Law-Abiding Hypocrites

Let’s wring our hands, because some Democrats are using the same laws Karl Rove used in 2010 to create their own giant anonymous PAC full of corporate money:

The effort is modeled on the one Republicans started last year — with help from the Republican strategist Karl Rove — that attacked Democrats with a barrage of advertisements, mailings and phone calls. It was widely credited with helping the party to take control of the House and diminish the Democrats’ edge in the Senate last fall. One of those groups, Crossroads GPS, was set up under a section of the tax code that allowed its donors to remain anonymous, leading Mr. Obama to refer to such groups collectively as “a threat to democracy” for the way they had shielded corporate interests from view as they sought to sway elections.

[…]Republicans seized on the formation of the group and its connections to the White House via Mr. Burton and the other co-founder of the groups, Sean Sweeney, a onetime deputy to the former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, as an example of hypocrisy.

This is the same kind of “hypocrisy” that Gregg Easterbrook wanked about last week:

If Obama is in earnest about wanting increased taxes on the wealthy, then he should send the United States Treasury $182,998. That’s the difference between his Form 1040 Line 60 (“This is your total tax”) and what he would have owed at the higher rate (plus limits on itemized deductions) he himself advocates.

Politicians are always advocating for what–in their view–is a better law, while following the current law. That’s just the way the system works. But the press is always ready to dream up, or re-print without comment, variations on the theme of calling someone a hypocrite for following a law they think ought to be changed. While I’ll admit that this does happen to both sides, it happens more often for Democrats, because they’re usually trying to strengthen existing law rather than weakening it.

Early Morning Open Thread

I was looking for a listenable version of Tom Paxton’s “The Hostage” (for Sunday’s NIXONLAND discussion), and found this instead. For curious youngsters, the song he mentions at the end of this clip is called “Talking Vietnam Pot Luck Blues”…

Credit where credit is due…

I wrote last night about the Washington Post hosting Donald Trump as their guest at this weekend’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner. The responsibility for this decision belongs to the Publisher, Katharine Weymouth. The Trump invitation has stunned many folks at the Washington Post and some are speaking out. Ezra Klein tweeted that it was “embarrassing”, but it was Dana Milbank who went to town on Trump and the entire event. Here is a taste:

On Thursday, the Washington Post editorializes that Donald Trump has been campaigning on “bogus” issues and that he should “cease and desist.” An article in the news pages the same day reports that the great orange charlatan’s “simply wild speculation” has “almost no basis in fact.”

Then, on Saturday night, Post reporters and editors, in black-tie finest, go to the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner to host their invited guests, including. . . Donald Trump.

Awkward though the Trump invitation is, it is just one of the many problems with the annual dinner and its satellite events. [snip]

Along the way, journalists wind up serving as pimps: We recruit Hollywood stars to entertain the politicians, and we recruit powerful political figures to entertain the stars. Corporate bosses bring in advertisers to gawk at the display…

Milbank ends with a declaration to skip the event. Yes, Dana has said and done some pretty stupid things over the years, but he deserve some praise for this one.

If he keeps this up he’ll not get any more invitations to village parties. That could only be a good thing and getting “kicked out” of the club will serve to make Milbank a better reporter and columnist.

And now for an Open Thread…

Cowardly Culture Warrior Mitch Daniels Makes His Move

When Mitch Daniels said he wanted to end the culture wars, he meant start one:

Republican Governor Mitch Daniels released a statement Friday afternoon saying he will sign legislation stripping federal funds from Planned Parenthood in Indiana, the first state to make such a move.

“We do around 500 pap tests a week,” Indiana Planned Parenthood President Betty Cockrum told TPM in an interview earlier on Friday. “We will be making phone calls to Medicaid patients all over the state and telling them, either you have to pay for that pap test out of pocket, or you need to find someone else who can take you as a Medicaid patient. We can’t do it anymore.”

There are 28 Planned Parenthood centers in the state. Almost 60 percent of patients seen last year were living under the poverty line.

We just had a two year long debate that started with the premise that we needed to expand access to health care. Republicans are now launching an effort to close existing, affordable health care clinics, state by state. Paul Ryan’s plan will throw millions of current Medicaid recipients off Medicaid. We’re going backwards.

The Republican health care plans are designed to make certain fewer people have access to affordable health care. Did the people who voted for these guys know that Repeal and Replace meant “repeal the existing health care system”? I don’t believe they did.

I love the Friday night release of his bold and principled statement, by the way. I think I prefer culture warriors who are out in the open about it.

So long and thanks for all the fisks

This will be my last post at Balloon Juice. I want to thank John for inviting me to write here. It’s been quite a ride. Lately, however, I have begun to find that I am simply spread too thin. I need to spend more time reading and thinking and taking my time. Less arguing, more meditating.

In any case, I’ve learned a lot blogging here and arguing with everyone and having my ideas put to the test. I hope some of you will come continue the conversation elsewhere, either at The League or at American Times or on Twitter.


Shorter David Brooks

“The government I’m doing my best to destroy actually does useful shit, but let me also say something stupid and wingnutty.

Open Thread

Seems like there have been very few flame wars lately, so I will offer this up. If anyone had gone through what I am going through the past five months to get crossfirex running with two ati radeon HD-5870’s, you would understand completely why Apple computers, while not doing everything you want and having limited game support, are teh awesome.