“He’ll come off as the adult in the room once this mess is resolved”

Hey, that’s not me saying. :) It’s James Warren and this is a must-read.

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As President Obama is pilloried by the left, including by bloggers and editorial writers, for supposedly selling them out during debt ceiling negotiations, a reality check is desperately needed.

Get over it, guys and gals, and remember whom you’re fuming over: a deal-making community organizer.

Recognize this man? In a showdown with ideological enemies, he fashioned compromises which made some Democratic allies apoplectic. Republicans weren’t happy, either, with what he wrought but grudgingly realized there were few alternatives.
Throughout he exhibited a preternatural calm, always seeking some common ground among disparate interests as if compromise was a goal in and of itself, not any diminution of principle as some Democrats thought.

Yes, that’s our president, the man at the center of the improbable Debt Debate of 2011. But it was also State Senator Barack Obama a decade ago. The equally rancorous issue back then was the death penalty and the setting was the Illinois legislature. Not much about him has changed.

“His ideological inclinations are liberal but, as far as being a politician, he’s about getting things done. He was always pragmatic and about getting things done,” said Peter Baroni, a Republican attorney-law professor-lobbyist in Chicago who had a bird’s eye view of Obama while serving as legal counsel to Republicans in the Illinois Senate and to its Judiciary Committee.

The death penalty was a big and tough matter in Illinois, especially amid mountainous evidence of men sitting on Death Row for crimes they did not commit. It was also a typical example of the Obama modus operandi during a period in which Illinois had at times the same sort of divided government he now faces on Capitol Hill.

Obama shepherded key proposed changes in the state’s criminal law, including the sensitive matter of taping interrogations of homicide suspects, all the while having cozy late-night poker games with legislative buddies, including conservative Republicans. He wanted to pass a bill and, to do so, couldn’t alienate too many Republicans and their law enforcement allies. Prosecutors and cops were dubious, if not downright opposed initially, to much of what he sought, notably the taping of interrogations to cut down on forced confessions and even alleged outright brutality by cops.

His ideological allies at the American Civil Liberties Union wanted the videotaping of all homicide interrogations of suspects and a blanket exclusionary rule. That meant that any evidence obtained from an interview that wasn’t videotaped would be excluded. Prosecutors and cops said no.

After many dozens of meetings in which “the guy never broke a sweat,” said Baroni, the end result was agreement to record interrogations, either by video or audio means. But the final deal had a litany of exceptions, including one allowing admission of a statement by a homicide suspect that wasn’t recorded if it was voluntarily given. Those exceptions were the counterpart of today’s proposed spending cuts driving some Democrats batty.

His M.O. was very much the same when it came to an important racial profiling bill he successfully steered, too. It required police to note the race of every driver they stop. They weren’t happy but Obama got it through and, wouldn’t you know, the percentage of African-Americans who are stopped has declined.

For sure, as now, he had a clear left-leaning ideology, at least in theory. But he was more committed to doing deals. Declaring his philosophical druthers did not deter him from taking what he could get, much in the fashion of the centrist Democratic impulses personified by Chicago political icons such as former longtime mayor Richard M. Daley and the late congressional power, former U.S. Rep. Dan Rostenkowski, a legendary chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

Many Obama allies thought he’d sold them out on the death penalty. In retrospect, he had not. Perhaps more than any participant, he cold-bloodedly believed that his interrogation law would alter police behavior, while also protecting them from unfair charges of coercion in extracting confessions. Many participants did not see that long-term result as he did. All these years later, he’s been proven correct. You don’t hear grousing about it these days. It’s worked.

Of course, he wasn’t getting the microscopic attention he is as president. His issues didn’t even attract much interest in Illinois and he was desperately grateful for whatever notice he received — or even a returned phone call from a reporter.

There weren’t reporters and columnists chiding him for any air of condescension, as the New York Times’ David Brooks and others have done during his dueling with House Speaker John Boehner. Sitting in the Other America, out in the Heartland, I can’t point to one conversation of late where such an image of scold has been mentioned.

Perhaps the Beltway media sharpies are smarter than the rest of us. For now, I’ll rely on unscientific, anecdotal evidence to conclude that he’ll come off as the adult in the room once this mess is resolved.

And, as you watch him, be reminded of his informative pre-law school days as a community organizer in Chicago. Recall how they inspired both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin to openly mock the term “community organizer” at the 2008 Republican National Convention, with the former New York mayor unable to contain derisive giggling as he openly wondered what the term stood for.

Well, it stands for giving power to the powerless. But, for Obama, it also meant a strategic set of notions about finding mutual agreement among people with the most divergent of motivations, according to Obama mentors whom I know from back then and David Maraniss, the journalist-author now working on an Obama biography.

Then, as now, he was also about seeking resolutions, not just bashing the rich. It was intellectual empiricism and street-wise practicality all at play. It was about doing a deal and moving on.

“The Republican Wreckage – Republicans have lost sight of the country’s welfare”

NYT Editorial:

It’s hard to conclude anything else from their latest actions, including the House speaker’s dismissal of President Obama’s plea for compromise Monday night. They have largely succeeded in their campaign to ransom America’s economy for the biggest spending cuts in a generation. They have warped an exercise in paying off current debt into an argument about future spending. Yet, when they win another concession, they walk away.

This increasingly reckless game has pushed the nation to the brink of ruinous default. The Republicans have dimmed the futures of millions of jobless Americans, whose hopes for work grow more out of reach as government job programs are cut and interest rates begin to rise. They have made the federal government a laughingstock around the globe.

In a scathing prime-time television address Monday night, President Obama stepped off the sidelines to tell Americans the House Republicans were threatening a “deep economic crisis” that could send interest rates skyrocketing and hold up Social Security and veterans’ checks. By insisting on a single-minded approach and refusing to negotiate, he said, Republicans were violating the country’s founding principle of compromise.

“How can we ask a student to pay more for college before we ask hedge fund managers to stop paying taxes at a lower rate than their secretaries?” he said, invoking Ronald Reagan’s effort to make everyone pay a fair share and pointing out that his immediate predecessors had to ask for debt-ceiling increases under rules invented by Congress. He urged viewers to demand compromise. “The entire world is watching,” he said.

//

Mr. Obama denounced House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal to make cuts only, now, and raise the debt ceiling briefly, but he embraced the proposal made over the weekend by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, which gave Republicans virtually everything they said they wanted when they ignited this artificial crisis: $2.7 trillion from government spending over the next decade, with no revenue increases. It is, in fact, an awful plan, which cuts spending far too deeply at a time when the government should be summoning all its resources to solve the real economic problem of unemployment. It asks for absolutely no sacrifice from those who have prospered immensely as economic inequality has grown.

//

Mr. Boehner will not accept this as the last-ditch surrender that it is. The speaker, who followed Mr. Obama on TV with about five minutes of hoary talking points clearly written before the president spoke, is insisting on a plan that raises the debt ceiling until early next year and demands another vote on a balanced-budget amendment, rejected by the Senate last week. The result would be to stage this same debate over again in an election year. Never mind that this would almost certainly result in an immediate downgrade of the government’s credit.

We agreed strongly when Mr. Obama said Americans should be “offended” by this display and that they “may have voted for divided government but they didn’t vote for a dysfunctional government.” It’s hard not to conclude now that dysfunction is the Republicans’ goal — even if the cost is unthinkable.

“Budget maniacs, the real national security threat”

Nicholas Kristof:

IF China or Iran threatened our national credit rating and tried to drive up our interest rates, or if they sought to damage our education system, we would erupt in outrage.

Well, wake up to the national security threat. Only it’s not coming from abroad, but from our own domestic extremists.

We tend to think of national security narrowly as the risk of a military or terrorist attack. But national security is about protecting our people and our national strength — and the blunt truth is that the biggest threat to America’s national security this summer doesn’t come from China, Iran or any other foreign power. It comes from budget machinations, and budget maniacs, at home.

// snip

While one danger to national security comes from the risk of default, another comes from overzealous budget cuts — especially in education, at the local, state and national levels. When we cut to the education bone, we’re not preserving our future but undermining it.

It should be a national disgrace that the United States government has eliminated spending for major literacy programs in the last few months, with scarcely a murmur of dissent.

Consider Reading Is Fundamental, a 45-year-old nonprofit program that has cost the federal government only $25 million annually. It’s a public-private partnership with 400,000 volunteers, and it puts books in the hands of low-income children. The program helped four million American children improve their reading skills last year. Now it has lost all federal support.

“They have made a real difference for millions of kids,” Kyle Zimmer, founder of First Book, another literacy program that I’ve admired, said of Reading Is Fundamental. “It is a tremendous loss that their federal support has been cut. We are going to pay for these cuts in education for generations.”

Education programs like these aren’t quick fixes, and the relation between spending and outcomes is uncertain and complex. Nurturing reading skills is a slog rather than a sprint — but without universal literacy we have no hope of spreading opportunity, fighting crime or chipping away at poverty.

“The attack on literacy programs reflects a broader assault on education programs,” said Rosa DeLauro, a Democratic member of Congress from Connecticut. She notes that Republicans want to cut everything from early childhood programs to Pell grants for college students. Republican proposals have singled out some 43 education programs for elimination, but it’s not seen as equally essential to end tax loopholes on hedge fund managers.

So let’s remember not only the national security risks posed by Iran and Al Qaeda. Let’s also focus on the risks, however unintentional, from domestic zealots.

 

 

#BeforeBlackPresidents: Liberal blogs spent more time attacking Republicans than Democrats.

Morning guys,

Welcome to another day of drama…

Weekly Address (Which I suspect was taped BEFORE last night…)

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And the *real* Weekly Address :)

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Andrew Sullivan:

 

The Republican refusal to countenance any way to raise revenues to tackle the massive debt incurred largely on their watch and from a recession which started under Obama’s predecessor makes one thing clear. They are not a political party in government; they are a radical faction that refuses to participate meaningfully in the give and take the Founders firmly believed should be at the center of American government. They are not conservatives in this sense. They are anarchists.

// snip

Coming from abroad, this country seems as if it is beyond dysfunctional. It looks like a banana republic on the verge of economic collapse. Now that Nixon’s dream has come true and the GOP is fundamentally the party of the Confederacy, it was perhaps naive to think they could ever accept the legitimacy of this president, or treat him with respect or act as adults in the governing process.

But this is who they are. I longed for Obama to bridge this gulf in ideology. But he cannot bridge it alone, especially when the GOP is determined to burn the bridge entirely, even when presented with a deal so tilted to the right only true fanatics could possibly walk away from it. And so the very republic is being plunged into crisis and possible depression by a single, implacable, fanatical faction. Until they are defeated, the country remains in more peril than we know.

 

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Great thing happened yesterday, and was basically ignored, but here’s PBO signing  the certification stating the statutory requirements for repeal of DADT.

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Finally, there was a really awesome Twitter party last night, under  #beforeblackpresidents. Some of the best tweets: 

The debt ceiling was raised SEVENTY-FOUR times without incident. SEVENTY-FOUR TIMES.

Silly women from the secretarial pool wearing cheap clothes weren’t considered presidential.

It was ok to be casual in the Oval Office

No-nothing representatives didn’t make videos calling the President a liar.

A POTUS could tax the rich at 91% and be called a Republican–not a socialist!”

middle names were irrelevant. 

DADT was law & pre-existing condition exclusions were here to stay.

Deliberately sabotaging economic recovery was not considered a legitimate option 4 the opposition party.

The President would get the credit he deserved for killing Bin Laden and rescuing the economy.

 The Democratic party actually had the president’s back.

A President wasn’t attacked by GOP, Professional Far Left and Teahadists.

NO ONE screamed ‘you lie’ at the president during a state of the union address.

Congress would throw a parade to honor Pres. who took down Osama bin Laden. Now they scorn him!

people with 3rd grade educations didn’t constitute a political movement.

Losing 1 point in a poll wasn’t considered a sharp decline in approval ratings and losing your base.

Being a pirate was a safe, lucrative occupation.

 Being a community organizer was noble and honorable.

Osama bin Laden could sit around & watch videos of himself. 

 if you tried to bring the US to it’s knees you were a terrorist. Now you’re just republican.

 A President Could Make A Courageous Deal With The GOP & Not Be Called A Sell Out.

 filibusters were the exception. not the rule.

Children didn’t run to hug POTUS and FLOTUS.

 GOP wanted to change the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens to run for POTUS.

The President’s Performance Approval Polls wouldn’t be conducted everyday by the media.

A POTUS Could Have His Phone calls Returned By An Alcoholic House Speaker.

 Liberal blogs spent more time attacking Republicans than Democrats

exercise was good and we got medals for it but now exercise is an evil, socialist plot.

We never had to ask parents permission to hear a message from the President.

We Would Cheer A President Who Created 2.2 Million New Jobs After the Worst 30 Years of GOP Economic Terrorism.

 we didn’t have every news organization itching to bring the President down.

 Presidents did not have to show the their birth certificate to Donald Trump.

nobody needed to “take their country back””.

 A President Could Enjoy His NCAA Bracket Pool Without A right Wing Frenzy.

We didn’t consider “defunding” the Pres. teleprompter.

And the best: 

#beforeblackpresidents Presidents were ugly!!!!

 

 

“How Can We Not Love Obama?”

This awesome piece was written by Stephen Marche in last week’s Esquire. It is such a beautiful, loving letter to PBO (even if Marche is not shy of criticizing him), that some RW blogs – which I won’t link to to save my life – mocked it while waiting for their heads to explode. And their heads exploded alright.

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Before the fall brings us down, before the election season begins in earnest with all its nastiness and vulgarity, before the next batch of stupid scandals and gaffes, before Sarah Palin tries to convert her movie into reality and Joe Biden resumes his imitation of an embarrassing uncle and Newt and Callista Gingrich [FIG.1] creep us all out, can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph. Whatever happens this fall or next, the summer of 2011 is the summer of Obama.

Due to the specific nature of his political calculus, possibly not a single person in the United States — not even Obama himself — agrees with all of his policies. But even if you disagree with him, even if you hate him, even if you are his enemy, at this point you must admire him. The turning point came that glorious week in the spring when, in the space of a few days, he released his long-form birth certificate, humiliated Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and assassinated Osama bin Laden. The effortlessness of that political triptych — three linked masterpieces demonstrating his total command over intellectual argument, low comedy, and the spectacle of political violence — was so overwhelmingly impressive that it made political geniuses of the recent past like Reagan and Clinton [FIG.2] seem ham-fisted. Formed in the fire of other people’s wars, other people’s financial crises, Obama stepped out of Bush’s shadow that week, almost three years after taking over the presidency.

But even that string of successes cannot fully explain the immensity of his appeal right now. Reagan was able to call upon the classic American mythology of frontiersmen and astronauts and movie stars; Obama has accessed a much wider narrative matrix: He’s mixed and matched Jay-Z with geek with Hawaiian with Kansan with product of Middle America with product of a broken home with local Chicago churchgoer with internationally renowned memoirist with assassin. “I am large, I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman [FIG.3] wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy. Christopher Booker’s 2004 book The Seven Basic Plots, a wide-ranging study from the Epic of Gilgamesh on and a surprisingly convincing explanation for why we crave narrative, reduced all stories to a few plots, each with its own kind of hero. Amazingly, Barack Obama fulfills the role of hero in each of these ancient story forms.

While Obama’s story is ancient, it is also utterly contemporary, perfectly of the moment. His gift — and it is a gift that makes him emblematic — is that he inhabits all these roles without being limited by them. He has managed, miraculously, to remain something of an outsider while being the president of the United States of America, the most inside man in the world. He’s African-American, but he’s not African-American. He’s from Chicago, but he’s from Hawaii. One month he’s bailing out the banks, the next he’s keeping Gitmo open. He pushes health-care reform through with an unimpeachable heave of will then extends the tax cuts. He walks smiling through the newly opened White House garden on his way to announce renewed efforts at oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, his “balanced” approach to the economy has led to a slower recovery than other industrialized nations and the war in Libya has been half-assed at best, which is exactly what war cannot be. For two years, he seemed disingenuous and defensive, pushed into roles that his predecessors had scripted, alternately playing savior then monster. But no more. We can finally see who he is, we can finally understand the reality: In 2011, it is possible to be a levelheaded, warmhearted, cold-blooded killer who can crack a joke and write a book for his daughters. It is possible to be many things at once. And even more miraculous, it is possible for that man to be the president of the United States. Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a “world-historical soul,” an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.

We love Obama — even those who claim to despise him — because deep in our hearts and all over our lives, we’re the same way — both inside and outside our jobs, our races, our cities, our countries, ourselves. With great artists, often the most irritating feature of their work is the source of their talent. Obama’s gift is the same as his curse: He’s somehow managed to be like the rest of us, only infinitely more so.

// more

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USA Today: In 6 of 9 swing states, Obama has fundraising edge

WASHINGTON — President Obama has outraised his Republican rivals in six of nine key battleground states that he won in 2008, a USA TODAY analysis of new campaign-finance reports shows.
In North Carolina, one of nine states won by President Bush in 2004 that Obama captured in 2008, supporters donated more than $300,000 to Obama during the April-to-June fundraising period, about twice the amount of individual contributions that flowed to the top GOP fundraiser, Mitt Romney. In Indiana, which Obama won by 1%, the president outraised Romney 3-to-1.

// more and interesting

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The American Prospect: Why Obama Will Win in 2012

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FINALLY: Letting you know that over the past week I banned two people until further notice. It’s the first time I ever had to do such thing, and frankly, it broke my heart. But honestly, as I said just yesterday, I had enough. If you want to whine and bitch and set your hair on fire and attack other posters – FIND SOMEPLACE ELSE. I have very few rules here and I ask you to follow them.

Thank you.

“If ever there was a time to stand behind the captain – this is it”

Hi guys,

Usually, I will not give Huff-Crap any click to save my life, but this piece by Deepak Chopra is a must read. Not for us – we know all that – but for anyone in our close circle who simply can’t understand how grave and deep and scary is the possibility of the lunatics taking over – and that standing by Presidentt Obama is the ONLY option.

One of the virtues of being on the liberal side of politics is that total obedience isn’t required. There are no hidden agendas. Ideology doesn’t lead to unreason. In a political climate where it feels as if the inmates are running the asylum — as in the current Republican threat to default on America’s debt — the prevailing sanity of President Obama is something that others and I have taken for granted.

We cannot afford that luxury any more, I’m afraid.

For many reasons, this is the moment when loyalty is going to count the most. That’s a hard sentence to write. Liberal politics is based on a non-regimented, all-inclusive approach to democracy. Freedom of thought is paramount. But certain harsh realities must be faced.

// snip

It was such a relief to return to humane, non-ideological governance when President Obama won in 2008 that we underestimated the debasing effect that two generations of right-wing indoctrination has had. Each increment of this debasement seemed fairly tolerable, even bizarrely quixotic. A pledge never to raise taxes until the end of time? Blatant favoritism toward Christian groups, however intolerant their dogmas? Stuffing the foreign service with neo-cons, the Justice Department with graduates of Jerry Falwell’s law school? These aberrations go unnoticed outside Washington, perhaps, but bit-by-bit the damage has been corrosive.

When Lincoln was assassinated, an anguished Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain! My Captain!” whose theme was that the ship of state had reached a great victory — the end of the Civil War — just as the captain lay dead on the deck. We all know that this victory was unfulfilled, followed by a reactionary period that destined America to a hundred more years of virulent racism. Without being melodramatic, I think the work of undoing decades of reactionary policies has barely begun.

Which is to say that all of us who have taken advantage of our liberal heritage to question and criticize President Obama need to step back and consider the radical nature of the opposition, from the Supreme Court down to the local precinct. The current debt ceiling crisis is proof that sensible, sane responses are not going to be automatic anymore. Paul Krugman calls the current Republican tactic outright extortion. The leaders of the Republican Party are so terrified of losing their seats in Congress that they have collapsed in the face of the ultra right and its worst ideologues.

If you suppose that the average citizen remembers that the right wing are the very ones who got us into this forlorn tangle of wars abroad, financial collapse, out-of-control spending, and massive bonuses for the rich, you have not felt the power that fear exerts. Since 9/11, playing upon fear has been wildly successful for the right wing — it re-elected a catastrophic president — and now outrage has been added to the mix thanks to the romping recklessness of Wall Street, which paid not the slightest penalty for bringing on the recession.

If ever there was a time to stand behind the captain, this is it. Not because pluralism and free expression are wrong. They aren’t and never will be. But like Churchill calling upon a coalition cabinet in the depth of the war years, it’s paramount that we see the greater danger for what it is. Attention was drawn to the cover of a recent issue of the Economist, which showed a tall President Obama towering over a squabbling handful of pygmy Republican rivals for the presidency. The headline read, “He Could Still Lose.” We need to remember that if that were to happen, it wouldn’t be because President Obama made too many mistakes or failed to pass a sufficiently liberal agenda. The reason would be that all of us forgot the 30-year reign of reactionary administrations (minus the Clinton years) and the power of debased politics to keep coming back, again and again.

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Cliff Schecter:

Yes, I’ll dare call it treason

Once upon a time, in a land that now seems to have been populated by tooth fairies and unicorns, there was a political party that had a set of core beliefs to which they actually adhered.

Among them was that actually balancing the budget, as opposed to just talking about it, was sacrosanct. Slow change, while necessary, had to be balanced against the traditions of the United States, ones that had mostly served us well over two centuries.

Foreign military adventures should be limited to our national security interests. And one of the single most important components of diplomacy was protecting the economic interests not only of an elite few, but of the great many Americans who toiled in our factories and fields.

This party was known as the Republican Party, and while one might have disagreed with them on their policy prescriptions to cure any particular US ill, one could at least see some logic in their beliefs and understand that they – with some obvious exceptions from time to time (ahem, Joseph McCarthy, ahem) – were doing what they thought was right for the United States of America.

Today, this once respectable organization has turned into nothing so much as a collective id the size of a David Vitter Pampers shopping spree. When facing changes to this nation that make them uncomfortable, they choose national hate. When facing ideological worship versus the greatness of the US, the former always wins the day. When facing a choice of what is good for the US or their personal bank accounts, they inevitably go with the latter.

Every. Single. Time.

In simple terms: We, the people of the United States, are the maid. The GOP is Arnold Schwarzenegger. Any questions?

// more and MUST READ.

“The President of the United States monstered down on Eric Cantor. This is so refreshing”

Hi guys,

First, please take a couple of minutes and drop a supporting note to the president. He really is the only thing that stands between us and the empire falling into the hands of the crazy fascist.

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Today’s schedule:

10:00 am
The President and The Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office
 
10:30 am
The President meets with senior advisors
Oval Office
 
2:00 pm
The President participates in regional interviews on the economy and the importance of finding a balanced approach to deficit reduction
Map Room
 
3:05 pm
The President and The Vice President meet with Secretary of the Treasury Geithner
Oval Office
 
4:15 pm
The President and The Vice President meet with Congressional Leadership
Cabinet Room

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Joe Klein:

David Rogers over at Politico, who has been doing this–extremely well–for about as long as I have, has word that the President of the United States monstered down on Representative Eric Cantor in Wednesday’s deficit ceiling squabble. This is so refreshing on so many levels. Cantor has been using this crisis to undermine his leader John Boehner, by playing the Tea Party/Grover Norquist recalcitrance card. The boy badly needed someone to get up in his face and Barack Obama, of all people, apparently did, telling Cantor, in no uncertain terms, that he’d veto any short term deficit ceiling fix or, indeed, any plan that did not include revenue increases. Then Obama walked out, or the meeting ended, depending on whom you talk to.

So what we have now is the Republican party in, yes, disarray–a word used to describe Democrats almost exclusively, back in the day before the crazies took over the GOP store. You have Cantor and the House Teasies opposing any revenue increases, including a tax loophole closing plan that Ronald Reagan and Edmund Burke would have smiled upon. You have Boehner, struck dumb apparently, after his attempt at bipartisan statesmanship with the President was greeted by tossed shoes and catcalls from the Teasies. You have Mitch McConnell, well, I’m speechless about Mitch McConnell…

// more

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Check out The Obama Diary for a collection of excellent stuff from Lawrence O’donnell.

“Feel free to call me an Obamabot. I consider it a compliment”

Got this from ABL’s wonderful blog:

Over the years, I’ve been called a liberal as if it’s an insult. I’ve also been called a libtard, a Dumbocrat, a hippie, a socialist, a tree-hugger, a bleeding heart, a gay-lover, etc. And I’ve embraced each one. All these were directed at me from people on the right.

Now I find out that I’m an Obamabot. That’s someone who defends the current President of the United States, OUR president of OUR country. But this time, it comes from the left.

I embrace that word, too. But let’s examine what this “mean-spirited” insult actually means.

An Obamabot is someone who may disagree with some of the decisions our president has made, but at the same time, knows and understands why they were made. And we support him for them.

An Obamabot is someone who remembers how the president extended the Bush tax cuts to protect the unemployed from the GOP. Look it up.

An Obamabot remembers the hysteria from the left in April over the rumors that the president would defund Planned Parenthood as the GOP was demanding before they’d agree to stopping a government shutdown. An Obambot remembers those two words the president said to Boehner that finally put the issue to rest as Boehner demanded funds to Planned Parenthood cease: “Nope. Zero.” And Boehner was forced to back down. Look it up.

An Obamabot is perfectly aware of the president’s very long list of achievements and lauds him for them. And damn if we’re aren’t proud to say he’s our president. Look them up.

We also know a president can’t create jobs. That’s the responsibility of Congress, including a House that has struck down every, single job creation bill put before it and has yet to propose one of their own. Look it up.

// more. Go read it all. It’s pitch perfect.

Tuesday “most masterful rope-a-dope ever seen by a president” mishmash

Hi guys,

Today’s schedule:

10:00 AM
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
Oval Office

10:30 AM
The President meets with senior advisors
Oval Office

2:15 PM
The President awards Sergeant First Class Leroy Arthur Petry, U.S. Army, the Medal of Honor; The Vice President also attends
East Room

3:15 PM
The President and the Vice President meet with Congressional Leadership
Cabinet Room

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All kinds of cool stuff:

First, obviously, this Lawrence O’Donnell long and awesome segment from last night – is not to be missed.

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Washington Post Editorial:

Mr. Obama’s debt deal advice: Give peas a chance

PERHAPS THE president’s pea-dissing will not stand him in good stead with the health-conscious, vegetable-growing first lady, but otherwise President Obama got just about everything right in his news conference Monday. Liberals should acknowledge, as he said, that progressive government depends on controlling the national debt. Conservatives should accept that achieving a deal in a divided government will require some give and take, including on revenue. And, yes, it is time for everyone involved in the budget debate to “eat our peas” — to stop talking about how hard this all is and actually get something done.

// more

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NYT Editorial:

Ideology Trumps Economy

There is a huge gap in logic at the heart of the Republican intransigence on a debt-ceiling deal, and President Obama helped to illuminate it on Monday.
The party claims, as an article of faith, if not evidence, that the government’s growing debt is the reason for persistent unemployment and economic stagnation. And yet Republicans are spurning the president’s compromise offers to reduce that debt by trillions over the next decade because he is sensibly insisting that any deal include some increase in tax revenue.

“Where are they?” Mr. Obama asked at his news conference. “I mean, this is what they claim would be the single biggest boost to business certainty and confidence. So what’s the holdup?”

The holdup, of course, is that Republicans are far more committed to the ideological goals of cutting government and taxes than they are committed to cutting the deficit.

// more

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Gerald F. Seib, WSJ:

// snip

But perhaps most important, the big deal would clear the decks for Mr. Obama to focus on other pursuits, without having deficit problems constantly nipping at his heels. If he wins a second term, you can be sure he would rather think about alternative energy, education and immigration than be nicked and cut at every turn by deficit problems.

So those are the factors motivating Mr. Obama. But how would he handle a failure to get that big deal?

For starters, his talking points practically write themselves: I offered three dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in tax increases, and Republicans turned me down. Because Republican leaders wouldn’t accept any tax increases, everybody will pay more for Medicare and Social Security and get less in benefits down the road.

And ultimately Mr. Obama has one time-honored tactic at his disposal: He can use failure to run, Harry Truman-style, against a “do-nothing Congress.”

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Chris Cillizza:

Obama as dad-in-chief

President Obama took a paternalistic approach toward congressional Republicans in Monday’s press conference, using a more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger tone to urge GOP leaders to get something big done on the country’s debt problems.

“It’s time to pull off the Band-Aid, [to] eat our peas,” Obama told reporters gathered in the White House briefing room for the second press conference in as many weeks focused on the onrushing Aug. 2 deadline to cut a deal on raising the nation’s debt ceiling.

Obama repeatedly emphasized that while both sides were going to have to make difficult political choices to get a debt deal done, those sort of hard decisions were part and parcel of governing. Such a compromise would convince people that “this town can do something every once in a while.”

Boil Obama’s message down and you get this: Adults sometimes have to do things that they don’t want to do. This is one of those times. So, let’s get it done.

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Obama has a leg up in this fight thanks to his ability to command the attention of the national media whenever he likes. Obama is set on turning this debt fight into a broader argument about what it takes to be a responsible adult. And it’s a fight that could well serve as the main frame of the 2012 presidential campaign.

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And, I had to bring here this comment by goblue72 over at Baloon Juice:

Healthcare reform that included largest expansion in Medicaid in several generations. ARRA Stimulus with massive spending on green initiatives. Saving the American auto industry. Two liberal broads appointed to the Supreme Court – a Jew & a Puerto Rican. Lilly Ledbetter. Ending DADT. Finding Osama bin Laden and putting a bullet in his head. He even appointed some Asian physicist nerd from BERKELEY to be in charge of our nuclear program fer chrissakes.

All the while dealing with an economic DEPRESSION, with the opposition party being composed of down-and-out neo-Confedrate traitorous scumbags and the entire corporate kleptocracy allied against him.

ALL THE WHILE PRESIDENTING WHILE BLACK. With a Muslim-y name.

Let me repeat – MoFo WON the Presidency. While Black. With a Muslim name.

But no – some white dude in his pajamas and a keyboard knows the politics better than he does.

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The Economist: “The Republicans are playing a cynical political game. SHAME ON THEM”

THE ECONOMIST!

IN THREE weeks, if there is no political deal, the American government will go into default. Not, one must pray, on its sovereign debt. But the country will have to stop paying someone: perhaps pensioners, or government suppliers, or soldiers. That would be damaging enough at a time of economic fragility. And the longer such a default went on, the greater the risk of provoking a genuine bond crisis would become.

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This newspaper has a strong dislike of big government; we have long argued that the main way to right America’s finances is through spending cuts. But you cannot get there without any tax rises. In Britain, for instance, the coalition government aims to tame its deficit with a 3:1 ratio of cuts to hikes. America’s tax take is at its lowest level for decades: even Ronald Reagan raised taxes when he needed to do so.

And the closer you look, the more unprincipled the Republicans look. Earlier this year House Republicans produced a report noting that an 85%-15% split between spending cuts and tax rises was the average for successful fiscal consolidations, according to historical evidence. The White House is offering an 83%-17% split (hardly a huge distance) and a promise that none of the revenue increase will come from higher marginal rates, only from eliminating loopholes. If the Republicans were real tax reformers, they would seize this offer.

Both parties have in recent months been guilty of fiscal recklessness. Right now, though, the blame falls clearly on the Republicans. Independent voters should take note.