From Zachary Roth's November 4 TPMMuckraker post:
Newsweek magazine is teaming up with an oil-industry lobbying group to host an invitation-only event on climate-change and energy issues for lawmakers, just as the Senate gets set to take up legislation on the subject.
The panel discussion, entitled "Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?", will feature Jack Gerard, CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, and, as moderator, Newsweek columnist Howard Fineman, according to an email invitation sent by a Newsweek business staffer and obtained by TPMmuckraker.
Roth also posted the complete email from Newsweek's External Relations Manager Jennifer Slattery:
From: Jennifer Slattery To: Sent: Mon Nov 02 18:36:27 2009 Subject: V.I.P. Invitation / Newsweek Executive Forum - Climate and Energy Policy: Moving?
The editors of Newsweek cordially invite you to attend Newsweek's Executive Forum entitled, Climate and Energy Policy: Moving? This Capitol Hill policy forum is scheduled on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at XXX in the XXX in the United States Capitol.
There will be an informal reception immediately following the discussion.
The panel discussion will be moderated Howard Fineman, Newsweek National-Affairs Columnist and Senior Washington Correspondent with special guest panelist Jack Gerard, President & Chief Executive Officer of American Petroleum Institute (API). Newsweek is also honored to have forum invitations currently pending confirmation with notable members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
These additional program announcements will be made in the coming days and you will be apprised of these updates.
Newsweek is pleased to be co-hosting this panel discussion with API. To R.S.V.P. please click the below link and register for the event.
Please don't hesitate to let us know if you need additional information or have further questions.
We look forward to hosting you on Tuesday, December 1 and value your continued interest in energy issues of importance.
Manager, Newsweek External Relations
It seems whenever Democrats win an election, the media rushes to insist that they did it by running to the middle and not being "traditional Democrats." Just this week, Washington Post reporter Perry Bacon reminded us, "The candidates Democrats recruited in 2006 and 2008 are pro-life and pro-gun." (In fact, very few were pro-life.)
Some creative conservative media figures even insisted that Barack Obama won election in 2008 by running as a "Reaganite" and "fiscal conservative."
So I turned on my television a few hours ago, fully to hear cable news talkers saying that yes, Republicans won last night, but they did so by running to the center and downplaying traditional Republican positions. After all, just yesterday, Washington Post reporter Ben Pershing said during an online Q&A:
If there is a national lesson from today, it's that Republicans all over the country will be looking to replicate McDonnell's model -- play up jobs and economic issues, and play down social issues (with the general audience, at least. You can still let conservative activists know you're on their side.)
Indeed, during the campaign, McDonnell distanced himself from his own previous anti-gay writings. And in the NY-23 congressional election, Republicans rallied 'round the most conservative candidate they could find (even abandoning their own nominee in the process) and promptly lost the seat for the first time in about 150 years.
But, oddly, I haven't seen anyone -- not even on the supposedly-liberal MSNBC -- saying that last night proves that Republicans need to moderate themselves if they're going to win. Weird.
Liz Sidoti's AP article today is just ridiculous. "GOP sweep: Big governor victories in Virginia, NJ" reads the headline. Sweep? Just for a second, let's exclude the congressional race in New York - which the article itself hardly mentions - and focus on just the governor races in Virginia and New Jersey. It seems a little absurd to call two races a sweep. Why don't we just call one race a sweep as well?
Independents who swept Barack Obama to a historic 2008 victory broke big for Republicans on Tuesday as the GOPwrested political control from Democrats in Virginia and New Jersey, a troubling sign for the president and his party heading into an importantmidterm election year.
(Sidoti ignores that, as Bob Somerby notes, in every "off-off" election since 1977, Virginians have elected a governor from the "out" party-from the party which isn't controlling the White House.)
But what about that 23rd Congressional race in New York? Considering it was probably just as newsworthy - if not more - than the two gubernatorial races, how could Sidoti not mention it in the lede? Instead, she buries it in the fourth graf - below a paragraph on Maine voters rejecting same-sex marriage. After all, Bill Owens is the first Democrat to hold the seat in more than a century. And as TPMDC's Brian Beutler wrote this morning, Owens' and Democrat John Garamendi's election to California's 10th seat "will have immediate ramifications for health care reform," since the newly elected representatives, unlike the governors, actually get to cast a vote on the health reform bill.
(As for the Maine paragraph, it would have been a good spot for Sidoti to mention that Maine voters overwhelmingly approved a measure allowing for dispensaries to supply medical marijuana and rejected a measure that would have limited state and local government spending by holding it to the rate of inflation plus population growth. Those definitely were not GOP victories.)
But let's look closely at Sidoti's fourth graf in which she mentions Owens' victory:
And Democrat Bill Owens captured a GOP-held vacant 23rd Congressional District seat in New York in a race that highlighted fissures in the Republican Party and illustrated hurdles the GOP could face in capitalizing on any voter discontent with Obama and Democrats next fall.
So Sidoti leads by calling two GOP gubernatorial victories (one of which was predicted and the other of which was close) a "troubling sign" for President Obama and the Democrats but downplays a congressional election that "highlighted fissures in the Republican Party"?
Is Sidoti aware how much of the conservative media threw their hat behind Doug Hoffman - whose name she doesn't even mention? And how about noting that the GOP spent nearly a million dollars funding its establishment candidate only for her to drop out two days before the election.
Talk about burying the lede...
Oh and it's not until the 18th graf that Sidoti writes: "Tuesday's impact on Obama's popularity and on the 2010 elections could easily be overstated. Voters are often focused on local issues and local personalities."
Congratulations Erick Erickson! Not only did your tireless blogosphere effort to elect a tea bag conservative turn N.Y.-23 blue for the first time in nearly 150 years, but you also managed to make a laughing stock out of your site, RedState, (again...) by hyping the comical tale about a conservative supporter who supposedly had his tires "slashed" in Plattsburgh, N.Y.
Go here to read the breathless report (complete with photos!) and know that the local police dismissed the claim as nonsense. i.e. The guy ran over a bottle, which damaged his truck tire. A Plattsburgh police captain is on the record saying nobody go their tires slashed. But keep in mind, in the right-wing blogosphere, if a conservative supporter gets a flat tire on Election Day, it's a conspiracy of enormous proportions. (Can Andrew Breitbart please determine if the WH "orchestrated" the automotive violence?)
Note to the RNC: it's right-wing media players like Erick Erickson who claim they're taking the reigns of the conservative movement in America.
Good luck with that.
UPDATED: It only gets better. After conservative Doug Hoffman conceded to Democrat Bill Owens (and yes, N.Y. 23 has not sent a Dem to Congress in nearly 150 years), Erickson declared the night a huge victory for...conservatives! I guess that means Dems were the big winners in N.J. and VA., right Erick?
UPDATED: And just FYI, this is what RedState helped accomplish last night [emphasis added]:
New York now has only two Republican representatives in its 29-seat Congressional delegation.
UPDATED: Michelle Malkin agrees. By losing to a Democrat in a district that hadn't sent a Democrat to Congress since the Civil War, Doug Hoffman was the big winner last night. His loss represented "a victory for conservatives."
Question: How many "victories" like the one last night can the RNC take?
Washington Post reporter Dan Balz on last night's elections:
The most significant change came among independent voters, who solidly backed Democrats in 2006 and 2008 but moved decisively to the Republicans on Tuesday, according to exit polls. In Virginia, independents strongly supported Republican Robert F. McDonnell in his victory over Democrat R. Creigh Deeds, while in New Jersey, they supported Republican Chris Christie in his win over Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine.
For months, polls have shown that independents were increasingly disaffected with some of Obama's domestic policies. They have expressed reservations about the president's health-care efforts and have shown concerns about the growth in government spending and the federal deficit under his leadership.
Tuesday's elections provided the first tangible evidence that Republicans can win their support with the right kind of candidates and the right messages. That is an ominous development for Democrats if it continues unabated into next year.
Ten paragraphs later:
[David] Axelrod warned against extrapolating into the future the shift among independents. He said he believed that many people who called themselves Republicans in the past now call themselves independents but are still voting for Republican candidates. "I don't think they portend long-term trends," he said.
Gee, wouldn't it have been nice if Balz gave readers some indication of whether Axelrod is right that "many people who called themselves Republicans in the past now call themselves independents"?
I mean, that would certainly have some impact on the significance of Balz assertions about independents becoming "increasingly disaffected with some of Obama's domestic policies," wouldn't it? It could even mean that "independents" aren't "increasingly disaffected," but rather that people who are disaffected are increasingly calling themselves independents rather than Republicans. Those two things are very, very different.
And, indeed, various polls this year have shown the percentage of the public that self-identifies as Republican is at or near an all-time low, which lends some support to Axelrod's claim.
This is exactly the kind of question Dan Balz is supposed to resolve, isn't it? His article is billed as "analysis," after all. Wouldn't it be great if he provided some?
The Washington Post's Ramesh Ponnuru offers up standard-issue right-wing opposition to "federal funding for abortion":
Americans may be divided about whether and to what extent abortion should be allowed, but for more than three decades there has been a fairly broad consensus that federal money shouldn't pay for it. Pro-lifers regard the Hyde amendment, which bans federal Medicaid funding for most abortions, as the single policy that has done the most to save unborn lives. Some pro-choicers regard it as consistent with their view that the government should stay out of abortion decisions.
The health-care legislation being considered by Congress up-ends this settlement. All of the major bills would offer new subsidies to help people purchase insurance that covers abortion, and those with a public option would authorize a new government-run insurer to cover abortions.
Most Republicans oppose this idea, and so do pro-life Democratic congressmen. They should keep fighting (even though the Democrats will surely be under a lot of pressure to give up). Abortion coverage would almost certainly raise the abortion rate, and would make taxpayers involuntarily complicit in the taking of innocent human life.
The objection to the (even indirect) use of federal funds to pay for abortion on the grounds that "the government should stay out of abortion decisions" is basically dishonest. Does Ponnuru consider Medicaid payments for a trip to the emergency room to fix a broken leg "government involvement in medical decisions"? I'm sure he doesn't. The government refusing to pay for a legal medical procedure is the opposite of the government staying out of the decision.
It's a shame Ponnuru doesn't attempt to reconcile the claim that the government refusing to pay for a legal medical procedure he doesn't like with the standard conservative complaint about "government bureaucrats getting between you and your doctor."
It's also a shame that Ponnuru doesn't explain why it's wrong to make taxpayers "involuntarily" pay for abortion, but it's fine to make them involuntarily pay for the death penalty, or wars of choice.
But mostly it's a shame that the Post doesn't ask him to. If it did, it might prompt an actual thoughtful discussion, rather than a rote regurgitation of broad talking points. It might actually help people understand Ponnuru's position. What he posted sure doesn't -- it doesn't include anything we didn't already know about conservative opposition to federal funding for abortion, and didn't address any of the obvious questions about that opposition. It added absolutely nothing to the discourse.
Sometimes, if a word is used over and over again in the wrong way, it starts to lose its meaning. Take the word "guys," for example. It's now completely normal to say, "hey guys," to a group of people, even if there isn't a man in sight. It's a verbal tic that feels comfortable and gets an intention across, even if it's technically wrong.
Yesterday, the Washington Times added to its witch hunt of President Obama's appointees by accusing David Hamilton, a Seventh Circuit nominee, of being "a radical's radical," based on a lot of misleading information. This is nothing new--the Times has been on the front line of attacking Obama's appointees, and it seems that they know only one word to describe them: "radical." Since January, Times editorials have used the word "radical" to describe at least 11 advisers or nominees, and in some cases, on multiple occasions. For example, according to the editorials:
Then, there was the mother lode: On October 13, the Times published an "administration of radicals" editorial, which it billed as a "dishonor roll" of administration officials. The top honors went to familiar targets Jennings, Jones, Sotomayor, and Butler, but it also named Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy John Holdren, White House adviser Tom Daschle, State Department legal adviser Harold Koh, White House adviser Ezekiel Emanuel, and National Intelligence Council nominee Charles W. Freeman Jr.
If the Times' editorial writers are going to smear basically every appointee the Obama administration can come up with, they should probably find a new word to throw around. This one is becoming meaningless.
How'd you spend your election day Tuesday? If you're a Fox News host or political analyst, you might have spent it shilling and celebrating for conservative and Republican candidates:
That glee transferred to Fox & Friends, where Fox News revelled in calling GOP victories the "winds of change," a "Republican revival" and a "blueprint for success."
Note the very GOP-friendly lede in this morning's paper, courtesy of Nagourney [emphasis added]:
The Republican victories in the races for New Jersey and Virginia governors put the party in a stronger position to turn back the political wave President Obama unleashed last year, setting the stage for Republicans to raise money, recruit candidates and ride the excitement of an energized base as the party heads into next year's midterm elections.
And then later in the piece:
For Republicans, the results on Tuesday were welcome news after one of the party's toughest years.
That's a bit odd, because in Tuesday's paper, the Times' Adam Nagourney was quite clear about what the implications of the Congressional race N.Y.-23 race would be:
Worst outcome for Republicans: Losing the New York congressional race, which has showcased deep divisions between moderates and conservatives over how the party should rebuild to return to power.
According to Nagourney on Tuesday, losing the N.Y. race would be the "worst" outcome possible for the GOP. Well, guess what? Republicans did lose the N.Y. race. But in today's Times, that loss is dramatically downgraded on the significance scale. Suddenly that loss in no way curtails the GOP's ability to "raise money" and "ride the excitement."
UPDATED: According to the Times headline today, GOP hopes have been "Rekindled." Hmm, on Tuesday, a loss in upstate N.Y. represented the GOP's "worst" possible outcome. But on Wednesday, that same loss helped "rekindle" GOP hopes.
Would it be asking too much for Nagourney to explain this glaring contradiction?
UPDATED: In a separate election Times piece today by David Halbfinger and Ian Urbina, the newspaper stresses:
Republicans swept contests for governor in New Jersey and Virginia on Tuesday as voters went to the polls filled with economic uncertainty, dealing President Obama a setback and building momentum for a Republican comeback attempt in next year's midterm Congressional elections.
What happened to the "worst" case scenario of losing N.Y.-23?
UPDATED: For the record, Nagourney today did acknowledge the N.Y. loss up high in his piece:
But a Democratic victory in an upstate New York Congressional district — after an ideologically pitched battle between moderates and conservatives over how best to lead Republicans back to power — signaled that the Republican Party faces continued upheaval. The Democratic victory came over a conservative candidate who, with the enthusiastic backing of national conservative leaders and well-financed grass-roots organizations, had forced out a Republican candidate who supported abortion rights and gay rights.