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Monthly Archives: March 2010

The GOP has added a new term to their lexicon. It is tucked in there somewhere between Obamacare and Death Panels. Pro-life Baby Killer. It is to be used for such individuals as Congressman Bart Stupak. You know him, right? The Catholic Democrat who stood fast and fought his own party and his own President to revise the language in the new Health Care reform law. That steadfast, Pro-life, baby-kissing, fetus-saving, uncompromising public servant. He’s a “Baby-killer” simply because he voted for health care reform.  Gotta love that GOP!! They sure love babies! That is, until they are born.

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That’s right. The Republicans are the party of “Oh, no you don’t!” Even freshman Senator Scott Brown has to be against something. So he has created a new opponent. A big, scary iconic Liberal: Rachel Maddow. He has been floating the rumor that she is the Democrats new anointed candidate to run against him in the next election. How true is the rumor? Not even sort of. MSBC has run an ad saying as much:

MSNBC took out a full-page ad in Friday’s Boston Globe for a letter from Rachel Maddow to her fellow Massachusetts citizens.

The ad was a response to Sen. Scott Brown’s claims — in an effort to raise money — that Maddow is planning a run against him in 2012.

“Hi, I’m Rachel Maddow. I host a TV show on MSNBC. I also live in Western Massachusetts, in the beautiful hilltowns of Hampshire County,” the ad begins.

“I’m not running against Scott Brown,” Maddow said. “I never said I was running against Scott Brown. The Massachusetts Democratic Party never asked me to run against Scott Brown. It’s just not true. Honestly. I swear. No, really.”

Maddow hit Brown for trashing one of his constituents.

“Do you remember when Mitt Romney ran for President after being our Governor and he went around the country insulting Massachusetts, talking about what an awful state we are?” she wrote. “To have our new Senator raising money around the country by saying how terrible one of his Massachusetts constituents is, kind of feels the same way to me.

Maddow wrote that “it’s standard now for conservatives to invent scary fake threats to run against,” citing death panels and the birther movement. “Senator Scott Brown’s only been in DC seven weeks, but he already seems to be fitting right in with how conservatives operate there.”

That’s right, boys. It’s Easter time. A reminder that dead things can come alive again. And don’t you forget it!

Yglesias issues a wise warning. Never say never.

Fred Barnes, January 20:

Oh, yes. The health care bill, ObamaCare, is dead with not the slightest prospect of resurrection. Brown ran to be the 41st vote for filibuster and now he is just that. Democrats have talked up clever strategies to pass the bill in the Senate despite Brown, but they won’t fly.

As someone who makes a lot of bad predictions, I’m going to offer everyone advice that you want to try to make sure your predictions aren’t totally categorical. ObamaCare looks dead, for example. Heck, if you’re feeling super-confident, just go ahead and say ObamaCare is dead. But you never need to go all in with things like “not the slightest prospect of resurrection.” There’s always a slight prospect of anything. Heck, there’s even an outside chance that John Roberts will decide to revive old-school right-wing 10th Amendment fundamentalism and throw the whole bill out.

That’s right, Obama and Stupak have reached an agreement. And guess who blinked?

Rep. Bart Stupak has made it official: he has reached an agreement with the White House to ensure no federal funds will go to abortion. “We’ve all stood on principle,” he told reporters.

The question raised by the Stupak deal: If Democrats already had the votes needed this morning–and by every indication, they did — why give pro-life groups anything? The answer comes down to a desire to allow vulnerable Democrats to vote no. In other words, the deal was cut not to pass the bill, but to protect the majority.

Obama needs to take a page out of the Reagan playbook according to Newsweek:

After a year of haggling, Obama is left with a measure that Republicans circa 1993 and 1994 would have proposed, and yet he’s accused of perpetrating a socialist takeover of the health-care system

Obama inherited a more complicated situation, and his appeal is loftier and more abstract. At this point in his presidency, Obama has a better economic story to tell than Reagan did, but he hasn’t conveyed it with the artistry and clarity that could keep people believing in him. The Dow Jones index has regained 60 percent of its value, the banks are paying back the government with interest, and passage of a health-care-reform bill would give middle-class Americans more economic security. The economy is on the upswing and, to borrow a slogan from the Reagan era, it’s time to “stay the course.”

Obama said during the campaign that he would like to emulate Ronald Reagan—not because he agreed with Reagan’s policies, but because he changed the country in ways that endured. Reagan has been mythologized, but he wasn’t larger than life during his first two years, as economic conditions worsened. His policies, dubbed Reaganomics, were not working in ways that people could see, and unemployment peaked at 10.8 percent on Election Day in 1982. In the summer and fall of that year, his poll ratings were in the mid 40s to high 40s, much like Obama’s today.

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Through the force of his personality and the confidence he projected, Reagan kept Republican losses in that midterm election to a minimum (27 seats in the House; none in the Senate). He had run in 1980 on the slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again” and his ability to connect with the heart of the country. By embodying optimism, he kept people believing in him. Reagan also had a very simple message to get across: he wanted to get the economy going and rebuild the nation’s defense.

Liz Cheney has a passion for Eric Holder that  positively gives me the vapors. Her war on the Attorney General’s prosecution of the War on Terror is fascinating. The Department of Justice has been dubbed the Department of Jihad. The tea partyists are calling for a lynching. But there has been a backlash. Eugene Robinson writes:

Presumably they know that “the American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients is at least as old as John Adams’ representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston Massacre”—in other words, older than the nation itself.

That quote is from a letter by a group of conservative lawyers—including several former high-ranking officials of the Bush-Cheney administration, legal scholars who have supported draconian detention and interrogation policies, and even Kenneth W. Starr—that blasts the “shameful series of attacks” in which Liz Cheney has been the principal mouthpiece. Among the signers are Larry Thompson, who was deputy attorney general under John Ashcroft; Peter Keisler, who was acting attorney general for a time during George W. Bush’s second term; and Bradford Berenson, who was an associate White House counsel during Bush’s first term.

“To suggest that the Justice Department should not employ talented lawyers who have advocated on behalf of detainees maligns the patriotism of people who have taken honorable positions on contested questions,” the letter states.

But maligning is apparently the whole point of the exercise. The smear campaign by Cheney, et al., has nothing to do with keeping America safe. It can only be an attempt to inflict political damage on the Obama administration by portraying the Justice Department as somehow “soft” on terrorism. Even by Washington’s low standards, this is unbelievably dishonest and dishonorable.