Continuing his salted earth campaign against Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign, conservative columnist George Will said the former House speaker “embodies almost everything disagreeable about modern Washington.” “He’s the classic rental politician,” Will continued, suggesting that Gingrich’s political positions are for sale to the highest bidder. Will — whose wife works for Rick Perry — said Gingrich should hope people focus on his philandering and infidelity, instead of his pay-for-play influence peddling. Watch it:
Later, Will said, “I didn’t even get to finish my list,” to which he added, “absurd rhetorical grandiosity.”
Gingrich is reeling from revelations that he was paid over a million dollars to peddle influence for failed mortgage giant Freddie Mac. Even disgraced former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff has called Gingrich “corrupt.”
Responding to Will, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman quipped that Gingrich is “a stupid man’s idea of what a smart person sounds like.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that 80,000 jobs were added to the American economy last month, ticking the unemployment rate down slightly to 9 percent. The 80,000 added is a net gain, factoring in 104,000 private jobs added and 24,000 public sector jobs lost. Today on ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will said people losing their public sector jobs is a good thing:
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Let me turn to you George and ask you about the unemployment numbers. Is that something of a trend or is that scratching the surface? What difference is that going to make?
WILL: Not much. First of all, 80,000 isn’t nearly enough to accomodate even the natural growth month by month of the workforce. There are two bits of good news in there. The 80,000 is a net number. The private sector created 104,000 jobs. The public sector happily shrank by 24,000 jobs. Both of that’s good.
Watch the clip:
Conservatives rejoice at public sector job loss because they think it will spur private job creation (and also fulfill their collective fantasy of controlling the ever encroaching tentacles of the federal government). But the reality is that public sector losses are equaling out private sector gains and thus holding back a wider recovery. And as Matt Yglesias has noted, public sector job loss over the last yeah and a half has not been “delivering any private sector magic.” Federal, state and local governments have shed hundreds of thousands of jobs over the past year alone while the percentage of millionaires grew by 20 percent. And as the AP noted, the public job “losses add strain” on the overall economic recovery.
Conservative columnist George Will has offered a bizarre and hypocritical new attack on the GOP front runner. In a Sunday WashPost op-ed, “Mitt Romney, the pretzel candidate,” Will writes:
Romney, supposedly the Republican most electable next November, is a recidivist reviser of his principles who is not only becoming less electable, he might damage GOP chances of capturing the Senate: Republican successes down the ticket will depend on the energies of the tea party and other conservatives, who will be deflated by a nominee whose blurry profile in caution communicates only calculated trimming.
Republicans may have found their Michael Dukakis, a technocratic Massachusetts governor who takes his bearings from ‘data’ …. Has conservatism come so far, surmounting so many obstacles, to settle, at a moment of economic crisis, for THIS?
Has conservatism come so far that it denounces someone because they supposedly follow data?
Yet, for all of Will’s willingness to carry water for the most repulsive and out of touch ideas, even he is offended by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) plan to rig the Electoral College in order to elect a Republican president in 2012:
Republicans supposedly revere the Constitution, but in its birthplace, Pennsylvania, they are contemplating a subversion of the Framers’ institutional architecture. Their ploy — partisanship masquerading as altruism about making presidential elections more “democratic” — will weaken resistance to an even worse change being suggested.
Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled Legislature may pass, and the Republican governor promises to sign, legislation ending the state’s practice — shared by 47 other states — of allocating all of its electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide popular vote. Pennsylvania would join Maine and Nebraska in allocating one vote to the winner in each congressional district, with the two remaining votes going to the statewide popular vote winner. [...] The Electoral College today functions differently than the Founders envisioned — they did not anticipate political parties — but it does buttress the values encouraged by the federalism the Framers favoured, which Pennsylvanians, and others, should respect.
As with most Will columns, there is also a lot to not like in his rejection of the Pennsylvania vote rigging plan. Among other things, the “even worse change” Will refers to is the entirely sensible National Popular Vote compact, which would ensure that the person who gets the most votes actually gets to be president of the United States. Nevertheless, Will’s break with Corbett on Corbett’s plan to rig the presidential election is a hopeful sign that establishment conservatives are turning against that plan.
By Climate Guest Blogger on Sep 7, 2011 at 3:59 pm
In April, it seemed like the Washington Post‘s Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt had a real come to … science moment with his blunt op-ed: “The GOP’s climate-change denial may be its most harmful delusion.” I noted that it was a man bites dog story because Hiatt “in the past had printed multiple columns by George Will and Sarah Palin spreading disinformation on climate science.”
But Hiatt is back to publishing disinformation on climate science by Will. In his Friday column, Will poses a debate question for Jon Huntsman:
You, who preen about having cornered the market on good manners, recently tweeted, “I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” Call you sarcastic. In the 1970s, would you have trusted scientists predicting calamity from global cooling? Are scientists a cohort without a sociology — uniquely homogenous and unanimous, without factions or interests and impervious to peer pressures or the agendas of funding agencies? Are the hundreds of scientists who are skeptical that human activities are increasing global temperatures not really scientists?
In fact, an excellent 2008 review article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) debunked that “pervasive myth” of “scientists predicting calamity from global cooling” and found “the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.
A review of the climate science literature from 1965 to 1979 shows this myth to be false. The myth’s basis lies in a selective misreading of the texts both by some members of the media at the time and by some observers today. In fact, emphasis on greenhouse warming dominated the scientific literature even then….
When the myth of the 1970s global cooling scare arises in contemporary discussion over climate change, it is most often in the form of citations not to the scientific literature, but to news media coverage.
The authors put together this figure on “the number of papers classified as predicting, implying, or providing supporting evidence for future global cooling, warming, and neutral categories”:
The article ends with a powerful discussion of what the National Research Council concluded in its 1979 review of the science:
Today on ABC’s This Week, host Christiane Amanpour wondered whether Newt Gingrich will run in to some difficulties running for president considering he has been married three times. Noting that Gingrich recently converted to Catholicism, NPR’s Cokie Roberts said that “there are an awful lot of divorced Catholics who are very pained by this situation of their own divorce and feeling like they can’t be Catholic,” adding, “and to have this sudden new Catholic with three wives is not going to play well with them.” Conservative columnist George Will, however, said that Gingrich’s problems extend far beyond social issues:
WILL: He’s been out of elective office for 12 years. … Newt Gingrich’s problems are so far beyond just his multiple marriages and all that. His ethanol love affair right now. ON the 7th of March he said, “Let’s go Qaddafi.” On the 23rd of he says, “I never favored intervention.” He did it on television. … He’s one of these people who says that to understand Barack Obama you need to understand his “Kenyan anti-colonial mentality.” This is just not a serious candidate.
Over the past few weeks, several Republicans have followed the Tea Party’s lead in declaring that they will vote against any increase in the national debt ceiling. Today, on Meet the Press, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) drew a thick line in the sand, declaring, “I’m not going to vote for a debt ceiling increase unless we go back to 2008 spending levels, cutting the discretionary spending.”
On ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will responded to Republican opposition to raising the national debt ceiling and the threat it poses to the fiscal solvency of the nation:
I know of no other developed nation that has a debt ceiling. This is a purely recurring symbolic vote to make people feel good by voting against it.
The trouble is it’s suicidal if you should happen to miscalculate and have all kinds of people voting against it as a symbolic vote and turn out to be a majority. Because if the United States defaults on its sovereign debt, the markets will be — well, it will be stimulating.
Will’s analysis echoed remarks made earlier by Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, on ABC’s This Week. “The debt ceiling is not something to toy with,” stated Goolsbee. “If we get to the point where you’ve damaged the full faith and credit of the United States, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity.” Goolsbee also noted that the impact of blocking a debt ceiling raise on the economy would be “catastrophic” and would bring on “a worse financial economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008.”
We’ve seen, repeatedly, that Fred Hiatt thinks it’s not a problem if George Will wants to use his Washington Post column to mislead people about facts. But Will’s decided to enter a new kind of loathesomeness with this characterization of where one might meet a Hispanic:
Non-Hispanic Arizonans of all sorts live congenially with all sorts of persons of Hispanic descent. These include some whose ancestors got to Arizona before statehood — some even before it was a territory. They were in America before most Americans’ ancestors arrived. Arizonans should not be judged disdainfully and from a distance by people whose closest contacts with Hispanics are with fine men and women who trim their lawns and put plates in front of them at restaurants, not with illegal immigrants passing through their back yards at 3 a.m.
I suppose it’s true that professional rightwingers like George Will might not encounter Hispanics in any other context. And the fact that racism seems to have such a welcome home in the conservative movement guarantees that will continue to be true for a while.
Meanwhile, I might suggest that conservative Arizona fans cogitate a bit on the fact that there are a large number of conservative Cuban American Republican Party politicians in this country and as best I can tell none of them approve of this law. Why do they think that is?
Anyways, the Post has a snazzy new PostPolitics page that helps you swiftly summarize the fact that there don’t appear to be any Hispanic opinion writers at the paper who might be able to have a word or two with Will about this.
Last week, Justice John Paul Stevens announced that he will retire from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, giving President Obama his second Supreme Court vacancy to fill. Today, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) urged Obama not to select “someone that is so activist,” while Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that Republicans could filibuster “if the president picks someone from the fringe or somone who applies their feelings instead of applying the law.” On ABC’s This Week, conservative columnist George Will criticized conservatives for saying that they want judges who will strictly follow the law while simultaneously cheering decisions that overturn the work of elected officials:
There’s another test, and it’s wielded by my conservatives, and I think it’s mistaken. And that is, they say they’re against judicial activism. By which they mean they want the court to defer to the elected political branches of government. But if you look at what’s happened recently, the decision that most outraged conservatives was the Kelo decision on eminent domain. … The court did defer to the city government in Connecticut and it enraged conservatives. The recent decision that most pleased conservatives — Citizens United, overturning part of McCain-Feingold — was the court not deferring to the Senate.
On ABC’s This Week roundtable yesterday, conservative pundit George Will took a jab at Nobel Prize-winning economics professor Paul Krugman. After Krugman noted that ObamaCare bears a lot of similarities to RomneyCare, he tried to dissipate people’s fears about what’s in the law. “I do international trade stuff,” Krugman said, “somebody should look at a trade agreement which typically runs at 23,000 pages, right? This is nothing much.” Will responded, “Well, first of all, Paul’s prize is in economics, not practical Washington wisdom.” Watch it:
Apparently deeming himself a Nobel laureate of “Washington wisdom,” Will proceeded to offer a dose of his brilliance. “One of the ways that this simple, workable legislation is going to be made to work is the IRS is going to hire about 16,000 new agents,” Will proclaimed. That may be Will’s version of “Washington wisdom,” but it’s not true. This past week, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman debunked the right-wing myth that IRS agents are going to auditing taxpayers to determine if they have health insurance.