Joined: Sep 2009
Click on link to watch videos.
While the four remaining GOP presidential candidates debated once again in Arizona Wednesday night, Jon Stewart took a look at how Republican fear-mongering about Barack Obama in 2008 stacks up to what they're now saying will happen if he gets re-elected in 2012.
As "The Daily Show" proved nightly in 2008, the GOP's use of demonizing, "Socialist Islamic Dictator" rhetoric when discussing then-candidate Obama implied that he was all that stood between America and catastrophe. Now that his first term is almost over, how did all those scary premonitions pan out?
To those who said Obama was a Socialist, Stewart admitted that he did in fact redistribute billions of taxpayer dollars -- but to the banks. Remember when Rep. Steve King said al Qaeda would be "dancing in the streets" if Obama was elected in 2008? Stewart noted that if you replace "dancing" with the dodging of drone missiles, he might have been right.
Or how about when John McCain said gun rights would be at risk "without a doubt" if Obama were elected? Stewart wondered how Obama passing legislation to allow concealed weapons to be carried in parks and on Amtrak trains limits those rights.
"It appears Barack Obama has failed to keep many of the campaign promises that his opponents made for him," Stewart joked.
In part two below, Stewart took at look at what the current GOP candidates have been predicting about Obama's second term, leading him to say, "Y'all have lost your damn minds."
WATCH: Part two
Joined: Sep 2009
President Barack Obama used his speech to the National Governors Association Monday to pitch education in investment — and take an indirect dig at Rick Santorum.
“I have to make a point here: when I speak about higher education, we’re not just talking about a four-year degree,” Obama said in his remarks to the bipartisan group gathered in the State Dining
Stumping in Michigan ahead of Tuesday’s Republican presidential primary there, Santorum over the weekend called Obama “a snob” for trying to get all Americans some level of college education.
Obama has said all Americans should go through at least some post-secondary training, whether for a liberal arts bachelor’s degree or a certificate in an in-demand technical field.
He defended that proposal Monday.
“We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job that now is requiring somebody walking through the door handling a million dollar piece of equipment. And they can’t go in there unless they’ve got some basic training beyond what they received in high school,” Obama told the governors. “We all want American getting those jobs of the future, so we’re going to have to make sure they’re getting the education they need.”
That, Obama said, was why he was pressing the governors to invest in education, rather than making cuts.
Later, White House press secretary Jay Carney took a more direct shot.
"I don't think any parent in America who has a child would think it snobbery to hope for that child the best possible education in the future and that includes college,” Carney said in his daily briefing.
Obama’s plan includes getting states to participate in some of the Obama administration’s signature education policies, including the Race to the Top competition and the No Child Left Behind waiver program, which allows states to apply to be exempted from some of the toughest requirements of the Bush administration’s education law.
So far, 10 states have been granted waivers, and New Mexico is on the path to getting one. Obama said he hopes more states will be added soon.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories...#ixzz1ncru0pYp
Joined: Sep 2009
2012 or Never
Republicans are worried this election could be their last chance to stop history. This is fear talking. But not paranoia.
105 Comments Add Yours
By Jonathan Chait Published Feb 26, 2012 ShareThis
Newt Gingrich supporters listen to his stump speech at a campaign event in South Carolina.
(Photo: Christopher Anderson/Magnum Photos/New York Magazine)
Of the various expressions of right-wing hysteria that have flowered over the past three years—goldbuggery, birtherism, death panels at home and imaginary apology tours by President Obama abroad—perhaps the strain that has taken deepest root within mainstream Republican circles is the terror that the achievements of the Obama administration may be irreversible, and that the time remaining to stop permanent nightfall is dwindling away.
“America is approaching a ‘tipping point’ beyond which the Nation will be unable to change course,” announces the dark, old-timey preamble to Paul Ryan’s “The Roadmap Plan,” a statement of fiscal principles that shaped the budget outline approved last spring by 98 percent of the House Republican caucus. Rick Santorum warns his audiences, “We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority.” Even such a sober figure as Mitt Romney regularly says things like “We are only inches away from no longer being a free economy,” and that this election “could be our last chance.”
The Republican Party is in the grips of many fever dreams. But this is not one of them. To be sure, the apocalyptic ideological analysis—that “freedom” is incompatible with Clinton-era tax rates and Massachusetts-style health care—is pure crazy.
Read the whole article. Click on link at top.
Joined: Sep 2009
The shocking truth about the birthplace of Obama’s policies
Posted by Ezra Klein at 08:34 AM ET, 04/26/2011
Last edited by Havakasha; 02-28-2012 at 10:23 PM.
Joined: Sep 2009
Obama revealed: A moderate Republican
By Ezra Klein, Published: April 25, 2011
America is mired in three wars. The past decade was the hottest on record. Unemployment remains stuck near 9 percent, and there’s a small, albeit real, possibility that the U.S. government will default on its debt. So what’s dominating the news? A reality-television star who can’t persuade anyone that his hair is real is alleging that the president of the United States was born in Kenya.
Perhaps this is just the logical endpoint of two years spent arguing over what Barack Obama is — or isn’t. Muslim. Socialist. Marxist. Anti-colonialist. Racial healer. We’ve obsessed over every answer except the right one: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican of the early 1990s. And the Republican Party he’s facing has abandoned many of its best ideas in its effort to oppose him.
Ezra Klein is the editor of Wonkblog and a columnist at the Washington Post, as well as a contributor to MSNBC and Bloomberg. His work focuses on domestic and economic policymaking, as well as the political system that’s constantly screwing it up. He really likes graphs, and is on Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. E-mail him here.
FacebookE-mailFollow on Twitter
If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal health care; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans have staked out before.
Take health-care reform. The individual mandate was developed by a group of conservative economists in the early ’90s. Mark Pauly, an economist at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, was one of them. “We were concerned about the specter of single-payer insurance,” he told me recently. The conservative Heritage Foundation soon had an individual-mandate plan of its own, and when President Bill Clinton endorsed an employer mandate in his health-care proposal, both major Republican alternatives centered on an individual mandate. By 1995, more than 20 Senate Republicans — including Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Dick Lugar and a few others still in office — had signed one individual mandate bill or another.
Joined: Sep 2009
According to SiriuslyWrong the Conservative wing has not gone extreme to the right in the last 4 years. I beg to differ
il, Richard Cebull, Politics News
U.S. federal judge Richard Cebull. Source: U.S. government.
Montana's chief federal judge admitted on Wednesday that he forwarded an email comparing African-Americans to dogs and implying that President Barack Obama's mother had sex with animals.
Richard Cebull's email, obtained by the Great Falls Tribune, reads: "Normally I don't send or forward a lot of these, but even by my standards, it was a bit touching. I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. Hope it touches your heart like it did mine."
A joke then follows: "A little boy said to his mother; 'Mommy, how come I'm black and you're white?' His mother replied, 'Don't even go there Barack! From what I can remember about that party, you're lucky you don't bark!'"
Cebull forwarded the offensive email from his official court account to six "old buddies," who then forwarded to others.
In an interview with the Tribune, Cebull maintained he did not send the email because it was racist, but because it was 'anti-Obama.'
"The only reason I can explain it to you is I am not a fan of our president, but this goes beyond not being a fan," Cebull said. He agreed the email was racist, but said he personally was not.
"This is a private thing that was, to say the least, very poor judgment on my part," he said.
Joined: Sep 2009
SiriuslyWrong got all bent out of shape over President Obama' s policies on contraception. Amazing what the Republicans
are choosing to focus on when the Economy, Iran etc. are obviously WAY more important.
They refuse to pass an infrastructure and or transportation bill, but they sure know how to take action on contraception. Unbelieveable.
updated 10:18 AM EST, Thu March 1, 2012
NEW: The Senate is expected to vote to set aside the amendment
The measure would allow employers to opt out of some health care coverage
"This is about the First Amendment. It's about religious beliefs," Blunt says
The amendment was originally placed on a transportation bill
Washington (CNN) -- The Senate is set to vote Thursday on a controversial amendment pushed by Senate Republicans that would allow employers to opt out of health care coverage they disagree with on moral grounds.
The so-called "conscience" amendment, sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, is the Senate Republicans' response to the simmering controversy over a recent Obama administration decision to mandate the kind of health care coverage provided by religious employers.
"This bill would just simply say that those health care providers don't have to follow that mandate if it violates their faith principles," stated an early February press release from Blunt. "This is about the First Amendment. It's about religious beliefs. It's not about any one issue."
The Senate is expected to vote to set aside the amendment.
While Blunt's amendment takes a broad approach, the main issue involves whether religious employers should have to include coverage for contraception in health plans offered to employees at affiliated institutions, such as hospitals.
Earlier this month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius issued a directive that would have required all employers, including religious organizations, to include such coverage in health insurance offered to their employees. While churches were exempt, the mandate covered religious affiliated institutions.
Representatives from many faiths opposed the decision, calling it a violation of their religious conscience.
In response to the uproar, the White House backed off the directive and instead said that religious employers could opt out of offering coverage for birth control, but insurance companies would have to offer such coverage separately and at no charge.
Some critics say the White House's changed position does not go far enough.
Blunt's amendment states the president's health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, imposes requirements that infringe on the rights of conscience of insurers and plan sponsors. While the law exempts some religious groups, it does not allow all those with religious or moral objections to decline providing coverage, the amendment says.
Part of the uproar surrounded universities and hospitals affiliated with religions, which were not given the same exemptions as churches and other religious institutions.
The amendment would establish that an entity refusing coverage on religious or moral grounds is not in violation of the law.
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Obama: The most polarizing president. Ever.
Posted by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at 06:30 AM ET, 01/30/2012
President Obama ran — and won — in 2008 on the idea of uniting the country. But each of his first three years in office has marked historic highs in political polarization, with Democrats largely approving of him and Republicans deeply disapproving.
For 2011, Obama’s third year in office, an average of 80 percent of Democrats approved of the job he was doing in Gallup tracking polls, as compared to 12 percent of Republicans who felt the same way. That’s a 68-point partisan gap, the highest for any president’s third year in office — ever. (The previous high was George W. Bush in 2007, when he had a 59 percent difference in job approval ratings.)
In 2010, the partisan gap between how Obama was viewed by Democrats versus Republicans stood at 68 percent; in 2009, it was 65 percent. Both were the highest marks ever for a president’s second and first years in office, respectively.
What do those numbers tell us? Put simply: that the country is hardening along more and more strict partisan lines.
While it’s easy to look at the numbers cited above and conclude that Obama has failed at his mission of bringing the country together, a deeper dig into the numbers in the Gallup poll suggests that the idea of erasing the partisan gap is simply impossible, as political polarization is rising rapidly.
Out of the ten most partisan years in terms of presidential job approval in Gallup data, seven — yes, seven — have come since 2004. Bush had a run between 2004 and 2007 in which the partisan disparity of his job approval was at 70 points or higher.
“Obama’s ratings have been consistently among the most polarized for a president in the last 60 years,” concludes Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones in a memo summing up the results. “That may not be a reflection on Obama himself as much as on the current political environment in the United States, because Obama’s immediate predecessor, Bush, had similarly polarized ratings, particularly in the latter stages of his presidency after the rally in support from the 9/11 terror attacks faded.”
Our guess is that Jones’ latter hypothesis is the right one — that we are simply living in an era in which Democrats dislike a Republican president (and Republicans dislike a Democratic one) even before the commander in chief has taken a single official action.
The realization of that hyper-partisan reality has been slow in coming for Obama. But in recent months, he seems to have turned a rhetorical corner — taking the fight to Republicans (and Republicans in Congress, particularly) and all but daring them to call his bluff. (now that's effective lol - talk smack on the leaders of our country....)
Democrats will point out that Republicans in Congress have played a significant part in the polarization; the congressional GOP has stood resolutely against almost all of Obama’s top priorities (like Solyndra lol). And Obama’s still-high popularity among the Democratic base also exacerbates the gap.
For believers in bipartisanship, the next nine months are going to be tough sledding, as the already-gaping partisan divide between the two parties will only grow as the 2012 election draws nearer. And, if the last decade of Gallup numbers are any indication, there’s little turnaround in sight.
This gets you to the vote:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...kBbQ_blog.html
Joined: Jan 2009
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Who’s Polarizing America?
By Stanley Kurtz
February 18, 2011 9:09 A.M
American politics just keeps getting more polarized. Be assured that Obama wants it that way. I argue in Radical-in-Chief that Obama’s long-term hope is to divide America along class lines (roughly speaking, tax payers versus tax beneficiaries). Obama’s attack on the Supreme Court at his 2010 State of the Union address, his offensive against the Chamber of Commerce, his exhortation to Hispanics to punish their enemies, and several similar moves were all efforts to jump-start a populist movement of the left. Like his socialist organizing mentors, Obama believes that a country polarized along class lines will eventually realign American politics sharply to the left. Yet the entire strategy is based on the need for an activated, populist movement of the left. So far, Obama has failed to create such a movement. His expensive economic agenda has provoked a populist counter-movement of the right instead: Obama’s nightmare.
Now, however, Obama may belatedly be getting his wish. The very success of the Tea Party is calling forth an opposing movement of the left. Obama’s exhortations may have failed to polarize the country along class lines, but his policies have finally provoked the long-sought battle. The once-dormant legions of Obama’s group, Organizing for America, have now been activated. This is the moment they were created for.
In Radical-in-Chief, I describe the “inside/outside” or “good cop/bad cop” strategy favored by Obama and his organizing mentors. The idea is that a seemingly moderate “good cop” politician works on the inside of government, while coordinating his moves with nasty Alinskyite “bad cops” on the outside. Reports that Obama’s own organizers helped put together the Madison protests fit the model. That coordination is necessary to achieve Obama’s real goal: kicking off a national grassroots movement of the left that he can quietly manage, while keeping his distance when necessary.
Obama’s good-cop role allows him the flexibility to occasionally criticize protest tactics that cross the line. Yet the reality is that our presidential good cop and his bad cop buddies are in this together. Intimidating protests at the homes of enemy politicians are par for the course with Alinskyites (and, yes, Alinskyites think of their targets as “enemies”). Obama understands all this, and you can be sure that he’s on board with the protests held at the homes of Wisconsin Republican legislators, whether he disowns them or not.
As I show in Radical-in-Chief, Obama began his organizing career planning and participating in just this sort of intimidating protest (a fact largely hidden in Dreams from My Father). As Obama moved into politics, he switched to the good cop role and funneled foundation money to his Alinskyite pals, while using their hardball protests to support his legislative agenda. Meanwhile Obama perfected his calm, post-partisan persona. It’s all a game developed by the president’s Alinskyite (and socialist) organizing mentors.
We are destined for still more polarization. Neither side can pull back, because the financial crunch is going to have to be resolved one way or another. We either scale back government and the power of public employee unions, or we move toward a structurally higher tax burden and a permanently enlarged welfare state. The very nature of the American system is now at stake. The emerging populist movements on both the right and left recognize this, and so cannot turn back from further confrontation.
Conservatives may win this battle, but they need to understand that the possibility of failure is real. As I’ve argued, Obama’s long-term strategy of class-based polarization and realignment can succeed. That is why he’s been willing to take tremendous short-term political risks. From Obama’s point of view, Wisconsin means that the risks have been worth it. With an activated movement of the left now ready to oppose the Tea Party, the permanent transformation of the country Obama has been after from the start is in prospect.
The best way to check Obama’s ambitions is to identify and expose his broader strategy . At any rate, as the country divides into opposing movements, most of us could soon be forced to choose up sides. Obama may succeed in putting some distance between his good-cop persona and his bad-cop friends. Yet the more likely outcome is that his radical intentions and alliances will be clarified over time. It’s happening now in Wisconsin. Years of widening political polarization may have been mere a dress rehearsal for what we’re about to experience. That is what our Organizer-in-Chief has been planning all along.
Joined: Sep 2009
Obama: The most polarizing moderate ever
Posted by Ezra Klein at 10:04 AM ET, 02/07/2012
In 2011, Gallup’s polling showed that President Obama averaged an 80 percent approval rating among Democrats and 12 percent among Republicans, making his third year in office one of the most polarizing on record. For a candidate whose campaign promised an era of post-partisan unity, it must be a disappointing reality check.
But on Friday, political scientist Keith Poole released a study that probably cheered the White House. According to Poole’s highly respected classification system, Obama is the most moderate Democratic president since World War II. Which raises a question: How can Obama simultaneously be one of the most divisive and most moderate presidents of the past century?
(Keith Poole, VoteView.com)
Poole’s study is based on a system for sorting politicians known as “DW-Nominate.” But DW-Nominate doesn’t directly measure ideology. Instead, it measures coalitions. It’s got pretty much every roll-call vote taken between 1789 and December 2011. It looks to see who votes together and how often. The assumption is that the most ideological members of both parties will do the least crossover voting. And it works. Its results line up with both common sense and alternative ways of measuring ideology, like the scorecard kept by the American Conservative Union.
Over the past century, DW-Nominate has revealed a steady increase in congressional polarization. Democrats have moved to the left, while Republicans have moved to the right. But Republicans have moved a lot farther than Democrats.
Last edited by Havakasha; 03-02-2012 at 12:27 AM.