“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”
Paul Krugman: The President Is Missing
What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular? I realize that with hostile Republicans controlling the House, there’s not much Mr. Obama can get done in the way of concrete policy. Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that – or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative.
His remarks after last week’s budget deal were a case in point.
E.J. Dionne, Jr.: The End of Shutdowns
One image perfectly captured the absurd, irrational and wholly unnecessary confrontation over whether to shut down the federal government on the basis of differences over a small part of the budget.
During a tea party rally near the Capitol last Wednesday-“rally” being generous for a gathering of a few hundred people-Rep. Mike Pence, the Republican fire-eater from Indiana, declared that if Senate Democrats refused to accept “a modest down payment on fiscal discipline and reform, I say, ‘Shut it down!’ ”
And the crowd erupted, lustily and joyfully: “Shut it down! Shut it down!”
As the shouting persisted, it became clear that the government of the most powerful country in the world was being held hostage by a band of fanatics who (1) represent a very small proportion of our population; (2) hate government so much that they relished the idea of closing its doors, no matter the cost; and (3) have neither respect nor patience for the normal democratic give-and-take between competing parties and points of view.
The federal government survived the hostage crisis created by House Republicans, but emerged staggering from the deal struck Friday night. The compromises were damaging, the amount of money cut from a sickly economy was severe, and the image of Washington as a back-alley dogfighting garage will not soon fade.
The worst aspect of the deal, however, was the momentum it gave to Republicans who have hoodwinked many Americans into believing that short-term cuts in spending will be good for the economy. After the agreement was reached, President Obama actually patted himself on the back for agreeing to the “largest annual spending cut in our history.”
Johann Hari: We’re Not Being Told the Truth on Libya
Look at two other wars our government is currently deeply involved in – because they show that the claims made for this bombing campaign can’t be true
Most of us have a low feeling that we are not being told the real reasons for the war in Libya. David Cameron’s instinctive response to the Arab revolutions was to jump on a plane and tour the palaces of the region’s dictators selling them the most hi-tech weapons of repression available. Nicolas Sarkozy’s instinctive response to the Arab revolutions was to offer urgent aid to the Tunisian tyrant in crushing his people. Barack Obama’s instinctive response to the Arab revolutions was to refuse to trim the billions in aid going to Hosni Mubarak and his murderous secret police, and for his Vice-President to declare: “I would not refer to him as a dictator.”
Rania Khalek: the Media Promotes Ignorance and Stifles Debate
Friday night, my eyes were glued to to the news, as I awaited any and all emerging details about the possible government shutdown. As outlets began reporting that republicans and democrats had finally reached a deal, I immediately felt a sense of relief. Thank goodness, I thought, so much unnecessary suffering averted. But the relief didn’t last long, because in the pit of my stomach was fear for the many millions of people who will be affected by the $38 billion in budget cuts passed by congress. Unfortunately, the media feels differently, preferring to discuss ad-nausium the budget cut’s political ramifications for the two parties.
The same thing happened when the GOP was determined to shutdown the government if democrats did not sign on to defunding Planned Parenthood. Again, the media’s focus was not on the health of the 3 million people the organization treats every year, by providing cancer screenings, HIV and STI checks, and contraceptives. They focused on how this painted republicans as partisan ideologues, or the democrats as supporters for women’s rights, which party was to blame for the almost-shutdown, and most notably, the consequences this would have on their popularity.