President Obama’s meeting with congressional leaders at the White House today reminds me of that bumper sticker, “Jesus is coming — look busy.”
The mystery of why former GOP House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas resigned as CEO of the Koch Brothers’ funded Tea Party group Freedom Works has been resolved.
He left over an ethics dispute with the group’s president, Matt Kibbe. If you’ve ever seen Kibbe on TV, the guy just looks sleazy, so I wasn’t the least bit surprised.
“Armey was concerned that Kibbe structured the deal to personally profit from the book, despite relying on FreedomWorks staff and resources to research, help write and promote it….
“So Armey declined to sign a memorandum presented to him…stating that the book was written without significant FreedomWorks resources and clearing the way for Kibbe to personally own the rights to the book and any royalties from it….
“‘I wrote this book and it is my property,’ [Kibbe] said, saying he wrote the 416-page book entirely ‘on my Christmas vacation’ last year. [416 pages over Christmas? Were there elves involved?]
“But multiple sources who worked with FreedomWorks and had knowledge of the situation said that several staffers were asked to help research and write the book as part of their work duties. The sources contend that FreedomWorks staff time and resources spent promoting the book detracted from the organization’s ability to mobilize conservative activists ahead of the election — one of its core focuses.”
All you people sending your hard-earned $25 or $50 to these Tea Party groups, thinking you’re fighting the Kenyan Muslim Socialist, I hope you realize that you’re just making creeps like Kibbe rich, and of course protecting the Koch Brothers’ billions. Not a good use of your money.
* “Dick Armey, FreedomWorks president clashed over book deal,” Kenneth P. Vogel
“I recognize I’m not going to get 100 percent. But what I’m not going to do is to agree to a plan in which we have some revenue that is vague and potentially comes out of the pockets of middle-class families in exchange for some very specific and tough entitlement cuts that would affect seniors or other folks who are vulnerable. That’s not the kind of balanced plan that I think would be good for growth, good for the economy, or good for the American people.”
I think we’re heading towards raising rates on the top 2 percent, but not up to the Clinton-era level of 39.6 percent.
“Mr. Romney is not the leader of the party; he left no footprints in the sand. There is no such thing as Romneyism, no movement of which he’s the standard-bearer. Nor is he a Washington figure with followers. Party leaders already view him as a kind of accident, the best of a bad 2008 lot, a hiccup.”
Peggy Noonan, The Drawn-Out Crisis: It’s the Obama Way,” WSJ
This is the same woman who predicted a Romney win on November 5, writing in part:
“Romney’s crowds are building—28,000 in Morrisville, Pa., last night; 30,000 in West Chester, Ohio, Friday It isn’t only a triumph of advance planning: People came, they got through security and waited for hours in the cold. … In some new way he’s caught his stride. He looks happy and grateful. His closing speech has been positive, future-looking, sweetly patriotic. His closing ads are sharp—the one about what’s going on at the rallies is moving.
“All the vibrations are right. … Looking at the crowds on TV, hearing them chant ‘Three more days’ and ‘Two more days’—it feels like a lot of Republicans have gone from anti-Obama to pro-Romney.
“There is no denying the Republicans have the passion now, the enthusiasm. The Democrats do not. Independents are breaking for Romney.
“I suspect both Romney and Obama have a sense of what’s coming, and it’s part of why Romney looks so peaceful and Obama so roiled.”
And Noonan looks so idiotic.
“Perhaps the key lesson the White House took from the last couple of years is this: Don’t negotiate with yourself. If Republicans want to cut Medicare, let them propose the cuts. If they want to raise revenue through tax reform, let them identify the deductions. If they want deeper cuts in discretionary spending, let them settle on a number. And, above all, if they don’t like the White House’s preferred policies, let them propose their own. That way, if the White House eventually does give in and agree to some of their demands, Republicans will feel like they got one over on the president. A compromise isn’t measured by what you offer, it’s measured by what the other side feels they made you concede.” Emphasis added.
Ezra Klein, “Obama to GOP: I’m done negotiating with myself,” WaPo
President Obama served Mitt turkey chili at their lunch today at the White House.
When someone gives you mooshed-up turkey the week after Thanksgiving, you kind of assume you’re getting their holiday leftovers.
We’ve been told that if a fiscal
cliff staircase deal doesn’t get done by 1/1/13, whenever it does get done, it will be retroactive to the beginning of 2013 as to middle class taxes, so their taxes really won’t go up.
But Timothy Geithner also has the power to keep payroll withholding the same next year*, so not only won’t taxes go up, but paychecks will stay the same even without a deal.
Keeping consumer spending power the same goes a long way to controlling economic damage from the failure to make a deal. Hang tough, Mr. President.
See “Geithner Keeps Withholding Freeze as Weapon to Curb Cliff,” Richard Rubin, Bloomberg
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) will block a Rice nomination for Secretary of State if Obama chooses to proceed: “I would place a hold on anybody who wanted to be promoted for any job who had a role in the Benghazi situation.
The battle against Rice has led to charges of sexism and racism. That’s why they’re putting a New Hampshire woman out front, to try to deflect those charges. Both McCain and “Butters” Graham are male, obviously, plus Butters is from South Carolina.
“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got, and some that we didn’t get, concerning evidence that was overwhelming leading up to the attack on our consulate.”
Sen. John McCain after meeting about Benghazi with Ambassador Susan Rice, who was accompanied by Michael Morell, acting director of the CIA.
Senators Lindsey “Butters” Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) also were there, so the GOP had the gay and female demographics covered.
Butters said, “The bottom line is that I’m more disturbed than I was before.”
This meeting was supposed to smooth the way for Obama to nominate Rice as Secretary of State. Looks as if O still has a fight on his hands.
Obama needs to address Benghazi himself.
Wherever you live on the political spectrum, you absolutely must, must read Bruce Bartlett’s truly amazing article, “Revenge of the Reality-Based Community,” in The American Conservative.
He talks about the censorship that the right, especially Rupert Murdoch, has tried to impose on him and about how this former supply-sider has come to agree with Paul Krugman on how to deal with the Great Recession.
A little background if you don’t know Bartlett. He worked for Congressman Jack Kemp, for Heritage, in the second-term Reagan White House, at Treasury under Bush 41, for Cato, and wrote for all the top-line conservative publications.
“My book, Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, was published in February 2006. I had been summarily fired by the think tank I worked for back in October 2005. Although the book was then only in manuscript, my boss falsely claimed that it was already costing the organization contributions. He never detailed, nor has anyone, any factual or analytical error in the book.
“Among the interesting reactions to my book is that I was banned from Fox News. My publicist was told that orders had come down from on high that it was to receive no publicity whatsoever, not even attacks. Whoever gave that order was smart; attacks from the right would have sold books. Being ignored was poison for sales.
“I later learned that the order to ignore me extended throughout Rupert Murdoch’s empire. For example, I stopped being quoted in the Wall Street Journal. Awhile back a reported who left the Journal confirmed to me that the paper had given her orders not to mention me. Other dissident conservatives, such as David Frum and Andrew Sullivan, have told me that they are banned from Fox as well. More epistemic closure.
“Annoyingly, however, I found myself joined at the hip to Paul Krugman, whose analysis [of the economic meltdown] was identical to my own. I had previously viewed Krugman as an intellectual enemy and attacked him rather colorfully in an old column that he still remembers.
“For the record, no one has been more correct in his analysis and prescriptions for the economy’s problems than Paul Krugman. The blind hatred for him on the right simply pushed me further away from my old allies and comrades.
“The final line for me to cross in complete alienation from the right was my recognition that Obama is not a leftist. In fact, he’s barely a liberal — and only because the political spectrum has moved so far to the right that moderate Republicans from the past are now considered hardcore leftists by right-wing standards today. Viewed in historical context, I see Obama as actually being on the center-right.
“At this point, I lost every last friend I had on the right. Some have been known to pass me in silence at the supermarket or even to cross the street when they see me coming. People who were as close to me as brothers and sisters have disowned me.
“So here we are, post-election 2012. All the stupidity and closed-mindedness that right-wingers have displayed over the last 10 years has come back to haunt them.
“The economy continues to conform to textbook Keynesianism. We still need more aggregate demand, and the Republican idea that tax cuts for the rich will save us becomes more ridiculous by the day.
“At least a few conservatives now recognize that Republicans suffer for epistemic closure. They were genuinely shocked at Romney’s loss because they ignored every poll not produced by a right-wing pollster such as Rasmussen or approved by right-wing pundits such as the perpetually wrong Dick Morris. Living in the Fox News cocoon, most Republicans had no clue that they were losing or that their ideas were both stupid and politically unpopular.
“I’ve paid a heavy price, both personal and financial, for my evolution from comfortably within the Republican Party and conservative movement to a less than comfortable position somewhere on the center-left. Honest to God, I am not a liberal or a Democrat. But these days, they are the only people who will listen to me. When Republicans and conservatives once again start asking my opinion, I will know they are on the road to recovery.” Emphasis added.
I haven’t had Bartlett’s distinguished career, but his story, especially over the past four years, is my story ideologically and philosophically.