Not long after the tea party sprang into being in the spring of 2009, America ‘s elites started vilifying the movement. In an article worthy of a class-action libel suit, The New York Review of Books depicted the tea party’s first march on Washington as a parade of bigots.
Ex-president Jimmy Carter spit venom at tea partiers by saying they resented an African-American president — a baseless charge of racism willingly echoed by the media.
Voter interest in the November elections continues its staggered crescendo. For candidates and consultants the long opus nears its denouement. But non-politicos – who react to different rhythms – are just now beginning to stir.
As they listen more intently they will hear a familiar score – echoes of campaigns past with a hint of desperation in the Democratic Party’s musicianship.
The national Democratic Party’s hierarchy, led by the President himself, inaugurated a campaign a few weeks ago to put a negative face on the Republican Party and its candidates. The face they chose was that of House Republican Leader John Boehner. And so began the Boehner bashing.
The President mentioned Leader Boehner an incredible eight times in a speech the first week in September. Other Democratic leaders, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, followed suit.
For those of you who may have missed the official Mullings bio (which is mostly true, by the way), Dr. Robert Hill, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio 45750 once introduced me as “What you get when you get when you cross a political hack with a philosopher.”
I’m not sure about the philosopher part, but I proudly introduce myself as a “political hack” on airplanes, on the Washington Metro, and at the Safeway which generally keeps further conversation to an absolute minimum
Many factors are contributing to President Obama’s decline in popularity since his historic election less than two years ago. A stagnant economy with stubbornly high unemployment certainly caused part of the downward trend. But there is more.
A White House out of step with many Americans on both public policy substance and style in office also explains a huge part of the dip. Continue reading →
Erik Erickson has become famous for his visceral hatred of the Republican Party, and of course earlier this year he was immediately hired by CNN to represent the Republican view on various shows. Erickson let the cat out of the bag when discussing the Delaware primary results last night. He admitted that Christine O’Donnell, the winner, has no chance of winning the general election. Erickson then admitted that he really didn’t want Republicans to win control of the Senate.
I call this the loser strategy. These Tea Party zealots seem to hate Barack Obama so much that they want him to keep control of the Senate. They want Obama to fail so completely, they want to make sure that Senate Democrats set the agenda, chair all the committees, authorize the funding for all investigations, schedule all of the confirmation hearings, schedule the floor and pretty much give the President the run of the upper chamber.
I sent a letter to the President, obviously not for his benefit, but mine, on his repetitive rhetoric about taxing the rich, partly inspired by a letter someone sent me some months ago. This isn’t my exact letter. I edited and updated a bit, but it’s the thought that counts.
Dear Mr. President:
I listened pretty intently to your speech in Cleveland, and I’ve heard you say over and over again you are not going to back down from taxing the wealthy. It seems to be one of the central themes of your Administration: There are victims and villains in America, the lines between them are clearly drawn and you are dedicated to protecting the victims and punishing the villains, among them, the rich.
Earlier this week, President Obama proposed another round of stimulus spending, aiming to boost the sagging economy and—he vainly hopes—his party’s slumping political fortunes.
The $50 billion ‘little brother’ of the $787 billion enacted two years ago is more of a campaign talking point for hemorrhaging Democratic candidates than a serious economic stimulus plan—and with good reason. Continue reading →
Let us consider how it is that Benjamin Quayle, son of the former vice president, opposed by a majority of Arizona’s Republican voters, will soon be a member of Congress, their opposition notwithstanding.
There is a reassuring myth in American politics that the nation’s policies are set, and its laws written, by men and women who have been selected for those important tasks by majority vote of the citizens they are to represent in Congress.
A decades ago (man, I am getting old), I remember watching the Cubs game (which was unusual for me, because I am a Sox fan), when I saw a couple of hippies run out onto Dodger’s Stadium (where they were playing) and attempt to set fire to an American flag. Rick Monday, the Cubs center-fielder, swooped in the snatch the flag from the rabble-rousers, saving the day and America’s honor
At the time, America was down in the dumps. It was 1976, and while we were celebrating America’s Bicentennial, we were also dealing with the aftermath of Watergate, Viet Nam, and the start of a stalling economy beset by both high inflation and creeping unemployment. When Monday saved the symbol of American freedom, it was a special moment, perhaps a turning point in the American psyche. Monday was quoted saying once, “If you are going to burn the flag, don’t burn it around me.” It was a great quote, because the Cubs center-fielder acknowledged that while in America, people have the right to do stupid things like the burn the flag, citizens also have the right to oppose them.
With the end of combat in Operation Enduring Freedom presidentially certified, all eyes rivet toward Afghanistan. This is the fight President Obama, when campaigning for office, called our “war of necessity.” This is the theater of conflict where Obama, when debating Sen. McCain barely two years ago, promised us victory ending with the killing or capture of Osama bin Laden. Ironically, Afghanistan may also be the only war in American history with a presidential expiration date.
Just about every Monday night over the last several years, I have tried to recapture my youth by playing basketball with a bunch of other guys who are similarly trying to recapture their youths. It is fun way to exercise, as long as you don’t snap your Achilles or anything like that.
One of the guys I have been playing with is Jared Bernstein. Before he became famous, Jared was an economist with a labor-affiliated think tank. Jared is a very good athlete, a tough defender, but (and I think he would admit this himself) his jump shot leaves a lot to be desired.
Jared and I have a friendly rivalry on the court and off the court, and now that he is Joe Biden’s top economic advisor, we talk about what the Obama White House is up to and what the Republican response is likely to be.
Earlier this week, Jared pointed me to Christina Romer’s farewell address, telling me that it had some good stuff in it.
Last week House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio delivered a stinging critique of the Obama administration’s economic policies. But the White House’s swift and tart reaction to Boehner was both illuminating and sadly predictable.
On the day of the speech, White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer offered a “pre-buttal,” ripped from the playbook of a presidential campaign. Vice President Biden joined the fray, donning his full-electoral jacket, reminding us once again that it was another president that got us into this mess.
Neoconservatives, Reaganites and other militarily assertive factions in the United States are sometimes accused of thinking it is always 1938 (Britain’s appeasement of Hitler at Munich) — that there is always a Hitler-like aggressor being appeased and about to drag the world into conflict. There is sometimes merit in that charge.
As, likewise, is there sometimes merit in the charge against isolations and other doves that they always see 1914 (start of WWI) or 1964 (beginning of escalation of troops in Vietnam) — the imminent and foolish entry into or escalation of a war that can’t be won — or even if victory were to be gained, it would be Pyrrhic.