Dick Cheney will never admit that he screwed the pooch with his push for war with Iraq. He now says that since we blew the shit out of Iraq, as well as eliminated Saddam as a WMD threat, spending a trillion dollars with 100,000 civilians killed and almost 4500 US soldiers dead made it worth the cost in blood and treasure to America. Huh? 'Potential' is his new benchmark for invading and destroying anybody he sees fit.
O’REILLY: But what — right now, what do we — what do we get of Iraq for all of that blood and treasure? What do we get out of it?
CHENEY: What we gain and my concern was then and it remains today is that the biggest threat we face is the possibility of terrorist groups like al Qaeda equipped with weapons of mass destruction, with nukes, bugs or gas. That was the threat after 9/11 and when we took down Saddam Hussein we eliminated Iraq as a potential source of that.
After O'Reilly tells him that Al-Qaeda is back, he blames Obama administration for not following his policies. What an evil man. He also cites Moammar Gadhafi giving up his nuke capabilities and catching AQ Khan as the other great achievements for invading Iraq. He's an evil man because he knows this was the real reason for his call to invade Iraq.
Oh, how the right loves to spin. They're generating a big meme around how mean "librul media" was biased against Ted Cruz while hailing Wendy Davis back in June. Republico's Politico's Dylan Byers sympathizes, giving them credibility where none is due:
Yes, the difference between filibustering and grandstanding plays a part. Equally important is the fact that Cruz's theatrics are frustrating members of his own party. But, part of the disparity in coverage is due to the fact that the mainstream media, generally speaking, don't admire Cruz the way they admired Davis — or rather, they admire him only insofar as he makes for tragicomic theater, whereas they admired her on the merits.
These portrayals may be accurate or inaccuarate — Cruz certainly has an elitist strain and he certainly has political ambitions. But that's not the point: The point is that the coverage of Cruz has been critical, and in some cases unforgiving, from the outset. At least initially, Davis wasn't viewed through a critical lens at all. Her willingness to stand for 11 hours was evidence of the American dream in action. Period.
Here's the problem: Wendy Davis was actually doing somethingwhen she filibustered her way to the end of the Texas special session. Her filibuster, as Rachel Maddow points out, was intended to run the clock down and prevent a vote on draconian restrictions to women's health in Texas.
Rep. Alan Grayson appeared on Al Sharpton's show to speak the truth about the Tea Party last week. Here's some of what he said:
Rev. Al: Congressman, does the President have the Tea Party on the ropes?
Alan: I think so. I think that ordinary Americans are with the President. They're appalled by the Tea Party's tactics. They come to the President saying, "If you don't let us steal your car, then, we are going to burn down your house." They are appalled by the way the Tea Party cheered on the shutting down of the government, cheered at the fact that we put our credit at risk for a generation to come. And they're appalled by the enormous expense - the fact that this temporary shutdown ended up costing America $24 billion. That's almost $100 for every man, woman, and child in this country. Frankly, they want their money back, and the Tea Party out of their lives. At this point, the Tea Party is no more popular than the Klan.
Then he sent out a fundraising email, which apparently caught the attention of a PoliticoRepublico reporter:
Matt Gorman, rapid response director for the National Republican Congressional Committee, denounced Grayson’s fundraising tactics.
“There’s no excuse for the hateful words and imagery used by Congressman Grayson,” he said in a statement. “House Democrats should swiftly and strongly condemn him and return the money he has raised for them. This hate-filled rhetoric has Americans fed up with Washington.”
Well, it doesn’t get much more official than this: an VandeHei/Allen “Behind the Curtain” column announcing that D.C. (“the town”) is “turning on” Barack Obama, and there will be nothing but venom coming from any direction for the foreseeable future:
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
The Beltway was jumping for joy over the news that Obama and Republicans were seen holding hands and going out on a dinner date. Hey, the wedding is still on, whispered the new wave of Broders.
However, the new Politico piece then veers off into a dark and dank place indeed, sooo----Say it ain't so.
A lull in the deadline-driven budget battles could soon give way to a fresh round of fiscal crises — from rising public pressure to lift the sequester to a looming summer deadline to increase the debt limit. If the president is to have any hope of resolving either fight to his liking, he’ll need more revenue. But Republicans won’t even consider it unless entitlement reforms are on the table.
So after more than two months in hiding, talk of a grand bargain has suddenly resurfaced in Washington.
Obama is doing things he’s never done — like dine out this week with a dozen Republican senators at a meal in which they talked fiscal issues, invite House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to the White House for lunch — and to re-engage with lawmakers after almost two years of campaigning against them.
“This week, we’ve gone 180,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday. “After being in office now for four years, he’s actually going to sit down and talk to members.”
To me, this piece is more Beltway gossip than fact. And the truth is that the Villagers are the biggest supporters for a Grand Bargain and never stop trying to slant their coverage accordingly. Last week the reports were that the Grand Bargain was dead. Now with a lull in the news after Rand-Paulvision ended comes the new news that the GB is back on table. Seriously, beltway media Gods?
I wrote for years that the President should have taken to the airwaves immediately after the stimulus was passed to explain to Americans the challenges we faced as a nation and set his own agenda, but his team chose to overstate the impact the stimulus would have and then moved on to join the deficit reduction choirboys.
Conservatives in the media have found themselves armed with political ammunition in their battle with President Barack Obama over the impending sequester from a surprising source — Bob Woodward. The journalism icon’s fact check on the sequester in The Washington Post over the weekend and the subsequent blowback has caused a major stir, with pundits and reporters pouncing on the item. In his piece, Woodward laid the blame on the White House for the sequester, pinpointing the administration as responsible for coming up with the plan for automatic spending cuts and calling out Obama for claiming it was created by Congress...read on
From Gene Sperling to Bob Woodward on Feb. 22, 2013
I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad. I do understand your problems with a couple of our statements in the fall — but feel on the other hand that you focus on a few specific trees that gives a very wrong perception of the forest. But perhaps we will just not see eye to eye here.
But I do truly believe you should rethink your comment about saying saying that Potus asking for revenues is moving the goal post. I know you may not believe this, but as a friend, I think you will regret staking out that claim. The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand bargain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start.
It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)
I agree there are more than one side to our first disagreement, but again think this latter issue is different. Not out to argue and argue on this latter point. Just my sincere advice. Your call obviously.My apologies again for raising my voice on the call with you. Feel bad about that and truly apologize.
From Woodward to Sperling on Feb. 23, 2013
Gene: You do not ever have to apologize to me. You get wound up because you are making your points and you believe them. This is all part of a serious discussion. I for one welcome a little heat; there should more given the importance. I also welcome your personal advice. I am listening. I know you lived all this. My partial advantage is that I talked extensively with all involved. I am traveling and will try to reach you after 3 pm today.
So Woodward tells Sperling that their earlier scuffle is no big deal in his email response and then goes on to tell journalists that he was being threatened in the same email. I have two words that describes Bob in this instance:
However, Digby actually read Sperling's response to Woodward and found some terribly disappointing information about how the White House feels about cutting entitlements.
I don't know that anyone's ever admitted that in public before or that the president was completely, shall we say, honest when he ran for his second term about that specific definition of "a balanced approach". I haven't heard anyone say publicly that the sequester "deal" as far as the White House was concerned was to cut "entitlements" in exchange for new revenues. I wonder how many members of congress were aware of this "deal" when they voted for the sequester? The public certainly wasn't.
I wish I could understand why it is so important to Barack Obama to cut these vital programs before he leaves office. It seems to be his obsession. But there you have it. It's not just in the DNA of the sequester, it seems to be in the DNA of this White House.
Wingnuts like Bill O'Reilly want America to believe that Obama only wants tax hikes to fix the sequester, but in reality that's not the truth at all. I still can't believe that it has only been the insanity of the tea partiers that has kept our safety nets safe from cuts in benefits that the president has offered so far.
One high-profile Republican strategist, who refused to be named in order to avoid inflaming the very segments of the party he wants to silence, said there is a deliberate effort by party leaders to “marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots — there’s a lot of underbrush that has to be cleaned out.”
It's largely meaningless because, while the DC-wing of the Republican Party has always had a fair amount of contempt for the Teabaggers and Snakehandlers -- Lee Atwater used to call them "extra-chromosome" conservatives -- there aren't any serious policy differences between the two groups.
This mostly about the fact that the GOP keeps losing elections, with a few class and culture conflicts thrown in for good measure. But Karl Rove doesn't want to raise taxes on rich people or curb greenhouse gases or make it easier for working people to earn a living wage or regulate guns any more than Glenn Beck does.
I'm not sure exactly what to say about this final presidential race analysis by Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei at the Republico -- er, The Politico. After chiding Republicans for losing control of the Senate primary nominating process and letting the Tea Party ensure they won't take control of the Senate back, they turn to Democrats.
Here is their primary criticism:
If President Barack Obama wins, he will be the popular choice of Hispanics, African-Americans, single women and highly educated urban whites. That’s what the polling has consistently shown in the final days of the campaign. It looks more likely than not that he will lose independents, and it’s possible he will get a lower percentage of white voters than George W. Bush got of Hispanic voters in 2000.
Or to be more specific, Obama’s winning but not with the best votes. I mean really, if you can’t win with a broad cross-section of white people, can you really be said to represent the country? Really.
Brad DeLong invokes the 3/5ths rule: If elected by a majority who is not old white rich men, then it's only 3/5ths of a real majority.
It hasn't escaped me that Allen and VandeHei are older white men, so maybe they're just needing to feel relevant again.
Still, it's a bizarre thing to say, right?
Well, maybe not as bizarre as you might think. Go read this splendid long read by Alex Pareene on The Baffler about The Politico and other Villagers. It's quite an article, but you won't regret spending the time. Here's a taste.
It’s bracing to consider how many successful Web-baiting careers at Politico might be cut short if reporters there ever bothered to read Dreams from My Father. Fortunately, though, there’s little chance that such a reckoning with the truth will ever occur, thanks to the paper’s endlessly excitable business model, which conflates the work of journalism with an amnesiac’s bad acid trip. Much of Politico’s published output seems deliberately engineered to exasperate high-minded liberals who consider journalism an act of public service.
Sunday night, Politico published this article, full of anonymous sources and backstabbing kind of quotes pointing fingers at staffers in the campaign as being responsible for its full-tilt implosion.
All of it is a distraction intended to yank attention away from the fact that the third poll has come out showing President Obama pulling away from Romney and solidifying his lead, particularly in the swing states.
The Romney campaign, eager to snatch news cycles with any news, good or bad, appears to have opted for the "everyone is fighting with everyone else inside the campaign" narrative, with Stuart Stevens being the named staffer appointed to fall upon the pre-appointed sword.
Despite the obvious attempt to distract people from Romney's abysmal performance, there are some basic truths that emerge, like this:
As mishaps have piled up, Stevens has taken the brunt of the blame for an unwieldy campaign structure that, as the joke goes among frustrated Republicans, badly needs a consultant from Bain & Co. to straighten it out.
“You design a campaign to reinforce the guy that you’ve got,” said a longtime Romney friend. “The campaign has utterly failed to switch from a primary mind-set to a general-election mind-set, and did not come up with a compelling, policy-backed argument for credible change.”
To pin recent stumbles on Stevens would be to overlook Romney’s role in all this. As the man atop the enterprise — in effect, the CEO of a $1 billion start-up — Romney ultimately bears responsibility for the decisions he personally oversaw, such as the muffling of running mate Paul Ryan’s strict budget message and his own convention performance.
Sure, they can throw his staff under the bus. But look at what's really happening here. You have a campaign that's imploding because the guy in charge isn't holding up under pressure, and has made some really stupid decisions.
That's all you need to take away from it. Not worth a lot of attention, but that one point is worth reinforcing.
Warning: This Penn and Teller video is not suitable for work!
I don't know about you, but I've had enough of Republican policy architects appearing on the airwaves as if they were dispassionate bystanders. And Frank Luntz is perhaps the worst (see here, here, here and here). He doesn't simply measure public opinion - he molds and shapes it. So I think it's important to contact CBS News and tell them what we think of hiring someone with a history of such rotten, anti-American agendas:
CBS News has reportedly hired Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist and pollster best known for helping Republicans craft often-deceptive messaging to torpedo liberal policies. In his post announcing the move, Politico media reporter Dylan Byers writes that Luntz will "make a number of appearances across the network between now and Election Day." Luntz's hiring comes only a few months after New York Times Magazine contributor Robert Draper reported that Luntz orchestrated a 2009 meeting where prominent Republicans formulated a plan to win back Congress and the White House.
In his book Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives, Draper reported that Luntz "organized a dinner" on Obama's inauguration night featuring a handful of "the Republican Party's most energetic thinkers." The attendees -- which included current vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan -- reportedly emerged from the nearly four hour dinner "almost giddily" after having agreed on "a way forward." According to Draper, the Republican plan involved showing "united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies," with an eventual goal of defeating Obama and taking back the Senate in 2012:
Luntz had organized the dinner - telling the invitees, "You'll have nothing to do that night, and right now we don't matter anyway, so let's all be irrelevant together." He had selected these men because they were among the Republican Party's most energetic thinkers - and because they all got along with Luntz, who could be difficult. Three times during the 2008 election cycle, Sean Hannity had thrown him off the set at Fox Studios. The top Republican in the House, Minority Leader John Boehner, had nurtured a dislike of Luntz for more than a decade. No one had to ask why Boehner wasn't at the Caucus Room that evening.
[...]The dinner lasted nearly four hours. They parted company almost giddily. The Republicans had agreed on a way forward: Go after Geithner. (And indeed Kyl did, the next day: "Would you answer my question rather than dancing around it - please?")
Show united and unyielding opposition to the president's economic policies. (Eight days later, Minority Whip Cantor would hold the House Republicans to a unanimous No against Obama's economic stimulus plan.)
Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats on the airwaves. (The first National Republican Congressional Committee attack ads would run in less than two months.)
Win the spear point of the House in 2010. Jab Obama relentlessly in 2011. Win the White House and the Senate in 2012.
"You will remember this day," Newt Gingrich proclaimed to the others as they said goodbye. "You'll remember this days as the day the seeds of 2012 were sown." [Do Not Ask What Good We Do, pp. xvi-xix]
The inauguration night dinner was also reported in Election 2012: The Battle Begins by Real Clear Politics reporters Tom Bevan and Carl Cannon.Now, less than four years after this meeting, CBS will be inviting Luntz onto their airwaves as an "analyst."