«

»

Jul 14 2011

Punting the Pundits

“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”.

Robert Reich: Why Mitch McConnell Will Win the Day

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s compromise on the debt ceiling is a win for the President disguised as a win for Republicans. But it really just kicks the can down the road past the 2012 election – which is what almost every sane politician in Washington wants to happen in any event.

McConnell’s plan would allow the President to raise the debt limit. Congressional Republicans could then vote against the action with resolutions of disapproval. But these resolutions would surely be vetoed by the President. And such a veto, like all vetoes, could only be overridden by two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate – which couldn’t possibly happen with the Democrats in the majority in the Senate and having enough votes in the House to block an override.

Get it? The compromise allows Republicans to vote against raising the debt limit without bearing the horrendous consequences of a government default.

No budget cuts. No tax increases. No clear plan for deficit reduction. Nada. The entire, huge, mind-boggling, wildly partisan, intensely ideological, grandly theatrical, game of chicken miraculously vanishes.

Until the 2012 election, that is.

David McCullough: Vive la Similarité

Consider that the war that gave birth to the nation, our war for independence, would almost certainly have failed had it not been for heavy French financial backing and military support, on both land and sea. At the crucial surrender of the British at Yorktown, for example, the French army under Rochambeau was larger than our own commanded by Washington. The British commander, Cornwallis, was left with no escape and no choice but to surrender only because a French fleet sailed into the Chesapeake Bay at exactly the right moment.

The all-important treaty ending the Revolutionary War, wherein King George III recognized the United States to be “free, sovereign and independent,” was signed in Paris. The plan for our new capital city on the Potomac was designed by a French engineer, Pierre Charles L’Enfant. The first great statue of our first president was the work of a French sculptor, Jean-Antoine Houdon. The first major study of us as a people, “Democracy in America,” was written by a French historian, Alexis de Tocqueville. Published in 1835, it remains one of the wisest books ever written about us.

Glen Ford Obama’s “Big Deal”: Wallowing with Pigs in Search of a Grand Center-Right Coalition

Barack Obama is salivating at the prospect of concluding his Big Deal with the Republicans, the one that will move the center robustly – even transformatively – to the Right, where this president really lives. The debt-limit deadline is Obama’s big chance to panic a significant part of the Democratic Party into joining in the rape of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “When the debt-limit showdown arrives, pray for gridlock, which would at least mean there is still resistance to Republican extortion.”

President Obama says he’s determined to make the “big deal” with the Republicans – not like the little, piddling deals he has been cutting all along to benefit the corporate classes, but the BIG deal, the grand consensus he believes he was born to forge with the GOP. Although it’s true that it will take a whopper of a deal to outclass the bipartisan joint venture that transferred $14 trillion to Wall Street, the vast bulk of it on Obama’s watch, the First Black President is nothing if not ambitious. Obama’s Big Deal is actually the coup de grace for Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society – relics, like Black activism, standing in the way of a post-everything world.

Nicholas D. Kristof: The Opposing Party

Confused about the position of Congressional Republicans on the economy? Good. You should be.

Senator Mitch McConnell has a clever plan to resolve the federal debt impasse. Congressional Republicans would invite President Obama to raise the debt ceiling on his own, and then they would excoriate him for doing so.

Hm. Just a bit contradictory?

Meanwhile, the impasse arose because Congressional Republicans thunder against government red ink, yet refuse to raise revenue by ending tax breaks that help Warren Buffett pay a lower tax rate than his receptionist (which he agrees is preposterous).

Another contradiction? Of course.

E.J. Dionne, Jr.: Obama Can’t Celebrate Yet

The wounded are especially dangerous fighters. President Barack Obama now occupies the high ground in the debt ceiling debate, having called the Republicans’ bluff on the debt. He showed that deficit reduction is not now, and never has been, the GOP’s priority. He dare not get overconfident.

After thwarting the deal that House Speaker John Boehner was cooking up with Obama, Rep. Eric Cantor, the majority leader and Boehner’s rival, needs to show he knew what he was doing and recoup political ground. Cantor is likely to present Obama with spending cuts that the president once seemed to endorse as part of a large deal but will have to reject now that the big agreement is dead. There is still a lot of danger out there.

Michelle Chen: Violence Against Migrant Women Won’t End After DSK Case

The media circus surrounding the Dominique Strauss-Kahn rape case dishes out more drama each day, with a side of lurid fascination. But we basically know how the story ends. The narrative of the immigrant housekeeper assaulted by a European official perfectly illustrates an axiom of violence and power: the wider the gap between genders and races, the greater the latitude of injustice.

Yet the same story plays out every day on an endless loop around the globe: a retaliatory rape against a young girl sends a warning to the enemy militia; a wife is pummeled into bloody silence, her bedroom beyond the purview of traditional local courts; a daughter is married off to pay down a farm debt. The stories weave into a pattern that a media-fatigued public has come to normalize.

Robert C. Koehler: Panetta’s Iraq Invasion Gaffe

Leon Panetta, on his first visit to Iraq as secretary of defense last weekend, reached for a Bush moment ten years too late

“The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” he said to the assembled troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad, according to the Washington Post. “And 3,000 Americans – 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings – got killed because of al-Qaida. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that.”

Yeah, oops, gaffe, Mr. Secretary, right? That Iraq-al-Qaida connection thingy isn’t in the spin anymore, and Panetta’s assistant had to mop up afterwards, making sure no one misinterpreted the boss’s remarks as reopening an old “debate” by reiterating a long-abandoned lie.