About friggin time Mr. President

Obama decries the obvious hypocrisy of the Tea Party, Sarah Palin, and many voices in the GOP:

“Some of the same folks who have been hollering and saying ‘do something’ are the same folks who, just two or three months ago, were suggesting that government needs to stop doing so much,” Obama said. “Some of the same people who are saying the president needs to show leadership and solve this problem are some of the same folks who, just a few months ago, were saying this guy is trying to engineer a takeover of our society through the federal government that is going to restrict our freedoms.”
- POLITICO, 6.11.2010

The ridiculous meme of anti-incumbent anger

There has been a meme in the media in 2010 that voter anger is going to drive out a lot of incumbents. I know the story is generally focused on November, but, you would think, if voters were truly furious, a lot of congressmen would be losing the primaries.

Rachel Maddow pointed out the myth of this meme tonight, and I think it’s fascinating, another example of how the media is often just an giant echo chamber that fails to own up when their big story is wrong. Even NPR played it up. NPR’s headline last week:

…which, oddly enough, now, within Google, links to a different story now.

From CNN.com tonight:

Rachel didn’t actually give raw numbers. I’ll do that, with the help of Politico.com.

Record of incumbents in Senate primaries thus far: 10-2 (83.3%)

W: Richard Burr (R-NC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Shelby (R-AL), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Thune (R-SD), Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Harry Reid (D-NV)
L: The two includes Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who lost in the Democratic party primary because he had been a Republican for 40 years, and Bob Bennett of Utah, who didn’t actually lose a GOP primary but lost a vote held by party activists at a state convention.

House of Representatives incumbents’ performance: (losers in parentheses)
Oregon: 5-0
Alabama: 4-1 (Griffith, R-5, party-switcher)
Arkansas: 0-0
Iowa: 5-0
California: 50-0
West Virginia: 2-1 (Oliverio, D-1)
North Carolina: 13-0
Illinois: 14-0
Maine: 2-0
Texas: 28-0
Indiana: 9-0
North Carolina: 11-0
Ohio: 18-0
Nebraska: 3-0
Kentucky: 6-0
Pennsylvania: 18-0
Idaho: 2-0
Mississippi: 4-0
New Mexico: 3-0
Montana: 1-0
Nevada: 3-0
New Jersey: 12-0
North Dakota: 1-0
South Carolina: 3-1 (Inglis, R-4, stll has run-off)
South Dakota: 1-0
Virginia: 1-0

Record of incumbents in House primaries thus far: 241-3 (98.8%)

But every media outlet is telling you that voter anger is th story to watch as primaries are held across the country.

UPDATE – Jon Stewart took on this silly narrative tonight, too. He brought up that, in all of the Governor, Senate, and House primaries yesterday in which there were incumbents, 82 out of 84 won. That’s 97.6%.

And then he took aim at the new narrative, that last night was “Ladies’ Night”. I thought Hillary Clinton had put those 18 million cracks in the ceiling so that pundits would no longer refer to the electoral success of women as a marketing tactic to get women liquored up.

N.C. Senate Primary

Someone help me out. June 22 is an important date in North Carolina politics for registered Democrats We have to choose a candidate in a primary runoff between Cal Cunningham and Elaine Marshall. I voted for the third-place finisher Ken Lewis.

Ken Lewis has endorsed Elaine Marshall.



In 2008, I voted for Jim Neal over the eventual-winner Kay Hagan.

Jim Neal has endorsed Cal Cunningham.

I haven’t followed the race too closely. I haven’t gotten beyond the platitudes and the generic warnings.

Who can be the best Senator?

Who’s got the best chance of beating Richard Burr in November?

UPDATE – A Facebook friend with media ties sent me these useful links:
Marshall: http://wunc.org/programs/news/Isaac-Hunters-Tavern/blogaudio/SEN_MARSHALL.mp3/view
Cunningham: http://wunc.org/programs/news/Isaac-Hunters-Tavern/blogaudio/SEN_CUNNINGHAM.mp3/view

Republican hypocrite of the day


The administration, they were hands off. They didn’t do anything. Where were the boats that could have been commandeered by the government to be sent into this region to deal with that oil plume as it was coming up in the water and destroying marine life? Nowhere to be found. Why? The administration was hands off on this policy.
(6/1/2010)

Michelle Bachmann advocates the government taking over public property. This is a tad at odds with her previously-stated positions on government response to crises.

This is what people don’t like: They didn’t like the bail out. I voted against that. People didn’t like the trillion dollars in stimulus spending and I voted against that. People didn’t like the huge government take over of health care and I voted against that also.”
(3/24/2010)

Bachmann advocates against the government having a role in regulating health care insurance and rescuing the crippled economy.

Enough government growth and bureaucracy. By spending hundreds of billions on a failed economic “stimulus” package that has allowed our unemployment rate to rise to 10%.
(5/2/2010)

Bachmann accuses the stimulus package of having failed and of having caused greater unemployment. Perhaps the best-known economic research firms are IHS Global Insight, Macroeconomic Advisers and Moody’s Economy.com. They all estimate that the bill has added 1.6 million to 1.8 million jobs so far and that its ultimate impact will be roughly 2.5 million jobs. The Congressional Budget Office, an independent agency, considers these estimates to be conservative.

Similarly, the unemployment would be up to 1.5 percentage points higher in the absence of the stimulus, according to the non-partisan CBO.

Let’s remember really what this is. This has a lot in common with Italy in the 1930s and they way Italy dealt with economics. It still continues private ownership of business but government is in control.

So government control of the private business, while it’s private ownership, that’s still at the end of the day the federal government virtually having a say over private business. We lose freedoms; we lose economic competitiveness.
(5/13/2010)

American Idiot: Deficit Crusader

(h/t Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish)


But Obama’s the one screwing over our grandchildren.

Sarah Palin says President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget is “immoral” because it increases the national debt, which she called “generational theft.”

Palin told the national “tea party” convention Saturday that America’s national debt, which is held largely by other nations, “makes us less free” and “should tick us off.”

By the way, the largest state debt-to-GDP-ration? Former half-governor Palin’s Alaska.

When the former vice presidential candidate resigned as governor of Alaska in the summer of 2009, she left the state with a 70 percent debt-to-GDP ratio — the highest state debt burden in the United States.

Republican Hypocrite of the Day

And I’m not going for the easy one, who is Rep. Souder, the pro-abstinence, family-values-spewing congressman who just resigned for having an affair with his aide.

I saw this quote from Rep. John Mica of Florida:

I’m not going to point fingers at BP, the private industry, when it’s government’s responsibility to set the standards.

Suddenly, the Republican wants government to get involved in regulating industry? You’re shi**ing me.

I’m awfully curious to learn what Rep. Mica has previously said about the government getting involved in regulating industry.

Let’s see…He derided the healthcare bill, mostly because government is going to play more of a role in ensuring its availability to more people. He was outraged about the government taking over the processing of student loans. He opposes the Federal Reserve having greater regulatory powers over financial institutions. He complains that too much financial regulation is confusing.

To be fair, I don’t know much of anything about Rep. Mica. Tomorrow, I will not care. My quick late-night analysis is probably faulty. But, wow, does it make me furious when I see this hypocrisy.

This week in Antichrist news

Percentages of Republicans who, according to a new Harris Poll, believe:

67% – Obama is a socialist
57% – Obama is a Muslim
45% – Obama was “not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president”
38% – Obama is “doing many of the things that Hitler did”
24% – Obama “may be the Antichrist”

How do we have civilized political discourse in America when a fourth of one of the two major political parties believes that the President might be the Antichrist? Furthermore, why does the President even engage with this political party that is unwilling to debate policy but unapologetic about encouraging this insanity?

I need to find a bubble away from all of this.

Elections matter

I’ll ignore the ugly stuff out there for a minute and savor the fact that the most important legislation in my lifetime has passed. It should be crystal-clear to everyone that the two political parties aren’t quite the same. Elections do matter. If you voted for Obama, and you believe that healthcare should be more of a right than a privilege, you can feel like your vote mattered. And if you’re a Republican, and you believe that government shouldn’t play a role in ensuring access to healthcare, you can be quite confident that your vote counted, too, since every Republican in the House of Representatives voted against the reform bill. Fortunately for Democrats, they have a sizable majority, because they did well in two straight elections. Elections do matter. And Barack Obama, for all of the blame he deserves for ceding the debate for the better part of year, deserves enormous credit for rallying his diverse party to pass a flawed, but monumental piece of legislation.

Health Care Reform: Final Arguments

I could write a lot more about this. I’m so sick of it. Looks like Congress will pass the damn bill tomorrow. Good.

Against:
(Tea Partiers Protest Outside Capitol, 2010.03.20)

Oh, and Civil-rights leader Rep. John Lewis is a n****r.

And Rep. Barney Frank is a f****t.

For:
(President Barack Obama Addresses Democratic Members of Congress, 2010.03.20)

I have the great pleasure of having a really nice library at the White House. And I was tooling through some of the writings of some previous Presidents and I came upon this quote by Abraham Lincoln: “I am not bound to win, but I’m bound to be true. I’m not bound to succeed, but I’m bound to live up to what light I have.”

This debate has been a difficult debate. This process has been a difficult process. And this year has been a difficult year for the American people. When I was sworn in, we were in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression. Eight hundred thousand people per month were losing their jobs. Millions of people were losing their health insurance. And the financial system was on the verge of collapse.

And this body has taken on some of the toughest votes and some of the toughest decisions in the history of Congress. Not because you were bound to win, but because you were bound to be true. Because each and every one of you made a decision that at a moment of such urgency, it was less important to measure what the polls said than to measure what was right.

A year later, we’re in different circumstances. Because of the actions that you’ve taken, the financial system has stabilized. The stock market has stabilized. Businesses are starting to invest again. The economy, instead of contracting, is now growing again. There are signs that people are going to start hiring again. There’s still tremendous hardship all across the country, but there is a sense that we are making progress — because of you.

But even before this crisis, each and every one of us knew that there were millions of people across America who were living their own quiet crises. Maybe because they had a child who had a preexisting condition and no matter how desperate they were, no matter what insurance company they called, they couldn’t get coverage for that child. Maybe it was somebody who had been forced into early retirement, in their 50s not yet eligible for Medicare, and they couldn’t find a job and they couldn’t find health insurance, despite the fact that they had some sort of chronic condition that had to be tended to.
Continue reading

FUGOP


Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting “because people are being paid even though they’re not working.”
Huffington Post / 3.1.2010

This is the Republican Party. This is what most Republicans believe. I disagree. I don’t respectfully disagree. I find the mindset and policies of the GOP to be abhorrent. Thoroughly.

Don’t tell me the parties are the same, controlled by the corporations, etc. The Democratic Party is seriously flawed, but Republicans truly delight in shitting on people who need help.

I’m not sorry for saying this.

I’m off to dialysis now. If I could no longer work because of my kidney failure, Republicans would call me a maggot and a leech for relying on Medicare. F*** them.

Government doesn’t work because Republicans don’t want it to work. They obstruct everything and celebrate when people think Washington is broken. They argue that nothing can be trusted to government, citing how nothing gets done. And then they make sure that nothing gets done. And Americans are dumb enough to fall for it.