Nader Gives Up On Challenging Obama

Ralph Nader, the man who helped give us George Bush and the Iraq War, has conceded defeat in his activities which would increase the chance of making Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, or Newt Gingrich our next president. The Hill reports that Nader has given up on his attempt to launch a primary challenge against Barack Obama. “I hate to say but it’s over,” Nader told The Hill. One can only hope that this applies to Ralph Nader’s involvement in politics and not only his current activities.

Nader held the naive view that challenging Obama would move the country towards the left. The Hill commented on this fallacy:

Presidential history, however, suggests that a primary challenge would have weakened Obama.

Presidents Ford, Carter, and George H.W. Bush all faced primary challenges during their reelection campaigns and all lost in the general election. Some political analysts also attribute Vice President Al Gore’s defeat in 2000 to former Sen. Bill Bradley’s primary challenge.

Others have also pointed to Nader’s 2000 bid as a spoiler for Gore. In the swing state of Florida that year, Nader received 97,488 votes. Gore officially lost the Sunshine State by 537 votes.

Nader was also naive enough to be surprised by opposition to his efforts from the White House. The move of the New Hampshire primary to early January is also cited as  interfering with Nader’s efforts, but I doubt they would have been successful even if this was not done.

While some on the left have also considered a challenge to Obama, others realize the folly of such efforts:

While parts of the left are dismayed with Obama, there are many leading progressives who believe a primary challenge would be political suicide.

The co-chairmen of the House Progressive Caucus, Reps. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), have both said the Democratic Party needs to be 100 percent behind Obama.

Ellison in September claimed a primary opponent would “undermine our unity, and we need everybody in the same boat.”

Former Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) this week said that Nader “bears a lot of the responsibility for George W. Bush for eight years” and scoffed at the effort to challenge Obama from the left.

Obey told The Hill, “I mean let’s get serious: We have the gravest threat to progressive government that I have seen in all the years I’ve seen in politics.

“And if Obama can’t win in the next election, progressivism will take a huge, huge hit. Anybody who wants to nitpick with him as the nominee of our party is smoking something that isn’t legal. It’s ridiculous. I mean we will rise or fall based on how Obama does.”

The best way to bring about liberal change would be to consolidate the reforms made by Obama and attempt to achieve more in the future. There are no faults in the actions of Barack Obama which would be improved upon by helping a Republican become our next president.

Please Share

Quote of the Day

“There’s already controversy with the Iowa caucuses. About a half hour ago, they found eight more votes for Al Gore.” –David Letterman

Please Share

How Roger Ailes Uses Propaganda To Promote Right Wing Extremism and Spread Misinformation

Rolling Stone looks at Fox. They demonstrate,  as others  have pointed out previously, that Roger Ailes, not Rupart Murdoch, is the larger problem. The story shows how he has used misinformation, often fueled by his own extremist world to shape the Republican message and dominate Republican politics. This included his fear of Muslims, which is reflected in coverage at Fox.

Fear, in fact, is precisely what Ailes is selling: His network has relentlessly hyped phantom menaces like the planned “terror mosque” near Ground Zero, inspiring Florida pastor Terry Jones to torch the Koran. Privately, Murdoch is as impressed by Ailes’ business savvy as he is dismissive of his extremist politics. “You know Roger is crazy,” Murdoch recently told a colleague, shaking his head in disbelief. “He really believes that stuff.”

To watch even a day of Fox News – the anger, the bombast, the virulent paranoid streak, the unending appeals to white resentment, the reporting that’s held to the same standard of evidence as a late-­October attack ad – is to see a refraction of its founder, one of the most skilled and fearsome operatives in the history of the Republican Party. As a political consultant, Ailes repackaged Richard Nixon for television in 1968, papered over Ronald Reagan’s budding Alzheimer’s in 1984, shamelessly stoked racial fears to elect George H.W. Bush in 1988, and waged a secret campaign on behalf of Big Tobacco to derail health care reform in 1993. “He was the premier guy in the business,” says former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins. “He was our Michelangelo.”

In the fable Ailes tells about his own life, he made a clean break with his dirty political past long before 1996, when he joined forces with Murdoch to launch Fox News. “I quit politics,” he has claimed, “because I hated it.” But an examination of his career reveals that Ailes has used Fox News to pioneer a new form of political campaign – one that enables the GOP to bypass skeptical reporters and wage an around-the-clock, partisan assault on public opinion. The network, at its core, is a giant soundstage created to mimic the look and feel of a news operation, cleverly camouflaging political propaganda as independent journalism.

The result is one of the most powerful political machines in American history. One that plays a leading role in defining Republican talking points and advancing the agenda of the far right. Fox News tilted the electoral balance to George W. Bush in 2000, prematurely declaring him president in a move that prompted every other network to follow suit. It helped create the Tea Party, transforming it from the butt of late-night jokes into a nationwide insurgency capable of electing U.S. senators. Fox News turbocharged the Republican takeover of the House last fall, and even helped elect former Fox News host John Kasich as the union-busting governor of Ohio – with the help of $1.26 million in campaign contributions from News Corp. And by incubating a host of potential GOP contenders on the Fox News payroll– including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – Ailes seems determined to add a fifth presidential notch to his belt in 2012. “Everything Roger wanted to do when he started out in politics, he’s now doing 24/7 with his network,” says a former News Corp. executive. “It’s come full circle.”

The article reviewed Ailes’s career, including how he used deception to influence the news. When he took over at Fox, he made sure it only presented his viewpoints:

Ailes then embarked on a purge of existing staffers at Fox News. “There was  a litmus test,” recalled Joe Peyronnin, whom Ailes displaced as head of the network. “He was going to figure out who was liberal or conservative when he came in, and try to get rid of the liberals.” When Ailes suspected a journalist wasn’t far enough to the right for his tastes, he’d spring an accusation: “Why are you a liberal?” If staffers had worked at one of the major news networks, Ailes would force them to defend working at a place  like CBS – which he spat out as “the Communist Broadcast System.” To replace the veterans he fired, Ailes brought in droves of inexperienced up-and-comers – enabling him to weave his own political biases into the network’s DNA. To oversee the young newsroom, he recruited John Moody, a  conservative veteran of Time. As recounted by journalist Scott Collins in Crazy Like a Fox, the Chairman gave Moody explicit ideological marching orders. “One of the problems we have to work on here together when we start this network is that most journalists are liberals,” Ailes told Moody. “And  we’ve got to fight that.” Reporters understood that a right-wing bias was hard-wired into what they did from the start. “All outward appearances were  that it was just like any other newsroom,” says a former anchor. “But you  knew that the way to get ahead was to show your color – and that your color  was red.” Red state, that is.

Ailes biggest accomplishment was to proclaim George Bush the winner of the 2000 election when subsequent reviews of the vote showed that Al Gore would have won with a state-wide recount:

But it was the election of George W. Bush in 2000 that revealed the true power of Fox News as a political machine. According to a study of voting patterns by the University of California, Fox News shifted roughly 200,000 ballots to Bush in areas where voters had access to the network. But Ailes, ever the political operative, didn’t leave the outcome to anything as dicey as the popular vote. The man he tapped to head the network’s “decision desk”  on election night – the consultant responsible for calling states for either  Gore or Bush – was none other than John Prescott Ellis, Bush’s first cousin.  As a columnist at The Boston Globe, Ellis had recused himself from covering  the campaign. “There is no way for you to know if I am telling you the truth about George W. Bush’s presidential campaign,” he told his readers, “because in his case, my loyalty goes to him and not to you.”

In any newsroom worthy of the name, such a conflict of interest would have immediately disqualified Ellis. But for Ailes, loyalty to Bush was an asset.  “We at Fox News,” he would later tell a House hearing, “do not discriminate  against people because of their family connections.” On Election Day, Ellis  was in constant contact with Bush himself. After midnight, when a wave of late numbers showed Bush with a narrow lead, Ellis jumped on the data to  declare Bush the winner – even though Florida was still rated too close to  call by the vote-tracking consortium used by all the networks. Hume  announced Fox’s call for Bush at 2:16 a.m. – a move that spurred every other network to follow suit, and led to bush wins headlines in the morning papers.

“We’ll never know whether Bush won the election in Florida or not,” says Dan  Rather, who was anchoring the election coverage for CBS that night. “But  when you reach these kinds of situations, the ability to control the narrative becomes critical. Led by Fox, the narrative began to be that Bush had won the election.”

Dwell on this for a moment: A “news” network controlled by a GOP operative  who had spent decades shaping just such political narratives – including those that helped elect the candidate’s father – declared George W. Bush the victor based on the analysis of a man who had proclaimed himself loyal to  Bush over the facts. “Of everything that happened on election night, this was the most important in impact,” Rep. Henry Waxman said at the time. “It immeasurably helped George Bush maintain the idea in people’s minds that he was the man who won the election.”

After Bush took office, Ailes stayed in frequent touch with the new Republican president. “The senior-level editorial people believe that Roger was on the phone every day with Bush,” a source close to Fox News tells Rolling Stone. “He gave Bush the same kind of pointers he used to give George H.W. Bush – delivery, effectiveness, political coaching.” In the aftermath of 9/11, Ailes sent a back-channel memo to the president through Karl Rove, advising Bush to ramp up the War on Terror. As reported by Bob Woodward, Ailes advised Bush that “the American public would tolerate waiting and would be patient, but only as long as they were convinced that Bush was using the harshest measures possible.”

After the Bush years, Ailes has used his influence to terrorize and misinform  his audience,  spread scare stories about Barack Obama, and promote far right wing causes:

Ailes knows exactly who is watching Fox News each day, and he is adept at playing to their darkest fears in the age of Obama. The network’s viewers are old, with a median age of 65: Ads cater to the immobile, the infirm and the incontinent, with appeals to join class action hip-replacement lawsuits, spots for products like Colon Flow and testimonials for the services of Liberator Medical (“Liberator gave me back the freedom I haven’t had since I started using catheters”). The audience is also almost exclusively white – only 1.38 percent of viewers are African-American. “Roger understands audiences,” says Rollins, the former Reagan consultant. “He knew how to target, which is what Fox News is all about.” The typical viewer of Hannity, to take the most stark example, is a pro-business (86 percent), Christian conservative (78 percent), Tea Party-backer (75 percent) with no college degree (66 percent), who is over age 50 (65 percent), supports the NRA (73 percent), doesn’t back gay rights (78 percent) and thinks government “does too much” (84 percent). “He’s got a niche audience and he’s programmed to it beautifully,” says a former News Corp. colleague. “He feeds them exactly what they want to hear.”

From the time Obama began contemplating his candidacy, Fox News went all-out to convince its white viewers that he was a Marxist, a Muslim, a black nationalist and a 1960s radical. In early 2007, Ailes joked about the similarity of Obama’s name to a certain terrorist’s. “It is true that Barack Obama is on the move,” Ailes said in a speech to news executives. “I don’t know if it’s true that President Bush called Musharraf and said, ‘Why can’t we catch this guy?’” References to Obama’s middle name were soon being bandied about on Fox & Friends, the morning happy-talk show that Ailes uses as one of his primary vehicles to inject his venom into the media bloodstream. According to insiders, the morning show’s anchors, who appear to be chatting ad-lib, are actually working from daily, structured talking points that come straight from the top. “Prior to broadcast, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson – that gang – they meet with Roger,” says a former Fox deputy. “And Roger gives them the spin.”

Fox & Friends is where the smear about Obama having attended a madrassa was first broadcast, with Doocy – an Ailes lackey from his days at America’s Talking – stating unequivocally that Obama was “raised as a Muslim.” And during the campaign, the show’s anchors flogged Obama’s reference to his own grandmother as a “typical white person” so relentlessly that it even gave Fox News host Chris Wallace pause. When Wallace appeared on the show that morning, he launched a rebuke that seemed targeted at Ailes as much as Doocy. “I have been watching the show since six o’clock this morning,” Wallace bristled. “I feel like two hours of Obama-bashing may be enough.”

The Obama era has spurred sharp changes in the character and tone of Fox News. “Obama’s election has driven Fox to be more of a political campaign than it ever was before,” says Burns, the network’s former media critic.“Things shifted,” agrees Jane Hall, who fled the network after a decade as a liberal commentator. “There seemed suddenly to be less of a need to have a range of opinion. I began to feel uncomfortable.” Sean Hannity was no longer flanked by Alan Colmes, long the network’s fig-leaf liberal. Bill Sammon, author of At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried to Steal the Election, was brought in to replace Moody as the top political enforcer. And Brit Hume was replaced on the anchor desk by Bret Baier, one of the young guns Ailes hired more than a decade ago to inject right-wing fervor into Fox News.

Most striking, Ailes hired Glenn Beck away from CNN and set him loose on the White House. During his contract negotiations, Beck recounted, Ailes confided that Fox News was dedicating itself to impeding the Obama administration. “I see this as the Alamo,” Ailes declared. Leading the charge were the ragtag members of the Tea Party uprising, which Fox News propelled into a nationwide movement. In the buildup to the initial protests on April 15th, 2009, the network went so far as to actually co-brand the rallies as “FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.” Veteran journalists were taken aback. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a news network throw its weight behind a protest like we are seeing in the past few weeks,” said Howard Kurtz, the then-media critic for The Washington Post. The following August, when the Tea Party launched its town-hall protests against health care reform, Fox & Friends urged viewers to confront their congressmen face to face. “Are you gonna call?” Gretchen Carlson demanded on-air, “or are you gonna go to one of these receptions where they’re actually there?” The onscreen Chyron instructed viewers: HOLD CONGRESS ACCOUNTABLE! NOW IS THE TIME TO SPEAK YOUR MIND.

Fox News also hyped Sarah Palin’s lies about “death panels” and took the smear a step further, airing a report claiming that the Department of Veterans Affairs was using a “death book” to encourage soldiers to “hurry up and die.” (Missing from the report was any indication that the end-of-life counseling materials in question had been promoted by the Bush administration.) At the height of the health care debate, more than two-thirds of Fox News viewers were convinced Obama­care would lead to a “government takeover,” provide health care to illegal immigrants, pay for abortions and let the government decide when to pull the plug on grandma. As always, the Chairman’s enforcer made sure that producers down in the Fox News basement were toeing the party line. In October 2009, as Congress weighed adding a public option to the health care law, Sammon let everyone know how Ailes expected them to cover the story. “Let’s not slip back into calling it the ‘public option,’” he warned in an e-mail. “Please use the term ‘government-run health insurance’ … when­ever possible.” Sammon neglected to mention that the phrase he was pushing had been carefully crafted by America’s Health Insurance Plans, the industry’s largest lobbying organization, which had determined that the wording was “the most negative language to use when describing a ‘public plan.’”

The result of this concerted campaign of disinformation is a viewership that knows almost nothing about what’s going on in the world. According to recent polls, Fox News viewers are the most misinformed of all news consumers. They are 12 percentage points more likely to believe the stimulus package caused job losses, 17 points more likely to believe Muslims want to establish Shariah law in America, 30 points more likely to say that scientists dispute global warming, and 31 points more likely to doubt President Obama’s citizenship. In fact, a study by the University of Maryland reveals, ignorance of Fox viewers actually increases the longer they watch the network. That’s because Ailes isn’t interested in providing people with information, or even a balanced range of perspectives. Like his political mentor, Richard Nixon, Ailes traffics in the emotions of victimization.

Update: Conservatives cannot handle the truth. They have been brainwashed by right wing propaganda to the point they do not recognize facts as opposed to right wing fiction.  In contrast, many people in the Soviet Union realized that Pravda was lying.

 

Please Share

Keith Olbermann Announces Move To Current TV

Yesterday’s report that Keith Olbermann is going to Current TV has been verified:

Keith Olbermann announced on Tuesday that he will host a one-hour, nightly primetime show on Current TV starting in late spring. He will also become the “chief news officer” for Current. Olbermann had been without a television home since he abruptly left MSNBC, where he had hosted “Countdown” for eight years, in January.

For Olbermann, his move to Current gives him a chance to wield large influence over a a relatively tiny network. Current averages about 23,000 viewers in primetime every night–a far cry from the million or so viewers who watched “Countdown.”

In a conference call with reporters on Tuesday morning, Olbermann said that “nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media, and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news that is produced independently of corporate interference.” He called Current “the model truth seeking entity” in television, and said that his new show was “the most exciting event in my career.”

Olbermann said the show “will be for all intents and purposes an improved and we hope amplified and stronger version of the show that I just did at my previous network.” He could not, however, provide details of the name and time of the show, saying only, “stay tuned.”

Al Gore, the chairman of Current TV, also spoke on the conference call. He said he was “extremely honored and delighted” that Olbermann was coming to Current. He said Olbermann was a “great fit with Current in every way.”

It will be interesting to see if Olbermann’s presence can improve the ratings at Current TV. The network already has a web site up announcing the show along with information on coverage. Their web sites lists Direct TV, Dish Network, Comcast Digital, Time Warner Digital, and AT&T U-Verse among satellite and cable companies which carry Current TV. A big name like Olbermann might also lead to increased demand and more companies carrying the network.

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/07/olbermann-said-to-be-going-to-current-tv/
Please Share

Top Ten Highlights of the George W. Bush Library Groundbreaking

David Letterman’s “Top Ten Highlights of the George W. Bush Library Groundbreaking”

10. While digging, they found Obama’s birth certificate
9. Read warm congratulatory note from Osama and Julie bin Laden
8. Displayed thousands of books Bush pretends to read
7. George arrived wearing a flight suit and piloting the Conan blimp
6. Dubya only had three shoes thrown at him
5. Dug up thousands of Gore ballots from 2000
4. Bush gave Halliburton $300 million check just for the hell of it
3. George correctly pronounced the word “nuclear” (it doesn’t get any more groundbreaking than that)
2. After a few seconds of digging, Bush raised “Mission Accomplished” banner
1. Bush and Cheney celebrated the day with a long, passionate, open-mouth kiss

Please Share

The Worst People In American History–To Conservatives

Right Wing News conducted a survey of conservative  bloggers to find out who they thought were the worst twenty-five people in U.S. history. John Wilkes  Booth beat out Nancy Pelosi, but only by one vote. Jimmy Carter leads, followed by Barack Obama. Both are well ahead of Timothy McVeigh, who also trails Ted Kennedy, FDR, and LBJ.  The results:

23) Saul Alinsky (7)
23) Bill Clinton (7)
23) Hillary Clinton (7)
19) Michael Moore (7)
19) George Soros (8)
19) Alger Hiss (8)
19) Al Sharpton (8)
13) Al Gore (9)
13) Noam Chomsky (9)
13) Richard Nixon (9)
13) Jane Fonda (9)
13) Harry Reid (9)
13) Nancy Pelosi (9)
11) John Wilkes Booth (10)
11) Margaret Sanger (10)
9) Aldrich Ames (11)
9) Timothy McVeigh (11)
7) Ted Kennedy (14)
7) Lyndon Johnson (14)
5) Benedict Arnold (17)
5) Woodrow Wilson (17)
4) The Rosenbergs (19)
3) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (21)
2) Barack Obama (23)
1) Jimmy Carter (25)

It also appears that, in their view, we are living in really bad times considering how many of the worst people in American history are now living or were around in the not very distant past.

Please Share

Does Glenn Beck Make It All Up For The Money?

I’ve often speculated that people such as Glenn Beck and  Rush Limbaugh do not really believe most of  the things they say but see their act as a way to make a lot of money. A profile of Glenn Beck in Forbes suggests he says all those crazy things primarily for the money:

You may love or hate him for his outlandish words, but that is how he gets an audience–and sometimes repels advertisers. Some classic Beckisms: “This President, I think, has exposed himself as a guy over and over and over again who has a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture” (2009). “Al Gore’s not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization” (2007). “I’m thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I’m wondering if I could kill him myself or if I would need to hire somebody to do it” (2005).

With a deadpan, Beck insists that he is not political: “I could give a flying crap about the political process.” Making money, on the other hand, is to be taken very seriously, and controversy is its own coinage. “We’re an entertainment company,” Beck says.

Others also see Beck as more a performer than as someone saying what he believes:

“I don’t necessarily believe that [what Beck says] is reflective of his own personal politics–I don’t even know if he has personal politics,” says Michael Harrison, publisher of Talkers, a trade magazine devoted to talk radio. “I see him as a performer.”

Think Progress points out other examples suggesting that it might be an act:

In February he told USA Weekend that “you’d have to be an idiot” to “not notice the temperature change” caused by global warming, and that he thinks mankind may play a significant role in the phenomenon. Beck has previously described himself as “a rodeo clown” and conceded, “If you take what I say as gospel, you’re an idiot.”

If it really is the case that Back does not believe what he says, and that he doesn’t “give a flying crap” about politics, he is getting a large number of people out protesting on false pretenses. It might not be Beck who is the crazy one, but al those people who listen to him. We’ve already known that the right wing protesters are often basing their protests on false information. I’m not sure if it makes it better or worse to find out that one of the prime sources of their misinformation is intentionally playing games with them.

Please Share

Al Gore Warns We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change

Al Gore has an op-ed in The New York Times warning that We Can’t Wish Away Climate Change:

I, for one, genuinely wish that the climate crisis were an illusion. But unfortunately, the reality of the danger we are courting has not been changed by the discovery of at least two mistakes in the thousands of pages of careful scientific work over the last 22 years by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In fact, the crisis is still growing because we are continuing to dump 90 million tons of global-warming pollution every 24 hours into the atmosphere — as if it were an open sewer.

It is true that the climate panel published a flawed overestimate of the melting rate of debris-covered glaciers in the Himalayas, and used information about the Netherlands provided to it by the government, which was later found to be partly inaccurate. In addition, e-mail messages stolen from the University of East Anglia in Britain showed that scientists besieged by an onslaught of hostile, make-work demands from climate skeptics may not have adequately followed the requirements of the British freedom of information law.

But the scientific enterprise will never be completely free of mistakes. What is important is that the overwhelming consensus on global warming remains unchanged. It is also worth noting that the panel’s scientists — acting in good faith on the best information then available to them — probably underestimated the range of sea-level rise in this century, the speed with which the Arctic ice cap is disappearing and the speed with which some of the large glacial flows in Antarctica and Greenland are melting and racing to the sea.

Because these and other effects of global warming are distributed globally, they are difficult to identify and interpret in any particular location. For example, January was seen as unusually cold in much of the United States. Yet from a global perspective, it was the second-hottest January since surface temperatures were first measured 130 years ago.

Similarly, even though climate deniers have speciously argued for several years that there has been no warming in the last decade, scientists confirmed last month that the last 10 years were the hottest decade since modern records have been kept.

The heavy snowfalls this month have been used as fodder for ridicule by those who argue that global warming is a myth, yet scientists have long pointed out that warmer global temperatures have been increasing the rate of evaporation from the oceans, putting significantly more moisture into the atmosphere — thus causing heavier downfalls of both rain and snow in particular regions, including the Northeastern United States. Just as it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees, neither should we miss the climate for the snowstorm.

Here is what scientists have found is happening to our climate: man-made global-warming pollution traps heat from the sun and increases atmospheric temperatures. These pollutants — especially carbon dioxide — have been increasing rapidly with the growth in the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and forests, and temperatures have increased over the same period. Almost all of the ice-covered regions of the Earth are melting — and seas are rising. Hurricanes are predicted to grow stronger and more destructive, though their number is expected to decrease. Droughts are getting longer and deeper in many mid-continent regions, even as the severity of flooding increases. The seasonal predictability of rainfall and temperatures is being disrupted, posing serious threats to agriculture. The rate of species extinction is accelerating to dangerous levels.

I have already had several posts on the bogus claims of “Climate-gate” which showed that some scientists might have violated the British Freedom of Information law but there was nothing uncovered in the stolen emails to cast true doubt upon the scientific findings.

It is also worth pointing out once again that the scientific method is self-correcting when we use this, as opposed to political or religious biases, to try to explain the world. The point of predictions with regards to climate change is that human action is causing serious problems and not to make exact predictions regarding what will occur on any given date. Such specific predictions will change as we get more data. The fact is that in  many cases the effects of climate change have been following the worst case scenarios so far. While we cannot be certain as to exactly what will melt in which year, the underlying predictions of global warming are unfortunately being proven to be correct.

Please Share

Obama Kicks GOP Ass

Here’s why we voted for Barack Obama. Above is a clip of Obama discussing health care at the GOP House Issues Conference. Obama took on and demolished every GOP argument. Whether its Kerry debating Bush, Obama debating McCain, or Obama debating the GOP House delegation, Republican views just cannot stand up to fact-based rational arguments.

Barack Obama vs. 140 Republicans just isn’t a fair fight. The Republicans didn’t stand a chance.

Obama repeatedly took loaded questions packed with all the usual Republican talking points and turned them against them.

The full transcript is available here. It was shown on C-SPAN and MSNBC is also replaying the event in prime time tonight. Marc Ambinder described the event:

Accepting the invitation to speak at the House GOP retreat may turn out to be the smartest decision the White House has made in months. Debating a law professor is kind of foolish: the Republican House Caucus has managed to turn Obama’s weakness — his penchant for nuance — into a strength. Plenty of Republicans asked good and probing questions, but Mike Pence, among others, found their arguments simply demolished by the president. (By the way: can we stop with the Obama needs a teleprompter jokes?)

More than the State of the Union — or on top of the State of the Union — this may be a pivotal moment for the future of the presidential agenda on Capitol Hill. (Democrats are loving this. Chris Hayes, The Nation‘s Washington bureau chief, tweeted that he hadn’t liked Obama more since the inauguration.)

During the presidential campaign, it was John McCain who proposed a form of the British Prime Ministers’ questions for the president. It was derided as a gimmick. This is no gimmick. I have not seen a better and perhaps more productive political discussion in this country in…a long time. 90 minutes worth!

Maybe since Al Gore debated Ross Perot on NAFTA. Republicans may have wished they had spoken to John McCain about what happened to him in the presidential debates before they decided to broadcast this session. The president looked genuinely engaged, willing to discuss things. Democrats believe that he tossed away the GOP talking points and lack of real plans into a bludgeon against them. “The whole question was structured by a talking point,” he told Jeb Hensarling. Obama took the blame for not living up to some of his promises on transparency in health care negotiations. He displayed a familiarity with Republican proposals that seemed to astonish those who asked questions of him. And at the end, Republicans rushed up to him, pens and photo cameras in hands, wanting autographs and pictures.

Mused one mid-level White House official: “This really is the best thing we’ve done in a long, long time”

Massachusetts was an eternity ago. The momentum is now in Obama’s direction as he gives the GOP the choice of joining in or walking away, with their decision being televised.

More video:

Please Share

More Stories From “Game Change” Including Clinton Sleaze and Conflict Between Obama and Biden

More items from Game Change have come out since my run down yesterday. These include more examples of sleaze from the Clinton campaign and conflict between Obama and Biden.

While Hillary Clinton tried to disassociate herself from the smears against Obama based upon drug use when young, Mark Penn boasted to his staff how many times he managed to say “cocaine” on Hardball. Hillary was pleased by this:

“Hillary’s reaction to Shaheen’s remarks was, ‘Good for him!’ Followed by ‘Let’s push it out.’  Her aides violently disagreed, seeing what Shaheen had said as a PR disaster. Grudgingly, Clinton acquiesced to disowning Shaheen’s comments. But she wasn’t going to cut him loose. Why should Billy have to fall on his sword for invoking something that had been fair game in every recent election?”

While yesterday’s post dealt with John Edwards’ affair, there is also a section with McCain’s aides confronting Cindy McCain about her affair:

“The man was said to be her long-term boyfriend; the pair had been sighted all over town in the last few years. Members of McCain’s senior staff discussed the unsettling news, and their growing concerns that Cindy’s behavior had been increasingly erratic of late. [John] Weaver and others suspected that the Cindy rumor was rooted in truth. It was upsetting, Weaver believed, but not a threat.”

The Obamas flew to Nashville to get Al Gore’s assurance that he would not run before Obama decided to run. While the McCain campaign had problems with Sarah Palin’s ignorance, the Obama campaign had problems of their own with Biden’s mouth. From Politico:

The tensions began in September of 2008 word got back to Obama’s campaign headquarters that Biden had told reporters on his campaign plane that he was more qualified than his running mate to be president.

“A chill set in between Chicago and the Biden plane,” Halperin and Heilemann write in the book, to be released Monday. “Joe and Obama barely spoke by phone, rarely campaigned together.”

And when Obama campaign manager David Plouffe was asked about having Biden dial into the nightly campaign conference call, he responded: “Nah.” Instead, Biden had his own call with Plouffe and senior campaign adviser David Axelrod.

Obama himself was growing increasingly frustrated with his running mate after Biden let loose with a string of gaffes, including a statement that paying higher taxes amounted to patriotism and criticism of one of the campaign’s own ads poking fun at John McCain.

But when Biden, at an October fund-raiser in Seattle, famously predicted that Obama would be tested with an international crisis, the then-Illinois senator had had enough.

“How many times is Biden gonna say something stupid?” he demanded of his advisers on a conference call, a moment at which most people on the call said the candidate was as angry as they had ever heard him.

Following his campaign plane braggadocio about being more qualified than the man who put him on the ticket, Biden’s access to the press was limited and he grilled new staffers that were assigned to him to try and determine if they were part of his team or loyal to Chicago…

When the ticketmates talked a few days after Biden’s prediction that Obama would be tested, Obama lit into his running mate. But Biden didn’t apologize – or even indicate he understood why his comments in Seattle were problematic, though McCain’s campaign had already cut an ad featuring the dark warning.

I noted both the low opinion of John Edwards by Democratic Party leaders as well as the conflict between John and Edwards over John’s affair in the previous post. These two narratives also came  together here:

There were apparently “two Americas” within the marriage between John and Elizabeth Edwards. The former North Carolina senator’s wife viewed herself as a worldly intellectual and publicly called her husband “a hick” and his parents “rednecks,” according to the authors.

“She was forever letting John know she regarded him as her intellectual inferior,” they write, mocking her husband, the presidential hopeful, as somebody who “doesn’t read books.”

Please Share