Chris Bowers on House Progressive Caucus members Peter DeFazio and Tom Udall both choosing not to enter winnable Senate races: “We simply can’t build a more progressive Senate if progressive caucus members keep passing up opportunities to run for higher office.”
Krugman yesterday put Rush Limbaugh’s phony troops thing into context:
And Rush Limbaugh — displaying the same style he exhibited in his recent claim that members of the military who oppose the Iraq war are “phony soldiers” and his later comparison of a wounded vet who criticized him for that remark to a suicide bomber — immediately accused Mr. Fox of faking it. “In this commercial, he is exaggerating the effects of the disease. He is moving all around and shaking. And it’s purely an act.” Heh-heh-heh.
That does seem to be the pattern. It seems that, to Rush, it’s actually inconceivable that people could be in situations — suffering from disease, being used as pawns in the president’s bizarre ego fantasies in Iraq — in which they are appealing to the public for assistance. Anyone doing that must be faking it.
Marc Ambinder reports: “Fed up with neocons, theocons and convict cons, a group of former aides to Ronald Reagan want to reanimate the Republican Party by reviving the organization that brought Reagan to power,” namely Citizens for the Republic, which “was funded with seed money from Reagan’s failed 1976 presidential bid and supported his political travels over the next several years.”
The head of the outfit will be Craig Shirley so this post-midterms op-ed he wrote explaining his view of where the GOP went wrong, slamming “steel tariffs, prescription drug benefits, a League of Nations mentality, the growth of government and harebrained spending, the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, the increasing regulation of political speech in the United States and endemic corruption.”
The question has been raised — why spend time “debunking” S&N when they seem to be well-meaning folks struggling for a genuine solution to global warming, unlike, say, Bj¸rn Lomborg? Aside from the fact that they are adding great confusion and misinformation to a critical debate, the answer is simple — they aren’t well-meaning.
S&N spend far more time attacking the environmental community (and Al Gore and even Rachel Carson) than they do proposing a viable solution. Worse, they don’t even attack the real environmental community — they spend their time creating a strawman that is mostly a right-wing stereotype of environmentalists.
S&N’s core argument is that environmentalists only preach doom and gloom and sacrifice, and that solving global warming …
… will require a more optimistic narrative from the environmental community. Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, like Silent Spring, was considered powerful because it marshaled the facts into an effective (read: apocalyptic) story…..
In promoting the inconvenient truth that humans must limit their consumption and sacrifice their way of life to prevent the world from ending, environmentalists are not only promoting a solution that won’t work, they’ve discouraged Americans from seeing the big solutions at all. For Americans to be future-oriented, generous, and expansive in their thinking, they must feel secure, wealthy, and strong.
Gore has never promoted such an inconvenient truth — they should read his book or listen to his speeches — and indeed I don’t know any major environmentalist or environmental group who has promoted such a message. Just spend some time on the climate websites for NRDC, Environmental Defense, Sierra Club, and Greenpeace. They all support (most of) the same big solutions S&N do, they just don’t think you get those solutions the way S&N does (i.e. a massive government spending program).
So why do S&N, who appear to care about the climate, attack the mainstream environmental community in such a vicious and distorted fashion? Who knows? Watthead points out, “it may be a great way to get attention for your articles and books, but it’s not a great way to build alliances with the kind of folks who you should be building alliances with.”
I would go further. It is particularly destructive for one’s supposed allies to repeat myths that Frank Luntz and Rush Limbaugh and President Bush want people to believe about environmentalists. The Deniers and Delayers want people to believe that environmentalists are backing climate change to achieve a hidden agenda of government limits on their consumption. They can’t win on the merits of the science, but they can scare people into inaction. S&N play right into their hands, reinforcing tired old stereotypes:
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman John Rockefeller (D-WV) reacted angrily yesterday to the New York Times’ revelation that the Bush administration gave the CIA secret approval in 2005 to use harsh interrogation techniques. Rockefeller is demanding copies of all the administration’s opinions on interrogation since 2004.
In this afternoon’s White House press briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino asserted members of Congress, including Rockefeller, had been “fully briefed” on the secret opinions:
PERINO: I believe that the members that have been briefed are satisfied that the policy of the United States and the practices do not constitute torture.
QUESTION: But, Dana, what have they been briefed on? If they haven’t actually seen, like the 2005 legal opinions, they’ve just been briefed in general. You’re selecting what…
PERINO: What I can tell you, and I have been assured they have been fully briefed.
QUESTION: Fully briefed on the actual memos?
QUESTION: OK. So then why are people like Senator Jay Rockefeller, who’s the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, saying, I’m getting more information from the New York Times than from the White House?
PERINO: I don’t know. I don’t know, but I checked and I am confident that the members were briefed.
Perino couldn’t say what members were briefed about, except to utter the talking point that they were briefed. Watch it:
Sen. Rockefeller issued a statement today rejecting the White House’s contention that he had been “fully briefed” on the CIA detention and interrogation program:
The Administration can’t have it both ways. I’m tired of these games. They can’t say that Congress has been fully briefed while refusing to turn over key documents used to justify the legality of the program.
The reality is, the Administration refused to disclose the program to the full Committee for five years, and they have refused to turn over key legal documents since day one. As I have said from the beginning, Congress has a constitutional responsibility to determine whether the program is the best means for obtaining reliable information, whether it is fully supported by the law, and whether it is in the best interest of the United States.
The White House has very little credibility in asserting that it has briefed members of Congress on its counterterrorism activities. With respect to the NSA domestic wiretapping program and other spying programs, the White House repeatedly claimed that key lawmakers were briefed on those activities. However, those assertions have never held up in the past.
As told by the New Light of Myanmar. Note: Does not include actual truth.
According to David Paul Kuhn, “the most durable reality of American politics” is that “white men matter most.” Dana Goldstein offers an excellent substantive rejoinder, but I’m always perplexed by this broader genre of analysis. The presumption often seems to be that Americans vote via some kind of demographic electoral college and thus we can argue about whether “white men” or “Hispanics” or “married women” or “independents” are the key to the election in much the same way that we can identify some states (Ohio, Florida) as big swing states, while others are either less important because small (New Hampshire, New Mexico) or else unimportant because non-swingy (New York, Texas).
Obviously, though, elections don’t work like that. I imagine that only a very small number of black lesbians voted for Bush in 2004, but convincing one of them to vote Democratic in 2008 is exactly as valuable as it would be to convince any other Bush supporter — white, green, red, blue, whatever — to flip sides. The only relevant distinctions for these purposes have to do with which state someone lives in.
It is true, of course, that since most people are white people, white people “matter most” in some crude numerical sense. But men don’t matter more than women on this score. And the bigger you build up your demographic group the more its “importance” comes at the expense of any kind of precision. Given that white men are something like 40 percent of the population, it’s too big a group to target in a meaningful way.
In May, after the FBI raided his Northern Virginia home, Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA) was forced by his Republican colleagues to step down from his seat on the House Appropriations Committee. At the time, Roll Call reported that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) was seeking “to enforce a tougher ethical standard in the 110th Congress.”
In his column tomorrow, Robert Novak will report that Boehner is now coming under fire from “reform-minded House Republicans” who say he has “a double standard” for rank-and-file members of Congress and GOP leaders embroiled in federal investigations, after ruling that Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) can keep his seat on the Appropriations Committee despite being investigated:
In a secret meeting Wednesday of the House Republican leadership, Minority Leader John Boehner ruled that Rep. Jerry Lewis of California will continue as the party’s ranking member of the Appropriations Committee while under federal investigation on ethics charges. That widened the gap between Boehner and reform-minded House Republicans, including members of the leadership. [...]
Republican reformers complain that Boehner imposes a double standard that is harsher on rank-and-file members of Congress than on leaders. While Lewis keeps his leadership position on Appropriations, Rep. John Doolittle left the committee in April because he is a federal corruption target.
Lewis is under investigation by the Justice Department “in part” because of “a lobbying firm that hired some of his former staff members.” The investigation has been repeatedly stalled, however, by attorney departures and budget shortfalls.
Boehner’s record of rewarding and protecting corrupt members of his caucus makes it clear that his claim of a “tougher ethical standard” is just a PR stunt. After Doolittle was forced to step down, Boehner replaced him on the committee with another scandal-plagued congressman, Rep. Ken Calvert.
Yesterday, ThinkProgress questioned whether Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was aware of the secret torture opinions revealed by the New York Times, given her previous declaration of “no more secret opinions.” At the State Department press briefing yesterday, a reporter asked spokesman Sean McCormack about Rice’s knowledge. He said he “didn’t ask her” yet:
QUESTION: Sean, I don’t know if you’d be able to comment on this, but the front page story of the New York Times about interrogation, secret interrogations.
MR. MCCORMACK: Right.
QUESTION: Was Secretary Rice aware of this internal back-and-forth during that time period?
MR. MCCORMACK: I didn’t ask — I didn’t ask her about the story.
QUESTION: Did you see it?
MR. MCCORMACK: I did. I did see it. I didn’t ask her about the story.
Daniel Levy, not unpredictably, has what’s to my mind the best take on The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy that I’ve seen yet. He does a great job of highlighting the very real flaws in the Walt-Mearsheimer argument without turning that into mere triangulation in the face of their more deranged critics. The problems Levy points to, in my view, stem basically from the limits of Walt and Mearsheimer’s methodology.
Basically, as realists, I think they don’t really “get” ideology and the extent to which the World War IV view of the world exists as a freestanding, transnational (most influential, clearly, in US and Israeli politics, but also with some sway in the UK and Australia and some of its leading proponents in the US are Canadian, etc.) view of things that’s not “about” serving Israel’s interests or America’s interests or, indeed, anyone’s interests — it’s just wrong.