As I've been noting for weeks now, much of the Beltway press corps refuses to put today's Republican obstructionism in any kind of historical context. Pundits and reporters watch the GOP universally reject virtually every White House initiative and the press pretends it's normal. That's how the game has always been played, goes the narrative.
Not true. The Beltway game has never been played the way it's unfolded under Obama.
Proof? Behold, The National Journal from July 14, 2001. (No link found.) This is how president Bush, who needed a partisan Supreme Court to seat him in office, was greeted by Democrats who ran Congress at the time:
President Bush was worried. The House committee handling his
education bill was scheduled to vote on it in a few days, and
conservative support for the measure was slipping. But Bush knew
just whom to call.
Yes, the California liberal and ranking Democrat on the
House Education and the Workforce Committee.
"I can deliver," Miller told him.
Bush has been able to count on Miller ever since their
first meeting in December, when Bush, as President-elect, invited
a group of Democrats and Republicans down to Austin to talk
education. "There was a chemistry here that worked," Miller says.
Bush and Miller became fast friends after discussing the
importance of measuring student results and demanding that
schools show academic improvement in exchange for federal
Throughout the meeting, Bush and Miller traded
verbal towel snaps. Miller could easily be mistaken for an
offensive lineman, and Bush quickly dubbed him "Big George." In
the ensuing months, they talked frequently. "I think we had a
comfort level with one another where I could level with him, and
he could level with me," Miller says.
Miller delivered the Democratic votes that Bush needed.
That's how the game has been played for generations inside the Beltway. What we're witinessing today has no precedent in modern American politics. It's just that the press doesn't like to say that out loud.
Like lots of news outlets, the AP is using the retirement announcement from Sen. Evan Bayh to do lots of hand-wringing about he absence of Congressional moderates and to bemoan the lack of bipartisanship cooperation inside the Beltway.
But oh my gosh, look at the all the things the AP article forgets to mention in it's sad tale about lack of across-the-isle cooperation, as the article leaves the unmistakable impression that both sides are equally to blame for the stalemate. The AP forgets to mention that in last year's key White House legislative initiatives, the Republican Party has essentially voted en mass against the Obama administration.
Unlike when the new Republican president, Reagan, Bush and Bush arrived in the White House and were able to find scores of Democrats willing to hlep them pass bills, Obama has been met with a virtual stonewall; an obstructionist stonewall that has no precedent in modern American politics.
But oops, the AP forgets to mention any of that context and history in its sad tale about Dems and GOP not working together.
And oh yeah, the AP forgets to mention the run-away (and historic) number of cloture votes that Republicans have forced upon the Congress last year; more cloture votes to break filibusters than Congress faced during the entire 1950's and 1960's combined.
The Beltway press corps loves to whine the lack of bipartisan cooperation. It also loves to play dumb about why that is.
UPDATED: NPR does the exact same thing with its long look at the rise of partisanship. Conclusion: Both sides are to blame for today's stalemate.
What's never mentioned? The historic number of GOP fillibusters.
UPDATED: And three makes a trend. WashPost's David Broder checks in today with his hand-wring, both-sides-are-to-blame column and (surprise!) never mentions the historic number of GOP filibusters.
UPDATED: Credit to McClatchy Newspapers' David Lightman for simply spelling out what's going on:
Senate Republicans are using the filibuster to limit and often derail Democrats' initiatives, paralyzing the Senate and making it nearly impossible to accomplish even the most routine matters.
Honestly AP, NPR, and WashPost, is that really so difficult?
Sean Hannity, Andrew Breitbart, and the editorial board of the Washington Times have picked up a new ally in their war against Obama administration official Kevin Jennings: the Westboro Baptist Church. The WBC will be protesting Jennings today outside a high school in Long Beach, CA. The right-wing media didn't seem to care that they were cribbing their Jennings smears from the anti-gay "hate group" MassResistance; perhaps this new development with cause them to have a bit of a gut-check.
The WBC are no ordinary anti-gay group - they are complete lunatics. The group is best known for protesting funerals of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that their deaths are inflicted by God to punish the United States for accepting the "sin" of homosexuality, and carrying signs reading "God Hates Fags." One of their websites - godhatesamerica.com - attributes swine flu, the September 11 terrorist attacks, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Columbia Shuttle crash, the Sago Mine collapse, the Minnesota bridge collapse, the Virginia Tech shooting, and the stock market crash on "God's Wrath." In short, they claim, "It's the fags, stupid." WBC has been classified a "general hate" group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Wilson Classical High School 4400 E. 10th St. To show the depth of the intelligence of residents/prisoners/WHOOPS, I meant students at this High School, check out this email from one of the brutes who attend: "From: [NAME AND EMAIL DELETED] Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 12:51 AM To: Servants of God @ WBC Subject: Wilson High School I know its know use but on behalf of wilson high school and all of long beach we would like to ask you politely to leave our city what you people present and support is evil, offensive, and unwanted in our city and in our world you guys can believe what you want but please don't bring it here to a place that really is dangerous for you. I have faith in people and in our future...may god forgive and im sure he will what you guys are doing im sure you the good intentions spreading the word is great but when you spread evil and anger nothing comes of it but more negativity" DEEP man, DEEP! WHATEV. . . WBC will be here to tell you a few things about Kevin Jennings. When you look at the good for nothing youth of DOOMED america, what do you think? No brains, no truth, no life, no love for their neighbors! Therefore, WBC is determined that each place we go, all the children who you adults have lied to to, get this message: TWO WORDS define Antichrist Obama's "Education Plan", to wit: KEVIN JENNINGS, United States Education Czar. This fag who started GSAs and GLSEN Organizations all across DOOMED america. Now 63 years old, with ZERO CHILDREN of his own, this fag is DETERMINED to sodomize all of you children he and Obama can get their filthy, bloody hands on. Flee these lying false prophets, kids. God hates fags (Romans 1) and their hateful enablers (June 15). Jennings/Obama say "screw you buddy" to God. That is why God has sent them to punish your parents for lying to you all your lives long. Praise God and Fear Him! AMEN!
When you look around and find yourself on the same side as an organization that casually discusses how "Barack Obama is the Antichrist, and is leading doomed america to her final destruction and the destruction of the world," and how "The Jews have a long rich history of being fags and fag enablers," it's time to pick a new side.
Rob Port of Say Anything Blog apparently went on a tour of the White House and discovered the following damning "evidence" that the Obama's are secretly Socialists: five books in the White House Library about socialism, which Port suggests were "picked out by the First Lady, Michelle Obama." Take a "lookie, lookie" at what Port "found":
Leave it to Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit to think this was actually a damning story important enough to blog about:
Wednesday, February 17, 2010, 9:33 PMJim Hoft
It figures. Michelle Obama stocked the White House Library with books on socialism.
Rob Port visited the White House today and took this picture in the library. (The American Socialist Movement and The Socialist Party of America)
At least 80 advertisers have reportedly dropped their ads from Glenn Beck's Fox News program since he called President Obama a "racist" who has a "deep-seated hatred for white people." Here are his February 17 sponsors, in the order they appeared:
It's been more than a month since Jim Hoft last took to Andrew Breitbart's Big Government website to smear Obama administration official Kevin Jennings with his patented concoction of falsehoods and distortions, but he makes his triumphant return today. As usual, he hasn't come up with anything original; instead, he's just regurgitating the falsehoods WorldNetDaily forwarded and we picked apart last week. I guess for him that's a step up - his usual source for Jennings lies is the anti-gay "hate group" MassResistance.
It begins with Hoft's trademark anti-gay hysteria:
The democrats in Congress are moving closer to passing the most radical anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-family bill through Congress that we have seen in decades.
What, pray tell, is this horror?
Democrats are working to push HR 4530 through Congress. This bill will force educators to prohibit harassment, violence and discrimination faced by students based on their sexual orientation. That doesn't sound so bad, but that's not all it does.
Actually, that's exactly what it does, but go on:
The bill will also allows educators and education officials like Safe Schools Czar Kevin Jennings to push their radical agenda in the classroom. And, if you don't like the new policies or object to the program, the bill authorizes the federal government to cut off the educational assistance to schools that fail to enforce the new rules.
Actually, the "radical agenda" that the bill allows educators and education officials to push is the prohibition on "harassment, violence and discrimination faced by students based on their sexual orientation," and the authorization to cut off educational assistance is the "force educators" part that Hoft mentioned in the previous paragraph. You may recall Hoft had said that forcing educators to prohibit such harassment and discrimination "doesn't sound so bad."
Critics of the bill understand the law would give the controversial Safe Schools Czar, Kevin Jennings, almost unlimited authority to mandate sexual indoctrination in public schools at taxpayer expense.
The "critic of the bill" Hoft is associating himself with is the single anti-gay activist, Linda Harvey, quoted in the WorldNetDaily article to which Hoft links. Harvey has previously stated that parents "need to caution our kids against friendships with people practicing homosexual behavior." Those "critics" are wrong - the bill doesn't mention Jennings or his office, and any rules promulgated by federal departments under the bill require presidential approval.
Hoft goes on to fearmonger about the "real intent" of the bill, cite Harvey's claim that the "purpose of this bill is not what is being stated, but is quite simply to mandate in public schools one acceptable viewpoint on the issue of homosexuality, using purported violence or harassment as the rationale, and the power of the feds as the hammer," then repeat a bunch of his previous false Jennings smears.
To clarify: for the right-wing, President Obama giving a stay-in-school speech to students basically amounts to child abuse. But congressional legislation to stop bullying constitutes "the most radical anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-family bill through Congress that we have seen in decades." That is a very... interesting set of priorities.
From the February 17 edition of Fox News' America Live:
At the conclusion of the segment, John Stossel and Megyn Kelly had the following exchange:
KELLY: What was the deal with the little children down in cages?
STOSSEL: I believe in visual illustrations for my Thursday program, and we didn't want to go all the way to Brooklyn where the jail was, so we went to the basement of Fox.
KELLY: You had to consent to their parents for that?
STOSSEL: We did.
Sadly for Mediaite, the laughs are unintentional. The chuckle comes in an article about how conservative radio broadcaster Salem Communications is purchasing the right-wing, Obama-hating web site Hot Air, owned by right-wing, Obama-hating blogger Michelle Malkin.
Here's how Mediaite types up the news [emphasis added]:
Mediaite has learned that leading center-right web site Hot Air has been acquired by Salem Communications for an undisclosed sum.
There are a lot of benefits for office-aspiring Fox News pundits besides the paycheck. As former FNC "political analyst" turned congressional candidate Angela McGlowan told the New York Times, while a Fox position doesn't guarantee an election win, "it helps with getting ready to run, and it helps with name ID."
During last night's On the Record, host Greta Van Susteren turned to Fox News "political analyst" Rick Santorum for 2010 election analysis. During the discussion, Santorum touted the prospects of Rep. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) senate campaign and attacked his Democratic opponent as someone who is "under a whole bunch of ethical clouds, tied to Tony Rezko and other nefarious characters. I think Kirk will win that seat."
While it's not surprising that Santorum is pushing a fellow Republican for office, Santorum has outside, non-"political analyst" reasons to cheerlead for Kirk. Santorum is the chairman of America's Foundation, "the political action committee of former Senator Rick Santorum" that's "committed to helping candidates and causes who share Senator Santorum's commitment to conservative principles." On its "Featured Candidates" page, America's Foundation states that it's made contributions to Kirk's senate campaign. The PAC's year-end FEC statement lists a September contribution of $1,000 to Kirk.
America's Foundation is a leadership PAC, which exists to help politicians like Santorum "gain clout among their colleagues" to "lay the groundwork for their own campaigns for higher office." In other words, Santorum -- who is exploring a 2012 presidential bid -- donated to a Republican to "gain clout," and then used his position at Fox News to further push his "featured candidate."
Sarah Palin (SarahPAC) and Mike Huckabee (Huck PAC) also have leadership PACs while they contemplate bids for office. In 2009, Huckabee repeatedly used Fox News to fundraise for his PAC on-air; Fox News also provided round-the-clock publicity for Newt Gingrich's "Real Jobs Summit," which was hosted by his American Solutions organization. As the mid-term elections near, expect more of the confluence between Fox News employees and their outside political organizations as they position themselves for future campaigns.
From the February 17 edition of Fox News' America Live::