Matt Taibbi has a hysterical takedown of Times reporter Matt Bai, and how David Gergen confused him with Bai.
I’ve met Matt Bai. If you remember, I attacked him for half-assed coverage in the same piece last week, so this is pretty funny:
Bai is one of those guys — there are hundreds of them in this business — who poses as a wonky, Democrat-leaning “centrist” pundit and then makes a career out of drubbing “unrealistic” liberals and progressives with cartoonish Jane Fonda and Hugo Chavez caricatures. This career path is so well-worn in our business, it’s like a Great Silk Road of pseudoleft punditry. First step: graduate Harvard or Columbia, buy some clothes at Urban Outfitters, shore up your socially liberal cred by marching in a gay rights rally or something, then get a job at some place like theAmerican Prospect. Then once you’re in, spend a few years writing wonky editorials gently chiding Jane Fonda liberals for failing to grasp the obvious wisdom of the WTC or whatever Bob Rubin/Pete Peterson Foundation deficit-reduction horseshit the Democratic Party chiefs happen to be pimping at the time. Once you’ve got that down, you just sit tight and wait for the New York Times or the Washington Post to call. It won’t be long.
Comedy gold! But on to the actual critique:
So in other words, those of us who think robbing Social Security a second time to pay for the continuation of the obscene Bush tax cuts — well, that’s “demanding fealty to the one” and “brooking no dissent” and lacking “thougtfulness and openness to new ideas.”
On the other hand, approving those Social Security cuts and green-lighting the continuation of those insane tax breaks — tax breaks that were extremely radical even by Republican standards when Bush originally passed them amid two preposterously expensive war efforts — well, that’s being “pragmatic” and seeing “all dogma ” as “anachronistic.”
Here’s what this all comes down to, dogma or no dogma: who is going to pay for a) the Bush tax cuts b) the bank bailouts and c) the Iraq and Afghanistan wars? If you want to get there by making janitors and pipe-fitters wait until they’re 69 to retire, raise your hand. If you want to get there by making Jamie Dimon rent out his 900-foot rooftop terrace in Chicago two nights a year, raise your hand.
The really infuriating thing? Bai has it backwards. The real consensus, i.e. the consensus of actual human beings, outside Washington, overwhelmingly backs the idea of not fucking with Social Security benefits and ending the Bush tax cuts for people making more than $250,000. In fact, only 26% of Americans support extending the cuts for everybody.
So when Bai talks about “bipartisanship” and suggests that extending the Bush cuts is a move to the center, what he’s talking about is the Washington consensus.
In some very vague way I suppose it could be argued that Barack Obama crawling into bed with John Boehner represents “post-partisanship,” but if you want to talk about building actual political bridges, the only meaningful way to achieve that is through the union of voters on the left who want to end the Bush tax cuts, and the voters on the right who want to end the Bush tax cuts. Unite the elderly Democrats who want to hold on to their Social Security Benefits and the elderly Republicans who want the same thing. That’s bipartisanship, but not in the way these Silk Road types like it.
I’m on Nicole Sandler’s show to talk about the tax cut deal, sometime between 10:30 a.m. EST and 11. You can listen here.
In Ft. Lauderdale. Colder than it’s been in 169 years!
All I know is, the annoying phone calls from my brother in Florida bragging about the weather seem to have stopped.
Don’t ya think? I’m
not usually in so rarely in the position of defending Obama, so I’m sort of detached from this morning’s outrage (my blood pressure’s fine, for a change). Steve Benen came to the same conclusion I did: It’s just not that bad.
Krugman: Not as bad as expected, still not worth it.
Atrios: Deal is much stronger for jobs than anyone expected.
Ezra Klein: Something for everyone, something to annoy everyone. He also says it was a meaningful compromise, a breakthrough of sorts.
Matt Yglesias: The real tax-cut sellout was two years ago.
I was talking to one well-known writer-activist last night who said he thought it was odd that the UI extension was being “shrugged off” by so many. I agree. I think a lot of the online bloggery outrage is being fueled by people who don’t have a visceral understanding of what it’s like to be at the end of your financial rope. (Class matters.)
With this president, with these Republicans, at this time, I think this is approximately as good as it can get. There will be changes before the deal is approved (it would be swell, for instance, if Bernie Sanders held out for the 99ers), but this is about what it’ll look like.
And for the people who can breathe, knowing they can survive for another 13 months, that’s a good thing.
Now let’s see how much better (or worse) our half-assed Congress can make it. The payroll tax holiday? A real sand trap for Social Security. Let’s see how far it gets.
Julian Assange, on a Swedish warrant in London:
Assange turned himself in at a London police station at 9:30 a.m. local time and was immediately taken into custody, police officials said. Later Tuesday, his lawyers planned to request that he be freed on bail pending the result of the extradition proceedings, which could take weeks. Assange intends to fight extradition to Sweden, where he is being sought for questioning related to allegations of sexual assault against two women.
Assange and his supporters have denied the accusations, calling them part of an elaborate plot to silence WikiLeaks. Since publication of the latest round of documents began last week, the pressure has mounted on Assange, who was being sought internationally on an Interpol warrant, and on WikiLeaks itself, which is in a global battle to keep its financial and distribution system intact.
Counterpunch has noted that one of his accusers is affiliated with a CIA-tied anti-Castro group. Probably just a coincidence!
God, I love Elizabeth Edwards. Like most of us here in the blogosphere, I adored her feistiness, her willingness to stand up to right-wing crap like Coulter’s from the beginning. It was always such a treat to read her online comments. And what a fundamentally decent woman, someone who always felt for other people and spoke about them in such a compelling way. (Maybe she’s the one who should have run for president.)
I’m adding my own best wishes and prayers to those of the Edwards family as they accompany the talented and much-loved Elizabeth during the last weeks of her life’s journey. I’m so grateful to her for fighting our battles with us, and very glad she’s getting to have a good death at home, with the people she loves and who love her:
(CNN) – Elizabeth Edwards is surrounded by family and friends in her North Carolina home after being informed by her doctors that further cancer treatment would be unproductive.
“Elizabeth has been advised by her doctors that further treatment of her cancer would be unproductive,” the Edwards family said Monday in a statement. “She is resting at home with family and friends and has posted this message to friends on her Facebook page.”
The message from Edwards, the wife of two-time presidential candidate John Edwards, reads:
You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined. The days of our lives, for all of us, are numbered. We know that. And, yes, there are certainly times when we aren’t able to muster as much strength and patience as we would like. It’s called being human.
But I have found that in the simple act of living with hope, and in the daily effort to have a positive impact in the world, the days I do have are made all the more meaningful and precious. And for that I am grateful. It isn’t possible to put into words the love and gratitude I feel to everyone who has and continues to support and inspire me every day. To you I simply say: you know.
Edwards was told by her doctors last week that additional cancer treatments were futile, said a source close to the family. Her prognosis was described in terms of weeks, not months, the source said.
She is receiving treatment and medications, however, for symptoms and side effects.
“She is not in pain, Elizabeth is in good spirits,” said the source. “She has prepared for this”
John Edwards and their children are at her side, along with Elizabeth’s brother and sister.
Another great “northern soul” classic. Jimmy Radcliffe:
I’ll be on tomorrow morning on Nicole Sandler’s show to talk about the tax cut deal, sometime between 10:30 a.m. EST and 11. You can listen here.