David Kirkpatrick

May 27, 2010

Sestak-Gate

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:25 pm

This is some real inside baseball, but the issue is beginning to really percolate amongst some of the more fact-challenged areas on the right. The “issue” is did the White House offer Joe Sestak a White House position in exchange for quitting the Pennsylvania US Senate Democratic primary against Arlen Specter (a primary Sestak ended up winning), and if the Obama administration did so was that act illegal.

Jon Chait has been doing a bang-up job covering this “scandal” here, here and here (and I probably missed some older posts, that’s just the last three days.)

From the last link, here’s Chait’s very concise summation on why this is a complete non-starter and is being trumped up by those who are either very fact-challenged, or maybe just simply disingenuous:

I’ll keep saying this: A job offer is not a quid pro quo to get somebody out of a race. It is getting somebody out of a race. Accepting one job means you cannot run for another. It happens all the time — the White House appointed John McHugh Army Secretary in part to get him out of New York’s 23rd Congressional District. It offered Judd Gregg a cabinet slot in order to get him out of the Senate. This is completely routine, neither illegal no immoral nor especially unusual. Can’t we wait to appoint a special prosecutor until there’s at least some possibility of underlying illegal behavior?

The constant hammering on demonstrably false or outright wrong “facts” from quite an embarrassing many on the right is what has really turned me off of the GOP and right wing commentary over the last year or so. We need honest political debate in this country right now, not attacks built on misinformation or lies designed purely to score political points with a dwindling base. I thought the Republican Party was on something of an upswing this year, but clearly it’s still just thrashing about in death throes. Any success this November might be the worst possible thing for the long-term viability of the GOP brand and influence.

April 11, 2010

Maybe the economy is getting better

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:44 pm

I’ve been pretty gloomy on the economy for a while, but I agree with this quote:

“We’ve had a phenomenal run in asset classes across the board,” says Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for Miller Tabak + Co., an institutional trading firm in New York. “If Obama was a Republican, we would hear a never-ending drumbeat of news stories about markets voting in favor of the President.”

But a major aspect of my economic mindset over the last couple of years is things aren’t really better on the ground at Main Street, so I also agree with this quote from Jon Chait:

I think the interesting question right now is not whether the economy is due for strong growth, but whether and when that growth will create rising living standards. The recovery from the 1991 recession took years before it began producing wage gains. The recovery from the 2001 recession basically never produced real wage gains — essentially all the gains went into corporate profits and gains for the very rich. Moreover, there’s very little consensus as to why that happened. So we have no idea to what extent growth and higher productivity will create conditions that people have any reason to recognize as real growth.

March 25, 2010

How’s the weather in DC?

Jon Chait nails it.

From the link:

The psychology of victory and defeat is a remarkable thing. A week ago, the Democrats were perceived to have an enormous political problem. Their agenda was stalled in Congress. There was a mass groundswell of public anger they had to contend with.

Suddenly those problems have been flipped on their head. Now Democrats don’t have a problem because they can’t pass anything, Republicans have a problem because they’re obstructing everything. Whereas right-wing grassroots activism represented a public backlash against the Democrats, it’s now seen as an extremist element that discredits the GOP. Political reporters are starting to construct a seamless narrative connecting the over-the-top rhetoric from GOP and conservative leaders, the unusual acts of obstructionism and legislative retribution (like canceling unrelated hearings as revenge for health care reform), and sporadic vandalism and threats of violence. For example, see Dana Milbank’s column today.