Not going to get a chance to watch it on TV, though I assume it’ll be available on the internet. What did y’all think?
On his radio show yesterday, far right talker Bill Cunningham — who Sean Hannity considers a “great American” — claimed that people who are poor in America are not poor “because they lack money.” “They’re poor because they lack values, morals, and ethics,” said Cunningham. Listen here:
This is the second day in a row that Cunningham has verbally attacked the poor. On his Monday show, he declared, “Among the so-called noble poor in America…[b]irth control is not used so illegitimate children can be brought into the world, so the mom can get more checks in the mail from the government.”
Okay. The chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee didn’t quite say that, at least not directly. But E&E PM reports (subs. req’d):
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) expects to take her cues on climate in the 111th Congress from the next president.
The chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee told reporters here today that the next administration — whether led by a Democrat or a Republican — will likely set the pace when it comes to moving a greenhouse gas reduction bill through the House and Senate.
“It all depends on what the president wants,” said Boxer, in response to a question on whether she would reintroduce her own bill. “If the president wants the same bill back, we do it.”
Her plan is to reach out to the next administration “the day after Election Day” to talk principles on climate legislation, she said. Whether the chief executive is Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) matters little on global warming, she added, as she expects “a friendly administration either way.”
But would she have said that if Obama weren’t 6 points ahead in the polls? After all, McCain’s proposed climate plan is far, far weaker than Boxer’s (see “McCain speech, Part 2: Relying on offsets = Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic“). And even that assumes climate regulation remains a priority for McCain (see “Palin shocker: McCain won’t regulate greenhouse gas emissions“). Fortunately, the point should be moot in 6 days. Here’s the rest of the story:
The McCain campaign has spent the last weeks of the campaign repeatedly accusing Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) of being an advocate of “socialism.” But the New Yorker’s Philip Gourevitch revealed this week that Palin said earlier this year that her state’s oil tax was a mechanism “so we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs.”
Today, MSNBC’s David Schuster asked McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds whether Palin’s “share the wealth” plan had socialist undertones. Bounds denied the allegation, claiming Alaska’s sharing of natural resources is “unique” and not at all socialist:
BOUNDS: No, in Alaska its a unique state because all the residents there have a unique share of the natural resources, that the oil companies come in and use, so therefore they share the revenues of the resources. … Its absurd to equate sharing the oil resources that all of these Alaskans have an ownership stake in, and trying to negotiate a deal with the oil companies that use those resources that —
Bounds is correct in that Alaska is “unique” in having such a vigorous wealth redistribution system. The state offers collective ownership of natural resources, which in turn generates revenue for the state. Using the Permanent Fund, the government distributes the natural resource rents to the general public.
Furthermore, Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES) programs helps redistribute windfall oil profits, bringing in so much money that the state needs no income or sales tax. This year ACES will provide every Alaskan with a check for an estimated $1,200. Palin boasts about giving oil money “back to the people.”
It’s unclear, however, how a state with such a strong tradition of progressive taxation that benefits “all” Alaskans — as Bounds himself stated — isn’t in any way “socialist.”
Invoking William Ayers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews today, former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay declared that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is a “radical” and a “Marxist.” Matthews asked DeLay if he was comfortable with the McCain campaign using phrases like, “socialist, communist, Anti-American.” “Absolutely,” DeLay responded.
Referring to his recent interview with Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Matthews said, “We had someone on this show the other day who said [Obama] should be checked out for being anti-American. Where would you put him, do you think he’s anti-American?” DeLay said, “I’m not going to go that far,” but boasted, “I tagged him as a Marxist months ago.” Watch it:
DeLay’s remarks come just days after WFTV’s Barbara West quoted Karl Marx before suggesting to Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) that Obama is a “Marxist.” Earlier this week, when asked if Obama’s policy proposals amounted to communism, McCain said, “I don’t know.” Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) has suggested on multiple occasions that Obama is a “socialist.”
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) claimed over the weekend that Obama’s policy proposals would transform the country into “totalitarian dictatorship.”
Our guest blogger is Jason Burnett. Burnett was most recently the Associate Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency where he coordinated energy and climate change policy across the EPA and led the development of greenhouse gases regulations.
As head of climate and energy policy for the Environmental Protection Agency, I witnessed first-hand the dangers of a Vice President who has a disregard for the balance of powers in our Constitution and a disdain for inconvenient facts.
Vice President Cheney has worked hard to cast doubt on the science of climate change. The Vice President’s office wanted my help censoring the Congressional testimony from the Centers for Disease Control to eliminate any references to how climate change endangers human health. I refused. The Vice President’s office later wanted me to water down congressional testimony on the strength of the science by not acknowledging that greenhouse gases “harm” the environment by causing climate change. Again I refused.
Having heard the words “the Vice President’s office is on the phone” many times over the past few years I could not agree more when Senator Joe Biden called them “the eight most dreaded words in the English language” for those trying to uphold our nation’s laws and respect our Constitution.
Given my experience with the dangers of an unaccountable Vice President, it sent shivers down my spine during the Vice Presidential debate when I heard Governor Palin say she’s “thankful the Constitution would allow a bit more authority given to the Vice President also, if that Vice President so chose to exert it, in working with the Senate and making sure that we are supportive of the president’s policies and making sure too that our president understands what our strengths are.” A bit more authority than our current Vice President has wrestled away from the President and Congress?
A strong Vice President is a great thing, but that strength should primarily come from being a trusted advisor to the President, not a separate power center somewhere between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch. Governor Palin is fortunate her smile and wink won’t remind voters of Vice President Cheney’s smirk and grimace; maybe people won’t notice that her dismissal of science and views on the power of the office are quite similar to Vice President Cheney’s? Read more
John Judis writes:
I mention the Bradley effect because I think, too, that McCain and Sarah Palin’s attack against Obama for advocating “spreading the wealth” and for “socialism” and for pronouncing the civil rights revolution a “tragedy” because it didn’t deal with the distribution of wealth is aimed ultimately at white working class undecided voters who would construe “spreading the wealth” as giving their money to blacks. It’s the latest version of Reagan’s “welfare queen” argument from 1980. It if it works, it won’t be because most white Americans actually oppose a progressive income tax, but because they fear that Obama will inordinately favor blacks over them. I don’t doubt that this argument will have some effect, but I suspect it’s too late and that worries about McCain and Republican handling of the economy will overshadow these concerns.
Ross Douthat replies:
I’m sure I’m displaying my immense naivete about the sinister machinations of Steve Schmidt and company here, but if I had John McCain’s disposable income I’d happily put up tens of thousands of dollars betting that the “don’t let Obama spread your wealth to shiftless blacks” ploy that Judis is describing has not once been a topic of conversation in any McCain strategy session throughout the whole “Joe the Plumber” phase of the campaign. (Though maybe it’s such a subtle strategy that even the strategists themselves don’t realize they’re employing it!)
Moreover, under the standard Judis is using, it seems as though any attack a conservative could possibly launch on a black Democrat’s liberalism is racially-charged by definition. Seriously – is there any attack McCain could launch against Obama at this point, whether policy-driven or personal, that couldn‘t be read, in some tortured fashion, as a racist appeal?
Well, obviously you could read just about anything as a coded racist appeal. And I think a case could be made that you’d be right to. The simple fact of the matter is that the politics of economic conservatism in the United States have a lot to do with the politics of race. I always think it’s worth recalling the practical constituency for libertarian economic policies as seen in the 1964 elections:
Now that’s not to say that the politics of American conservatism are exclusively about race. Lots and lots of people in places like Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Hampshire, Maine, etc. where there were no racial tensions in 1964 (no black people in those states) voted for Barry Goldwater. It just wasn’t a majority. And next week lots of people are going to vote for John McCain because they believe his opponent favors the murder of innocent unborn children, whereas a President McCain could plausibly appoint Supreme Court justices who would dramatically curtail said slaughter. There are lots of things in play. But voting behavior is very tied up with race and with attitudes about race even when it’s two white candidates facing off against each other.
Meanwhile, we’ve got a black candidate. And the crucial phrase in Judis’ argument is “if it works.” If McCain’s strategy works, he’s saying, it’ll be not because Americans are opposed to progressive income taxation or because Americans think refundable tax credits are welfare. It’ll be — if it works! — because Americans fear that Obama will take their money and give it to black people. But most likely it won’t work.
This morning, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) delivered her second policy speech of the entire campaign, on energy — a fitting topic, considering Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) considers her to be America’s foremost energy expert. Along with praising coal and expanded drilling, Palin touted her own experience in achieving “progress” on a natural gas pipeline in Alaska, claiming she “introduced” “free-market competition” to Big Oil:
[Oil companies] should have been competing to invest in a new means of delivering their product to market. They should have been competing for the right to tap into the hungry markets, flowing our resources into those hungry markets, and instead they wanted a higher and higher price than any fair competition would yield. So they wouldn’t build the line. [...]
So we introduced, when I got elected, we introduced the big oil companies and their lobbyists to a concept of something that evidently they had forgotten, and that’s free-market competition. They had a monopoly previously on power and resources, and we broke it.
Hardly using a free market approach, Palin’s “flawed bidding process” actually “narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration,” according to an AP investigation:
Despite Palin’s boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp. [...]
– Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group — the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas. [...]
– Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.
“Most definitely TransCanada got a sweetheart deal this time,” Republican state senator Bert Stedman said.
Throughout the campaign, Palin and McCain have boasted that Palin “was responsible for…a pipeline, the $40 billion pipeline bringing natural gas from Alaska down to the lower 48.” Neither seems to care that the pipeline “exists only on paper;” construction on the first section has not even begun. In fact, despite the $500 million award, TransCanada is not even obligated to build the pipeline.
Transcript: Read more
Robert Frank offers an anecdote:
Some months ago, I was asked to join a panel to review The National Council on Economic Education’s curriculum standards for the teaching of essential principles of economics, a task not normally entrusted to Marxists. On a conference call last Friday, the panel debated the Council’s content standards, including Content Standard 16, which reads in part,
There is an economic role for government in a market economy whenever the benefits of a government policy outweigh its costs. Governments often provide for national defense, address environmental concerns, define and protect property rights, and attempt to make markets more competitive. Most government policies also redistribute income.
Discussion focused on a proposal by one of the panel members to change “Most” to “Many” in the last sentence of this standard. I asked whether anyone could think of a government policy that didn’t entail at least some degree of direct or indirect redistribution of income. No one could, which is hardly surprising, since government policies are paid for by taxes and create benefits and costs that generally fall unevenly on different people.
In other words, to say that Barack Obama favors the redistribution of income is to say that, like John McCain, he doesn’t favor completely dismantling the federal government.
In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams last week, Palin said — apparently to the surprise of her staff — that she would release her full medical records soon. On Sunday, the campaign told ABC News the release would happen “early this week.” Noting that “today is Wednesday,” ABC is wondering, “What’s the hold up?”
ABC News has asked every day this week about the status of the release of information and received no updates from the campaign. It is unclear what is holding things up. [...]
Aides suggested privately that there was nothing to hide in the records, but that it was simply taking a while to call doctors and round up the appropriate information to release.
But an entire week?