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Friday Afternoon News and Views: Have We Finally Reached A Tipping Point?

The boiling point

Tipping points: the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable; the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point. (Malcolm Gladwell)

Was the special election for the Massachusetts Senate seat the final straw for Obama supporters and for Obama’s corporate agenda? It sure looks that way. The signs are everywhere: prog blogs are in chaos, big media is finally beginning to notice that Obama is arrogant and out of touch, and even the most far-gone Koolaid drinkers are beginning to sober up. Firedoglake is morphing into a blog that resembles TC back in June of 2008.

Oddly, Krugman is still hanging in there with the Koolaid Krowd. He wants the House to pass the Senate bill right away. WTF?! Just what drug did they feed him at that White House dinner anyway? Or are the bosses at the NYT holding a gun to his head as he writes his columns?

Elsewhere, all around the ‘net, hundreds of Koolaid drinkers are jumping on the wagon every day. Let’s take a brief tour.

At The Nation, William Greider calls the Massachusetts election results a “pie in the President’s face.”

The special election displayed monumental miscalculations by which Obama has governed, both in priorities and political-legislative strategies. It may seem perverse and unfair, but the president’s various actions for reform generated a vaguely poisonous identity. Amid the general suffering, Obama is widely seen as collaborating with two popular villains–the me-first bankers and over-educated policy technocrats of the permanent governing elite. Obama made nice with the bankers and loaded up his administration with Harvard policy wonks who really don’t know the country. These malignant associations gain traction because people see there are grains of truth in observable reality.

Greider still has a way to go–he still adores Obama’s “soaring rhetoric,” and he thinks Obama just followed the advice of his bad advisers and needs to fire them and hire new ones. But it’s a start. Greider is a smart man. He’ll get it eventually.

Drew Westen has been on Obama case for awhile now, but this post is even more emphatic than the past few he has written.

The President’s steadfast refusal to acknowledge that we have a two-party system, his insistence on making destructive concessions to the same party voters he had sent packing twice in a row in the name of “bipartisanship,” and his refusal ever to utter the words “I am a Democrat” and to articulate what that means, are not among his virtues. We have competing ideas in a democracy — and hence competing parties — for a reason. To paper them over and pretend they do not exist, particularly when the ideology of one of the parties has proven so devastating to the lives of everyday Americans, is not a virtue. It is an abdication of responsibility.

I’ve got his book The Political Brain lying around here somewhere. Maybe I’ll read it.

And it sure does look like Obama’s agenda is about to topple over, doesn’t it? Roll call has the startling news that Ben Bernanke’s reappointment is in trouble. It’s subscription only, but D-day has quotes at FDL.

Ben Bernanke’s nomination to serve a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve appears to be in peril. Bernanke is up for a second term at the Fed; his current term expires in 10 days on Jan. 31. A handful of Senators had previously threatened to filibuster the nomination, but this week the number of opposing lawmakers appeared to grow, further dimming his prospects for installment.

“I think it’s worthy of a review,” said Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), who is undecided.

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) met with Bernanke on Thursday, one day after Democrats voiced concerns during their weekly policy luncheon about the nomination. In a statement after his meeting with the Fed chairman, Reid was coy, saying the two met “to discuss the best ways to strengthen and stabilize our economy.” [...]

At Wednesday’s Democratic caucus meeting, according to Senators, liberals spoke out against confirming Bernanke for a second term. Those liberals tried to make the case that the White House needs to put in place fresh economic advisers to focus on “Main Street” issues like unemployment rather than Wall Street concerns. Moderates were more reserved, Senators said, but have similarly withheld their support for Bernanke.

Wow!

At Politico: Dem health care talks collapsing

Health care reform teetered on the brink of collapse Thursday as House and Senate leaders struggled to coalesce around a strategy to rescue the plan, in the face of growing pessimism among lawmakers that the president’s top priority can survive.

The legislative landscape was filled with obstacles: House Democrats won’t pass the Senate bill. Senate Democrats don’t want to start from scratch just to appease the House. And the White House still isn’t telling Congress how to fix the problem.

Also at Politico: White House caught in Democrats’ crossfire

Congressional Democrats — stunned out of silence by Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts — say they’re done swallowing their anger with President Barack Obama and ready to go public with their gripes.

If the sentiment isn’t quite heads-must-roll, it’s getting there.

Hill Democrats are demanding that Obama’s brain trust — especially senior adviser David Axelrod and chief of staff Rahm Emanuel — shelve their grand legislative ambitions to focus on the economic issues that will determine the fates of shaky Democratic majorities in both houses.

And they want the White House to step up — quickly — to help shape the party’s message and steer it through the wreckage of health care reform.

Double wow!

And get this: even NOW is waking up!!!!!

As Democrats weigh options for health reform following a major setback in the Massachusetts election, the nation’s leading womens’ rights group blasted the legislation as “beyond outrageous.”

The National Organization for Women (NOW) harbors deep concerns with the Senate health legislation, and exclaims that “women will be better off with no bill whatsoever.”

“The Senate bill contains such fierce anti-abortion language, and there are other problems from the point of view of women,” NOW’s President Terry O’Neill told Raw Story in an interview.

O’Neill said NOW “will not support candidates in 2010 if they vote for it.”

Triple Wow!!!!

Will Scott Brown be the savior of the Democratic Party? It’s too early to tell yet, but it does look like we’ve reached a tipping point. Please post your own “tipping point” links in the comments.

HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!!!!!!!

A Couple of Brave Souls Dare to Praise Hillary Clinton

Ben Smith, a pudgy little man filled with bile

For the past few days, the Villagers and their media buddies have been poring over the trashy new book by John Heileman and Mark Halperin, Game Change. The person who seems to be having the most fun with the book is Ben Smith at Politico, who seemingly has been in the throes of an extended orgasm as gloating again and again in print about the supposed demise of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

Smith’s ravening, slavering hatred of the Clintons reached a climax today when he vomited out this repulsive bile-filled piece: Game over: The Clintons stand alone According to Smith, there is no one left who will stand up and defend either Clinton. They are universally and resoundingly hated and despised by everyone in politics and “journalism.” Here’s an example of Ben Smith’s putrid prose:

“Game Change” peels back a decade of careful renovations off Hillary Clinton’s carefully constructed public face, casting her in the terms that defined her at her lows in the mid-1990s: scheming, profane, sometimes paranoid, often tone-deaf.

The authors report that Clinton and her aides plotted behind allies’ backs to enter the 2004 presidential contest and that Clinton herself favored some of the nastiest tactics, such as suggesting that then-Sen. Barack Obama had been a drug dealer, in the 2008 campaign. And she continued to believe — without evidence, and long after her concession — that he had, in effect, stolen the Iowa caucuses by importing out-of-state voters.

Her husband, the former president, is depicted as canny, but flawed as ever: making key errors, as has been widely reported, in South Carolina, and raising his own aides’ suspicions that he was reprising the extramarital wanderings that exploded during his presidency.

“Everybody talked. Anybody that tells you they didn’t are lying to you,” lamented one former top Clinton aide, who mused that perhaps for the first time in a career of leaks and betrayals, the Clinton’s innermost circle of loyalists been breached.

The result leaves the Clintons exposed and isolated, their darkest suspicions — “us against the world” — validated.

Excuse me for a minute. I think I’m going to be sick.

OK, back. Today a couple of courageous people did come forward to praise Hillary Clinton–and lo and behold, they did it under their own names, rather than hiding behind anonymity, as most of Heilemann and Halperin’s sources did.

First up, Peter Daou, who was communications director of the Clinton campaign.

…this is not about psychoanalyzing Hillary Clinton or probing her personal attributes — others have made a living doing that. It’s not about making her out to be a saint. Nobody is. This is about describing how she ran her campaign and how she treated her opponents when the cameras and microphones were off.

Was I on every call and at every strategy session? No. Can I vouch for every single thing said and done at the campaign. Of course not. But having participated in countless senior strategy meetings, crisis management and rapid response drills and emergencies, “war rooms within war rooms” (a term used by Heilemann/Halperin), debate prep, calls, emails and private conversations with the candidate, and having slept with my BlackBerry under my pillow and been stationed at the center of her communications operation for the duration of the campaign, I can confidently state that Hillary Clinton did not push for ‘vicious’ or dirty tactics against any of her opponents, nor did she encourage or ‘cheer on’ that behavior from her staff. The ethos of the campaign, which she conveyed in word and deed, was that she would win because she was best prepared, worked the hardest and had the most compelling ideas.

She was centered, dignified and focused throughout, although her frustration and pain did show through at some moments. She knew the media environment was stacked against her, against any woman. She knew what she was up against and drove forward into the furious headwinds of sexism and rightwing-fueled Clinton-hatred.

Daou also speaks to the gloating media critics who want to muddy the Clintons while pretending that Obama is pure as the driven snow.

…I have little tolerance for critics who simplify the whole election as some sort of reflection of the supposedly terrible character of Bill and Hillary Clinton, conveniently ignoring the Obama campaign’s brutally effective hardball tactics and overlooking the infinite dimensions — and messiness — of a presidential image/message war.

Next to stand up for Hillary is MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough in a piece called “The True Character of Hillary Clinton.”

…what I saw throughout Hillary’s 2008 campaign was a candidate who kept fighting back even after being badly wounded in Iowa, negligently served by her staff, and treated miserably by a biased press corps….

I thought the 48 hours before the New Hampshire primary were the most humiliating any national figure of Hillary Clinton’s stature had to endure in recent political history. It was a political execution that was broadcast across the world in slow motion. And it was ugly.

But Hillary Clinton had other plans. The New York senator shocked every pundit and pollster from Manchester to Manhattan, outperforming the final NH polls by a dozen points or more.

For the next few months, the Clinton campaign took one body blow after another. The media coverage was deplorable. In fact, it was so biased in some quarters that more than a few living legends of broadcast news privately shared with me the embarrassment they felt toward their own profession.

Still, Clinton kept fighting on.

Scarborough goes on to enumerate the many times Hillary fought back during the 2008 primaries, and finishes with this high praise for Hillary’s character:

Character is rarely revealed in its sharpest contrast after a glorious victory. Instead, you find out what a person is made of after they sustain a soul crushing defeat. In her long, tortured march toward Denver, Hillary Clinton showed more character, more resilience, and more true grit than any presidential candidate I can recall.

And in that losing cause, Secretary Clinton served as a great example of character not only for my young daughter, but for us all. It is that type of strength that we need in our leaders now more than ever.

Thank you Peter and Joe for being unafraid to stand up to the slick, slimy Villagers and their ugly, envious, bile-ridden media courtiers. I salute you both!

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More Buyer’s Remorse–This Time from a Former Obama Campaign Advisor

Hildebrand-300px

Ben Smith has a new story at Politico about recent remarks by Steve Hildebrand, who was deputy campaign manager of Obama’s 2008 campaign for the presidency. Hildebrand told Politico that he is “losing patience” with his former boss.

Obama, he said, “needs to be more bold in his leadership.”

“I’m not going to just sit by the curb and let these folks get away with a lack of performance for the American people,” he said, speaking of Washington’s Democratic leadership as a whole. “I want change just as much as a majority of Americans do, and I’m one of the many Americans who are losing patience.”

Apparently, Hildebrand’s dissatisfaction with Obama began during the campaign itself. Continue reading

Obama and the SOS selection: What is he up to?

It should come as no surprise that I don’t trust Obama.  Not. One. Bit.

I don’t like the corrupt, “slash and burn” way he ran his campagin.  I don’t like the deal he made with the DNC (yes, Howard, we think you’re a liar).  I don’t like the way he rode his way to the nomination and presidency by using racism as a weapon and misogyny to ridicule and diminish his female rivals.  I don’t like his speaking style, his High Broderism or the fact that he is already a failed president in my book for failing to anticipate the financial mess and proatively doing something about it instead of prancing around Europe as the Fresh Prince of Bill Ayers (H/T myiq2xu).  While Hillary was trying her best to actually *do* something about the bailout bill, Obama just couldn’t be bothered with suspending his campaign to take care of that important business.  He just expected that Congress would “get it done”.  Thank you Pre-failed President Elect Obama.

So, it should come as no surprise that I do not trust what is going on with the persistent rumors that Hillary Clinton is being considered for Secretary of State.  Actually, its more of a rumor, considering I just got a “push” email from Archad Hasan of DFA, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

Obama must be pretty anxious about the upcoming Senate session if he is trying this hard to get Hillary out of there.  Either that or he has a woman problem.  Or both.  I’m going with both, since his campaign repeatledly belittled her foreign policy experience while she was First Lady, women’s accomplishments ebing inconsequential at best and a mere sideshow to a man’s at worst.  Let’s imagine what would happen if Hillary was allowed to make this decision without all of the pressure that the media is about to rain down on her to “guilt” her into taking this position:

  1. She has to work for Obama.  He would be her boss. Well, that right there is in the minus category.  I don’t care what stupid Lincoln narrative his campaign is pushing, suggesting Obama is doing the same as Honest Abe by hiring his rivals for his cabinet.  Obama is NOT anything like Lincoln, who from what I have read was an extremely principled man.
  2. If Obama asks her to do something stupid or counterproductive, she has three choices: do it and look as powerless as Condi Rice, not do it and get fired or resign.
  3. If she takes SOS, she is no longer a Senator and her chances of ever being elected to anything again approach the limit of minus infinity.  (The BFF is amazed I remember calculus given that I can’t do simple addition in my head)
  4. The issues that she was planning to champion in the Senate are officially DOA.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

I think we have a winner in item 4.  If she is no longer in the Senate making noise and legislation, he has no competition for the limelight. If she is SOS, the minute she steps out of line, her ass is glass and he tosses her out.  The media is just waiting for her to screw up so they can stick her with the knives they are already sharpening in gleeful anticipation.

Women aren’t that stupid, Barack.  You think you can knock out two birds with one stone but even if I had no power in the Senate, I wouldn’t take SOS for anything if I were Hillary Clinton.  I’m betting she turned you down flat.  Otherwise, why would your personal army of droogs in the DFA start circulating this stupid email?

DFA Member -

The media has been filled with pundits and talking heads guessing who Barack will pick for his cabinet. I keep hearing one thing and then another about every position you can think of and that got me to thinking…

Why not make a game of it?

So, take a few minutes and tell us who you want our next President to pick for Secretary of State, Attorney General, Defense Secretary, or to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

CLICK HERE TO MAKE YOUR CHOICES

You can pick who you think Obama will actually choose too. And, if you get all four of them right, you just might win a free “You Have the Power” T-shirt from DFA.

Who doesn’t want to win something free?

So, stop by the website this weekend and make your choices. If you submit your vote, we’ll send you an update once Obama makes his choices.

-Arshad

Arshad Hasan, Executive Director
Democracy for America

And here are the all-to-predictable results of the SOS question, where Hillary’s name is always at the top of the selection list:

Current Top Choices:

Will pick results:
Hillary Clinton
Bill Richardson
John Kerry
Tom Daschle
Richard Holbrooke
Chuck Hagel
Richard Lugar
Sam Nunn
Hilary Clinton
Anthony Zinni
Should pick results:
Hillary Clinton
Bill Richardson
John Kerry
Richard Holbrooke
Tom Daschle
Chuck Hagel
Richard Lugar
Sam Nunn
Anthony Zinni
Dennis Kucinich

Do people really fall for this crap? Well, given the current election results, yes. But it looks like NOW is finally coming out of its Kool-Aid induced stupor, probably because Amy Siskind of The New Agenda is actually in charge of a good portion of the women’s movement. From the Politico’s Will Men Dominate the Obama Administration? (as if the answer isn’t already obvious), NOW’s Kim Gandy says, “I agree with those who are concerned that it would have been nice to see more women”.

Well, there’s your problem right there, Kim. Women with real power do not settle for “nice”. Nice is what we want when we go shopping for clothes or boyfriends. But let this be a lesson to you. Next time a man running against a woman asks for your support, hold his feet to the fire before you give it to him. You know, “Don’t hand me no lines and keep your hands to yourself”? Or better yet, give it to the woman because she will be more likely to be responsive to the concerns of women. Jeez! I mean, it seems so obvious it’s amazing that Gandy couldn’t see it, what with all the misogyny in the way. Thank God for Amy or I’d completely lose it with the idiots from NOW and NARAL. But I digress.

It’s time we pushed back against this SOS thing. I could be wrong but I don’t think there’s anything in it for Clinton, not that she wouldn’t bring her usual standard of excellence, intelligence and dedication to the job. Besides, she’s given enough to the failed presidency of Barack Obama. Let someone else step up to the plate and be the perpetual scapegoat. Hillary’s got health care and equal pay to worry about.

Let Obama do the work for a change.

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