Posted by: Bluedog89
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas with wife Virginia.
Story by Kathleen Hennessey of the Los Angeles Times
As Virginia Thomas tells it in her soft-spoken, Midwestern cadence, the story of her involvement in the “tea party” movement is the tale of an average citizen in action.
“I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you,” she said at a recent panel discussion with tea party leaders in Washington. Thomas went on to count herself among those energized into action by President Obama’s “hard-left agenda.”
But Thomas is no ordinary activist.
She is the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and she has launched a tea-party-linked group that could test the traditional notions of political impartiality for the court.
In January, Virginia Thomas created Liberty Central Inc., a nonprofit lobbying group whose website will organize activism around a set of conservative “core principles,” she said.
The group plans to issue score cards for Congress members and be involved in the November election, although Thomas would not specify how. She said it would accept donations from various sources — including corporations — as allowed under campaign finance rules recently loosened by the Supreme Court.
Read the entire story at the Los Angeles Times.
_______________blogpost by Ogenec________________
Despite their fevered protestations, the two are like peas in a pod. And their disease is contagious.
In popular discourse, there is a pitched fight between “progressives” and “conservatives.” On just about every issue, you see signs of the partisan sniping: health care, the economy, foreign policy, etc. But as I’ve watched the spittle fly and the rhetoric spiral ever downward, I’ve reached two conclusions. First, the fight is not between progressives and conservatives; it’s between “neo-progressives” and “neo-conservatives.” Second, neo-progressives and neo-conservatives are much closer in thinking than they care to admit.
Right now you’re probably scratching your head in abject puzzlement. So let me try to explain. First up, what is a neo-progressive, anyway ? Well, we all know what a neo-con is, right? A neo-con is a person who wraps himself in the mantle of conservatism to advance policy goals — such as the “pre-emptive” war in Iraq — that are a complete perversion of conservatism. That same reasoning applies to neo-progressives: they wrap themselves in the mantle of the progressive moment to advance policy goals that are anything but. And, to the extent their goals are in fact progressive, the means by which they attempt to secure them are positively Roveian.
The Neo-con lineup
Let me illustrate the “similarity” point, which will also shed additional light on the first point. Take the inveighing against Wall Street and its bonus payouts.
I’m not so much focusing on the merits of the issue. But only pointing out that factions on both the left and the right share an extreme distaste for the bailouts. How they get there may be substantively different — the Extreme Left is anti Big Business, and the Extreme Right is anti government meddling in Big Business — but the result is the same. Both sides hate it, and both sides resort to the worst kind of economic populism to make their criticism heard. Both are holding the pitchforks. Or instigating others to do so.
Both Sides Against The Middle
How about foreign policy as another example? It’s a matter of record that neo-cons were instrumental in launching the war in Iraq. Progressives opposed that war, and rightly so. However, a more recent incident — the voting irregularities in Iran — shows just how closely aligned the neo-cons and the neo-progressives can be.
As is their wont, neo-conservatives argued for muscular rhetoric and saber-rattling against the Iranian government. That all-too-familiar drumbeat for “intervention” started up again. See, for example: “Her Name was Neda”. No surprise there, you say. But what was surprising was how closely this rhetoric was mirrored by some on the Left. They argued, just as the neo-conservatives did, that it was time for Obama to toughen his stance.
Neda Protest Sign
For example: Neda’s Martyrdom and the Pitfalls of Obama’s Chronic Pragmatism
Again, I’m not opining as to whether the Neda incident required greater intervention than the United States government provided. Only that conservatives and progressives found themselves in much the same place on this issue. This op-ed from June by E.J. Dionne makes the point:
The Liberals’ Iran Dilemma.
The last example is the most important one, as it pertains to the process of governing. As such, it pervades every issue.
Neo-conservatives in the Bush era, led by Cheney and David Addington, were fierce advocates of the “Unitary Executive” theory: that every ounce of legislative, political, and policy power should flow from the White House. That position, and the zeal with which Cheney and his underlings acted on it, led directly to such outrages as the doctoring of intelligence for the Iraq war; the shameful outing of Valerie Plame; the Justice Department firings; and the politicization of science education. Given its shameful provenance, you would think that progressives would be the first to disavow such an approach. And, in fact, real progressives do.
Click for more information
But not neo-progressives. They want Obama to act just as high-handedly as Bush-Cheney did. They want all power to flow through the White House, and for Obama to ramrod through their preferred policy prescriptions already. The problem with Bush, it turns out, is not how he implemented policy but the actual policies themselves: if you just changed the policy preferences but kept the Bush method, we’d be golden!!! Oh, they don’t say it quite so blatantly, of course. They hide behind codewords like “spineless” and “gutless,” and they bemoan things like bipartisanship, a word they can barely bring themselves to say without a lip-curling sneer. But that’s what they mean.
So the next time some “progressive” says Obama needs to steamroll the conservatives already, you turn around and say “shut the f**k up, you stupid neo-progressives. We’ve had quite enough of that take-no-prisoners approach, and the adults are back in charge.” And point ’em to this excellent Dkos diary by AZDem, which makes the point that true liberals display “Niebuhrian humility”: “The Myth of Certainty” Certainty, that’s for neo-conservatives. And neo-progressives. Despite their fevered protestations, the two are like peas in a pod. And their disease is contagious, so it’s best to stay away from both types altogether. Especially during flu season.
Related article: Obama and the Left’s Old Schism
posted by GeoT
Some Republicans worry the party could squander an opportunity because they come off looking shallow, sharply partisan or just plain odd…
Many top Republicans are growing worried that the party’s chances for reversing its electoral routs of 2006 and 2008 are being wounded by the flamboyant rhetoric and angry tone of conservative activists and media personalities, according to interviews with GOP officials and operatives.
Congressional leaders talk in private of being boxed in by commentators such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh — figures who are wildly popular with the conservative base but wildly controversial among other parts of the electorate, and who have proven records of making life miserable for senators and House members critical of their views or influence.
2 X Cuckoo
Some of the leading 2012 candidates are described by operatives as grappling with the same tension. The challenge is to tap into the richest source of energy in the party — the disgust of grass-roots conservative activists with President Barack Obama and their hunger for a full-throated attack on his agenda — without coming off to the broader public as cranky and extreme.
Mitt Romney has purposely kept a lower profile and stuck to speeches on specific policy issues, in part to avoid the early trade-off between placating party activists and appearing presidential. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, one of the most active potential opponents for Obama in 2012, said that media portrayals of a narrow-minded party could make it harder to attract the middle-of-the-road voters needed to make the GOP a majority party again.
2012 GOP Contenders
“The commentators are part of the coalition, not the whole coalition,” Pawlenty said in a phone interview. “The party needs to be about addition, not subtraction — but not at the expense of watering down its principles.”
“We need more voices,” said House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of the party’s up-and-coming leaders. “Our party’s challenge has been that we need to be more inclusive — we need to attract the middle again. … When one party controls all the levers of power in Washington, they’re going to try and villainize whoever they can on our side. It gives us an opportunity now to try and harness the energy and point it in a positive direction, so that we can attract the middle of the country to the common-sense conservative views that we have been about as a party.”
Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA)
Read The Article Here: Jim VandeHei, Mike Allen
Posted by TheLCster
ThinkProgress/Pat Garofalo—Fox News has been pushing back on White House Communications Director Anita Dunn’s assertion that the network is “a wing of the Republican Party” by arguing that “its news hours — 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. on weekdays — are objective.” Fox Political Analyst Brit Hume added that “if Fox News really were a GOP mouthpiece, the White House would not be attacking it.” However, Fox’s “objective” news hosts have literally served as the GOP “communications arm” when discussing the economic stimulus package and job creation. In July, House Republicans took to the floor to repeat the mantra “where are the jobs?” And Fox’s anchors, led by America’s Newsroom co-host Bill Hemmer, have adopted the phrase as their own, repeating it over and over on their “news” shows.
Watch a great video compilation from Think Progress.
Posted by Audiegrl
The Nation/Ari Melber—The White House’s battle with Fox News reached a new high on Sunday, when Communications Director Anita Dunn went on national television to blast Fox as a partisan organization that functions as an appendage to the Republican Party.
“Fox News often operates almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party,” Dunn told CNN, adding, “let’s not pretend [Fox is] a news organization like CNN is.” Dunn also took her beef to the New York Times, saying in a Sunday interview that Fox is “undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House [and] we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”
In the most significant exchange on CNN, Dunn stressed that President Obama now personally views Fox as a partisan opponent, rather than a journalistic organization. “When he goes on Fox he understands he is not going on it as a news network at this point,” she explained, “he is going on it to debate the opposition.”
That’s a big departure from how most of the Democratic establishment engages Fox. It’s been a long time coming.
While rank and file Democrats view Fox News as an obviously hostile force, elected Democrats have long struggled over whether to engage or fight the channel. In fact, the Democratic establishment even agreed to empower Fox as an official host and moderator of a debate during the presidential primaries — but that bit of self-handicapping was scuttled after a coalition of progressive bloggers and activists objected. By the homestretch of the presidential campaign, Obama’s campaign dialed up the heat, aggressively confronting Fox with pointed barbs from senior staff, surrogates and sometimes the candidate. (And who can forget Robert Gibbs turning the tables on Sean Hannity on Fox last October?)
Ari Melber’s commentary has appeared in The Nation Online, The Baltimore Sun, The New York Post, The Times Union, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Kirkus Reviews, The Huffington Post, The Forward, Alternet.org and TomPaine.com. Melber served as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and as a national staff member on the 2004 presidential campaign of John Kerry. He was born and raised in Seattle and he currently lives in New York.
ThinkProgress/Matt Corley—In a new survey of how the public views the news media, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press found that “partisan differences in views of Fox News have increased substantially since 2007.” Though the percentage of Republicans who view Fox News positively is virtually the same (73 percent in 2007 and 72 percent in 2009), positive views of Fox News have dropped significantly amongst Democrats from 61 percent in 2007 to 43 percent in 2009. In comparison, the view of CNN by both Republicans and Democrats is “little changed from two years ago.”
(44diaries welcomes Ogenec to our family of contributors!)
posted by Ogenic
Is the Right, well, right? If you, dear reader, are a Democrat, then you probably just shouted “hell no!!!” or words of similar effect. And yet, there are disturbing portents that Democrats wish to ape Republicans in a number of ways. First, you hear many Democrats mumble under their breath that they wish Obama were more like Bush when it comes to forcing his agenda through Congress, damn the consequences. The problem, they complain, is that nobody “fears” Obama. Dear God. Haven’t we learned the consequences of a government that uses fear as its primary motivational tool???
Second, Democrats are proving to be just as vengeful as Republicans. Remember how Democrats — correctly — rose up in arms when Republicans refused to be requited by Obama’s apology in the
Gates incident? We denounced their antics for what they were — less about actual contrition and forgiveness, and more about keeping an explosive and divisive issue festering. Well, Democrats are pulling the same trick with Joe Wilson. I’ll stipulate that the man is a disgrace. But he apologized and Obama accepted his apology. Why, then, the push to censure him on the House floor, or exact some other form of retribution?
The reason, of course, is that it is not about punishing him for some breach of decorum. It is about partisanship: firing up the base, and fundraising. Which is great. Except it is a double-edged sword. Sure, Joe Wilson’s opponent has raked in a million dollars since The Outburst. But umm, newsflash — so has Joe Wilson. In this perpetual game of partisanship, neither side wins. Meanwhile, lost in all of this petty bickering are the people, whose real concerns go unattended to. As the African proverb so eloquently puts it, “When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.” (The quick-witted among you should resist the urge to point out that, technically speaking, I’m complaining about a fight between an elephant and a donkey. The point still holds.)
I didn’t just vote for Obama because I thought he had the right ideas. I voted for him because he promised to try to bring an end to the increasing bitterness and rancor in today’s politics. Sure, six months in, Republicans have shown little interest in joining Obama to forge a bipartisan path. So now what? If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em? I would argue that Obama’s task is made harder, not easier, when we resort to these kinds of tactics. Because if Obama cannot get his team to play nice(r), then there is absolutely no reason for the other side to give an inch.
And the weird thing is, I’m starting to think that many Democrats like it that way. Enough with this rapprochement, they seem to be saying. This is a war, and you shoot ’em dead between the eyes. You don’t make nice with the enemy. And you make sure they fear you, literally quake with terror when your name is mentioned. That, they say with a stern visage, is how you win in Washington.
I have two pieces of advice for such folks. Go read Animal Farm, because you strike me as Democrats of the “Four legs good, two legs better” variety. Also read this from Michael Kinsley:
“Free Joe Wilson Enough With the Phony Umbrage”
Moral: the way Democrats advance their agenda is just as important as the substance of their agenda, if not more so.