The Republicans who ran on fixing the economy are saying their recommended cuts may kill more jobs. Obama’s budget is cutting education programs but hanging tight on defense dollars. Wait, what? Andrew Sullivan is calling foul:
Obama just said that even the Republicans’ small cuts in defense would “undermine … national security.” Just to let all of you Obama voters in 2008: yes, he’s arguing for a bigger military budget than the Republicans. He has moved the withdrawal date from Afghanistan to 2014 and if Petraeus asks for longer, how can we trust he won’t get it?
If this is the president’s attitude toward the debt crisis, made so much worse by the recession, it means this country’s pressing problems have been deferred until he gets re-elected. Change? This is not just more of the same; it’s far worse – and with every year, more dangerous.
Sure, this has been edited for effect. Sure, there are probably other people that could have been interviewed that wouldn’t make the Tea Party come off sounding so stupid. However, for this Glenn Beck-sponsored rally, I’ve got to believe this is pretty representative of the crowd. Why do I say that? Because, everything these flag-waving solid citizens are saying I’ve heard before. On the Glenn Beck show.
Marc Ambinder makes a legitimate criticism of the madness of the Republicans:
Serious thinkers on the right have finally gotten around to a full and open debate on the epistemic closure problem that’s plaguing the conservative movement. The issue, to put it in terms that even I can understand, because I didn’t study philosophy much in college: has the conservative base gone mad?
This matters to journalists, because I really do want to take Republicans seriously. Mainstream conservative voices are embracing theories that are, to use Julian Sanchez’s phrase,
“untethered” to the real world.
Can anyone deny that the most trenchant and effective criticism of President Obama today comes not from the right but from the left? Rachel Maddow’s grilling of administration economic officials. Keith Olbermann’s hectoring of Democratic leaders on the public option. Glenn Greenwald’s criticisms of Elena Kagan. Ezra Klein and Jonathan Cohn’s keepin’-them-honest perspectives on health care. The civil libertarian left on detainees and Gitmo. The Huffington Post on derivatives.
I want to find Republicans to take seriously, but it is hard. Not because they don’t exist — serious Republicans — but because, as Sanchez and others seem to recognize, they are marginalized, even self-marginalizing, and the base itself seems to have developed a notion that bromides are equivalent to policy-thinking, and that therapy is a substitute for thinking.
But here’s the rub. Even though it is getting harder and harder to take the Republicans seriously, it is hard to argue with success. And what Ambinder misses is this. The Republicans are going to pick up seats come November and possibly take back both houses. So is the GOP crazy? Yep, like a fox.
The first Great Awakening featured the Calvinistic preaching of men like George Whitefield. The result was a burgeoning young country falling to its knees to confess personal and corporate transgressions and embrace the crucified Christ. The second Great Awakening was of a different sort. It featured the man-centered, manipulative techniques of men like Charles Finney. The result were short-lived conversions, burned-overed districts and shallow, religious emotions. Now Republican congressman Mike Pence predicts a third Awakening. Apparently it will feature Bible-pounding Glenn Beck bigotry, a growing fear of goverment and a tea-party-caffinated resentment of taxation (it is, after all, the root of socialism). All which has this third Great Awakening shaping up in manner that would make Whitefield spin in his grave. A true, biblical Awakening will recognize that the evil in the world isn’t in rooted Hollywood or D.C., but in our own wicked hearts.
Are people who believe that President Obama is not an actual U.S. citizen more likely to kill people at a Holocaust museum? Or are wackos just more inclined to blog about crazy conspiracy theories, then take their shotgun and shoot up the joint? The Huffington Post has the answer.
Obama takes on the health care dilemma.
“We must attack the root causes of skyrocketing health costs,” Mr. Obama said, pointing to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and other institutions as among those that offer high-quality care at low cost. “We should learn from their successes and promote the best practices, not the most expensive ones. That’s how we’ll achieve reform that fixes what doesn’t work and builds on what does.”
The radio address was the start of a public relations campaign coinciding with a 50-state grass-roots effort that Organizing for America, the president’s political group, began Saturday to promote a health care overhaul. His hope is to provide what his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, called “air cover” for lawmakers to adopt his priorities. It is a gamble by the White House that Mr. Obama can translate his approval ratings into legislative action.
Bobby Jindal launched his bid for president last night. Good luck with that one. His Republican team mates say he was off his game. Too rushed, distracted by the mike, lacking in rhetorical flourish––that sort of thing. Try “Out of his mind.” It wasn’t his style that was off the mark, it was his content. “Tonto say government bad.” Right, government needs to butt out. Things are going just swimmingly without it. Yeeeah. People need less government. Fewer restrictions. Clearly! Oh and the Republicans are ready to fix healthcare. So what’s been keeping them? Nice response, Governor. Almost as nice as FEMA’s.
Whether Barack Obama becomes a great president is an open question. What is already clear is that Obama is a cordial president. He has opened his new residence to Republicans and Democrats alike. He has hosted happy hours, Super Bowl parties and plied his guests with hard liquor and homemade oatmeal cookies. So far it hasn’t changed one Republican vote. But it may have made a few friends for the long term. Or two long terms, depending how it goes.
Good news, Barack wasn’t going all Dubya on us when he appeared to fumble the oath of office. The fault in the fumble was the quarterback’s. Chief Justice Roberts got it wrong. Althouse explains:
The Chief Justice in fact screwed up the oath. The Constitution requires:
“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
Roberts left out the word “faithfully.” (He also said “President to the United State.”) Obama saw the mistake and stopped himself to gave Roberts a chance to fix it. Roberts redid the line, remembering to throw in “faithfully,” but putting it in the wrong place — after President of the United States — and, this time, Obama went along with the wording. Close enough, I guess he figured. I wonder what Barack Obama was thinking. Maybe: Some textualist you turned out to be!
Thanks to this guy, Minnesota Republicans have their knickers in a twist. Apparently, they feel he is about to steal an election. Is it indignation they feel, or simple admiration? Remember when it was the GOP who really knew how to steal an election? Good times, good times.
Given the recent amazement by conservative pundits at just how darn “responsible” the President-elect’s appointments have been, I am posting this as a public service. President-elect Barack Obama is not a Marxist, he is not a muslim, he doesn’t pal around with terrorists, he is not Huey Newton or Huey Lewis, he is not a peacenik, a beatnik, or a Sputnik. So stop being so frigging amazed whenever he does something smart or centrist. And always remember this: it was a conservative Republican President that socialized the entire banking industry not a redistributionist, socialist, tax-and-spend liberal Democrat. Ironic, no?
There may be another round of layoffs in Kentucky’s Homeland Security. This time, its God who may be out of a job. American Atheists, Inc. have filed suit that God has no business protecting our borders. Apparently, it’s below His pay grade. Solomon disagrees. Except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain. (Psalm 127:1).
It’s like the moment you realize that professional wrestling is fake. Conservative Obama-haters are discovering that the President Elect isn’t the starry-eyed, airy-fairy liberal they had been campaigning against for the last two years. Amazingly, his appointments appear as clear-headed, wise and moderate as the young man’s cumcumber-cool demeanor. Huh! Wonder of wonders! The majority of the electorate may have gotten this one right. Max Boot of Commentary Magazine publishes his right-wing epiphany:
Combined with the moderation of the economic team that Obama has just named, I would say his administration already far exceeds expectations, and he hasn’t even taken office yet.
Hold everything. It was touch and go, but the ballots were finally all counted today and Missouri goes for McCain. And as you know, no President has been elected in like 100 years without carrying Missouri. So, sorry Barack, but those are the rules. McCain’s the guy. And you thought the electoral college was crazy.