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NY Times Blesses Erick Son of Erick

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Sheila Dewan worked hard but was finally able to find nice things to say about Erick, Son of Erick.

In his seven weeks as one of CNN’s newest contributors, Erick Erickson has made scarcely more than a dozen appearances on the network.

But his (Erickson’s) every utterance — every Twitter message, blog post and radio rant — has been parsed with the rigor usually reserved for a Supreme Court nominee.

Liberal detractors have obsessively cataloged his right-wing rhetorical excesses, from calling Michelle Obama a “Marxist harpy” to a flip accusation that the former Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter molested children and animals. Even the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, criticized Mr. Erickson for suggesting that he would threaten a census worker, saying the comment “should concern CNN.” The Boston Globe protested what it called “one more screamer on cable.”

What critics have not noted is that Mr. Erickson, the editor of the influential conservative blog RedState, is as hard on many Republicans and conservatives as he is on Democrats. He has accused Michael Steele, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, of playing the race card; suggested that RedState readers send toy balls to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, during budget negotiations; and, of late, begun exhorting Tea Party followers (he considers himself one) to move beyond protests and get involved in the nitty-gritty of precinct-level politics.

Well, Dewan left out some stuff too. Here;s Nick McLellan at Think Progress:

The selection of Erickson as a regular commentator raises the question of whether CNN is willing to sanction his record of offensive comments. In just the past year, Erickson has made several racial and violent statements that cast a poor light on his role as a “conservative opinion leader”:

– Erickson applauded protesters who descended on Capitol Hill Nov. 5, 2009, to, as he characterized, “send Obama to a death panel.” He later edited the post and changed the reference to Obamacare. [11/5/09]

– Erickson called White House Health Care Communications Director Linda Douglass “the Joseph Goebbels of the White House Health Care shop.” [10/12/09]

– Weighing in on Justice David Souter’s retirement from the Supreme Court: “The nation loses the only goat f**king child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court…” [4/30/09]

– Responding to the Norwegian Nobel Committee’s selection of President Barack Obama to receive the 2009 Peace Prize, Erickson tweeted: “I did not realize the Nobel Committee had affirmative action quotas it had to meet.” [10/9/09]

– Reacting to a proposed Washington state regulation on dish soap aimed at easing water pollution: “At what point do the people tell the politicians to go to hell? At what point do they get off the couch, march down to their state legislator’s house, pull him outside, and beat him to a bloody pulp for being an idiot?” [3/31/09]

But hey, it’s a free country. If CNN wants to squander its credibility by hiring Erickson, and if the Times wants to join them, let them.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Modo Cuts Through the BS on Afghan War

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I am not a faithful Maureen Dowd reader and certainly not a fan (nor a sworn enemy) but she brings the real to her column in the New York Times today:

The question for the Obama White House is not whether it can grow to appreciate the caped capo who runs Afghanistan. (President Obama can’t stand him.) The question is whether Karzai will fall for all the guff they’re throwing at him.

Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and Gen. Stanley McChrystal were paraded into the White House press room to pretend as though their dispute about the efficacy of the surge, given Karzai’s serious flaws as a partner, has been put to rest. (It hasn’t.)

The administration crooned a reassuring lullaby to the colicky Karzai: that it has a long-term commitment in Afghanistan (it doesn’t) and an endgame there (it doesn’t) and that it knows that the upcoming Kandahar offensive will work (it doesn’t).

Asked by a reporter about the change from sticks to carrots, Richard Holbrooke, the special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who has had contentious sessions with Karzai, replied: “No, I certainly don’t think it’s changed.” (It has.)

For their part, the Afghans promise to work on stemming corruption and stopping the poppy trade. (They won’t.)

Sadly, it looks to me as though the White House and the Pentagon will not catch up to such reality until after the mid term elections this fall.

Some recent polling suggests that the public is losing patience with the war in Afghanistan. For example according to a recent ABC News poll:

“The war in Afghanistan remains problematic in U.S. public opinion, with just more than half of Americans saying it’s not been worth fighting.

At 52 percent, that criticism of the war has grown by 8 points since December, when its support rebounded in a positive response to President Obama’s announced surge-then-withdraw plan. Views of the war are back almost exactly to where they were before the president’s Dec. 1 address.

Forty-five percent say the war has been worth fighting, including 26 percent who feel that way “strongly,” its lowest strong support in polling back more than a year. There’s greater intensity among opponents; 38 percent feel strongly that the war in Afghanistan has not been worth it.

Something tells me that growing opposition to the war does not come from war supporters suddenly converted to pacifism. Rather, I suspect that the public is beginning to present a self interested pragmatism. Without clear success in the very near future, support for the Afghan adventure will continue to fall until it presents Obama with LBJ’s Vietnam dilemma.

Full disclosure: My opinion is that the U.S. should get out of Afghanista, the sooner the better.

Written by slothropia

May 12th, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Good News that’s Fit to Print: Obama Nixes SS Task Force

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Cross posted at Daily Kos.

The New York Times (paper of record that never gets a story wrong) reports that Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate are resisting any possible ripoff of Social Security.

Mr. Obama considered announcing the formation of a Social Security task force at a White House “fiscal responsibility summit” that he will convene on Monday. But several Democrats said that idea had been shelved, partly because of objections from House and Senate leaders.

Not to mention the explosion of anger and opposition that would come from Democratic Party grassroots and the net roots if the administration ever makes any moves toward weakening Social Security.

Sadly, within this story the Grey Lady (specifically reporter Jackie Calmes) contradicts herself and confuses the reader with vague and contradictory journalism. On the one hand, Calmes reports that

Liberal Democrats are already serving notice that they will be equally vehement in opposing any reductions in scheduled benefits for future retirees. But any solution, budget analysts said, must include a mix of both approaches, though current beneficiaries would see no change.

First note the absence of a definition of the “looming crisis”. Also note that the budget analysts referred to are anonymous and no consideration is given to the possibility that there are other budget analysts and Social Security experts with any alternative analysis of the issue.

Yet later in the same story, the reporter gets it right

Social Security still runs a surplus, and its reserves will not be exhausted until 2041, after which enough payroll taxes will come in to cover 78 percent of benefits, according to the 2008 annual report of the program trustees.

So in 32 years, we might have a problem if we don’t raise payroll taxes, or raise the income level of those who are subject to them.

Medicare and Medicaid are of more immediate concern, and as Calmes reports

Those who oppose action said Mr. Obama must focus on his bigger priority — health care legislation to expand access to insurance and reduce the costs of care. They argue that success there would help control the unsustainable growth of Medicare and Medicaid, the government’s other major benefit programs, which together pose a far greater fiscal problem.

The good news in all of this is that the White House has received a very clear message that it attacks Social Security at its political peril. Obama is more than smart enough to know that one clear path to a one term presidency is to alienate his base.

Written by slothropia

February 23rd, 2009 at 9:27 am

Posted in POTUS

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