Why 2012 Will Be a “Close” Election

Guest Post: By Joan Ruaiz

I so wish I could tell you that the upcoming general election will be close, and that it will be due to the life-and-death seriousness of the issues as they relate to our economy, the environment and our foreign policy — but I cannot honestly say this.  I do believe that the 2012 election will be close, but for the wrong reasons; one being that it is how media conglomerates generate large sums for themselves during an election year.  So when the media crows again how this will not only be close, but the most expensive ever, don’t think they aren’t at the same time counting on the millions they will earn throughout.

We must understand that the protracted Obama-Hillary primary wars of 2008 were a boon to media coffers!  Couple that with the birth of the limitless Super PACs (thanks to our Republican-dominated SCOTUS), and you can easily see what I see: media mavens relying on  their potential earnings after facing lean advertising years. If you hadn’t thought about it before, think about it now, while closely observing how desperately reporters are handling the Republican primaries. It may seem quite entertaining at the moment (to some of us), but I would respectfully suggest that we ought to be preparing for what is to come in the general.

Speaking of the current sorry-ass Republican primaries, it is mighty strange that although there is only one halfway electable Republican left standing, we are now witnessing a media-termed “horse race” as we head toward Super PAC-spending Tuesday. It’s not because the alternative candidates to Romney are actually worth anything (because they aren’t); it is because the faster the Republican Primaries end, the less money the Super PAC will spend, and that would greatly reduce the media’s anticipated advertising windfall.

Look, it’s no accident that the media has been all over candidate Romney since his big win in New Hampshire.  At the exact time the announcement was made that Mitt held an insurmountable double-digit lead in South Carolina polls, the corporate media got hella serious!   To add to the media’s trouble, GOP candidates were dropping like flies, Mitt Romney reeked of the inevitable stench, and the primary season was ending before it had started.  But by golly, all was not lost, as we witnessed the re-resurrection of the twice-fallen Newt in just 7 days!  I will add that this wasn’t an easy get by any means. Just ask Ginger Chuckie on MSNBC; he seemed quite exhausted with that renewed Newt surge!

Yes, truth be told, our poor corporate media has had the hardest time coming up with a plausible scenario to get that primary GOP Super PAC money bomb coming their way, considering what they were given to work with! It isn’t typical of our media to get so resourceful as to report on the manner in which a GOP millionaire candidate built his fortune, or to just allow GOP candidates to be dumb enough to literally destroy each other, after all that St. Reagan preached on that subject!  The media corporations, after all, are not left-leaning, nor have they been for quite some time.  No, the media corporations lean green with greed, and we shouldn’t allow ourselves to forget that.

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Is Candy Crowley Getting Paid For The Work She’s Doing For Romney?

Steve Benen put up a post the other day about an exchange between Candy Crowley and David Axelrod that is a perfect illustration of how the media has morphed into stenographers for politicians, mostly Republicans. Many in the media have abandoned critical thinking and analysis in lieu of the easy routes – polls, talking points and false equivalency nonsense.

Here is the exchange that has Candy Crowley doing the heavy lifting for the Romney campaign.

CROWLEY: But couldn’t that huge gap, which is a pretty big gap between those who think you could handle the economy as opposed to Mitt Romney — couldn’t it also be that, from the day — from the month the president took office, we still have 1.7 million fewer jobs in the marketplace?

AXLEROD: Candy, let’s have — you know what, I’m happy to have that discussion. Do you know that, when he was campaigning for president in 2007 and 2008, Governor Romney had nothing but praise for the economic policies that were in place at that time, as America was sliding into the worst recession since the Great Depression, after eight years in which we…

CROWLEY: But this isn’t Romney. This is a fact.

Steve Benen goes on to point out that in the first 6 months of the Obama presidency, the country lost 3.89 million jobs. And yes, President Obama was president at the time of those job losses, but if anyone thinks that a single thing that President Obama did in that first 6 months had ANYTHING to do with the job losses, they are seriously deluded.

Here is a chart that shows the number of job losses/gains over the last 10 years or so.

Courtesy of Steve Benen at The Washington Monthly

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Political Mythbusters: There Never Was A White House Deal To Kill The Public Option, Stop Lying!

There have been many lies circulated about President Obama over the last 3 years, but the one that seems to have poisoned the water from the beginning is the lie that President Obama struck a deal to keep the public option out of the final health care bill. It has formed the basis of the “caved” meme that people on the left, most of whom never supported Obama as a candidate, have used to feed their irrational hatred for our president.

The lie has taken on epic proportions as it’s morphed over the years. Recently, I’ve had liberal friends throw it in my face when I’ve shown my support for our very accomplished president. The lying has to stop!

The birth of the “public option” lie

The original source from which the lie was created, is an article that David Kirkpatrick wrote in the New York Times about the active role that President Obama was taking in crafting the health care law. There were two mentions of the “public option” in the entire article, one was in reference to what the Democrats in the house were pushing and the other contradicts the lie completely. Rep. Henry Waxman was quoted in the article.

The president has said he wants a public option to keep everybody honest. He hasn’t said he wants a co-op as a public option.”

You really can’t get any more clear than that, can you? In the article that is the source for the public option lie, there is a quote from a respected member of the House saying that the president wants a public option. And to be fair to the author, he never even implies that the public option was part of the deal.

The New York Times article also discusses how the White House was more hands-on with the Senate Finance Committee than with other congressional committees. What is implicit in this analysis is that the White House understood that, as with every piece of legislation the administration supported, it was the Senate that posed the biggest impediment to achieving comprehensive health care reform.

There was another quote from earlier in the article that many used as the basis for the lie. It is an explanation of the deal that caps the costs for hospitals.

Hospital industry lobbyists, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating the White House, say they negotiated their $155 billion in concessions with Mr. Baucus and the administration in tandem. House staff members were present, including for at least one White House meeting, but their role was peripheral, the lobbyists said.

Several hospital lobbyists involved in the White House deals said it was understood as a condition of their support that the final legislation would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private sector rates — or controlled by the secretary of health and human services.

There is nothing in those two paragraphs that says anything about a deal on the public option, it is talking very specifically about costs to hospitals and reimbursement rates for patients on Medicare. The sentence “would not include a government-run health plan paying Medicare rates — generally 80 percent of private rates…” is poorly worded and could easily be misinterpreted, especially by people searching for a reason to hate the President.

If you read David Kirkpatrick’s words carefully, you see that the deal was on reimbursement rates and how they wouldn’t be the 80% that Medicare generally pays, which was a sore spot for hospitals.

Here is another example of that same idea, worded slightly better, but with selective placement of quotation marks. Tom Daschle wasn’t happy with the authors characterization of his words and corrected it in an update.

Daschle writes. “The other was that it would contain no public health plan,” which would have reimbursed hospitals at a lower rate than private insurers.

Once again, if you were to stop reading after the words “health plan”, you wouldn’t have gotten the entire meaning of the sentence. Experience tells me that the Obama-haters aren’t interested in the truth, only that which fits with their preconceived memes.

Tom Daschle sent a note to the author clarifying his comments and making it very clear that there was no deal on the public option.

“In describing some of the challenges to passage of the public option in the health reform bill, I did not mean to suggest in any way that the President was not committed to it. The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House. While I was disappointed that the public option was not included in the final legislation, the Affordable Care Act remains a tremendous achievement for the President and the nation.” (emphasis mine)

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Is The Herman Cain Trainwreck Over Yet?

I’ve been incredulous when it comes to Herman Cain since he came on the scene. He’s just one of the sideshows of the political circus that the media is fully invested in these days. I suppose we have to have something to laugh at and make fun of along the way.

I wrote Cain off immediately when I heard some of the crazy stuff he was saying about Muslims and his overall lack of seriousness on almost every issue.

He’s a shameless self promoter and good for him if he can get the brain dead media to play along and improve his brand. You can pretty much take it to the bank that he will end up on Fox News or who knows, maybe MSNBC — they seem to be trying to play catch up to Fox News these days.

The pattern that the media and the Washington talking heads perpetuate is to bring attention to someone or something, elevate it by repeating and nourishing it. Take a poll about it, which registers all the attention it just received. Then, use the poll to justify talking about it some more. When the media grows tired of it, they either tear it down or just ignore it and move onto the next sideshow. I know I’m not the only one who sees this pattern.

Herman Cain has had a pretty long run at it so far, considering all the missteps he’s made along the way. There certainly is no shortage of gaffes when it comes to Herman Cain’s ride on the media merry-go-round. Here is just one example from Roland Martin’s blog, go read the rest.

1) Nein! Nein! Nein!

The Foot: Herman Cain’s controversial tax plan, the 9-9-9 Plan. He says it will promote fairness in our tax code. Critics say it will shift the tax burden on the poor and middle class.

Moment When Foot Entered Mouth: During a series of debates, Cain’s idea repeatedly got punched in the face with the most fatal blows coming from just about everyone else on the stage, including Mitt Romney during the Las Vegas debate when it turned into an embarrassing discussion of “Apples v. Oranges,” and during the Bloomberg News debate when Michele Bachmanntotally went there and said 9-9-9 was a little too close to 6-6-6Cain’s not Abel! He’s got the Mark of the Beast, according to Bachmann! The power of Christ compells you!

Ultimate Foot Fatality: The makers of the video game Sim City point out Cain’s advisors may have ripped of the 9-9-9 plan from their game, Sim City 4, which was like crack to me.

Cain’s Response: He tried to tweak the plan and still insists that it works. Cain has said 9-9-9 so many times, my mother doesn’t call him Herman Cain, but the “9-9-9 Man.” Typical conversation: “Danielle, did you hear what that crazy 9-9-9 man said today?”

I love the part where Bachmann thinks that 999 is just a little too close to 666. Tell me this shit isn’t funny?

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The Republican Takeover Of The Sunday Morning “News” Shows

On my cable system, I’m forced to choose which Sunday morning news shows I watch.

My game plan recently has been to watch Chris Hayes’ new show until 9am, then I switch over to Meet the Press, followed by This Week and then I top it off with Howie Kurtz’s show Reliable Sources. Sometimes I catch Fareed Zakaria’s GPS on the repeat, depending on when the Detroit Lions are playing.

This last Sunday, Meet the Press had the following lineup.

Former Gov. Bill Richardson (D-NM), 2008 Presidential Candidate – Great guy, thankfully there was a Democrat somewhere to be found on Sunday!

Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS), Former RNC Chairman – Who considering his history on race, probably shouldn’t be elevated to talking head status on a major network.

Alex Castellanos, Republican Strategist – Who was responsible for the racist ad for Jesse Helms called “Hands”.

Kim Strassel, Editorial Board Member, Wall Street Journal – Strassel has a long history of wingnuttery.

Chris Matthews, Host, MSNBC’s “Hardball” – What can you say about Chris, he’s like the crazy uncle who goes in and out of reality.

Maggie Haberman, Senior Political Writer, POLITICO – Who came to Politico via Rupert Murdoch, a great fit for her.

At 10 o’clock, I switched over to This Week with Christine Amanpour and was treated to this lineup.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio – Ringmaster of the Republican circus.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. – President Bush’s greatest enabler, or at least one of them.

And then the following panel, which couldn’t have been any better for Republicans had it been on Fox News.

George Will – I like to refer to him as “Hair Wedge George”, defender of all things conservative, facts are malleable to him.

Arianna Huffington – The Newt Gingrich protegé who has made a lot of money from liberal anger during the Bush years, but has never strayed from her Republican roots.

Niall Ferguson – This man absolutely hates President Obama and doesn’t hide it very well at all. I’ve seen him foam at the mouth.

Matthew Dowd – He was the chief strategist for President Bush’s 2004 campaign. You can imagine how he leans, right?

Those are the two broadcast network shows that I watch on Sunday mornings and as a political junky, I’ve always loved to watch the back and forth between representatives or surrogates from each party. For decades, all the Sunday morning shows had an unwritten rule (so it seemed) to balance out the show with representatives from both sides of the political aisle – sometimes even giving third party candidates like John Anderson and Ross Perot time. I absolutely loved it, it was like a ping pong match, back and forth, sometimes one side got a slam in, sometimes the other. I always scored it in my head, which party got the best of the other from week to week. Good times!

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With Friends Like Michael Moore, Who Needs Enemies?

Michael Moore is often dead on with his critiques of Republicans and many times with Democrats as well, but just like with his films, he often makes the facts fit whatever narrative he is trying to push.

Like many others in the “firebagger brigade”, since the election of President Obama, he spends most of his time criticizing Democrats. Personally, I’m sick of his whiny “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” shtick and based on the actions he takes every election cycle, he doesn’t seem very concerned about electing liberals to office. If he were, he would be more careful about what comes out of his pie hole. In fact, I see his shtick as very harmful to liberal politicians.

There was a clip flying around the internet the other day in which Michael Moore imparts his wisdom to us on politics and tells us why the 2010 elections favored the Republicans. For those of you who are aware of reality, it’s maddening to watch. It is a perfect example of the type of hyperbole that Moore employs and how he will say whatever he needs to — in order to push his narrative and thus his brand. Roll tape:

For those of you who can’t watch clips online, here is my rush transcript of his idiotic, uninformed rant.

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The Political Power of Cable TV Shock-Jockery

The following post is new to this blog, but is from a while back. Well worth reading, you will see.

Guest Blogger: theangryliberal

While the exceedingly cool members of this nation were celebrating some success, the cable news media was at it again. Let’s review for a moment and be thrilled about the events that took place, leading to the exhilarating events of last night,   Roy McDonald broke with his party, when he told reporters June 15, 2011 this: “F**k it, I don’t care what you think. I’m trying to do the right thing.” And with that, the line of demarcation was absolutely shattered. Then other members defected, and with a stroke of a pen Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law. Marriage equality now exists in NY State.  His speech was stirring. I predict he  will run for the Presidency in 2016, and he can win, if we don’t let the very powerful media destroy Democrats one more time. They certainly are attempting to

So, what happened to Rachel Maddow last night? Did she decide to take classes at Beck U, the propaganda arm of the Center for Shock Jockery? Umm humm, I am pretty sure she did make a stop by there to pick up pamphlets, because that BS meme she wants to push, “The President is against what happened today” (last night) is an outright lie. She too has crossed the line, one where she balanced on a thin line separating her from the other cable news shock jocks, and some decently researched stories. What the hell just happened? Did her rating reflect that the more Outrageous the story she can push about the President, the more viewers she gets? I would like to know, it seems to be a relevant question, is there a correlation between  a shocking bumper sticker slogan that says, “The President is against what happened today”, what? Come again? That is your astute analysis even though it is demonstrably wrong if we just take the DADT issue and the decision by the Justice Dept. not to defend DOMA on any grounds.  Geez, what trite, ridiculous drivel. I thought of  Maddow as one of the least offensive cable tv shock jocks, sometimes she even does some in-depth news-like stories.  She joins a list of people at MSNBC who take their shock-jockery seriously, first and foremost, one Chris Matthews, who is outraged on a daily basis, his new obsession is Michelle “wandering eye” Bachmann, “my hero! she is going to go all the way, he exclaimed excitedly to Bill Maher on Real Time June 17, 2011. What is that exactly, it feels like a dude who calls himself a journalist, is trying But the Matthews effect covers a large area at MSNBC, like its Fox nemesis,  outrage is the one and only agenda.  Keep this in mind, when I get to Ralph Nader and the Media.

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When White Liberals Attack – Gene Lyons On Race

Melissa Harris-Perry wrote a very thoughtful piece exploring the reasons why President Obama, with his many successes in the face of great opposition, is struggling in the polls with white liberals. It is something I’ve been frustrated with since before the President was sworn in — when people on the left began attacking him about his appointments to various cabinet positions.

At first, I didn’t want to believe that race was a large part of that equation and chalked a lot of it up to “bitterness” left over from the contentious primary fight with Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich and the others. But as his presidency progressed and more evidence continued to pile up, I, as a white liberal, began to see that the source of a lot of that disrespect and vitriol clearly was coming from an elitist and superior attitude, much of it rooted in race.

If you haven’t been following the story, I recommend you read Joy Reid’s piece at The Reid Report. She gives some background on the reaction to some on the left to Harris-Perry’s powerful post.

My first instinct whenever I come across something that is clearly over-the-top rhetoric is to attempt to find out the source of that vitriol. Strong opinions don’t usually materialize out of thin air, they come from somewhere and I like to find out where. Using the Google machine, I decided to go back and read some previous writing by Gene Lyons as it relates to race and particularly, President Obama. What I found was quite shocking, in my opinion. You decide for yourself.

On matters of race, I’ve learned as a white, 49 year old male to listen and defer to those who have a closer connection to the effects of racism. What the hell do I know about suffering from racism, other than what I can learn from those who have suffered through it. It’s impossible for me to completely understand what it is like without having experienced it. I’ve accepted that fact and when a person of color speaks about it, I listen and try to internalize it.

One person that I listen to very intently is Melissa Harris-Perry, a very wise and thoughtful person who always makes sense to me whenever I hear her speak or read her words.

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Democrat Wins In West Virginia After The GOP Makes It All About Obama

West Virginia is a very conservative state and in the special election for governor that happened yesterday, the Republicans spent nearly twice as much as the Democrats on the race. The Republicans went out of their way to tie President Obama to the Democratic candidate, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and how did that work out for them?

Governor Tomblin won the election and thwarted the media’s plans to continue their anti-Obama narrative — the one that makes the President responsible for every election in every state. Individual candidates don’t matter anymore to the media, everything is a referendum on President Obama. I’m waiting for the media to blame the drain commissioner election in my township on President Obama, oh shit, maybe I shouldn’t have tipped them off.

There never seems to be any referendum on the Republican controlled House that hasn’t created one fucking job yet, hasn’t even tried to create one job and in fact, has been trying to do the opposite by playing games with the debt ceiling and anything else that is game-worthy.

It isn’t just speculation that the media was dying to continue their blame-it-all-on-Obama strategy, Mark Halperin came right out and admitted it.

Given the Republican strategy, some in the media seemed eager to seize on the race as an example of a president facing a political crisis. Mark Halperin conceded overnight, “If the GOPer had won, the national narrative would have been that Obama was the issue.” Coming on the heels of two Democratic defeats in congressional special elections, the “Dems in disarray” coverage was going to be intense.

Given that the Democrat won, even with the Republican’s outspending and trying to make it a referendum on President Obama, I’m sure the media will start a new narrative about how the President’s push for the jobs bill and his campaigning across the country is the reason for the Democratic win. I’m just sure of it.

Anyone who thinks that the cable media and much of the print media is liberal needs to have their head examined. The Democrats and the President have been enduring the right wing lies that ooze from Fox News on the half hour for years. But what is even more troubling is the anti-Obama slant that is coming from the supposed left leaning MSNBC and the new TeaNN (CNN), which has hitched it’s wagon to the Tea Party crowd.

I’ll leave you with an example that was probably missed by most people. This morning on CNN, they were talking about the Hank Williams Jr. story and his “apology” about his remarks on Fox News comparing President Obama and Speaker Boehner to Hitler and Netanyahu and then showing his great intellect by calling Obama and Biden the Three Stooges. Christine Romans, during some cross talk, said something like, maybe Hank should apologize to the Three Stooges. W.T.F.? No bias there, right?