New York Times reporter Jackie Calmes appeared on a panel discussion on “The Role of Minority Party in Congress” held at the Wilson International Center for Scholars on Monday, and outlined four liberal complaints against Republicans for not sufficiently accommodating Barack Obama early in his presidency (when they were distinctly the minority party and rather powerless) on his allegedly moderate measures like health reform and financial regulation.
Blaming Republicans for Obama’s woes ignores the fact that the Democrats had just won huge filibuster-proof majorities in 2008. The party controlled the Senate by a 60-40 margin and the House of Representatives by a health 257-178. And conservatives would argue that Obama’s claims of bipartisanship were severely overstated and amounted to trying to pick off individual Republicans to get on board with his sweeping liberal agenda on stimulus and health care “reform,” instead of reaching out to the Republican caucus as a whole with more moderate and modest proposals.
Talking on the panel Monday, aired by C-SPAN, about the need for political accommodation in Congress, Calmes took “the risk of sounding like I’m expressing an opinion" in her closing remarks, about an hour and ten minutes into the discussion:
UPDATE AT END OF POST: Krugman tries to clarify what he said.
Although he was likely taking a swipe at former governor Sarah Palin with the reference, Paul Krugman on Sunday recommended "death panels" as a means of helping to balance the federal budget.
In a Roundtable discussion on ABC's "This Week," the New York Times columnist said of what recently came out of the President's deficit commission, "Some years down the pike, we're going to get the real solution, which is going to be a combination of death panels and sales taxes" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Michael Cooper’s lead story in the National section of the New York Times on Saturday, "Debunking the Myths of the Midterm," offered up four alleged myths downplaying the import of the Republican takeover of the House and big gains in the Senate. The first four of Cooper's five "myths" centered around the idea that the Republican victory and Democratic defeat of 2010 had been overstated (the fifth was a paragraph of throwaway humor headlined “The Pundits Have a Clue” while arguing the opposite).
Every election develops its own mythology, usually before the official results are even certified, and this week’s was no different. And like all mythology, the narrative that is being woven around the midterm elections by Bulfinches from both parties is a blend of history, facts and, yes, myths.
But the four partisan myths Cooper tried to knock down were all ones that made Republicans look strong.
“Return to the Republican Fold” (Cooper denied it.) “The Sweeping Mandate” (No way.) “The Lost Youth Vote” (Not so fast.) “A Disaster for the President” (Not necessarily.)
I take no great pleasure in having been correct in predicting Barack Obama's reaction to his Tuesday "shellacking." To borrow his terminology, he is wired not to hear the American people's opposition to his radical agenda, as painfully demonstrated in his postelection news conference.
Unhappily, Obama's answers showed even deeper intransigence than I had thought he would be willing to reveal. He is every bit as committed to his destructive agenda as he was Nov. 1 and, despite his claims, is not looking for "common ground."
He said that every election "is a reminder that in our democracy, power rests not with those of us in elected office, but with the people we have the privilege to serve." But if anyone needs to be reminded of that, it is he, because he crammed through Obamacare and other offensive agenda items against the express will of the people.
For the second time in two weeks, a devout liberal exposed just how little Bill Maher actually knows about politics.
When the "Real Time" host arrogantly told his guests that people voted for Republicans this past Tuesday because President Obama "didn't back the public option" during the healthcare reform debate, Time's Fareed Zakaria marvelously informed the comedian just how wrong he was (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani took on the ladies of "The View" along with their highly-partisan audience Wednesday in a post-election discussion about Sarah Palin, Barack Obama, and healthcare reform.
So strongly did most of those in attendance disagree with Giuliani that he ended saying "You don't get it" when they booed him for criticizing the President (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Liberals don't want to believe that anyone would oppose the Obama agenda out of a principled stand against massive government spending and massive intervention in the free enterprise system. It's easier (and dirtier) to blame it all on racism. The leftist blog Daily Kos is keeping up that smear: "It's the black man in the White House, stupid." Michael Moore truly thrilled the blogger called "blackwaterdog" by claiming "Two years of a black man who secretly holds socialist beliefs being the boss of them is more than they can stomach. They've been sick to death since the night of 11/04/08 and they are ready to purge."
MSNBC should be so proud that this blogger frames this smear with a Rachel Maddow segment celebrating all the "achievements" of Democrat-dominated Washington in the last two years. (The lowlight is Maddow celebrating that the "bureaucracy" of private student loans has been removed and it's all wonderfully streamlined and nationalized now. Or Maddow celebrating how health care "reform" is the secret to reducing the horrendous national debt. Or...) Then came the Kosmonaut song sheet:
Update (15:20 EDT): Fargo, N.D.-based radio host friend of NewsBusters Rob Port takes on this Newsweek item on his Say Anything blog today and eviscerates David Graham's article as error-laden and grossly misleading.
"Can one Blue Dog’s unorthodox ad strategy localize his election and head off the demise of another incumbent?" asked the subheadline.
Of course, both the moderate and Blue Dog tags bring to mind a Democrat that perhaps agrees with the liberal leadership of his party about half of the time, but is fairly independent and conservative-minded on a whole host of issues. Trouble is, this is precisely what Pomeroy is not, according to both the liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) and the American Conservative Union (ACU).
The report, released less than two weeks before the November elections, was actually authored by the far-left Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which promotes abortion rights, gay rights and fighting bigotry and racism, as noted by the Media Research Center’s Scott Whitlock. Zernike flattered the NAACP with her opening description, though these days the NAACP is less an honored civil rights organization and more a liberal activist group:
The nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization released a report Wednesday declaring that the Tea Party is “permeated with concerns about race,” an assessment that is likely to reignite a feud between the two groups.
The report released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People argues that Tea Party groups “have given platform to anti-Semites, racists and bigots,” and have attracted white nationalists looking for recruits.
“The Tea Party movement has unleashed a still inchoate political movement who are in their numerical majority, angry middle-class white people who believe their country, their nation, has been taken from them,” it says.
The study was written by Devin Burghart and Leonard Zeskind of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights, which is dedicated to examining and mobilizing against racist, anti-Semitic and far-right social movements. It analyzed what it calls six nationwide Tea Party networks at the core of the movement, and concludes that leaders of all but one -- FreedomWorks, a libertarian group in Washington headed by Dick Armey, a former House Republican majority leader -- have raised questions about the validity of President Obama’s birth certificate.
What do birth certificate questions have to do with racism?
In 2011, the two major legislative initiatives of the tea party Congress (pray the voters deliver such a congress) will be to get a grip on the deficit, and to begin to reverse the intrusion of the federal government in American lives and business.
It remains to be seen whether Congress will have the guts — and even the tea party public will give their support-for the entitlement cutting that deficit control and long-term fiscal soundness will require.
Procedurally, however, the method is pretty straightforward. Congress passes a 10-year budget resolution, then passes appropriations and other bills to carry out those objectives. And, of course, the president has to sign them into law. That may result in the greatest Washington political battle since slavery, but at least the legislative method is obvious and straightforward.
There is a lot of media chatter about whether or not a strengthened Republican Party would move to repeal ObamaCare pending the results of the upcoming elections in November.
On Tuesday, the Davis Intelligence Group reported that Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) "recently told a group of high-dollar GOP donors that Senate Republicans would not move to fully repeal President Obama’s health care law next year, according to multiple sources who attended the event."
The snippet of the subscription only piece also stated (h/t Mark Levin):
A young liberal group recently stripped down naked to show their, uh, support for ObamaCare. Well, now a young conservative group has produced a response video. Judge for yourself which one makes the better argument.
With low poll approval ratings and the prospect of his congressional allies in Congress taking a drubbing in November, it's hardly surprising the liberal media are looking for any silver lining for Obama that it can find.
Enter Time magazine's Kate Pickert, who on the magazine's Swampland blog yesterday claimed that a ruling upholding ObamaCare's constitutionality yesterday was a "significant victory for the Obama administration."
A temporary boost, perhaps, but significant? The ruling was at the District Court level, and the public interest firm representing the plaintiffs plans to appeal to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Plus Pickert herself noted that there are plenty of other court challenges against ObamaCare, and they are not all bound to come down the same way District Court Judge George Steeh ruled yesterday.
What is significant is how Judge Steeh's reasoning profoundly obliterates the scope of the Constitution's interstate commerce clause to define refraining from commerce as commerce. It's an open question if appellate courts agree.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll didn’t come up with numbers pleasing to the NBC News staff, though Brian Williams, on Tuesday’s NBC Nightly News, did his best to spin the findings as showing “there is really bad news if you're an incumbent officeholder of either party” and Chuck Todd insisted the public wants more from the elections than “just change [in] the color of the jerseys.”
Todd, however, couldn’t avoid reporting that “the change that voters want” includes 54 percent who “hope that this Tea Party enthusiasm in the Republican Party makes them a fiscally conservative party” and “54 percent want to see the repeal of health care.” Plus, “42 percent tell us” the Tea Party movement has “been a good thing” – more than twice as many as see it as a “bad thing.”
Unmentioned by Todd or Williams: Those pro-Tea Party/anti-ObamaCare numbers came from a polling sample dominated by MSM television news consumers. Question 36, in the PDF rundown of the survey, asked from which “television news sources do you get MOST of your information about politics and current events?” From the list offered, 35 percent said “broadcast network news, such as NBC, ABC, or CBS,” 16 percent named “the cable channel CNN” and 8 percent affirmed they rely on “the cable channel MSNBC.” That adds up to 59 percent, compared to 24 percent who cited “the cable channel Fox News.”
Ann Coulter on Monday explained to Larry King why so many Americans think Barack Obama is a Muslim.
Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" with Professor Marc Lamont Hill, Coulter pointed out how odd it is that this number has increased since Obama was elected, "Usually the truth moves in the opposite direction."
She continued, "The answer is because he seems foreign to them, that he's pushing this European health care system on America, that he doesn't listen to the American people, that he doesn't cite God when he mentions the Declaration of Independence. He seems alien, and I keep telling them, 'No, he's not a Muslim, he's an atheist.'"
This led King to ask, "Do you need to believe in God to govern?" And that's when the fun started (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Sunday’s Today show on NBC and Sunday Morning on CBS presented seemingly contradictory polling results on how much ObamaCare is supported by the American public, although both seemed to be citing the same AP poll. As Meet the Press host David Gregory appeared on Today, anchor Lester Holt suggested that Republicans are going against the majority of Americans in promising to repeal ObamaCare as he vaguely referred to polling data and contended, "But new polling out suggests that most people not only do they not want to, don't want it repealed, they want more added to it," and added, "Do Republicans have to refine this message and take a better look at it?" According to the AP poll as reported at msnbc.com, "four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system."
By contrast, on Sunday Morning, CBS anchor Charles Osgood briefly recounted numbers from the AP poll which suggested that ObamaCare is unpopular. Osgood: "A poll commissioned by the Associated Press finds just 30 percent of Americans in favor of the new health care law, 30 percent are neutral, and 40 percent oppose it. Four out of 10 respondents say the new law doesn’t do enough to change the health care system."
Returning to NBC, Gregory did not comment directly on whether he believed the poll’s accuracy, as he argued that the Republican message may indeed be successful, and went on to raise the theory from the left that ObamaCare will become more popular as people benefit from it:
Andrew Breitbart on Friday exposed Bill Maher for not being the Libertarian he claims to be, but a socialist instead.
When push came to shove, a seemingly embarrassed Maher didn't protest.
In the middle of a heated discussion on HBO's "Real Time" about healthcare reform legislation passed earlier this year, Maher vehemently defended the program.
This led Breitbart to smartly observe, "So you're officially not a Libertarian anymore, right? I mean, this position has run so far from the Libertarian position. Is this, so you admit that you have more of a, you know, European socialist leaning perspective on this issue?"
When the audience laughter subsided, a clearly stunned Maher acknowledged, "I'm not afraid to say European socialism works" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Back in 1992, ABC World News Tonight anchor Peter Jennings told viewers his network would skip coverage of “routine” campaign events, unless they actually contributed new information that viewers could use. In an effort to keep ABC from being used as a propaganda arm for politicians, Jennings declared “there will be less attention to staged appearances and sound bites designed exclusively for television.”
He later elaborated to the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz, saying he did not want to be “‘seduced by pictures as we’ve been so easily seduced in the past. I don’t think any of us ever wants to be in the flag factory situation again,’ referring to a 1988 Bush campaign event.”
Evidently, times have changed. On Thursday’s World News, ABC anchor Diane Sawyer ran as a “news” item a White House-produced video — complete with schmaltzy background music — of President Obama taking a phone call from a cancer patient who, Sawyer informed viewers “is now able to get health insurance” thanks to ObamaCare.
Catching up on an item from Wednesday, uniquely among the broadcast network evening newscasts, the CBS Evening News informed its viewers that ObamaCare regulations will result in some insurance companies refusing to sell new policies specifically for children whose parents otherwise might have wanted to purchase such policies. Faced with rules that would prevent the insurance industry from denying coverage to children with preexisting health problems, at least three companies will be discontinuing child-only policies. CBS anchor Katie Couric set up the report: "And it didn't take long. The insurance industry has already found a way around that preexisting condition provision for children's policies: Don't sell any. And that could affect a half a million Americans under the age of 18."
Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson recounted the story of a man who has had trouble purchasing insurance for his daughter because of a preexisting condition, and then informed viewers of the disappointing news that she still will likely not be able to obtain insurance. After noting President Barack Obama’s promise to ban discrimination against children with preexisting health problems, Attkisson continued:
The first wave of Obama-care goes into effect today, and New York Times health-care reporter Kevin Sack celebrated with a series of propaganda-style articles for the front of the National section, topped by "For Many Families, Health Care Relief Begins Today." (As did higher costs and denied coverage, but the Times didn't get into that.)
The Times's headline reads more like an Obama administration press release than an actual instance of journalism, and Sack's reference (in a news story) to the "Darwinian insurance system" doesn't inspire confidence in his objectivity.
Sometimes lost in the partisan clamor about the new health care law is the profound relief it is expected to bring to hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been stricken first by disease and then by a Darwinian insurance system.
On Thursday, the six-month anniversary of the signing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a number of its most central consumer protections take effect, just in time for the midterm elections.
Starting now, insurance companies will no longer be permitted to exclude children because of pre-existing health conditions, which the White House said could enable 72,000 uninsured to gain coverage. Insurers also will be prohibited from imposing lifetime limits on benefits.
"The justices have not struck down a major piece of legislation, let alone a president's signature initiative, as beyond Congress's power to regulate commerce in some 75 years."
That's how Newsweek's Stuart Taylor Jr. today all but argued that, political ideology of the Supreme Court's majority aside, a Supreme Court decision declaring unconstitutional the "individual mandate" of ObamaCare is quite unlikely.
But while Taylor may be right that no signature presidential initiative post-New Deal has been declared unconstitutional by the Court on the grounds that it violated the interstate commerce clause, he neglected to mention there are two key cases in the past 15 years where the Supreme Court did set outer limits to Congress's exploitation of the commerce clause as a fountain of federal power.
"This is what we are to expect, and it's going to get worse between now and November."
That's how NewsBusters publisher and Media Research Center President Brent Bozell reacted this morning on Fox Business Network's "Varney & Company" to the media's drumbeat of criticism regarding Tea Party-backed Republican nominees for office this November.
Bozell agreed with host Stuart Varney that the media are incessantly bashing Tea Party favorites like Delaware's Christine O'Donnell because they have to change the subject from the demonstrable failures of Obamanomics [MP3 audio available here; WMV video for download here]:
James Taranto at the Wall Street Journal pointed out in his "Best of the Web Today" review on Thursday how Mark Halperin of Time seems to disagree so vehemently with himself about how the Obama presidency was supposed to unfold this year. Why would Obama delay business-tax-cut talk until the fall, for example:
It is fair to ask (and many Democrats have) why the President is only now proposing such critical measures, rather than offering them up earlier in his term, before election-season politics brought governing to a standstill.
It's fair to answer, too. While Americans were anxious about the economy, Obama was obsessed with wrecking our health care. He was urged on by cheerleaders in the media like the one who wrote an article on March 22, the day after the House passed ObamaCare, which began as follows:
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Sunday accused Barack Obama of badly misreading his Election Day mandate, and said the current White House is the worst communicating administration he's ever seen.
Appearing on the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week," Friedman blasted the President saying, "I'm for more health care. I'm glad we've extended it to more Americans. But the fact is there's a real, I think, argument for the case that Obama completely over-read his mandate when he came in."
Friedman continued, "He was elected to get rid of one man's job, George Bush, and get the rest of us jobs. I think that was the core thing, and by starting with health care and not making his first year the year of innovation, expanding the economy and expanding jobs, you know, I think looking back, that was a political mistake."
Moments later, the Times columnist said, "I've never seen a worse communicating administration" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
It has now been five days since Politico's Ben Smith published a powerpoint presentation created by an amalgamation of powerful left wing interest groups, conceding that two of the central arguments for passing ObamaCare - that it will lower the deficit and will reduce health care costs - have failed.
For a group of organizations integral to the passage of the law, that was a stunning admission. And yet, the mainstream press is nearly silent on the issue. Searches on Nexis and Google News reveal no coverage from the major television networks, the cable news channels (with the exception of Fox), the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, PBS, or Newsweek. To their credit, Time Magazine and the Washington Post published a blog post each on the revelation.
Even while discussing ObamaCare and its potential effects on the deficit and health care costs, some media outlets managed to avoid any mention of a fact Democrats now seem to be conceding: "the White House's first and most aggressive sales pitch have essentially failed," as Smith notes.
Newsweek, recently sold for one dollar by the Washington Post Company but still in its hands, ranked the United States 11th, just behind Denmark, in this week’s “The Best Countries in the World” cover story which put Finland at #1, followed by Switzerland and Sweden. There’s hope for improvement, however, thanks to George W. Bush’s departure from the White House and Barack Obama’s arrival. Michael Hirsh explained the beyond the top ten rank:
America hasn’t recovered from the serious blows to its stature delivered by nearly a decade of policy debacles. As Obama never tires of reminding the American public...he inherited a Herculean task: the Augean-stable-size mess left behind by George W. Bush.
The August 23 & 30 two-week edition cover story package certainly reflected Obama’s policy agenda. A sidebar (apparently not online) on the nations with the best health care, which put Japan at the top, touted fourth-best Spain where “universal coverage is a constitutionally guaranteed right, and there are no out-of-pocket expenses aside from some prescription drugs.” The U.S. wasn’t even one of the top ten countries listed (the full list online has the U.S. at #26 in health, tied with the Czech Republic and Chile and behind Slovenia.)
In a two-page spread on particular bests for a bunch of nations, Newsweek’s Karen Fragala Smith, who tagged the Czech Republic as the “Best Place for Sex” and Belgium as the “Best Place to Be a Dog Owner,” declared France the “Best Place to Have a Baby,” trumpeting “low-cost health care” and nanny state services:
Maman is sitting pretty, with as much as seven months’ paid leave, low-cost health care, and a baby nurse who makes house calls. If she’s sick, the government sends someone to do the family’s laundry.
How dense and forgetful does Newsweek think socially conservative voters are?
Apparently so much so that the magazine's Ben Adler predicts yesterday's stay on Judge Vaughn Walker's ruling permitting same-sex marriages in California will blunt the hopes Republicans have of social conservatives coming out in force on Election Day to help push the GOP to victory in the midterms on Election Day.
Social conservatives were set to use the images of gay couples getting married in California as grist to motivate their base to turn out in the midterm elections. Republicans look certain to gain seats in both Houses of Congress in November, as opposition parties typically do during midterms. Whether they will pull the inside straight they need to take over either, or both, the House and Senate, will depend on any number of factors, but turnout is sure to be one of them.
Further, Adler maintained, because "the Democrats have not done much to invite images of an American Gomorrah" what with President Obama moving "very gingerly" and tentatively on issues like repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," social conservatives need the visual impact of gay and lesbian couples at the altar this fall to incense social conservatives and drive them like angry hornets to the ballot box.