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« Gloves off | Main | Isn't it ironic? »

Jan 28, 2010

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GSO

How about calling out the SCOTUS on the Citizens United decision as they sat uncomfortably in the front row? Bold. I like it.

Dan

I agree with the comment; Alito sure didn't like it.

I was shaking my head for different reasons -- the nation has (less than) no money to throw into the shell games.

Spag

We must have been watching something else. The speech was forgettable, but thanks for reading my blog.

Fred Gregory

Judge Alito's You Lie Moment

"He did not shout it out loud, but just as Republican Congressman Joe Wilson had enough with President Obama’s outright lies in that September speech, Justice Samuel Alito mouthed the words “not true” as Obama launched into a demagogic diatribe against the U.S. Supreme Court."

"The mouthing of words was one of the few newsworthy moments in a speech that dragged on for more than an hour as Obama grasped at any and all straws in a desperate attempt to salvage his presidency.

He failed. He has become an uninspiring speaker who has used up all his magic. Quantity cannot make up for quality."

"What else can he do now? He has used up his political capital, his rhetorical shock and awe, and his political party.

His presidency is prune dry.

As I wrote last night: Obama will not be re-elected. That makes him a ruptured duck. And the alligators on Capitol Hill gobble the ruptured ducks first.

The State Of The Union is we are presidentless."

A. Bulluck

I have a life so I had better things to do than watch someone give another man's speech, but I did hear that Chris Matthews said, "For an hour, I forgot that he was black." Not sure what that means, but I guess we shouldn't read all that much into it in this post-racial America.

Spag

If Rush Limbaugh had said that, Ed would have written a post on it and the usual gang would pile on the phony outrage. You know it, Bob Dole knows it, the American people know it.

glenwoodobserver

I don't think Obama cares about changing the minds of those that are predisposed to disagree with him. His call to both parties to basically "grow up" is only bold because these are politicians we are talking about who are more comfortable on the playground than in doing the work of the electorate.

That being said, I enjoyed the speech even though it was a bit long and covered too many things at the expense of the most important items. That and I can only wonder about his inclusion of offshore drilling, clean coal and nuclear as energy goals while at the same time saying we need climate change legislation.

I'm particularly fond of the student loan proposals...college education was out of reach for me when I went (hell, it's as much as my mortgage), and its even more so for too many now.

greensboro transplant

"strong" is too strong a word. but it does rhyme with "long" which the speech definitely was.

i liked the nuclear energy and tax cut for small business ideas. and there were certainly parts that resonated with his base and the people who voted for him.

the shift to populism may buy some time, but at the end of the day people need jobs. we all can't build turbines or work for the feds.

he owns the economy now. it's not the bakers, the republicans, or even special interests. it's his.

Spag

GWO, the problem with Obama's claim to the high road last night is that he is just as guilty as those he argues need to grow up. Remember the war on FOX News? He has been the most partisan President I can recall.

It would be great if he would shift course and start living up to his own ideals, but as long as he continues to believe that he can say one thing while doing something else, I don't expect it to happen.

A speech is not policy.

greensboro transplant

@ spag - "A speech is not policy."

no. it's not. and it's not necessarily even the truth.

Andrew Brod

Calling Obama the most partisan president in memory is simply bizarre. Would that he were! He might not have fallen for the sultry inveigling of Congressional Republicans talking about bipartisanship on health reform but not meaning one word of it.

Health reform wasn't always an exclusively Democratic hope, but once Obama came in, that's what it became. Cap and trade was first put in place by a Republican president, over the objections of liberals and environmentalists (whom I criticized for their opposition), and it was even advocated in 2008 by John McCain, but now it's "socialism."

Pot, meet kettle.

Grant

He said in his memory. And we have no reason to doubt that's accurate.

Fred Gregory

A breakfast conversation:

Elijah: Dad is it true that despite “Spending Freeze,” the State of Union proposals will cost taxpayers $70 billion in cold cash ?

Ed: Son, wherever did you hear that foolishness ?

Elijah: From a line-by-line analysis of the State of the Union speech by the non-partisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF).

Here read it yourself

Bubba

George Will: Faux Contrition: Obama Blames the Public.

"Acknowledging that the longer the public has looked at the legislation the less the public has liked it, he blamed himself for not 'explaining it more clearly.'

But his faux contrition actually blames the public: The problem is not the legislation's substance but the presentation of it to slow learners. He urged them to take 'another look at the plan we've proposed.' The plan? The differences between the House and Senate plans are not trivial; they concern how to pay for the enormous new entitlement."

....and:

"Obama's leitmotif is: Washington is disappointing, Washington is annoying, Washington is dysfunctional, Washington is corrupt, verily Washington is toxic -- yet Washington should conscript a substantially larger share of GDP, and Washington should exercise vast new controls over health care, energy, K-12 education, etc.

Talk about a divided brain."

Strong?

Only for wishful thinkers.

Andrew Brod

GT, that's the lamest "fact-check" article I've ever seen. It's a litany of disagreements and quibbles, and fair enough, but fact-checking?

Moreover, if you look at fact-check pieces such as those here, most are of this nature. For example, this one, on Obama's claim of 2 million jobs saved, is totally dumb. Obama's claim wasn't a fact to be checked. It was a projection, an estimate. One can reasonably disagree with the projection (ideally by critiquing the economic model on which it's based), but calling it "fact-checking" trivializes what should be a valuable service of the media.

If this collection of fact-check pieces is the best the media can do, it suggests that Obama's SOTU speech was an unusually factual one.

Spag

Okay, then call it bizarre. I seem to recall Bush reaching across the aisle on a number of occasions (education comes to mind, foreign policy). Clinton did too after 1994. Bush 41 went too far across the aisle. Reagan passed his tax cuts with Democrat votes.

Obama shut the GOP out of the process from the beginning. He never sought compromise or GOP input. His view of bipartisanship was "sign up with the Democratic plan or you are being an obstructionist". Perhaps a lot of the blame lies with Reid and Pelosi, but Obama could have put an end to it. Instead he chose to attack FOX News and others perceived as his political opponents.

Ed Cone

No bipartisanship? No GOP input?

That's just flat out false.

Bubba

"If this collection of fact-check pieces is the best the media can do, it suggests that Obama's SOTU speech was an unusually factual one."

Really?

I thought Alito's fact checking of Obama was particularly succinct.

Best quote regarding SOTU came from James Taranto:

"How can you tell when President Obama is lying? Justice Samuel Alito's lips move."

glenwoodobserver

What should be more important? Bipartisanship? Or passing legislation?

Spag

According to "The Hill", Max Baucus "handpicked" the "Gang of Six", not Obama. That's three Republicans to work with three Democrats in the Senate Finance Committee. The sides can't reach an agreement, and the whole deal falls through. But it's the Republicans fault for being partisan.

How many GOP Senators are there? Do you know why the "Gang of Six" failed?

Andrew Brod

News flashes from Spag: Up is down. Day is night. Light is dark.

Andrew Brod

Yes, as Bubba notes, Alito thought Obama was wrong. But that's not the same as correcting a fact, and it doesn't imply that Obama was lying. The president made a prediction about the effect of the Citizens United decision; he did not state a fact that was right or wrong. Alito disagreed with Obama's assessment; he did not "fact-check" him. It's surprising (or maybe it's not) that this simple distinction is lost on Bubba.

justcorbly

Democrats accepted hundreds of GOP-sponsored amendments to health care reform legislation. Yet, no conservatives had the cojones to vote for it. One might be forgiven for thinking that those GOP amendments were simply a stalling tactic, and that, to conservatives, compromise means do it our way or not at all. Apparently, Spag does.

The actual truth is that conservatives don't really care if people can't afford health care, because they believe that the inability to buy everything you need is a sign of a personal failure so large that it absolves them of all ethical responsbililties.

Spag

Newsflash to smartass Andrew, maybe you should assert some facts to support your arguments or at least try to refute those you disagree with. Keep trying. You diminish your education with such pitiful retorts.

bubba

"It's surprising (or maybe it's not) that this simple distinction is lost on Bubba."

Your conclusion is a reach, even for you.

It's not surprising that you miss (or misunderstand)what happened. "You're wrong" represents fact checking, whether you like it, or not.

Anything else of no particular significance or value you feel the need to add?

cheripickr

"Democratic campaign ads should use footage of GOP reps sitting on their hands during the bank-bashing portion."

I sure hope so. Most voters are tired of leaders who lead by bashing, likewise those who cheer it.

Andrew Brod

Nope, I've got nothing more. If you guys really don't understand the difference between facts and opinions or between facts and projections, then... I guess you win.

Ed Cone

CP, I'm tired of negative ads, but they seem to work, at least sometimes.

In this case, I don't think an ad showing the GOP's position on banking reform would meet the definition of negative campaigning -- it's a legit issue, and it's legit to say how people vote on issues.

Account Deleted

When Obama and Dodd et all lead the league in corporate donations how could they do that with a straight face?

Ed Cone

Dodd go bye bye, fortunately.

Spag

No Andrew, that would make us all like Roch.

I cited "The Hill" as claiming that Baucus hand picked the Group of Six.

You have cited nothing nor advanced any arguments, but you have proven yourself to be quite adept at letting your arrogance exceed your abilities.

I think Ed is right about the GOP reaction to that particular passage being something the Democrats could use. I actually posted about the problems this issue and their reaction could cause for the GOP last night, which is why I thanked Ed for reading my blog.

Andrew Brod

With all these insults, it's beginning to feel like Spag's pulling my pigtails on the playground during recess, which of course implies that he likes me.

greensboro transplant

c'mon andrew.

obama did not make a "prediction" regarding the supreme court case. he made an a statement that foreign corporations would be able to spend freely on US elections. alito said that was not true. personally, i trust alito on this.

he also did not "project" that 2 million jobs were saved. he stated it as an approximation. it's an approximation that is clearly wrong.

surely you must understand this.

justcorbly

GT: Do you know of a convincing way for a corporation that receives foreign funding to demonstrate that none of the money it spends on politics comes from those sources?

Alito can point to what the court did and did not rule on, but, in politics, it's perception that counts. And the public's perception is that a great deal of foreign money has flowed into American corporations, and that the Supreme Court has just said corporations can use that money to influence elections.

The GOP is on the wrong side of this issue, as it is on getting tax money back from the banks. The public will assume the GOP is taking those two stances because it is paid by corportation and banks.

Andrew Brod

Let me explain, GT. Even the "fact-check" pieces on the 2-million-jobs claim acknowledge that the claim derives from administration economists' use of an econometric model. The 2 million figure is a projection and not a fact because it's the difference between two numbers, one known (how many jobs there are) and one unknown (how many jobs there would have been but for the stimulus). The former is a fact; the latter is not. Their difference, which Obama's economists calculated to be about 2 million, is the result of analysis and hence not a fact. Surely you must understand this.

If Obama had said that about 120 million Americans had jobs in December, that'd be factually wrong, because the number is closer to 131 million (seasonally adjusted). If his economists had used a model that was so bad it failed to meet "industry standards," then that'd be fair game too. But neither of these is what happened. Not all economists agree with the Obama economists' model, but it's a pretty standard model.

As for Alito, it's fine to trust his judgment more than Obama's on the Citizen's United decision. You (and Alito) might be right. But judgment is precisely what Alito's statement is, as informed as it may be. Two lawyers, one of them a Supreme Court Justice and one of them the president, disagree on the implications of the decision. Does that make one factually incorrect?

In general, the answer might be yes. If lawyer A says that a given law allows the ritual slaughter of chickens and lawyer B points to the clause that says "ritual slaughter of chickens is not allowed under this law," then yeah, lawyer A was factually wrong. But that's not what's going on here.

Roch101

Andrew, I do not know if it is a true lack of the ability to use logic or if the goal of contradiction simply trumps all reason, but you'll find a lot of arguing over process with many of our conservative commentators here.

Examples:

- When all premises are proven faulty, that still does not impugn the validity of the conclusion they supported. You can knock all the legs out from under a stool and some will still insist it is a fantastically solid seat.

- Opinion and fact are interchangeable, differentiated only by alignment with the political ideology -- agree and it's a fact, disagree and that's your opinion. There is no empirical reality. Even time must yield to ideology. If saying two days are four makes a stronger argument, then four days it is, the actual number of revolutions of the earth be damned.

- And my favorite, should you fail to capitulate to erroneous reasoning, faulty premises or demonstrably wrong facts, it is you who is the problem. If you refuse to jump on any runaway calamity train someone sends down the track, and instead point out that someone's thinking has jumped the rails, you are the one to be scolded for interrupting the argument.

Spag

2 U.S.C. 441e, the provision of federal law that bans foreign corporations from contributing- directly or indirectly to political campaigns is still intact and was not part of this decision.

That isn't an "opinion", that is a fact. Feel free to show me where it was struck down if any of you insist that is the case. Otherwise if you are honest you can man up and concede you were wrong, Obama was wrong, and Alito and those "evil conservative commentators" here were right. I realize that last one would be the most painful, but you should be getting used to it by now- at least in your mind even if your ego won't allow you to type the words.

The irony of Roch chastising anyone (wrongly) for confusing opinions with facts is also quite rich. My "favorite one" is the liberals here who can never admit they were wrong.

Andrew, you are the one who feels compelled to challenge me at every turn, usually ending up with the short end of the stick. Anyway, like so many others on this blog you are completely blind to your own snarkiness and insults. I have a policy that I don't insult anyone unless they insult me first, so if I have insulted you there is a reason for it.

Roch101

I am perfectly willing to admit when I've made a mistake. For example, I said above that Sam will bend time to his ideology by disconnecting the counting of days from the actual number of revolutions of the earth. I was wrong. I should have said that Sam will bend time to his ideology by disconnecting the counting of days from the actual number or rotations of the earth. My apologies.

Roch101

Ooops. Here's another mistake: I should have typed "actual number of rotations of the earth."

Spag

Keep hanging your hat on that one Roch. Nobody cares about your ridiculously petty argument. Tell me, is Sunday "next week" or "two days from now"? It can't be "next week" because a week means seven days...

You really have diminished the ability of people from all perspectives to take you seriously in the role you have assigned yourself as the arbiter of truth and accuracy. At the very least, you should learn to pick your battles better.

Roch101

Well, you've got me there, Sam.

Andrew Brod

Wow. I don't think I've ever called Spag a name or characterized him as anything (e.g. "arrogant"). Now of course I've characterized his statements. For example, I said recently that one of his claims was bizarre. And I've said more than once that I thought he was wrong. To most of us, that's called debate. To Spag and his delicate sensibilities, such disagreements are insults.

Anyway, my apologies to the thread for responding to such silliness.

Andrew Brod

Damn! I just insulted him again! What a monster I am. Stop me before I disagree again.

Bubba

"Damn! I just insulted him again! What a monster I am. Stop me before I disagree again."

You really don't know how or when to stop pushing your luck, do you?

greensboro transplant

andrew,

how about answering this one question. do you believe the 2million jobs number claim?

GT

Spag

"News flashes from Spag: Up is down. Day is night. Light is dark."

"If you guys really don't understand the difference between facts and opinions or between facts and projections, then... I guess you win."

Nothing insulting about that, huh Andrew?

Sorry, but you don't wear the victim card well here.

Ed Cone

Hey, did anyone watch the State of the Union speech?

Mick

Nope.

Andrew Brod

Fair enough, Spag. I called you an idiot. I apologize.

Andrew Brod

GT, thanks for understanding my point. What I think about the 2 million figure is that it comes from a valid econometric model run by smart people. My gut tells me it's right, but I'm more interested in whether the economics is right. And it appears to be.

Keep in mind that we've lost something like 7 million jobs since the recession started. Beyond that, the economy needs to create roughly 100,000 jobs per month just to keep up with the growth of the labor force. So we have nearly 10 million jobs less than if the recession hadn't happened. All the administration economists are saying is that it would have been 12 million without the stimulus. It's reasonable to argue whether preventing 1/6 of the total potential job losses was worth the cost of the stimulus. It's reasonable to argue that the true number is lower (or higher). It's not reasonable to argue that it's factually wrong.

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