The Problem is not The POTUS, but The GOTUS.

Okay, I ought really be shoveling the 4 foot drift blocking my one and only egress from my apartment, but instead I wondered over to Ian’s blog. After reading this post I left this comment.

If Obama were truly a dictator you could lay the blame for the increased income disparity at his feet. However, he has to contend with another branch of the government. A branch of government that has not even allowed him to hire the people he wants to work in his branch of government.

I’m not a rabid Obama supporter; I believe he is wrong about drone use, as well as not getting behind reigning in the NSA fast enough. However, as an American I’d rather it be recognized that more people than Obama are responsible for crafting and implementing the laws in our country. Had Obama had to deal with a progressive, left-leaning congress, perhaps we would be seeing less of an income disparity.

It’s really an irritating habit of people (inside and outside of the US) to speak of President Obama as some sort of all powerful leader when the rules of being the President of the United States were purposefully written to prevent just that from happening. And as the Constitution of the United States was written by imperfect people (hence the “more perfect union” statement), it’s rather dubious to demand that a leader be perfect.

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America’s election and the Tea Party

by Cas Mudde

(Originally posted by openDemocracy, republished under a Creative Commons license)

What a difference two years make.After the congressional elections in November 2010, the Tea Party was the talk of the town. Both left-wing and right-wing media pundits declared “the” Tea Party to be the (only) winner, and all focus was on the right’s new stars such as Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida. The new Republican Party kingmakers were Jim De Mint and Sarah Palin, support from whom was claimed to be essential for their fellow Republicans to get elected. It became obligatory to refer to the new legislature as “the Tea Party Congress”. The fact that only one-third of Tea Party-backed candidates had actually been elected was irrelevant. The Tea Party was the new story, and all experts knew that it was here to stay.

An aptly titled Fox News story – “After election victories, Tea Party activists look ahead to 2012” – speculated about the movement’s future. It seemed beyond debate that it was the newly dominant force in United States politics; the question was whether it was going to take over the Republican Party or create a third party. Within a month of the November 2010 elections the answer to that question became clear: helped by massive spending by “astroturf” organisations such as FreedomWorks, and led by members of the Grand Old Party establishment, the Tea Party was steadily integrated into the GOP. But who controlled who?  Read More

A convenient “tie”

by Magnus Nome

(Originally posted by openDemocracy, republished under a Creative Commons license)

We’re only a few days away from knowing who will lead the US for the next four years. (Probably – I haven’t forgotten 2000).

The contest is already a media success. It has had some interesting twists and turns, and as it approaches the finish it’s close and exciting.

For pundits, it’s prediction time, and we’re treated to their expert opinions (also known as gut feelings) on who will be occupying The White House.

But this year we’ve seen more of a less cocksure bunch, wielding large sets of interesting numbers but still refusing to go all in. While traditional pundits still pretend that any cherrypicked poll swing is “news”, proper statisticians are adding them all together, carefully weighed by many parameters, thus creating a much more reliable meta-analysis.  Read More

ICYMI: The Choice 2012

Must-watching from PBS FRONTLINE:

Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to tell their own stories, but in “The Choice 2012,” FRONTLINE goes far beyond the headlines on a journey deep into their worlds, among their friends and family, critics, and closest colleagues, to understand what drives these men. Based on dozens of new interviews and hundreds of hours of research, FRONTLINE’s authoritative profiles that emerge are also a portrait of America in an era of uncertainty — and a guide to the choices that lie ahead.


Related: Frontline senior editor Andrew Golis (h/t):

Tonight, in a pretty thrilling act of transparency, we published over 8 hours of the footage from those interviews on “The FRONTLINE Interviews” site. And we didn’t just publish raw video, we edited and finished the interviews, paired them with their transcripts, and created a rich environment for users to explore them either by person or by topic.


The October Surprise: Majority of Outside Spending Likely to Come in Final Month

by Robert Maguire

(Originally posted by OpenSecrets Blog, republished under a Creative Commons license)

With less than a month to go until the election, outside spending continues to be the campaign money story of 2012.
Pretty much any way you slice it, it’s way up in the 2012 cycle. The total spent by non-party outside groups has far eclipsed spending at comparable points in previous cycles, and if this cycle is like those earlier ones, the majority of total 2012 non-party outside spending is likely to come in the final weeks leading up to Election Day.  Read More

October Surprise: Barack Obama is Back in Black

Surprise! It’s October and Outer Wingnuttia would like everyone to know that President Barack HOOOOSAAAYN Obama is — wait for it — still black black blackity black black black:

In a video obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller, then-presidential candidate Barack Obama tells an audience of black ministers, including the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, that the U.S. government shortchanged Hurricane Katrina victims because of racism.

“The people down in New Orleans they don’t care about as much!” Obama shouts in the video, which was shot in June of 2007 at Hampton University in Virginia. By contrast, survivors of Sept. 11 and Hurricane Andrew received generous amounts of aid, Obama explains. The reason? Unlike residents of majority-black New Orleans, the federal government considers those victims “part of the American family.”

The racially charged and at times angry speech undermines Obama’s carefully-crafted image as a leader eager to build bridges between ethnic groups. For nearly 40 minutes, using an accent he almost never adopts in public, Obama describes a racist, zero-sum society, in which the white majority profits by exploiting black America. The mostly black audience shouts in agreement. The effect is closer to an Al Sharpton rally than a conventional campaign event.

Gosh. That Bee Aitch Oh is sure black black blackity black black black. Too bad nobody gives a flying monkey assfuck — maybe because, as Dylan Byers observes, media already covered this speech when it first emerged back in, er, 2008:

One night before the first presidential debate, conservatives Matt Drudge, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson hyped footage of a five-year-old speech by then-Sen. Barack Obama, widely covered at the time, in which the presidential candidate suggested the George W. Bush administration was discriminating against the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

But when footage finally aired on Hannity’s Fox News program and on Carlson’s Daily Caller website at 9 p.m., following hours of aniticipation spurred by Drudge’s promise of controversy and Hannity’s promise of a “bombshell”, it fell flat.

“What’s the ‘So what’ of this video? I don’t think it’s going to really go anywhere,” Republican Rep. Allen West said on Fox News.

“I don’t think this particular speech is definitive,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, though he added that it was at least a “reminder” of Obama’s “pattern of dishonesty.”

If the footage failed to impress, it may be because Sen. Obama’s remarks were widely covered — by Carlson, by Fox News, and by the mainstream media — when they were made on June 5, 2007.

“Barack Obama was talking about a quiet riot today. And no, it was not a reference to a 1980s heavy metal band, unfortunately,” Carlson, who hosted his  own program on MSNBC until 2008, reported at the time. “The senator waded into the controversial waters of race during a speech Hampton University in Virginia. He said the Bush administration has done little to quell a brewing storm among some black Americans. He compared the current tension to what fueled the L.A. riots in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.”

“Senator Obama today said the Bush administration has done nothing to defuse what he calls a quiet riot among black Americans, a riot he suggests is ready to erupt,” Fox News host Brit Hume reported. “Obama said African American resentments and frustrations are building, especially, he said, because so many blacks from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast are still displaced 21 months after Hurricane Katrina. Obama warned against conditions similar to those in Los Angeles 15 years ago.”

The speech was also covered by CNN, NBC News, ABC News, The Associated Press, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun-Times, among others. Parts of the speech — specifically, Obama’s introduction of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright — would also be mentioned by reports in 2008.

Even Tucker Carlson had to admit on Hannity last night that the much-touted “revelation” wasn’t at all, er, revelatory:

Ok, forget the fact that the vid is well past its best before date. Maybe Tucker’s tinfoil troika have been MIA the past 4 year and didn’t get the news that Obama won in ’08 and is now an incumbent (and black). Seriously, why would anyone believe warmed-over, entirely manufactured race-baiting bullshit that didn’t stick 4 years ago when Obama was an unknown (black) challenger would suddenly do so now, when he’s been pretty well established in the minds of the electorate (along with the black children that he fathered with a black woman)?

As Bloomberg View’s Josh Barro put it on Twitter last night:

Alas, Outer Wingnuttia is, as noted earlier this year by Robert Schlesinger, under the unshakable collective wingnut delusion that Obama still hasn’t been properly “vetted” by the dread em ess em (The Artist Formerly Known As dnA has more). But resentment-saturated old white folks shouldn’t simply throw up their hands and wait for the brown hordes to overwhelm America’s dwindling Anglo-Saxon population with tortillas, low-riders and gangster script, oh no. Once the truth has finally been extracted deep from its spiderhole the shroud of Soros-subsidized ignorance shall be lifted from the masses and they will see the real Barack HOOOSAAYN Obama in all his bright, shining, Muslim Commie Kenyan glory (Also, dapple-gray ponies that shit gold bullion — OMG PONIES!).

Hey — does this mean we’re going to start talking once more about how W & co. fucked NOLA? Because that’s TOTALLY good news for Romney-Ryan.

(BTW did you know that Obama is black? I know!)

Related: Speaking of old news — Tucker Carlson, gay-bashing asshat (also, my take from 2007).

Update: Elspeth Reeve:

BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller spoke to several…conservative strategists who are left wondering WTF their allies are doing:

“This hurts Mitt,” said 2008 Romney consultant Alex Castellanos, who has at times been a harsh critic of his current campaign. “Mitt’s window to turn the economic debate around is tomorrow. And his alleged supporters just shit on it. An abysmally selfish and stupid event.”

Former John McCain and Jon Huntsman campaign manager John Weaver told Miller, “Is the base Romney’s problem?… We’re running against a guy with more than eight percent unemployed, etc. and instead of offering a counter plan for consumers to chose between, some are focused on the President being Black and liberal.”

Also, Ta-Nehisi on the decline and fall of Tucker Carlson FTW (h/t Scott Lemieux):

Carlson’s descent from reasonably credible magazine journalist to inept race hustler is well mapped territory. He has not been the same man since Jon Stewart took him down. The ethering reverberates through the years with such force that we now find its recipient slathering yesterday’s nothing-burgers in weak sauce, and serving them up as the daily special.

Sorry, Conor — Even Chomsky Says He’d Vote For Obama If He Lived In A Swing State

Via Raw Story:

MIT professor Noam Chomsky would vote for President Barack Obama if he lived in a swing state, but only to keep Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan out of the White House.

Chomsky explained last week on the Matthew Filipowicz Show that activists should not spend much time on the “carefully orchestrated electoral extravaganza” with a few exceptions.

“Between the two choices that are presented, there is I think some significant differences,” he said. “If I were a person in a swing state, I’d vote against Romney-Ryan, which means voting for Obama because there is no other choice. I happen to be in a non-swing state, so I can either not vote or — as a probably will — vote for [Green Party candidate] Jill Stein.”


h/t Brian Beutler