Thursday Reads: Villagers Turn On Obama, Texas Tornadoes, West TX Investigations, and Boston Bombing NewsPosted: May 16, 2013 Filed under: Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama, Crime, Drone Warfare, Hillary Clinton, Media, morning reads, Psychopaths in charge, Republican politics, Senate, Surreality, The Media SUCKS, the villagers, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics, unemployment, We are so F'd, WE TOLD THEM SO | Tags: Boston Marathon bombings, Charles Pierce, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, establishment Democrats, Greg Sargent, Jim Vandehei, Mike Allen, Politico, Texas tornadoes, Watertown MA shootout, West Tx fertilizer plant explosion 58 Comments
It’s beginning to look like Obama’s second term is pretty much over before it begins. We’re facing years of Republican scandalmongering and “investigations” of a president who won’t fight back or even fight for his own favored legislation or judicial and government appointments.
What is Obama actually doing every day? Does he spend the time he isn’t fund-raising or doing meaningless public appearances deciding which “extremist” to drone strike next? Because he certainly doesn’t seem to be governing.
Maybe I’m wrong. Who knows. All I know is that the Villagers are finished with him. We got the news yesterday from Politico’s top gossip mavens Jim Vandehei and Mike Allen in one of their trademark “Behind the Curtain” posts: D.C. turns on Obama.
The town is turning on President Obama — and this is very bad news for this White House.
Republicans have waited five years for the moment to put the screws to Obama — and they have one-third of all congressional committees on the case now. Establishment Democrats, never big fans of this president to begin with, are starting to speak out. And reporters are tripping over themselves to condemn lies, bullying and shadiness in the Obama administration.
Buy-in from all three D.C. stakeholders is an essential ingredient for a good old-fashioned Washington pile-on — so get ready for bad stories and public scolding to pile up.
Really? if powerful Democrats weren’t “big fans” of Obama, why did they work their asses off to hand him the nomination in 2008 when they could just as easily have chosen Hillary Clinton?
Of course the “establishment Democrats” that Vandehei and Allen choose to quote in their piece are hardly current insiders, as Charles Pierce pointed out:
Not to minimize the inherent political savvy of Chris Lehane, one anonymous former Obama aide, one anonymous “longtime Washingtonian,” or Vernon Jordan — who, I admit, I’d thought had long gone off to peddle influence in the Beyond — but I think they’re pretty much camouflage here for the fiery tantrum summoned up by the authors.
(And, not for nothing, but “longtime Washingtonian” may well be the beau ideal of TBOTP sourcing. They should make it the company motto. And the two presiding geniuses are going to be shocked one morning when they look in the mirror and see Sally Quinn staring back at them.)
Nevertheless, the Villagers certainly pay more attention to Vandehei and Allen’s pontifications than Pierce’s. Here’s a little more of their venom:
Obama’s aloof mien and holier-than-thou rhetoric have left him with little reservoir of good will, even among Democrats. And the press, after years of being accused of being soft on Obama while being berated by West Wing aides on matters big and small, now has every incentive to be as ruthless as can be.
This White House’s instinctive petulance, arrogance and defensiveness have all worked to isolate Obama at a time when he most needs a support system. “It feel like they don’t know what they’re here to do,” a former senior Obama administration official said. “When there’s no narrative, stuff like this consumes you.”
Even Greg Sargent acknowledges that Politico probably speaks for the DC establishment, particularly the corporate media.
The Mystery Deepens . . . Who is Harry Reid’s Secret Source?Posted: August 10, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney, U.S. Politics | Tags: Greg Sargent, Harry Reid, internet rumors, Jon Huntsman Jr., Jon Huntsman Sr., Joseph Cannon, Romney's tax returns, unnamed sources 22 Comments
It’s been ten days since Harry Reid first revealed that an unnamed Bain investor told him that Mitt Romney had paid no taxes for a decade. Reid has been attacked by all and sundry–called a “dirty liar” by RNC Chair Reince Priebus, awarded four Pinocchios by WaPo “fact checker” Glenn Kessler, and repeatedly denounced by Romney himself.
Others have tried to figure out who Reid’s mysterious source is. Joseph Cannon has been on the case for awhile now. On Sunday, Cannon hypothesized that the source could have been former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman. Since then, Cannon has written several more follow-up posts.
Then yesterday, Markos at Dailykos suggested the source could be Jon Huntsman Sr.
Jon Huntsman Sr, is business partners with Robert C. Gay, who also happened to be Bain’s managing director between 1989 and 2004. And if anyone knows the machinations Bain used to evade taxes for itself and its partners, well, it would be the guy in charge of the firm’s finances.
Huntsman is also a Republican and a Mormon (like Harry Reid). As governor of next-door Utah, his son (who also served in the Obama administration as ambassador to China) likely developed a close working relationship on regional issues.
Kos also listed a number of donations from Huntsman family members to the Nevada Democratic Party. In a follow-up post today, Kos argued that Reid could be hoping to tempt his source into going public by dribbling out more hints day by day.
This afternoon, Greg Sargent contacted the elder Huntsman and asked him about all the rumors and speculation that he was Harry Reid’s source. Alas, Huntman denied it.
The internet is alive with speculation that the secret source Harry Reid claims to have on Mitt Romney’s tax returns is Utah industrialist Jon Huntsman Sr. He is the founder of Hunstman Corporation and the father of the former GOP presidential candidate — and the speculation is based on the fact that his profile fits with much of what we publicly know about Reid’s presumed confidante.
But I just got off the phone with Huntsman, and he confirmed to me that he is not Reid’s source.
But Huntsman did go on the record about Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns.
Huntsman forcefully called on Romney to release his tax returns. This matters, because Huntsman is a longtime backer of Romney — he has long been close to Romney; he supported his early campaigns; he was the national finance chairman of Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign; and he has raised a lot of money for him over the years. (He backed his own son in the latest GOP primary.)
“I feel very badly that Mitt won’t release his taxes and won’t be fair with the American people,” Huntsman told me. In a reference to Romney’s father, who pioneered the release of returns as a presidential candidate, Huntsman said: “I loved George. He always said, pay your taxes for at least 10 or 12 years.” (See update below.)
“Mr. Romney ought to square with the American people and release his taxes like any other candidate,” Huntsman said. “I’ve supported Mitt all along. I wish him well. But I do think he should release his income taxes.”
Well, that’s interesting and useful. This should keep the talk about Romney’s taxes alive through another weekend and another round of Sunday shows.
But the question remains: who *is* Reid’s secret source?
And here’s another burning question: Does Mitt Romney have a silly walk?
Queen Ann Lays Down the Law on Mitt’s Taxes as Obama Opens a New Campaign FrontPosted: July 19, 2012 Filed under: 2012 presidential campaign, Austerity, Barack Obama, corporate greed, Medicare, Mitt Romney, Team Obama, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics | Tags: Ann Romney, Ed Kilgore, Florida, Greg Sargent, Jonathan Chait, Leona Helmsley, Ryan budget, tax evasion 39 Comments
Thanks to Delphyne, who posted this link on the morning thread: Ann Romney: We’ve Given ‘All You People Need To Know’ About Family Finances
Mitt Romney’s wife is reinforcing her husband’s refusal to make public several years of tax returns, telling ABC News “we’ve given all you people need to know” about the family’s finances.
“You know, you should really look at where Mitt has led his life, and where he’s been financially,” she said in her interview with Robin Roberts. “He’s a very generous person. We give 10 percent of our income to our church every year. Do you think that is the kind of person that is trying to hide things, or do things? No. He is so good about it. Then, when he was governor of Massachusetts, didn’t take a salary in the four years.”
Roberts pressed: “Why not show that, then?” and reasoned that people could “move on” if her husband released his returns.
Romney responded, “Because there are so many things that will be open again for more attack… and that’s really, that’s just the answer. And we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how we live our life. And so, the election, again, will not be decided on that. It will be decided on who is gonna turn the economy around and how are jobs gonna come back to America.”
Queen Ann has spoken, and that’s that, you people. Ann’s attitude puts me in mind of this famous quote from Leona Helmsley: “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes…”
Meanwhile, President Obama is opening a new campaign front today in Florida. The Bain attacks were just a warm-up for an even more lethal attack in which the consequences of Mitt Romney’s stated support of the Ryan budget will spelled out in detail. From MSNBC’s First Thoughts:
Here comes Medicare: The past few weeks on the presidential campaign trail have featured aggressive attacks and counterattacks. On outsourcing by Bain Capital. On Mitt Romney’s post-1999 association with that firm, as well has his tax returns. On charges of “crony capitalism” in the Obama administration. And on President Obama’s views about business. And today when Obama begins a two-day swing through the crucial state of Florida — with all of its seniors — he’ll introduce another attack: hitting Romney on Medicare and the Ryan budget. Per the campaign, the president “will discuss his commitment to strengthening Medicare, and a new report tomorrow that highlights the devastating impact Mitt Romney’s Medicare plan could have on the 3.4 million Floridians that rely on Medicare.” Bottom line, per the campaign’s guidance: Obama will argue that Romney — through his support for the Ryan budget plan — advocates ending Medicare “as we know it.” Obama starts his Florida swing with a 1:25 pm ET event in Jacksonville, and then he heads to West Palm Beach at 6:20 pm. Tomorrow in the Sunshine State, he hits Ft. Myers and Winter Park.
As Ed Kilgore wrote this morning, Jonathan Chait predicted this two-front strategy last month.
I strongly suspect that Obama is currently in the first stage of a two-part assault on Romney. The first is to define his motives and perspective: a rich man who sees the world from the perspective of the CEO suite and blithely assumes what is good for people like himself is good for everybody.
This is the essential predicate for part two, which I would guess (I have no inside information) will dominate the last half of the campaign. Part two is Romney’s fealty to the Bush-era low-tax, anti-regulatory ideology and the radical Paul Ryan plan. The average undecided voter pays little attention to politics and might not understand why a candidate would return to failed Bush-era policies or slash the social safety net in order to clear budgetary headroom for keeping taxes on the rich low. Defining Romney’s business career is a way of making sense of those choices.
This morning, Chait announced that phase two begins today.
Greg Sargent explains why stage two is necessary:
Keep in mind: A focus group convened by the pro-Obama Priorities U.S.A. found that voters simply refused to believe that Romney or Ryan would really transform Medicare into a quasi-voucher program while also cutting taxes for the rich. This is what the assault on Romney’s Bain years is really about. It’s an effort to establish an image of Romney that will make it easier for voters to accept that this is indeed the agenda Romney has embraced and would carry out as president.
As the Obama campaign will point out, Republicans expect Romney to essentially rubber-stamp the Ryan’s agenda. ”We want the Ryan budget,” Grover Norquist recently said. “Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States.”
The attacks on Romney’s business background and core rationale for running for president may enable the Obama campaign to fight Romney to a draw on the economy — by persuading swing voters who are unhappy with Obama’s performance that Romney certainly doesn’t have the answers to their economic problems, and could even make things worse.
I heard on the Morning Joe show today that Obama’s Bain attacks aren’t working because polls still show Obama and Romney deadlocked after weeks of the Obama campaign pounding Romney on Bain, outsourcing, and tax evasion. But I agree with Jamelle Bouie that it’s way too early to know for sure whether the attacks will work.
In the summer of 2004 it seemed that the Swiftboat attacks weren’t hurting Kerry, but only political junkies like us are really paying attention right now. The real tests will come after the conventions and during the debates. Bouie writes:
Given the extent to which commentators have analogized this controversy to the Swift Boat attacks on John Kerry, it’s worth looking back at how the former nominee fared during the period in which he absorbed withering attacks on his military record. The Swift Boat ads aired from the beginning of May until the end of August. During this period, according to Gallup, Kerry held a small lead among likely voters.
Kerry’s position began to decline in August, but even then, he ended the month with only a small deficit. George W. Bush didn’t begin to build a large lead until the fall. The growth in Bush’s lead corresponded with a decline in Kerry’s net favorability. It’s possible Kerry was unaffected by the Swift Boat attacks. But it’s also possible that they didn’t begin to have an impact until later. It’s also too early to say whether the attacks on Bain will work. But there’s a chance they’ll have the most effect after the conventions, as undecided voters begin to make a choice, and draw on overall impressions built up over months as they make their decision. Given the new $8 million ad buy from Crossroads — meant to deflect Obama’s attacks on Bain — it’s clear Republicans see long-term danger here.
I have to say, this campaign is getting a lot more interesting. I’m not thrilled with either of the candidates, but I have no problem saying that Romney is much much more horrible than Obama. I probably won’t end up voting for either of these candidates, but as a true political junkie I love watching a hard fought campaign.
“Occupy Congress?” Now You’re Talking!Posted: November 18, 2011 Filed under: #Occupy and We are the 99 percent!, Congress, corruption, jobs, U.S. Economy, U.S. Politics, unemployment | Tags: Barack Obama, Greg Sargent, jobs, Occupy Congress, occupy Wall Street, unemployment 13 Comments
According to Greg Sargent, labor and progressive organizations are forming a coalition to “Occupy Congress.”
The coalition — which includes unions like SEIU and CWA and groups like the Center for Community Change — is currently working on a plan to bus thousands of protesters from across the country to Washington, where they will congregate around the Capitol from December 5-9, SEIU president Mary Kay Henry tells me in an interview.
“Thousands of people have signed up to come to Capitol Hill during the first week in December,” Henry says, adding that protesters are invited to make their way to Washington on their own, too. “We’re figuring out buses and transportation now.”
One idea under consideration — pending various permitting and other logistical issues — is to have a series of tents set up on the lawn outside the Capitol, each representing a state, with the number of unemployed in each state prominently displayed. But the optics are still being worked out.
The demands they are talking about aren’t very radical though. They’re planning to pressure Republicans to go along with Obama’s jobs proposal. As Sargent points out, that doesn’t really jibe with the nature of the Occupy movement, which rejects both corporate political parties. But Henry argues that
Occupy Wall Street had created a “framework” — which she described as “we are the 99 percent” — within which such activities would fit comfortably.
“The reason we’re targeting Republicans is because this is about jobs,” she said. “The Republicans’ insistence that no revenue can be put on the table is the reason we’re not creating jobs in this country. We want to draw a stark contrast between a party that wants to scapegoat immigrants, attack public workers, and protect the rich, versus a president who has been saying he wants America to get back to work and that everybody should pay their fair share.”
It’s a start, and the SEIU may not be able to control the message if lots of people with more creative ideas show up to the protests.
In line with the influence of the Occupy actions on the mainstream types, I clicked on a Google news link to the conservative Washington Times that read “Occupy Wall Street: What should be done with the protesters?” I expected to find a screed encouraging law enforcement to crush the protesters. Imagine my surprise when I read this instead:
As irritating or disruptive as some may find the Occupiers, they are the conscience of America, like it or not. Their very physical presence is a reminder that the decline of America happened not because they didn’t believe in the American dream, but because the greed of Wall Street and the banks stole that dream.
Yet our government continues to reward the top 1% with corporate welfare and the lowest taxes in more than 50 years. And Congress, which made that largesse to the wealthy possible, is in the pockets of those very same people and their lobbyists.
Yes, the protesters are predominately young, unemployed, maybe even scruffy, and, yes, the homeless have found a haven and free meals with them, and, yes, the Occupiers’ persistence after more than two months is like a mote in our eye, reminding us all that we can no longer do business as usual.
The fact that OWS sites have sprung up across the country and now the world has prompted us to face ourselves. We can no longer ignore the joblessness and poverty that scars our great country. It is not an abstract concept, some numbers on a bean counters’ balance sheet. It’s real. It’s people. It’s your kids and mine. It’s returning vets who find themselves on the scrap heap of our economy.
Holy sh&t! Can you believe it? Could it be that change is really happening?