The Mistake Obama’s Repeating

The Daily Beast


In a PBS retrospective on Lyndon Baines Johnson, historian David McCullough offers: “His aspirations were enormous. He wanted to do something for everyone. He wanted to be the best father Americans ever had…” After his 1964 election with a record 61 percent of the popular vote: “No longer a scorned and frustrated vice president, no longer an accidental president, Lyndon Johnson was now one of the most popular presidents of the century.”

Yet all that changed. “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president,” Johnson announced in 1968. LBJ suffered through the hell of a war abroad and a threatened war at home. He lost the media who once loved him. He pushed an aggressive agenda without worrying about its cost. He misread the public’s appetite for change. And he lost the support of his base.  

In 2010, the challenges are not so different.

The press on Obama then: “I felt this thrill going up my leg…I think he’s more talented than anyone in my lifetime…Obama carries himself in a way that suggests he means what he says, which gives him great credibility…He’s the movie star in the White House…”

And now: ” I don’t sense executive command…He is creating a credibility gap for himself, and if it widens much more he won’t be able to close it. …These less-than-candid instances are emblematic of much bigger problems…passivity in a leader is not a reassuring posture…obdurately self-destructive…”

From Doris Kearns Goodwin’s biography, Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream: “Television and radio were his constant companions.” Of the news wire tickers in the Oval Office, Johnson said, “They made me feel that I was truly in the center of things.”

“So heady was the media applause that Johnson believed the major media outlets—particularly the networks–were the authentic voice of the people. Their love was music to his ears,” says Tom Roeser in a Chicago Daily Observer column.

LBJ’s response, according to Goodwin: “Reporters are puppets. They simply respond to the pull of the most powerful strings…They turned against me…because it was in their self-interest to do so…” And when challenged on a tall tale, LBJ asked, “Why must all those journalists be such sticklers for detail?”

This was the “pattern of behavior that gradually led Americans to the belief LBJ was a hopeless teller of untruths,” notes Jeffrey Lord, a former White House political director

But then the music stopped. The media turned against him.   Continue reading…

‘Tea Party Exchange’ organizer ‘hoodwinked’ local Ohio businesses into forking over cash for failed scheme.

I’m not surprised, those Tea Party organizer types are a shady bunch.

Think Progress

There is already a disturbing trend of profiteering among the Tea Party movement, from Glenn Beck’s Goldline scheme to conferences that cost $550 per ticket. Another such scheme unraveled in Ohio today, involving a discount program for Tea Party members at businesses near Dayton. Local businessman Donald Hutchison, who will speak at the Tea Party gathering in Washington, DC on Sept. 11, started the “Tea Party Exchange” last year, in which about 30 local businesses agreed to give discounts to local Tea Party members. The businesses, which believed they would see increased patronage, paid $150 to participate in the program. Yesterday, however, Hutchison abruptly shut down the program, and there is “no word” on whether the participating businesses will get their money back. Bill DeFries, owner of the local Beef O’Brady’s Family Sports Club and participant in the Tea Party exchange, is not pleased:

I feel like I was hoodwinked,” said DeFries. “I think he was trying to make money.”

“I think he should refund everybody their money, including me,” said DeFries, who didn’t get a single TPX customer since he joined June 1.

The participating businesses varied widely, from restaurants to roofing companies. Many were in or near the congressional district of House Minority Leader John Boehner (R). (HT: TP reader EW)

Much-Awaited Pat Tillman Film Opening on Friday: Here’s Interview and Trailer | The Nation

The Nation 

It’s received favorable media attention and early reviews for quite some time — and we carried a story and trailer here long ago — and now the Tillman Story is finally arriving in theater this Friday. The Pat Tillman family has done Larry King this week and you may have already read about its shocking and honest revelations, and treatment of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and others. 

Tribeca: What was the biggest challenge in making this film? Were there roadblocks from the military? 

Amir Bar-Lev: There’s really nothing in the film that another journalist couldn’t have reported on. And it was shocking to us to see—I mean, there is some investigative journalist involved in what we did, but not much—we couldn’t believe that it hadn’t been reported on! I’m not a big media critic or anything, but it does speak to how thin hard journalists are spread these days…. 

Continue reading… 

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Ed Show: Cenk Lays Into Faux News and Slams Obama/Hitler Comparisons

Cenk talks about how Fox employs the leading GOP presidential candidates, and more.

Cenk Slams Obama-Hitler BS w/ Jonathan Alter.

Last U.S. Combat Brigade Pulls Out Of Iraq

Huffington Post

KHABARI CROSSING, Kuwait — As their convoy reached the barbed wire at the border crossing out of Iraq on Wednesday, the soldiers whooped and cheered. Then they scrambled out of their stifling hot armored vehicles, unfurled an American flag and posed for group photos.

For these troops of the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, it was a moment of relief fraught with symbolism. Seven years and five months after the U.S.-led invasion, the last American combat brigade was leaving Iraq, well ahead of President Barack Obama’s Aug. 31 deadline for ending U.S. combat operations there.

In a statement released by email, the president noted that the drawdown has been significant — but isn’t over yet:

Over the last 18 months, over 90,000 U.S. troops have left Iraq. By the end of this month, 50,000 troops will be serving in Iraq. As Iraqi Security Forces take responsibility for securing their country, our troops will move to an advise-and-assist role. And, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, all of our troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year. Meanwhile, we will continue to build a strong partnership with the Iraqi people with an increased civilian commitment and diplomatic effort.

P.J. Crowley, a spokesman for the State Department, told MSNBC that this is “an historic moment” that marks the end of Operation Iraqi Freedom, but not the end of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division was officially designated the last combat brigade to leave Iraq under Obama’s plan to end combat operations in Iraq by Aug. 31. Associated Press writer Rebecca Santana joined the troops on their final journey out of the country.  Continue reading…

Joe Scarborough Takes On Newt Gingrich Mosque Comments: ‘It’s Deplorable, It Is Sick Politics’ (VIDEO)

Huffington Post 

Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough has devoted much of his program’s airtime so far this week to criticizing Newt Gingrich over the former House Speaker’s recent comments regarding the proposed Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero. 

On Saturday Gingrich called the proposed center a symbol of Muslim “triumphalism” and compared the construction of such a building to “putting a Nazi sign next to the Holocaust Museum.” He repeated the Nazi analogy in an interview Monday morning on Fox News and referred to the project’s organizers as “radical Islamists,” a characterization that is demonstrably false. 

The “Morning Joe” crew didn’t take too kindly to Gingrich’s words, and let him know in no uncertain terms. “This is madness,” remarked Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida. “There are elements of our party that are marching through the fevered swamps of ideology. 

“We’ve put together a highlight reel of Scarborough, along with frequent “Morning Joe” guests Mike Barnicle, Richard Haass, and Pat Buchanan (yes, even Pat Buchanan), sounding off against Gingrich over the course of the past three mornings. 


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Gingrich Backs Out Of 9/11 Anti-Islam Rally?

Think Progress

On Sunday, ThinkProgress reported that the right-wing group Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) had announced that it would be hosting a rally against the proposed Cordoba House Islamic community center on September 11, and that its confirmed list of speakers included both disgraced former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and far-right Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders.

Writing on her blog yesterday, anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller, one of the leaders of SIOA, confirmed that “Newt Gingrich, and Geert Wilders are among those speaking at our rally against the mega-mosque on 9/11.” Geller also referenced Gingrich’s participation in an earlier post.

Today, however, a spokesman for Gingrich, Joe DeSantis, told Politico’s Ben Smith that Gingrich “is not scheduled to be at this rally. He is not speaking.”

Was there a scheduling conflict? Given his rhetoric lately, it’s hard to believe Gingrich is experiencing a sudden onset of decency.

Emily’s List ‘Mama Grizzlies’ attack Sarah Palin

Washington Post

The abortion rights advocacy group Emily’s List has released a video showcasing women dressed in bear costumes speaking out against former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R).

The Emily’s List video is part of a wider campaign to mobilize sympathetic voters. The associated Web site,, calls on visitors to sign a petition and donate to the group. A press release from the group outlined the impetus for the campaign:

“Throughout this cycle, Sarah Palin has predicted a rising tide of mothers and women voters who will support her so-called ‘Mama Grizzly’ candidates,” said Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock. “Palin has made it her mission to defeat candidates who have worked hard to champion the rights of women and families across the country and replace them with conservative candidates who want to repeal health care, stand with big business, and eliminate a woman’s right to choose.

Palin, who recently coined the term “Mama Grizzlies” in a Web video has weighed in with high-profile endorsements in House and Senate midterm primaries. The recipients of those endorsements have in some cases been Republican women — women like South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley. Following an endorsement from Palin, Haley went on to win the Republican gubernatorial primary by a sizable margin.

The Susan B. Anthony’s List, an organization that opposes abortion rights has issued a press release criticizing the video and its associated campaign:

“EMILY’s List is running scared–and it shows,” said Susan B. Anthony List president Marjorie Dannenfelser. “Clearly, in this ‘Year of the Pro-Life Woman,’ which Sarah Palin helped make possible, women have found their political voices. Pro-life ‘Mama Grizzlies’ represent the majority of women across the country.

The Emily’s List campaign page is scheduled to expand to “feature a new multi-media interactive website, a page for users to share personal stories, and information about the radical agenda of Palin’s candidates and where they stand on critical issues.”

ABC News: Top 10 Political Scandals Of The Decade

ABC News Politics – Look back at D.C. shenanigans, prostitution rings, affairs, leaks and more.   Neither party is immune to scandal.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., admits on June 16, 2009, in Las Vegas to having an extramarital affair with a woman on his campaign staff. A rising star in the Republican Party who was considered a potential 2012 presidential contender, Ensign called his action “absolutely the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life.” He had an affair with Cindy Hampton, his campaign treasurer and the wife of his best friend, Doug Hampton. In a tell-all interview with “Nightline,” Doug Hampton provided details about the affair and its repercussions, including the end of a close 20-year friendship between the two families and the loss of the Hamptons’ jobs. (Sam Morris/Las Vegas Sun/Reuters)

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford fields questions from the media following a special meeting with his Cabinet in Columbia, S.C., Jun. 26, 2009. The Cabinet meeting was the governor’s first planned appearance after he announced his extramarital affair with a woman from Argentina. The two-term embattled governor continued to face fire for his actions. At issue was whether Sanford’s behavior consisted of “serious crimes or serious misconduct in office,” the standard for impeachment according to the state constitution. If impeached and removed from office, Sanford would be the first South Carolina governor to face such a fate, and only the ninth governor in U.S. history. The most recent was Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who was removed earlier in 2009. (Davis Turner/Getty Images)

Rod Blagojevich, at the time the governor of Illinois, waves to the media after addressing questions about charges brought against him of conspiracy and bribery, including the allegation that he was seeking to benefit financially from his appointment of a successor to Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. After choosing Roland Burris to the position, Blagojevich was removed from office in January 2009, and later indicted on corruption charges. (Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

John Edwards, the former North Carolina senator and 2008 presidential contender, admits to ABC News’ Bob Woodruff, Aug. 8, 2008, that he lied repeatedly about having an affair with a 42-year-old campaign employee, Rielle Hunter. Edwards denied being involved in paying the woman hush money or fathering her newborn child. Edwards said he told his family about the affair after it ended in 2006, and that his wife Elizabeth, who had incurable breast cancer, was “furious,” but that their marriage would survive. (ABC News/AP Photo)

With his wife at his side, New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer delivers an apology to his family and the public following reported links to a prostitution ring, March 10, 2008, in New York City. Just 48 hours after he was linked to the investigation into a prostitution business known as the Emperor’s Club, Spitzer resigned from office effective March 17, 2008. “The remorse I feel will always be with me,” he said. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Deborah Jeane Palfrey, better known as the D.C. Madam, was found guilty April 15, 2008, on four felony charges stemming from her Washington-area prostitution business. The madam maintained that she ran a “sexual fantasy services” outcall escort firm that prohibited illegal activity. She said she was unaware of sex between her clients and the women who worked for her. Palfrey was scheduled for sentencing July 24, 2008, but one month after she was convicted, the madam was found dead in an apparent suicide in her mother’s Florida mobile home. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Facing mounting pressure and a Senate ethics investigation launched by his own political party after an embarrassing arrest, Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, resigns from Congress. The Idaho Republican came under fire Aug. 27, 2007, as details of his lewd conduct arrest in a Minnesota airport restroom — and his subsequent guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct — were made public in a Capitol Hill newspaper report. Despite the guilty plea, Craig continued to suggest his innocence as he announced his resignation. “It is with sadness and deep regret that I announce it is my intent to resign,” said Craig, flanked by his family, Idaho’s governor and other officials. “I apologize to the people of my great state for being unable to serve a full term to which I have been elected.” (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The political career of Rep. Mark Foley, R-Fla., crumbled in 2006, following the revelation of his sexually explicit e-mails with underage congressional pages. When the page scandal broke, Foley was the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. The Florida Republican resigned Sept. 29, 2006, hours after ABC News questioned him about the sexually explicit messages. Officials in Florida later announced that Foley would not face criminal charges because of “insufficient evidence.” The embattled congressman was back in the spotlight in September 2009, debuting a local radio show entitled “Inside the Mind of Mark Foley.” (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Jack Abramoff leaves Federal Court in Washington, D.C., Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2006. The once-powerful K-Street lobbyist pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy, tax evasion and mail fraud, agreeing to cooperate with prosecutors investigating influence peddling that threatened powerful members of the U.S. Congress. Many Republicans, including then White House political adviser Karl Rove, attributed the Republican congressional midterm defeat to the Abramoff and Mark Foley scandals. At decades end, Abramoff was serving out his sentence at a minimum-security prison in Cumberland, Md. (Gerald Herbert/AP Photo)

Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, came under fire in 2003 in connection with the investigation into the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity. Libby was convicted March 6, 2007, on four of five charges brought against him, including lying and obstructing a case that reached into the highest levels of President George Bush’s administration. As the nearly four-year investigation into how Plame’s name was leaked to reporters came to a close, top White House strategist Karl Rove evaded charges but remained under investigation. In a June 2009 interview with ABC News, Cheney said, “Scooter Libby is an innocent man who was the victim of a severe miscarriage of justice.” While Bush ultimately commuted Libby’s sentence, he did not pardon him. (Jason Reed/Reuters)