Daily Archives: January 25, 2012

SOTU

The POTUS came away from The State of The Union speech with some amazing stats.

Now we know why the Republicans in Congress look so uh…ill…during last night’s State of the Union speech.

Mario Piperni

There’s a lot out there on the President’s SOTU, so I’ll keep my thoughts short and sweet.

  • The speech did what it had to do which was target liberals and independents and set in motion the 2012 election campaign.
  • It took on the right’s case against him (weak, job-killing socialist) and threw it back in their face as the job-creating, bin Laden-killing, commander-in-chief willing to tackle the big problems facing the country.
  • Made the case that the economy IS improving. Slow as the recovery might be, the numbers point to an economy which is in a better place than it was in 2009.
  • Painted the opposition as the obstructionist, power hungry entity it is.
  • And all this while coming off as the adult in the room.  What more do you want?

Whatever criticism liberals might have of this President, he did not disappoint last night and gave every indication that he’s more than ready to face Mitt or Newt.

UPDATE

Draw your own conclusions from this.

An overwhelming majority of Americans approved of the overall message in President Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday night, according to a CBS News poll of speech watchers.

According to the poll, which was conducted online by Knowledge Networks immediately after the president’s address, 91 percent of those who watched the speech approved of the proposals Mr. Obama put forth during his remarks. Only nine percent disapproved.

Last year, 83 percent of viewers approved of Mr. Obama’s State of the Union remarks.

This year, 82 percent of those who watched the speech said they approve of the president’s plans for the economy, up from 53 percent who approved before the speech. Eighty percent said they approved of Mr. Obama’s plans for the deficit — in contrast to 45 percent before the speech. Eighty-three percent approved of Mr. Obama’s proposals regarding Afghanistan, which received only a 57 percent approval rating beforehand.

The sight of Democrats and Republicans sitting side by side gave speech watchers more confidence about the possibility of bipartisan cooperation: 62 percent said they expect more bipartisanship now than in years past.

Encouraging but the 62 percent who are expecting Republicans to play nice and compromise on some issues, sorry but it won’t happen. If you can be sure of anything in this election year, it’s that Republicans are going to obstruct any and all measures to create jobs and improve the economy.  Their only hope for victory in November, regardless of whom they choose as nominee, is that the economy deteriorates and unemployment climbs back up over 9 percent.

Bipartisanship?  Not from this crew of cutthroat, lying Republicans who refuse to place country before party.

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Thursday Blog Round Up

Obama to Republicans: Game on

Reaction to Obama’s State of the Union Speech

Navy SEALs Rescue Aid Workers in Somalia

Mitt pounces, Newt pouts: Two rich guys squabble

Rep. Joe Walsh: Deadbeat Dad; Deadbeat Citizen

Cry from the conservative soul: ‘Draft Mitch Daniels’

Owner of Jewish Newspaper Resigns Over Obama ‘Hit’ Article

Egyptians Mark Anniversary of Revolt in Tahrir Square

Watch: State of the Union: GOP Response

Watch: State of the Union: The Tea Party Response

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Scalia: Blame Congress For My Decision To Turn Campaign Finance Into The Wild West

Think Progress

Two years ago, Justice Scalia cast one of the five votes necessary to unleash unlimited corporate money on American democracy in the Supreme Court’s egregious Citizens United decision. Yet, at a panel in South Carolina this weekend, Scalia tried to lay the blame for the absurd campaign finance system he created at everyone’s feet but his own:

Super PACs have raised more than $30 million just three races into the 2012 presidential race, according to the website opensecrets.org, run by The Center for Responsive Politics. TV advertising alone in South Carolina, which is voting Saturday, is estimated at $12 million, or nearly $27 per voter when calculated using the 2008 Republican primary turnout numbers. [...]

Scalia said the blame for this type of system shouldn’t fall on the Supreme Court, which he said decides merely whether the system is legal under the U.S. Constitution. Instead, he said the ones who have to change things are the politicians who created the system and the voters who often reward the candidates who spend the most money.

If the system seems crazy to you, don’t blame it on the court,” Scalia said, during a discussion in front of South Carolina lawyers that lasted for more than an hour.

Scalia’s attempt to shift blame is, frankly, ridiculous. While America’s pre-Citizens Unitedcampaign finance laws were far from perfect, they were at least adequate to prevent a handful of corporations from buying and selling elections. Congress passed a ban on corporate money in politics 65 years ago. The Supreme Court, with Scalia casting the deciding vote, killed that ban. If it wasn’t for the Supreme Court, the ban would still be in place.

Moreover, while Citizens United is best remembered for opening the floodgates to corporate money in politics, it also led to the creation of “Super PACs” which allow wealthy individuals and corporations to spend unlimited sums of money on shadow campaigns intended to elect particular candidates. Shortly after Citizens United was handed down, a key lower court decisionused it to declare so-called “independent expenditures” a free for all for the very wealthy. Billionaires are still forbidden from giving unlimited money to a campaign, but donations to “independent” groups such as Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney’s Super PAC are entirely unbound.

To the extent that Citizens United still allows some leeway to regulate campaign finance, the fact that Congress has not done anything to enact new regulation after the Supreme Court blew our existing system up can be explained with just one chart:

That’s the top 20 spenders on the 2012 election — 17 of whom are conservatives or Republicans. In other words, Scalia’s action in Citizens United doesn’t just mean a flood of corporate and other money, it means that this money overwhelmingly favors one political party. Republican lawmakers are more than smart enough to figure this out, and that gives them all the incentive they need to block any attempt to fix the mess Citizens United created.

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