Alex Pareene explains that the traditional political understanding of presidential politics doesn't apply to Elizabeth Warren. It's not about a clash of personalities, and it's not a recasting of 2008's Clinton vs. Obama fight. It's about the party:
The point of arguing for more “economic populism” isn’t necessarily to take down Hillary Clinton in 2016, though I’d certainly rather have a President Warren than another President Clinton. (Though — and I say this as a Warren admirer — she’s kind of a blank slate on non-finance issues, right?) Clinton isn’t quite inevitable, but aiming immediately for the presidency is in many respects reaching for a symbolic victory before achieving anything substantial. The point of “economic populism” is to fix the Democratic Party at every level.
The trick, of course, is to fix the Democratic Party without descending into a leftward version of the Republican Party's current teabaggy hell for the next decade. I think it's absolutely possible to promote economic populism in such a way that doesn't turn off independents and moderates. It's not easy, but it's possible.
I'm betting that a lot of the year-end wrap-ups you're going to read in the next few weeks are going to focus heavily on the Obamacare website woes. But I bet in three years, nobody will remember or care that for a couple months, a new government-run website didn't actually work. Especially now that the site is starting to work:
About 29,000 people signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov on Sunday and Monday — a figure that surpasses the total for the whole month of October, an official familiar with the program told POLITICO.
The quickened pace of enrollments came as the White House hit its self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to fix the troubled Affordable Care Act website.
Remember how outraged Republicans were about that whole "You Didn't Build That" manufactured controversy from last year? And remember how ordinary Americans just didn't give a shit? The Republican response to the Obamacare rollout reminds me a lot of that.
Christian Nightmares posted this disturbing video of politicians using the Bible to argue against climate change.
Housing and social justice advocates—troubled by this summer's tense and difficult conversation around homelessness and poverty—have launched a new social media storytelling campaign meant, in part, to help reframe and recontextualize what's been a particularly polarized debate.
It's dressed in a Twitter hashtag—#MyHomePDX. And after several days of a soft rollout on Twitter and elsewhere, it's getting a full-on start next Tuesday, November 26. For now, the idea is to get regular people talking on social media about our shared values on homelessness and compassion, with the hopes of building a coalition, some day, around raising new money for helping ease the plight of people living on the streets.
The work is being led by Street Roots, but will be shared by several organizations and individuals recruited specifically for their social media acumen. Beyond SR, participating groups include Neighborhood Partnerships and Northwest Pilot Project, which provides housing for seniors.
Storytelling is a huge part of the campaign—reminding people how many of their neighbors are already doing work to help people and that the reality of homelessness looks nothing like some of the sensational headlines and myths some people cling to. But it's also about encouraging more people who aren't volunteering or donating what they can or spending time with the homeless to get personally involved.
The Mercury has obtained a copy of the campaign's work plan (pdf), which covers most of those ideas, in four "pillars," and also breaks down its long- and short-term aspirations.
This campaign feels like a continuation of two successful and similar efforts, over the past two years, to protect and enhance safety net funding in the city of Portland's budget. But it's also influenced by, if not quite a direct response to, new initiatives this year to bring back "sit-lie" laws, sweep city sidewalks amid Mayor Charlie Hales' heavy-handed talk of "lawlessness," and hold "civility" forums that struck many observers as achieving precisely the opposite.
"We want people to capture why they give to people on the streets or to local organizations, to recognize that there's a lot of doom and gloom around this issue, but that at the end of the day, our community cares and is compassionate," says Israel Bayer, Street Roots' executive director. "There's a silent majority of Portlanders who care about homelessness and poverty issues. What happens is that these incendiary conversations and debates sometimes that blocks out the good stuff being done."
Bayer actually is understating his last point. The latest Oregon Values & Beliefs Project, conducted this spring, suggests it might actually be a silent supermajority. Something like 84 percent of respondents said they support job training for low-income people—with 79 percent support social services programs aimed at preventing hunger and homelessness.
"We welcome all of the groups who care about this issue," Bayer says, "and who want to take part in something positive."
Harry Reid's finger is on the button, and the Senate is about to change forever http://t.co/eL7lj1ybkl via @TheFix
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 21, 2013
What Reid did is not fucking nuts. What's nuts is this...
GOP: "Why did Harry Reid change the Senate rules? It's not like we were abusing them?!" pic.twitter.com/OWvQdHWJiB
— Grand Old Parody (@GrandOldParody1) November 21, 2013
The Senate has voted to change its rules so that a simple majority is required to confirm judicial nominations and executive branch picks — the so-called “nuclear option.”
The final vote was 52-48.
“The threshold for cloture on nominations not including the Supreme Court, is now a majority,” Sen Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), the president pro temp, declared after the vote.
Yeah, at the moment people are still calling it the "nuclear option." But it will eventually come to be known as "the Reid Rule."
And before all you Republicans start crying about the Democrats disposing of a couple centuries of tradition, look in the fucking mirror. The filibuster used to be a last resort. But you guys just had to be total dicks about it. Just be thankful Dems didn't eliminate the filibuster for everything.
George Zimmerman is out on bond, though he does have to wear a GPS ankle bracelet. In other Zimmerman news, Breitbart editor-in-chief Ben Shaprio dropped some Twitter-knowledge on us all:
BTW, leftists, if Zimmerman pulled a gun on his gf (for which he should go to jail), that hurts your argument that Trayvon was race-based.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) November 19, 2013
Conservative logic! I feel like this tweet should've ended with Shapiro extending his arms and wiggling his fingers while shouting "Ta-daaaaaaah!"
...The Flipside. You can watch the trailer and a sample episode over on this site. The Flipside is by no means the first attempt to create a comedy news show with a conservative bent. Maybe the most popular failed attempt is The 1/2 Hour News Hour, which lasted for about a half a year back in 2007. And Glenn Beck has been airing his own take on a Daily Show-type show called The B S of A on his little private island of a media "empire" for a couple years now, but since that show doesn't have to fight for ratings to survive, it doesn't really count.
I just watched the first episode of The Flipside and it was about what you'd expect. Maybe the most damning sign that The Flipside isn't funny is that the live studio audience doesn't laugh all that much. The jokes earn more polite, supportive rounds of applause than laughter from even the friendliest of friendly crowds. The truth is that the whole show is just staggeringly unfunny. Even legitimate targets for satire, like a central segment about Harrison Ford fighting for climate change when he owns a fleet of private airplanes, suffer from weak punchlines about Ford's earring.
Here's the thing I don't understand about these conservative shows: Does anyone involved in the creation and production of The Flipside actually think that The Flipside is funny? Or do they think that eventually they'll get funny with practice? The history of television is littered with unfunny sitcoms and talk shows, of course, but even, say, The Chevy Chase Show had some air of potential to it. Does the political drive behind The Flipside blind producers and staff to the fact that their show absolutely sucks? Do they consider anyone who doesn't laugh at this show to be a liberal? Because I'm pretty sure that some members of the audience during that taping must've been closeted liberals, then.
(Via Death and Taxes.)
Last week, Canadian courts released a 500-page dossier on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, detailing all of his alleged illegal activities—including interviews with staff on his alleged drug use and his alleged offers/threats to eat out various women's boxes, right down to more harmless stuff, like routinely pocket dialing his coworkers while pissing.
Talking Points Memo, bless its heart, has read this entire document and summarized its six best anecdotes. I suggest you read them aloud to your children at bedtime, as a grim lesson on what it's like to be Canadian.
4) Ford 'Would Try To Get Out Of Doing Ethnic Media Events'
Though the documents include tales of Ford making surprise appearances in convenience stores, parties, and on public transportation late at night, they also detail the types of events Ford allegedly would never go to. Ransom told investigators Ford "would not do any media events before 1100 AM unless it was a very special event."
Ransom also said Ford "would try to get out of doing ethnic media events, meetings with international politicians and ambassadors." Sadly, the documents didn't go into detail about Ford's reasons for avoiding these "ethnic" events. After February, Ford apparently also could not be found at nighttime public events. In one of his interviews with police, Towhey said he "removed all evening events from the Mayor's schedule" after an incident where Ford allegedly showed up to a military ball intoxicated with his children in tow and was asked to leave.
Rob Ford continues to be the man of my dreams. (I dream in nightmare.)
One of the reasons Chris Christie worries me as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate is the fact that he seemed like the kind of guy who would be willing to tell the extremists in the Republican Party to go fuck themselves. He's totally a conservative—anti-abortion, anti-gay-marriage, anti-union, the works—but he's not willing to say, for example, that government is evil in every instance. Or at least, he wasn't. I thought Christie would be able to speak honestly to far-right Republicans. But as ThinkProgress's Igor Volsky notes, Christie seems to be leaning more toward the Romney strategy of pushing to the right to win the right:
Fresh off his sweeping re-election victory and with rumors buzzing about a possible 2016 run for the White House, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wouldn’t call on lawmakers to include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in legislation to reform the nation’s immigration system...Christie wasn’t always so circumspect. During an appearance on “This Week” in July of 2010, Christie said, “The president and the Congress have to step up to the plate, they have to secure our borders and they have to put forward a commonsense path to citizenship for people,” Christie told Tapper back then.
Obviously, Christie saw the way Marco Rubio was destroyed by Republicans when he put forth a (fairly conservative) path to citizenship and decided he'd have to play it safe. But this looks like a flip-flop to me, and it's not going to help Christie's outreach to Latinos. It's been well-documented that Republicans can't win the White House with the same white male vote that they've relied on over the last few decades. Hell, Christie himself made the case yesterday that Republicans need to reach out to minorities. The first step toward minority outreach can't be turning your back on minorities in order to win the votes of old racist voters.
As briefly mentioned in Good Morning, News... Ii's not too early to wonder. And Noam Scheiber at The New Republic seems to think she might:
In addition to being strongly identified with the party’s populist wing, any candidate who challenged Clinton would need several key assets. The candidate would almost certainly have to be a woman, given Democrats’ desire to make history again. She would have to amass huge piles of money with relatively little effort. Above all, she would have to awaken in Democratic voters an almost evangelical passion. As it happens, there is precisely such a person. Her name is Elizabeth Warren.
Let's see what the voters of Blogtown have to say about this.
Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley sang a little duet about signing up for Obamacare on the Country Music Awards last night that had the crowd a-hootin' and a-hollerin':
Here are the lyrics:
Obamacare by mornin'/Why is this taking so long/I'm gonna wind up with hemorrhoids/If I sit here till dawn/We'll have cataracts and dementia/Oh, this is gettin' on my last nerve/Obamacare by mornin'/Over six people served.
Aren't conservatives always whining about taking the politics out of entertainment, specifically entertainment awards shows? There's strangely no outrage on conservative blogs about this skit.
In any case: They really need to fix that fucking website. These sorts of complaints won't matter in the long run, but the longer this takes, the more hits Democrats are going to suffer in the run-up to the midterm elections.
Yesterday, the Washington Times announced that it was suspending Rand Paul's weekly column due to all the allegations of plagiarism that have circled the Kentucky senator.
But Paul's not going to go around acting all repentant about these charges. In fact, he's taking the whiny-baby riad, complaining about having to deal with the consequences of his actions to the conservative press:
In an interview with National Review Online on Capitol Hill, Paul was furious, especially with the press coverage of the allegations. “It annoys the hell out of me,” Paul said. “I feel like if I could just go to detention after school for a couple days, then everything would be okay. But do I have to be in detention for the rest of my career?”
I thought libertarians were all about personal responsibility? Anyway, even the severely conservative commenters on National Review's site can't muster much compassion for Paul this time, calling him "unrepentant and arrogant," a "spoiled brat," and "pathetic." If Paul keeps whining about his "unfair" treatment like this, he might actually make the whole thing worse.
Google engineer Mike Hearn, one of many who are expressing outrage and disbelief about the NSA breaking into their house, might have summed up his colleagues' feelings best:
There’s no ambiguity here. The warrant system with skeptical judges, paths for appeal, and rules of evidence was built from centuries of hard won experience. When it works, it represents as good a balance as we’ve got between the need to restrain the state and the need to keep crime in check. Bypassing that system is illegal for a good reason. Unfortunately we live in a world where all too often, laws are for the little people. Nobody at GCHQ or the NSA will ever stand before a judge and answer for this industrial-scale subversion of the judicial process.
Now that reelection is secure and safe: "You people! Just do your job!"
that lady is in to it RT @daveweigel: And the rally ends, inevitably, with Christie arguing with a teacher pic.twitter.com/9vH5AAcfZU
— Miss Laura (@LauraKMM) November 2, 2013
That's what Chris Christie shouted today while his wife smiled at New Jersey public school teacher, Melissa Tomlinson, who dared approach him at the Rutgers football game rally and ask the question, "Why do you portray New Jersey Public Schools as 'failure factories?'"
No one loves the expression "you people" like Republicans. For them, you either with us or you are with "you people." It's not "we the people" but "you people."
Republicans are still the party of no:
Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked confirmation of two Obama Administration nominees, signaling a return to the chamber’s protracted fight over White House appointments that led to talk of filibuster reform over the summer.
This is the sort of boring, everyday shit that the Senate is supposed to do on a daily basis; they're supposed to approve these positions after making sure that the appointees are competent. These appointments were not a big deal. They didn't symbolize anything. They just represented the Obama administration trying to do the work the American people sent them to Washington to do—twice. And Republicans refuse to do their fucking jobs. Why? Nobody knows why. I don't even know if they know why at this point. They blocked the confirmations because that's what they do, because the confirmations are what Obama wanted and Republicans are against what Obama wants.
One day in the not-so-distant future, young Democrats are going to wonder why President Obama didn't get more done. The sad thing is that most people are going to forget that it was the Republican Party that froze government for eight solid years, just because they refused to give the president a inch.
This is even more unthinkable than all the other unthinkable stuff that's been previously reported in the Washington Post:
The National Security Agency has secretly broken into the main communications links that connect Yahoo and Google data centers around the world, according to documents obtained from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and interviews with knowledgeable officials.
By tapping those links, the agency has positioned itself to collect at will from among hundreds of millions of user accounts, many of them belonging to Americans. The NSA does not keep everything it collects, but it keeps a lot.
When does this bullshit get into illegal territory? Or does the PATRIOT Act just make everything okay?
Ha ha ha! They're just like those "I'm a Mac" ads! Remember those? I hear all you kids in the 18-35 demographic love those ads!
The reception over at the conservative National Review is decidedly mixed:
Man, that sucked. Why can't we find any creative conservatives?
Private sector" should not be a white dude. Really, does any one think things through over at the RNC. "Hey, let's play right into the caricatures of us."
The Apple vs. PC commercial were all white people.
"Solid Liberals" are overwhelmingly white (72% according to Pew)
Jon Stewart's audience is likely very white.
America is 72% white.
African Americans don't vote for the GOP so there is no need to pander to the few that might watch just so the GOP can claim they were politically correct (but demographically incorrect).
The rest of the commercials are after the jump.
1. Denver Nicks at Swampland says:
South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Monday he will block President Barack Obama’s nominees for executive branch positions until survivors of the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi testify before Congress.
2. Mary Noble at Politix says:
The US embassy in Benghazi was protected by Libyan security staff rather than Americans as a way of cutting costs, and that's one reason cited for the four Americans deaths on Sept 11, 2012.
After the attack, Obama asked Congress to approve an extra $4 billion to secure US embassies. That has not happened. It was raised in the Senate by Robert Menendez, but hasn't been brought to the floor for a vote.
3. The above two stories are completely unrelated.
Senator Marco Rubio—who, along with every other 2016 Republican hopeful in Congress, voted against the debt deal yesterday—thinks that the American people will come around to his way of thinking:
“By the early part of next year, February, March, April and May of next year — and I know that sounds like a long time away, but it’s not — the realities of the law are going to begin to impact people,” Rubio said Wednesday on Fox News’s “Hannity.”
“There is going to be an all-out revolt in this country over that. And that is, I think, the moment to absolutely act and say we are going to get rid of this law and then look for opportunities in the future to replace it,” Rubio (R-Fla.) said.
Get a load of Nostradamus over here. Mark your calendars now; Americans will "revolt" over healthcare starting next spring.
National Review's Betsy Woodruff says anti-tax baby-headed Republican "mastermind" Grover Norquist is fed up with extremists in the Republican Party. Well, he's fed up with the extremists in the Republican Party who aren't his kind of extremists. Specifically, he thinks the defunders should apologize to all the other Republicans:
“It’d be a good idea if they stopped referring to other Republicans as Hitler appeasers because they opposed the strategy they put forward which failed,” Norquist says. “I think if you make a mistake as big as what they did, you owe your fellow senators and congressmen a big apology — and your constituents, as well, because nothing they did advanced the cause of repealing or dismantling Obamacare.”
Norquist refrained from naming the specific people who he thinks owe apologies to the rest of the conservative movement, but his reference is transparent — during his lengthy floor speech, Senator Ted Cruz said Republicans who supported a CR that would fund Obamacare were comparable to Neville Chamberlain.
The commenters are predictably angry at Norquist for selling out:
Apologize to the CONSERVATIVES ?
They ARE the conservatives.
Grover is a worthless POS the likes of Rove, Boehner, McCain, Graham etc. etc. etc. $crew him.
Grover princess, not many of us care what you think. You know the saying about opinions don't you? That saying applies to you too.
Good-bye Grover. You have been in Washington too long. You have gone over to the dark side. You are no longer relevant. Regular Republicans find you repulsive. Enjoy your cocktail parties with the other traitors. With friends like you, who needs enemies?
The Republican Party is not doing well this week.
While US politicians grapple with how to reopen their shuttered government and avoid a potentially disastrous default on their debt, the world should consider 'de-Americanising', a commentary on China's official news agency said Sunday.
"As US politicians of both political parties (fail to find a) viable deal to bring normality to the body politic they brag about, it is perhaps a good time for the befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanised world," the commentary on state news agency Xinhua said..."A new world order should be put in place, according to which all nations, big or small, poor or rich, can have their key interests respected and protected on an equal footing."
Given the way everything seemed to fall apart this weekend, it's really hard to argue the American side of this debate right now.
The Fix notes that a vast majority of Americans blame the Republicans for the shutdown:
Disapproval of congressional Republicans’ budget wrangling after a weeklong shutdown has shot up to 70 percent, with 51 percent disapproving “strongly,” according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
SALT LAKE CITY — A majority of Utahns don't believe it was worth shutting down the federal government to fight President Barack Obama's new health care law and most blame Republicans just as much as Democrats, according to a new Deseret News/KSL poll.
If even Utahns blame Democrats and Republicans equally right now, I guarantee a majority of people in red states will blame Republicans for the shutdown if this thing goes on much longer.
Is it Republican Congressman Randy Neugebauer (Texas), who told a park ranger she "should be ashamed" of herself for not letting people into the WWII Memorial, which she can't do, because the memorial is closed due to the government shutdown that Neugebauer voted for?
Or is it Republican Congressman Darrell Issa (California), who shouted at (currently unpaid, due to the shutdown that Issa voted for) Capitol Police officers as he drove through a barricade that said officers had set up in order to prevent more people from getting hurt in today's weird attack on the White House/Capitol building?
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