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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blogus Interruptus

I have a project to do over the next few days, so posting will be sporadic. Maybe some, maybe alot, maybe nothing, I'm not sure.

Back to normal service Wednesday morning.

Johnny Ratz

The NYTimes runs an article claiming the pope knew about the activities of a notorious pedophile priest for a long time.
But the memo, whose existence was confirmed by two church officials, shows that the future pope not only led a meeting on Jan. 15, 1980, approving the transfer of the priest, but was also kept informed about the priest’s reassignment.

Not normally my beat, but that seems like a big freaking deal.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Press Secretary Gibbs comments on McCain
McCain: "There will be no cooperation for the rest of the year. They have poisoned the well in what they've done and how they've done it."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs responds: "I find it curious that not getting your way on one thing means you've decided to take your toys and go home. It doesn't work well for my six-year-old. I doubt it works well in the United States Senate, because we have issues that are important for his constituents and for all of America."

The quietest nuclear treaty ever

The Obama administration and the Russians have agreed on terms to sign a new START treaty. Official signing date yet to be scheduled.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pushing the "threats" story

Partially because it is news, and partially because it reflects the idea that Repubs are becoming too extreme, Steny Hoyer pushes the story that Dems are receiving threats and are the subject of violent vandalism.

And it gets big coverage. It's the AP number two, the NYTimes covers it in their top stories, and the WaPo frontpages.

It's a pretty disgusting set of acts and threats, but the cut propane line is probably the most serious.

PS: We're bordering on the technical definitions of terrorism: Coordinated acts of violence or threats of violence intended to effect a political action.

Later: Add a coffin left on Mo. Rep Carnahan's lawn.

Legalize it

A California ballot initiative would legalize and tax marijuana.

In theory, the polling says it has support to pass, but there is a personal grow provision that I think might be problematic.

I'll be really curious to see how this plays out and how the national authorities respond if this were to pass. They've been quietly fighting medical marijuana and the dispensaries.

Polling Republicans

This guy's promoting his own book, and I don't know the methodology or linkage of this Harris poll so take it with a grain of salt, but it's still eyepopping.
57 percent of Republicans (32 percent overall) believe that Obama is a Muslim 45 percent of Republicans (25 percent overall) agree with the Birthers in their belief that Obama was "not born in the United States and so is not eligible to be president" 38 percent of Republicans (20 percent overall) say that Obama is "doing many of the things that Hitler did" Scariest of all, 24 percent of Republicans (14 percent overall) say that Obama "may be the Antichrist."

Related: A different (more credible) poll
A new Quinnipiac poll finds Republicans leading the generic congressional ballot, 44% to 39%, but if there is a Tea Party candidate on the ballot, the Democrat would get 36% to the Republican's 25%, with 15% for the Tea Party candidate.

Overall, the survey found that 13% of American voters consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement.

Healthcare thought for the day

As the fixes bill goes back to the Senate for another vote, how do the Republicans look as they vigorously oppose it, now that the primary bill is passed, and the signing ceremony has taken place?

Isn't that going to feel way out of tone since the main feeling is that it's already done?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The FoxNews rule

Everytime the market goes down on one day, the FoxNews folks say it's a referendum on some Obama action.

The market went up yesterday, and, thus far, again today.

Doesn't that mean Wall Street approves of the healthcare bill?


Vice President Biden whispers to Barack Obama at the healthcare bill signing today,
This is a big fucking deal.

(Was it really an accidental "gaffe" or was it designed, to generate repeated coverage of the raucaus applause and event.)

Next - Potentially, it gets uglier

In the wake of the annihilative healthcare debate, I find it politically and strategically interesting the Obama folks are talking about bringing up immigration reform in the near future (before the 2010 midterms.)

What sort of tone do you get out of these riotously oppositional Republicans on immigration reform?

What does the "tea party" sound like when it's opposing immigration?

Immigration is sure to generate the ugliest image of these people imaginable coming up before the 2010 midterms. Texas and Southern Republican politicians dancing very close to racism in their strong schticky drawls. "Tea Party" rallies replete with on the edge speakers, home made signs, letters to the editor, and you can just imagine the quotes in the articles.

Every overstep is sure to make news whether it's an elected official or the rallies they've so whole heartedly embraced. They will have to repeatedly repudiate and disown parts of their movement, and you figure their deteriorating image would have to cost voters in swing districts..

Bringing up immigration would seem to be natural way to exploit the current hate filled environment and tendency towards extremism within the opposition against Obama. Handled properly, it would seem to be a very clever jiujitsu against the irrational hate stirred up in the opposition.

The Obama folks don't have to try to actually pass an anything to get the effect. All they have to do is to speak about it seriously and lay out a legislative schedule dating past 2010. This batch of Republicans won't be able to help themselves.

On the other hand., they would be reverse race baiting and inviting this ugliness into the public sphere.

Any thoughts?

(Meanwhile, the Republicans want to talk abortion.)

Picture of the Day

Message from a brick thrown through the window of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). "Last Thursday she received a chilling recorded message at her campaign office. “Assassinate is the word they used…toward the children of lawmakers who voted yes."

Article here.

Thought for the Day

A lot of random thoughts this morning as the healthcare passage sinks in, but there's one that I haven't seen anywhere else.

Doesn't the Republicans current tone completely repudiate the Bush/Rove presentation of "compassionate conservatism?"

We can debate whether "compassionate conservatism" was ever anything more than rhetoric, but it was pretty good rhetoric, and it was a way for the Repubs to chop into the traditionional electoral Dem perception.

This current Republican version is really a return to the worst of the late Reagan republicanism. It's Pat Buchanan at the convention and Pat Robertson running for President.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Healthcare passed

Is America destroyed yet?

Don't let the score trick you into thinking it was a close game

One of the early analyses that I've seen that already annoys me is the idea that the healthcare bill "barely passed" last night.

That's way too simplistic, especially from "Washington" reporters.

What really happens is that they corral enough votes by a safe margin, let's guess 240, and then begin to "release" specific Congressmen facing tough reelection in Republican districts to allow them to vote no.

The minute they confirmed the vote would be Sunday night, they already had the votes by a safe margin. Everything after that was Kabuki for the optics.

Later: Second stupid analysis: The passage was good for Obama but bad for Dems.

If Obama looks good, Democrats look good. It's that simple.


I think the most interesting question is how Republicans will shift their opposition now that the bill has passed.

How does the "tyranny/Hitler" stuff play in the wake of passage?

My guess is that it the mainstream/national Republicans will become much more muted, part of a larger "big government" argument, with very prominent "dog whistles" to the crazy base. On a second channel, the already crazies, the Bachmann's and Hensarling's will continue to feed the crazy channel at full volume.

They've somewhat painted themselves in with their crazy invective. If they back off too much they'll be portrayed as weak and capitulating, but if they continue too strongly, they may ssem bitter and outside the mainstream.

Are they going to run on taking away insurance? Re-instituting pre-existing conditions? Re-instituting the hugely unpopular drug coverage "doughnut hole?"

Their goal in all of this is 2010, but can they now control the pot they've stirred?

(Curious: Does this help the crazier Republican primary challengers?)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thought for the Day

...watching televised golf is more interesting....


David Plouffe to Karl Rove on a "contentious" This Week.
"If Karl and a lot of Republicans want to call the election already, they ought to break out that 'Mission Accomplished' banner...."

Thought for the Day

I read news every day, but I can't tell you, except in the vaguest terms, what's in the health bill that's about to pass.

The healthcare procedural story been the topline story for weeks (and maybe the most written story for the Obama presidency,) but in all that, how much ink has been spilled telling us what's actually in the bill?