Archive for February 22nd, 2011

February 22, 2011

American Budget Quote of the Day

by Vince

“When actually asked what they’d be prepared to cut from government largesse, we get the usual answer – foreign aid – but, er, that’s about it, according to the new Harris poll. There’s even a national majority for farm subsidies! On where the real money is, Americans are the most adamant about retaining what they’ve got. On healthcare, 67 percent oppose any cuts; on social security, a whopping 81 percent want no change. Now for the really scary part: compare that to 1980, when 37 percent wanted cuts in government healthcare spending. That figure is now 12 percent. So as the explosion in healthcare costs have occurred, Americans have actually grown more resistant to doing anything about them. In fact, on almost ever measure

There’s a reason for Obama’s reluctance to speak specifically about what needs to be done. But it seems to me that this is why a major emphasis on saving us from fiscal collapse is necessary. If most Americans really believe cutting foreign aid and pork will balance the budget, they’re delusional. Meanwhile, the GOP seems to be focusing entirely on discretionary spending that will damage some of the actually good things that government does, while ignoring the massive borrowing that healthcare entitlements, a neo-imperial defense structure and, to a lesser extent, social security require.”

Andrew Sullivan

February 22, 2011

Did You Know About This Barack Obama?

by Vince

You know, the one who threatened to veto any budget propositions with even small defense cuts, who wants a bigger defense budget than even the GOP, and has now moved the withdraw date for Afghanistan to 2014. I am bedazzled.

February 22, 2011

Political Cartoon of the Day

by Vince

H/T: Tony Auth

February 22, 2011

The GOP’s Leadership

by Vince

William Saletan makes a fantastic point when it comes to GOP leaders and their refusal to dismiss birther allegations:

These three men are confident enough in the personhood of fetuses to support banning abortion. They’re confident enough in the efficacy and justice of the U.S. health care system to block funding of the Affordable Care Act. They’re confident enough in Wall Street, despite the recklessness and bailouts of the last three years, to press for repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law. But ask them whether Obama is a Muslim or was born in the United States, and suddenly they’re too humble to impose their beliefs on others. They can only describe “the facts as I understand them.” They can only speak “for me.” They can only “listen to the American people,” not “tell them what to think.”

Smash.

These men aren’t leaders. They’re followers. To lead a party, much less a country, you have to be able to say no. You have to stand up to liars, lunatics, and dupes on your party’s fringe. John McCain did it, in his clumsy way (there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim or Arab), when he was the GOP’s presidential nominee. Even Bill O’Reilly andGlenn Beck have done it. They’ve called the birther conspiracy theories “bogus,” “absurd,” and “ridiculous.”

H/T: TDD

February 22, 2011

No Desire for an Islamic Revolution

by Vince

Matt Yglesias translates a French article for us:

This new generation isn’t interested in ideology, their slogans are all pragmatic and congrete; they don’t speak of Islam the way their predecessors did in Algeria in the late 1980s. Above all they reject corrupt dictators and demand democracy. That’s not to say that the demonstrators are secular, but simply that they don’t see Islam as a political ideology to be used to create a better order, they’re well inside a secular political space.

This is a continuation of Roy’s work over the past several years on “the failure of political Islam.” The basic idea here is that in part thanks to the example of Iran, you just don’t have a mass constituency that’s prepared to believe that Islam or Islamic rule offers answers to the concrete problems of poverty, corruption, and slow economic growth. People may be religiously observant or culturally conservative in ways that western liberals (or even western cultural conservatives) would find alarming, but the Egyptian people are asking “where are the jobs?” and don’t think the answer is going to be found in the Koran.

February 22, 2011

The Birther Population

by Vince

A little stat for ya:

Greg Sargent notices something interesting in the PPP poll showing how unhinged GOP primary voters are on the question of Obama’s very legitimacy as president: among non-Birthers, Sarah Palin has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 41 – 52. Among Birthers, it’s a whoppingly favorable 83 – 12, far higher than anyone else. Here’s Greg’s interpretation:

It seems fair to speculate that the success of Palin’s approach — her grievance-mongering, her strident attacks on Obama, her virtuosity in crafting the most lurid formulations to paint Obama as an alternately weak and tyrannical figure — is rooted in her unique ability to speak directly to the far right wing base’s seething underbelly of anti-Obama hatred.