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Elizabeth Drew Wants a Better President, Also a Pony

11:24 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

A pony for Elizabeth (photo: Tambako the Jaguar)

A pony for Elizabeth (photo: Tambako the Jaguar)

You can hardly blame the growing number of decent folks, long respected, admired writers like Elizabeth Drew, who are now, or still, calling on Barack Obama to stop being a wimp, a disappointment, a terrible negotiator, or a betrayer to his people, principles and Party and become a better President. But he won’t, people, so what’s plan B?

I’m a great fan of Ms. Drew; have been for, um, decades. In her now widely seen article, she joins many others urging Mr. Obama to just say no to the economic terrorists holding the government, its credit, its finances and its functions hostage. Just demand a clean, no strings bill to raise the debt limit and tell the nation, and the Tea-GOP, that he’s had enough. The nation would cheer.

The problem with all such urgings is they assume the President is being forced to accept terrible public policy, and that only a stiffer spine, backed by his supporters, or perhaps a more clever bargaining strategy, would release the inner President he keeps hidden. Read the rest of this entry →

Move Over Doug Feith: Lawrence O’Donnell Has a Friend

7:10 am in Economy, Politics, Uncategorized by Scarecrow

There’s a fascinating, or should I say, depressing, debate occurring in Washington over how much federal spending should be cut as a condition for raising the debt ceiling, which everyone except the Tea-GOP crazies understands must be raised. There is a somewhat less important debate about the President’s strategy in getting to an answer.

Over several nights, MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell (Last Word) has argued that Mr. Obama has pursued a brilliant strategy that has not only split the Republicans over their unwillingness to accept any tax increases but also put him in an advantageous position for getting a “clean” debt limit bill without egregious cuts, as well as gaining political traction as the only responsible adult in the room.

I’ve noted that this theory, while implying Mr. Obama is lying, conveniently ignores important facts and consequences about Mr Obama’s assumed strategy.

Never mind that with Mr. Obama’s consent/direction, Harry Reid is trying to make the “clean” bill as dirty as he can so that a least a few Tea-GOPs can vote for it and not force cowardly Democratic Blue Dogs to vote as though the country was more important than their reelection. I’ll only add that in yesterday’s press conference, the President reinforced points that increase my concerns about the economic message he keeps sending.

The President has again told voters that dramatically reducing our debt has to be the nation’s priority; we can’t fix the economy nor adequately relieve the real unemployment crisis unless we first solve the faux debt problem. So if we only raise the debt limit (McConnell’s original “clean” bill that Mr. O’Donnell thinks is Obama’s clever goal) without a major “down payment” on debt reduction, Washington and voters will continue to be preoccupied by the debt.

Well, as long as the President and the Tea-GOP both insist that we can’t fix the economy or create enough jobs unless we dramatically reduce the debt, then there’s no reason to expect this President or this Congress to fix the economy or create enough jobs.

That’s a very clever argument for not fixing the economy or creating jobs, or being blamed for it, but apparently, the perversity of relentlessly promoting that false belief has escaped Mr. Obama’s supporters, who seem to pay no heed to the dozens of economists telling us our leaders have their priorities backwards.

Pointing out this perversity is causing severe angst among Obama fans, who have now latched onto Lawrence O’Donnell’s lecturing progressives for their thoughtless criticism of Mr. Obama’s brilliant strategy.

In this wondrous article, progressives are accused of being naive, ignorant of American history, hypocrites in complaining about raising retirement ages now but ignoring that already happened, and best of all, simply too young and immature to know much, compared to O’Donnell who knows how to use a computer to edit the number in the debt limit statute. Read it all; it’s a treasure.

So what evidence is there of these crimes, and particularly the crime that hypocritical progressives are indifferent to the current eligibility ages in Medicare and Social Security?

I guess that when most progressives were proposing, in the health care debate, that Medicare be extended to everyone, or failing that, at least extending it down to 55, and failing that, at least let people buy into Medicare as an option on the Exchanges, and failing that, at least offer a public option linked to Medicare rates on the exchange that might one day become the equivalent of Medicare, that must have meant that none of us ever had a problem with raising the eligibility age of Medicare.

And when progressives argued for temporarily lowering the age for Social Security to help relieve the jobless crisis, and when Jane Hamsher this week front paged an article by James K. Galbraith in which, among other things, Professor Galbraith recommends, as he did in 2009, that we lower the eligibility age for Social Security at least temporarily as a jobs recovery measure, and when Jon Walker and I (and probably many others) endorsed that idea during the stimulus debates and again when they first started talking about “reforming” Social Security, and when we noted during the Cat Food deliberations that it was looney to consider raising the eligibility age further when millions of newly jobless were already being pushed prematurely onto lower benefit levels of Social Security and Medicare, that that obviously meant progressives were just fine with the fact the eligibility age for full benefits had been raised already.

It’s only slightly annoying that, without having any facts, Mr. O’Donnell’s friend assumes that those of us criticizing Mr. Obama’s economic views and who oppose putting Medicare and Social Security benefit cuts on the table must be too young and immature to remember much history. Ignoring the gratuitous insult to younger people, many of us are retirement age or older, and some of us recall being drafted to help kill little brown people in Vietnam. I guess none of us was wise enough to learn anything about politicians claiming to be against things like needless war and torture and indefinite detention but then engaging in or covering for them.

It is no revelation that Mr. Obama may think he can benefit with independents by insulting progressives. And it’s possible that when progressives push back, that helps him in some perverse way disconnected from the public interest. He and his brilliant political team now have the economy languishing, unemployment at 9.2 to 17 percent and the Tea-GOP holding US credit and the economy hostage. They’ve got him running several points behind the generic representative of one of the stupidest, most destructive political parties in American history. But O’Donnell’s friend concludes that every time progressives push back against Mr. Obama’s flawed policies, they’re helping Mr. Obama.

By that logic, the way for progressives to pressure the Administration to adopt policies in line with progressive values is to stand on a chair and clap as hard as they can every time the President reenforces Tea-GOP talking points, publicly criticizes liberals or undermines the progressive elements of the New Deal that produced a 50 year run of rising incomes, expanding middle class, and success for the country, never mind the Democratic Party. Of course, that would only confuse the independents, wouldn’t it?

Step down, Doug Feith; you’ve lost the title.

Related Updates from Americablog: Larry Summers on Obama’s 2009 plan to “reform” Social Security and Medicare.

From DeLong, citing David Dayen: No, no, no; first loot, then burn

Mitt Romney: Obama Failed Because We Needed a Larger, Longer Stimulus

6:39 am in Economy, Politics by Scarecrow

Mitt Romney - Caricature

Mitt Romney - Caricature by DonkeyHotey

The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker caught Mitt Romney explaining how to think about economic policy when the labor market is depressed, housing has tanked, households are broke and the Fed is limited by near-zero interest rates:

Romney criticized Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package, saying it did not create long-lasting jobs. He said he would have lowered tax rates, instituted fair trade policies and boosted energy independence to help create sustainable private-sector jobs.

“The challenge with so-called stimulus is it tends to be throwing a little gasoline on the fire,” Romney said. “It causes some heat. . . . It just doesn’t cause permanent heat. It’s not like putting a log on the fire.”

Translation from Chameleon-speak: Romney is hinting that the economy — the fire — needed not just more stimulus, but longer-lasting stimulus. Instead of pouring on a little gasoline to kick start the fire, we’d needed a slow-burning log that would provide fuel for a longer period. Except for the implied nonsense that spending on workers and goods/services by the private sector creates jobs but the same spending by government doesn’t, he almost sounds like all those liberal economists — Krugman, Thoma, Stiglitz, Galbraith, Baker, et al.

But didn’t Obama’s 2009 and late 2010 stimulus packages contain a large percentage of tax cuts, some that have been extended? Are there no trade agreements with Columbia or Korea, or programs to promote domestic energy production?

I don’t follow what Mitt Romney says everyday, because sooner or later a policy chameleon will say everything once, mimic all positions, and then switch back in case you missed something. So I probably missed that other time, back in early 2009, when Mitt insisted the stimulus needed to be big enough to produce some real effect on the economy, and it needed to avoid the “shovel ready” trap and last longer because the economy would take a long time to recover from a finance and credit shock the size we suffered. He surely wouldn’t be making this up now, saying “I told you so,” to prove what a prescient leader he’d make.

But he’s right about the failed leadership in Washington, D.C. From the NYT’s reliable stenographer on the deficit hysteria debate, here’s the White House’ Press Secretary, Jay Carney:

. . . Jay Carney, said Republicans must be willing to consider tax changes, including the elimination of “loopholes” that benefit corporations.

“It’s the only way to get it done if you want to do it right and you want to do it in a way that is fair and balanced and ensures that the economy continues to grow and continues to create jobs,” Mr. Carney told reporters.

What is Carney talking about? Whatever you think about long-run deficits, it doesn’t make sense to be slashing spending for deficit reasons now, and that conclusion doesn’t change if you couple the spending cuts with eliminating tax breaks for oil companies. There are valid reasons for ending needless subsidies for rich people and hugely wealthy industries, but doing that doesn’t make it okay to slash programs to help the elderly, poor women and children, now or later. Read the rest of this entry →

Voters Deliver Massive Rejection of Democratic Leadership, Agenda

5:57 am in Economy, Executive Branch, Government, Legislature, Politics by Scarecrow

Home of the rejects. (photo: c0t0s0d0 via Flickr)

If you’re stuck with a two-party system with no viable third-party outlet, the only way a disillusioned electorate can signal its rejection of the party in power is to allow the other party to win, even if that party is full of extremist nutcases, charlatans, demagogues and even convicted thieves (see Florida). That’s the closest I can come to a rational explanation for what just happened, but it’s not enough.

The national Democratic leadership, from President Obama down, ran without an agenda for what they would do to address the nation’s most pressing problems.   Never mind their failure to confront climate change, corporate power, immigration, DADT, two losing wars.  They have no viable plans on the most fundamental economic issues that seem to worry voters the most.

Neither the White House nor the Democrats’ Congressional leaders  offered a credible economic stimulus or jobs program that would reduce the 9.6 percent unemployment in the foreseeable future, and they couldn’t explain how or when the nation’s 15 million unemployed would find work.  The depressed housing market and corresponding loss of savings/wealth continue as a massive drag on the economy, but the Administration still does not have a coherent plan to turn that around or to address the foreclosure crisis in a fair, reasonable manner.  Extend and pretend is a loser policy and loser politics.  Why should anyone vote for them?

While soon to be ex-Speaker Pelosi’s House passed a ton of useful legislation, much of it died in Harry Reid’s dysfunctional Senate.  Dozens of Democratic House members (nearly 30 Blue Dogs but also a few worthy progressives) lost their jobs because of it.  Voting for or against the health care bill, stimulus, etc, may not have mattered, but I’ll leave that analysis to others.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

Angle Debates Reid, Or How Corporate America Bought a Clueless Tea Party

7:08 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

There was a telling moment in last night’s Nevada Senate debate in which Sharron Angle and Harry Reid explained how they view the proper role of government and its relationship with corporate America. And their answers must have made the nation’s largest corporations smile.

The man Democrats picked to be their Majority Leader explained that through his efforts, Congress had passed tax relief and funding for various projects in Nevada, including one at Harrah’s hotel/casino that created lots of jobs.

Ms. Angle, of course, didn’t have such a list, but what struck me wasn’t the fact she wasn’t impressed by such standard political pork. It was her lecture to Reid that government should just get out of the way and let America’s businesses do their thing. Just let the free market work, she said, and all will be well.

That, of course, is exactly what the Tea Party’s corporate sponsors, who have successfully co-opted the movement with lavish behind-the-scenes funding and Fox’s cynical message manipulation, want loyal tpee-ers to believe.

Yesterday, Glenn Beck urged his listeners to donate money to the poor Chamber of Commerce, because these fine Chamber folks are, he assured his rubes, just the mom and pop stores down the street. The dupes fell for it. (I can’t believe this isn’t a crime.) Apparently, the rest of us just imagined that the Chamber, like Karl Rove and other fronts for corporate wealth, is functioning as a money laundering machine for hundreds of billions millions in secret donations. They’re about to buy the Congress they want, and until we reverse the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, all we can do is watch in horror while American democracy gets sold.

At this point, one has to entertain the possibility that on the other side of black holes there is an alternate universe with a reality very different from the one I assume to be valid. In that alternate universe, a substantially deregulated Enron or World Comm or Country Wide or dozens of other criminal firms never bilked investors and employees out of billions in life savings. And Wall Street’s deregulated banksters never put the world’s economy at risk, never tanked the US economy or threw millions out of work and millions more out of their homes.

In Angle’s Tea Party universe, there would be no housing crisis: no millions forced into bankruptcy by underwater mortgages and millions more in foreclosure, many of them the victims of pervasive fraud that ran from predatory origination to extend and pretend modification efforts to failed recordings, never mind flawed title/note transfers to "trusts" to support fraudulent securitizations for investors insufficiently warned about the trash they were buying.

There wouldn’t be banks tossing millions of people out of their homes without following the most elementary due process. And the banks wouldn’t be staring at billions in potential liability for failing to move notes and mortgages into trusts as they promised their duped investors, and we wouldn’t be staring at the next bank crisis.

The Tea Party’s corporate sponsors have managed to convince the Sharron Angles that just letting the banks practice free enterprise without government oversight did not require trillions in government bailouts, loan guarantees and subsidies. And if we just let the oil and coal companies do their thing, the Gulf of Mexico’s life would not have been threatened, miners wouldn’t die, and the planet would not be faced with a global climate disaster. Of course, health insurers would gladly take care of all sick children.

I’ve tried to imagine what it must be like to believe we live in that alternate universe, but it requires such a massive denial of reality and overturning of logic that to hold even a fraction of such views seems indistinguishable from insanity.

Perhaps there is an alternative universe on the other side. But I suspect Matt Taibbi was correct when he said the Tea Party folks are "just full of **it, all of them." And the media thinks they’re all the rage.

NYT: Facing Mid-terms Blowout, White House Wonders If It Needs a Political Strategy

8:55 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

At some moment just before or after the 2006 midterms, when Republicans first realized that Karl Rove and the Bush White House team were not political geniuses but rather just cynical political operatives with more ego than sense, a few of them must have figured out that continuing to follow the Bush White House could destroy the Republican Party’s brand and risk losing both Congress and the White House two years later.

Let us hope there are enough sensible progressives left to realize that same moment has come for them.

One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry at this astonishing opening in todays NYT lead story:

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s political advisers, looking for ways to help Democrats and alter the course of the midterm elections in the final weeks, are considering a range of ideas, including national advertisements, to cast the Republican Party as all but taken over by Tea Party extremists, people involved in the discussion said.

Really? How good of the White House to notice their party is about to be wiped out by one of the most anti-democratic political movements in our lifetimes. When did they notice?

Everyone except the President’s genius team understood that when Republicans began to obstruct every Democratic proposal from day one, that it meant the Republicans had become irresponsible nihilists willing to destroy the economy and the middle class to regain power. It was clear from the birthers’ first cries of "socialism" and "death panels" they would inflame their followers with lies, demagoguery and fear mongering. Sentient observers knew the demagogues and their hate-talk media would do everything they could to convince voters that any Democratic Administration, let alone that of a Muslim/Kenyan, was illegitimate. They were at war, and only now the White House thinks maybe it should respond, with, uh, some ads.

The resulting emergence and success of openly crazier candidates should not have surprised anyone. And yet the White House is just now leaking to the Times that it might be useful to warn the nation it’s in danger of being taken over by the worst of America’s crazies.

The self-proclaimed political geniuses in the Obama White House, starting with the President himself, Rahm Emanuel’s political shop of horrors and extending to all of the emperor’s naked loyalists in the Party’s leadership — has there ever been a more inept crew than Tim Kaine, Van Hollen, Harry Reid, Steny Hoyer? — are systematically destroying their Party, and given what they’ve become, few are shedding a tear.

But the Obama conserva-Dem Team is also setting back for the next generation liberals/progressives and their causes, damaging the credibility of a progressive democratic brand that was born in the Great Depression and gained voters’ trust by recreating government to put the public interest first, even if that meant taking on the most powerful economic interests.

And it retained that trust by saying about the those interests, "I welcome their hatred." The Obama regime has lost that trust by ignoring all the lessons of that era. Its motto is, "let’s make a deal." Or "what do we need to do to get your campaign contributions?" As Obama keeps telling us, his hero is Ronald Reagan, not FDR; he should have told us that the guiding ideology of the Conservative-Reagan era wrecked the economy, created the worst inequality in our history, and is still destroying the middle class.

The Republican brand was virtually dead by 2008. To accomplish such a turnaround, after being handed a huge mandate to change the country’s fundamental direction, this Administration has approached every one of the nation’s staggering problems as though all that was needed was a modest redirection in focus, an adjustment in priorities, a few more billions here instead of there, better regulation by the same regulators who were asleep and disinclined to act the last time, but nothing that would fundamentally change the structure of how the country’s most powerful and damaging institutions operate. Faced with the need for boldness and courage, they worshipped timidity and preached first patience and then acceptance and docility among worried citizens.

The President repeatedly told us that many of the solutions were "Republican ideas" and that responsible Republicans were acting in good faith. How many times do you recall this White House saying, "what this problem needs is a strongly progressive solution"? Or the dismantling of powerful interests? Any yet if you look at the measures the White House and apologists now point to as "achievements," they were more often deeply popular holdover progressive ideas that Congress passed in the momentum following the elections. They did not pass as a result of the White House overcoming massive opposition.

While taking credit for what he did not achieve with much effort, the President and his men have repeatedly denigrated and belittled progressives and ignored their ideas. The measure of this is how unusual it is to have Liz Warren gain a position in the Administration over the objections of Obama’s closest advisers.

Now the White House strategy is to blame progressives and voters themselves for their lack of enthusiasm for a regime that has left 15 million unemployed, permitted record levels of poverty and decimated state public programs, threatens social security and teeters on the edge of a second recession with no credible plans for near-term relief. Fittingly, his new chief economic adviser doubles as a stand up comic.

And they still don’t get it. The Times article tells us this White House is having trouble focusing on a plausible political strategy for the midterm elections only weeks away, because they’re preoccupied with Rahm Emanuel’s expected run for mayor of Chicago. Are they serious?

The Chief Of Staff is the Obama White House’s senior political adviser, but the Times hints he and his aides are worrying about what’s best for him and not his country, Party or President? There’s a solution for that one.

Surprise! Tom Friedman Urges Muslims to Be Statesmen . . . Like Reid, McConnell and SarahNewtwits

2:00 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Do the op-ed page editors of the New York Times ever wince? Are they embarrassed?

Times columnist Tom Friedman watched the movie Invictus and writes that he wishes Iraq and other Muslim leaders would emulate Nelson Mandela’s "we have to suprise them," by displaying religious/ethnic tolerance and magnanimous statesmanship in Iraq and elsewhere, because, I guess, Suck. On. This anti-bubble diplomacy is, uh, not helpful.

I agree the world is desperate for tolerance, understanding and non-belligerent statesmanship, but it’s surprising — or shocking — that Friedman thinks America has earned the right to lecture others on these qualities. According to Tom, America just "got pulled into" an intra-Muslim fight, the "root of 9/11" and presumably Iraq because we just happened to be allies of one of the sides just to "get their oil." Yeah, we were just innocent bystanders except for the plundering, CIA interventions and invasion stuff.

Read how Friedman describes Iraq’s intra-Muslim wars:

There are at least three different intra-Muslim wars raging today. One is between the Sunni far right and the Sunni far-far right in Saudi Arabia. This was the war between Osama bin Laden (the far-far right) and the Saudi ruling family (the far right). It is a war between those who think women shouldn’t drive and those who think they shouldn’t even leave the house. Bin Laden attacked us because we prop up his Saudi rivals — which we do to get their oil.

In Iraq, you have the pure Sunni- versus-Shiite struggle. And in Pakistan, you have the fundamentalist Sunnis versus everyone else: Shiites, Ahmadis and Sufis. You will notice that in each of these civil wars, barely a week goes by without one Muslim faction blowing up another faction’s mosque or gathering of innocents — like Tuesday’s bombing in Baghdad, at the opening of Ramadan, which killed 61 people.

In short: the key struggle with Islam is not inter-communal, and certainly not between Americans and Muslims. It is intra-communal and going on across the Muslim world.

It may come as a surprise to Friedman fans, but this sounds a lot like America. We have a "far right" (today’s nominal Republican Party) and a "far-far right" (the Tea Party), and they’ve arguing about which freedoms in the Bill of Rights to repeal, how much of the national government to dismantle, and whether the proper role for a woman is to marry an appropriate husband or work for unequal pay, although a woman getting rich pandering to the right on Fox or talk radio is fine as long as they say things like "don’t retreat; reload."

We have pure blatant corporatists and warmongers in the Republican party and thinly disguised corporatists and warmongers in the Democratic party, so naturally all they can agree on is to continue corporate looting/entitlements and wars. We have our own Taliban, led by right-wing Christianists, against everyone else. And we have plenty of dangerously armed militarists on the right threatening and being egged on to start violent insurrection and literally shoot or blow up secularists and non-zealots, aka liberals, progressives, supposed socialists and anyone else who believes in social justice.

But Friedman apparently doesn’t have a mirror or bifocals. Except for our appetite for their oil, he sees Middle East instability as mostly the Muslims’ fault:

Indeed, the big problem is not those Muslims building mosques in America, it is those Muslims blowing up mosques in the Middle East. And the answer to them is not an interfaith dialogue in America. It is an intrafaith dialogue — so sorely missing — in the Muslim world.

Yeah, if only there were no Muslim extremists, we wouldn’t have crazies in the Republican Party, let alone 50,000 troops in Iraq, 100,000 plus in Afghanistan and even more thousands armed, unwelcome and unaccountable "security" contractors. So Friedman ends by hoping the Iraq’s leaders will rescue his/America’s suck-on-this surge policy:

Our surge in Iraq will never bear fruit without a political surge by Arabs and Muslims to heal intracommunal divides. It would be great if President Obama surprised everyone and gave another speech in Cairo — or Baghdad — saying that.

I think the world has had enough of American warmongers giving diplomacy lectures to leaders in countries we invaded for no good reason, Tom.

Perhaps what we need instead is to shun and replace cynical liars like Mitch McConnell (his MTP appearance today set an all time record for dishonest evasion) and inept cowards like Harry Reid. We might even have our President give a speech addressing the dangers to the nation posed by America’s far right, its far-far right, the American Christianist Taliban and increasingly armed and belligerent Second Amendment zealots. Now that would be a surprise.

John Chandley

Howard Dean Joins Harry Reid, Wishes Muslims Weren’t So Insensitive

4:41 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Apparently there are no principled grownups left among the leaders of the Democratic Party.

Today, via Ben Smith and TPM, we get to hear Howard Dean, who once stood for some decent principles, tell us that those who want to build a Muslim center in New York City should be looking for a "compromise" that would place the center somewhere else.

The preferred location, I gather, would be somewhere that didn’t function as a litmus test for whether a politician has a genuinely principled adherence to the US Constitution. After all, it’s awkward when our leaders must prove they actually understand why the Founders found religious intolerance so odious and dangerous to the concept of a free people that it was the first behavior they explicitly banned from American government.

How sad that we’ve lost that wisdom.

It’s predictable that morally depraved right wing zealots and opportunists like Palin and Gingrich would attempt to exploit America’s ignorance of its own history, exacerbate anti-Muslim intolerance and risk further religious wars. It’s predictable they would then use that as a wedge to split Democrats and Americans everywhere into those who actually believe in religious freedom and those who only pretend or don’t get it.

But it is disheartening to find that so many prominent Democrats fall for this evil gimmick and then wonder why their once loyal supporters hold them in such contempt and are ready to abandon them and start over.

Has no one thought through where this leads? As I understand the logic of the principle Howard Dean and Harry Reid are embracing from their right-wing tormentors, European Jews should have been more sensitive to the hurt feelings of post-World War I Germans and been more willing to compromise about where they should live.

I suppose the same principle would apply to Native Americans who once lived on lands coveted by White Men and refused to go "somewhere else" willingly. And what about the African Americans who rudely insisted on sitting at lunch counters and in the front of buses, and in public school rooms, offending the hallowed sensibilities of so many whites in their communities?

Tell me how this ends, Howard.

More from Glenn Greenwald

Update: Sam Stein at HuffPo has a response from Dean:

The former Governor of Vermont told the Huffington Post that he "stood by" the remarks he had made earlier in the day on WABC radio in which he called the mosque plan "a real affront to people who lost their lives [on 9/11]." But in a clarification of sorts, he stressed that he would not have a problem if the proposed Islamic cultural center ultimately ended up being built in the current location.

"It won’t upset me," Dean said, "except I think it is a missed opportunity to show some flexibility… I don’t believe all this nonsense the right wing is putting out about radicals and all that stuff. I take the congregation at its word that it is a moderate congregation trying to heal the wounds of 9/11. But the best way to heal the wounds is not to have a court battle, but to sit down and try to work things out."

Profiles in Cowardice: Harry Reid Calls on Muslims to Worship Somewhere Else

12:36 pm in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Over at TPM, David Kurtz reports that a spokesperson for the man who would like to be the Democratic leader of the United States Senate has issued a statement in which he courageously calls on Muslims not to build a worship center anywhere that he might find inconvenient for his election:

The First Amendment protects freedom of religion. Sen. Reid respects that but thinks that the mosque should be built some place else.

Well, that clinches it for me. The Democrat’s Senate leader apparently believes religious freedom and tolerance are okay if they don’t interfere with his election, and he doesn’t seem to want to be a leader. Way to motivate the base, Harry.

If it were up to me, I’d suggest that the "hallowed grounds" everyone claims to be honoring be dedicated as a peace center open to worshipers of all religions and people who just think peace and tolerance are better ideas than endless religious wars. Build a mosque, a synagogue, a day-care center and whatever else you want inside it. Then if Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich didn’t want to go there, that would be fine.

Dan Froomkin: Harry Reid Is A Spineless Embarrassment

6:04 am in Uncategorized by Scarecrow

Via Dan Froomkin, who writes about the Senate’s 90-6 vote not to fund any transfer of Gitmo detainees to US prisons, we get confirmation that Senator Harry Reid, the leader of Senate Democrats, is incoherent, spineless and an embarrassment to us all. Why oh why can’t we have better leaders?

Here’s the transcript of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s nonsensical news conference yesterday.

Reid: "I think there’s a general feeling… that the American people, and certainly the Senate, overwhelmingly doesn’t want terrorists to be released in the United States. And I think we’re going to stick with that…."

Q. "No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States."

Reid: "Can’t put them in prison unless you release them."

Q. "Sir, are you going to clarify that a little bit? I mean — " Read the rest of this entry →