Archive for the ‘obama’ tag
If any of us thought there was any chance for the GOP to grow up and move past partisanship in order to get something done in Washington during Obama’s remaining years in office, we might as well dream on. This do-nothing bunch of Republican lawmakers seem dead set on not only inaction, but attempting work against the administration, no matter how detrimental this might be to the nation itself or people’s faith in the political process.
Here’s part of an article from Slate:
In the past couple weeks, in interviews with House and Senate staffers for the Republican leadership, there has been a depressing message: Nothing is going to get done for the next four years. Again and again, the same mantra could be heard. Partisanship and election jockeying for 2014 and 2016 is going to keep everything locked up.
Watching the live feed from the White House on Friday it became hard to argue otherwise. President Obama held an event with mothers defending the Affordable Care Act, the start of a monthslong effort to protect his signature achievement, which Republicans have promised to fight all the way to the 2014 elections and beyond. Then, shortly thereafter, White House press secretary Jay Carney jumped between answering questions about the administration’s response to the attacks in Benghazi to the Internal Revenue Service targeting the Tea Party and other conservative political groups for audits.
It’s going to take some time to get to the bottom of these controversies, but we can conclude the pessimists are probably right. Nothing is going to get done in this siege environment.
This New York Times editorial also highlighted this pervasive tone within the GOP camp in Washington. The paper even goes so far as to recommend that Obama outright abandon any attempts to extend an olive branch to the Republicans:
It is time for President Obama to abandon his hopes of reaching a grand budget bargain with Republicans.
At every opportunity since they took over the House in 2011, Republicans have made it clear that they have no interest in reaching a compromise with the White House. For two years, they held sham negotiations with Democrats that only dragged down the economy with cuts; this year, they are refusing even to sit down at the table.
I can’t say that I disagree, but we should also remember that on at least one piece of important legislation, the Affordable Care Act, Obama and the Washington Democrats moved forward and did the right thing without GOP support. The Republicans have not been interested in actual leadership the past four years, only interested thwarting Obama’s policies, and they even seem willing to let the nation default on its debt to make a point. This is not nasty, cut throat maneuvering; it’s childish school yard politics.
Here is how The Times concluded its editorial:
Republican lawmakers have become reflexive in rejecting every extended hand from the administration, even if the ideas were ones that they themselves once welcomed. Under the circumstances, Mr. Obama would be best advised to stop making peace offerings. Only when the Republican Party feels public pressure to become a serious partner can the real work of governing begin.
President Barack Obama said the following back in 2009:
Although he now has nothing to lose being a lame duck president, hopefully he still means these words.
Beck goes and makes a comparison between what appears to me to be an ill-cast Satan character in the History Channel series, “The Bible” and Barack Obama. Here’s a side-by-side:
From Beck’s perspective, this was just another opportunity — he doesn’t really pass up any — to take a jab at Obama and vilify the president by any means necessary. In fact, this is a good summation of the general program of conservative right wing radio in general.
As for the Satan character, I always pictured Satan, were he to take human form, as a young and attractive alpha male kind of figure. Does the History Channel really want to go on record as casting the most evil being of all time as an old black man? The History Channel? Oh well. Looks like that die has been cast.
— Thomas Lavin (@TomLavinNH) November 12, 2012
Interestingly but not surprisingly, among the petitions for various states to leave the union, South Carolina’s petition is the only one that does not include the word “peacefully.” Apparently, the spirit of 1861 is alive and well.
Following is an interesting interchange between Howard Kurtz with The Daily Beast/Newsweek and Bill Hemmer with FOX News. Note to things: that Hemmer actually doesn’t come close to answering Kurtz’s question about political polarization in the media (He simply tells viewers to “watch everything”) and Kurtz’s quizzical look when Hemmer mentions his two-day outing with John Boehner:
I generally thought that the actual Republican numbers people, and certainly the numbers people in the GOP campaign, were sharper than this. If I were Mitt Romney I would much rather spend the days leading up to the election preparing myself for a punch, then to have myself “sucker-punched” by reality. In other words, it wouldn’t be in my interest to have people around me believe the hype. On the contrary, I’d be really angry if I found out they had. Even buying the argument that the people behind the polling are somehow biased, how do you reconcile that with the fact that polls actually predicted Bush’s win in 2004?
On some level it’s hard to not conclude that the Romney campaign, and Republicans on a whole, were not simply ill-served by their media, and their experts, but they themselves were actually requesting ill service.
This sounds a lot like religion to me. In the absence of any tangible reason to believe in the validity or authenticity of the Bible itself, believers tend to pay attention to arguments that confirm what they want to believe. And so it was with Romney. All the polls and expert opinions to the contrary, Romney and his team still managed to trick themselves into thinking that their version of reality — that every poll in the nation was biased — was the right one and that they actually had a chance. A classic case of delusion.
It must be a wonderful existence spending your entire conscious life in a fantasy world.
I’m particularly interested in the one on Cleopatra. It is shameful that here in the United States, we have struggled collectively through the 20th century with the issue of women’s rights when in the example of Cleopatra, we have a woman of immense power and charm more than 2,000 years ago.
While I don’t agree with Sullivan on everything, I certainly appreciate his writing style and his ability to articulate a unique point of view:
The president’s oration (during his acceptance speech) was almost a summation of his core belief: that against the odds, human beings can actually better ourselves, morally, ethically, materially, and we can do so more powerfully together than alone, and that nowhere exemplifies that endeavor more than America. It was Lincolnian in its cadences, and in some ways, was the final, impassioned, heart-felt rebuke to all those, including his opponent, who tried to portray him as somehow un-American. How deeply that must have cut. How emphatically did he rebut the charge.
What he reminded me of was how deeply American he actually is – how this country’s experiment truly is in diversity as well as democracy. And his diversity is not some cringe-worthy 1990s variety. It is about being both white and black, both mid-Westernand Hawaiian, both proudly American and yet also attuned to the opinion of mankind.
As for the next four years, there is time enough for that. But I stand by these words. And one felt something tectonic shift tonight. America crossed the Rubicon of every citizen’s access to healthcare, and re-elected a black president in a truly tough economic climate. The shift toward gay equality is now irreversible. The end of prohibition of marijuana is in sight. Women, in particular, moved this nation forward – pragmatically, provisionally, sensibly. They did so alongside the young whose dedication to voting was actually greater this time than in 2008, the Latino voters who have made the current GOP irrelevant, and African-Americans, who turned up in vast numbers, as in 2008, to put a period at the end of an important sentence.
That sentence will never now be unwritten. By anyone.
So, apparently, even tenured Harvard instructors cannot escape the allure of partisanism, as “historian” Niall Ferguson has mightily thrown his weight against the Obama camp and in favor of the GOP ticket. So much for college professors promoting exercises in free thought and inquiry rather than sheepish allegiances to whatever ideology is the flavor of the day.
But that’s actually not the bad news. The bad news is that Ferguson has made his case against Obama with a healthy disdain for accuracy, and in his numerous distortions of facts, he should probably not only ask for forgiveness from his students but from his superiors. Numerous writers from The Atlantic (here, here and here) have lampooned Ferguson’s recent cover story, no less, in Newsweek. Yes, I said Newsweek and I said cover story. Apparently, in addition to an absence of competent editors and a competent publisher, Newsweek doesn’t have fact-checkers either. And this is a leading news magazine. How and why does Newsweek not have fact-checkers? I don’t know. Tenure at Harvard does not and should not make a person immune to editing and fact checking. Tenure at Harvard means just that; whatever hot garbage you spew in other venues should come under the same scrutiny as anyone else, mighty degree or not.