Now, remind me, WHICH party holds the White House?

March 31, 2010

The Emmanuobamans?

First, it was billions for nuclear power; now it’s more offshore drilling. Doubtless, Obama & Co. are going to try to get mileage out of the impression they’re “standing up to the special interests,” as in the environmental movement, steering a moderate course, etc. That approach certainly paid big dividends with the health insurance bill, after all.

Firedoglake on the drill baby drill plan

The Rs sound placated already – Boehner On Board

And is that applause I hear coming from the base (remember, those people who sent money, went out canvassing, actually came out to vote for Hope and Change)? – The sound of one hand clapping

This is just the latest example of Obama’s version of Clintonian “triangulation,” with an added dollop of betrayal. Obama opposed more offshore drilling during his campaign (just as he championed a public option, but that’s beating a dead horse, apparently). It was McCain, Palin, Gingrich and the like who were chanting, “drill, baby, drill.”

NYT cocks a wary eyebrow – NYT: high risks, low rewards

What about a major investment in energy efficiency, and I don’t mean just mileage standards? How about a larger commitment to renewable energy?

Nope, we’re back to form – ladle it out to investment banks, insurance companies, Pharma, defense contractors, and energy companies, but show an empty pot to the tree-huggers, workers, and other important Dem constituents. The thinking at 1600 Pennsylvania is, once again, “where else are they gonna go?”

This is happening just as polls show Dems’ enthusiasm returning after the health insurance bill’s passage. That ain’t gonna last long.

Later,

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A bit of food-for-thought, from Econobrowser

March 30, 2010

As the right gets all lathered about deficits, which they ignored when one of their own was living at 1600 Pennsylvania, Econobrowser notes which actions contributed most to the deficit – Where\'d that deficit come from?

Nutshell (comparing – left to right – the impact of two tax cuts, the Iraq war, and the new health care reform bill):

And let us never, ever forget:

Former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill was told “deficits don’t matter” when he warned of a looming fiscal crisis.

O’Neill, fired in a shakeup of Bush’s economic team in December 2002, raised objections to a new round of tax cuts and said the president balked at his more aggressive plan to combat corporate crime after a string of accounting scandals because of opposition from “the corporate crowd,” a key constituency.

O’Neill said he tried to warn Vice President Dick Cheney that growing budget deficits-expected to top $500 billion this fiscal year alone-posed a threat to the economy. Cheney cut him off. “You know, Paul, Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” he said, according to excerpts. Cheney continued: “We won the midterms. This is our due.” A month later, Cheney told the Treasury secretary he was fired.

Later,


Okay, I like a sex-and-money scandal (okay, there wasn’t actually sex) as much as anyone, but I like this even better

March 30, 2010

Joe Conason, over at Salon, writes that right-wing icons Sean Hannity and (remember him?) Oliver North have been scamming their own people into believing they were helping widows and orphans: Another flag-draped hustle

Later,


Rs consider Michael Steele a liability

March 30, 2010

But, please don’t fire him just yet. We’d like to get some more mileage out of him first.

From National Journal’s survey of “insiders” and their opinions of, among other things, their respective party leaders:

REPUBLICANS (104 votes)

Asset 20 percent
Liability 71 percent
Volunteered: Neither; both, 9 percent.

Asset

“After a rocky start, [Michael Steele] brings instant recognition and excitement to the grassroots.”

“He’s the most prominent African-American Republican we’ve got: Treat him with kid gloves.”

“Congressional minorities need some guerrilla-style unpredictability. Steele just brings extra.”

Liability

“Michael Steele is an anchor around the neck of the future of the Republican Party. He needs to go.”

“Steele is unconnected to the fundraising establishment and uninspiring to the rank and file. He is gaffe-prone and lacks gravitas.”

“He’s too much into himself and has a limited skill set.”

” ‘Liability’ doesn’t begin to describe what a deadweight the current [Republican National Committee] chair is to the GOP: ego-driven, off-key message hog who’s failing at raising money, putting in place a sufficiently funded voter-mobilization program, or taking the steps necessary for redistricting.”

“A gift that keeps giving — to the Democrats.”

“It is hard to imagine making less of this golden opportunity than what is taking place at the RNC these days.”

“Republicans want so much to disprove the theory we’re intolerant that we employ social promotion with the Steeles and Palins, which sets them up for failure.”

“Steele’s an operational amateur, wasting money on no-talent consultants without a major donor program.”

“Could have been the focal point of unifying the party and reaching out to ‘tea party’ types. Instead has generated controversy and wrecked fundraising.”

“What a joke. What an embarrassment. If a chairman can’t stay on message or raise money, the affirmative-action benefits don’t mean much.”

Other responses

“He has good days and terrible days.”

“He isn’t an asset, but he would be a liability only if the general population knew what an RNC chairman was.”

Later,


For $1,946.25, those must have been some pretty special martinis . . . .

March 29, 2010

The RNC sure knows how to party – Hey guys, let\'s hit the Voyeur!

Bow-tied conservative pundit Tucker Carlson’s new blog, The Daily Caller (see the link under “Blogroll” to your right) took a look at some of the RNC’s expenses and found, among other things, a visit to a bondage-themed nightclub called the Voyeur. Good luck loading the site – The Voyeur – I’m guessing half the world is trying to get a peek inside, so to speak. The Caller’s story is actually about RNC Chair Michael Steele’s high livin’ ways, so for many of us, they committed the classic journalism error of burying the lede, meaning they didn’t report the best stuff until down in the story. Everyone else recognized the most newsworthy (heh) part immediately, and ran with that over Steele wanting to buy a private RNC plane and other expensive impulses.

Tuesday’s Washington Post has more detail – Young Eagles flyin\' high

A Voyeur staffer explains the venue’s purpose to the NY Times:

“We are most certainly not a strip club,” said Sarah Waldman, the director of special events at Voyeur, where all was quiet Monday afternoon but for a few random fellows who said they were the owner and managers — young, good-looking and a little cranky — lolling on a velvet couch. “We cater to a high-end, A-list clientele with live art installations with a voyeuristic theme.”

Got that? “Live art installations.” Bet the computer networks who process credit card charges at the club are overheating (along with the patrons) as we speak . . . .

The LA Times profiled the club and its founders back in October – Sort of an example of life imitating art, doncha think?

Okay, a prize to the reader who can suggest the most appropriate public policy discussion that could be conducted in these particular surroundings. Deadline, April 1st.

Let’s see which runs out first, this story line or Michael Steele’s job as RNC chair.

And I have to wonder if any of those Young Eagles were some of the Young Idiots Bush II sent over to run Iraq after our Great Victory there. Or perhaps they were veterans of the famous “Brooks Brothers Riot” in 2000, when Tom DeLay sent young Republibot staffers to Florida to disrupt the vote count.

Later,


After all these months, the administration is willing to slap back at somebody besides its progressive supporters

March 29, 2010

The insurance industry has been busy working the weasel on covering children with pre-existing conditions (see previous posts), but today, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius wrote to Karen Ignagni, head honcho of AHIP, the industry’s trade association, telling her to tell her people to stop screwing around – HHS letter to AHIP

`Bout time somebody else got the talking-to. Let’s hope this new spinal attitude holds.

UPDATE – And look what happens when you push back! (via AP) Insurance industry backing off?

Later,


Vermont’s unemployment picture still grim

March 29, 2010

And even more so when you look further than the usually-stated numbers – Public Assets Institute – Five workers for every job

Later,