“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Obama has Learned Nothing. He is a Disaster for the Democrats and the Country

He's Done Everything Wrong
by Mort Zuckerman

The Daily Beast

Obama punted on the economy and reversed the fortunes of the Democrats in 365 days.

He’s misjudged the character of the country in his whole approach. There’s the saying, “It’s the economy, stupid.” He didn’t get it. He was determined somehow or other to adopt a whole new agenda. He didn’t address the main issue.

This health-care plan is going to be a fiscal disaster for the country. Most of the country wanted to deal with costs, not expansion of coverage. This is going to raise costs dramatically.

In the campaign, he said he would change politics as usual. He did change them. It’s now worse than it was. I’ve now seen the kind of buying off of politicians that I’ve never seen before. It’s politically corrupt and it’s starting at the top. It’s revolting.

Five states got deals on health care—one of them was Harry Reid’s. It is disgusting, just disgusting. I’ve never seen anything like it. The unions just got them to drop the tax on Cadillac plans in the health-care bill. It was pure union politics. They just went along with it. It’s a bizarre form of political corruption. It’s bribery. I suppose they could say, that’s the system. He was supposed to change it or try to change it.

Even that is not the worst part. He could have said, “I know. I promised these things, but let me try to do them one at a time.” You want to deal with health care? Fine. Issue No. 1 with health care was the cost. You know I think it was 37 percent or 33 who were worried about coverage. Fine, I wrote an editorial to this effect. Focus on cost-containment first. But he’s trying to boil the ocean, trying to do too much. This is not leadership.

Obama’s ability to connect with voters is what launched him. But what has surprised me is how he has failed to connect with the voters since he’s been in office. He’s had so much overexposure. You have to be selective. He was doing five Sunday shows. How many press conferences? And now people stop listening to him. The fact is he had 49.5 million listeners to first speech on the economy. On Medicare, he had 24 million. He’s lost his audience. He has not rallied public opinion. He has plunged in the polls more than any other political figure since we’ve been using polls. He’s done everything wrong. Well, not everything, but the major things.

I don’t consider it a triumph. I consider it a disaster.

One business leader said to me, “In the Clinton administration, the policy people were at the center, and the political people were on the sideline. In the Obama administration, the political people are at the center, and the policy people are on the sidelines.”

I’m very disappointed. We endorsed him. I voted for him. I supported him publicly and privately.

I hope there are changes. I think he’s already laid in huge problems for the country. The fiscal program was a disaster. You have to get the money as quickly as possible into the economy. They didn’t do that. By end of the first year, only one-third of the money was spent. Why is that?

He should have jammed a stimulus plan into Congress and said, “This is it. No changes. Don’t give me that bullshit. We have a national emergency.” Instead they turned it over to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi who can run circles around him.

It’s very sad. It’s really sad.

He’s improved America’s image in the world. He absolutely did. But you have to translate that into something. Let me tell you what a major leader said to me recently. “We are convinced,” he said, “that he is not strong enough to confront his enemy. We are concerned,” he said “that he is not strong to support his friends.”

The political leadership of the world is very, very dismayed. He better turn it around. The Democrats are going to get killed in this election. Jesus, looks what’s happening in Massachusetts.

It’s really interesting because he had brilliant, brilliant political instincts during the campaign. I don’t know what has happened to them. His appointments present somebody who has a lot to learn about how government works. He better get some very talented businesspeople who know how to implement things. It’s unbelievable. Everybody says so. You can’t believe how dismayed people are. That’s why he’s plunging in the polls.

I can’t predict things two years from now, but if he continues on the downward spiral he is on, he won’t be reelected. In the meantime, the Democrats have recreated the Republican Party. And when I say Democrats, I mean the Obama administration. In the generic vote, the Democrats were ahead something like 52 to 30. They are now behind the Republicans 48 to 44 in the last poll. Nobody has ever seen anything that dramatic.


trish said...
Could be the Battle of Agincourt. In slo-mo.

I have some doubt, if only because my skepticism kicks in at that moment when everybody seems to be anticipating the same thing.

And to refresh your memory and mine as well, I added this visual metaphor for your viewing pleasure. Thank Trish.


  1. TPM. Again:

    Our oft-times quoted, long-time TPM Reader JB, a former Republican Hill staffer, checks in with his read ...

    As you can imagine, I read reports of the Democrats' reaction to the Massachusetts election with some interest, particularly the comment you posted Wednesday afternoon from the Democratic Senate staffer who can't say what the Democrats stand for. I have a theory about this.

    Actually, my theory borrows heavily from Zell Miller's. Miller was the former Georgia governor whose critique of his party was dismissed by many because he voted with the Republicans when he went to the Senate. Miller, though, was also a shrewd observer of politics and politicians. His theory was that Democrats were basically driven by organized interest groups with very specific policy agendas.

    Think about this for a minute. Under what circumstances do such groups, and the politicians they sponsor, get what they want? It helps if they are playing defense, seeking to block changes instead of trying to promote them. It helps some more if their agendas don't directly contradict those of other organized groups supporting "their" Democratic politicians (the broader the scope of a "group's" policy agenda, the bigger this problem is). Finally, it helps -- a lot -- if the interest group knows, specifically, what it wants.

    You see the problem health care reform presents not only for Democratic politicians, but for the interest groups they rely on for everything from campaign cash to policy advice. Health care reform means playing offense. Health care reform brings all sorts of organized interests in conflict with one another. Many Democratic interests favor health care reform only generally, tepidly, because the President wants it or because they sort of think it's the right thing to do. The details they don't care about so much, except details they object to. Health care is far from the only policy area in which Democrats have this problem.

    National Democratic politicians, and modern Democratic Presidents in particular, have been acutely conscious of the dominance of organized interests within the party. This, I think, is why Carter, Clinton and now Obama have so often come off as men trying to tip-toe their way through complex situations without making anyone important to them really unhappy. The majority of Americans who are outside Democratic Party politics and "the groups" look at this and see weakness, even fecklessness. They also see an unwillingness to listen to them, which is only partly wrong. National Democrats do listen, but lack confidence that acting on what they hear from the public rather than "the groups" will produce victory.

    In this sense Barack Obama is very much in the mold of his Democratic predecessors in the White House. I do not know how conscious he is of this, so I don't know what he will choose as his way forward. Off his past record, he will see a restive public and Democratic politicians representing groups that he can't keep happy if he persists in seeking comprehensive health care reform and will wait to bring it up again another day, however distant that day may be. This, of course, is what Clinton did, and since President Obama and his team seem to have studied Clinton's experience with health care it is possible he will choose another course.


  2. Cont.

    Let me add one thing about Obama. I'm not sure he really understands why he got elected in 2008. I hear all the rhetoric he's used since the campaign about "changing the culture in Washington" and his references to his own life story as part of the answer to any question, and think he can't possibly believe all that. But he might, as Carter and Clinton both believed their own stories. All three of these guys excelled at the mechanics of campaign politics, but the first two got into a lot of trouble thinking that Americans put them in the White House because of all the wonderful, special qualities they had or represented.

    Carter and Clinton were both wrong. A Southern governor does not get elected President in 1976 if not for Watergate. A governor of a small state with a history of womanizing doesn't get elected President in 1992 if he's not running against a President who sees a recession and shrugs his shoulders. And there is no way -- none whatsoever, not a chance in the world -- that a black guy gets into the White House in 2008 if the incumbent Republican President is not more unpopular, for longer, than any modern President.

    George W. Bush's unpopularity was Barack Obama's greatest political asset during the 2008 campaign, and nothing else was even close. No one wanted to be known as a Bush Republican; even today, Republicans do not accuse Obama of wrecking the great work Bush did as President. They know no one would believe that. Obama hasn't used this asset at all, not really. As far as he and his team have been concerned, there is no such thing as a Bush Republican. Opposition to health care reform is not the Bush Republican position; support for bonuses on Wall Street is not what Bush would do. There are no references to Bush incompetence, none to Bush corruption. If Bush had left office with 70% approval, or 50% approval, or even 40%, the silence of Obama and the Democrats about Bush would be sound politics. Then again, if any of these things had been true, John McCain would be President now.

    This isn't an argument about the merits of policy. It's all politics. Ask yourself, is it easier to pass a difficult, complex legislative agenda when the country is under stress if the opposition party is seen as the Party of Bush, or if the opposition party is able to begin redefining itself as the party of populism, or of un-Washingtonism, or of fiscal restraint? Give the opposition party a fresh start, for free, and you've bought yourself all manner of trouble. That's really the only transformative development Obama has presided over so far.

  3. Frankly, I'm stunned that Obama and his flacks are using the Bush did it strategy. Of course there were huge problems with the Bush Administration, that's why Obama got elected. That was then, this is now.

    I knew it would be bad. I could not believe it when it was happening. You got sick of my posts.

    I could not stop myself convinced how awful it would be.

    I saw the delirious young no-nothings running around with clip boards and registration forms, seriously intent on change and hope.

    You gought it. I fought it. Many Americans fought it. We lost.

    We hoped we were wrong. We hoped for the best.

    So much for hope.

    The worst is yet to come. Come Novemebr, the Democrats will get crushed.

    Wait till you see the presidential pardons when Obama ends his first and last term.

    This guy is not going to change. He is everything we thought and more than we feared.

  4. In re Obama and world leaders: To some extent he has the problem opposite his predecessor. This was pointed out months ago. Government leaders do not like him or trust him; "the people" tend to.

    And surprisingly to some, he hasn't really leveraged the latter asset, which he possesses in earnest, in places where we could really use that little extra benefit.

  5. The Democrats just lost the safest seat in the country, the teflon un-republican reactive armored 50 year blue diamond senate seat of the Kennedy brothers, in Massachusetts.

    Captain Barack Titanicus Obama, shuddered the ships timbers and he has ice all over the deck. The Democratic ship hands are rushing to launch the life boats and Obama is ordering new sheet music for the orchestra.

  6. Now, let's just wait to see how badly the Republicans fuck this opportunity up.

  7. The Hopefuls have this evening all gotten good and drunk and this coming morning is the REAL hangover morning.

    There are so many moving parts, who knows what happens now?

  8. There are so many moving parts, who knows what happens now?

    Each week brings news of another politician deciding to quit, usually for compelling family reasons. Democrats, mostly. One surprise was my long term Congressman in CA. The family issue there was truly compelling, though. This morning a popular Arkansas Democrat announced he's pulling the plug.

  9. Dodd has to sacrifice his seat in an attempt to save it, and Frank has got to be looking at his partner in crime and wondering if and how he can continue to occupy his own.

    I really don't know how Warner and Webb, for instance, are faring because I haven't paid attention to my former and future home for awhile. Their statements yesterday on HCR raised the political caution alarm.

  10. Could be the Battle of Agincourt. In slo-mo.

    I have some doubt, if only because my skepticism kicks in at that moment when everybody seems to be anticipating the same thing.

  11. Trish, I had to add to the post the remarkable scene from Henry V. Thanks for the metaphor.

  12. Why the Great and Growing Backlash?

    What Scott Brown’s election portends for the Obama agenda.

    By Victor Davis Hanson

    Dream up a gargantuan backlash against Barack Obama’s left-wing gospel, and you still could not invent the notion of a relatively unknown, conservative Scott Brown knocking off an Obama-endorsed, liberal, female attorney in liberal Massachusetts — in a race to fill the seat once held by Ted Kennedy.

    If a liberal senatorial candidate can be defeated in Massachusetts, eleven months after the Obama hope-and-change blitzkrieg, it is hard to believe that any liberal seat is necessarily safe anywhere.

    So the real story is not a populist backlash, but a growing populist backlash, whose ultimate nature and magnitude are as yet unknown. What’s going on?

    Voters are sick and tired of a terrible year of big spending and big deficits — especially the sight of Obama and his congressional allies almost daily talking breezily about spending what we do not have.

    Voters went for the hope-and-change Obama in part because he promised fiscal sobriety after the Bush $500 billion deficit. Instead, in utterly cynical fashion, Obama trumped that red ink four times over. In the process, he developed a terrible habit of promising favored constituencies a hundred billion here, a hundred billion there as if it were all paper money — rather than real borrowed currency that will have to be confiscated in the future from the beleaguered taxpayer. It only makes it worse that the more the administration borrowed, printed, and spent, the higher unemployment rose and the lower economic activity plummeted.

    Most have had enough of pie-in-the-sky talk of massive new health-care entitlements, cap-and-trade taxes and regulation, more stimulus, and more takeovers of private enterprise. The country is broke and the people want to pay off, not incur more, crushing debt. What got us into the mess was too much borrowing, skyrocketing debt, and reckless spending — not too many balanced budgets and too much lean government.

    No politician quite gets a pass for deception and prevarication. Obama in his narcissism thought his sonorous rhetoric made him exempt from a “read my lips” or “I didn’t have sex with that woman” moment. It didn’t.

    People heard his serial promises about airing the health-care debate on C-SPAN, his new-transparency/no-lobbyist vows, and his monotonous boasts to close down Guantanamo within a year. All that is now “inoperative.” The problem was not just that Obama made promises that he broke, but that he made them so frequently and so vehemently — and so cavalierly broke them. That brazen campaign deception is problematic for a politician, but proves fatal for a self-appointed messiah.

    We went from a Republican “culture of corruption” to a liberal cesspool of corruption. Sen. Chris Dodd lectures Wall Street while he gets sweetheart loans and vacation-home deals. Few could make up a story that the nation’s top tax lawmaker, House Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, is a tax dodger, and the nation’s top tax enforcer, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, is an even more egregious tax dodger. When the Democratic Senate leadership started buying health-care votes at $300 million a clip, our Congress became little more than the praetorian guard, auctioning off its support to any wannabe late Roman emperor. The idea of a muckraking Obama nominating Tom Daschle as his Health Secretary — the liberal populist who skips out of thousands of dollars in taxes on his free corporate limousine service — was the stuff of satire.

    No one likes a serial whiner. It has been a year now — and Obama still blames George W. Bush ad nauseam. He did it in Massachusetts again — and on the eve of the election, no less. Blaming the past for the mistakes of the present gets old quickly. And when one adds in the constant What’s the Matter With Kansas? brand of condescension about naïve yokels not knowing what’s good for them, it gets even worse.

    Yet Obama still pontificates that angry deluded voters will “suddenly” come to appreciate how he rammed health care down their otherwise ignorant throats: “The American people will suddenly learn that this bill does things they like and doesn’t do things that people have been trying to say it does. . . . The worst fears will prove groundless. And the American people’s hope for a fair shake from their insurance companies — for quality, affordable health care they need — will finally be realized.”

    Good luck with that, O philosopher king!

    Elite liberals are not good class warriors. Factor in multi-millionaire Nancy Pelosi’s government mega-jet or Barack Obama’s various overseas junkets or the big Wall Street money that went into Obama’s near billion-dollar campaign coffers, and it is hard to take seriously Obama’s constant war against “them.” The voters have figured out that their president likes the elite plutocracy and the lower middle classes, but not so much the wannabe rich who aspire to cross his hated $250,000 income threshold — at which point suddenly they become unpatriotic, unwilling to pay their fair shares, and reluctant to spread the wealth around.

    It is not particularly smart to constantly demonize the entrepreneurial classes, promise to raise income, payroll, health-care, and inheritance taxes on them, and expand government regulations — and then wonder why they are not creating more jobs.

    Devotees turn on false prophets with a special vengeance. Obama is beginning to grate. His flip-the-switch-on, evangelical cadences at rallies sound more like a Harvard nerd doing blues imitations than Martin Luther King Jr. Purple-state presidents don’t appoint Van Joneses and Anita Dunns, or turn the NEA into a quid pro quo Ministry of Approved Culture. A healer doesn’t start in on the “rich,” “Wall Street,” the “big” oil companies, drug companies, insurance companies, or “fat-cat bankers” — especially when he has done his best to shake them all down for campaign money, hire as many of them as he can in his own administration, and arrange cut-rate loans, insider deals, bailouts, and guarantees for all of them.

    Obama’s populism is beginning to sound more like a bought boxer who belatedly has second thoughts about throwing the fight he previously contracted. In short, Obama’s ideological presidency hinged on his post-racial, post-national mesmerizing presence that reassured reluctant Democrats to vote against their local constituencies.

    If cap-and-trade or health care reform polled below 50 percent, a worried congressional supporter could always call in Him to charm bolting voters. But now? We have in a blink gone from Obama as the bankable 10 percent edge, to Obama as a non-factor, to Obama as a real liability. In short, why vote for an agenda as unpopular as its albatross author?

    Obama thought the antidote to “smoke ’em out,” “dead or alive,” and “bring ’em on” braggadocio was bowing to the Saudis, promulgating new and undiscovered great moments in Islamic history, and reaching out to Ahmadinejad as he rounded up and beat down reformers in the streets of Tehran.

    It’s one thing to accuse Bush of shredding the Constitution, quite another to adopt his anti-terrorism protocols like tribunals, renditions, Predators, intercepts, and wiretaps. Somehow Obama offended his base by such duplicity, and then his opposition by his tokenism of trashing Bush, promising the architect of 9/11 a show trial a few blocks from the former World Trade Center, and using touchy-feely euphemisms to suggest we are not in a war against terrorism emanating from the radical Islamic world.

    Ahmadinejad, Assad, Chávez, the Castro Brothers, Putin, and others for the first six months liked us as much as they had little respect for our sycophancy; now they openly show contempt. We accept that obsequiousness cannot earn respect, but it apparently cannot earn affection either.

    The best thing that could happen to Barack Obama is more Democratic losses in hodgepodge elections that might yank away our young transfixed Narcissus from his mesmerizing reflecting pool.

    Almost immediately after Obama showed his ideological cards last spring, I suggested in the first weeks of his presidency that the bait-and-switch president would soon face a Carter/Clinton moment in which he could either press on with his polarizing ideology, damage his party for a generation, and eventually end up churlish and sneering at the electorate, who did not appreciate his exalted morality and genius — or triangulate and follow the Dick Morris/Bill Clinton model of talking and acting sort of centrist.

    Who knows after Obama’s Scott Brown moment? We now may hear once again the old “no more Red State/Blue State” tropes, the stale campaign promises of presidential vetoes, claims of financial sobriety, the return of a “war on terror,” and smaller government

    We’re either down to all that — or Obama’s more principled road to perdition.

  16. "The president, for the first time, will throw his weight behind an approach long championed by Paul A. Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and an adviser to the Obama administration. The proposal will put limits on bank size and prohibit commercial banks from trading for their own accounts — known as proprietary trading.

    Financial reform could be the first area where we see whether the GOP actually "gets" the popular anger out there represented by the change in Massachusetts and the Tea Party movement. Unfortunately, I suspect they don't (at least the GOP leadership doesn't).

    I think most people in the U.S. are viscerally opposed to the concept of too big to fail.

    President Proposes Restrictions on Banks


  17. Quirk: I think most people in the U.S. are viscerally opposed to the concept of too big to fail.

    Obama thought his ego was too big to fail and Tuesday showed him the error of that notion.

  18. For my friends WiO and Rat.

    Apocalypse Now


  19. Deuce: Democratic ship hands are rushing to launch the life boats and Obama is ordering new sheet music for the orchestra.

    Forty percent of the country is hard left, they will never vote for a Republican. Forty percent of the country is hard right, they will never vote for a Democrat. That leaves twenty percent in the middle.

    Scott Brown won 73% of the independent vote.

    Obama thinks Massachusetts was really a referendum on the slow pace of his health care "reform" and cap & trade legislation.

  20. You're right, Q. That would resurrect his numbers faster than a moonshot.

    The Republicans will oppose the idea, and he will beat the Holy Hell out of them with it.

    Anyone smart enough to find the polling station knows those guys were taking their deposits, and "getting drunk at the casino." That's not what a "Bank" is supposed to do.

  21. Thrasymachus: The programs will wither come to burden the working populace unbearably- it's littled noted how much they burden the working population now- or simply come to an end, not having benefited the bulk of the people who paid for them

    And the amazing thing is how the Democrats have enlisted young voters to help them ram this thing through. The fools. Wait until they get the mandatory requirement to carry life insurance. "What are you talking about man? I'm immortal. I'm only twenty-one!"

  22. I would argue that the country is 25-30% hard left and about 20-25% hard right with 50% a mixed bag.


  23. "Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair faulted the decision not to use the "High Value Interrogation Group" (HIG) to question alleged al-Qaeda operative Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

    "That unit was created exactly for this purpose -- to make a decision on whether a certain person who's detained should be treated as a case for federal prosecution or for some of the other means," Blair told the Senate homeland security committee.

    The intelligence chief said the interrogation group was created by the White House last year to handle overseas cases but will be expanded now to domestic ones. "We did not invoke the HIG in this case; we should have," he added.

    Blair amended his remarks later in written statements, acknowledging that the interrogation group is not "fully operational." However, he maintained, "There should be a decision process right at the outset as to the balance between intelligence-gathering and evidence for prosecution."

    What's Wrong With This Picture

    So let me understand. The Director of National Security comes to testify in front of Congress. He testifies that they invested in another layer of bureaucracy, the HIG, specifically to address issues like the Christmas bomber. However, because the bomber was picked up in the US rather than overseas, they forgot to use it.

    Then, because he looked like a fool in the hearings, he comes back and amends his statement by saying that he mispoke and the HIG is not fully operational yet.

    This is the Director of National Intelligence.

    Gosh, I feel a lot safer now.

    As far as I know no one has ever been fired for intelligence failures but I still have to make sure I have clean socks on at the airport.


  24. I hope you don't wear "dirty" socks to the bar.

  25. Not ever one lives in Arizony, Rat.

  26. Big Eared, Hate-Filled, Anti-American Loser

    Obama said he felt he could do a better job connecting to the American people in his second year in office.

    President Obama said today that he believes he lost a direct connection to the American people in his first year in office because he focused too heavily on policymaking.
    (ABC News)"I think that I can do a better job of that, and partly because I do believe that we're in a stronger position now than we were a year ago," he said.
    "If there's one thing that I regret this year, is that we were so busy just getting stuff done and dealing with the immediate crises that were in front of us..."
    He's joking, right? How many vacations did this President take in his first year of office? He couldn't be bothered to interrupt his golf game to talk to the American people about the Panty Bomber, when all many wanted was a word of reassurance from their Commander-in-Chief. Immediate crises? Like flying overseas trying to get the Olympics in Chicago when virtually all the analysts agreed it not only wouldn't help, but would likely hurt US chances? Like attending the Copenhagen Summit where he damn near sold our entire economy to other states in perpetuity to no benefit to ourselves?

    Bush Did it.
    Obama: 'People Are Angry' »

    President Obama says Scott Brown won for the same reason he did last year: People are angry. Here's my assessment of not just the vote ...
    Obama: 'People Are Angry' »
    By Michael McAuliff
    President Obama says Scott Brown won for the same reason he did last year: People are angry.
    Speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopolous:
    Here’s my assessment of not just the vote in Massachusetts, but the mood around the country. The same thing that swept Scott Brown into office swept me into office. People are angry, and they’re frustrated. Not just because of what’s happened in the last year or two years, but what’s happened over the last eight years.

  27. The Meaning of Massachusetts -
    Rep. Bart Stupak, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Michael Barone, Fred Barnes and Arianna Huffington...

    And here's a no-brainer: After a year of being knifed by the GOP at every turn, isn't it time to give up on faith in genteel post-partisanship? Go after those who oppose your common-sense tax on big banks to recoup the taxpayer-funded bailout money.

    Getting the strongest possible health-care bill as quickly as possible is now key. Passing the Senate bill first, and then quickly fixing it through the reconciliation process, could create strong political pressure for reviving the public option or Medicare buy-in.

    Passing a bill won't be the Democrats' political salvation. But if Mr. Obama and his party fail, it may well snuff out any chance for reform in other areas like financial regulation, immigration and employee free choice.

    Some, including Sens. Joe Lieberman (I., Conn.) and Evan Bayh (D., Ind.), are saying that the outcome in Massachusetts is an indication that Mr. Obama and the Democrats need to move to the middle and focus on trying to make bipartisan deals. This, of course, is exactly what the Democrats have been doing all year. If they redouble their efforts to curry favor with the Olympia Snowes of the world they'll be making a grave mistake.

  28. Quirk said...
    For my friends WiO and Rat.

    Apocalypse Now

    very interesting, can I get it in camo?

  29. America doesnt give a hoot about what happens overseas..

    however that being said if what happens overseas effects us here well that's another story...

    2010 is iran's year...

    and it only can get ugly.

    obama's method of dealing with iran is voting present.. kick the can down the street, hope for the best...

    elmer gantry? more like elmer fudd....

  30. Don't need a "new" truck, Quirk, but thanks for the thought.

    The day-glo steering wheel, a tad over the top, for me.

  31. "He couldn't be bothered to interrupt his golf game to talk to the American people about the Panty Bomber, when all many wanted was a word of reassurance from their Commander-in-Chief."


    Right Doug. I can see you sitting there, stirring your Pina Colada with that little plastic umbrella, waiting for the president to comfort you.

    Poor baby.


  32. "The day-glo steering wheel, a tad over the top, for me."

    Did you see the pictures? I thought it looked pretty good.


  33. It is a good looking truck, no doubt.

    Bet we're looking north of $50,000, out the door, tax and license.

  34. 50k for a truck?

    ok, now that the fed inflated the cash supply it's really 25k and couple that will depreciation/tax deduction its a steal!!!

    i'll take 2...

  35. I've owned a few of the big four doors, a few duallies, too.

    Both diesel and gas.

    Right now, an old VW bus or a LUV truck would suit the mood.

    The Mexican piece of LUV looks like a piece of work that could.

  36. Obama Support Plunges in Liberal California

    President Barack Obama's popularity has plunged in Democrat-dominated California, a poll reported Wednesday, giving the US leader another gloomy bulletin to digest following a stunning Republican upset in a Massachusetts Senate election.

    The Field Poll of 1,232 registered voters in California found that Obama's overall approval rating had fallen from 65 percent last March to 56 percent, with 34 percent disapproving of his performance.

    On specific issues, a majority of Californians now disapprove of Obama's handling of the US economy. Only 44 percent approved, down from 61 percent in March last year, the survey showed.

    A majority also gave a thumbs down to Obama's performance on the issue of health care reform, his top domestic priority, with 53 percent disapproving and 39 percent approving.

  37. That was somebody else's comment, Quirk!

  38. Sorry, Doug.

    It just seemed so you.


  39. It would be under $40K for me. I get the Ford employee discount.

    However, it's a matter of priorities. Taking WiO's advice I am still looking for an appropriate cave. Unfortunately, it's tough times in Michigan right now. Most of the good ones are occupied.


  40. 8. whiskey:

    Somewhat OT, the folks at Just One Minute figure that there is a MAJOR scandal (Major Garrett of Fox News thinks so too) regarding WHO authorized Mirandizing and lawyering up the Undie Bomber Umarmutallab: link here. Most figure that Obama and Holder personally authorized it, for a variety of reasons.

    My take is that the undie bomber is Black (and Muslim) and that was enough for Holder (see his dismissing the case against the New Black Panther Party members AFTER they pled guilty to voter intimidation).

    Which ties into National Security. Brown made hay on Coakley’s assertion that she does not favor the Death Penalty for terrorists, and her assertion that Afghanistan had no terrorists, and her desire (and Obamas) for lawyers for Jihadis.

    People don’t like being afraid that an airliner will drop on their house, or friends and families houses.

  41. The Importance Of Positive Wishful Thinking

    Josh Marshall runs a long letter in which a Democratic Senate staffer bares his soul about a lifetime of futility toiling in the legislative wilderness. My favorite absurdity is this:
    While I always thought we had the better ideas but the weaker messaging, it feels like somewhere along the line Members internalized a belief that we actually have weaker ideas.

    Weaker messaging. Let's see - whatever message the Dems want to get out will be backed by sympathetic faculty members of every major university, reported by a press that, barring Fox and the WSJ, is totally sympatico, and trumpeted by the reliably liberal Hollywood machine.
    Yet Dems just can't get their superior message out. What would it take?
    Posted by Tom Maguire on January 20, 2010

  42. Josh Marshall is a pathological liar.

  43. Just bury a cargo container, Quirk, or just berm up around one.
    Like an Army ammo bunker.

    Really cloudy out there, today. Big snow up in Flagstaff. Supposed to storm up big, heavy rains and winds.

  44. Doug: People don’t like being afraid that an airliner will drop on their house, or friends and families houses.

    This is the Home of the Brave. People aren't afraid that an airliner will drop on their house, they are annoyed that the Commander-in-Chief is doing nothing to prevent it, and even making it impossible to prevent it, thus hamstringing the world's lone superpower.

  45. Aid for Haiti:

    CANADA: $130 million in aid pledged. So far, Canadians have privately contributed more than $39 million and Ottawa will match those funds. Some 2,000 military personnel, including two warships.


    CHINA: $4.2 million in aid pledged. Deployed a 60-member rescue team to the island, including search and rescue specialists with sniffer dogs and monitoring equipment, medics, and seismological experts.


    RUSSIA: Has sent 138 emergency workers and doctors and five transport planes to deliver aid.

    Foreign Quake Aid


  46. I'll say one thing about Ash's Canada: They belly right up to the bar.

    If they didn't have that eeevil commie health insurance they'd be pretty good country.

  47. Trish cited:

    "National Democratic politicians, and modern Democratic Presidents in particular, have been acutely conscious of the dominance of organized interests within the party. This, I think, is why Carter, Clinton and now Obama have so often come off as men trying to tip-toe their way through complex situations without making anyone important to them really unhappy. The majority of Americans who are outside Democratic Party politics and "the groups" look at this and see weakness, even fecklessness. They also see an unwillingness to listen to them, which is only partly wrong. National Democrats do listen, but lack confidence that acting on what they hear from the public rather than "the groups" will produce victory."

    While true I think that you could change the names and it will equally apply to Republicans. Part of the systemic problem in politics in general and most particularly problematic in the US 'continuous campaigning' form of governance. Sorta like the standard 'tack to the left' for the primaries and 'tack back to the center' for a Democratic presidential hopeful with the mirror image applying for the Republicans. Then, once elected you've got your first year to take some risks burning political capital before you've got to position yourself for the mid-terms. Then time to prepare for the next Presidential election all the while trying to actually govern where the natural consequence of any decision is that someone gets to be on the wrong side of that decision. Couple that with the apparent necessity to have a super-majority in order to get something through a polarized Senate and you've got the tea baggers wet dream of 'no government'.

  48. Yeah rufus, if only global warming were further advanced we'd also have palm trees up here and golfing year round.

  49. Don't worry, Ash. We get more "goobermint" than we can rightly stand, as it is.

  50. Says the guy pushing health care reform.

    Fuck you Doug.

    Just thot I'd say it for you.

  51. That is one of the ironies rufus, more govmint that you desire yet it is a beast unable to change. Today's Supreme ruling on corporate financing will add even more out of control fun to the mix.

  52. Poor Dennis. Guy can't catch a break.

    Tell 'em HIG's under the DOJ umbrella and make Holder hand over *his* lunch to the Jackals! Tell 'em Panetta's trying to preserve his rotten fiefdom! Tell 'em that the Bureau hasn't finalized the lease on the office space! Tell 'em there's no excuse for all this ass-dragging, Dennis, and that those responsible will be identified and promptly executed!

  53. I thought the inimitable Goldwater said we ought to be thankful we don't get all the government we pay for.

    (Come to think of it, I'd trot that one out in Congressional testimony. *Clever*.)

  54. unfortunately it isn't that there is no governement, or less of it, but rather a multi-headed self perpetuating parasitic hydra unaccountable to the electorate enslaved by the campaign financiers.

  55. ...the tea baggers wet dream of 'no government'.

    Thu Jan 21, 10:24:00 AM EST

    As far as I am aware the teabaggers aren't anarchists. But wouldn't it be kinda fun if they were? We could witness a libertarian revival, the last one which (though overlooked in the larger the DFH movement) I was born a little too late to enjoy - being left with Morning in America as a somewhat ironic but not unpleasant adolescent consolation. Those were pretty good years, hm?

  56. We could all sit around and smoke pot and take turns reading aloud old Roy Childs essays.

  57. BTW, I hate to rain on everybody's parade, but Scott Brown didn't say he was against health insurance for everyone. In fact, he said "Everyone has a RIGHT to Health Insurance."

    He thinks "Everyone" shoul have Access to a "Basic Policy." All he said was, "I'll vote against This bill the way it's "presently" constituted.

    Don't be Too heartbroken, or enraged, if Harry Reid is able to "fix" this bill to Brownie's satisfaction.

    They all be scum, fellas. All of'em.

  58. Reid v Brown on national health care...

    A month ago the going rate per "reluctant" vote was $100,000,000.00. Would $200,000,000.00 of pork do the trick?

    By the way, that was a "question", not an assertion of fact, questioning Mr. Brown's integrity.

    I am still waiting for some comment from the EB regulars about Mr. Obama's plan to soak "big insurance" for the payment for treatment of SERVICE CONNECTED injury. This "robbery" would include injuries suffered during America's most recent wars in Asia, I gather.

  59. Joe Lieberman is NOT scum.

    I foresee Senator Lieberman taking the Army to task for the whitewash of the Fort Hood massacre. If his committee's hearing goes as expected, the public will be further outraged.

  60. Rufus was making a gross generalization.

    Droopy Dog is among the outstanding exceptions to the Parliament of Whores.

  61. And BTW, I absolutely love Branagh's Henry V.

    And Non Nobis Domine especially:

  62. RAMALLAH, West Bank (Reuters) -

    Israel and the Palestinians belittled each other's commitment to peace as US President Barack Obama admitted on Thursday he had underrated the difficulty of reviving deadlocked Middle East negotiations.

  63. WASHINGTON — Sweeping aside a century-old understanding and overruling two important precedents, a bitterly divided Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections.

    The ruling was a vindication, the majority said, of the First Amendment’s most basic free speech principle — that the government has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters said allowing corporate money to flood the political marketplace will corrupt democracy.

    The 5-to-4 decision was a doctrinal earthquake but also a political and practical one. Specialists in campaign finance law said they expected the decision, which also applies to labor unions and other organizations, to reshape the way elections are conducted.

    “If the First Amendment has any force,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority, which included the four members of its conservative wing, “it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech.”

    Justice John Paul Stevens read a long dissent from the bench. He said the majority had committed a grave error in treating corporate speech the same as that of human beings. His decision was joined by the other three members of the court’s liberal wing.


  64. With its announcement that it will launch no new offensives against the Taliban in 2010, Pakistan's army appears to have opened a new innings in its favourite game with the West, says the BBC's Syed Shoaib Hasan in Islamabad.

    For the United States, the statement by the Pakistan army could not have come at a worse time.

    Its main intelligence agency, the CIA, is still coming to terms with the death of seven personnel in a suicide attack in Afghanistan by an al-Qaeda "double agent".

    That attack, the worst suffered by the agency in four decades, was apparently planned and carried out by Taliban militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

    Under pressure from the US, the Pakistan army launched an operation there in the main Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan in November 2009.

    The army has since been able to secure that territory and push out the militants.

  65. The Republicans can become a legitimate serious party again, a party of principles or they can become The Whigs, better yet the Wing-nuts, constantly testing for purity of thought and act, just another stale and dusty corner of an infrequently visited museum.

    Whichever way they go, someone is going to fill the void of the Democrats gone wild.

  66. Dear Supporter,

    We have all heard about red states, blue states and purple states. They call Pennsylvania a purple state because we swing back and forth between Republican and Democratic leadership. On the other hand, Massachusetts, is a deep blue state that rarely elects Republicans to office at any level.

    But Tuesday, all of that changed. In a dramatic special election to allow the people of Massachusetts to fill the late Ted Kennedy's Senate seat, Massachusetts voters revolted against the far-left Obama agenda and elected Scott Brown, a Republican state senator, who ran on commonsense and fiscal conservatism.

    Now the game has changed. Not only does the GOP have 41 votes, erasing the Democrats' filibuster-proof majority, but we know that Republicans can get elected anywhere. And that's why we're reaching out to you.

    Turn-coat Senator Arlen Specter is up for reelection this year. And this is our chance to revolt against his broken promises and the far left agenda he has chosen to support. Will you follow this link today and make a contribution of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more to the Pennsylvania Republican Party today? Your past support enabled us to send a busload of volunteers to Massachusetts for 3 days to campaign for Scott Brown, and look at how successful that was! Any amount you can give today will help us replace Specter with someone like Brown who represents our values.

    The liberal Congress has hijacked our economy and distorted our values. The record-setting debt continues to climb every day, and the Senate is talking about increasing the debt ceiling by nearly another two trillion dollars. Also, the House is on the verge of forcing through the Senate health care bill that enables your tax dollars to pay for abortions.

    The far left's behavior is unacceptable. They know that their health care legislation is a disgrace, and after Tuesday night they know without a doubt that we don't want it! But they continue to mow through their disastrous agenda without thinking about the impact it will have on the average American.

    But we have the chance to change that in November. That seat does not belong to Arlen Specter - it belongs to the people of Pennsylvania. Kicking Specter out of office and out of his cozy inner circle of liberals - will allow us to focus on creating jobs and restoring our country to prosperity instead.

    America and Pennsylvania's futures depend on halting the far left's agenda before it creates anymore damage. I hope I can count on you to follow this link immediately and give generously to the Pennsylvania Republican Party today.

    Thank you in advance for your support.


    Rob Gleason
    Republican Party of Pennsylvania

    P.S. I would like to thank the countless volunteers from Pennsylvania who volunteered to help get Scott Brown to victory. We had a bus full of over forty volunteers travel to Massachusetts and they knocked on doors and made phone calls in the last 72 hours and countless more made phone calls from home. Our PA GOP volunteers are one of the most effective grassroots organizations in the country and I have no doubt that we played a large role in making Tuesday's history a reality.

    Our thanks goes out to all of you who so graciously donated to our efforts and have helped make this possible, but we still need more help! If Massachusetts can elect a strong Republican to the Senate, so can Pennsylvania. Will you follow this link today and make a contribution to the Pennsylvania Republican Party? Any amount you can give will help us replace Arlen Specter later this year.

  67. That is the same sorry Republican party that supported Spector all these years.

    I would strongly urge all voters to return their appeals with a big red FU firmly imprinted.

    Send the money directly to Toomey. He'll put it to good use.

  68. yeppers, corporations are people too dontcha know? The full force of the constitution stands behind them...

  69. Deuce: The Republicans can become a legitimate serious party again, a party of principles or they can become The Whigs, better yet the Wing-nuts, constantly testing for purity of thought and act, just another stale and dusty corner of an infrequently visited museum.

    VA Gov Bob McDonnell will give the Republican response to Obama's State of the Union address next week. He took the gubernatorial race in a state that was drifting blue. In a way, he was first-fruits in this GOP resurgent harvest. Now if we can only shit-can the Ya Ya Sisterhood in Washington (Gregoire, Murray, and Cantwell).

  70. "...the tea baggers wet dream of 'no government'.

    Thu Jan 21, 10:24:00 AM EST

    As far as I am aware the teabaggers aren't anarchists.

    Thu Jan 21, 11:13:00 AM EST"

    The Olbermann and Maddow of the EB with their cutesy reference to "teabaggers". All we needed further were the snide smirks and knowing winks. Who needs MSDNC?


  71. This guy says it better than I could. From a comment regarding the recent supreme court decision:

    "The most naked act of judicial activism in our history. The court reached out to decide an issue that had not even been raised by the parties challenging the law, and reversed a decision that even the conservatives Rehnquist and White had joined 20 years ago and which had been recently affirmed. And Scalia's so-called originalism is revealed to be a farce since the dissent shows how inconsistent the majority's ruling is with the views of the Framers. Don't ever let me hear another peep from conservatives about how "liberal" judges are activist. The Roberts court is more "activist" --in overturning acts of our democratic branches of government and overturning longstanding precedent--than even the Warren Court. And if people complain that Congress is dominated by moneyed interests, you know now the reason."

  72. The Olbermann and Maddow of the EB with their cutesy reference to "teabaggers". All we needed further were the snide smirks and knowing winks. Who needs MSDNC?

    I'd say Olbermann must have had 1st hand knowledge of the term.

    After all it means:

    To have a man insert his scrotum into another person's mouth in the fashion of a teabag into a mug with an up/down (in/out) motion.

    Yep sounds like Olbermann all right...

  73. Ash, I don't think I'm alone in saying I'd rather IBM give $100,000.00 (and have it disclosed) than have 50 IBM Execs give $2,000.00 and have no idea where it really came from. Yes, I know it would be disclosed, but how in the world would I know, from perusing the lists, who Joe Schmoe is, or works for.

    Personally, I think "Disclosure" is the key.

  74. It is more than disclosure isn't it? And under the old scheme, passing the money to the execs to contribute was illegal wasn't it? Now any corporation can now buy advertising, donate, produce 'documetaries for or against the candidate of their choosing. Many Corporations have a load of money - take Goldman Sachs for instance. What can they do for the candidate of their choice with the war chest they are sitting on? It just makes it easier for them to keep their lock on the top spots (treasury ect.) and very few individuals can muster that kind of financial power.

  75. "All we needed further were the snide smirks and knowing winks."

    Knowing ; )

    Snide : - 1

    I aim to please.

  76. Believe it or not, Trish, while writing my initial post, I knew your latest response would be coming smetime today.

    The first figure was predictable but I wasn't sure how you would come up with the snide.




  77. Too damn bad Doug and 'Rat weren't in charge of Taliban removal in 2003 instead of W/Powell/Condi and Trish!

  78. What do you do for Ford, Quirk?
    (Trish sneers:
    "He's a Quirky Test Dummy,

  79. "The Republicans can become a legitimate serious party again, a party of principles or they can become The Whigs, better yet the Wing-nuts, constantly testing for purity of thought and act, just another stale and dusty corner of an infrequently visited museum."

    How can you be a party of principles if (a) you can't agree on which ones and (b) there is no real enforcing mechanism for same?

    Also, how do you do this at the national level when state and local "tribes", as Pat Lang put it, impose their unique governing cultures and sociopolitical traditions and preferences?

  80. I had to Google the smirk emoticon, Quirk.

    My emoticon store is thus enriched.

  81. "Now any corporation can now buy advertising, donate, produce 'documetaries for or against the candidate of their choosing..."

    Just my opinion, but I don't think it is campaign financing that is the problem, at least with respect to advertising. Of course, my views are skewed through my own situation, but I have to ask who really watches these campaign adds? At least, who really watches them more than once?

    Any opinion I form on these guys is based on their actions (in the case of incumbants)or on what I can learn from the internet.

    With regard to knowing where the money is coming from, again it's less important to me. I would think it's pretty easy for most people to figure out who is supporting a given candidate.

    In my mind the real problem is in trying to find candidates, any candidates, that can't be bought by the millions being put up by the special interests. (In this case, I disagree with Ash in that I would rather see a candidate get his money from a diverse group of small contributors rather than from one large source).

    Unfortunately,regardless of how idealistic a candidate is when he first enters politics, it seems they are all eventually corrupted by the prestige, perks, and power associated with the office.

    This isn't campaign financing's fault. It's the politician's. If the money didn't show up in campaign financing, it would show up from someplace else.

    You can't legislate integrity.

    Mass Campaign Spending



  82. "Too damn bad Doug and 'Rat weren't in charge of Taliban removal in..."


    Rumsfeld was the main architect and honestly, it was a beaut.

    It just wasn't a beaut built to last.

  83. "What do you do for Ford, Quirk?"

    I cash the checks they send me for my many years of invaluable service.


  84. Actually, it was the snide emoticon I was impressed with.

    It does kinda look like Maddow's perpetual shit-eating expression.


  85. This comment has been removed by the author.

  86. "Rumsfeld was the main architect and honestly, it was a beaut.

    It just wasn't a beaut built to last."

    Rumsfeld had a vision on the direction he wanted the military to move. Unfortunately, a war interrupted his progress towards that vision and he wasn't flexible enough to adapt.


  87. through unleashing the power of corporate finance Qurik you set up a situation where a politician of integrity has little chance of winning. It takes ever increasing amounts of money to wage a campaign and the deep pockets required to run come with strings attached. A corporations goal is to further its interests whether they be plastic widgets or bailout money to wager at the unregulated casino.

  88. You mean snide smirk. I could Google the smirk. I had to preface it with "snide."

    As I had to preface the wink.

    But who knows, maybe there is a snide smirk emoticon.

    We humans are just that inventive.

  89. "...through unleashing the power of corporate finance Qurik you set up a situation where a politician of integrity has little chance of winning...

    It's a chicken or egg argument. You take a symptom of the system and argue that it is the root cause of the corruption in the system. I argue that legislation to address the symptom is irrelevant to any solution to the problem.

    I repeat, you can't legislate integrity. (This is not to say that corporations pushing their own self-interest is necessarily wrong. The integrity has to come from the politician in determining which of the various special interests also mesh with the interests of his constituents.)


  90. Who was it that said as long as government takes an active interest in business, business will take an active interest in government?

    What Is ought to be able to answer that.

    When did Glenn Beck get pudgy?

  91. What DID you do for Ford to earn those checks, Quirk?

  92. Beck has an addictive personality type.
    Can't stop eating, should not have started.
    Go Figure.
    Figure Goes.

  93. Blogger is not as smart as word press. Word press actually shows the emoticon in the full color version.

  94. Should not have started? Doug, humans gotta eat.

    I haven't seen him in more than a year.

    I'm aware from listening to his radio show down in Richmond that he's a recovering alcoholic. But he's been in recovery for years now.

    Might've just hit, post-cessation, that terrible wall of middle age metabolism made all the more terrible by inherited body type.

    Then you've got another real uphill battle on your hands.

    The fun never ends.

  95. Quirk, it is not only politicians that can have their integrity influenced by those who can afford to make large contributions but also Judges who need financing when campaigning for election.

  96. I feel quite emoticon-poor at this point.

    I need to start building up a library ASAP.


  97. "What DID you do for Ford to earn those checks, Quirk?"

    I gave em 110%, 100% of the time. What did you think?

    I wish I had the appropriate emoticon.



  98. ✍ ✄

    just out of curiosity, you can use many symbols on a mac. I am not sure how they show on PC's. Can you see and identify the two symbols above?

  99. I can see but I can't identify.

  100. "Quirk, it is not only politicians that can have their integrity influenced..."

    Our conversation is becoming somewhat circular, Ash. My point right along is that if someone (politician, judge, et al) can "have their integrity influenced" by venal considerations then there was no integrity there to begin with.

    And again, although I am reluctant to make this point over again because of it's banality, you are once again looking for victims when there are none.


  101. This comment has been removed by the author.

  102. Snail and scissors? How did you know that?

  103. A small vole and a "Save Haiti" button from the Golden Globes?.


  104. I hear you quirk but I think you missed the point where the politician/judge with integrity has no chance of winning hence they rarely will enter the game.

  105. "How did you know that?"

    Just like I know many, many things.

  106. This comment has been removed by the author.

  107. This comment has been removed by the author.

  108. This comment has been removed by the author.

  109. Melody, hold down the control key and press the plus key to zoom in. Hold down the control key and press the minus key to zoom out.

  110. Thanks Whit, I never knew that. Wow, now I can read the words, too.

  111. You know, the more I think about it, the less I think this is a "big deal."

    I was in "business." Believe me, the last thing in the world you were going to get me to talk about was "Religion," and "Politics."

    What business is going to be in a hurry to piss off half of its customers. Their Ads, and Donations have to be disclosed.

  112. Ditto, Rufus.

    The Left of Center analysts are all claiming that today's Supreme ruling will benefit the Republicans "because the Corporations are overwhelmingly supportive of Republicans." As far as I can tell, Corporations generally hedge their bets and are equal opportunity donors.

  113. The way the left is carrying on, you would think the Supreme Court had ruled for Hamdan, and extended Geneva Convention protections and US Constitutional rights to terrorists.

  114. Hannity just opened his show with audio of Arlen Specter boorishly lecturing Michele Bachman for "interrupting" him.

    That idiot is going down.

  115. Left of Center analysts and Lefties don't like it because it levels the playing field against the unions.

  116. Obama:
    With its ruling today, the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans. This ruling gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington--while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates. That's why I am instructing my Administration to get to work immediately with Congress on this issue. We are going to talk with bipartisan Congressional leaders to develop a forceful response to this decision. The public interest requires nothing less.

    Hmmm, Mr President, didn't the Supreme Court just repudiate that kind of censorship?

    BTW - This was McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform that just got slapped down.

    John McCain, God bless him. He never saw a problem big government couldn't correct.

  117. Linear, and foreign donors.

  118. rufus wrote:

    "What business is going to be in a hurry to piss off half of its customers."

    It has nothing to do with appearing to be on your customers side but rather to do with specific issues and regulation that pertain to your business. For example:

    Pollution regulation
    Subsidies for your industry (see agriculture)
    Banking regulation

    You'd be a fool if you are running a Corporation and you have an opportunity to support a politician that "shares" your views on issues that directly affect your industry.

  119. Whit, it's amazing that Obama is shocked at private money rolling in AFTER he was elected President by repudiating public financing.

  120. The funny thing, the hypocrisy, in the recent decision that immediately stood out to me though had little to do with the specific decision but rather activist aspect of it. There is nothing the "founders" thought about vis a vis corporations. They didn't exist back then.

  121. I might have misunderstood what I heard. It was kind of in passing, and I wasn't paying a lot of attention, but

    The way I heard it, about the only difference is: They can run ads, etc (just like they always have,) but they don't have to quit 30 days out, or 90 days out, or whatever it was. Of course, "News" CORPORATIONS have never been subject to that cut-off date.

    I don't think they can donate to individual candidates.

  122. Whit: BTW - This was McCain/Feingold Campaign Finance Reform that just got slapped down.

    Hopefully the SCOTUS will slap down any health care regime that requires me to disclose my private insurance purchase history. Health care insurance is grand, but under Obamacare not having health care insurance will be two grand.

  123. Again ditto Rufus. What McCain/Feingold did was suppress certain kinds of political ads in the final days of a campaign. Essentially it gave an incumbent the advantage and censored criticisms.

    The ruling centers more around freedom of speech and government censorship than it does corporations, Ash.

    This case came about because of the movie "Hillary," which was squashed in the run up to the election, (as Rufus indicated).

    Campaign finance reform laws have been ineffective because there were always loopholes which the Democrats were especially effective at manipulating.

  124. Had McCain/Feingold been in effect at the time, the Swiftboat Veterans would not have been heard. If you recall, they had to take out their own ads after the MSM ignored them.

  125. We are in a period in which capitalism is under constant attack by the resurgent anti-capitalist left.

    Obama today:
    It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.

  126. January 21, 2010
    Chavez: US Weapon Test Caused Haiti Earthquake.

    Hugo disagrees with Danny.

    Amid the chaos one constant remains firm.

    Ultimately it will all be Bush's fault.

    link via drudge


  127. I just heard Scott Brown say he Voted For the Mass Healthcare Plan.

    He worked to put it together, and it insures 98% of the people in Ma. He sounded Very proud of it.



  128. "Hugo disagrees..."

    Lucky us, we have right now quite possibly the finest country team ever assembled in his closest nemesis or anywhere fucking else on the planet.

  129. Here is the PC Togo West-Vernon West DOD-Protecting the Force report on the shooting at Fort Hood

    It talks about radicalization and religious radicals but cannot bring itself to specifically call out jihadists.

  130. eh...make that the "Togo West/Vernon Clark report".

  131. Thanks for that, Whit.

    A plane was diverted when a passenger began to pray as XXXX are wont to do. You know how XXXX are always trying to bring down airplanes.

    The Arid Rodent will have a field day.

  132. The DoD report does call for stricter review and easier decertification of Chaplaincy programs. That's interesting because I heard nothing about Muslim chaplains in connection with the "alleged" Ft Hood shooter.

    It also calls for more thorough investigation of foreign national DoD employees.