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How Dysfunction Helps the GOP

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

The party says its own mistakes prove government can't work.

By Thomas Frank
The Tilting Yard at The Wall Street Journal

'Remember the $400 hammer? How 'bout that $600 toilet seat?" asks a Conservatives for Patients' Rights TV commercial criticizing President Barack Obama's health-care plan. "Seems when Congress gets involved, things just cost more."

As it happens, I do remember the incident of the $436 hammer, the one that made headlines back in 1984. And while it may "seem" in hazy retrospect as though it showed how "things just cost more" once those silly liberals in Congress get started, what the hammer episode actually illustrated was a very different sort of ripoff. The institution that paid so very much for that hammer was President Ronald Reagan's Pentagon. A private-sector contractor was the party that was pleased to take the Pentagon's money. And it was a liberal Democrat in the House of Representatives, also known as "Congress," who publicized the pricey hardware to the skies.

But so what? Myth is so much more satisfying than history, and with myth the competence of Washington actors from 25 years ago doesn't matter any more. Nor does it matter which arm of the federal colossus did what. Republican or Democrat, White House or Congress, they're all part of a monolithic, undifferentiated "government" that acts according to a money-burning logic all its own.

The myth has been getting a lot of play from conservatives in recent weeks as the debate over health care has heated up. The message, as always, is that government can't do anything right.

Where the conservative mythologists show their hand is when they use their own monumental screw-ups, committed during conservatism's long years in charge of the government, to prove that government in general is a futile proceeding, and that Democratic health-care plans, in particular, can't possibly succeed....(Remainder.)


Bachmann Lies About Census’ American Community Survey, Claims It Doesn’t Ask About Citizenship

By Matt Corely
Think Progress

As ThinkProgress has previously noted, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has been fearmongering about the 2010 Census and bragging that she plans to break the law by refusing to answer it. “I know for my family, the only question we will be answering is how many people are in our home. We won’t be answering any information beyond that,” said Bachmann recently.

On Sean Hannity’s radio show yesterday, Bachmann continued to attack the Census, repeatedly insisting that people should go to her website to “see the Census form for themselves.” Listing off a few questions from the American Community Survey (a long-form survey sent out to one in 40 households each year) that she considers invasive, Bachmann claimed that it doesn’t ask “are you an American citizen”:

BACHMANN: Twenty-eight pages. Sean, you know the one question they don’t ask? They ask, “are you an American citizen?” They don’t ask if you’re here on a visa or when it expires. We have no real idea how many illegal aliens are in our country. But wouldn’t you think, here they are asking every personal question about our lives, they could at least ask if we’re an American citizen? They don’t bother to ask for that. That’s why I think people need to read this census for themselves. If you go to my website, michelebachmann, you can read it.

Listen here:

In fact, the American Community Survey does ask about U.S. citizenship and it has since 1890:



This Is Why Insurance Companies Fear The Public Option

By Something The Dog Said
Square State

Folks have been asking, with good reason, just why it is the big insurance companies are so weak in the knees about a public option health care plan. After all, these are generally the same folks who say they the Government can not run any thing well, that always complain Government costs more than the private sector (all evidence from the Iraq war to the contrary aside) so what should they fear? Well, Health Care For America Now (HCAN) has compiled a new report which sheds some serious light on this.

In a nut shell, the Health Care Insurance companies are concerned about protecting their near monopolies. The way these companies are going at this is by controlling major portions of a local market, at the State level. The Department of Justice considers a market "highly concentrated" if one company holds 42% of market share. Highly concentrated is just a step or so below a monopoly. This would still not be too bad if the remaining 58% of the market were made up of many other companies competing for business, but in health care this is not the case. In 30 States there is this highly concentrated market. In 12 States (nearly a quarter of the United States) 80% or more of the market is controlled by only the top two health care insurers.

The problem in large metropolitan areas is actually worse in some cases then the State level data would suggest. In fact according to the AMA 94% of all insurance markets in the United States are highly concentrated. This means there is no real competition for insurance. Yes, there is a choice for consumers and businesses, but there is no competitive pressure which the free market worshiping Republicans will tell you controls prices and assures service will remain high. The Dog is a moderate believer in the capitalist system of economics, but there must be real competition if this system is to work. This is not what is happening here.

One of the reasons we have over 48,000,000 uninsured people in this country is the soaring cost of the insurance. When there is a choice between putting food on the table tonight and covering some unknown future health issue, there is no choice. We have been told all these companies are holding down costs as much as they can, well friends and neighbors, the Dog is here to tell you that is flat bullshit. Over the last 13 years there have been 400 mergers of health insurance companies. This means there are now at least 200 less companies offering insurance than there were in 1996. Less competition means less pressure to keep costs down....(Remainder.)


Judge Overturns Bush Administration Logging Rule

By Jeff Barnard
Associated Press via The Huffington Post

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — A federal judge has struck down the Bush administration's change to a rule designed to protect the northern spotted owl from logging in national forests.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken ruled from Oakland, Calif., on Tuesday that the U.S. Forest Service failed to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of changing the rule to make it easier to cut down forest habitat of species such as the spotted owl and salmon on 193 million acres of national forests.

"I am hopeful that this is the last nail in the coffin to (President George W.) Bush's assault on our public forests," said Pete Frost, an attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center in Eugene, which represented plaintiffs in one of two cases challenging the rule.

At stake was a provision of the National Forest Management Act that required maintaining viable populations of species that indicate the health of an ecosystem, such as the spotted owl. The Bush administration changed the rule last year so it required a framework of protection, rather than maintaining viable populations of wildlife.

The ruling marked the third time federal courts have turned back attempts to change the 1984 version of what is known as the viability rule within the National Forest Management Act.

The judge wrote that an environmental impact statement done by the Forest Service "does not evaluate the environmental impacts of the 2008 rule," and the agency failed to comply with Endangered Species Act requirements to consult with other federal agencies on whether the rule changes would jeopardize the survival of endangered species....(Remainder.)


Caribou Barbie Ally Compares McCain Campaign Chief to Tony Soprano

By John Byrne
The Raw Story

Let the backstabbing begin.

In a particularly visceral public exchange, the editor of the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard Bill Kristol and an ally of Gov. Sarah Palin opened fire on Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) former campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, accusing him of being behind anonymous attacks on Palin in the latest issue of Vanity Fair.

The piece quotes a McCain friend as referring to Palin as the “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Kristol was particularly inflamed by a passage in the Vanity Fair piece which said “some top aides” worried about the Alaska governor’s “mental state” — “In fact, one aide who raised this possibility in the course of trashing Palin’s mental state to others in the McCain-Palin campaign was Steve Schmidt,” Kristol wrote.

Schmidt returned the punch in an e-mail to Politico: “I’m sure John McCain would be president today if only Bill Kristol had been in charge of the campaign.”

“After all,” he added wryly, “his management of [former Vice President] Dan Quayle’s public image as his chief of staff is still something that takes your breath away. His attack on me is categorically false.”...(Remainder.)


Conservatives Find Political Fodder in Firefighter Decision

Right-wing groups claim high court's 5-4 ruling rebuffs Sotomayor.

By Daphne Eviatar
The Colorado Independent

Monday’s ruling in the reverse discrimination case Ricci v. DeStefano was not particularly surprising for the decision itself, which was widely anticipated. As many court-watchers expected, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court held that, by not relying on a promotional exam on which a group of white firefighters had scored well, the city of New Haven had discriminated against the white men in favor of black and Latino firefighters who had not scored as well on the exam.

Yet within hours, conservative groups were spinning events: A 5-4 decision, they claimed, amounted to a unanimous ruling by the sitting Supreme Court justices against nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Sotomayor, as one of three judges on the Second Circuit panel that decided the case on appeal, had ruled in favor of the City of New Haven.

“NOT EVEN ONE JUSTICE APPROVED SOTOMAYER IN RICCI CASE,” blared the headline of a statement issued shortly after the decision from Wendy Long, counsel to the Judicial Confirmation Network, a conservative organization that’s strongly opposed Sotomayor.

“Frank Ricci finally got his day in court, despite the judging of Sonia Sotomayor, which all nine Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court have now confirmed was in error,” said Long.

At a conference call with reporters organized by the conservative Federalist Society, Gail Heriot, a professor at the University of San Diego Law School and commissioner of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, made the same claim: “This was a unanimous decision that the Second Circuit was incorrect. Nobody agreed with Sotomayor. Nobody.”...(Remainder.)


Cash for Clunkers

By Milt Priggee


Christian Extremist Group Calls for July 5th Jesus Fest

Seriously? Tony Perkins again? Didn't he die and go to hell or some such shit? Why the hell is this guy still around?

By VJack
Atheist Revolution

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, claims to have a direct line of communication to the Christian god. And just what is his god telling him to do now? According to Perkins, his god wants him to organize yet another national day of prayer (presumably because the one we just had worked so well). Under the name "Call2Fall," Perkins is hoping to organize his followers into one big Jesus fest on July 5, 2009. In this post, we'll take a look at an e-mail about the event Perkins recently sent to those he considers his supporters and have some fun with it.

What follows are excerpts from Perkins' e-mail...with commentary. You can find the entire e-mail on Pam's House Blend without contributing to traffic for Perkins' website.
"The Lord has impressed on me the need for us, as followers of Jesus Christ, to take responsibility for the broken state of our nation and go to God. But we must go to Him on His terms, in humility, prayer, and repentance as outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Then and only then can we claim the promise of God's forgiveness, healing and the renewal of our lives and our land."
So this all-powerful and loving god of yours essentially wants humanity to grovel before it. Even though this being could solve the problems to which you refer in an instant, what it really wants to see is humans begging....(Remainder.)


Former 'Perverted Justice' Member Arrested for DDoSing Rolling Stone, Radar

By Kim Zetter
Threat Level @

A software developer whom authorities say once worked with the online vigilante group Perverted Justice has been charged with launching denial of service attacks against web sites belonging to Rolling Stone, Radar and others.

Bruce Raisley, 47, allegedly launched the attacks to block access to two articles written by the publications that reported embarrassing information about him. But ironically his attempt to obscure the information is now bringing even more attention to it.

“His actions were alarming in that he chose to attack third party web sites when he didn’t like their content,” says Assistant U.S. Attorney Erez Liebermann. “It’s one thing for him to be unhappy with a web site. It’s another thing for him to attack third parties that have not done anything, which causes damage on the side of the victim companies and on the side of any affected computer.”

According to a federal complaint (.pdf) unsealed today in New Jersey and written by FBI Special Agent Susan Secco, Raisley launched the attack against nine sites using a botnet that he controlled. One of the computers in the botnet belonged to the Academic and Research Network of Slovenia, which is the base for Slovenia’s Computer Emergency Response Team. The team helped U.S. authorities trace the botnet and DDoS attacks to Raisley.

Rolling Stone experienced multiple DDoS attacks between July 2007 and March 2008 in an attempt to prevent readers from gaining access to an article the magazine published in July 2007 titled “To Catch a Predator: Is NBC’s Primetime Dragnet the New American Witch Hunt?”...(Remainder.)


America's ICE Backwards Approach to Immigration

By Andrew Becker and Hugo Cabrera, CIR

AP photo / Khampha Bouaphanh
While the nation’s understaffed immigration courts strain under a backlog that has grown to more than 200,000 cases, thousands of new border agents have been hired and the number of government attorneys who argue for deportation has increased by 35 percent, pushing more cases onto an already overburdened system.

As a result, cases often take months if not years to complete, leading to more immigrants being held in a growing network of detention facilities and jails. On any given day there are more than 30,000 people in immigration lockup.

Since 2004, 184 trial attorneys have been added by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), bringing the number of lawyers to about 709 as of Feb. 18, according to records recently obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting through a Freedom of Information Act request. ICE, a bureau of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), arrests and detains persons suspected of being undocumented immigrants and deports those ordered removed from the country by an immigration judge.

The hiring of more border agents also contrasts sharply with the hiring of immigration judges who have struggled to keep up with the case backlog. While nearly 5,000 border agents were hired from 2006 to 2008—the number of Border Patrol agents is expected to reach 20,000 this year—there has been a net increase of only three judges from 2006 to June 26, 2009. The number of judges has fluctuated, mostly as a result of retirement, and now stands at 233 jurists, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the Justice Department agency that oversees the nation’s 57 immigration courts.

The shortfall of judges has contributed to a backlog of cases that reached 201,212 as of April 30, a 19 percent increase since 2006, according to a recent report by Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a nonpartisan data-analysis group at Syracuse University. The backlog has jumped 64 percent since a decade ago....(Remainder.)

This article is a collaboration with the Center for Investigative Reporting.


Health Care Deform

Afraid of the public option? This is what America will look like without it.

By Jacob Hacker and Rahul Rajkumar
The New Republic

The issue sucking up the oxygen in Washington today is whether to have a public health insurance plan compete with private insurers for the business of Americans without secure workplace coverage. Americans overwhelmingly back the idea, President Obama strongly supports it, and House Democratic leaders have drafted legislation that shows how it can be done. But the insurance and pharmaceutical lobbies and some medical provider groups have cried foul, and they have found a receptive ear not just among Republicans but also some Democrats who demand that reform be bipartisan, even if they have to cut the heart out of it.

Opponents of the plan paint a dystopian future in which the government takes over American medicine, limiting choice and competition. The claim is demonstrably false: If the public plan option were enacted, most Americans would continue to get private insurance through their employers as they do today, and the public plan would be just one choice offered alongside a menu of private plans. Yet a post-reform world of unraveling choices, runaway costs, and rampant health insecurity could well materialize--if critics get their way and the public plan dies as a health care bill wends its way to passage.

Fast forward a few years to the first day that this reform bill--signed with much fanfare in the Rose Garden, with a beaming bipartisan coterie--takes effect. The bill's crown jewel is not the public option, but a "national insurance exchange," a benefit clearinghouse that is supposed to sign up private insurers to provide choices to people without workplace insurance. These choices vary based on the region you live in, to reflect the plans in the local market....(Remainder.)


Israel Holds Peace Activists, Including Cynthia McKinney, Hostage!

By Stephen C. Webster
The Raw Story

A group of 21 peace activists sailing to Palestine were intercepted and arrested by Israeli authorities on Tuesday as they attempted to bring food and medical supplies to the war-torn city of Gaza. Israel said it plans to deport most of the people involved, including former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney and Mairead Maguire, a Nobel laureate.

The group insists they were not in Israeli waters. In a media advisory, the arrests were characterized as kidnapping.

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us,” said McKinney in a press release issued by the Free Gaza Movement. “Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip. President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do.”

“Any organization or country that wishes to transfer humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip can legally do so via the established crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip with prior coordination,” the Israeli military told CNN.

The IDF said the boat was given warnings to avoid Palestinian waters, but it proceeded anyway. Two of the group’s humanitarian missions to Gaza were halted by the Israeli military in 2008, though five others have been successful, the activists said....(Remainder.)


GOP Operative Schmidt Blasts Bill Kristol: ‘He’s In The Business Of Ad Hominem Insults And Criticism’

By Faiz Shakir
Think Progress

Yesterday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol — a long-time aggressive public advocate of Sarah Palin — took great exception to a new article in Vanity Fair by Todd Purdum which quoted McCain campaign officials disparaging Palin's performance as a vice presidential candidate.

Kristol fingered one particular McCain official for blame: chief strategist Steve Schmidt. Kristol claimed that Schmidt trashed "Palin's mental state to others in the McCain-Palin campaign." And now Schmidt is firing back by unloading some very candid rhetorical bombs against Kristol. Politico's Jonathan Martin reports:
Asked about the accusation, Schmidt fired back in an e-mail: "I'm sure John McCain would be president today if only Bill Kristol had been in charge of the campaign."

"After all, his management of [former Vice President] Dan Quayle's public image as his chief of staff is still something that takes your breath away," Schmidt continued. "His attack on me is categorically false."
Schmidt then offered more colorful perspective of Kristol's character:
"Bill Kristol, going back to the time of the campaign, has taken a lot of cheap shots at the campaign without ever offering a plausible path to victory," Schmidt said. "He's in the business of ad hominem insults and criticism." […]

As for the charges of being a sunshine soldier with regard to Palin, Schmidt said: "Nonsense. I'm a team player. That's a reflection of [Kristol's] values. He's the Washington, D.C., talking head and glitterati. I live in Northern California and I really don't give a s— about that stuff."


Jon Stewart Slams Cheney For Complaining About Troop Withdrawals; Compares Him To Bin Laden

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Departing
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Dick Cheney's Withdrawal Timeline
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Jason Jones in Iran


Wal-Mart Throws a Curveball

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

Three powerful entities announced their support yesterday for including an employer mandate provision in health care reform, a major point of contention in the larger debate. The first two -- the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Center for American Progress -- didn't come as much of a surprise. The third was Wal-Mart.

Yes, that Wal-Mart -- the commercial behemoth and the nation's largest private employer, with a reputation for being less than concerned about employee benefits.

The National Retail Federation, a staunch opponent of an employer mandate, was reportedly "flabbergasted" by the Wal-Mart announcement. Likewise, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was livid. The Hill noted, "The decision by Wal-Mart to break away from the Chamber and its ilk marks the first visible crack in the business coalition on healthcare reform."

Jonathan Cohn describes how this changes the landscape.
By endorsing the idea of a employer mandate, Wal-Mart has made the idea more difficult to demonize. It has also -- and I can't stress this enough -- given some political cover to members of Congress who might be sympathetic to the idea of employer mandate but hesitate to take a vote that might be perceived as anti-business.

Remember, there's a huge difference between voting for something all businesses oppose and voting for one that includes among its supporters a huge, iconic corporation.

Naturally, Wal-Mart insisted upon a condition: In the letter, it calls for the "strongest possible commitment to rein in health care costs." But Wal-Mart has helped advance that cause, too, by putting the company's imprimatur on two solid, specific proposals.

One, which Senator Jay Rockefeller has been championing lately, would strengthen the power of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to guide the way Medicare pays for medical services. The other, which comes from the Bipartisan Policy Center, would create a "trigger" mechanism; basically, if health industry groups couldn't deliver savings they've promised, automatic payment reductions would ensue.


Obama's Presidential Garden

By Good
Good Magazine


Isgar Creates Colo. Senate Vacancy With Appointment to USDA Post

By Ernest Luning
The Colorado Independent

Term-limited state Sen. Jim Isgar won appointment as the U.S. Department of Agriculture state director of rural development, Mile High Politics first reported Tuesday morning. The Hesperus Democrat, whose Senate District 6 covers eight counties in the southwest corner of Colorado, plans to step down in about three weeks, he told Jeremy Pelzer, creating the need for a vacancy committee to fill the final year of his term.

“After many years working for Colorado, I’m excited at the opportunity to continue that work at the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” Isgar said in a statement. “As a resident of a rural area these issues touch me very deeply. I’m happy that I will be able to continue to work for Colorado, rebuild and revitalize our rural economy, and improve the lives of every American every day. I want to maintain the vitality of rural America– that’s where the strength of this country has always been and that’s where our strength will continue to be.”

Known around the Capitol as the Legislature’s foremost authority on water issues, Isgar chairs the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the Permanent Legislative Water Review Committee. He works as a rancher.

Isgar has made no secret of his desire for a federal job. During the legislative session, he told the Durango Herald he had applied for a job with the Obama administration and was rumored to be seeking the USDA regional director spot....(Remainder.)


Right Wing Hate Getting Out of Control

By Mike Papantonio
The Huffington Post

About an hour's drive from where I live, a miserable 60-year old man by the name of Donnie Baker murdered two Chilean college students and wounded five others. Baker has one of those simpleton minds that is easily influenced by media fear mongers. He murdered those kids because he visualized himself as a hero protecting America from the evil immigrant hordes crossing our border. Those are the same evil hordes vilified every day by right wing "conservative" media.

Baker's story was similar to Joshua Cartwright's who murdered two sheriff's deputies because, according to his wife, Cartwright was distraught that Barack Obama had been elected president. Cartwright lived in Fort Walton Beach, Florida, down the highway from Mr. Baker.

It's a place where right wing media flourishes.

These days, hate crime stories are so similar and so many in number that we begin to tune them out the same way we might tune out the car sales commercials that scream over our radio and TV airways everyday. But the Donnie Bakers and Joshua Cartwrights of the world are intently listening to the screaming airways. Not the screaming that sells automobiles, but the screaming that encourages dull-witted, troubled personalities to commit murder.

There is a new book on the market titled, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right. It is a book that helps us understand the connections between conservative media messaging and hate crime. Xenophobe, homophobe, demophobe, Obama-phobe, tax-phobe, choice-phobe; Name the fear and you can match it to some right wing TV or radio "talent" pandering to the most terrified, simpleton and impressionable minds in his audience. The author of The Eliminationists, David Neiwert, says that there is a formula that promotes the terminally unsophisticated and disturbed parts of America's right wing talk audience to do more than just listen to hate messaging. The basic principle behind the formula is to appeal to the most fearful and intellectually challenged portions of a listening audience. Once you get that crowd's attention, the next step is to demonize, dehumanize, and in a sense objectify the hate talker targets. That then allows the hate talker to more easily characterize the Latino, the liberal, the Muslim, the abortion doctor, and even the president of the United States as a traitor, a criminal and an opponent to everything that is righteous and decent. The process is called eliminationism. It is a process that encourages the contempt talkers audience to ridicule, suppress, and ignore opinions that are different from those of the audience. I interviewed Neiwert last week. He had an interesting way of describing eliminationism. He told me that it is the equivalent of allowing a village lunatic to wander through the town square poking everyone he dislikes in the eye with a sharp stick. His book points out that some villagers have enough courage and intellect to stop the lunatic, but others don't have sense enough to realize that the lunatic has recruited them and has actually handed them their own sharp stick....(Remainder.)


Democrats Caution: Franken Won't Drastically Change Political Reality. WTF?

By Sam Stein
The Huffington Post

Moments after former Sen. Norm Coleman conceded the drawn-out Minnesota Senate election to Al Franken, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said that that he would sign the election certificate. In a matter of minutes, the eight-month-long recount process had come to a close.

All was well within the Democratic Party, which had finally received that elusive 60th caucus member. The Republican filibuster would be no longer be a threat.

Or maybe not.

Franken is expected to come to Washington after the July 4th recess. But not everyone is convinced that his presence will make a huge political difference. The reality, which few in the Democratic Party are willing to talk about openly, is that there are really only 58 caucusing members. Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, has been out for nearly all of the current Congress on medical leave. Sen. Robert Byrd, D-WV, while released from the hospital on Tuesday morning, continues to face health issues of his own. Meanwhile, moderate Democrats like Mary Landrieu, D-La, and Ben Nelson, D-Neb., have made it almost a point of pride in not allowing their votes to be taken for granted. And on specific issues, the party has proven strikingly allergic to philosophical unison.

"It is good news for the Democrats and it is bad news for the Republicans. That is a simple fact," said Mo Elleithee, a Democratic strategist who has worked on Hillary Clinton and Terry McAuliffe's campaigns. "Having said that, you don't want to get too far ahead of yourself here. It is not like the caucus is unanimous on every issue."

Talking on condition of anonymity, some Democratic strategists were even blunter. "Sixty is an imaginary number," said one operative. "You are always going to lose the Ben Nelsons and all the centrists. This is why 2010 proves to be so important because it can set a buffer for that 60 threshold."

"This is a story Jim Manley [Majority Leader Harry Reid's press secretary] will love, but it has the virtue of being true," the operative added....(Remainder.)


Fox Pimps Fake Rasmussen Poll Index

By Mark
News Corpse

Last week I wrote about the latest index invented by the notoriously deceptive Rasmussen polling firm. Rasmussen’s Presidential Approval Index actually distorts the President’s approval by leaving out huge chunks of the poll’s respondents. He does this by counting only those who express a “strong” opinion. As I said last week…
The problem with this method is that it ignores all of those who approve or disapprove, albeit not strongly. In his own survey, the Presidential Approval Index is a negative 1 (-1), which he then releases to the media as demonstrating that the Obama honeymoon is over. However, his results including all respondents show that Obama is regarded favorably by a healthy majority of 54%, compared to 45% who disapprove (+7).
At the end of that article I concluded that “Rasmussen has emerged as the number one most likely pollster to be interviewed on Fox News.” That has been true for some time, but now Fox is tightening their embrace of the partisan pollster by misrepresenting the already skewed results. Here is their story from The Fox Nation announcing that “Obama Job Approval Index Dips Negative for First Time” :



Keith Olbermann: Obama is Stonewalling on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

By Nicholas Graham
The Huffington Post

Keith Olbermann brought on author and noted gay rights activist Dan Savage to discuss whether President Obama is stonewalling on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT).

Savage makes the important point that, just as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has suspended enforcement of the 'widower's penalty,' which forces the deportation of someone who has been married to a U.S. citizen for less than two years, Obama has the executive authority to end the military discharges of gay and lesbian service members that are the result of DADT while Congress debates repealing the policy.

Considering that we're in the middle of two wars, there is a compelling national security imperative to do this. Savage sarcastically wondered if Napolitano has executive authorities that Obama lacks.

Watch the interview below.



Every Sperm is Sacred

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

President Obama, even as a candidate, always seemed to have a good, politically-salient line on reproductive rights: he's pro-choice, but he also supports common-sense measures that would reduce unwanted pregnancies, reduce the abortion rate, and improve the reproductive health of millions of women.

In general, it was an approach that resonated with many who were otherwise skeptical of progressive politicians. After all, if Obama supports steps that would lower the number of abortions, he can be pro-choice while also finding some meaningful areas of agreement with opponents of abortion rights.

At least, that was the theory. U.S. News' Dan Gilgoff reports:
As the White House readies its plan for finding "common ground" on reproductive health issues and reducing the need for abortion, a major debate has emerged over how to package the plan's two major components: preventing unwanted pregnancies and reducing the need for abortion.

Many abortion rights advocates and some Democrats who want to dial down the culture wars want the White House to package the two parts of the plan together, as a single piece of legislation. The plan would seek to reduce unwanted pregnancies by funding comprehensive sex education and contraception and to reduce the need for abortion by bolstering federal support for pregnant women. Supporters of the approach say it would force senators and members of Congress on both sides of the abortion battle to compromise their traditional positions, creating true common ground that mirrors what President Obama has called for.

But more conservative religious groups working with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships say they would be forced to oppose such a plan -- even though they support the abortion reduction part -- because they oppose federal dollars for contraception and comprehensive sex education. This camp, which includes such formidable organizations as the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops and the Southern Baptist Convention, is pressuring the White House to decouple the two parts of the plan into separate bills.

It often goes overlooked, but a significant number of conservatives not only oppose abortion rights, but would also deny Americans legal access to contraception....(Remainder.)


Fanfare for the Common Moron

By Attaturk

Oh, good plan
Barack Obama is a truly gifted politician, though -- as ever -- a triangulating one of slightly leftest tendencies. But even if he was not, the Republicans remain truly his best ally on the road to a second term.

Mustache of Understanding, your thoughts?
What are Republicans thinking? It is not as if they put forward a different strategy, like a carbon tax. Does the G.O.P. want to be the party of sex scandals and polluters or does it want to be a partner in helping America dominate the next great global industry: E.T. — energy technology?
Oh, the GOP is all that and so much more. They are also the Party of war, democracy (in coup form), intolerance, science, and the poor oppressed health insurance industry. They're a party where an old white guy can get tips from Glenn Beck on how to committ a bad touch without being listed on the sex offender registry.

They're a "big tent" where people are free to think independently for themselves as long as they all vote and think the same "exciting" way....(Original.)


Al Franken Wins Senate—Fox Nation Throws Tantrum

By Mark
News Corpse

The Minnesota Supreme Court finally handed down its ruling today that Al Franken was the winner in last November's senate election. The court's decision was unanimous with all five justices ruling in Franken's favor:
"…we affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under [state law] to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota."
Norm Coleman has conceded and all that's left now is for Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty to sign the certificate and send Franken on his way to Washington. Pawlenty has been hinting that he is prepared to sign the certificate, but with Republican governors you never know until it's done. Pawlenty might decide to go for a hike in the Appalachians.

So leave it to Fox to bring this news down to the level of a whining toddler who can't understand why he isn't getting his way:

The Fox Nation reacted to this breaking news by quickly posting a photo of Franken's Stuart Smalley character from his days on Saturday Night Live - ten years ago. Fox Nation's childish behavior is nothing new. They simply can't bring themselves to refer to Franken by his real name (a shortcoming they share with Bill O'Reilly). Every article I was able to find on Fox Nation about Franken used Smalley in the headline....(Remainder.)


The Best Argument Against Gay Marriage

By Amanda Marcotte

Via Dan Savage, I now give you the best argument ever against gay marriage, by David Klinghoffer:
Consider this piece from the first century BCE poet Catullus (Carmen 61:134-141), in which the poet addresses himself to a bridegroom on the eve of his nuptials:

“You are said to find it hard, Perfumed bridegroom, to give up Smooth-skinned boys, but give them up… We realize you’ve only known Permitted pleasures: husbands, though, Have no right to the same pleasures.”

The social history behind this piece is clear: once they’ve experienced sex with other men, Catullus tells us, men are unsatisfied with what their new wives provide them. Notice that the poet is unconcerned about the husband’s dallying with other women—it’s the other men around that threaten the marital union.
Okay, let’s see if you can follow this.  If men are allowed to marry other men, women will lose out because because they when marry men---which at leas Klinghoffer will concede will still be legal---they will not be able to keep their marriages together because once a guy has tasted forbidden man flesh, he can’t go back to inadequate lady flesh.  Men can step out with other women without threatening the main marriage, because apparently it’s just easier for men to close their eyes and imagine that the missus is the mistress long enough to complete his conjugal duties.  So if gay marriage is legalized, all the men will want to fuck each other, and women will have no one decent to marry.  Women can’t marry each other, of course, because a) Klinghoffer keeps forgetting about lesbians when he’s dwelling on the delicious images of an ancient Roman cornucopia of manflesh and b) just like men, women can’t lower themselves to touching women once they’ve sampled the dudely goods.

Let’s face it.  No one wants vagina when penis is available, end of story.  You, like Klinghoffer, know that if you ever succumb even once to the urge to reach out and touch a cock, you will forever be ruined, never able again to muster enough pleasure out of a union with a lady to get through it.

But what I find really interesting about Klinghoffer’s argument is this---he’s trying to argue against gay marriage.  Like many panicked wingnuts, he seems to think that legalizing gay marriage=legalizing dudes fucking each other.  What they fail to understand is that dudes can already legally fuck each other.  Though perhaps they have to mentally block this knowledge lest they give into the urge that they claim that all straight men have, to drop their wives and run off to swim in a sea of testicles.  But the truth is that Klinghoffer’s fears are already being tested in the real world.  Plain old back hair-sporting straight husbands everywhere can, if they want to, go off and suck all the cock that they want.  Even the risotto-making husbands, or in the wingnut imagination, especially the risotto-making husbands.  We already have the built-in all-purpose dudely excuse---sports.  You and your guy friends are going off to watch a game, you tell your wife, not letting her know that actually you and your friends have a standing Monday night orgy.  And when your interest in sex with her grinds to a halt because she can’t compare to the exquisite man flesh, she’ll write it off as the sad result of too much time spent over risotto....(Remainder.)


Senate Bill Allows Prosecution of Bush for Iraq War

By David Swanson

Senators Dick Durbin, Russ Feingold, and Patrick Leahy have introduced a bill in the United States Senate (S. 1346) that would allow the prosecution of George W. Bush and his subordinates for the invasion of Iraq. Before concluding that the Spirit of Justice has risen from the flames, a few caveats: First, none of these senators intends the bill for this purpose, and they would all vehemently and honestly deny that they had any such thing in mind. Second, the bill still has to pass both houses and be signed into law. Third, it has to be signed without a signing statement completely altering it. Fourth, the same Department of Justice that won't prosecute torturers would have to prosecute those who attacked Baghdad. Nonetheless, the possibilities are worth considering.

The legislation, S. 1346, is called "A bill to penalize crimes against humanity and for other purposes." Human Rights First has praised it in a press release that makes clear the bill's purpose: to allow the prosecution of foreigners who commit crimes abroad and then come to the United States to live:
"Crimes Against Humanity Bill Would Close Loophole in U.S. Law

"Human Rights First Urges Passage of Legislation Criminalizing These Heinous Acts, Granting Prosecutors Expanded Powers to Prosecute

"Human Rights First is urging Congress to swiftly pass the Crimes Against Humanity Act of 2009, legislation that would close a loophole in U.S. law that currently allows perpetrators of some heinous international crimes to avoid accountability in U.S. courts. The organization welcomed the bill, introduced today by Senator Richard Durbin, noting that it would expand existing prosecutorial powers beyond genocide, strengthening America’s ability to bring to justice those who commit horrific and pervasive crimes against humanity. . . .

"The Crimes Against Humanity Act of 2009 covers some of the most atrocious crimes committed in recent history, such as the campaigns of mutilations and murders of civilians in Sierra Leone and Uganda, the systematic rape of women in Burma and in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Kosovo. Because these crimes are not considered to be genocide, under existing U.S. law prosecutors do not have the ability to hold the perpetrators accountable. Crimes against humanity is a distinct category of crime and a separate statute is needed to provide United States courts with jurisdiction to indict those who commit these acts if they are ever present in the United States. . . .

"Though U.S. law prohibits grave human rights violations such as genocide and torture, alleged perpetrators of crimes against humanity may escape accountability due not to their innocence of unforgivable acts but to loopholes in the U.S. criminal code. The Crimes Against Humanity Act of 2009 would close this illogical gap in U.S. law. Just as they may pursue those who have committed related and similarly horrific crimes, U.S. prosecutors would have the authority to ensure that those in the United States who have committed crimes against humanity may not evade accountability merely by fleeing to our country."



Sorry, Mr. Bush - I Never Imagined Obama Would Be Worse Than You

By Ted Rall
The Smirking Chimp via After Downing Street

SEATTLE--I miss Bush.

Stop the presses and shut off the RSS feeds: the bashiest of the Bush-bashers is starting to appreciate the Exile of Crawford.

I haven't forgiven George W. Bush for stealing two elections, starting two wars, bankrupting the treasury and doing his damnedest to turn the U.S. into a fascist state. He deserves one of hell's hottest picnic spots for refusing to lift a finger to bring the 9/11 murderers to justice. Bush was stupid. He was vicious. He should be in prison.

He was the worst president the U.S. had ever had. Until this one.

On major issues and a lot of minor ones, Obama is the same as or worse than Bush. But Bush had an opposition to contend with. Obama has a compliant Democratic Congress. Lulled to somnolent apathy by Obama's charming manners, mastery of English (and yes, the color of his skin), leftist activists and journalists have been reduced to quiet disappointment, mild grumbling and unaccountable patience.

I don't care about window dressing. Sure, it's nice that Obama is intelligent. But policies matter--not charm. And Obama's policies are at least as bad as Bush's.

Guantánamo was but the beginning of Obama's betrayals. First he ordered the camp closed--not immediately but in a year. Now he's expanding the U.S. concentration camp at Bagram--where 600 innocent men and children are being tortured--so he can send the 245 Gitmo prisoners there. In the Bush era, Gitmo POWs received legal representation. Obama has ordered that the POWs sent to Bagram not be allowed to see a lawyer.

You saw the headline: "OBAMA BANS TORTURE." But it was a lie. Obama's CIA director told Congress that there's a "review process that's built into [Obama's] executive order" that allows torture to continue. Leon Panetta said the Obama Administration will keep using at least 19 torture techniques against detainees. In addition, Team Obama will "look at those kinds of enhanced techniques to determine how effective they were or weren't and whether any appropriate revisions need to be made as a result of that."

As editorial boards of liberal newspapers tut-tut and the feds convene committees, the screams of the victims pierce the night.

Bush was the biggest spender in history, running up a $1.8 trillion deficit with wasteful wars and tax cuts. But next to Obama, Bush was a tightwad. Glamour Prez hasn't been around six months, yet the Congressional Budget Office reports that he already has quadrupled the deficit by an extra $8.1 trillion. "The total debt held by the public [will] rise from 57 percent of GDP in 2009 to 82 percent (!) of GDP in 2019," reports U.S. News & World Report.

Obama is sinking us into financial oblivion 72 times faster than Bush....(Remainder.)


More Hate and Crazy From the Extreme Right-Wing...

By Larisa Alexandrovna

Rep. Sally Kern (R-OK) should resign from office or be removed because she is clearly in need of immediate medical attention and is unable to properly serve her constituents. From Prof Turley:
"Kern has drafted a resolution that puts the current economic crisis squarely on the backs of libertines and godless people who have produced a moral crisis. This includes Obama’s refusal to “uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in recognition of our National Day of Prayer.”

You may recall Kern from his viral video ranting about gays, here. Now, she has gone macro economic in showing how free sex can destroy the free market. It is like the lost chapter of Adam Smith’s
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Of course, one must remember that, like his successor Kern, Smith held forth on both moral and economic theories with his publication The Theory of Moral Sentiments. [Richard Posner's Economics and Reason doesn't count and proved far less exciting than its title]."
If she wants to preach on the nature of sin, she can go work at her local church instead of wasting tax dollars trying to codify hate. Again, this is exactly the type of right-wing extremism that has no business in our government. I suggest you read the whole thing, including her attempt at

Just to clarify too, when I say "right-wing" extremism, I am not speaking of Republicans. I am speaking of people who are zealots, often violent, and entirely insane. I call them glue-sniffers, because there is no polite way to describe people of this nature. Kern is a typical glue-sniffer. She needs to resign. Surely the people she represents have more pressing concerns than this waste of legislation proclaiming hate as a virtue? Oklahoma, if you want to be taken off the rolls of red-neck rolls, I suggest you have people of substance represent you....(Original.)


Cantor: Obama Won't Let Us Spit in His Face Anymore

By Kos
Daily Kos

Oh brother...
GOP leaders complain that the phone calls and White House invitations have slacked off — perhaps because Obama’s early efforts to woo Republicans yielded few votes.

"I think that in the beginning they seemed a lot more willing to go in and engage with us," said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor.

Yup, Obama was far more willing to go in and engage with them. And Republicans took those opportunities to extract concessions, then vote against Obama's agenda en masse. So finally Obama realized what we had been arguing the whole time -- that it was a waste of time to deal with Republicans who had little incentive in supporting Obama's agenda and were more obsessed with "unity" as the path out of their electoral troubles.

Engagement is obviously a two-way street, and Republicans had zero interest in returning any consideration to Obama. So, he turned his attention to more worthwhile endeavors.

Given the Republican Party's continued opposition to any significant reform on any issue, it'd be nice if Congressional Democrats would stop giving Republicans the time of day. They are an irrelevant party, rejected en masse by an American electorate desperate for change....(Original.)


Can You Say 60? Al Franken's Victory Presser!


The Ed Show: 60 Seats and the Dem Agenda


Judge Declines to Stay Law on Gay Marriage

By Keith L. Alexander
The Washington Post

A Superior Court judge decided yesterday not to delay enactment of a law stipulating that the D.C. government will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.

Judge Judith E. Retchin ruled that she would not a grant a stay preventing the law from taking effect Monday, as requested by opponents. However, the effective date is likely to be delayed by the need for congressional approval. Attorneys for the group said they needed more time to research and argue their position before the law takes effect.

Opponents, led by Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, and seven other D.C. voters want a referendum on the issue, but the D.C. elections board said that would be illegal under the District's Human Rights Act.

Although Retchin decided against delaying the law's enactment, she said opponents could seek to amend the law after the marriage provision takes effect.

On May 5, the D.C. Council voted to pass the provision recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and it is expected to vote to allow same-sex marriages to be performed legally in the city. Retchin said Jackson's group should have filed its complaint with the court sooner. She called the delay "inexcusable" and said the group failed to establish a "likelihood of success on the merits" of its arguments.

Retchin said the crux of the group's argument is not its inability to have a referendum on the issue, but that "they simply disagree" with the decision to recognize same-sex marriages.

In a statement, Jackson called the ruling "an absurd" judgment. "Our laws have always recognized that marriage is between a man and a woman," he said. "This is the law in 44 states and at the federal level." The real rights issue, he said, is whether D.C. residents will get the right to vote....(Remainder.)


Panel Wants Openly Gay Guardsman Discharged

By Joe Garofoli
San Francisco Chronicle

A military review panel recommended Tuesday that National Guard Lt. Dan Choi, the gay Arabic translator who became a national figure in fighting the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy after declaring his sexuality on television, be discharged from the service.

The four-member Federal Recognition Board of Army officers in Syracuse, N.Y., had no recommendation Tuesday for how the 28-year-old should be discharged.

It's recommendation that the Army no longer recognize Choi as an officer must be approved by the First Army commander and the chief of the National Guard Bureau before Choi would be discharged.

Choi's attorney, Maj. Roy Diehl, said the process could take weeks or up to a year. For now, Diehl said Choi, who was a grand marshal in Sunday's Gay Pride Parade in San Francisco, will "continue drilling" with his New York National Guard unit.

Tuesday's decision was especially painful to gay leaders after watching President Obama preach patience Monday at a ceremony commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots that are considered the birth of the modern gay rights movement.

"I know that every day that passes without a resolution is a deep disappointment to those men and women who continue to be discharged under this policy - patriots who often possess critical language skills and years of training and who've served this country well," Obama said Monday.

He had continually pledged to overturn the law as a candidate....(Remainder.)


Ultra-Conservative & Anti-Gay Groups Joining Forces

By David Roberts
Ex-Gay Watch

According to Reuters, a press conference in Washington D.C. today at 1:30 pm EDT will announce the formation of the Freedom Federation.
The Freedom Federation is a new and unique federation of some of the largest multi-ethnic and transgenerational faith-based organizations in the country committed to plan, strategize, and work together on common interests within the Judeo-Christian tradition to mobilize their grassroots constituencies and to communicate faith and values to the Religious, social, cultural, and policymaking institutions.
The organizations list some of the usual suspects in such an effort, including some of the most shrill in the anti-gay realm, along with a few with which we are not familiar.
American Association of Christian Counselors
American Family Association
Americans for Prosperity
Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND)
Campaign for Working Families
Catholic Online
Concerned Women for America
Conservative Action Project
Eagle Forum
Exodus International
Faith and Action
Family Research Council
High Impact Leadership
Liberty Alliance Action
Liberty Counsel
Liberty University
Life Education and Resource Network (LEARN)
Marc Nuttle
Morning Star Ministries
National Clergy Council
National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
Renewing American Leadership
Strang Communications
Teen Mania
The Call to Action
Traditional Values Coalition
Vision America
The inclusion of Exodus in this list caused us concern as another breach of president Alan Chambers pledge to veer away from policy matters.  Even with these few details, it is obvious that this group is going to be heavy on policy....(Remainder.)


Anti-Gay Extremist Cite Gay Pedophile as Typical of All Gays

By Jim Burroway
Box Turtle Bulletin

Anti-gay extremists are all over this news item from Durham, North Carolina:
A Duke University official has been charged in federal court with offering his 5-year-old adopted son up for sex. Frank Lombard, associate director of the Center for Health Policy, was arrested Wednesday in Raleigh, the FBI said.

An unidentified informant who already faces child porn charges in a different child sex case pointed investigators to Lombard, according to court documents. The informant told investigators he had met Lombard on the Internet four years ago. The informant described in graphic detail how he allegedly observed Lombard molesting an African-American child on four occasions over an Internet video chat service called ICUii.

…During the chats, according to the affidavit, “FL” [Frank Lombard's screen name] told undercover investigators that he had himself molested his child, whom he adopted as an infant, and that he had allowed others to molest his child. “FL” stated that “the abuse of the child was easier when the child was too young to talk or know what was happening, but that he had drugged the child with Benadryl during molestation.”

Predictably, anti-gay extremists are already using this horrific crime as “proof” that all gay people are unfit to be parents. They’ll tell you that this is how virtually all gay men behave. LifeSite is already eating it up, as are Dakota Voice’s Bob Ellis and Town Hall’s Mike Adams....(Remainder.)


Christian Taliban Member & Blatantly Homophobic Bitch Sally Kern is Back, Promoting Christ


Famously antigay Oklahoma lawmaker Sally Kern has issued a proclamation that blames marriage equality, abortion, and and sex trafficking for economic problems.

The Oklahoma Citizen's Proclamation for Morality was introduced right before the Oklahoma City Pride festival, a move that many see as a direct insult to the gay population.

Kern's proclamation also slams President Obama, who supported the federal recognition of LGBT Pride Month and, on Monday, hosted a gathering with top leaders and figured in the movement.

"The office of the president of these United States has refused to uphold the long held tradition of past presidents in giving recognition to our National Day of Prayer," it reads. Additionally, it says that Oklahomans are "deeply disturbed that the office of the president of these United States disregards the biblical admonitions to live clean and pure lives by proclaiming an entire month to moral behavior."

Last year Kern was caught on tape by the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund when she went on a tirade about how gays are a bigger threat to the country "than terrorists or Islam."

"You know why they're trying to get early childhood education?" Kern said at a private event in March 2008. "They want to get our young children into government schools so they can indoctrinate them. They're going after our young children, as young as 2 in age, to try to teach them that the homosexual lifestyle is acceptable."...(Original.)


Fed. Prop. 8 Case Full Speed Ahead

By Andrew Gumbel

The judge in the Ted Olson-David Boies federal lawsuit to overturn California's Prop. 8 and thereby restore same-sex marriage rights issued a ruling this afternoon saying he wanted to dispense with the preliminary injunction hearing set for tomorrow and ask the parties instead to discuss "case management" -- a phrase the plaintiffs are interpreting as meaning moving speedily toward a full trial.

"This is good news," said a spokesman for the American Foundation for Human Rights, the new LA-based organization which is bringing the suit in California's Northern District and has hired celebrated litigators Ted Olson and David Boies as co-counsels.

Originally, Judge Vaughn Walker of the San Francisco District Court had planned to hear a petition from the Foundation's lawyers to issue a temporary injunction against Prop. 8 -- in other words, to allow same-sex marriages to resume in the Golden State until the issue could be resolved at trial.

Obtaining such an injunction was always going to be a long shot; the promise of moving quickly to trial is, the spokesman said, an outcome the Boies-Olson team would be very happy with. will continue to track this story as information becomes available ... (Original.)


Norm Coleman Concedes

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

So now Norm Coleman has conceded:
Republican Norm Coleman has conceded to Democrat Al Franken in Minnesota's contested Senate race, ending a nearly eight-month recount and court fight.

Coleman announced his decision at a news conference in St. Paul, hours after a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" comedian and liberal commentator, should be certified the winner.

"The Supreme Court has made its decision and I will abide by the results," Coleman told reporters outside his St. Paul home.

This means the hissy fit is truly and finally over. Except, of course, for the one Bill O'Reilly is going to throw....(Original.)


Can We Finally Draw the Curtain on Sarah Palin's Mainstream GOP Career? If Only...

By David Neiwert
Crooks and Liars

Both Mark McKinnon and Nicolle Wallace, recently the McCain-Palin campaign's media gurus, were both on MSNBC this morning to talk ostensibly about serious subjects but eventually came around to the matter of Todd Purdum's Vanity Fair piece on Sarah Palin, in which they both figure prominently as objects of the diva's ire.

Both do their best to speak glowingly of Palin -- McKinnon says he actually only coached her for two hours -- and Wallaces talks up Palin's future prospects. But really, one only need read the piece to see the writing that's been on the wall for some time for Palin: She is road kill in the rear-view mirror of the Republican Party's Beltway movers and shakers.

It also raises some salient larger points:
Whatever her political future, the emergence of Sarah Palin raises questions that will not soon go away. What does it say about the nature of modern American politics that a public official who often seems proud of what she does not know is not only accepted but applauded? What does her prominence say about the importance of having (or lacking) a record of achievement in public life? Why did so many skilled veterans of the Republican Party—long regarded as the more adroit team in presidential politics—keep loyally working for her election even after they privately realized she was casual about the truth and totally unfit for the vice-presidency? Perhaps most painful, how could John McCain, one of the cagiest survivors in contemporary politics—with a fine appreciation of life’s injustices and absurdities, a love for the sweep of history, and an overdeveloped sense of his own integrity and honor—ever have picked a person whose utter shortage of qualification for her proposed job all but disqualified him for his?



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