Posts Tagged 'barack obama'

RCP: We’re Gonna Lie to You for More Clicks

The headline on a RealClearPolitics video from today:

Obama: Legalize illegals to get them health care

Wait, what?

And the pull-quotes from said video (which, oddly, the RCP staff pulled from a Washington Times article rather than from the video that’s being hosted on their own site. Yeah, I’m not qualified to work for you guys.):

“Even though I do not believe we can extend coverage to those who are here illegally, I also don’t simply believe we can simply ignore the fact that our immigration system is broken,” Mr. Obama said Wednesday evening in a speech to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. “That’s why I strongly support making sure folks who are here legally have access to affordable, quality health insurance under this plan, just like everybody else.

“If anything, this debate underscores the necessity of passing comprehensive immigration reform and resolving the issue of 12 million undocumented people living and working in this country once and for all.”

Does RCP honestly think that referencing immigration reform in a speech to Latinos is equivalent to saying, “let’s legalize illegals and give them health care?” Or have the Drudges of the world just blurred the lines so much that otherwise respectable outlets will stoop that low for a sweet headline?

Just because you’re quoting the Wash Times doesn’t mean you have to act like them.


Suite101 Article: “Should Polls Matter…?”

After much procrastinating, I finally wrote my first article for Suite101. Their formatting kind of annoys me — namely putting my lede in a little yellow box — but it’s a good way to get some exposure and clips.

Here’s a snippet, check it out…

Were one creating a Platonic Republic, one might even divvy up legislative responsibility according to expertise: for instance, assigning the teacher-turned-representative from Utah to deal with education and education alone.

The realities of this republic, however, afford neither the luxury of specialization nor, even, representation in the sense of a senator making his or her own decisions with the constituency’s blessing. The United States doesn’t work that way: a vote in November isn’t understood to be a blank check for the person elected. Electoral pressures make representation less a mandate to vote on the electorate’s behalf than an appointment to vote as the public demands, lest they be replaced in the future.

BaucusCare Criticisms

Today, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) pulled back the curtains on Baucus-care, the definitive Gang of Six Finance Committee health care opus magnum we’ve been hearing so much about.

For his trouble, Baucus has been teared into by just about everyone. Progressives hate it, chiefly because it scrapped the public option, and even the trigger compromise, in favor of non-profit private health insurance cooperatives. Conservatives hate it because it costs a bunch, doesn’t do much to make insurance more affordable for those who already have it, includes an individual mandate that carries a hefty (up to $3,800 a year for a household) fine, and cuts nearly $500 billion from Medicare¹.

Though the plan was released today, The New York Times already assembled a bunch of really smart people to dissect it.

Here’s some snippets of the more interesting critiques.

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What Health Care Debate?

Economist CoverNate Silver has a post up at FiveThirtyEight grading the Democrats efforts to learn from the mistakes of Clinton-care in selling a health plan. Spoiler alert: he gives out a lot of Fs.

Here’s the CliffsNotes of the CliffsNotes version (emphasis his):

Until the Democrats have a plan, they are unlikely to gain ground with the public on health care reform.

If some iteration of health care reform doesn’t pass in 2009, that will be the reason why. Because while it wasn’t unexpected to see a number of competing versions floating around the House and Senate — there is, after all, the bipartisan crowd to appeal to, not to mention moderate Democrats — you’d think that by now we’d have a front-runner of sorts, in the form of either a bill or at least a consensus on major elements.

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Thoughts On Gates-gate

Though it pains me to do so, I’m going to dip a toe into some sound byte coverage. (In case you’re wondering, the water kind of sucks. Case in point: some drivel from the Christian Science Monitor’s blog which has Bill Cosby weighing in on politics.)

The latest scandal over diction is President Obama’s comment that the arresting officer in the Henry Gates incident.

Here’s the CS Monitor with just the basic facts (Skip to the jump for my analysis. It’s blockquote time.):

According to the police report, police received a call that two men black were trying to break into Gates’s house. In fact, the two men were Gates and his driver, who were trying to open the front door, which was jammed.

Both sides have suggested that the other was argumentative. The police report says Gates eventually became verbally abusive, accusing the officer of suspecting him simply because he was black. He was arrested soon after and placed in jail for four hours.

Cambridge police officials claim that the incident was an unfortunate escalation of wills. “I think what went wrong is that you had two human beings that were reacting … and cooler heads did not prevail,” said Cambridge police spokeswoman Kelly Downes.

And here was Obama’s take, when asked for it at a health care presser:

Now, I don’t know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, what role race played in that, but I think it’s fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry; number two, that the Cambridge Police acted stupidly in arresting somebody when there was already proof that they were in their own home; and number three, what I think we know separate and apart from this incident is that there is a long history in this country of African Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately.  That’s just a fact.

This certainly doesn’t merit the coverage it’s garnered, but it’s certainly fair for the police to take offense to kinda/sorta being called stupid by the Most Eloquent Man in the World. Especially given that we now know there was a black officer at the scene, who since has backed up his white partner’s handling of the situation.

Here’s Obama’s clarification quip, which I find to be a very reasonable reaction.

I have to say I am surprised by the controversy surrounding my statement, because I think it was a pretty straightforward commentary that you probably don’t need to handcuff a guy, a middle-aged man who uses a cane, who’s in his own home.

And, finally, the only reason any of this is worth talking about.

The fact that it has garnered so much attention, I think, is testimony to the fact that these are issues that are still very sensitive here in America.

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The D.C. Press Corps vs. The Huffington Post

While there are legitimate complaints to be made against the institution of blogging, most in the traditional media who try come across as curmudgeonly old farts who, rather than adjust to the times, prefer to rail against the Internet as their intellectual forefathers might have done against the likes of the printing press or cotton gin.

The latest spat between Adriana Huffington’s ‘Post’ and the old guard in the D.C. press corps is no exception. Under the façade of seemingly legitimate complaints, the decidedly stuck-in-their-ways traditional media has attempted to create a controversy out of President Obama allowing a Huffington Post blogger — one Nico Pitney — to ask a question of him at a press conference. Oh, the horror.

(This is the president of the same party that recently credentialed bloggers for the Democratic National Convention and gave them a tent of their own, presumably furnished with the same Nintendo Wii’s, massage chairs and beer, all too conspicuously present despite the lack consistent wi-fi in the traditional media tent where I was working. In other words, this move shouldn’t have come as a surprise.)

The criticisms of the move are summed up nicely (though not necessary shared) by the New York Times in this article.

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The American Response to Iran

Ten days have passed since the Iranian election. And still, many persist in perpetuating the notion that — somehow — America has something to do with it. Part of this is a product of the nature of our media; the need to localize stories, even foreign ones, has framed much of the Iran happenings in terms of their relationship to America. But I suspect it stems more from American importance as the de facto hegemon in global politics. (Notice I didn’t say self-perceived importance; I do think America’s influence is both real and powerful in the global scheme. In a lot of ways, most everything does come back to the U.S. I’m just not sure if the stirrings of revolution in Iran do to the extent many think.)

The usually impeccable Economist even falls into the trap, asking foreign policy giant Joseph Nye in a recent Q&A, “It seems that Barack Obama has been somewhat successful in exporting hope and optimism to Iran. But if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad retains power, has Iran’s election shown up the limits of soft power?”

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About the Author

Brian Eason is a University of Missouri graduate with bachelor degrees in Journalism and Political Science. He has covered Congressional elections and local government for the Columbia Missourian and worked as a general assignment reporter for the State Journal-Register in Springfield, IL. Brian has also had articles published in Roll Call.