[digg-reddit-me]Saturday Night Live’s tribute this weekend to Amy Poehler included this great (and newly relevant) skit that I missed back in 2005:
[digg-reddit-me]Dan Akroyd joined Saturday Night Live to explain how Republicans were using this crisis to move past business-as-usual while staying in touch with the citizens they represent:
(h/t TPIP for the link. I had already seen the clip, but was fruitlessly looking for it on Hulu until I saw it on his blog.)
I must commend the Republican Party for discovering the value of fiscal responsibility, of Congressional oversight, and of Congress’s proper role as a coequal branch of government and a balance to the executive branch now that they have no elective power except a slender foothold in Congress. A few more losses in Congress and we might see the Republican Party start making the much maligned case for judicial activism – as our federal court system is filled with conservatives, despite protests to the contrary.
It seems to be part of the nature of our oppositional party structure that such ideological shifts make fools of politicians from time to time. Sometimes I think it would be better for them if we just booted them all out so they wouldn’t need to face the embarrassment of changing their opinions on how things should work so obviously based on political calculations.
Of course, giving the lie to the Republican’s newfound financial responsibility (aside from their continued support for such expensive programs as continuing Bush’s tax cuts and funding the various imperial activities which together cost some trillions of dollars and got us in the financial pickle we are in now) is their response to the Obama stimulus plan – a tax cut plan that would expand the deficit even further:
At the end of the clip, that was Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal. In response to her: yes, we all did notice that there are no Republicans in charge of anything in Washington anymore. I wonder how and why that happened?
At the same time, the Republicans are now trying to make a big deal of business-as-usual in Washington – after embracing the same practices while in power. This is, of course, standard fare in itself. As Republican opinion-makers suddenly begin to decry how Congressmen and women did not have time to read the stimulus bill, I think most of us remember that infamous exchange from Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 in which a Congressman explains why no one read the PATRIOT Act before it was signed into law:
My purpose is not to defend these practices – but to point out the hypocrisy in suddenly objecting to them. The Republicans, led by Eric Cantor, are acting with the transparent hypocrisy of an Inspector Renault:
In all honesty, I do welcome the Republicans embrace of fiscal responsibility, of Congressional oversight, and of Congress’s proper role as a coequal branch of government and a balance to the executive branch, hypocrisy and all. Their sanctimony on the subject though is hard to stomach.
[digg-reddit-me]There were only two bits worth repeating in last night’s Saturday Night Live – at least for a political junkie like me – both of them on the Weekend Update.
The first was Seth Myer’s take on the Obama, “I screwed up” admission:
The second was a sort of defense of Michael Phelps and put-down of Kellogs. The last “Really…” is of course the best – and the one mainly unexplored part of the story.
The previous post reminded me of this classic Will Ferrell skit:
[digg-reddit-me]Although I was never crazy about the idea, there was a time – several weeks ago now – when I considered the idea of an Obama-Clinton ticket to be a potentially good idea. Andrew Sullivan’s excellent column floating the idea moved me somewhat – even as I tended to think that Senator Jim Webb would be a better choice. I had thought of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s description of Lincoln’s genius in organizing his “team of rivals” even before Sullivan mentioned it. And I thought that Obama could pull it off if any politician today could. But Maureen Dowd’s description of Obama’s and Clinton’s interpersonal dynamic struck me as accurate enough, and Clinton continued to campaign – standing up for her supporters – “hard-working white people”; comparing her efforts to de-legitimatize the process of delegate selection she at first endorsed to abolition; and in general acting as if Obama’s nomination were not only a personal affront to her but the end of the Democratic party.
So, I’ve soured on the idea. Here’s seven reasons why Hillary Clinton should not be chosen as Obama’s vice presidential running mate:
- From Rachel Maddow on MSNBC’s Inside the War Room just a few minutes ago:
- It will undermine the rationale behind Obama’s candidacy and make Obama look weak. As Reihan Salam of The Atlantic wrote:
A backroom deal with Clinton would make a mockery of Obama’s language of hope and change. It would make Obama appear weak, and it would reward Clinton for running a campaign more vicious than anything Lee Atwater could have cooked up. More importantly, Obama would be choosing a fundamentally weak and unpopular running mate who has masked her marked executive inexperience through endless misrepresentation of her role in the Clinton White House – a role that begins and ends with a healthcare debacle that would have gotten anyone other than a First Lady fired.
Or, to put it as John Edwards did:
- She doesn’t put a single state or demographic group on the board for Obama.
She is a highly polarizing figure. The demographic splits in the primaries so far have been best explained by the Peabody award-winning Josh Marshall over at the Talking Points Memo: The only areas where Hillary has decisively beaten Obama are in the Appalachian region of the country. But Hillary is far from the best candidate to appeal to this group. Former Senator John Edwards, Governor Ed Rendell, Governor Ted Strickland, and especially Senator Jim Webb all would seem to have greater appeal to the Scotch-Irish Reagan Democrats of the Appalachia. Clinton’s base is entirely in the Democratic party where she is relatively popular, while Obama has substantial support among independents and even some Republicans. That is why Clinton has done better in closed primaries than ones open to independents or all parties (at least until Rush Limbaugh’s Operation Chaos gained traction).
- She’s run a terrible campaign so far. Would she run a better campaign if she trying to win for Obama?
Her campaign is already $21,000,000.00 in debt. She squandered enormous institutional and name recognition advantages. Does anyone still remember that she was the prohibitive favorite before “a skinny kid with a funny name” expertly managed one of the hardest fought campaigns in history?
- She shouldn’t be rewarded for trying to bully her way onto the ticket (after being told no “politely but straightforwardly and irrevocably“, threatening an “open civil war“) and for her bullying tactics during the rest of the campaign (threatening to withhold funds from the DNC; attacking Nancy Pelosi; lying about Obama’s record on abortion, NAFTA, and other issues; using voter suppression tactics in Nevada and Iowa; and undermining the legitimacy of the delegate selection process she agreed to when she thought it was to her benefit.)
- Her sense of entitlement.
As a bonus:
Hillary’s not going to help Obama win in November. Let’s get on to the main event already.
[digg-reddit-me]In February, John McCain observed that:
He has repeatedly criticized Senator Barack Obama for looking at the world with rose-colored lenses, for being naive, and for promising more than he could deliver
Let’s look McCain’s pie-in-the-sky projections released today:
After four years of a McCain administration, America will be more secure and working with its allies and partners around the world to make us safer. In 2013:
The Iraq War has been won. Iraq is a functioning democracy, violence is much reduced, and America has welcomed home most of the servicemen and women who have sacrificed terribly so that America might be secure.
There is a functioning League of Democracies that has effectively applied pressure on Sudan to agree to a multinational peacekeeping force to stop the genocide.
There is no longer any place in the world al Qaeda can consider a safe haven. An increase in actionable intelligence leads to the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden and his lieutenants.
After four years of a McCain administration, the economy is stronger, Americans once again have confidence in their economic future and businesses are empowered to thrive. In 2013:
The economy is growing and Americans again have confidence in their economic future…
A top to bottom review of government and reforms yield great reductions in spending.
Public education is much improved due to measures that lead to increased competition, higher quality teachers, a revolution in teaching methods, higher graduation rates and higher test scores.
Health care is more accessible to more Americans than at any other time in history.
Medicare’s solvency has been extended and both parties have worked together to fix Social Security without reducing benefits to those near retirement.
The United States is on its way to independence from foreign sources of oil
Border state governors have certified and the American people recognize that after tremendous improvements, our southern border is now secure. Illegal immigration is under control, and the American people accept the practical necessity to institute a temporary worker program and deal humanely with illegal immigrants. [My emphases.]
McCain’s speech in Ohio is here. I’m not sure what the appropriate response is to this. All of these are fine goals, although most of them are significantly outside the control of the president. What McCain doesn’t do here is get into the specifics he so harshly criticized Obama for avoiding (unfairly I might add.)
McCain’s rosy projections are the very model of misleading rhetoric. Why else mention capturing or killing Bin Laden? Does he think that George W. Bush hasn’t tried? Or is he just assuring us that he will get lucky? And does he really think it will be that easy to “win” Iraq? Does “winning” require Iraq to become a democracy as he suggests once again here? Does he really think he’ll be able to stop the genocide in Darfur, secure the Mexican-American border, solve America’s entitlement crises, revolutionize education, and democratize Iraq all at the same time?
Barack Obama – for all of his soaring rhetoric – focuses on what he will do, and what we together can do. To his credit, Obama focuses on how he will change the processes and he promises to address the serious issues we face. But Obama has not shown that he has a messiah complex that would lead him to believe that, with his election, all the world’s problems would be fixed within four years.
And isn’t it planning for the best-case scenario that got us into the whole Iraq fiasco in the first place?
This whole episode reminds me of Al Gore’s SNL skit, except Gore was being ironic:
McCain clearly was not promising to accomplish all of these things. And we all know he (and the rest of the Right) would be attacking Obama for being naive and having a messiah complex if Obama had had the poor judgment to give a speech like this.
But the real problem is that he is making the case for his presidency here by assuming the best-case scenario in every single area of policy. That’s irresponsible. That’s naive. That’s empty rhetoric.
A bit unfair of a characterization of Ms. Clinton’s position, but pretty damn close.