DonS says:

    “But Americans often use the word “Christian” to mean “believer”. ”
    And many Americans use the word Christian to vivify their right wing, fundamentalist, wacko, exclusionary, litmus test for legitimacy. Like Islamist.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    “You see how [Rush Limbaugh] works. He drops in suggestions, hints, notes
    that

    Reply

  43. Paul Norheim says:

    “Paul, it’s not at all clear to Americans, let alone “proven” that
    Obama is Christian…..” (Nadine)
    Hey, this is like discussing whether i drive a Volvo or a Ford. No
    one, white Christian freedom loving Americans included, are
    entitled to their own facts. It’s that simple.

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    “August 25, 2010, 8:30 PM
    Building a Nation of Know-Nothings
    By TIMOTHY EGAN
    Timothy Egan on American politics and life, as seen from the
    West.
    Having shed much of his dignity, core convictions and
    reputation for straight talk, Senator John McCain won his
    primary on Tuesday against the flat-earth wing of his party.
    Now McCain can go search for his lost character, which was
    last on display late in his 2008 campaign for president.
    Remember the moment: a woman with matted hair and a
    shaky voice rose to express her doubts about Barack Obama.

    Reply

  45. Paul Norheim says:

    “Or Paul, if you’re out there, you’ve had real religious/Christian
    training? What does the bible say about golf?” (Questions)
    Well, Questions… you know…uh…um…the trouble is…Jesus
    wrote some ambiguous words in the sand about playing golf on
    Sundays, but nobody quite understood the metaphor he used.
    And the thing is: Doesn’t that basic lack of clarity tell us
    something essential about this Middle East fellow who claimed
    to be the Son of God?
    What was his position on, say, big government and spending?
    On taxes? You probably remember what he said about paying
    taxes, when someone asked him for a strait answer?

    Reply

  46. Carroll says:

    Evidently more than half the country that voted for Obama didn’t care if he is Muslim or not.
    If a Jew ran for president some of the same people after Obama for being Muslim (and black)would be after the Jew for being Jewish.
    It might be a good idea for a Jew to run for Prez. We’ve already had a Catholic and now a black Muslim/Christian.
    I can see it now…a gentile trying to out love Israel more than his Jewish opponant and when that doesn’t work the smear machines crank up and everything each of them has ever said is drugged up…’you’re a anti semite!”…”yea, well you’re loyal to Israel not America!” .. and everything starts hanging out and it turns into a big fight over whether an anti semite or Israeli loyalist will be in the WH.
    LOL..maybe this is next on the agenda. The media would love it.

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Paul, it’s not at all clear to Americans, let alone “proven” that Obama is Christian…..”
    Thats because fuckin’ scum like you, despicably dishonest mouthpieces, frame the narrative to your advantage, and damn the truth.
    Until the Dems learn how to bury you pieces of shit in your own dishonesty, the narrative will continue to be framed by assholes such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Beck, etc.. Frankly, there IS NO more despicable a calling than being a political media mouthpiece, who is actually tasked to propagandize issues, and divide the people. You truly are MAGGOTS of the lowest form.

    Reply

  48. Drew says:

    In respect of the metatasizing USG, Lincoln’s Department of War
    (which prosecuted the largest war commitment in U.S. history),
    employed 50 people. You can look it up.
    I’m sure the Pentagon has upwards of 500 people managing
    parking in DC alone.

    Reply

  49. Silverslipper says:

    Good point Nadine about the Vanity Fair article. It also
    doesn’t sound like a very busy day for the POTUS.

    Reply

  50. nadine says:

    from Vanity Fair:
    “Washington is hard to govern, above all, because of the radical growth in the scope of the federal government

    Reply

  51. nadine says:

    “The Michael Enright story deserves some electrons.
    21 year old drunken guy asks a cab driver if he’s Muslim, greets him in Arabic, stabs him. Calls it a “check point”. Had spent some time in Afghanistan making a film.
    I think this might be considered an externality of the quite profitable Republican electoral strategy.”
    It might be, if Michael Enright weren’t working for a pro GZM NGO. I notice several MSM accounts trying to bury that pertinent fact. Doesn’t fit the narrative. They just hate it when facts don’t fit the narrative. Nonetheless:
    “The man, Michael Enright, 21, volunteers for Intersections International, a group

    Reply

  52. questions says:

    This Vanity Fair piece on life in the White House is utterly worth reading.
    http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2010/09/broken-washington-201009
    The sheer amount of stuff that has to be processed in a day….

    Reply

  53. questions says:

    The Michael Enright story deserves some electrons.
    21 year old drunken guy asks a cab driver if he’s Muslim, greets him in Arabic, stabs him. Calls it a “check point”. Had spent some time in Afghanistan making a film.
    I think this might be considered an externality of the quite profitable Republican electoral strategy.
    Someone always pays for wedge politics.
    Sometimes they pay pretty fucking dearly.
    This cabbie is never going to be the same again.
    Now of course you can’t ever go from any one incident to a general pattern, but just think about it for a minute.
    All so that Newt Gingrich and Blenn Geck can have riches and speaking gigs. All so that the dumbfuck dems who are are not standing up can avoid standing up.
    A guy was stabbed so you could have your fucking career.

    Reply

  54. questions says:

    nadine, could you maybe read a book? Not a conservative journalist/polemicist/libertarian.
    A real economist.
    And you completely dodged the whole money to the corporations theme — probably because it contradicts your meme.
    Business isn’t expanding because consumers aren’t spending. Consumers aren’t spending because:
    a) unemployment is 9-17% depending on which measure you use
    b)wages have been stagnant for some 30 years and the the things that let people spend more — second and third and fourth jobs, and credit cards and home equity loans have all evaporated
    c)people are paying down debt rather than taking on more
    d)ain’t no credit no how no where anyway
    e)we’re all fucking broke
    The regulation meme is nonsense. There are deep structures regarding incentives and cash flow and they have NOTHING to do with what John Stossel the libertarian pseudo journalist has to say.
    (I looked him up on wiki! He probably wrote it himself.)
    You’re so trapped in a mindset that you simply ignore the change all around you. Even Alan Greenspan himself is backing off the libertarian line because it’s morally and financially bankrupt. Libertarianism doesn’t work. Market failures abound.
    *******
    As for your concern about being the sudden victim of black racism, just give me a fucking break.
    Read the stats on who was targeted for subprime loans, where social resources are, who has wealth, where real discrimination is, what law enforcement does to miscreants of different races…. nadine, please just stop being such a fucking victim. The world isn’t out to get you. In fact, it’s out to get a whole bunch of other people and if they fight back even a little bit, you, the whole right wing of the right wing, go totally ballistic.
    Seriously. It would be okay if some resources ended up going to gang controlled neighborhoods. It would be okay to have some extra college scholarships, some extra goodies, extra chances to be hired, extra mortgage-policing for those who have been fucked over for generations.
    It really would be ok. And it really would be ok for someone who’s gotten the shorter end of things to catch a break. Even if it’s drawn by race. It would be ok.
    And after the history of craniometry and after the Bell Curve atrocity and after all the theories of black inferiority, I actually have no problem if someone theorizes the other direction. No problem at all. It’s probably not really the best quality theorizing, but geeze, look what white scientists did for a hundred or more years. Just look.
    Again, try to read something that isn’t from the foxsquawksbox. You might amaze yourself at the thoughts people think when they have fallen under the spell of the foxmurdochs.

    Reply

  55. Maw of America says:

    Testy, eh Nadine? I’m just trying to figure out the source of your supposed expertise on “black racism”. Because I don’t think this emperor has any clothes.

    Reply

  56. JohnH says:

    “Racism is not a standard feature of the major branches of either Christianity or Islam…”
    Interesting that Nadine left out that branch of religion practiced by Israeli “religious nationalists,” who tend to be supremacists, and to which she seems to belong.

    Reply

  57. nadine says:

    Maw, when did it require an advanced degree to know that black racism is not a standard feature of the major branches of either Christianity or Islam?
    Man, this is such lame and obvious ad hominem. Learn enough to answer the argument or give it up.

    Reply

  58. nadine says:

    questions, I have no idea what you are going on about except that you are displaying more economic ignorance than ever. The Obama administration is not supporting business. It is crushing business with regulatory overload and new taxes. That’s why there is no hiring and no recovery. Read Jon Stossel: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2010/08/25/where_are_the_new_jobs_106876.html
    In other words, what year is this? Ans: It’s 1937.

    Reply

  59. Maw of America says:

    Nadine – How did you come to be an expert on christianity, islam, judaism, buddhism, wicca, etc.? Did you pass some test or get a certificate somewhere? Because you claim to have a great deal of insight into the proper behavior that defines a religion.

    Reply

  60. JohnH says:

    So Obama repudiated Rev. Wright and the objectionable language he used, but, according to Nadine, he still must be a Muslim…by association, of course.
    And most Christians are not “just Christians.” which is Nadine’s usual stereotyping of Goyim (who probably all look alike to her.) Some Christians believe in social justice, others believe in Christian domination, still others, like Pat Robertson, believe in the sanctity of Christianity, Inc.
    Just as Christians do not fit Nadine’s simplistic stereotype, so Muslims don’t fit one either, despite attempts by Jewish Supremacists to portray them all as Islamo-fascist robots, something that diverts attention from Israel’s theft of land as the primary cause of Palestinian resistance and disingenuously explains it as “typically violent, Muslim behavior.”

    Reply

  61. questions says:

    “Did you hear Rev. Wright tell the National Press Club that blacks and whites learn differently because they have different brains?”
    DID YOU EVER COME ACROSS A book called “The Bell Curve”?
    Did you ever google up the word “craniometry”?
    And as for drew’s line about real Christians, golf, and church — is that in the bible somewhere?
    I thought real Christianity had something to do with faith, either communion or a personal relationship with the deity, humility, loving thy neighbor as though s/her were yourself, turning the other cheek, thinking about the afterlife, taking responsibility for your actions, being your brother’s keeper, charity, faith, hope, love, regard for others, and basic decency.
    In fact, I thought being a Christian and a Kantian were pretty damned similar. But I don’t remember any golf references in Kant, come to think of it!
    But maybe there’s a chapter and verse on golf. Hmmm. I should google it I guess.
    Or Paul, if you’re out there, you’ve had real religious/Christian training? What does the bible say about golf?
    ***
    And back to nadine. Three things — first this meme is dumbfuck and beneath anyone’s dignity.
    Second, who the FUCK cares what Obama’s religious views are, whether or not he prays 5 times a day facing Mecca, keeps kosher, or whatever. Who fuckin’ cares….
    And third, will you stop with the fucking socialism thing, please. Obama handed huge huge huge amounts of money to banks, industry, and more banks. The US gov’t is NOT telling the banks what to do. In fact the gov’t has interest rates for banks so low right now that banks borrow money from the Fed, buy up T-bills, earn interest from that government that has kept those rates so low, and don’t bother making commercial and personal and real estate loans anymore. That is, the gov’t is loaning money to banks and is paying interest to the borrowers. Do you see the pattern? They LOAN money and they PAY INTEREST to the borrowers. That’s fuckin’ backwards. And they don’t make the banks do anything at all for the benefit.
    Banking has become pure borrowing low and investing high w/the gov’t funding the whole thing. This is not socialism. This is oligarchic capture. Totally the fucking opposite of what your deepest anxieties are.
    We’d be better off with some actual socialism where the gov’t fucking MADE the banks loan out money or where the gov’t just started issuing some loans itself.
    No, nadine, Obama’s admin is the capitalistest admin ever.
    It supports business business business and is hoping against hope for something to trickle down. Every time they try to do it the other way around (trickle UP — which works, by the way) they fail to get it through the Senate in big enough portions to help the economy.
    We need a ladle full of socialism and instead we get barrels of capitalism.
    We need to make peace with Islam and instead we get Foxnoise. (And Rupert Murdoch who takes a lot of Islamic money and sends more back, by the way.)
    nadine, honestly try to have a thought that doesn’t originate in foxtalks. You might surprise yourself if you start reading books with structured arguments instead of foxity. You are in a foxbox, and it demeans your basic intelligence.
    This is not to say that you should become a leftist. Rather, you should see that the left has some very valid critiques of the right, and that even Greenspan himself is moving past his stupidity.
    Greenspan is old. Wouldn’t it be better to think while you’re younger?

    Reply

  62. nadine says:

    Maw, most people who are Christian are simply Christian. They don’t go on and on about their Muslim roots and their Muslim affinities. If you do that enough while never going to church and skipping out on the National Day of Prayer, you make people wonder. Hardly surprising, really.
    Especially when you look at the church he came from. Jeremiah Wright is a black racist Marxist, with a heretical racist theology called “Black Liberation Theology” to back him. Louis Farrakhan is also a black racist Marxist with a heretical racist Muslim theology to back him. The two are best buddies and have been for 30 years.
    With a church like that, Christians will naturally wonder if Obama ever really was Christian, or only Marxist, excuse me, “social justice gospel,” with some Christian flavoring poured on top.
    Obama himself may not know the answer to this question. By his own description, Jeremiah Wright’s Christianity is the only kind he knows.
    During the campaign, only Sean Hannity and other right-wing talkers would even touch the subject of Obama’s nutty preacher (with one notable exception: Jon Stewart of The Daily Show). It was Jeremiah Wright and his big mouth that forced Obama to address the issue. Did you hear Rev. Wright tell the National Press Club that blacks and whites learn differently because they have different brains? I heard him. That was truly a jaw-dropping speech.
    The liberal media all ran to proclaim Obama’s Race Speech the best thing since the Gettysburg Address and to cover for him. But you can’t keep the basic facts hidden forever. They come to light, and they make people wonder just what it is that makes Obama tick, in a way they never did about GW Bush or Bill Clinton.

    Reply

  63. JohnH says:

    Now Nadine is asserting that Obama’s pastor, Jeremy Wright of the United Church of Christ, is a Muslim!
    And then she denies that Big Money might have any effect at all on lobbying, funding anti-Obama campaigns, or underwriting political candidates! Just like the 14 Jewish Senators (25% of the Democratic majority), staunch Israel supporters all, might have any affect at all on US ME policy.
    Nadine has taken flight into her own alternate reality!

    Reply

  64. Maw of America says:

    Interesting debate… How does one actually prove a belief in one faith or another? Does simply claiming I am christian make it so? Does being circumcised prove that I’m jewish? Are there panels that validate my religion through a series of tests? I honestly don’t know. And if I did, what’s to stop me from faking it? Hell, if I was going to Afghanistan, I’d read up on the Quran and get familiar with whatever sect was kidnapping foreigners.
    Credit (or blame) my survival instinct.

    Reply

  65. Neo Controll says:

    “No, Nadine, Obama is no enigma with regard to the points I
    made: It is proven beyond doubt that
    1) He is born in the USA.
    2) He is a Christian.
    3) He is not a Stalinist.
    4) He is not a terrorist sympathizer.” (paul)
    See, it is Nadine who is the subversive and bomb thrower. She throws fuel on the fire of every anti Obama myths there is. Not because she believes any of it, but because she seems to favor anarchy and chaos in the hopes of seeing a right wing revolution. It follows her credo of hate; she hates America enough that she would destroy it to save it in her twisted logic.

    Reply

  66. nadine says:

    “So what was that Jeremy Wright controversy about anyway? The pastor at Obama’s church must have been a Muslim? OMG! No! He was a pastor at the church which is part of a very establishment Protestant denomination–the United Church of Christ.”
    Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrakhan have been tight like brothers for 30 years. They visited Gaddafi in Libya in the 1980s together to spite the Reagan administration. They both offer black nationalist theology – one in a Christian, one in a Muslim package. Neither are close to orthodoxy in their own faiths. They both hate America. They both hate Jews.
    Oh, they’ve got lots in common.
    Which just goes to show that you are as ill-informed (to be charitable) on this subject as you are on most others.
    “Powerful forces (Southern Republicans and their wealthy supporters) mount a powerful media campaign to cast Obama as “not one of us.” They portray him as “socialist” and “Muslim.”
    What a pile of crapola. What powerful forces? When anything happens you don’t like, you start imagining a conspiracy, based on nothing but your own prejudices. Show me the “Southern Republican” video calling Obama a Muslim. I dare you. Poor John McCain didn’t dare even call Obama by his full name for fear of being called a racist.
    Now socialist is an easier deal, because Obama IS a socialist. If he had his druthers, he would rule by diktat like Hugo Chavez. Look what he did with the Tarp funds and the Chrysler bailout and the BP spill — pure Chicago thuggery where he didn’t stop to consider the law for a second, he just TOOK the money as if it was his own to pay off his supporters and deprive those who were not his supporters.
    “That’s was propaganda does. It pulls the strings, and the sheeple follow.”
    Tell me, when did progressives start to despise Americans so much? You’d do away with voting altogether if you could.

    Reply

  67. JohnH says:

    Nadine logic:
    1- Powerful forces (Southern Republicans and their wealthy supporters) mount a powerful media campaign to cast Obama as “not one of us.” They portray him as “socialist” and “Muslim.”
    2- Significant numbers of people come to think of Obama as “socialist” or “Muslim.”
    3- Therefore Obama must actually be “socialist” or “Muslim.”
    In other words, if the propaganda convinces people, it must be true.
    So what was that Jeremy Wright controversy about anyway? The pastor at Obama’s church must have been a Muslim? OMG! No! He was a pastor at the church which is part of a very establishment Protestant denomination–the United Church of Christ.
    Bottom line–a significant part of the American sheeple have totally forgotten Obama’s political crisis of two years ago and his Christian pastor’s role in that crisis.
    That’s was propaganda does. It pulls the strings, and the sheeple follow.

    Reply

  68. nadine says:

    Paul, it’s not at all clear to Americans, let alone “proven” that Obama is Christian: “According to Pew, the number of Americans who identify him as Christian has declined from 51 percent in October 2008 to just 34 percent. The more we see of him, the less we know of him. Only 46 percent of Democrats and 43 percent of blacks think Obama is a Christian.”
    Only 43% of blacks think he is Christian – and 85% of blacks still support him! Obama just doesn’t sound like a believer. He doesn’t go to church. And the church he belonged to Chicago is a weird black nationalist church that has more in common with Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam than with mainstream Protestant churches.
    Add in the fact that Obama has spent much more time advertising his Muslim roots than his Christian faith, and it’s not at all surprising that more than half of America doesn’t know if he is Christian or not. (Certainly the Muslim world believes he is a Muslim.)
    Nor is it surprising that over half of American voters think Obama is a socialist. Obama is far to the left of the American political center of gravity. I would call him a European Social Democrat. In American politics, this qualifies as ‘socialist’ without even straining the definition. The political center is in a very different place in this country.
    So you take these facts, add to them Obama’s secrecy and remoteness, and you can expect to see lots more rumors about Obama’s origins and faith.
    The Republican candidates are mostly trying to stay away from the subject. They have plenty to talk about on the policy front. But it will keep popping up.

    Reply

  69. drew says:

    Paul, I don’t care if Obama is a Christian or not, but Christians don’t
    play golf during church. A lot of Americans do, but not Christians.
    Whether he believes in grace by works, or meritless grace by dint of
    faith alone (the two forms of grace in different strains Christianity),
    he would be required to dispense with his apparent prayers for a
    lower handicap — if he were to assert a Christian nature. There’s
    no putting in the sanctuary. The guy is not posting any 99 theses,
    he’s trying to post a score lower than 99.
    And that is all.

    Reply

  70. drew says:

    KGA, I think, handily disproves the Dauo thesis, as she
    articulates the extremely vocal, and extremely specific public
    rejection of the Obama national security and warfare policies.
    One can hardly say that the only voiced opposition to Obama
    emerges from the right.
    I don’t believe we’ve seen this vocal a left-wing protest
    movement v. a Democratic standard bearer since 1968.
    Gibbs’ mocking style was well-suited to a one-front ideological
    war (against the right) but proves to be not so helpful when his
    rear guard also turns on him. The problem is that Gibbs, unlike
    say an annoyed athlete, can’t just point to the scoreboard (point
    to results/point to popular support). If he points to the
    scoreboard, everyone just will say “Yeah, you’re losing, bozo.”
    The results just don’t exist. The longer this game goes on, the
    farther they fall behind.

    Reply

  71. Carroll says:

    http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/nypd_charges_man_with_hate_crime_after_allegedly_stabbing_muslim_cabbie.php
    NYPD Charges Man With Hate Crime After He Allegedly Stabbed Muslim Cab Driver
    Eric Lach | August 25, 2010, 11:43AM
    New York Police Department has confirmed to TPM that a cab driver in Manhattan was allegedly stabbed by a passenger who asked if the cabbie was Muslim, and says the incident is being treated as a hate crime. The suspect has been charged with attempted murder and other crimes.
    According to Detective Marc Nell, at 6:14 pm last night, the driver picked up Michael Enright, 21, of Brewster, NY, at the intersection of 24th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan. The cab proceeded to drive north, and Enright asked the driver, who Nell identified as a 43-year-old Asian male, if he was Muslim. After the driver responded that he was, Enright allegedly stabbed him repeatedly with a Leatherman tool, according to police.
    “[Enright] stabbed the driver in the throat, right arm, left forearm, right thumb and upper lip,” Nell said.
    According to police, the driver called 911, and stopped the cab on 3rd Avenue between 40th and 41st streets, managing to lock Enright inside until police arrived.
    Nell told TPM that the cab driver is in stable condition, and that Enright has been charged with “attempted murder two as a hate crime, assault with a weapon as a hate crime, aggravated harassment second degree because of race and religion, and criminal possession of a weapon.”
    The Associated Press reports that Enright is expected to appear in court today.
    Nell could not confirm that Enright had admitted to asking the driver if he was Muslim.
    The incident was first reported by NY1.
    Allan Fromberg, a spokeperson for the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission, told TPM that the Commission was aware of the incident, and that an official response was forthcoming, but that he could not comment publicly yet.
    “A number of things are sort of in motion on this, as we speak,” Fromberg said.
    How 30 Million DVDs Sent In 2008 Election Fuel The Anti-Mosque Debate Today
    Rachel Slajda | August 25, 2010, 8:15AM More
    ‘Ground Zero Mosque’, Clarion Fund, Cordoba House
    In the last weeks before the 2008 elections, an organization called the Clarion Fund spent some $16 million to reprint and distribute 28 million copies of their 2005 film about radical Islam and terrorist groups. “Obsession” was inserted into newspapers — and packaged with scary photos of scarf-clad men — in swing states.
    That move, funded by a single anonymous donor, may still be echoing in 2010′s protests about the Cordoba House and other mosques around the country.
    “The single most powerful piece of media over the past five years that has been effective in persuading average Americans to the Islamist threat has been ‘Obsession,’” Tom Trento, the director of the Florida Security Council, told TPMmuckraker today. Trento said he participated in the multimillion-dollar distribution of the film by giving out tens of thousands of copies at both parties’ 2008 conventions.
    “Obsession” — the abridged version of which you can watch here — aims to scare, with graphic footage of terrorist attacks and large rallies where clerics scream in Arabic, “Death to America!” Commentators, including the daughter of a jihadist and Jerusalem Post writer Caroline Glick, say things like, “Jihad has come to America” and describe terrorist attacks as “multiple fronts in a global Jihad.”
    The filmmakers are careful to distinguish the threat as from “radical Islam,” not Muslims overall. Clarion and the people involved in its projects, including a Muslim physician who narrated Clarion’s latest movie, believe that 80 to 90 percent of the mosques in America fall into this dangerous category.
    That movie, the “Third Jihad,” describes the threat of this radical Islam to American culture. Specifically. Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser told TPMmuckraker, this vast majority of clerics in the U.S. pose a serious threat to the Constitution by preaching in favor of sharia law.
    “The movie has been extremely effective in waking people up,” said Trento, whose organization aims to educate Floridians of the threat of radical Islam. He spoke last Sunday at an anti-mosque rally in Lower Manhattan. “The intent of the movie was to activate people.”
    The Clarion Fund opposes the community center near Ground Zero, but is taking a more passive role in the debate. Most of its limited resources, according to a spokesman, are focusing on wrapping up a new film on the Iranian nuclear threat, called “Iranium.”
    Clarion is still promoting a movie it released last year about radical Islam’s threat to American culture, called “The Third Jihad.” Alex Traiman, the spokesman, told TPMmuckraker that he believes “Third Jihad” contributed to the current protests.
    “We haven’t taken a [vocal] stand on the Ground Zero mosque, but the American public has,” Traiman said. “I think part of that is the impression that ‘Third Jihad’ has had. … We try to present the tools for educating Americans to spur grassroots action, and we feel really gratified right now.”
    He said the debate over the Cordoba House project has been the wake up call Clarion has been waiting for.
    “We had always expected that there would be some event that would galvanize the public and we were waiting for it,” he said. “It really took this mosque. This story is really getting Americans to wake up and say, ‘Wait a second.’”
    “The people that see the film are wanting to do something,” he said.
    Traiman sounded rueful that the timing of “Iranium” is taking away from their ability to work against the Cordoba House. “We were waiting so long for an event, and it comes right now when we’re in final production for a new film.”
    Aish HaTorah’s New ‘Obsession’
    By Rabbi Arthur Waskow | 10/29/2008
    Interreligious Relations
    by Sarah Posner
    Special To The NY Jewish Week
    Officials of Aish HaTorah, one of Orthodox Judaism

    Reply

  72. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    P.S. Case in point: Newt the Brewt playing the “Nazi” card in the Great American Mosque Mosh…following his logic, I guess we shold ban all Germans from the Ground Zero vicinity….
    And, back to Gibbs…those of us who see similarities between BO and Busholini should be drug tested????
    Those of you who are so close you’re cross-eyed, if you can’t see similarities, need an opthamologist….start with warrantless wiretapping, executive orders, no habeaus corpus for some, military tribunals, to name a few. Don’t get me started.

    Reply

  73. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    Peter Dauo is so right, I’m groaning…groaning because it’s so true, yet Demz just don’t know squat about strategy or simple marketing techniques, for all the millions of dollars they spend on “marketing” their “brand”…
    Demz only returned to the majority because Howard Dean was Chairman of the DNC and worked to build the party…50 states sound familiar? Had the party “leaders” listened to him, we would have actually stood for something, but even as he succeeded in regaining the majority, the likes of Rahm Emmanuel and James Carville were criticizing him…well now we’re back to the same loser “strategies” that won us the minorty. As I recall, John Kerry, was telling Howard Dean not to express his positions on policies…we see how well that worked out.
    Peter Dauo’s point is so simple…point and counterpoint. it takes one extreme to balance the other and arrive at the true middle course.
    Dems act like children and relate to “conservatives” like they would a stern parent, grovelling for their approval. Voters gave Demz a huge majority so they wouldn’t need any Repugnican votes to achieve their campaign promises…it was a meesage from the people….no one cares about bi-partisanship…they care about accomplishments, with or without the fossils in the GOP.
    Part of the problem is with the Left…we keep letting the Demz take us for granted by refusing to vote 3rd party. If we did, we might actually have an Electoral College with a real puropose again and put an end to the 2 party “system”.
    Taking Impeachment and Single Payer “off the table” before discussions even began are perfect examples of what Dauo is saying. I’ll never send them another dime…only specific candidates who have shown the courage of their conviction…Russ Feingold, Dennis Kucinich come to mind.
    Earth to Robert Gibbs…Progressives would be THRILLED if Deniis Kucinich were president, trust me on that.(Like Gibbs gives a flying fuck what Progressives want.)
    Gov’t in the USA looks like a bad slapstick routine…you know the joker who sticks his hand out to someone to shake and then retracts it at the last minute when you reach out to shake it…how many times can the Repugs get away with doing that to Demz? Don’t ask.

    Reply

  74. dirk says:

    @ nadine, Aug 25 2010, 6:44AM
    “It was declared hate speech to even use his full name, let alone mention his Muslim background.”
    Nadine … summarized: “I’m right, therefore I needn’t be honest.”

    Reply

  75. silverslipper says:

    Mr. Daou’s article is quite enjoyable to read! LOL! It sounds like some persons on the left are a little distressed that the general American public aren’t following their world view. Well, sorry, but as I’ve said before, Americans are largely to the right of the middle thinkers (about where you put your parentesis, Mr. Daou – LOL!). President Obama has been very open about progressive views, but it’s not going to change what Americans think – especially with the economy going down so badly. Who knows, maybe if that stimulus had actually worked, Americans would be more open to President Obama’s speeches. The sad thing is that even though we’ve been put into some major debt (by our wonderful Democratic President, Senators, and Congressmen/women), we’re still headed pretty steadily to a depression.

    Reply

  76. questions says:

    From wiki….
    “At the beginning of a markup, committee members often make opening statements, usually not exceeding five minutes apiece. The first reading of the text of the bill to be marked up can be waived, either by unanimous consent or by adopting a nondebatable motion. The bill then is read for amendment, one section at a time, with committee members offering their amendments to each section after it is read but before the next section is read. By unanimous consent only, the committee may agree to dispense with the reading of each section, or to consider a bill for amendment by titles or chapters instead of by sections. Also by unanimous consent, the committee may consider the entire bill as having been read and open to amendment at any point.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Markup_%28legislation%29
    Ever watch a session? It’s kind of fun!

    Reply

  77. questions says:

    drew,
    not quite.
    There are mathematical models of voting patterns that support the basic graphic.
    People with lots of time and finding on their hands read vote tallies in Congress and assign reasonable partisan values to the votes and average them all together in a cauldron in the basement.
    They come up with something called a DW-NOMINATE score (google-able, wiki-able, readable, Poole is the main guy).
    The DW-NOMINATE scores of all of the members of Congress can be arrayed along a single axis from left to right.
    On any single-dimension issue, there will be a median position ideologically-speaking and that median position will determine the winning side of the vote.
    Think about dollar amount preferences for some single spending priority that has no other competition — we can spend lots of money or a whole lot less on something.
    The amount we decide on will be that amount that gets 50%+1 vote. The one vote is the one that determines the winning side.
    Or think about Kennedy on the Supreme Court. He’s often the median voter, and so the side he chooses is the winning side. Ideologically, on many issues, he’s the swing.
    So take this basic notion that the median voter determines the outcome, and try to figure out Gingrich’s political strategy — if the median is always going to win, and you want fringe conservative positions to be the winners, you have to make the fringe position become the median.
    This is really 101 analysis, not some bizarro-oversimplifed non-germane garbage…..
    It’s actually how group decision-making works.
    And Gingrich and Reagan and a host of factors made the anti-tax movement the median position rather than the pro-service diversification wing, as it had been previously.
    The median does shift, indeed. And the median does determine the outcome. Indeed.
    My argument is merely that it’s a generational effort to swing the median and that if the swing is violent enough, it just causes a counter swing. I’d like to avoid the counter swing if it’s possible.

    Reply

  78. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And during mark up, the text is gone over with a fine tooth comb”
    Its official, “questions” is not of this planet.
    “I think Daou should take his message to the main street, and explain to the duped and manipulated that they are duped and manipulated”
    And exactly who is it that has the ears of mainstreet if not the dupers and manipulators? Isn’t that the essence of the problem?
    Unfortunately, Daou doesn’t have a podium that is wired for sound.

    Reply

  79. questions says:

    “Do you sincerely believe that they would convince the American
    public if they sounded like a mixture of Roland Barthes, John
    Rawls, Theodor Adorno, and Jacques Derrida?”
    I don’t think I said this! But it’s ok to put electrons in my persona.
    I have indeed heard of Reagan and Thatcher.
    The move to the right was far more gradual than you realize.
    The civil rights movement had to bust up the solid south, Reagan spent years warming up in California, major economic problems with high inflation and mortgage rates in the teens added to the dems’ woes.
    There was an unpopular war, culture wars, generational divides, urban unrest and a lot of other factors floating around.
    The country moved slowly. It was primed. Reagan’s disposition spoke to people, but the people were ready to listen to a foolish message about budgets, the evil USSR, taxes, the evil US gov’t…. The former trotskyite thinktankers had been preparing the rhetoric, and events had been priming the public.
    History generally moves slowly and when we think we’ve found a rupture, maybe we haven’t. I should go back over Foucault on his insistence that there are new things under the sun. I’m not convinced. But I haven’t read him in a while….
    What by the way did Gingrich get for all his slogans and contracts and rhetoric? Oh, yeah, the gov’t shut down, the loss of his job and ruination of his political career, the idea that if the right moves right the party will come along which seems to have caused the ultra right to think it has the right to rule the world which has led to every smart republican’s fleeing from the sheer stupidity, racism and general nastiness of the tea party side of the republican party.
    All of those “My party left me” feelings will simply be reduplicated by the dems if they aren’t politically astute.
    I’m hoping for astute, instead of a-stupid.

    Reply

  80. questions says:

    “If they bothered to read the fuckin’ things, you might have a point. ”
    POA, people do read the fuckin’ things.
    Those people are called staffers.
    And they do the bulk of the fuckin’ work on the Hill.
    And, yes, every fuckin’ word is read, gone over, typed up, approved.
    When anyone says otherwise, it’s mildly disingenuous because someone always knows what’s there.
    And during mark up, the text is gone over with a fine tooth comb.
    And when things are hurried, there are still staffers who divide up the readings and advise the MC about what’s what.
    Staffers are amazing.

    Reply

  81. Paul Norheim says:

    Drew said:
    “I think this graphic is a great example of how, as Gen. Mattis
    noted recently, “Powerpoint makes us stupid.”
    It presents the veneer of some sort of objective, decision-
    sciency, ‘measurement’ and deflects the more basic question
    which is: “Who says?” (..) It’s merely a metaphor for, rather than
    a measurement supporting, the author’s thesis.
    I agree.
    Further: “I think Daou should take his message to the main
    street, and explain to the duped and manipulated that they are
    duped and manipulated” (Drew)
    I agree on that too. I think Daou or someone else should take
    that message to the main street, and explain exactly who
    duped them into thinking that Obama is a Muslim not born in
    America. I think someone should also explain the motives
    behind the manipulation, after proving that he is a Christian
    born in the US.
    Then we would see whether the anger from main street would
    be directed against the manipulators, or the one stating the
    facts and explaining the humbug. Watching the reactions could
    be an interesting and enlightening experience.

    Reply

  82. drew says:

    I think this graphic is a great example of how, as Gen. Mattis
    noted recently, “Powerpoint makes us stupid.”
    It presents the veneer of some sort of objective, decision-
    sciency, ‘measurement’ and deflects the more basic question
    which is: “Who says?” It’s a clever graphic but it means, and
    says, absolutely nothing; it foots to nothing. It’s merely a
    metaphor for, rather than a measurement supporting, the
    author’s thesis.
    Anyway, Daou’s thesis only makes sense if you think the
    citizenry are a bunch of sheeple being led by the nose by a cabal
    of right-wing crazies. That’s one explanation for the president
    losing 50% of his support in 21 months, Congress enjoying a
    broad 11% approval rating, and 77% of the country saying that
    the political class has broken its leash and now acts illegally to
    further its own agenda, not the nation’s.
    Another view, which I cannot illustrate with even so much as a
    scatter plot: the Democrats are running for office by avoiding
    mention of their a) party; and b) record. That’s because their
    party took wildly unpopular actions, as viewed by the electorate,
    and as a result, seems now to be insufficiently popular to win
    elections.
    I think Daou should take his message to the main street, and
    explain to the duped and manipulated that they are duped and
    manipulated, unable to think for themselves, and therefore
    either unqualified to vote or, at the minimum, in dire need of
    deprogramming. I think that that would go over extremely well,
    and help the president and the Democratic Party restore their
    lost electoral momentum. Once that’s accomplished, the vast
    right-wing communications conspiracy can just be shut down.
    Problem solved.
    Or, he could add a coda to his brief note on American idiocy, and
    explain that his thoughts and ideas are merely for the 20% of the
    country that believes in a superordinate political class, which is
    the only class of people qualified to make the big decisions.

    Reply

  83. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If the two houses hadn’t agreed on the language, it wouldn’t have passed.There simply is no way to jam anything anywhere.People in Congress can vote against what they don’t want to vote for.Then they have to face voters in their districts.There is no jamming”
    If they bothered to read the fuckin’ things, you might have a point.
    As usual, you’re full of shit. The amazing part, to me, is how much. You’re like a bottomless Andy Gump outhouse.

    Reply

  84. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by questions, Aug 25 2010, 6:10AM – Link
    Take a longer view to understand questions’ incrementalism.
    It took quite some work on the part of the right to move the
    country’s discourse as far it did.
    ———————————
    Yes, it took quite some work on many levels, and the
    ideological level was one of the most significant levels in the
    transition from the 70′s to Reaganism in the US, and
    Thatcherism in the UK. Are you old enough to remember those
    days?
    As far as the public debates were concerned, the rightwing
    people weren’t exactly employing an “incrementalist” strategy
    during the Reagan years, avoiding slogans and clear
    statements. That is not how they earned their victories in those
    days. On the contrary: they made a lot of noise and framed the
    debates, and raised a lot of controversial issues, just like the
    GOP now. And they were victorious.
    So tell me, Questions, why on earth are we to trust your
    recommendation that the Dems, the left, the independent, and
    the former GOP moderates now, in 2010, should employ a
    strategy of extreme caution, of vague whispering and
    incrementalism in the ideological and political debates in main
    stream media?
    Do you sincerely believe that they would convince the American
    public if they sounded like a mixture of Roland Barthes, John
    Rawls, Theodor Adorno, and Jacques Derrida?
    That’s certainly not how the marked fundamentalists and the
    neocons won their victories during the previous decades.

    Reply

  85. questions says:

    Point by point below, in the usual style….
    “as he took advantage of his thin resume to run as a blank screen projecter — “project your fondest wishes here” He was the post-racial, post-partisan uniter, remember? It was declared hate speech to even use his full name, let alone mention his Muslim background.”
    *****He campaigned on health care, on Afgh. expansion and Iraq contraction, on domestic partnerships not gay marriage, on not being overly racialized, on trying to bring disagreement to the table without being disagreeable — and to the best of my understanding, he has gotten health care through JUST LIKE HE SAID, he has still supported partnership, not marriage, JUST LIKE HE SAID, he has stayed miles away from urban/African American identity and issues like you wouldn’t believe JUST LIKE HE SAID, and he has hardly attacked the very disagreeing and disagreeable Republicans JUST LIKE HE SAID.
    ****The fact is, the Republicans lost an election so they don’t get the policies they want and somehow that’s the fault of the winner…. Ugh.
    “Then when he gets into office, Obama does a 180 on his Muslim background; not only is it no longer forbidden to mention it, he himself goes on about it all day long, giving big speeches in the Mideast. He is Mr. Muslim Outreach, convinced (wrongly) it will open all sorts of doors in Mideast diplomacy. He never goes to church.”
    ******He’s trying to set up a world in which we don’t get the WigWag nightmare scenario of a clash of civilizations, so trying to share the planet isn’t a bad idea. He’s still bombing the daylights out of Afgh/Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen… What’s so “Mr. Muslim Outreach” about that? And didn’t Geo Bush try this too — bombing the shit out of Muslim countries while arguing for the basic humanity of Muslims all around the world and especially in Saudi Arabia? As for church — look what happened the last time he attended regularly?
    ****And isn’t there something in protestantism about personal relations to the maker of more than just coffee? such that one need not go to church in order to feel wholly holy whole?
    “Obama also appoints about 40 left-wing czars, and unveils a program as far left as he can possibly get through the Congress on straight party line votes. He ignores the unhappiness of independent voters who feel he has done a bait and switch.”
    ******Fuckin’ everyone appoints czars. Good lord, this isn’t even an argument. And lefty czars still are stuck with middle of the roady and righty bureaucracy-ies and those czar dudes ain’t like the ones in Mother Russia.
    *****If Obama ignores the poor wittle bitty independenty voters long enough, they’ll toss his party out. So don’t feel betrayed that you’re not getting your policies through.
    ****** Straight party line cuz the pubs won’t defect most of the time, and if you pay attention, they actually have been voting AGAINST things they historically have supported because it’s a PARTISAN STRATEGY, not a policy strategy. The pubs are a…get ready for this…. a PARTY!
    “There really isn’t any comparison to Clinton because Clinton’s move to the right was forced on him after he lost the Congress in the midterms. Obama’s switches have been entirely voluntary.”
    ********Huh? What switches? Who doesn’t pay attention to electoral issues? And what FORCE???? Clinton is a right winger. He’s a DLC/New Dem who calculated that getting the white vote required dumping welfare, that getting the rich vote required dumping Glass Steagall (and he actually thought it was sound policy apparently) — Clinton is conservative. And that’s that.
    “We’ll see if Obama moves to the right if he loses Congress; I doubt it. Clinton was a DNC operator; Obama is an ideologue.”
    *****Obama is no more an “ideologue” than is anyone else. He’s committed to a range of principles, he’s operating in a set political system with set electoral rewards and set voting patterns.
    ****An “ideologue” wouldn’t have signed the HCR he did as it really isn’t a lefty bill, it’s a market based set up that actually mimics a Republican think tank proposal and the Mitt Romneycare set up in Massachusetts. Hey, wait, Mittster is a pragmatic Republican. Hmmmm. And the think tank was a Republican think tank. And HCR is market based. Now THAT’S some serious lefty ideology!
    ******Nadine, Foxpoints are visible miles and miles away. You gotta do better than cite chapter and verse!

    Reply

  86. questions says:

    Not JAMMED through.
    Voted on and agreed to by a majority and signed by the president.
    NOT JAMMED!
    And, no Paul, not really ad hominem from me.
    I don’t agree with the parallels as I described somewhere up there, and I think that since he puts HIMSELF into the center of his essay, HIMSELF is an acceptable target.
    He claims a kind of nobility and ability to see through things. His stance is the point of the essay and his stance can be attacked.
    Especially since I disagree with the rest of the essay as well.

    Reply

  87. Paul Norheim says:

    I notice that both of you, Questions and Nadine, prefer to go ad
    hominem against Stephen Walt and his (anti-Semitic, or
    personal) motives, instead of focusing on the topic: Weimar
    versus Washington DC. Thanks.
    No, Nadine, Obama is no enigma with regard to the points I
    made: It is proven beyond doubt that
    1) He is born in the USA.
    2) He is a Christian.
    3) He is not a Stalinist.
    4) He is not a terrorist sympathizer.
    Still, the right have made a lot of noise lying about or
    questioning these basic facts. You and Pearlman, among
    others, have made a point of his middle name etc in deliberate
    attempts to sow doubt on issues where proven facts run
    contrary to your insinuations. Does this make you proud?

    Reply

  88. nadine says:

    “NOTHING can be jammed through Congress.”
    Two words: Cornhusker Kickback

    Reply

  89. nadine says:

    “Obama isn’t a fuckin’ “mystery” man. He’s the first black pres and that’s so insanely exotic that he has to be painted as this weird outsider. Gimme a break.
    There’s nothing weird about him at all. He’s a politically ambitious guy who played his cards right, whose strategists cobbled together a great campaign, who is doing about ten things simultaneously and depending on which issue you focus on, you can paint a different picture..”
    No questions, just because most successful pols look different to different audiences, that does not account for Obama. Obama raised it to a whole different level, as he took advantage of his thin resume to run as a blank screen projecter — “project your fondest wishes here” He was the post-racial, post-partisan uniter, remember? It was declared hate speech to even use his full name, let alone mention his Muslim background.
    Then when he gets into office, Obama does a 180 on his Muslim background; not only is it no longer forbidden to mention it, he himself goes on about it all day long, giving big speeches in the Mideast. He is Mr. Muslim Outreach, convinced (wrongly) it will open all sorts of doors in Mideast diplomacy. He never goes to church.
    Obama also appoints about 40 left-wing czars, and unveils a program as far left as he can possibly get through the Congress on straight party line votes. He ignores the unhappiness of independent voters who feel he has done a bait and switch.
    There really isn’t any comparison to Clinton because Clinton’s move to the right was forced on him after he lost the Congress in the midterms. Obama’s switches have been entirely voluntary.
    We’ll see if Obama moves to the right if he loses Congress; I doubt it. Clinton was a DNC operator; Obama is an ideologue.

    Reply

  90. questions says:

    NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING
    was jammed through Congress.
    NOTHING can be jammed through Congress.
    People have to vote for things.
    There is NO JAMMING in Congress.
    There is NO JAMMING in Congress.
    There is NO JAMMING in Congress.
    Now tap your heels together as you say that and soon you’ll be transported back to reality.
    The laws that have passed and been signed have had majority support in both houses of Congress and have gotten the president’s signature.
    That’s how bills become laws in the US.
    If only 10 radical leftwing senators wanted the health bill through, and 90 hated it, it would not have passed.
    If only 30 congressmembers had voted for the bill and the rest against it, it would not have passed.
    If the two houses hadn’t agreed on the language, it wouldn’t have passed.
    There simply is no way to jam anything anywhere.
    People in Congress can vote against what they don’t want to vote for.
    Then they have to face voters in their districts.
    There is no jamming.
    Find a different metaphor, like, say, majority votes.

    Reply

  91. nadine says:

    “Walt went to grad school instead of law school. And that’s the dramatic moment?
    And by the way, how does he know he’s a “truth teller”?????” (questions)
    Because his motives are pure. Just ask him if you have any doubt.
    It does betray a remarkable lack of self-awareness, doesn’t it?

    Reply

  92. questions says:

    nadine,
    Oh please! The memes that people are painted with when they are in office — gimme a break….
    The patrician background of the Bush family, their enormous wealth, Geo jr’s alcoholism and probable drug problems — these facts would seem to go against the characterizations above.
    Dukakis wasn’t what he was painted to be. Nor are most politicians.
    The memes are media-generated and the media people seem to get their ideas from a few partisan sources.
    Obama isn’t a fuckin’ “mystery” man. He’s the first black pres and that’s so insanely exotic that he has to be painted as this weird outsider. Gimme a break.
    There’s nothing weird about him at all. He’s a politically ambitious guy who played his cards right, whose strategists cobbled together a great campaign, who is doing about ten things simultaneously and depending on which issue you focus on, you can paint a different picture….
    On security, he’s actually worried for real about nukes and terror and the possible intersection of the two sets.
    On race stuff, he’s stuck because he’s black and the (white) country won’t let the first black pres be black
    On the economy, he’s stuck between a potent oligarchy that has to be tamed and taxed and a bunch of dumbfuck unemployed idiots who seem to want more of the same policies that led to their job losses in the first place.
    Programmatically, he’s stuck with a 60 vote Senate requirement
    In terms of the environment and energy use, again, we need change but see above
    Generationally, the country is in the midst of a significant shift as some of the more frightened Depression-born babies age and drop off the map
    Electorally, he’s a strategist, so what works, works
    In terms of partisanship, he is more pragmatic than partisan, but partisan structures being what they are, he’s locked in to a system he has to respond to
    ********
    The contradictions in Geo Bush — Medicare Drug plan really enlarged gov’t spending
    Comprehensive immigration reform he tried to do was kind of pro brown people
    He didn’t really display personal homophobia
    He was pro-Islam
    An all around confusing pattern starts to emerge. I just don’t understand how a real republican could hold any of these views….
    ********
    The contradictions in Clinton
    He was a dem who ended welfare
    He was a drug user (he did inhale I bet!) who toughened crime laws
    He was the “first black pres” even though he was white
    He was rich as an adult but grew up poor
    He tried to go right on abortion, race memes, economic policy, financial policy…
    Who the fuck was this guy? And could there be anything more exotic or weird than growing up poor and rural in Arkansas?….
    ********
    You can play the whatthefuck game with anyone. It sticks when the media glom onto it.
    It’s a dumbfuck game.

    Reply

  93. nadine says:

    “It took quite some work on the part of the right to move the country’s discourse as far it did.” (questions)
    I think most of the credit for the current rightward shift belongs to Obama, Pelosi & Reid, who have jammed down an unpopular left-wing program which is spectacularly failing to live up to its promises.
    Failing is bad enough politically; failing after telling the American people to shut up and stop objecting, because we know what’s best for you even if you don’t like it, is going to be politically disastrous.
    According to a recent Rasmussen poll, just 23% of likely voters think this government has the consent of the governed. Scott Rasmussen calls the mood “pre-revolutionary.”

    Reply

  94. questions says:

    Take a longer view to understand questions’ incrementalism.
    It took quite some work on the part of the right to move the country’s discourse as far it did.
    The tax issues, the “moral” issues, the race and ethnicity issues, the basic sense of what a social contract entails has shifted over the course of a couple of generations of right wing discourse.
    We have indeed moved far to the right in terms of policy in this country.
    Clinton’s popularity came because he “ended welfare as we know it”, cut way back on financial regulation, advocated school uniforms and tougher crime laws as ways to clean up the populace, and pushed through free trade for corporations in the form of NAFTA. These were all conservative moves by a dem. And they were pretty generally accepted forms of discourse that translated into accepted policies.
    (One could make a fairly long list of disgusting right wing dogwhistles from the Clinton admin. on race, money, and moral issues.)
    So this rightward tilt has been bubbling for many years.
    Political discourse doesn’t change overnight, and I’m not sure where Walt is getting the idea that there’s anything new-ish to this anti-Muslim thing, or to the shift to the right. It’s been happening since Reagan’s era, and probably before that. (Carter may well have been part of the shift and much of it may be traceable to the Viet Nam era, but I refuse to go toe-to-toe with an actual historian on this point.)
    If we can trace the rightward tilt to a series of incremental moves dating back to the late 60s then there’s no way that sudden denunciations are going to help.
    Since I personally know some anti-”mosque” people, I can tell you that Bloomberg’s speeches are meaningless, grand gestures aren’t going to help. The panic is in the air, and it’s been created by some 40 or 45 years worth of demagoguing issues, generational shifts, political expediency, the new creation of wealth and the fear of its loss.
    Obama has styled himself quite consciously on Reagan’s transformative way of being. So this part of my view is merely description.
    As prescriptive, I think that it’s not a bad reading of political change that what is most effective is typically gradual change that can filter, metaphorically, into our political DNA.
    Lurches cause equal and opposite reactions and aren’t welcome.
    The country has long had thick racism, fear of the other, an impulse to keep rather than to share, a desire to be surrounded by the familiar rather than the different, a refusal to learn other languages, a suspicion of the cosmopolitan. There’s nothing new here.
    Walt’s career choice essay is overly heroic, if you ask me. One guy with a Ph.D. instead of with a JD isn’t going to change things. And one guy with a Ph.D. who co-wrote that execrable book in the name of saving us from Weimar Germany doesn’t make any sense to me at all. I am not saved by Steven Walt.
    Perhaps the real truth is that he thought his GRE scores would be higher than his LSAT scores. Perhaps he didn’t relish the pain of memorizing case law. Maybe the Paper Chase tv show hadn’t yet aired when he made his decision.
    Maybe he is a hero for real and he is really trying to save us from our own stupidity. But that honestly seems overly narcissistic to me, and overly dramatic, and I just wouldn’t rest much on this self-description.
    The “fear mongers in the poisonous political climate in America today” are typical, common features of our landscape, are many many years in the making, and will always be around. We have different targets at different times, but it’s always ugly. And it’s always thoroughly American.
    It’s best to approach this with some perspective and calm rather than with the hysteria that we’re on the cusp of world war N, the election of a genocidal maniac, and the killings of millions.
    And we should really keep a sharp eye on the structuralist readings of things. Competitive elections will lead to these positionings as the candidates need the drama to generate donations and votes. If there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the candidates in our thinking, we’re not going to vote for them, give money to them, pay any attention at all. So they have to differentiate themselves and there’s nothing like a great big racial/ethnic/religious/values/facial feature…panic attack to generate the bucks, the votes, the glory of being the one on the podium. It always feels good to win, even if you have to generate some serious hate to do so.
    Given all the structures and the basic context of the American political system, it seems to me that Walt is overdramatizing from the ?left? as much as Blenn Geck is from the right.
    Breathe, chill, relax. This moment will pass eventually, and I think Obama’s cool is a better way to get us out of it than would be Walt’s heroic self-involved narcissistic drama.
    Walt went to grad school instead of law school. And that’s the dramatic moment?
    And by the way, how does he know he’s a “truth teller”?????

    Reply

  95. nadine says:

    “I read the xenophobic bile spewed by
    hate-mongers like Islamophobe Pam Geller” (Walt)
    I think he means the “xenophobic bile” where Pam Geller put together lengthy audio quotes on Youtube of Imam Rauf speaking to a symposium audience in 2005. I haven’t seen anybody claim the quotes were faked or spliced together. They just represent an “inconvenient truth” for those who want to claim Imam Rauf as a moderate bridge builder.
    Walt is just reacting to contrary evidence in the mode typical of the Left: by accusing the opposition of being racist hate-mongers.
    As for the various “Obama as Muslim” rumors, it’s not surprising when you think about it. We’ve never before had a President who combined an exotic background with such tremendous personal secrecy. We have no paper trail on Obama; he has sealed everything. Furthermore, he is governing very differently from the way he ran. This creates at atmosphere ripe for rumors. Rich Lowry wrote a column today called “Cypher in Chief” which makes some good points:
    “But the numbers tell us something important about President Obama: We don

    Reply

  96. Paul Norheim says:

    To the Insipidly Rubberized Squid and others who may be
    interested: Stephen Walt had a different take on the same issue
    on his blog last Monday:
    “Lessons from the Weimar Republic (updated)
    Posted By Stephen M. Walt Monday, August 23, 2010
    I decided to become a political scientist in the spring of 1976,
    while I was attending the Stanford-in-Berlin overseas study
    program. I had already declared an International Relations
    major, but was trying to decide between going to law school
    (the supposedly safe option) or pursuing a Ph.D. in Political
    Science (looked risky). While in Berlin, I took Professor Gordon
    Craig’s course on German history, and one lecture — on the
    role of intellectuals in the Weimar Republic — finally tipped the
    balance for me.
    In that particular class, Craig argued that one of the many
    forces that doomed the Weimar Republic was the irresponsible
    behavior of both left-wing and right-wing intellectuals. The
    German left was contemptuous of the liberal aspirations of the
    Weimar Constitution and other bourgeois features of Weimar
    society, while right-wing “thinkers” like Ernst Junger glorified
    violence and disparaged the application of reason to political
    issues. So-called “liberal” intellectuals saw politics as a grubby
    business unworthy of their refined sensibilities, and so many
    just disengaged from politics entirely. This left the field to
    rabble-rousers and extremists of various sorts and helped
    prepare the ground for Nazism. (You can read Craig’s account
    of this process in his book Germany 1866-1945, chapter 13,
    on “Weimar Culture”).
    The lesson I took from Craig’s lecture was that when
    intellectuals abandon liberal principles, disengage from
    politics, and generally abdicate their role as “truth-tellers” for
    society at large, it is easy for demagogues to play upon human
    fears and lead a society over the brink to disaster. So I decided
    to forego a legal career and get a Ph.D. instead, hoping in some
    way to contribute to more reasonable discourse about issues of
    war, peace, and politics.
    Whether I succeeded in that aspiration I leave for others to
    decide, but I’ve been thinking about that episode as I
    contemplate the current state of American political discourse.
    There’s plenty of reasoned debate out there, of course, and one
    could argue that the rise of the Internet and the blogosphere
    may even have increased the amount of serious discussion by
    smart people across the political spectrum. But when I watch
    videos like this one, and I read the xenophobic bile spewed by
    hate-mongers like Islamophobe Pam Geller, then I can’t help
    but hear echoes of the Weimar experience. The left has never
    been very influential in American politics, but disappointment
    with Obama is already reinforcing its disregard for existing U.S.
    institutions and may render it even less relevant going forward.
    Meanwhile, the supposedly “conservative” American right is
    getting nuttier by the minute. Instead of serious policy debate,
    it indulges in bizarre theories about Obama’s religious beliefs,
    and his supposedly “socialist” (or “Muslim”) agenda and takes
    its marching orders from entertainers like Rush Limbaugh and
    Glenn Beck (who once admitted he’s only in it for the money).
    When the Party of Lincoln’s leading lights include unprincipled
    opportunists like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin, you know
    you’re a long way from the days of Dwight Eisenhower or Brent
    Scowcroft.”
    More here:
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/08/23/lessons_from
    _the_weimar_republic#commentspace
    —————————————
    A quick personal reaction to Walt’s article:
    Historical parallels are apt only to a certain point (and this is
    also why the frequent allusion to Chamberlain, Hitler, Munich,
    and “appeasement” in today’s circumstances is extremely
    dubious). I also think that there are some crucial differences
    between America today and the German Weimar Republic
    between the wars:
    1) The democratic traditions and institutions in Germany in
    those days were much, much weaker than in America today.
    2) Huge parts of the German left was more extreme, dogmatic,
    revolutionary, even Stalinist totalitarian and anti-Democratic -
    compared to the moderate views of mainstream leftists in
    America today.
    3) Huge parts of the German right was more radical and
    extreme in Germany at that time than even the American right
    today.
    4) The Germans discussed the political and ideological issues in
    smoke filled Bierstuben, newspapers, magazines, and radio -
    no Fox TV or Rachel Maddow or internet in those days. Internet
    is an excellent medium for those who really want to read stuff
    that is not reported in MSM, or to find a different angle to
    familiar issues, and it is not monopolized by a political party, a
    state, or a big company. But the internet is also a fertile soil for
    lies, propaganda, conspiracy theories, gossip, and rumors.
    In any case, Walt’s take is interesting, and since our insipidly
    rubberized squid surprised herself by agreeing with Walt last
    time, she might find food for thought this time too.
    The turn to the right in America worries me, and Peter Daou’s
    post was really to the point. The only consolation is that except
    for health care and “fiscal responsibility”, which are real
    political issues that require debates (regardless of one’s
    position), most of the right wing initiated discussions are so far
    off and stupid that they eventually have to backfire.
    Obama is a Muslim.
    Obama is a commie and a Stalinist.
    Obama is a terrorist sympathizer.
    Obama was not born in America.
    Death panels.
    A mosque at Ground Zero.
    Etc. etc.
    Can you get much lower than that?
    Can any decent and rational conservative still call him- or
    herself conservative or feel at home on the “right”, if this is
    what conservativism is about today?
    In any case, I don’t understand Question’s “incrementalism”
    position in this situation: Not only the democrats, the liberals
    and the left, but also the former moderate and “realists”
    Republicans have to formulate their position with a clear and
    strong voice, and set the premises for the debates, instead of
    merely reacting (meekly) to the extreme positions already
    formulated by the rightwing demagogues, the intolerant, and
    the fear mongers in the poisonous political climate in America
    today.

    Reply

  97. questions says:

    And just as an afterthought, the real point of the newer Science article is that much of what is happening is investigation with preliminary results that will be in dialogue with other results for a while.
    It actually takes some time for people to figure out what’s what.
    So who knows what the next issue of Science or Nature or the WaPo will bring.

    Reply

  98. questions says:

    “insipidly rubberized squid ”
    Not bad!!
    Feel free to go point by point through the Science article and show what they did wrong!
    As for worst ecological disaster, there are a lot of dead animals, a lot of people without work, 11 guys gave their lives because of BP malfeasance.
    I wouldn’t be triumphant about this one. There are some serious risks with drilling this way, some serious problems with the cost/benefit analysis, and a lot of trade offs that should be weighed with the public good in mind and not so much an oil company’s profits.
    As for exaggeration of an issue for political gain, let’s try some of the following:
    Obama’s religion
    Obama’s political philosophy
    The “mosque” “at” “Ground Zero”
    The status of Islam and its relationship to a range of behaviors
    Israel’s good deeds
    The effects of tax breaks on government income
    The ravages of the graduated income tax
    See, nadine, the right does it too!
    Sincerely,
    “insipidly rubberized squid” (whatever it means, it sounds good, and I’m going to make up t-shirts on Cafe Press!)

    Reply

  99. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Now theres a pair to draw to, eh??? A pathological liar and an insipidly rubberized squid join forces to assist BP and the Obama Administration in pulling the wool over the public’s eyes as to the gravity of what has occurred in the Gulf.

    Reply

  100. nadine says:

    “It’s kind of funny how non-polemical this is. How time alters what they are finding. How there’s debate, evidence gathering, measuring, the development of hypotheses.
    How it’s even possible that the Corexit was not such a terrible idea, even.
    I’m guessing time will tell.
    And I’m rooting for some seriously hungry bacteria to help us out with the clean up.” (questions)
    Oh, you mean all the wailing about hown the Gulf well blow-out was the worst ecological disaster since the end of the dinosaurs was hysterical and overblown? Gosh, who could have predicted it?

    Reply

  101. nadine says:

    “Indeed, from Israeli Jews! Who would they sell their wares to?”
    Why, to each other and to the whole world, as they do today. Israel’s economy has a strong export sector.
    But there is no chance of Israel throwing out its Arabs the way Jordan is stripping thousands of Palestinians of citizenship. (Again, nobody protests when Arabs do it.) The most that may come under discussion in peace talks is moving the border to place some heavily Arab regions inside Palestine; but the inhabitants, not being fools, will fight this tooth and nail.

    Reply

  102. Maw of America says:

    Nadine – “If Israel threw out its Arabs, can you imagine the outcry?”
    Indeed, from Israeli Jews! Who would they sell their wares to?

    Reply

  103. questions says:

    Oops! My 4:23 post had an error. The yacht thing was a DEM! Jeff Greene. Billionaire. Florida. Lost to Meek.
    Sorry to malign the Tea Party with the puking yacht story.
    Of course, they still have enough kooks of their own.
    And the more the crazy right wins, by the way, the closer the dems will be to that all important median position that helps win general elections.
    But the crazy right might actually not be doing that well.

    Reply

  104. nadine says:

    Israel is a Jewish state. Period. It has a 20% non Jewish minority of various Muslims and Christians.
    If the Palestinians ever decide they want to actually have their own state, they will have to come to terms with reality. So far, they don’t want to. They prefer to keep their current (well funded) reality to making a compromise peace.
    BTW, Abbas recently announced that NOT ONE JEW would be allowed to live in Palestine. Gee, if France made such a declaration, it would be racist. If Israel threw out its Arabs, can you imagine the outcry? But for Palestinians, it’s a-okay! Arabs are judged by a different standard.

    Reply

  105. questions says:

    OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG
    Could there be some evidence, some actual scientific evidence, that there really is less oil floating around than there was? Could it be that there’s debate? That maybe it’s going to take a while to figure this out? Hmmm. Could be. Is it possible that the gov’t wasn’t lying or propagandizing for BP????
    Read the linked article for a new take. And note, both of the takes on the amount of oil were published in Science. Not a guarantee of accuracy, but it’s not a bad bet that their peer review system kind of works. Sometimes at least.
    ************
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/24/AR2010082403778_pf.html
    “The Berkeley team study published Tuesday also indicates indirectly that dispersants used to break the wellhead stream of oil into a mass of sub-microscopic particles may have speeded the cleanup. By increasing the surface area between oil and water, the dispersants seem to have provided the deep-sea microbes greater access to this unusual food source.
    Alan Mearns, a senior staff scientist in the emergency response division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called the new Berkeley team study “critical to the understanding of the fate of what remains in the Gulf. This study shows that microbes are quickly degrading some components of subsurface oil found in the deep ocean without creating hazardous dead zones.”
    Some of the spill’s 206 million gallons of oil has come ashore, some has sunk into bottom sediments, and a little is still a floating froth. But the mile-wide, 650-foot-high cloud of oil that drifted for months 4,000 feet underwater seems to have disappeared in the six weeks since the well was plugged.
    The plume’s whereabouts has been a contentious matter.
    In the Woods Hole study published last week, scientists described finding an undersea oil cloud on June 23 to 27 similar to the one Hazen and his colleagues found between May 25 and June 2. – which was similar to one found soon after by people from the Monterey

    Reply

  106. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Same old shit. The Israelis continue settlement activity, and demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a “Jewish State”. In addition, Netanyahu says he will accept a Palestinian State ONLY if it is defenseless.
    And the slimey mouthpieces like Nadine are already sniveling about how the Palestinians are being unreasonable.
    Nadine is probably right, odds are against the talks even occurring. Netanyahu doesn’t want talks, and he realizes he can count on the media, and Israeli whores like Hillary Clinton, and 99.9% of Congress, to blame the Palestinians.
    Just follow Nadine’s desicable spew if you wanna know the propaganda d’jour.
    And Questions has gone from an insipidly wishy washy gumbi to an idiot. IF some sort of marketed bullshit about “progress towards peace” in the ME is peddled to us, it will be as big a fantasy as this sham known as “the settlement freeze” was and is. This is political grandstanding from the Obama Administration, and just another process designed to cast the Palestinians as the spoilers.

    Reply

  107. nadine says:

    “My out on a limb predictions are: imporved dem standing in mid October as a mild ME peace thing of some sort works out and there’s a group hug” (questions)
    Heh. Even for you, that is faaaaaaaar out on a limb, questions.
    Not a chance. Abu Mazen is catching hell from all the Palestinian factions for succumbing to American pressure to enter the talks. If there’s one thing we know from past performance, it’s that Abu Mazen always caves to such pressure. So watch him throw in some new preconditions to derail the talks before they start. Probably about the settlement freeze, which is due to expire in September.
    Competent mediators take steps to make sure that the parties won’t add last-minute preconditions before they make big announcements about the commencement of peace talks, but the Obama administration is not competent. Like all incompetent pols, they substitute boasts for achievement, which only erodes their credibility over time.
    My bet is that the talks don’t even get started.

    Reply

  108. nadine says:

    “No, for the purposes of the election, people from the left are not going to support Tea Party candidates.” (questions)
    That’s true. People on the left will just become dispirited and sit home on election day, which is the functional equivalent of supporting the opposition.
    People on the right, I can tell you, are just frantic about the harm Obama is doing to this country and are ready to march over broken glass to vote for every Republican in sight in November.

    Reply

  109. questions says:

    As a matter of fact, here’s a way to muster some energy — civic pride in civic volunteering.
    There are layoffs and firings and closings all over the place. School districts aren’t rehiring the teachers they just dumped because the bailout was a one time only stupidity instead of a genuine restructuring or permanent subsidy. The school districts are right to do it this way.
    So we have lots of unemployed people with lots of time on their hands and lots of work that could be done sprucing up the universe.
    Use some fed money to spruce things up. Not super high paying, some volunteering even. Clean, cut, vacuum, wash, repair, scrub, assist, answer, lead, energize.
    All that great Moveon.org energy that went into prObama-ness should be channeled into motion, civility, civic pride, exercise.
    Schedule walks and runs for the early fall. Parades and celebrations. Free stuff. Get the unemployed out of the (foreclosed) home, give people pizza and coffee and a broom.
    It’s enlivening work, it requires local organization, and it might make us like each other a little bit more.
    Between now and mid-October.
    Get a MoveOn.

    Reply

  110. questions says:

    And there’s this:
    As if a bad fundraising report released in the dark of night on Friday wasn’t bad enough for the Republican National Committee, a closer look suggests the party’s financial picture is worse than it appears.
    By the numbers, the RNC brought in $5.5 million in July, compared with $11.5 million for the DNC. But only $4.6 million of the haul actually came from donations — tucked inside the RNC’s July report was a $900,000 insurance payment.”
    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/08/rncs-financial-picture-even-worse-than-it-looks.php?ref=fpa
    Money is not everything in politics. If it were, Fiorina and Whitman and Scott would be guaranteed winners as they are self-funding rich people.
    BUT, party money is a good thing.
    EXCEPT for the Citizens United decision which really frees up corporate money — at least until consumers and shareholders find out how much the CEOs are spending…..

    Reply

  111. questions says:

    No, for the purposes of the election, people from the left are not going to support Tea Party candidates.
    My out on a limb predictions are: imporved dem standing in mid October as a mild ME peace thing of some sort works out and there’s a group hug
    A ticker tape parade in NYC for returning Iraq vets
    Some BIG Afgh. thing of some sort I can’t even begin to conceive of
    Supreme Court pix with 3 women (when does the new Court session start?)
    The planets will line up, the oil leak will be fixed, the hurricane season will be mild, the winter will still be in the future
    All that’s missing is a replacement for the demise of the American consumer economy — not housing, not mfg, not war, yoga is fun but probably not enough to move the economy — though some kind of green plus anti-obesity plus lifelong education plus good feelings about family because we spend more time with each other since no one has a job anymore….
    Ok, I need to work on the economy, stupid, thing.
    But there’s room for reasonable programmatic moves.
    The more Tea Party nuts who declare war on black football jerseys, who worship Aqua Buddha, who puke on yachts, who want to declare null and void chunks of the Constitution, Social Security, and one or two other programs, the better for the dems.
    I think that the national “I hate Congress” polls don’t do justice to the local “I love my incumbent rep” polls.
    And I think there might be some room for something of a love in. Just wait til Benn Gleck gets done with his MLK Rally for white people or whatever it’s going to be. That might actually open up some space for a love in.
    And if I’m wrong and the Republicans control both houses of Congress, well, at least I don’t get paid for anonymous posting. If I did, I’d starve to death this winter, or be stuck eating oiled seaweed.

    Reply

  112. nadine says:

    “Nadine, you really have to get off this polls-defining-America jag. It’s way too easy to refute and kind of weak for someone of your seeming intellect.” (Maw ofA)
    Um, Maw, polls do tend to have a predictive relation to what happens in elections, which is why politicians standing for election tend to pay attention to them.
    “Recently a number of top Democratic strategists conducted focus groups in Las Vegas, Charlotte, Philadelphia and St. Louis. They also conducted a national poll of 1,000 likely voters and an online poll of 2,000 more likely voters. They wanted to measure the public’s feelings about Obamacare and help Democrats make an effective case for the bill they passed in March.
    The researchers found what they call a “challenging environment,” which is a nicer way of saying “disaster in the making.” Voters simply aren’t buying the Democratic case that health care reform will insure more than 30 million currently uninsured people and save money at the same time. And when they think about their own health care, people worry that reform will mean less, not more, availability of care, and at a higher cost.
    Faced with that bad news, the pollsters came up with several recommendations for Democratic candidates. When talking about Obamacare, Democrats should “keep claims small and credible.” They should promise to “improve” the law. They should avoid talking about policy and stick to “personal stories” of people who will benefit from Obamacare. And above all, the pollsters advise, “don’t say the law will reduce costs and deficit.”
    Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/For-Obamacare-supporters_-judgment-days-approaches-540167-101325829.html?#ixzz0xYRgHwfr
    That’s a long way from, “once we pass it, everybody will like it” or “once we pass it, we can run on our historic achievement.” They passed it, and people like it even less. Now they avoid talking about it except to promise to “improve it.” Which only gives people a sinking feeling about what is hidden in those 3,000 pages.
    questions, for purposes of the election those who dislike from the left are scarcely better than those who dislike from the right. They’re still not revved up to vote for Democrats this November.

    Reply

  113. questions says:

    nadine, 13% don’t like the health care bill FROM THE LEFT!
    Under 50% then dislike it from the right.
    Ugh!
    And as for moving the rhetoric to get the median position over some, how is it that rhetoric moves? And why is it easier for the republicans to accomplish this than it is for the dems?
    Someone somewhere pointed out that the ‘pubs have a basically negative agenda — do less, cut taxes, provide fewer services, kill some people…. It’s far easier to muster the few to cut things than it is to do what the dems need to do which is to enact positive legislation that alters people’s behavior and spending patterns.
    People who benefit from government programs seem not to struggle too much with the cognitive dissonance of wanting the program canceled or cut. People who think of themselves as originalists have no problem wanting to undo many amendments and some of the bill of rights.
    Negative beats positive any day of the week.
    And all that negative non-agenda stuff is supported by republican money (deep deep pockets), republican think tanks (not really great thinkers, but really great PR), and the fox noise network and talk radio.
    In short, the agenda is easier on the right, the infrastructure is there, and the coalition is one that holds together out of hatred and fear of the OTHER, and love of money.
    So what dem, w/o much of a think tank, w/o a lot of millionaires and billionaires and corporations dumping money, is going to I don’t know, appeal to mankind’s better instincts and say, “Hey. brown people are worth it” or game theory, or assurance, or regulation, or progressive taxation, or so few people pay inheritance tax that really you should want to keep this one, or a weak defense is the best kind, or hey, can’t we all just get along?
    The republican coalition and the republican agenda and the republican method are all more effectively publicized. The democratic agenda is better public policy.
    Which one wins?
    Head to head, we already know. That’s why Obama is a little more careful about the pendulum. The long term goal is to avoid a big swing further to the right.
    The short term goal is to get some legislation through despite the republican machine’s ability to get a big chunk of the country to be unsure of the president’s birthplace, religion, political philosophy, commitment to the Constitution, commitment to the country. Think about it. It’s an “impressive” accomplishment the right has succeeded in bringing about.

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  114. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “That’s why 55% of the voters think the word “socialist” describes Obama well or very well”
    Yeah, and another high percentage can’t answer whether or not Hawaii is a state.
    No, Nadine, the majority of Americans DON’T identify with moles like you. Thats why you and your ilk must work so hard to maintain and control the narrative. Through dishonesty, such as we consistently see you employ, or through obsfucation and pseudo intellectual thumb twiddling, such as Gumbi’s general fare.

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  115. Maw of America says:

    Nadine, you really have to get off this polls-defining-America jag. It’s way too easy to refute and kind of weak for someone of your seeming intellect.
    Don’t make me quote polls about how many people believe in UFOs, angels, CIA and AIDS/crack/JFK, etc.

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  116. Dan Kervick says:

    This post is just so right that I have nothing to add to it at the present time.

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  117. nadine says:

    Isn’t this just another way of saying that a President cannot completely ignore the will of the people? If anyone here can remember all the way back to the health care vote, they may remember that there was no compromise with the Republicans; all the arm-twisting and kick-back offering was to Democrats. The actual bill was and is unpopular (latest poll 40% for, 56% against).
    No, I don’t think it’s realistic to fault Obama for not being left enough. Between the legislation he jammed down and the slew of Federal takeovers and bureaucratic overreach — not the mention what all the czars are doing — he went as far left as he could.
    Obama’s problem is that he is a far left President of a center-right country. That’s why 55% of the voters think the word “socialist” describes Obama well or very well.

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  118. Maw of America says:

    Ugh, too fast on the finger… of course, I meant, “Your” not “You’re”. I hate when that happens!

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  119. Maw of America says:

    Bill Pearlman – You’re quips are too cute by half. But does this mean you believe that Obama is Muslim? I’m curious from whence you speak…

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  120. Ulysses says:

    Great post! I particularly like the Overton Window graphic up top. We don’t need to start from the most extreme leftist positions to counter the Rethug strategy. We could propose raising tax rates on millionaires to Scandinavian levels. Instead, we start with a timid request to let the Bush cuts expire as scheduled for the wealthiest. Why not at least ask for a further hike of 5-10% on the wealthiest? Then we could be negotiating down to simply letting the cuts expire, not defensively trying to justify the same expiration that Republicans voted for years ago. We don’t have to lie, cheat, and steal like the Rethugs. We do need to pull much harder in the opposite direction from where they want to take us.

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  121. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Come on John, “brilliant orator”. He probably thanks allah every night that the teleprompter was invented”
    See now?? If this blog’s host wasn’t so graciously tolerant, Pearlman wouldn’t be able to post like a true asshole, and I wouldn’t be able to point out what an asshole he truly is.
    “I think Obama’s insight this decade is that it is better not to overswing the pendulum the other way because in the long run we will end up a disaster zone”
    Gads, can you be any more of an intellectual and ideological wuss?? I swear to God, questions, you are the most insipidly wishy washy human I have ever encountered.

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  122. questions says:

    I always blame this move on Newt Gingrich’s insight in the 90s.
    I think Obama’s insight this decade is that it is better not to overswing the pendulum the other way because in the long run we will end up a disaster zone.
    EVERY 4 or 8 years, there will be no fed money for international family planning, then there will be. EVERY 4-8 years there will be massive tax breaks or gentle increase. EVERY 4-8 years there will be racist outbursts…..
    Obama governs for the long haul, the transformation of American political discourse, the Reagan Revolution in Reverse.
    Obama also faces Fox noise. Tremendous fear. Wars and near-depression economics. An oligarchic governing structure, a generation of “Newtonians”, the race thing…..
    I think he’s probably being pretty smart in a way. The right will get tired eventually. There’s only so long that crazed anxiety can last. Already a lot of people think the tax breaks are bad. Gay rights thinking is shifting.
    What the left needs is the patience of the right. The think tanks of the right. And some more Republicans who defect but are still respected by their audiences.
    It might not hurt to find some really effective counter to Fox noise, as well.
    Jon Stewart has been hitting them for NewsCorps’ relationship with the Saudi prince (whose name escapes me) — maybe there’s room there EXCEPT it plays on the same nonsense that the anti-”mosque” people play on. So maybe we shouldn’t go there.
    I think Obama is getting a lot of stuff done at the executive level. Is pushing as much as he can on the oligarchy. There are just some significant institutional limits on what he can do.
    The idea of settling the pendulum swings in American politics is probably a good one. And probably there are actually some real security issues to beware of as well.

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  123. JohnH says:

    Without Presidential leadership, positions to the left of the extreme RIGHT wing are left without a voice that can penetrate the din of the corporate media.

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  124. JohnH says:

    Yes, “the media end up reporting far right positions as though they were mainstream and reporting liberal positions as thought they were heinous aberrations.”
    What do you expect when the media is controlled by the likes of Rupert Murdoch, Mort Zuckerman, General Electric and big conglomerates like Viacom and Time Warner?
    What’s most disappointing is that a brilliant orator like Obama has chosen to abandon his most effective weapon–the Bully Pulpit. Without Presidential leadership, positions to the left of the extreme left wing are left without a voice that can penetrate the din of the corporate media.

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  125. Ben Rosengart says:

    Thank you, Peter. While I am generally in favor of the Obama
    administration, they have frustrated me — and you do a very
    good job articulating why.

    Reply

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