I think I need a cigarette (Updated with video)

Did you guys see this performance? Did you see this amazing bastard clean the floor with just about everyone out there?! IMO, this was one of his best speeches as president. It was marvelous and brought me to tears more than once. I’m still a little shaky.

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Jonathan Bernstein:

Liberals have wanted a full-throated affirmation of why government is a good thing? Obama delivered, with perhaps his strongest case for a liberal vision of government that he’s given so far during his presidency.

Liberals wanted some strong pushback against the substance of Paul Ryan’s budget? That’s what Obama delivered, describing what will soon be the House GOP budget as a tradeoff between health care on the one hand (for seniors, the disabled, the poor) and tax cuts for the wealthy on the other.

Liberals like to think of themselves as the grown-ups of the budget debate? Obama gave both a budget history lesson and some facts about the composition of the budget that positioned himself — and liberals — as serious, compared to those who talk about waste, abuse, and foreign aid.

And then, liberals are paranoid highly suspicious that any changes at all in Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security put those programs on a slippery slope to, basically, full repeal? Obama challenged them to, basically, knock it off, and buy into the idea that reform doesn’t mean weakening those programs.

That’s what I heard.

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Steve Benen:

As heartening as it was to hear President Obama’s full-throated condemnation of the House Republican budget plan — he didn’t pull any punches — what made his remarks this afternoon especially satisfying was his defense of the progressive vision.

The point of the remarks was primarily to advance two goals: explain why Paul Ryan’s radical proposal must be rejected and present a “balanced” alternative towards long-term deficit reduction.

But along the way, the president made a point of reminding his audience that government, the institutions of the modern welfare state, and the modern social compact are worthy of a spirited defense. Indeed, to hear Obama tell it, the progressive vision is the American vision.

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The “sellout of the left” this wasn’t. What we saw today was an unapologetic defense of a progressive vision of government, cased in terms that were equal parts moral and pragmatic. America doesn’t hear it often enough, and Obama delivered it with passion and conviction today.

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John Cole:

Not sure if you are watching, but all the chicken little shit about Obama going after Medicare and Medicaid seems to have been, well, a little premature (which now means the usual suspects will spend the next few days furiously congratulating themselves that their outcry on blogs is what changed Obama’s mind). Obama is also simply taking it to the Ryan plan, pointing out what a joke it is. He can barely suppress a laugh as he repeatedly points out how unserious it actually is.

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Krugman:

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Substance: Much better than many of us feared. Hardly any Bowles-Simpson — yay!

The actual plan relies on some discretionary spending cuts, this time including defense — good, although I think too much is being cut from domestic spending. It relies on letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire — finally! — plus unspecified reductions in tax expenditures.

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Overall, way better than the rumors and trial balloons. I can live with this. And whatever the pundits may say, it was much, much more serious than the Ryan “plan”.

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Wednesday morning mishmash

 Hi guys,

1. President Obama’s fiscal policy speech is at 1:30.  You can watch it, well, everywhere, but the best place is here.

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2. Tell me again who won the budget fight?

ABC News: Most People Won’t Notice These Big Budget Cuts

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3. Tell me again that the auto-industry bailout was a mistake. (Thanks, Eclectablog): 

Forecast: Detroit 3 to boost Michigan job levels by 34% 

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The Detroit Three could add as many as 35,000 new jobs by 2015, with virtually all of them landing in Michigan as the Detroit Three continue to consolidate their operations here, Sean McAlinden, senior economist for the Center for Automotive Research, said today.

After slashing more than 230,000 U.S. jobs between 2000 and 2009 as they repeatedly restructured, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are now well positioned to add jobs as the economy recovers.

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4. Well, he told you not to give them the keys back, didn’t he?

PPP: Bad news for Congressional Republicans

PPP’s newest national poll finds that after a little more than 3 months in charge House Republicans have fallen so far out of favor with the American public that it’s entirely possible Democrats could take control of the House back next year.

43% of voters think that House Republicans are doing a worse job now than the Democrats did, compared to only 36% who think the GOP has brought an improvement. 19% think things are about the same. 62% of voters thinking that the Republicans have either made things worse or brought no improvement to an already unpopular Congress does not bode particularly well for the party.

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The key to this strong movement back toward the Democrats right now is the same as the key to the strong movement away from the Democrats last year- fickle independents quickly growing unhappy with the party in power. Exit polls showed independents supporting the GOP by a 19 point margin last year at 56-37. Now only 30% of those voters think that the Republican controlled House is moving things in the right direction, compared to 44% who think things were better with the Democrats. Given those numbers it’s not much of a surprise that independents now say they’d vote Democratic for the House by a 42-33 margin if these was an election today, representing a 28 point reversal in a span of just five months.
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One thing is very much for certain- it’s not 2010 anymore.

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5. Things everyone must read:

The amazing Reid Report on “Facts lost in ‘hair on fire’ budget compromise headlines”.

* Rootlessbrilliant exposure – and not for the first time – of  the “Left” true face.

* Eclectablog’s excellent piece: Preemptive whinging is the new norm for the “professional left”

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6. Thank to all those who pointed me to Jay Carney’s briefing from yesterday, especially his answer about PBO’s leadership style and thinking. It’s a beautiful answer that gently puts the hair-on-fire media to shame (It starts around the 28:40 mark):

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