The Obama administration is in the doldrums, and not only because it’s August. Is it that the president has a short attention span, or that he’s insufficiently ideological, or have Republicans just worn him down? Three lefty pundits opined on the issue earlier this week.
In a Tuesday New Republic piece, Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin identified “Obama’s sober mistrust of ideology and partisanship” as an obstacle to progress and urged Obama to go beyond “pragmatism” (emphasis added):
This week, three of the most prominent liberal bloggers agreed that when it comes to criticizing presidents of either party about their vacations, people really need to, as one of the bloggers put it, “STFU.”
Do they have a point, or should the appropriateness of presidential vacations be evaluated on a POTUS-by-POTUS basis? Check out their thoughts and comment if you’d like.
Liberals like Chris Mooney of Mother Jones agree that today’s Republican party is “environmental[ly] retrograde,” but often acknowledge it wasn’t like that a few decades ago. For example, as Mooney noted in a Tuesday post, a GOP president, Richard Nixon, established the EPA.
Mooney reports, however, that in the early 1990s the party as a whole grew distinctly more hostile towards environmentalism. He touches on several possible explanations, including a backlash against the newly elected vice president, Earth in the Balance author Al Gore, as well as a theory that after the Soviet Union collapsed, environmentalists succeeded Communists as major objects of conservative fear and hatred.
In a hit record from 1974, a girl repeatedly told a suitor, “I don’t like spiders and snakes.” Presumably no one back then thought the song had any political overtones, but forty years later a post on the Mother Jones website has suggested that the girl’s remark meant she probably was a right-winger.
MoJo science writer Chris Mooney reported Tuesday on a recent paper that claims conservatives have, in his account, “a ‘negativity bias,’ meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments” (including huge spiders). He asserted that righties’ extreme wariness leads them to support “a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns.”
Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore has found some people he thinks conservatives hate even more than they hate President Obama: the thousands of Central American children trying to enter the U.S. at its border with Mexico. After all, righties are merely obsessed with making Obama at least as unpopular in his second term as George W. Bush was in his, but they want to “immediately ship [the] children back across the border in cattle cars,” or maybe just shoot them. But Obama's apparently so much more compassionate than Bush.
Many of the claims made for, and sometimes by, Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign were amazingly lofty, hyperbolic, or both, even by political standards. Remember the columnist who speculated that Obama might be “a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being…who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet”? Remember Obama’s own “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”?
In a Wednesday post, Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum asserted that back then, at least two persons weren’t riding the Obama wave. One was Drum himself, who felt conservatives made Obama out to be much more messianic-sounding than he was. Drum thought the Obama of ’08 was a typical Democrat who gave “soaring speeches” because “[t]hat's what presidential candidates do.” Now, however, Drum sees that “millions of Obama voters really believed all that boilerplate rhetoric.”
Many years ago, Stephen Colbert asserted that “reality has a well-known liberal bias.” Chris Mooney of Mother Jones wants to make sure you understand that mathematics (a well-known subset of reality) does, too.
This past Friday, Mooney, author of books including “The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science – and Reality,” posted a piece about a new book by mathematician Jordan Ellenberg which posits, in Mooney’s words, that “mathematics isn't simply about the calculations involving, you know, numbers; rather, it's a highly nuanced approach to solving problems...[M]athematics means glimpsing the entire structure of a problem, so that you can figure out how best to attack it, and so that you'll know how reliable your ultimate answers will be.”
Newt Gingrich hasn’t been an elected official in more than fifteen years, but according to Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum, Gingrich’s vitriolic approach to politics during his years in the House of Representatives remains influential via Fox News. (Even though Gingrich stars on CNN.)
Piggybacking on an Andrew Sullivan blog post in which Sullivan alleged that watching Fox News was “like slipping into an alternative universe” where “hysteria is the constant norm,” Drum wrote on Thursday that Gingrich “brought conservative politics to a truly new, truly unprecedented level of toxic rancor,” and that Fox News isnow“the ongoing, institutional expression of Gingrichism.”
The belief that President Obama is aloof and detached is found on both the left and the right; the major difference between the two sides on that topic is that liberals don’t always see those qualities as negative.
Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum wrote in a Friday post that he finds it “almost impossible to blame” Obama for “tak[ing] the long view and ignor[ing] all the childish nonsense” generated by both the superficial mainstream media and “the insane tea-party style of no-compromise governing adopted by the modern Republican Party.” Drum says he hopes against hope that the media – the GOP apparently is hopeless -- will join Obama in “act[ing] like an adult.”
Mother Jones blogger Kevin Drum favors reducing the federal workforce...by one position. Specifically, that of White House press secretary.
In a Monday post, Drum argued that junking the position would eliminate the routine posturing at White House briefings from journalists who are "less interested in gaining actual information than in simply playing gotcha." The source of that approach, opined Drum, is reporters' post-Watergate "habit of treating everything like a scandal."
The right has directed most of its anger over the handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack at President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice, but when lefty blogger Martin Longman reflects on reactions to Benghazi, he thinks of a different villain: Mitt Romney.
In a Saturday post for the Washington Monthly web site, Longman recalls that a few days after the attack, he was "seething about Romney’s behavior" re Benghazi, and that within three weeks, he "was in disbelief that the Romney campaign was chortling with glee at the death of four Americans."
Charles Davis at Vice.com has written an eye-opening expose of “Exploited Laborers of the Liberal Media” – unpaid or poorly paid interns at liberal magazines, websites, and radio networks that claim to speak out for the poorly paid working stiffs.
Davis notes Harper’s magazine wants interns to “work on a full-time, unpaid basis for three to five months” and The Washington Monthly is offering internships that are “unpaid and can be either part-time or full-time.” But Salon.com’s hypocrisy is the most perfect:
“Animal-semen exporters were furloughed” sounds like a bad joke, but to left-wing publication Mother Jones it’s a problem caused by the government shutdown. Right up there with 50 Nubian goats in New Jersey being furloughed. And don’t forget about the Whale Counters!
The Oct. 2 article listed “30 Ways the Shutdown Is Already Screwing People.” Most of the items on this list wee the same talking points that the left has brought up time and again, but some were actually quite strange. The list included:
As conservatives, we know what happens every time we criticize the policies of the liberal occupant of the White House: We're instantly branded as “racist” and “intolerant” while our views are quickly and summarily dismissed.
However, Kevin Drum, a political blogger for the liberal Mother Jones website, has received similar treatment as he learned that no matter which side of an issue he supports, his mailbox on the Twitter social media website quickly fills up with emails from people taking the opposite view.
With the National Football League's new season just around the corner, fans of the sport are beginning to revive hopes that their favorite professional team will go all the way and win the Super Bowl on Feb. 2, 2014.
However, that's apparently not the case with Rachel Maddow. Instead, the host of a weeknight program on the liberal MSNBC cable channel is unhappy with the Washington Redskins, whose name she called so “painfully racist” that she referred to the team as the “R-Words.”
Integrity in journalism is not only optional, being dishonest is actually commendable. That was the message sent last night by the American Society of Magazine Editors as it gave one of its highly coveted National Magazine Awards to Mother Jones, the far-left publication which published a surreptitiously recorded video of former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking to a Florida fund-raiser in 2012.
The Romney speech, in which he made his infamous reference to “47 percent” of Americans being willing to support President Obama because of their dependence on the welfare state, was secretly recorded by a hotel bartender and then released subsequently by Mother Jones.
Mitt Romney’s traveling press secretary walked to the back of the candidate’s plane midflight on Tuesday and teasingly asked a pair of journalists in an exit row if they were “willing and able to assist in case of an emergency.”
Under the circumstances, it was hard to tell whether it was a question or a request.
Once again, Professor William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection is doing the work the mainstream media should do but won't do. This morning your humble correspondent posted how Jacobson got David Corn to finally admit that there was a gap in the Romney tape after initially claiming that it was complete. However, now that Corn was forced to make that admission only after being pressed by Jacobson, he is now absurdly claiming that he was upfront about that tape gap from the start. Here is Corn's latest laughable claim:
Romney had pivoted from expressing his sentiments about the “47 percent” to discussing how to appeal to independents when the tape ended, and it was the “47 percent” description that were the focus of this clip. All the clips we posted, of course, were edited out of the longer video. They all needed to have start and end points. When we posted the complete tape, we stated there was a gap of one to two minutes, or less, according to the source. That seemed to be the appropriate time to do so. I will note that Romney, who clearly has thought about how to respond to this clip, has not said in the statements he has made since its release, “But then I went on to say….
Tuesday's TimesCast on nytimes.com opened with a discussion of the "devastating" and "horrible moment" for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign that was the surreptitiously recorded video of Romney speaking at a fundraiser in Florida in May noting “47 percent of Americans pay no income tax." According to host Megan Liberman, Romney's words "seems to feed perfectly into the Obama campaign's narrative about Romney, that he's just a guy who doesn't care about regular people."
Liberman: "The Romney campaign is playing defense today after the release of this hidden camera video. National political correspondent Jim Rutenberg joins me now to talk about it. So Jim, is this just another gaffe, or is this video really as devastating as a lot of people on both the right and the left are saying that it is?"
David Corn of Mother Jones magazine has claimed that the audio and video recording of Mitt Romney taken surreptitiously at a fundraiser was complete...until it was revealed that it had a critical gap of up to two minutes. At first Corn refused to admit to any gap until undeniable proof was presented to him by William A. Jacobson of Legal Insurrection:
There is a gap in the recording immediately after Romney’s now famous discussion of the 47% of voters who don’t pay taxes. The cut in the audio and video comes while Romney is in mid-sentence, so we actually do not have the full audio of what Romney said on the subject.
A secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the "47 percent of the country who are dependent on government," put out last night by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, calls into question whether Romney is "at base, an empathetic and caring man." That's according to the New York Times, which rushed the Monday night breaking news onto Tuesday morning's front page in a story by Michael Shear and Michael Barbaro, "In Video Clip, Romney Calls 47% ‘Dependent’ and Feeling Entitled."
Look out Huffington Post. The Occupy movement has a new website to aggregate content for left-wing activists. While Occupy is known for their claim to represent the 99 percent, suave parties and Hollywood money are what made this venture possible.
Known for taking over New York’s Zuccotti Park and other locations nationwide, supporters now look to occupy the Internet. The liberal magazine Mother Jones reported that the new site launched on April 2 “with financial backing from Hollywood” with the goal of mimicking Huffington Post.