Rick “Frothy” Santorum – you fucking hypocrite. You say President Obama is “snob” because he wants every young person to have access to at least one year of higher education. You, frothty, who hold an an M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and a law degree degree from the Dickinson School of Law. And, of course, your undergraduate degree from Penn State. While we’ve all been wondering what happened to you to make you such a hateful, spiteful, vindictive piece of shit, I think that Penn State might have something to do with it.
Did you perhaps spend some time in the showers with Jerry Sandusky? Just sayin’…
Then we have good ole’ Mittens, who loves Michigan because the trees are just the right height. Mitt, whose wife Ann drives two Cadillacs. Cuz one just isn’t enough.. you’ve got to have one at each home.
Mitt says people like me “think there’s something wrong with being successful.” No, Mitt, that’s not the problem. Your problem is that you have no idea how the average person in this country struggles to get by each and every day. And you’re a fucking liar to boot.
Mitt says he thinks the auto industry bail out was wrong. We should’ve let the big three car makers go bankrupt. But did you know that Romney’s two biggest billionaire backer made billions more on the audio bail out? Of course you didn’t, until now.
Greg Palast to the rescue! The author of Vulture’s Picnic has a scathing new piece out – “Romney’s Auto Bail-Out Billionaires” – that shows how Mitt’s money men made out like the bandits they are – off of the auto industry bailout that their frontman continues to decry. Urgh!
If you think we’re not being lied to about anything and everything by these liars and hypocrites, then check out wikileaks today, as they will begin publishing 5.5 million emails from a “global intelligence” company, Stratfor. I was alerted to it when I received this press release from the always-brilliant Yes Men last night. Read it, and let your blood continue to boil.
Really, we could spend the entire time talking about Rick Santorum. He gives us seemingly an unending amount of discussion points in his attempt to capitalize on his lead in Michigan. I’m not even going to touch his whining that Romney and Paul are secretly ganging up on him, and just deal with the things he say that show what an out-of-touch extremist Santorum himself is.
But before we spend time on Mr “Please don’t Google me”, let’s look at some other talkers.
One of the things I find myself constantly thinking about as this election season drags on is how we look to the rest of the world. Zbigniew Brzezinski—who is no stranger to extremists in politics, having consulted with almost every president since Eisenhower—had one word for our current crop of Republican presidential wannabes: embarrassing.
Mitt Romney, who is a one-man gaffe machine, sounds almost like he’s given up the ghost on the race. In a rare appearance on the Sunday shows (albeit on Fox News), he told Chris Wallace Americans should “vote for the other guy” if they couldn’t relate to him.
And in one of those Earth-spinning-off-its-axis moments, I found myself agreeing with George Will (I’m sure I’ll be punished for it somehow) when he tagged Allen West’s “economic nonsense” for the tea party favorite to blame President Barack Obama for the high cost of putting gas in his Hummer.
Even still, it is Rick Santorum that takes the cake for outrageousness on Sunday. This man is crazy, flat out crazy. He told George Stephanopoulos that he wanted to “throw up” at JFK’s secularism when the first and only Catholic president re-affirmed the separation of Church and State.
He also told Stephanopoulos that Obama was an “elitist snob” for encouraging young people to go to college. He personally knows the shame of being a conservative in college and claims he was “docked” for being a Republican in college. Of course, that’s not the way others remember it, but hey, being a Republican means being able to pull facts from your posterior to suit.
By the way, as he told David Gregory, the reason that Obama wanted so many young people in college is because he wants them “indoctrinated” to the liberal agenda (which as you know, appears on the syllabi of almost every university course and makes up a large portion of your grade).
And because he can’t leave well enough alone, Rick Santorum proves that being Republican means never having to say you’re sorry. He told David Gregory that Obama’s apology for Koran burnings showed “real weakness.”
And finally, I played a bit of this at the top of the show… In case you missed those Oscar-nominated films, here’s the
good bad parts of all of them…
One year ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (or as the Republicans call it “the Job-Killing Health Care Bill) into law. Unfortunately, a year later, the most helpful aspects of the law have yet to take effect.
In fact, it’ll be another three years before the exchange – which would allow us all, regardless of pre-existing condition, to buy insurance – is up and running.
This dubious anniversary comes as I’m still reeling from a tooth extraction and its costs, both physically and financially.
As someone with a few of those pesky pre-existing conditions, I pay an inconceivable amount for insurance that doesn’t cover my current ills, and has a $2000 deductible before it pays out one cent. A “high-risk pool” has been set up for those of us with these pre-existing conditions (btw, is there anyone over 50 who doesn’t have one? I didn’t think so…), but unfortunately, you have to be uninsured for six months before you’re eligible. Some of us are too responsible to consider going without insurance for six months, so we pay out the ass, and are shit out of luck.
To mark the anniversary, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is tweeting “a benefit every hour” today. Oh goodie. I can’t wait to hear how it’s working out for me today. Many of us can’t really wait another three years to get help!
I have to leave the show a few minutes early today – ironically enough – to go to a doctor’s appointment. So, during the last half-hour of the show, we’ll flash back to one year ago today, when then-Congressman Alan Grayson called in to talk about the new law.
But we started today’s show with some current news. Greg Mitchell of The Nation has been live-blogging wikileaks for 116 days now. Somewhere in there, he’s also had time to pen a few books! His newest, Bradley Manning: Truth & Consequences, was released yesterday as an e-book. The print version will be very soon.
I spoke with attorney Ed Blizzard, a trial lawyer talking the company who manufactured and kept selling defective hip replacements – even after they knew they were defective and were effectively poisoning recipients! Should you be walking around with one of these DePuy hips, you might want to contact Ed Blizzard at 713-844-3750 or though www.blizzardlaw.com.
And finally, we need more Congressmen like Dennis Kucinich. I reached out to him to talk about our involvement in Libya, and his intention to introduce legislation to defund the operation. Dennis Kucinich is always worth listening to!
Kudos to the good people of Wisconsin for taking to the streets and standing up to their dictatorial new governor who wants to strip collective bargaining rights from state workers. John Nichols is the Washington correspondent for The Nation, though he lives in Wisconsin. He wrote about what’s happening there, and joined us for a few minutes this morning to tell us about it too.
As democracy is spreading virally thought the middle east, I’m hoping that people in the US will take notice of what’s happening in Wisconsin and follow their lead. To be continued…
And although I’m not a football fan, I did cheer for the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl because they’re publicly owned and non-profit. (Can you say Socialism?) And they released this statement today, standing in solidarity with the public sector union employees:
“We know that it is teamwork on and off the field that makes the Packers and Wisconsin great. As a publicly owned team we wouldn’t have been able to win the Super Bowl without the support of our fans.
“It is the same dedication of our public workers every day that makes Wisconsin run. They are the teachers, nurses and child care workers who take care of us and our families. But now in an unprecedented political attack Governor Walker is trying to take away their right to have a voice and bargain at work.
“The right to negotiate wages and benefits is a fundamental underpinning of our middle class. When workers join together it serves as a check on corporate power and helps ALL workers by raising community standards. Wisconsin’s long standing tradition of allowing public sector workers to have a voice on the job has worked for the state since the 1930s. It has created greater consistency in the relationship between labor and management and a shared approach to public work.
“These public workers are Wisconsin’s champions every single day and we urge the Governor and the State Legislature to not take away their rights.”
And before we leave Wisconsin, former Senator Russ Feingold launched Progressives United! From his email announcing the new organization:
Today I am proud to announce that progressives — demanding change and demanding action — have come together to help me launch a new group: Progressives United.
Together we will empower Americans to fight back against corporate influence and corruption in Washington, D.C., and demand democratic reforms to our election system. We will support candidates who will work for the people, not the corporations. We will call out the media when they hide from the real story.
And we will do it all united.
Now let’s get organized and get moving!
My friend Brad Friedman has been targeted by the right wing smear machine, but the machine is bigger and badder than you ever imagined. He joined me in the second hour to try to make sense of the madness. Read all about it at BradBlog.com.
And it is sheer madness…
As for the rest of the craziness in today’s world, Speaker John Boehner says “So be it” to the prospect of a million jobs lost, and lies about how many federal jobs were created by the Obama administration in the past two years; and the war against women continues as South Dakota moves to legalize killing abortion doctors.
And sorry for the bad link in yesterday’s post to the video of Glenn Beck with an audio “fuck you” to Mika Brzezinski. Click here to find it…
Who will your Congressional representatives will be sitting with tonight? Methinks that more attention will be focused on who is sitting with whom than what President Obama is saying as he delivers his State of the Union address tonight. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing…
Although I don’t expect any great revelations from our president, I am heartened to learn that he will not endorse the idea of raising the age for Social Security or making cuts to Medicare, as his “deficit commission” recommended. We can expect lots of moving forward (lean forward?) talk. Perhaps those are the words we can use for tonight’s drinking game: forward, innovation… or maybe jobs?
One phrase I don’t expect to hear – but would actually go out of my way to praise him if he uttered – is “99ers”. This group of down-on-their-luck people have been ignored by this president and the Congress, and they should be ashamed of themselves.
In fact, we’ll hear the Republican response from Paul Ryan, and the tea baggers retort from Michele Bachmann, both of whom would probably like to put all the 99ers into an internment camp and forget about them. In their “opposite world” they’re fine with cutting the taxes on the very wealthy, and putting all of the burden on the rest of us who are barely squeaking by.
Today on the show, I’ll be joined by a 99er: Rik Converse lost his job three years ago January 31. He exhausted his 99 weeks of benefits last March! He’s taken to the road in a Studs Terkel kind of way, and will talk to people about the economic situation – one state per week – sharing their stories. He began last week in Nevada, is in Utah this week, and moves on to Arizona next week. Should be an interesting journey.
Speaking of those internment camps… We have a very controversial political prisoner who, according to many accounts, is being tortured at Quantico. Bradley Manning has not had even one day in court, yet the conditions under which he is being held are atrocious. Jane Hamser of Firedoglake took David House, the one friend Manning seems to have left, to visit him. The two were detained in an orchestrated effort to keep Manning from having a visitor. FDL’s Michael Whitney will be with us this morning to bring us the latest on what’s happening there.
Last night was the first weeknight in the post-Keith Olbermann era on MSNBC. Did you watch as all the hosts paid tribute? We’ll discuss that story and the others you might have missed in my weekly segment with The Political Carnival‘s Gotta Laff. Among the stories we’ll talk about:
Today begins the 112th Congress… John Boehner will usher in a new era as Speaker Weeper of the House. It should be fun to hear him say this part of his prepared speech
“The American people have humbled us. They have refreshed our memories as to just how temporary the privilege to serve is. They have reminded us that everything here is on loan from them. That includes this gavel, which I accept cheerfully and gratefully, knowing I am but its caretaker.”
Shall we take bets on whether or not he’ll be crying when he says “cheerfully?”
I’m afraid we’re in for a really rough two years. But we’ll keep speaking truth to power!
Much like my first guest this morning. Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of Code Pink. She wrote a year-end piece for Alternet which is perfect reading on a day like today: “15 Good Things to Celebrate in a Bad Year.” She gave us the heads up on what Code Pink will be up to in 2011, and also shared the details of her recent conversation with Attorney General Eric Holder regarding wikileaks.
On the heels of another assassination of a government official in Pakistan, I reached out to Pakistani journalist Kaswar Klasra in Islamabad.
In the second hour of today’s show, I spoke with Wendell Potter about his new book, Deadly Spin: An insurance company insider speaks out on how corporate PR is killing health care and deceiving Americans
As you know by now, I’m filling in for Randi Rhodes for these last two weeks of the year. Yesterday, we listened back to some of the news from January, as we started on our journey through the past year in the rear view mirror… Today we’ll venture back through February and March.
Once again, we’ll be joined by Tim Karr of FreePress.net and SaveTheInternet.com, who was at today’s FCC hearing and vote on their new “net neutrality” regulations. I put that in quotes because, unfortunately, it’s fake net neutrality. The Washington Post has this wrap-up of today’s meeting here.
Tim will fill us in on what happened today, and also tell us about a little-heralded bill passed by the Senate last week dealing with new bandwidth opening for community based low power FM stations.
Today also brought us the results of the 2010 Census, and what those numbers mean for the make-up of the US House of Representatives. FloriDUH, where I live, gains two seats… but Ohio loses two. Aaron Blake of the Washington Post will join us to give us the good, the bad and the ugly!
Of course, no discussion of the year 2010 would be complete without wikileaks. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Glenn Greenwald of Salon.com, with whom I agree on this issue. We’ll discuss the questions he raises in today’s piece, “The NYT spills key military secrets on its front page,” including ‘why are those so anxious to hang Assange for treason not out to prosecute the New York Times as well?” and more!
Talk to you in a bit… radio or not!
It’s hard to believe we’re coming up on the end of 2010. The older we get, the shorter the years… or so it seems.
2010 was a year for the history books. This was a year of political frustration, economic distress and ecological disaster. We witnessed the rise of the Tea Party, and division among the Democrats.
The first big shot against (small d) democracy came on January 21, when the Supreme Court upended 100 years of law to give corporations the right to buy elections. To add insult to injury, Air America radio (my employer at the time) ceased operations on that very same day.
2010 gave us the biggest environmental disaster in US history, thanks to BP. As if designed to rub salt (or oil) in the wound, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and started millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico on Earth Day!
Wikileaks became widely known – and either lionized or vilified, depending who’s doing the pontificating, all starting with the release of the video known as “collateral murder,” and escalating with hundreds of thousands of documents, giving a new meaning to the word “dump.”
The year is ending with a mixed-bag of news. After taking a “shellacking” in the midterms, President Obama cut a deal with Republican leaders on tax cuts, unemployment insurance extension, and stimulus, angering many in his own party!
The Senate, just this weekend, killed the DREAM Act, but finally repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
That’s just scratching the surface on the year that I’ll be happy to put in the rear view mirror.
Over the next two weeks, we’ll embark on an audio journey back through the year in news, both on The Randi Rhodes Show, which I’ll be guest-hosting, and on my show at RadioOrNot.com.
RADIO OR NOT
When Air America filed Chapter 7 and ceased broadcast operations on January 21, I decided to keep my show going online, giving even more meaning to the name of my site – Radio or Not. After a few months, I moved to my current time – 10-noon ET, Monday through Thursday, streaming live at RadioOrNot.com.
I’m thrilled with the growth we’ve experienced in the past 11 months, and truly appreciate your support.
I plan to continue moving forward with new projects in the coming year.
Hopefully Net Neutrality will become a reality, allowing my show and others like it to continue speaking truth to power in the last bastion of free speech.
I can’t let this year come to an end without thanking Randi. She invited me to guest host her show the first time on my 50th birthday – Nov 4, 2009 – and has invited me back many times since. (We certainly can’t forget 2010′s Snowpocalypse, can we?) I can’t thank Randi Rhodes enough for the opportunity!
Over the next two weeks, our guests will weigh in on the progress made (or lack thereof) in their areas of expertise. I’ll be joined by Senator Bernie Sanders, Salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald, Congressman Raul Grijalva, The Nation’s John Nichols, AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka, and many others.
NEW YEARS WISHES
While many Americans are enjoying holiday-time vacations, there are some, like me, who are truly thankful to be doing the fill-in thing and work!
My wishes for 2011:
That I’m proven wrong about this year-end tax cut deal!
I wish for jobs, jobs and more jobs for everyone who’s been fired, laid off, downsized and unable to find work!
That the Senate takes action on the much-abused filibuster rule to insure that majority does indeed rule.
That no more blood is shed and no more money spent on these endless wars, and that our young men and women overseas are finally allowed to come home.
That Republicans find their compassion genes and begin caring about the less fortunate among us instead of just the wealthiest of their donors.
Happy Chrismakwanzaakuh and a my best wishes for a very happy and healthy new year.
I’ll talk to you this week and next on The Randi Rhodes Show and my show too… Radio or Not!
It’s what I try to do on my show every day. But in real life, do we truly take action?
I understand, life gets in the way. Working -sometimes 2 or 3 jobs- to get enough money to feed our kids and pay the rent – or mortgage, if we haven’t yet lost our homes. Taking care of the kids, the car, the house, the dogs… then we’re supposed to get active too?
Of course, there’s the money issue. There are always great actions going on in Washington DC that we’d love to attend… if it didn’t cost money that we don’t have to get there.
I get the excuses. I make them myself. But there are so many other ways to get involved. Today, I’ll talk to a few people who walk the talk. They may just give you a few ideas.
Did you even know that the United Nations just wrapped up the COP16- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Cancun, Mexico? Probably not, as climate change doesn’t get much play in the US mainstream media… unless the story is about Rush Limbaugh claiming that there is no climate change cuz it’s cold in Florida. (Huh?)
My first guest this morning is Maggie Zhou, an organizer of Climate SOS, a US national network of environmental, social justice and other grassroots organizations fighting for strong climate legislation, and opposing false solutions and market fundamentalism. In case you’re thinking that Maggie is just the type of liberal activist that Limbaugh rails on, know that she comes with serious credentials to be in this fight.
Maggie Zhou received her PhD in genetics/molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also worked as a computational biologist, a.k.a. bioinformaticist to study genes, proteins and molecular pathways. More recently her concern about the grave threats from global warming and environmental degradation has turned her into a full time, volunteer climate activist and amateur climate scientist.
We’ll find out what went on in Cancun, and why Maggie was kicked out!
Guest number two is Brett Solomon, former executive director and now board member of GetUp!, an Australian action group. Solomon is in Washington DC to join in an action tomorrow along with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, former CIA operative Ray McGovern,and president of Veterans for Peace Mike Ferner, in calling for President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to resist the tide of hateful rhetoric and to ensure that Assange’s civil rights are protected.
GetUp! is leading a campaign that will run full-page ads in the The New York Times and The Washington Times on Thursday. Over 90,000 Australians have signed onto a petition asking for fairness from the US government in its treatment of the WikiLeaks founder.
Guest number three is someone you’ll definitely want to hear! Darcy Burner is the executive director of Progressive Congress and the Progressive Congress Action Fund. As such, she is responsible for strategy and management of the organizations. She’s also a board member of Netroots Nation, and will be speaking with us this morning from San Francisco, where she’s attending a board meeting.
Today is the day to get involved… however you can, for what ever cause you find the most important.
A few other items before I call it a day… Sad news that Lt. Dan Choi has been hospitalized for what he calls a “breakdown.” Dan’s statement and caring commentary here, courtesy of Pam’s House Blend.
Glenn Greenwald writes of “The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s confinement” on Salon.com today. This guy has not even been tried yet. What ever happened to the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, and since when did we treat prisoners like this? (You don’t have to answer that second one…)
And finally, the idiot who will become my Congressman on January 5, Allen West, says we should censor the media so wikileaks documents can’t be published!
Now he’s backtracking, saying that he said “censure,” not “censor!” Listen for yourself.
I’ll be off tomorrow… and Monday I begin guest hosting the Randi Rhodes Show for the last two weeks of the year. We’ll look back on the year 2010 and forward to 2011 with leaders from different fields, discussing what went on this year, and what we can look forward to – or fight against – in 2011.
Some of the guests already scheduled are Glenn Greenwald on justice, Media Matters newest employee Angelo Carusone (aka @StopBeck) on their campaign to Drop Fox, The Nation’s John Nichols on progressive progress, Congressman and co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Raul Grijalva, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka (what ever happened to the Employee Free Choice Act?), Savetheinternet.com’s Tim Karr on Net Neutrality…. and lots more.
Plus my year in review with audio clips (I’ve got to find a better name for that! – any suggestions?
I’ll be doing my regular show too… starting Tuesday morning of next week… Talk to you then, Radio or Not!
Richard Holbrooke died yesterday. Its amazing to me how, upon a persons death, people are afraid to speak truthfully.
Although Holbrooke did some good things (anyone who tries to work through diplomatic channels can’t be all bad!), he was also one of the architects of the Vietnam War, and authored some of the Pentagon Papers, showing he knew full-well that that war was a no-win situation.
Holbrooke is being lionized in the media today, but not by all. All one has to do is follow Jeremy Scahill’s twitter feed. He’s been speaking out about the man he’s covered for years, and taking a lot of flack for tweets like
@jeremyscahill Holbrooke backed Indonesian genocide in East Timor, killing of journos in Serbia and supported 2003 Iraq invasion.
And then, after being attacked by others:
@jeremyscahill: Sorry, I forgot. When powerful US officials die, we are not supposed to be honest about their role in killing people.
Glenn Greenwald pointed out what was reported to be Holbrooke’s last words… I hope some in Washington take heed:
Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, died yesterday after undergoing surgery for a torn aorta. Holbrooke’s record as a government official is long, complex and mixed on many levels, but — based on the last line of his long Washington Post obituary — I just want to flag what his “last words” were according to his family members, which he uttered as he was being sedated for surgery: ”You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”
Ironically, Holbrooke was the author of one of the volumes of the Pentagon Papers — which revealed that government officials knew of the futility of the Vietnam War at the same time they were falsely assuring the public they could win — and Afghanistan seems to be no different. As official Washington rushes forward to lavish praise on Holbrooke’s wisdom and service, undoubtedly they will studiously avoid acknowledging his final insight.
Today, another man who is considered a saint by some and evil incarnate by others is also in the spotlight. A bond hearing for Julian Assange is taking place right now.
The parallels being drawn between Assange and Daniel Ellsberg, who released the afore-mentioned Pentagon Papers, cannot be ignored. And Daniel Ellsberg is among the many, myself included, who believe Assange is a hero.
We’re seeing a defense of Assange and wikileaks like nothing we’ve seen before, and it’s coming from an anonymous group of people who’ve likely never met in person. Under the loosely organized banner of “Operation Payback,” these net-savvy avengers of freedom of speech have launched a cyber war on the organizations who’ve attempted to stop the flow of information and support.
Today on the show, I’ll speak with one of the cyber activists who shall remain anonymous.
In the wake of a federal judge in Virginia ruling yesterday that the individual mandate part of the health care legislation is unconstitutional, I’ll speak with Donna Smith, co-chair of PDA’s Healthcare not Warfare campaign to get her take on it.
And Gotta Laff from The Political Carnival will join me to dish on the news. We’ll talk about some of these stories:
A few more tidbits…. I read this piece on the show today, “An open letter to food stamp & unemployment recipients.”
The 10 Funniest, Strangest Stories of the Year, courtesy of Alternet.
In September of 2009 as the contentious “town hall meetings” over health care reform had dominated the news for a month, when violent rhetoric was spewing from right wingers, Nancy Pelosi recounted what happened in her hometown of San Francisco as a result of incendiary talk… and she choked up:
The criticism from the right came fast. “It appears the job of governing is too much for Nancy Pelosi, who may be finally coming apart at the seams,” is just one of many similar statements that shows up in a quick Google search.
And remember what crying did to Ed Muskie’s career? Apparently the Republicans don’t… nor do the Democrats. If an incoming Democratic Speaker had this emotional lack of control, do you think the Republicans would just shrug it off? Not a chance!
Somehow, I don’t think we’ll hear the same criticism of incoming Speaker John Boehner, who apparently has no control over his frequent crying jags, as shown last night on 60 Minutes.
Yes, we have a big Morning Boehner coming up today on the show!
Of course, we can’t do like the Sunday talking head shows did yesterday and ignore Bernie Sanders brilliant and wonderful #Filibernie that took place on the floor of the Senate on Friday, nor would we want to. But I’m not surprised. I am saddened that the mainstream media is so controlled by big money corporate interests that it won’t recognize the one elected official who’s standing strong for the working class and less fortunate among us.
Here’s how Bernie started his 8.5 hours of magnificence:
And click here for a round-up of some of the best moments from our fantastic Friday with Bernie.
We’ll talk about that too today, on a jam-packed show!
My friend Amy Simon gave us a bit of history about women’s role in our nation’s history. She calls herself a Cultural HerStorian. She wrote and performs a one-woman show called “She’s History” … and is visiting from LA, so she joined me in the studio this morning.
And, as she does every Monday morning, Nicole Belle of Crooks and Liars joined me to dissect the Sunday talking head shows in a segment we call “Fools on the Hill.” Here’s what she sent over this morning:
The Obama/GOP tax cut extension deal was THE topic of discussion on the Sunday shows. But did a single show mention Bernie Sanders’ incredible 8 hour “filibuster”? No way, because to acknowledge that would be to legitimize the progressive problems with this deal and almost to a one, the shows took pains to paint liberals as unyielding, unreasonable fringe players.
David Axelrod appeared on This Week to sell the tax plan. (it’s a long clip, but I’m not sure what the best part would be) Axelrod fearmongers that if nothing is done, we’re looking at a double dip recession. I have to admit to being completely flummoxed by the optics of the White House’s strategy entirely. Axelrod is basically saying that they know this won’t work long term, but that it needs to work in the short term to get people back to work. I simply do not understand why the President would agree to extend this for two years to basically kick this can down to the next election. Is that the right time to have a double dip recession?
Fareed Zakaria said what we’ve all known: President Obama should have gotten a better deal. I don’t think there’s really anyone with a shred of honesty—including the President himself—who can’t admit that. However, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think part of the reason the left has been so outraged has not been the particulars of the plan, but in the strategy the WH employed. If Obama had not entered into the negotiation already showing his cards and already open to giving in, if he had included Democratic leadership, if he had not immediately followed the meeting with a defensive press conference smacking down anyone who had a problem with the deal and instead came out and said, “We fought hard. The Republican leadership unfortunately seem to think that the very wealthy of this country are more important than the 98% of Americans I’m trying to help through this most difficult economic time and are willing to hold your prosperity hostage to the interests of their big money donors but I’ve gotten them to concede extending the tax rates for the middle class, and ….” and sought the support of his party, then we would be much more inclined to cut him some slack. Again, the optics of how the WH has handled this (including calling in Bill Clinton to sell the program and Obama bugging out of the press conference to attend some function with the First Lady) are just inexplicable to me.
But that was the strategy the WH chose, and so naturally, there’s a lot of anger out there on the left. People are now openly starting to talk about primarying Obama in 2012. But for as much as there is legitimate frustration and anger, history shows that primarying a sitting President is never a good idea for the party. The President is weakened, the party is weakened and it leads to Republican gains. Case in point, look at what happened to Jimmy Carter got primaried by Teddy Kennedy: Ronald Reagan won. As disappointing as Obama has been, no one wants a repeat of that. So Howard Dean went on Face the Nation and reminded viewers that we have to have the right priorities. I think primarying Blue Dogs so that Obama has a party more willing to back progressive ideals is a great idea (and that’s what we try to do with our PAC, Blue America), but we need to remember that this milquetoast programs that we hate are a result of having to get things moved or passed through Congress with the rules being manipulated by the Republicans to keep Obama from being successful.
And then in non-tax cut extension news, I caught this interesting little green room exchange between US Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad and George Will on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. Will adopts this typical Villager mentality about Assange, calling him “reptilian” and grumbling about how dangerous it is. But Khalilzad says something that you haven’t heard anyone in the American media say: Bob Woodward published far more damaging information given to him by people with much higher clearances in his latest book Obama’s Wars including diplomatic cables written by Ambassador Karl Eikenberry opposing more troops to Afghanistan. Yet no one thought that Woodward (or the NY Times, who has published both Eikenberry’s cables and WikiLeaks’ cables) should be hunted down, prosecuted or most hysterically, executed. So it is that the information is coming out of an uncontrollable source?