That’s the question about what the Dems will do today. Or more accurately, how deep down into the cave they’ll go. Why is it always the Democrats who give in, and never the Republicans?
One of my first stops this morning was to Greg Sargent’s Morning Plum, where he told me not to get my hopes up…
Deal takes shape on Bush tax cuts: The President is privately signaling that he will agree to a temporary extension of all the tax cuts, but only if the GOP agrees to extend unemployment benefits.GOP leaders appear willing to agree. At this point it’s only a matter of “when” Dems agree to a temporary extension of all the cuts.
And then he gives us some of the very sad details…
Obama will publicly suggest outlines of deal today: Check this out, from an email that a White House official sent to reporters this morning, outlining what he will say today in North Carolina:
The President will also renew his opposition to even a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts if it does not include an extension of benefits for the unemployed and extensions of the other tax cuts that benefit middle class families. Without them, taxes would still rise for 95 percent of Americans.
Emphasis mine. So there you have it: Obama will suggest publicly that his opposition to extending the cuts temporarily depends on whether unemployment benefits (and various tax cuts associated with the stimulus) are also extended.
Thanks Greg, I think. So the big question is whether or not it worth extending these tax cuts for incomes of over 250k or 1 million annually (which the majority of Americans DON’T want) in exchange for the possibility of extending unemployment benefits to millions in need, passing the DREAM Act, repealing DADT and a few other things that might –and I empasize — might, as there are no guarantees on any of them, pass. Ugh.
I’ll talk about that issue and others facing us today when the awesome Bob Cesca joins me in the first hour of today’s show.
Groucho Marx famously quipped “Who are you gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?” I think Groucho actually outlined the entire conservative mindset. No matter what evidence, what facts, what incontrovertible new evidence you provide, the conservative mindset will insist theirs is the only correct one. And almost every time, it’s 180° from the correct one.
Need proof? Look at Newt Gingrich. His brilliant idea for deciding whether to extend the Bush tax cuts? Ask the wealthy how long they would like the extension to last. No, seriously. But listen to him almost in the next breath suggest completely overhauling the unemployment program so we don’t give “anybody money for doing nothing.” Now Newt Gingrich, who is rumored to be one of the great brains of the GOP (a rumor he must have started himself), is asserting that what’s best for the economy is to have Paris Hilton pay less taxes but to stop paying the poor people in the lower 95 percentile in an economy with record unemployment. Not surprisingly, this is the exact opposite of what every reputable economist says will help the economy.
And then there’s the matter of repealing DADT. This Week held a round table discussion of it, which at first glance seemed like a rational, balanced one. But This Week booked Bob Maginnis, Senior Fellow of James Dobson’s Family Research Council, which has been classified by the SPLC as a “hate group” to discuss whether gays should be allowed to serve openly and Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness who warned before a House Armed Services subcommittee that if gays served openly, lesbians would take pictures of people in the shower and gays would spread HIV through the ranks. When the more open-minded, less hysteric members of the panel point out that other countries have managed to allow gays to serve openly and none of the predicted doom and gloom occurred, the conservatives stuck with their talking points undeterred, leaving Tammy Schultz of the National Security and Joint Warfare at the Marine Corps War College to say:
Nothing will be good enough for the opponents who do not want to repeal “don’t ask/don’t tell.” It’s not about the evidence; it’s about the ideology. They’re saying, oh, you can’t compare the U.S. military to other militaries. We’re bigger, we’re in war, et cetera, et cetera. But then they simultaneously want to say we have the most professional forces in the world, which we do.
And that’s completely on point. Nothing will be good enough. We can see that with John McCain too. Because it’s not based in facts or logic, but fear and ideology.
The Deficit Commission was also big news this week, although the recommendations failed to get the necessary 14 out of 18 member votes to approve their being sent to Congress. It’s lucky that we did too, because far too much of the burden of eliminating the deficit was placed on those who could least afford it, and answers that would have asked for a fairer share being placed on the wealthy were not considered. But don’t tell that to Reps. Kent Conrad, Blue Dog and Jeb Hensarling. They didn’t think the Deficit Commissions’ recommendations went far enough. I really don’t know how to respond to Conrad or Hensarling on this. It simply reinforces for me that in DC, there are haves that matter and the rest of us, to be blunt, don’t.
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also talked about the deficit commission. Ironically, for as much as he spoke in glowing terms about the commission, there was nothing that he would or could point to specifically that he endorsed. And can I just say that his voice is now as grating to me as Palin’s now? Pretty much the minute he opens his mouth, I expect lies meant to hurt the Democrats and Obama as much as possible.
Candy Crowley stepped away from her position as host of State of the Union and appeared as a pundit on CNN’s Your Money show. Crowley advocated that Congress should just go along with the deficit commission’s recommendations, even if they were unpopular with voters. This is a really frustrating mindset of the Beltway class. There are Very. Serious. People. whose credibility should never be questioned no matter how wrong or how in variance to historical precedence and facts they are. Sadly, we liberals, who have been right over and over aren’t part of the Very. Serious. People. so the Beltway automatically dismisses everything we say as fringe.
And in our final installment of ‘me or your lyin’ eyes’, we have the spawn of Satan himself, Liz Cheney, on Fox News Sunday (naturally) criticizing Obama (naturally again) over his policy in Afghanistan, demanding that he say that withdrawal for Afghanistan would be “based on conditions on the ground”, ignoring the fact that he HAS said that multiple times.
I don’t think we’ll have time, but Fareed Zakaria tried to inject a little sanity into all the hysteria and vigilantism surrounding Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks latest data drop. It’s worth hearing someone take a step back and look at this on a bigger picture basis, rather than as a reactionary and lawless blowhard like Newt Gingrich.