For Yahoo News, Matt Bai writes: So now it’s out there. After five years of studied reticence (unless they were talking privately to one another or their supporters), Democratic leaders in Washington finally went public last week with what they really think is motivating Republican opposition to Barack Obama. As Steve Israel, one of the top Democrats in Congress, told CNN’s Candy Crowley, the Republican base, “to a significant extent,” is “animated by racism.”
Just to make himself clear, Israel did allow that not all Republicans were the ideological descendants of Bull Connor. To which I’m sure his colleagues across the aisle responded, “Oh, OK. Cool then.”
But it’s not the reaction of Republicans that Democrats should probably have some concern about. It’s the way American voters, and a lot of younger voters in particular, may view a return to the polarizing racial debate that existed before Obama was ever elected.
Note: one of Matt Bai‘s silly sentences:
“…Still, a lot of Americans who voted for Obama probably find the racism argument at least somewhat persuasive.”
A “lot”? Really? Any chance you can be more specific? Then, the deadly trio: “probably”, “at least”, and “somewhat”. Smothered in qualifiers, so weak and blurry, it undermines the author’s point. Imagine a voter thinking, “Wellllll…The Democratic Party’s opportunistic race-baiting and divisive name-calling is probably… at least….sommmeeewhat persuasive….I guess…”
Coming in an election year, and in the wake of sporadic campaigns to solidify support among women and gay voters, the sudden Democratic focus on race felt like an orchestrated talking point. Israel’s comments came just a few days after Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, suggested that racism was keeping Republicans from voting on an immigration bill. And Pelosi was reacting to a speech by the attorney general, Eric Holder, who complained to a civil rights gathering in Washington of “ugly and divisive” attacks against the administration.
“What attorney general has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?” Holder, who is African-American, pointedly asked. “What president has ever had to deal with that kind of treatment?”
As far as I can tell, though, this eruption on race actually wasn’t born in the kind of strategy session where consultants lay out which issues will move which voters. What seems to have happened was something rarer: Washington Democrats, unable to suppress their frustration for a minute longer, simply blurted out what they have always believed to be true but had been reluctant to say. One catharsis emboldened the next. Read the rest of this entry »
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is extending indefinitely the amount of time federal agencies have to review the Keystone XL pipeline, the State Department said Friday, likely punting the decision over the controversial oil pipeline past the midterm elections.
“This decision is irresponsible, unnecessary and unacceptable.”
– Sen. Mary Landrieu (D)
The State Department didn’t say how much longer agencies will have to weigh in but cited a recent decision by a Nebraska judge overturning a state law that allowed the pipeline’s path through the state, prompting uncertainty and an ongoing legal battle. Nebraska’s Supreme Court isn’t expected to rule for another several months, and there could be more legal maneuvering after that. The delay potentially frees President Barack Obama to avoid making a final call on the pipeline until after the November election.
In an ironic show of bipartisanship, prominent Democrats from energy-dependent states joined Republicans in blasting the Obama administration for delaying the decision once again.
“The agency consultation process is not starting over. The process is ongoing, and the department and relevant agencies are actively continuing their work in assessing the permit application,” the State Department said in a statement.
Republicans were quick to blast the latest delay in a review process that has dragged on for more than five years. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., accused Obama of kowtowing to “radical activists” from the environmental community, while House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, called the decision “shameful” and said there were no credible reasons for further delay. Read the rest of this entry »
“…I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him.”
Flashback: The Prayer Breakfast Speech
For The Daily Caller, Alex Pappas writes: Neurosurgeon Ben Carson says the White House wanted him to apologize for “offending” President Obama after he famously delivered a conservative message at the National Prayer Breakfast last year.
Carson, the former director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital, recalls the events surrounding his 2013 speech in his new book, One Nation: What We Can All Do To Save America’s Future. The Daily Caller obtained an advance copy of the book, which is set for release May 20.
“He did not appear to be hostile or angry,” Carson writes of Obama, “but within a matter of minutes after the conclusion of the program, I received a call from some of the prayer breakfast organizers saying that the White House was upset and requesting that I call the president and apologize for offending him. I said that I did not think that he was offended and that I didn’t think that such a call was warranted.”
[Check out Dr. Ben Carson's upcoming book One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future at Amazon]
A Glimpse into the Political Future: Jonathan Chait’s Advance Apologia for the Democrats’ Defeat in NovemberPosted: April 15, 2014
Fred Siegel writes: Jonathan Chait has written a thoughtful, if debatable, 6,000-word article on race in the Obama years that has stirred a good deal of discussion. It can be read as an advance apologia for the Democrats’ defeat in the 2014 elections. Chait’s thesis, as he sums it up in an online surrebuttal, is that “American politics in the age of Obama has become balkanized not along racial lines, but by how people think about race.” In other words, Chait argues, “the Obama era has produced a cleavage along ideological rather than racial lines,” so that neither black conservatives who support the Tea Party nor the far more numerous white liberals who nod in agreement with Al Sharpton’s preachings on MSNBC are as anomalous as partisans assert. “Liberals,” Chait writes, “dwell in a world of paranoia of a white racism that has seeped out of American history in the Obama years and lurks everywhere, mostly undetectable.” Similarly, he goes on, “Conservatives dwell in a paranoia of their own, in which racism is used as a cudgel to delegitimize their core beliefs. And the horrible thing is that both of these forms of paranoia are right.”
“Parts of the public, not necessarily on the right, have caught on to Obama’s double game, in which his administration has been rhetorically egalitarian and operationally elitist.”
One can commend Chait for his evenhandedness—which has stirred a hornet’s nest of opposition from liberals—without accepting the equivalence he draws between these two views. But the real problem with his essay comes when he steps out of the realm of ideology and into the world of practical outcomes. Six years into the Obama presidency, Americans have ample grounds, independent of race, to dislike him.
[Check out Fred Siegel's book: The Revolt Against the Masses: How Liberalism Has Undermined the Middle Class at Amazon]
ATTKISSON: I didn’t run into that same kind of sentiment [at CBS] as I did in the Obama administration when I covered the Bush administration very aggressively, on its secrecy and lack of Freedom of Information responses, and its poor management of the Food and Drug Administration and the national laboratories, the Halliburton-Iraq questions of fraud. I mean, there was one thing after another. The bait-and-switch of TARP, the bank bailout program. All of those stories under Bush were met with a good reception. There were different managers as well, but no one accused me of being a mouthpiece for the liberals at that time.
Attkisson told Kurtz that the White House would pressure her to change or drop her reporting, and when that didn’t work, they worked her bosses instead. Kurtz asked how this differed from the “working the refs” actions that go on all the time in Washington, and Attkisson says that it went too far.
“It’s just a lot of obfuscation, accusations, saying things are ‘phony scandals,’ ‘bogus,’ ‘not real,’ giving misinformation and false information. I mean, that’s provably true in some cases.”
Mediaite‘s transcript captures Attkisson’s complaint about broadcast journalism in the age of Obama:
ATTKISSON:Now there’ve always been tensions, there have always been calls from the White House under any administration I assume, when they don’t like a particular story. But it is particularly aggressive under the Obama administration and I think it’s a campaign that’s very well organized, that’s designed to have sort of a chilling effect and to some degree has been somewhat successful in getting broadcast producers who don’t really want to deal with the headache of it — why put on these controversial stories that we’re going to have to fight people on, when we can fill the broadcast with other perfectly decent stories that don’t ruffle the same feathers?
Frank Sinatra Jr. Ronan Farrow, the young celebrity who premiered on MSNBC earlier this year with much fanfare, confused the NAACP with the NCAA today in a segment following President Obama’s speech on the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act…
“. . . And also Ben Jealous, former head of the NCAA . . . tell me, gentlemen . . . NAACP, I apologize.”
“Yes, of course it’s not true. Yes…I know. It’s fiction. It’s complete bullshit, I know. It’s a wedge issue. It’s all we got. Give it time. If we keep repeating the lie, it will….yes, exactly…It’s perfect…”
The wage gap myth, most recently used by President Obama during the State of the Union Address, states that women make only 77 cents to every dollar that men earn. AEI resident scholar Christina Hoff Sommers debunks the bogus statistic…
The Washington Examiner’s Ashe Schow reports: A White House adviser had to walk back the oft-repeated myth that women make 77 cents on the dollar that men make after being questioned about the figure during a conference call Monday.
While detailing executive actions President Obama plans to take Tuesday regarding equal pay for women, Betsey Stevenson, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said very defiantly that despite women contributing 44 percent of their household incomes, they continue to make less than men. Obama has declared Tuesday “Equal Pay Day” to highlight his administration’s focus on that issue.
Bonus: From The Weekly Standard:
CBS: WH ‘Roughed Up By Its Own Pay Equity Rhetoric’
“The White House is getting, as you indicated Norah, roughed up by its own pay equity rhetoric,” reported Major Garrett. “In an analysis of White House salaries, which nobody here disputes, shows that the median income of female staffers is 88 percent of that of male staffers.”
“Now the study also showed that men and women with the same White House jobs earn exactly the same salary. Now the White House said its gender pay gap is tied to job experience, education, and hours worked among other factors. This matters because those explanations, according to the Labor Department, explain a good deal of the gender pay gap nationally…(read more)
“They’re stuck at 77 cents on the dollar, and that gender wage gap is seen very persistently across the income distribution, within occupations, across occupations, and we see it when men and women are working side by side doing identical work.”
Too bad the joke is on his youthful audience.
If you’ve seen some of Obama’s speeches in the last week, perhaps you’ve noticed how he’s becoming quite the jokester. Obama’s spiteful sarcasm—disguised as humor, of course—is becoming increasingly hollow, divisive, unseemly. Nobody likes a bully, or a sore winner. I’m surprised he’s not called out more for his overuse of the most un-presidential rhetorical habit: the straw man. It’s one thing for a contender on the campaign trail, trying to climb his way up to an elected job, another for a man already holding the highest office in the land. The way Obama creates an imaginary opponent, then defeats that fictional opponent with zingers, snark, and bluster, is a peculiar thing to watch.
I can imagine a group of actual conservatives watching one of these speeches, finding absolutely nothing they can identify with, then, even agreeing with him about this awful enemy the president is describing. “Wow, who is that guy? He sounds like a real bastard!” “Yeah, let’s go find him and beat the snot out of him!” It’s easy to win an argument when you’re playing both roles in the debate. I’ve been hoping someone smart and entertaining would notice and report on this. Fortunately, Jonah Goldberg is back from vacation, and on the job:
Jonah Goldberg writes:
President Obama was doing his favorite thing this week: talking to crowds of adoring young people who already agree with him while acting like he persuaded them about something.
“…the president is utterly incapable of arguing with anything other than a fictional opponent.”
They also seemed to give Obama the impression that he’s a really funny guy. On Wednesday, he told a crowd of 1,400 at the University of Michigan that he visited a local deli, Zingerman’s. He proceeded to tell a long story about ordering the small Reuben sandwich, which he said was “killer.” That description got a good laugh. Then he explained how he thought the sandwich was too big, so he shared it with his adviser, Valerie Jarrett.
“After I finished [my] half, I wanted [her] half back,” Obama said. “But it was too late, all she had was the pickle – so I took the pickle.”
“Took the pickle” was a huge laugh line.
Pickle is a funny word, but still; when an audience thinks this is a knee-slapper, you know it’s not a rough crowd.
But Obama had a serious point to make as well. Zingerman’s “is a business that treats its workers well and rewards honest work with honest wages. And that’s what I’m here to talk about today.” He then segued into a pitch for raising the minimum wage.
National Review’s Andrew Johnson noted that Zingerman’s is pretty expensive. That small Reuben cost $13.99 – pickle included! (Thank you! I’m here all week. Please tip your servers.) The large goes for nearly $17. The irony might have been lost on the president that Zingerman’s “honest wages” also lead to high prices.
In late March, President Obama took a week-long trip through Europe which included a stop of less than 24 hours in Brussels, Belgium for meetings with the European Union and NATO. The president stayed at The Hotel, a twenty-seven story hotel in the center of the city. The estimated cost for the president’s stay, including about two weeks for an advance team, was $1,522,646.36.
Chris Reed writes: If you’re a conservative or libertarian who’s not just mad but astounded by how much the media protect Barack Obama, Wednesday’s front page of The Los Angeles Times was likely to generate either a stroke or a snort of disbelief/amusement. But if you are someone who may not be ideological yet is open to the idea that media bias is real and powerful, it should have been a jolt, too.
The lead story on the top right of the page was a news account of President Obama’s Tuesday “victory lap” press conference in which he said that the fact that 7.1 million Americans had allegedly enrolled under the Affordable Care Act was proof that he was right and everyone who criticized the ACA was wrong. The headline pushed readers to accept this view; the subhead made the case that only selfish people opposed the law.
In the story itself, the first half by David Lauter and Christi Parsons of the Times’ Washington bureau gave no larger context at all — it was all “victory lap.” Among the 40 relevant things it didn’t mention, most significant was the fact that it chose not to say that so many past claims about Obamacare proved wildly in error. Nor did it emphasize that it appears that there were more people signing up for the ACA through government exchanges because they lost their coverage due to ACA rules then there were of people who previously had no health insurance.
Some highlights from today’s prank stories..
Exclusive: Controversial Female Teachers’ Group Dedicated to “Woman-Boy Love” Pledges Legal Support to Meredith Powell
‘Woody Whistle’ Given to Girl Scouts of America members in Manhattan to Help Protect Girls From Woody Allen
And here’s a golden oldie, based on a real photo, from late 2013…
Russian President Vladimir Putin demonstrates to reporters how he grabbed Obama’s balls and extracted unprecedented foreign policy concessions