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.
Give American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman credit for recognizing that not every congressional Republican has the same chief reason to obstruct President Obama’s agenda. Some of the GOPers, Waldman noted in a Wednesday post, are politically motivated, while others “genuinely believe that Obama is an evil Kenyan Marxist tyrant trying to destroy America.”
Nonetheless, Waldman stated, both groups “arrive at the same place, whether through clear-eyed political calculation or wild-eyed hatred. And nothing—nothing—President Obama does or doesn't do makes a bit of difference,” given that “opposition is a Republican action, not a Republican reaction.” From Waldman’s post (emphasis added):
Conservatives, contended the American Prospect’s Paul Waldman on Thursday, can be highly entertaining, though usually not because they try to be. They’re more like Sideshow Bob repeatedly whacking himself in the face by stepping on one rake after another.
In a post titled “How Did the GOP Turn Into Such a Bunch of Clowns?” Waldman wrote that Republicans’ central problem is that “they're deluded into thinking that the country shares their particular collection of peeves and biases,” which means that they often take positions they don’t realize are unpopular and then are “shocked to find out that Americans aren't on the same page with them…Again and again, they think the American public is going to see things their way, and when the public doesn't, they never seem to learn anything from it.”
What did conservative leaders and activists feel when they learned of the D.C. Circuit Court decision on Obamacare subsidies? Happiness? Relief? American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman seemed to have another word in mind: schadenfreude -- “satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.”
In a Tuesday post, Waldman opined that, sure, righties were “excited” that the ruling was a setback for President Obama and the ACA, but “what actually had them so pleased is the possibility that millions of Americans will lose their health insurance.” Republicans, he added, “will gladly crush the lives of ordinary people if it means gaining some momentary partisan advantage.”
According to American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, movement conservatives live in a bubble, but in this case none of the cards therein say “Moops.” Rather, each carries the name of what righties (though usually not Waldman himself) consider one or another of the Obama administration’s scandals.
In a Wednesday post, Waldman wrote that what he called “the IRS scandalette” is “an almost perfect expression of contemporary congressional Republicanism” since it features qualities such as “the obsession with conservative victimhood” as well as the GOPers’ “utter disinterest in governing” and their “obliviousness to facts.”
Obamacare is succeeding, declared American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman on Thursday, and he predicts that ongoing development will bifurcate Republicans’ approaches to their 2014 congressional campaigns. Waldman thinks that purple-state GOP candidates will refrain from bashing the Affordable Care Act, but red-state candidates will discuss it in “apocalyptic terms” in order to agitate “voters [who] will still get angry every time the word [‘Obamacare’] is spoken.”
Waldman sees that split as part of a “larger Republican dilemma” caused by “the interests of the national GOP [being] at odds with the interests of the bulk of the party's officeholders,” who have to answer to the base. One result of this dilemma, he added, will be that in 2016, the eventual Republican presidential nominee “will face two dramatically different electorates; [i]t's as though they'll be running in Mississippi in the primaries, then in Ohio in the general election.”
Would right-wingers like a larger presence in mainstream news and entertainment media, or would they rather grumble about the MSM’s liberal bias while patronizing conservative media outlets? To American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, it’s clear that the second is correct.
Waldman’s peg for his Wednesday post was a National Review piece by editor and publisher Adam Bellow on the need for a conservative counterculture that would produce novels, movies, music, and so on. Apropos of Bellow’s comment that it’s too bad righties have “hived ourselves off into our own politicized media bubble,” Waldman snipes that conservatives want very much to stay inside said bubble, even though it leaves them prone to “all kinds of pathological beliefs and behaviors.”
Democrats control the White House and Senate and won a clear majority of the vote in 2012 House elections, but American Prospect co-editor Robert Kuttner thinks that Republicans might be even less popular if Dems weren’t so shy about advocating economic policies markedly to the left of the ones they now support.
In a Monday post, Kuttner argued that only the rich have benefited from thirty-plus years of “tax cuts, limited social spending, deregulation, and privatization,” which caused him to wonder, “If conservatives offer little that’s credible to the anxious middle class, why aren’t liberals just trouncing them?” His three-part answer:
The term “permanent revolution” is usually associated with Marxism, but American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman believes that these days, it’s movement conservatives who are talkin’ about a permanent revolution, and that their ideal Republican pol is an “agent of chaos and destruction, or at least pretend[s] that's who he is.”
In a Thursday post, Waldman quoted RealClearPolitics analyst Sean Trende’s explanation, in the wake of Eric Cantor’s loss, for why, in Trende’s words, “the Republican base is furious with the Republican establishment, especially over the Bush years.” Waldman’s reaction:
According to American Prospect blogger Paul Waldman, the typical conservative is a frustrated grouch for two reasons: 1) most Americans will never want a government as small as conservatives would prefer, and 2) since hyperideological righties refuse to settle for half a loaf, they've "resigned [themselves] to a lifetime of outright defeats, unsatisfying half-victories, and betrayals."
Piggybacking on Paul Waldman's "Who Do You Hate?" American Prospect post in which Waldman singled out Sarah Palin and Scott Walker for special scorn, another liberal blogger, the Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore, reflected on the politicians ("usually, though not always, on the right side of the fence") who inspire in him "regular fear and loathing."
One of Kilgore's choices is an entire group, "the self-styled 'constitutional conservatives'...[who] don’t just want to beat progressives (and moderates) politically, they want to define us right out of existence."
When last seen in these parts, the American Prospect's Paul Waldman was forecasting that if Hillary Clinton runs for president, "[s]ome Tea Party congressman is going to indulge his fantasies about torturing and killing her."
Waldman posted a somewhat more temperate item on Friday (titled Who Do You Hate?) in which he offered a few thoughts about why political activists loathe certain figures from the other side but merely dislike others. His bottom line: a politician's image and persona tend to evoke more intense hatred from opponents than specific things he says or does, though words and deeds are hugely important as well.
Republicans, the American Prospect's Paul Waldman suggested Tuesday, are a bit like Spinal Tap's Nigel Tufnel inasmuch as they "can't seem to keep themselves from...turning the accusations up to eleven" on matters involving Hillary Clinton.
Waldman discussed Karl Rove's recent "traumatic brain injury" comments about Hillary and then transitioned to the broader issues of GOPers' "infinite loathing" for HRC and its implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, during which Waldman predicts Hillary will be the target of Republican "outbursts...more shocking" than Rove's.
File this under "Pathetic" and "Predictable." On Alex Wagner's MSNBC show yesterday, Wagner set up Timothy Noah, an MSNBC.com columnist, with the latest and most desperate excuse for the UAW's failure to gain the ability to represent VW-Chattanooga workers in a plantwide election last week. She did so by referring to an American Prospect column earlier in the day by Harold Meyerson, who blamed "the politics of race and culture" for the loss.
Noah predictably took the bait, even though "race" was not mentioned once in any coverage I saw in 2-1/2 days after the election until Meyerson went there. Video and a transcript, followed by a couple of jabs at Meyerson by yours truly, follow the jump (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Ryan Glasspiegel at Romenesko drew out more details from writer Charles Davis about his article for Vice.com on the trend of unpaid internships and left-wing media outlets that profess to abhor exploitative employers. It was called "The Exploited Labor of the Liberal Media." (Our summary is here.)
When Davis peeked at the comments his article drew, "Only a few people took the bosses’ sides." A few tried to suggest that a boss at Mother Jones or Pacifica Radio making upwards of $150,000 isn't "rich," and Davis said tell that to an unpaid intern:
UPDATE: James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal "wonder(s) if the Times intended the article's publication as a joke at ObamaCare critics' expense." Seems like it takes too many direct shots at uncompassionate liberals for that to be the case, but readers can decide for themselves.
So when Gottlieb submitted an item entitled "Daring to Complain About Obamacare," the gatekeepers may have let it slide through because of who she is, and fully expected that an op-ed with that title would go after people with the unmitigated gall to complain about President Barack Obama's "signature achievement." Well, guess what? Gottlieb's the one who is unhappy with Obamacare, and is shocked — shocked, I tell you — that her liberal friends have no sympathy for the large sum she'll have to pay next year to stay insured under Obamacare (bolds are mine):
A June 16-18 YouGov.com poll (at Page 25) reported that 47% of Americans in a sample of 1,000 U.S. citizens 18 and over had heard or heard about President Barack Obama's June 8 claim that "the private sector is doing fine."
The reaction of John Sides, an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University, as picked up by Byron Tau at the Politico, is that this "low" percentage shows that "even after national headlines, some kinds of stories just don’t register to busy Americans who have more things to do than follow every jot and tittle of the news." You've got to be kidding me; 47% is amazingly high.
The Washington Post is making the transition from a powerhouse liberal newspaper to a network of powerhouse liberal blogs. While the paper's Old Guard is worried that the move will tarnish the Post's supposed reputation for political neutrality, it should be seen more as a embrace of the agenda the Post has evinced for years.
"Traditionalists," wrote Politico today, "worry that the Post is sacrificing a hard-won brand and hallowed news values." One such "traditionalist," Rem Rieder of the American Journalism Review, said a more openly-liberal approach to reporting, mostly done online in the form of various blogs, would be "a danger to the brand."
To the extent that the Post still pretends to be objective -- and to the extent that its readers believe that claim -- then yes, an opinion blog-centric approach is tarnishing the brand. But for those who acknowledge the Post' consistently liberal approach to the news, the only change is the way that that news is delivered.
So her skeletal "plan" is out. At the same time, there's a story in a "progressive" publication claiming that Mrs. Clinton really didn't have much to do with what came to be known as Hillarycare in 1993-1994.
In what should henceforth be known as a Hillary Howler, Paul Starr, co-editor of the American Prospect, tries to convince us that Hillary was, in essence, a figurehead (bolds are mine):
Though the media scarcely registered it at the time, (Bill) Clinton had described this approach in a speech and referred to it in the presidential debates. Moreover, he saw health-care reform through the prism of economic policy, believed that reducing the long-term growth in health costs was a national imperative, and insisted that even while making coverage universal, health-care reform had to bring down future costs below current projections for both the government and the private economy. Among Clinton's close advisors, Ira Magaziner championed the view that these aims were achievable. When he became the director of the health-reform effort and Hillary the chair, their job was not to choose a policy, but to develop the one that the president had already adopted.