What Obama Must Do Now

With his Supreme Court victory on Obamacare, the President must blunt the GOP’s strategy of distorting what the health care law means and creating panic and anger about it.  It would have been better for the President to run again after the law became full effective and Americans lived with it for awhile, but that isn’t happening.  The GOP will try to manipulate our fear of the unknown, and the Obama campaign can’t let them get away with it.

Not long after the decision was announced, Marco! Rubio! was on Fox News yelling about this huge “tax increase” and warning viewers that the IRS will be coming after them.  He was a conservative Cuban-American version of Paul Revere, crying “The IRS is coming, the IRS is coming!”

 

Quote of the Day

“This is a substantive win for the president.  There is no doubt, however, that the individual mandate is unpopular.  The president campaigned against it — it was, after all, a Republican idea.  Romney’s ability to capitalize on this politically will be limited by the fact that he signed the individual mandate as well.  Rick Santorum’s warning is coming true:  the GOP will nominate the only other person in America who has signed an individual mandate.  So Romney’s message is: ‘Vote against Obama; he signed a national version of my health care law!'”

Paul Begala, Dem pundit and strategist.

Eric Holder Found in Contempt of Congress

The House of Representatives found Eric Holder to be in contempt for not producing documents related to Fast and Furious, documents President Obama has claimed do not have to be released because of Executive Privilege.

Because of the wing-nut conspiracy theory that Fast and Furious was intended to deprive us of our Second Amendment rights, the National Rifle Association told House members that this vote would count as part of their NRA “score.”  That’s why 17 Democrats voted in favor, out of fear of the NRA.

The overall vote was 255 in favor, 67 against, and 110 not voting.  Two brave Republicans voted against.

I believe that this vote will be remembered as a truly ridiculous and shameful episode in the history of the House.

You Can’t Get Much Sicker Than This

At the Republican Conference meeting following the Supreme Court’s Obamacare decision, Mike Pence (R-IN) compared the decision to 9/11.

That kind of says it all about the GOP and where their heads are right now.

Since Keith is off the air, I will take it upon myself to name Mike Pence “today’s worst person in the world.”

Mitt Counts His Chickens

Mitt was so confident the Supremes would rule against Obamacare that he said such a result would mean President Obama’s entire term was a failure.

Now that Obamacare has been upheld, does that mean he thinks Obama’s term has been a success?

Party and politics aside, Mitt’s rushing out on a limb like that displays poor judgment that we don’t want in our Commander in Chief.

Sue Lowden was mocked when she ran for Senate from Nevada and talked about how people used to pay for their health care by bringing the doctor a chicken.  At least those chickens had hatched!

John Roberts, Profile in Courage

However you feel about Obamacare, today was an excellent day for our system of government.

John Roberts did his job.  The question before him was not whether or not he liked Obamacare, whether this was the law he would have written, but whether this law that Congress passed and the President signed is constitutional.

He found that it is, under Congress’ power to tax.

Back on March 26, I wrote that this might be the outcome, based on Roberts’ stance during oral arguments.  Opponents of  the individual mandate had sought to distinguish the mandate itself from the fine (or tax) that would be assessed, and Roberts rejected that distinction as ridiculous.

Roberts is getting a ton of grief from his fellow conservatives, but our Founding Fathers would be proud.  He did the right thing for the Court and the country.  I’ll be mad at him again, I’m sure, but today he has my respect and admiration.

Those of you who read my pieces know that I would have taken a different approach to health care reform from Obamacare, but I have never doubted that it is constitutional.  So I celebrate this result.

Just Because Merkel Should Cave Doesn’t Mean She Will

Eduardo Porter has a well-written and rational story up at the NYT, “Germany Will Pay Up To Save Euro.”  He writes convincingly about how letting the euro zone fall apart will be much more expensive and painful for Germany than saving it.  So he concludes that after holding out for the best terms she can, Merkel will cave.

Porter is intellectually focused on labor costs and export prices, but the Germans viscerally don’t want to bail out a bunch of foreigners whom they see as lazy and corrupt.  He’s arguing numbers on an issue that will be decided by emotion.  The Germans see themselves as the pig who built his house of bricks, and those who hurriedly built their houses of straw and twigs so they could party deserve to get eaten by the wolf.

If countries always did what made sense, we wouldn’t have had our housing crash, the government would have bailed out the sub-prime market and kept housing prices from imploding.  We’ve lost a helluva lot more national wealth than a housing fix would have cost.  And that was the American government refusing to help Americans, not Germany refusing to help a bunch of  racially inferior foreigners with their crappy non-Aryan genes.

Mitt the Cry Baby

Mitt’s campaign is insisting that WaPo retract its story from last week asserting that Bain specialized in helping grow companies that offered job outsourcing services to other U. S. companies.  They have demanded a sit down with the Post!

Meanwhile, President Obama is running ads in swing states saying we don’t need an “Outsourcer in Chief.”  Amen to that.

Mitt is whining that we “little people” don’t understand the difference between “outsourcing” and “offshoring.”

That’s a distinction you might make in a Harvard Business School paper, but if Mitt thinks that argument will help him win the election, he’s more trapped in his 1% bubble than I thought.

Mr. President, Please Read Fortune’s Fast and Furious Article

A day before the House votes on whether Attorney General Eric Holder is in contempt, Fortune magazine is up with a piece* based on a six-month investigation which finds that the ATF never intentionally allowed “gun walking,” as both lawmakers and the media have assumed.

I encourage beg you to read the whole article and get everyone you know to read it, but here are some excerpts:

“Quite simply, there’s a fundamental misconception at the heart of the Fast and Furious scandal.  Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands.  Issa and others charge that the ATF intentionally allowed guns to walk as an operational tactic.  But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF had no such tactic.  They insist they never purposefully allowed guns to be illegally trafficked.  Just the opposite:  They say they seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

“Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that [head Phoenix ATF agent] Voth and his colleagues walked guns is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies.  Fortune reviewed more than 2,000 pages of confidential ATF documents and interviewed 39 people, including seven law-enforcement agents with direct knowledge of the case.  Several, including Voth, are speaking out for the first time.

“How Fast and Furious reached the headlines is a strange and unsettling saga, one that reveals a lot about politics and media today.  It’s a story that starts with a grudge, specifically [ATF agent] Dodson’s anger at [his boss] Voth.  After the terrible murder of agent Terry, Dodson made complaints that were then amplified, first by right-wing bloggers, then by CBS.  Rep. Issa and other politicians then seized those elements to score points against the Obama administration….

Republican senators are whipping up the country into a psychotic frenzy with these reports that are patently false,” says Linda Wallace, a special agent with the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigation unit who was assigned to the Fast and Furious team (and recently retired from the IRS).  A self-described gun-rights supporter, Wallace has not been criticized by Issa’s committee.

The ATF’s accusers seem untroubled by evidence that the policy they have pilloried didn’t actually exist.

“Irony abounds when it comes to the Fast and Furious scandal.  But the ultimate irony is this:  Republicans who support the National Rifle Association and its attempts to weaken gun laws are lambasting ATF agents for not seizing enough weapons — ones that, in this case, prosecutors deemed to be legal.”  Italics in original, emphasis added.

To me this isn’t  irony,  it just shows that however much the GOP loves guns, they hate Obama more.  Fast and Furious may be a Seinfeld Scandal —  a scandal about nothing. 

Much as I’d love to blame Fox, CBS initially behaved shamefully here, believing the bad apple (Dodson) over the good apple (Voth) and taking Voth’s email out of context to say he was referring to gunwalking, when he was not.

* “The truth about the Fast and Furious scandal,” Katherine Eban