Ezra Klein thinks the compromise is a hopeful sign:
The White House sat in a room with Republicans and Democrats and managed to negotiate an actual compromise. The final deal includes some things that Democrats will like and some things they won’t like, and it includes some things Republicans will like and some things they won’t like. But it’s a deal, and a better one than many — myself included — thought they’d reach. These tax cuts were a bit of a special legislative case, as their scheduled expiration forced action, but if you want to be optimistic, this process suggests that the next two years might be a bit more productive than some of us have been predicting.
Andrew Sullivan argues that Obama knows exactly what he’s doing with the tax cut compromise:
And notice that Obama has secured – with Republican backing – a big new stimulus that will almost certainly goose growth and lower unemployment as he moves toward re-election. If growth accelerates, none of the current political jockeying and Halperin-style hyper-ventilation will matter. Obama will benefit – thanks, in part, to Republican dogma. So here’s something the liberal base can chew on if they need some grist: how cool is it that Mitch McConnell just made Barack Obama’s re-election more likely? Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?
[…] Now for the short-term benefits of resolving this tax-and-spend dilemma so swiftly. The president urgently needs to get the new START and DADT through the Senate. DADT would be a major boost for his base – and the country’s military. Getting START through is critical to his foreign policy cred. If he can pull all this off by Christmas – and the Senate should indeed stay open for an extra week – the last Congress will indeed be viewed by historians as one of the most substantive (and liberal) in recent history. And Obama will have orchestrated it – while ending up firmly planted and rebranded in the center.
Read it all…
…Since when does the Republican Party make 9/11 first responders stand over in the corner with the gays and Mexicans? By the way, the 9/11 responders bill is called the Zadroga Bill. It’s named for an NYPD officer who died as a result of breathing toxic dust at Ground Zero, and it would set up a $7.4 billion fund to treat illnesses arising from working at Ground Zero—compensate the sufferers for economic losses. AKA The Least We Can Do / No-Brainer Act Of 2010.
Since Republicans took to the floor to discuss the Dream Act, and took to the floor to discuss Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I can’t wait to see them take to the floor to talk about why their party hates first responders! …It appears no Republican senators even showed up to discuss their principled stand after [Democrats Chuck] Schumer and [Robert] Menendez.
Of course, Republicans wouldn’t be so cowardly as to not vote for the bill without justifying their actions. Just cowardly enough not to do it on camera. Wyoming Senator Mike Enzi explained in a Sunday op-ed that his real concern was proper oversight of money already spent on 9/11 workers—475 million dollars of which he claims has gone missing, saying “the nation can’t afford careless spending, no matter how well-intentioned.” Mismanagement, waste—unacceptable!
Now,by the way, the bill they were gonna vote on actually fixes that problem, but just like in May 2008, when the Pentagon announced it couldn’t account for 15 billion dollars that had disappeared somewhere in Iraq… what did Mike Enzi’s tireless fiscal watchdog say one month later, when he was asked to vote for more Iraq funding? I believe he said “This isn’t a perfect bill… The fact remains, however, that we need to fund our troops… so I will support the supplemental bill.” Unless any of those troops are 9/11 responders, in that case fuck those guys. And by the way, Mike, bad news—you know all of our troops in Afghanistan and Iraq are technically 9/11 first responders!
…So guess what, Republicans: your “We’re the only party that understands 9/11 and its repercussions” monopoly ends now. So, no more co-opting 9/11 imagery to get yourselves elected; no more using 9/11 as the date when, magically, all your policies became right; no more using 9./11 to micromanage lower Manhattan zoning decisions; no using 9/11 as an excuse for why your Bush tax cuts never stimulated the economy in the first place; or 9/11 as an excuse for what you were going to be doing anyway. No more using 9/11 as a price point. You know what, Republicans? You use [9/11] so much, if you don’t owe the 9/11 responders healthcare, at least you owe them royalties!
Here’s a little tribute… to some of those illustrious Republican senators who – when it has served them in the past – have found comfort and advantage in invoking the heroes of 9/11, and yet when it came time to return the favor delivered their message loud and clear: NO.
So here’s to the 9/11 Non-Responders…
— JON STEWART, letting the GOP have it over their hypocrisy in voting down legislation that would have granted 9/11 first responders comprehensive healthcare benefits, on The Daily Show. (via inothernews)
Was there ever a time when John McCain actually stood for something besides winning an election? I would say, no.
Today during the DADT debate, McCain stepped up to the podium, threw a tantrum, stormed off to the cloakroom, then came back to finish his tantrum, made poopie in his pants, and basically stunk up the Senate floor.
Thankfully, like MOST of what he says, it just didn’t matter. Even Lieberman was amused:
Lieberman later said that he expects his friendship with his volatile colleague to recover. “I don’t think this will leave any scars,” he said. “I just think we leave this fight knowing that I was right and he was wrong. I mean, it’s as simple as that.”
Imagine if it had been a Democrat…
Instead of saying “both sides do it,” it may be more correct to say that the Tea Party does it to “both sides:”
Just hours after 22-year-old gunman Jared Loughner launched a shooting spree at a Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) constituent event in Tucson on Saturday that left six dead and 14 wounded, Legislative District chairman Anthony Miller, a Republican, announced that he would resign his position. In an email to the state’s GOP chair, Miller cited “constant verbal attacks” after his election last year “and Internet blog posts by some local members with Tea Party ties made him worry about his family’s safety.”
[…] The newly-elected Dist. 20 Republican secretary, Sophia Johnson of Ahwatukee, first vice chairman Roger Dickinson of Tempe and Jeff Kolb, the former district spokesman from Ahwatukee, also quit.
CBS News published a new poll today, showing that a majority of Americans believe Jared Lee Loughner’s politics were a factor in the Arizona mass murder.
[…] But another poll question has a pretty shocking response:
The poll also shows that while three in four Americans say violence against the government is never justified, 16 percent say it can be justified — the same percentage that said as much in April.
Markos Moulitsas emailed CBS and asked for the partisan breakdown of responses to that question, and this is where it gets even more disturbing:
Do you think it is ever justified for citizens to take violent action against the government, or is it never justified?
Republican 28% yes, 64% no
Democrat 11% yes, 81% no
Indepdent 11% yes, 81% no
…the percentage of Republicans who believe anti-government violence can be justified is about the same as the percentage of Pakistani, Indonesian and Turkish Muslims who support terrorist acts against civilians.
Presidential vs. Pettiness:
In the span of a single news cycle, Republicans got a jarring reminder of two forces that could prevent them from retaking the presidency in next year.
At sunrise in the East on Wednesday, Sarah Palin demonstrated that she has little interest — or capacity — in moving beyond her brand of grievance-based politics. And at sundown in the West, Barack Obama reminded even his critics of his ability to rally disparate Americans around a message of reconciliation.
Palin was defiant, making the case in a taped speech she posted online why the nation’s heated political debate should continue unabated even after Saturday’s tragedy in Tucson. And, seeming to follow her own advice, she swung back at her opponents, deeming the inflammatory notion that she was in any way responsible for the shootings a “blood libel.”
Obama, speaking at a memorial service at the University of Arizona, summoned the country to honor the victims, and especially9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, by treating one another with more respect. “I want America to be as good as Christina imagined it,” he said.
Obama was presidential, fatherly, seeking to heal our nation in the midst of tragedy. Sarah’s focus was on herself. One day she’ll be lucky if she’s at least a footnote in a very ugly part of our history.
Where is it safe to live? Comparing the two maps below it appears that there is a bit of variety between states with high gun deaths and high church attendance - somewhat. But regional similarities are unmistakable.
What’s remarkable to me are the similarities between the states with low gun deaths and low church attendance (with the exceptions of Utah and Iowa).
States with the most gun deaths:
States with highest church attendance (Gallup):
Click the maps to read the data and breakdowns, such as:
The main reason why the Republican frontrunners are too a’scared to declare their candidacies for the 2012 nomination — illustrated in convenient graph form.
The key to understanding the G.O.P. analysis of health reform is that the party’s leaders are not, in fact, opposed to reform because they believe it will increase the deficit. Nor are they opposed because they seriously believe that it will be “job-killing” (which it won’t be). They’re against reform because it would cover the uninsured — and that’s something they just don’t want to do.
And it’s not about the money. As I tried to explain in my last column, the modern G.O.P. has been taken over by an ideology in which the suffering of the unfortunate isn’t a proper concern of government, and alleviating that suffering at taxpayer expense is immoral, never mind how little it costs.
Given that their minds were made up from the beginning, top Republicans weren’t interested in and didn’t need any real policy analysis — in fact, they’re basically contemptuous of such analysis, something that shines through in their health care report. All they ever needed or wanted were some numbers and charts to wave at the press, fooling some people into believing that we’re having some kind of rational discussion. We aren’t.
(Source: The New York Times)
CNN: “As evidence of a slight rhetorical shift, House Speaker John Boehner abandoned labeling the current health care law as ‘job killing,’ and instead called it ‘job crushing’ and ‘job destroying’ in a new message posted on his webpage.”