In an item which still has a breaking news tag, Josh Funk at the Associated Press (saved here for future reference, fair use, and discussion purposes) call retiring Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson a "centrist," and almost seemed to mourn over "an increasingly polarizing climate" which made it clear that Nelson's reelection would have been a steep uphill fight. Of course, there was no mention of the infamous Cornhusker kickback which was offered and then withdrawn in a firestorm of controversy in an Obama administration attempt to win Nelson's support for the passage of ObamaCare -- which they got anyway.
Here are several paragraphs from Funk's report and the immediately following breaking news item:
George Will on Sunday marvelously told liberal economist Robert Reich something that many conservatives have been dying to say for years.
During a fascinating Right vs. Left debate on ABC's This Week, after Reich predictably pined for higher income tax rates to solve all that ails us, Will struck back with the line of the weekend, "You are a pyromaniac in a field of strawmen" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Despite a massively expensive 2009 stimulus program, high unemployment and a sluggish economy have been trademarks of the Obama administration. The goal of the stimulus was to create shovel-ready jobs, with, according to top Obama economic advisor Larry Summers, a "targeted," "temporary," and "timely" scope. As many predicted, the stimulus failed to produce the Keynesian results it promised.
In its Monday afternoon coverage of the Congressional battle over extending the payroll tax cut, CNN repeatedly emphasized a Democratic advantage and claimed that the Democrats are acting like "conservative Republicans." Political analyst Gloria Borger even gave the Democratic talking point that the party roles on tax cuts have been switched.
"You know, if you're a true believer, and you're a Republican who believes that the tax cuts will pay for themselves, the question really is not how do you pay for it, but why do you pay for it, right? I mean, why pay for it at all?" CNN's Borger asked of the Republican insistence that the cuts be paid for without raising taxes elsewhere. "The Democrats, ironically, are acting much more like the conservative Republicans here," she boldly added. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
For conservatives, one of the bright spots of the Occupy Wall Street protests was when millionaire investor Peter Schiff went down to Zuccotti Park with video camera and a sign reading "I Am The 1% - Let's Talk."
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Schiff by telephone in a sweeping interview about his experience at OWS, how the financial media are doing, and ending with his rather frightening view of the economy and the future of our nation (video follows with transcript):
On Monday's NBC Rock Center, host Brian Williams took time to update viewers on the latest political news, "And if you want to guess how dirty this campaign will be, listen to this Romney ad....Romney's spokesperson said they're not going to take their foot off the gas."
Williams played a clip of President Obama from the ad: "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose." He then warned: "Now you might think they've got him there. Obama got zinged by Romney. But wait, no, he didn't. Here's what Obama actually said....He was talking about John McCain's strategy in the last election. But this campaign season, that doesn't seem to matter."
On Wednesday's NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer interviewed Obama advisor David Plouffe and promoted liberal concerns that the administration had not pushed enough government economic programs: "Even the Democratic Mayor of Scranton, Christopher Dougherty, says that he'd hoped for more federal help under this Democratic administration, and it hasn't come."
Lauer further detailed Dougherty's disillusionment with the President: "His words, 'Four years ago it was about hope. Now it's about his record,' referring to the President. How does the President look the people of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for example, in the eye and say, 'I know we talked about hope and change. It hasn't really worked out. I need more time'?"
Nobel laureate Paul Krugman - might he finally be realizing that our budget deficits can't possibly be solved by just eliminating the Bush tax cuts? - is now calling for marginal rates even higher than when Bill Clinton was in office:
The dictionary definition of "stimulate" relevant to a nation's economy is "to rouse to action or effort."
We still have journalists who gullibly relay the notion that extending unemployment benefits and increasing entitlement programs will "rouse" the economy "to action of effort," despite almost three years of evidence that such is not the case. One of them is Andrew Taylor, a writer for the Associated Press, who, in his unprofessionally titled ("Deficit deal failure would pose crummy choice") and painfully long writeup about the supercommittee's lack of action or effort in Washington, wrote the following:
You would think that a story headlined "GOP says Energy Dept. tried to delay solar layoffs" would have a quote or two from a Republican Party spokesperson, politician, candidate or even a rank-and-file party member alleging that, well, the Energy Department tried to delay layoffs at now-bankrupt Solyndra. It doesn't. The "trifling" matter clearly didn't concern the headline writer at the Associated Press, which one again is showing that it deserves to be called "The Administration's Press."
Without attribution, Matthew Daly's early afternoon story (saved here at host for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) largely relays and only slightly builds on what Carol D. Leonnig and Joe Stephens reported yesterday at the Washington Post. What follows are selected paragraphs from Daly's report, including two (in bold) which only generically cite GOP criticism:
"The Obama administration urged the now-bankrupt solar-energy firm Solyndra and its top investor to hold off announcing planned layoffs in 2010 until after the Nov. 2 elections, according to e-mails released by House Republicans on Tuesday," Amy Harder of National Journal reported this morning:
The bipartisan debt panel to nowhere is exactly where K Street lobbyists want it to be: hopelessly deadlocked. A November 23 deadline for agreement on $1.2 trillion in budget savings is looming, but no real reductions in the size, scope or spending of government are on the table. Instead, we are witnessing another obscene special-interest splurge to preserve the status quo. All in the name of "reform," of course.
The only thing "super" about the so-called budget control super committee is the size of lobbying muscle exerted on its members. Almost 100 registered lobbyists who are former employees of super committee members are now "representing defense companies, health-care conglomerates, Wall Street banks and others with a vested interest in the outcome of the panel's work," the Washington Post found in September. This includes two dozen former staffers to Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, including three former chiefs of staff.
It's truly delicious when the outfit which calls itself the Essential Global News Network essentially admits that a certain economic theory which begins with a "K" has become such an undesirable word -- almost an epithet -- that it avoids its mention.
That was the case with a pathetic critique of GOP candidates' economic plans written up by the wire service's Charles Babington on Sunday. When I saw its headline ("Studies challenge wisdom of GOP candidates' plans"), I blew past the story because I expected the same-old, same-old. Then an emailer with a journalistic background informed me that it was even worse than usual. He's so right that I can't possibly pick it apart without writing a book; so I'll just concentrate on the paragraph containing the theory with no name and the one which immediately follows it:
Energy Department Inspector General Gregory Friedman testified before a congressional committee yesterday that the department was "ill-equipped to quickly distribute billions of dollars in economic stimulus funding," reported the Washington Post's Ed O'Keefe in the November 3 paper.
"Friedman's testimony was meant to summarize more than 100 investigations conducted by his office into Energy's stimulus spending. The probes have recovered $2.3 million in fraudulently obtained money and sparked five criminal prosecutions," O'Keefe noted in his 12-paragraph story, which was buried on page A19 of the Post with the bland headline "Energy Dept. called ill-suited to loan project."
"Friedman also criticized the administration for touting the existence of 'shovel-ready' projects" that did not exist, noted O'Keefe.
America's richest man isn't going to make President Obama, the folks in the Occupy Wall Street movement, or their respective supporters in the media happy.
Appearing on ABC's This Week Sunday, Bill Gates laughed when asked about the Buffett Rule saying, "You can't raise the taxes we need just by going after that one percent...to really deal with the deficit gap we're talking about, that alone just numerically is not going to be enough" (video follows with transcript):
Jonathan Alter, who spent 28 years at Newsweek, has been a columnist at Bloomberg News since early this year. Just this year, the reliably and insufferably liberal Alter, among many other things, called the Republican House's passage of Paul Ryan's budget plan in April an attempt "to throw Granny in the snow," and coldly calculated that in the wake of her shooting, Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was more valuable to Barack Obama's reelection efforts alive than dead.
In early January, Alter, appearing on an MSNBC program, took great offense at Rep. Darrell Issa's suggestion that the Obama White House is "one of the most corrupt administrations ever," claiming that "there is zero evidence" of it. The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney proceeded to identify seven such examples. Alter must have been saying "la-la I can't hear you" during Carney's chronicle, as his October 27 column was an exercise in sheer fantasy from beginning to end (bolds are mine throughout this post):
If not an unmitigated frozen-flying-pig-in-Hades moment, then certainly something noteworthy for its rarity, coming from the lips of David Gregory . . .
On today's Morning Joe, the Meet The Press moderator, in one surprising swoop, managed to praise a statement from Mitch McConnell while simultaneously seeming to acknowledge that President Obama's economic program has failed. Video after the jump.
MSNBC's Martin Bashir tag-teamed with liberal pundit Jared Bernstein to slam Herman Cain and Rick Perry's tax plans today, insisting that both are a sop to the "rich" and an act of "class warfare" against the middle class. An onscreen bio graphic noted that Bernstein used to work for Vice President Biden, but that fact would go unnoted for any listeners to the program via MSNBC's SiriusXM satellite radio channel.
Also unaddressed by Bashir was that while Cain, Perry and the other GOP candidates are running against the Obama economic record, Bernstein had a hand in fashioning the 2009 stimulus package.
In a January 2009 memo co-authored with then-Obama economic advisor Christina Romer, the pair argued that a stimulus bill would stop the upward march of unemployment at 8 percent in the third quarter of 2009, with unemployment falling throughout 2011 and reaching around 5.5 percent by Election Day 2012 (see graph from that report below the page break).
MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert today refused to parrot MSNBC host Martin Bashir's left-wing talking points about House Republicans and their proposal to boost the economy and spur job creation.
"This week, Eric Cantor will introduce a jobs bill of his own, so what exactly should we expect?" Bashir rhetorically asked viewers as he introduced his "Divided We Fall" segment, featuring MSNBC congressional correspondent Luke Russert live via satellite from the U.S. Capitol.
"Luke, aside from trickle-down economics, is there anything in Mr. Cantor's proposal -- and you're not allowed to say 'cut taxes and remove regulations' -- now answer the question," Bashir demanded of Russert.
A notable moment on Morning Joe today, as Joe Scarborough called out Mika Brzezinski on her double standard when it comes to criticizing politicians for their over-the-top remarks.
Setting Scarborough off was Brzezinski's defense of Joe Biden's allegation that crime, including rape, would increase if Republicans don't vote for President Obama's latest tax-raising stimulus plan. Joe claimed Mika would surely condemn a Republican, such as Michelle Bachmann, employing similar fear-mongering tactics. Video after the jump.
President Barack Obama’s new infrastructure spending plan “makes all of the sense in the world” and is an “eminently sensible idea,” ABC’s Christiane Amanpour enthused Sunday morning on This Week as if there is no rational reason to oppose the additional federal money and without a look at the impact of the already-spent stimulus spending.
Following up on President Obama’s boast that “when you got the AFL and the Chamber of Commerce agreeing on anything, that’s a sign that it’s a good idea,” Amanpour brought aboard the chiefs of those two organizations to tout the self-interested spending and fret over Republican opposition.
The easy catch in former Obama administration economic adviser Austan Goolsbee's Thursday interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," as reported by the Politico's Tim Mak, is that he believes that "if given a second chance he would not have backed the Cash for Clunkers program or the home buyer tax credit." Goolsbee's excuse for his changed position -- that the administration didn't think the recovery would take so long, when the administration's policies have primarily explain why the recovery has taken so long -- is characteristically lame.
Something else Goolsbee said is far more surprising -- so surprising that one wonders if famed supply-side economist Arthur Laffer somehow temporarily took over the former Obama adviser's mind and body. One also wonders why Mak saved what Goolsbee said for his report's final two paragraphs instead of headlining and leading with it.
CBS's Early Show on Thursday stood out as the only Big Three network program that covered what anchor Jeff Glor labeled as Vice President Biden's "controversial comments linking rape and the jobs bill," where he attacked the GOP for opposing the legislation. ABC and NBC's morning shows on Thursday didn't air anything on the story, and none of the networks' evening news shows on Wednesday reported on it.
Despite correspondent Bill Plante's full report on Biden's attack on the GOP, which included a sound bite of the Democrat standing by his comments after a question from Human Events editor Jason Mattera, Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer all but defended the Vice President's remarks: "I think the Vice President is just drawing things in the starkest possible terms...it is a little bit difficult to argue with the logic. If you have fewer police on the streets, you're probably going to have more crime."
Double standards on story placement in the New York Times? A “Political Victory” for the White House over trade deals that promise only “small” economic benefits was trumpeted in the headline to Thursday’s lead story, while a “major setback” for Obama and his jobs bill was buried on Wednesday’s inside pages.
On Thursday's NBC Today, after acknowledging President Obama's low approval rating, co-host Matt Lauer and chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd cheered other results of the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, with Lauer proclaiming: "If there is some good news for the White House this morning it's that 63% of the people in this poll approve of his jobs plan."
Todd followed: "That's right. And also just about the same amount of folks, 64%, believe it should be among the wealthy and corporations that should be paying more money for government services and how we do this and whether it's for – to pay for the President's jobs plan. So philosophically, the President has the public on his side." But then lamented: "He's just not able to somehow convince Congress, not just Republicans, but all of Democrats, to take his position on this."
PBS's Charlie Rose opened last night’s Bloomberg/Washington Post GOP presidential economic policy debate by noting the round table format was like a “kind of kitchen table where families for generations have come together to talk and solve their problems.”
But through much of the debate it sounded more like Thanksgiving dinner with your liberal aunt and uncle as panelist Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post hammered the candidates from the left and moderator Charlie Rose used a 27-year-old Reagan sound bite to push candidates to come out in favor of tax increases.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich during Tuesday's Republican presidential debate once again went after one of his favorite targets - the media.
In response to a question about the Occupy Wall Street protests, Gingrich said, "Everybody in the media who wants to go after the business community ought to start by going after the politicians who have been at the heart of the sickness which is weakening this country (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):
Interviewing Chicago Mayor and former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel on Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory fretted over the 2009 stimulus not being big enough: "Do you think this president wasted it – the crisis you talked about – to do the big things at that moment, to really be a jobs president to create the demand in the economy that you're talking about through more government spending?" [Audio available here]
While Emanuel defended the stimulus package, Gregory continued to hit from the left: "What were the opportunity costs of not a big enough stimulus, of healthcare reform that hurt him [Obama] politically at a time when he now needs, as you say, more government spending, but he doesn't have the political capital to get it done, does he, Mayor?" [View video after the jump]