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):
AHAHAHAHAHA!!!! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Pardon me for channeling my inner Max Cady laugh but I just couldn't help myself. The irony, the embarrassment, and the schadenfreude are just too much to bear without bursting out laughing.
It turns out that one of the biggest Obamacare supporters on the Web, Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic, has himself committed a "Speak-O." What makes it even funnier was that Cohn was the person Jonathan "Speak-O" Gruber turned to in order lamely attempt to explain away his premature bout with truthfulness about the fact that the Obamacare law intended for subsidies to go to state-based, not federal, exchanges. That was last week and less than a week later, Cohn himself got caught committing a major "Speak-O" as revealed in his embarrassing confession: My Obamacare Truther Moment. Before we enter the laughter zone, let us first read Cohn mocking the "absurd" idea that anybody could have thought that the subsidies were meant for state-based exchanges only:
Liberals are now in damage control mode on the heels of the discovery of not one but two videos of Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber claiming in January 2012 that the subsidies for that program were limited to exchanges set up by the states. Their contention is that while Gruber might have worked closely with Congress to create the Obamacare bill, he is still not Congress. The other claim is that there is no document that backs up what they consider to be merely a Gruber "Speak-O."
Newsflash folks! Your humble correspondent has come upon a 2011 General Accounting Office report to the Senate that confirms Speak-O Gruber. I will present the relevant quote after the jump but first let us review the Gruber excuse to Jonathan Cohn of the New Republic Friday that has popularized the word "speak-o."
In an exercise supposedly "aimed at understanding the nature and scope of political polarization in the American public, and how it interrelates with government, society and people’s personal lives," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press has published a 185-page report containing some of the most ridiculous either/or questions I have ever seen in a polling effort. Its mission seems to be to demonize anyone who believes that government aren't particularly good or effective at what they do, and anyone who thinks there are limits on what it can or should do.
One of the most egregious pieces of either/or nonsense caught the attention of liberal-leaning blogger and law professor Ann Althouse. Participants had to choose between the following two statements: "Poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything," or "Poor people have hard lives because government benefits don't go far enough to help them live decently." Pew, which divided voters into different "typologies," reports that a combined 80-plus percent of those who it typed as "conservative went with the "have it easy" choice.
Far left writer and former reporter for the New York Times, Chris Hedges, has been exposed as a serial plagiarist. So what scurrilous "rightwing" source made these charges? None. The exposure of the socialist Chris Hedges appeared in the liberal New Republic. And it was not just a minor slip on the part of Hedges. According to the article Hedges blatantly plagiarized over and over again in great quantity over a number of years. In fact the depth of his plagiarism would make even Joe Biden blush.
So was Hedges apologetic when confronted with his many examples of plagiarism? Not a bit. In fact his reaction as we shall see would earn him a place of honor at the Dinner for Schmucks table. First Christopher Ketcham of the New Republic explains how the serial plagiarist got caught in 2010:
Watch your backsides, conservatives, because your vituperative, ill-considered criticism of both Bowe Bergdahl and the deal that freed him from the Taliban may come back to bite you.
That was the main message from Brian Beutler in his Thursday post on the New Republic's website. Beutler argued that the compulsively anti-Obama right's inclination to believe that "a massive scandal must be lying just below the surface" of the prisoner swap "precipitated a deluge of ugly actions and pronouncements" from many conservative leaders, including "a bunch of unseemly innuendo" about Bergdahl himself.
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:
On Tuesday, Julia Ioffe, senior editor for the liberal New Republic publication, all but suggested that President Obama needed to use military force against Tea Party conservatives in Congress. Ioffe likened the current federal government shutdown to the 1993 constitutional crisis in Russia, where then-President Boris Yeltsin ultimately ended the impasse by dissolving the parliament, and had tanks shell the legislative body's "White House".
The writer asserted that both the "old Soviet conservatives" in Russia 20 years ago and the Tea Party representatives in the House were "intransigent, bull-headed faction[s]".
This just in: John McCain supports Hillary Clinton over Rand Paul for president in 2016! That was the message that CBS’s Gayle King implied during a news brief on Thursday’s CBS This Morning. King reported on a recent interview in The New Republic in which Sen. McCain (R-Ariz.) was asked who he would vote for in 2016 if former Secretary of State Clinton faced Sen. Paul (R-Ky.) in the general election. McCain’s reply, which King reported, was, “It’s gonna be a tough choice.”
That was enough for CBS to run with. King then proclaimed, “McCain and Paul have butted heads a few times in the Senate. In the interview, McCain praised Clinton's work as secretary of state and called her a rock star.” [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
“It's easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission” states an adage that the staff of the New Republic magazine has apparently adopted, especially when it comes to writing disparaging things about George Zimmerman, the man who was found not guilty of murdering black teenager Trayvon Martin three weeks ago.
In an essay entitled “The Law That Acquitted Zimmerman Isn't Racist But That Doesn't Mean the Outcome Wasn't,” Richard Ford -- a Stanford law professor -- claimed: “Zimmerman was an edgy basket case with a gun who had called 911 46 times in 15 months, once to report the suspicious activities of a seven-year-old black boy.”
Having a strict “girls’ room” and “boys’ room” is just as bad as keeping black and white bathrooms separate, claimed UCLA law professor Adam Winkler. In a New Republic article called “Bathrooms Are Not Separate-But-Equal,” Winkler sympathized with Maine high school student Nicole Maines, a 15-year-old “transgender girl” who was denied access to the girls’ restroom, since Maines is biologically a boy who wears female clothing and makeup.
Winkler decried the “intolerance” of the “insensitive” schools officials who aren’t comfortable letting the male Maines use the girls’ bathroom, and complained that these are “strict and outdated rules that discriminate in who can use which restroom.” He insisted that such standards are “acts of discrimination no different from those that prohibited black people from entering white bathrooms until the 1960s.”
If the New Republic's Rebecca Dana is correct, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is more deluded than anyone thought.
In her lengthy piece about MSNBC president Phil Griffin, Dana claimed Maddow believes the reason President Obama hasn't given the cable network an interview since 2008 is because "his people know he’s going to get asked difficult questions":
National Review magazine has published an excellent and comprehensive response to New York Times Book Editor Sam Tanenhaus's dishonest smear of conservative thought in a cover story for The New Republic. The article by National Review contributors Ramesh Ponnuru and Jonah Goldberg appears in the March 25 issue.
After first explaining that for the left, "The explanation for conservatives’ opposition to President Obama and his agenda must be found not in our ideas but in our pathologies," they argue (bolds added by me):
Martin Peretz, the former owner and editor of the New Republic, has come down strongly on the new iteration of the magazine he first purchased in 1974.
So shocked by the content since Facebook's Chris Hughes took over is Peretz that he published a piece at the Wall Street Journal Thursday titled "The New New Republic: I don't recognize the magazine I used to own. We were liberal but not narrowly partisan":
Those who doubt the idea that modern liberalism is essentially about denying reality need to hear the latest laughable bit of media analysis from President Barack Obama.
According to the former junior senator from Illinois, the American media elite, the same group of people who have described themselves as "swooning" for him, is actually too nice to Republicans. This same group of people has taken the notion of "objectivity" too far, according to Obama.
How big of an Obama lapdog is Andrea Mitchell? Even bigger than ardent Obama fan Chris Hughes. The Facebook co-founder, who bought the New Republic last year, recently scored an interview with President Obama that has been criticized for its generally soft questioning. But during an appearance on Mitchell's MSNBC show today, even Hughes was more candid about the prez than Mitchell.
When it came to the President's statement during the interview that at Camp David "we do skeet shooting all the time," Mitchell claimed "he didn't say that he was skeet shooting, but he does say that it's one of the practices at Camp David by his guests." Responding, Hughes effectively contradicted her: "Frank Foer, the editor of New Republic, actually asked him point blank 'have you ever fired a gun?' And in response he said "yeah, we go skeet shooting all the time up at Camp David. He and his guests. Which is news to us and news to a lot of people." The transcript of the interview makes clear that, contrary to Mitchell's claim, Obama answered in the personal and affirmative. View the video after the jump.
As NewsBusters reported, President Obama, in an interview published Sunday by The New Republic, said, "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."
Within a few hours, Fox News's Greta Van Susteren struck back:
CNN had a friendly take on President Obama's Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew, despite the pick receiving sharp criticism from conservative circles. "He's definitely the guy for the next several months," CNN's Ali Velshi gave the White House spin on Thursday's Newsroom.
"Yeah, funnily enough if Wall Street hates him, he might be perfect for the job," chuckled anchor Michael Holmes."That's what a lot of people think, Michael, actually," Velshi added. Back in 2008, however, CNN framed Wall Street support for potential nominee Tim Geithner as a good thing.
High unemployment? A $16 trillion debt? Rising fuel prices?
Perhaps the real issue of this campaign is that Vogue editor Anna Wintour wants to be appointed ambassador to France. At least that's the suggestion published in two eerily similar articles in The New Republic and The Daily Beast. The rumor (officially denied) is that dahling Anna is growing weary of New York and would like to make a big splash on the Paris fashion scene by showing up there as ambassador to France. Both periodicals not only contain this same theme but even their titles are strangely similar. On top of that the quotes in both stories make one wonder if they are reciting the same information fed to both authors (Noreen Malone of The New Republic and Robin Givhan of The Daily Beast). To illustrate the amazing similarities of both articles, I shall place The New Republic quotes first followed by those of The Daily Beast in italics. First, let us look at the two similar titles:
On Thursday's NBC Rock Center, just days after calling for more liberal media bias against conservatives, left-wing screen writer Aaron Sorkin dismissed the idea that he has a reputation as an outspoken liberal: "I don't know so much about my being known for my liberal politics.... I don't have very much political sophistication at all." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Correspondent Savannah Guthrie skeptically replied: "Really, you're not known for your liberal politics?" Sorkin argued: "I don't feel that way about myself. Maybe I am. I've met activists, I'm not one of them. You know, they'll march. They'll do things that are hard. I, I don't."
Those whom the gods would destroy they first make proud.
The ancient Greeks warned about the consequences of hubris so perhaps The New Republic contributor, Ruy Teixeira, should take heed since he exhibited this quality in spades which is on full display in his article crowing over what he thinks is the likelihood of another Obama landslide in 2012. The ironic thing is that Teixeira apparently did not learn from his previous comeuppance from the election gods when he gloated over the fate of the Republicans in 2009 on the pages of Time Magazine as revealed by Newsbusters' Rich Noyes:
"The outlook for Republicans is even worse than people think," says Ruy Teixeira, author of The Emerging Democratic Majority. "Their biggest problem is that they really believe what they believe."
That is what leftwingers will be screaming at their computer monitors when they read The New Republic article by Ruy Teixeira in which he praises President Barack Obama for agreeing to extend the Bush tax cuts which are so hated by liberals. Even worse, he claims that the Bush tax cuts extension will improve the economy to the extent that they could improve Obama's re-election chances. Well, there are a lot of other factors at play which will serve to keep the economy in its current doldrums but what Teixeira specifically says about the Bush tax cuts are enough to send liberal blood pressures through the roof over his "heresy." Here a few "heretical" tidbits from Teixeira:
...Far from dividing Obama's coalition, the tax-cut deal is brilliant move that could cement it, in the process winning back some of the white working-class voters who deserted the Democrats in 2010. That's because Democrats' devastating defeat in the midterm elections resulted primarily from the weak economy and the government’s perceived failure to improve it, not from any lack of resoluteness in upholding liberal principles or applying liberal rhetoric. Therefore, the central task for the Obama administration after the election was—and is—to improve the economy by any means necessary.
Didn't Harvard Law Professor Randall Kennedy get the word? Barack Obama's re-election is all but guaranteed if you believe the liberal mainstream media. Just today the CNBC head of news reported the belief that Obama's re-election would be guaranteed by the actions of the Fed. So why the concern about the health of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer? Could it be that Kennedy doesn't quite (GASP!) believe in the political invincibility of the Lightworker?
Apparently such "heretical" thoughts must have occurred to Professor Kennedy judging by his New Republic article in which he urges the two aging justices to retire now because of the inference that they could die during a Republican administration elected next year and be replaced by (EEK!) conservatives. Of course, Kennedy tries, not too successfully, to be delicate in his suggestion:
Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer should soon retire. That would be the responsible thing for them to do. Both have served with distinction on the Supreme Court for a substantial period of time; Ginsburg for almost 18 years, Breyer for 17. Both are unlikely to be able to outlast a two-term Republican presidential administration, should one supersede the Obama administration following the 2012 election. What’s more, both are, well, old: Ginsburg is now 78, the senior sitting justice. Breyer is 72.
Such was the tone of the unintentionally hilarious article in The New Republic by contributing editor John McWhorter. Apparently his "thought crime" in the eyes of Jim Sleeper writing in Talking Points Memo was agreeing with Glenn Beck on the social toxicity of Frances Fox Piven:
Although your humble correspondent has crossed swords (nanny note: "crossed swords" is strictly a metaphor) with the senior editor of the The New Republic in the past, he highly recommends Jonathan Chait's latest article in The New Republic, "The Arizona Shooting Is Not A Product Of Right-Wing Rage," as required reading for those members of the mainstream media who have blamed the "right-wing" for the shootings of Congresswoman Gabrille Giffords and others in Arizona on Saturday.
Despite the fact that most of Chait's article displayed some refreshing mental clarity I do have some caveats about it because he does revert to slamming conservatives for supposed extremism on other matters. However, those problems with the article aside for the moment, let us first take a look at Chait correctly chastising those quick to blame "right-wingers" for the Arizona shootings:
So just how good a speaker is the new senator-elect from Florida, Marco Rubio? Conservatives are rightly highly impressed with Rubio's oratory, especially his election night victory speech. However, even liberals are giving high marks to Rubio's speaking abilities. John McWhorter of The New Republic even commits liberal sacrilege by grudgingly admitting (after slamming the speeches of other conservatives) that Rubio is a better speaker than Obama. Of course, this also scares him as well:
Marco Rubio, in his victory speech, was the exception, and showed as he often has why he is the Tea Party’s real secret weapon. Starting out with gushy God talk and closing by stressing that he is a “son of exiles,” Rubio is – let’s face it – a better Obama in his way. His Christianity will always be clear to those who care, and his foreign forebears are ones who fled Communism. At first we were to suppose that Obama’s mongrelism made him “like America,” but the leftist Kenyan business is ripe for the Becks and D’Souzas among us to frame as alien, never mind that Indonesia is a Muslim country. Rubio’s foreignness is more cuddly, immune to Fox News-style demagoguery.
Plus Rubio is a natural talker. No stagy incantations of lines based on things other people said long ago; no giggling; no props; no wandering off topic. He can rub a noun and a verb together, with minimal attendance to notes. As a result, like Bill Clinton, he seems intelligent in a way that Paladino and O’Donnell do not, and approachably human and on the ground in a way that Paul, despite his active mind, cannot.