“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”.
Glenn Greenwald: Challenging the G.O.P.
There is much criticism that can be, should be and has been directed at the Tea Party. But one virtue that must be acknowledged is that elected Tea Party officials have largely stayed faithful to the promises they made to those who sent them to Washington.
Those candidates emphatically vowed to block spending and tax increases, avoid business-as-usual compromises, and — echoing the 2008 version of Obama — change the culture in Washington. Destructive though they are, they are succeeding. And many progressives — infuriated yet again by the Democrats’ so-called “capitulation” — are likely wallowing in an envious daydream: What is it like to have representatives in Washington actually adhering to their vows and fighting for the principles they claim during elections to embrace?
That said, intransigence is always easier in opposition than it is when governing. And the Tea Party, though often depicted as a driving force for revitalization of the post-Bush G.O.P., seems to be on a collision course with three key Republican factions, conflicts which can ultimately fracture and even cripple that party.
Robert Sheer: The Recovery Is Dead, Long Live the Recovery
The die has been cast. Obama’s “nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists,” as an editorial in the normally sedate New York Times described the deal to raise the debt ceiling, is a disaster in the making. It rules out a vigorous government response to the persistent economic stagnation in which joblessness, housing foreclosures and an ever-widening gap between the top 2 percent and the rest of Americans have become the norm.
But to use the word “capitulation” is too kind, since this president, as was Bill Clinton before him, is clearly one of those “New Democrats” who welcomes the opportunity to jettison the legacy of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as outmoded political baggage. Otherwise, why would Obama have reached for a “grand bargain” in which he even put Social Security and Medicare cuts on the table before the Republicans rolled him?
: Obama Says He’ll Really Fight for the People … Next Time
By gollies, America’s workaday majority of middle-class and poor people have a fighter on our side in Washington. Unfortunately, that fighter is Barack Obama.
On Sunday, he waved his white hankie of surrender in the debt ceiling battle, agreeing to a disastrous deal ruthlessly pushed by the loopiest of the tea party extremists in the Republican House. It slashes some nearly $1 trillion from national programs that ordinary Americans count on, puts Social Security and Medicare at risk, and promises to make our depressed economy, and even the deficit, worse.
But we’ve all seen again and again that this guy “fights” by backing up and begging for compromise. For example, even as he caved in last December to Republican demands that the ridiculous Bush tax cuts for the superrich be continued, he talked tough about fighting for fairness “next time.” When will next time be now?
Michelle Chenn: Under New Guidelines, Cheap Birth Control Pays Off for Working Women
Washington’s Old Boy’s club still has its knickers in a wad over the deficit “compromise,” but women across the country can breathe a slight sight of relief this week. The White House just issued health reform guidelines that will mandate insurance plans to provide birth control to women at no extra cost. The measure is long overdue, part of an array of preventive services recommended by the Institute of Medicine for improving women’s health. But the promise of broader contraceptive access coincides fittingly with the debate over the nation’s budget woes, because birth control is an economic issue.
Consider how essential birth control is for working women. When women can control whether and how many children they bear, they can delay pregnancy until they feel they’re ready, and in the meantime focus on career goals, finishing school, paying off that mortgage or signing divorce papers. The “choice” in reproductive choice refers not only to her ovaries-despite the right-wing scaremongering about unfettered female sexuality-it’s about every choice in life affected by pregnancy and sex.
Matthew Norman: The Unmaking of a President
Governing in prose is one thing. Preferring weasel words to governing at all is another
At 50, observed George Orwell, “everyone has the face he deserves”. Unusually for that godliest of lefty seers, he was wrong. Rupert Murdoch passed that milestone three decades ago with no appendages emerging from his temples (although in Orwell’s defence, he may have endured a pioneering double hornectomy).
With Barack Obama, on the other hand, Orwell was broadly correct. The President hits the half-century tomorrow with the handsome, placid features he deserves. It is the fizzog of a gentle, decent if intellectually arrogant man, untormented by the self-loathing that made Nixon look so cruelly vulpine, and free from the lupine seediness that hinted at Bill Clinton’s appetites long before that woman Miss Lewinsky’s blue dress went to the DNA analysis section at Sketchley’s.
Michelle certainly likes it. “She still thinks I’m cute,” said Obama the other day. “And I guess that’s all that matters, isn’t it?” Well, no, you felt, it isn’t. Other things matter too: things such as his fiscal capitulation to the terrorist far right that will rob tens of millions – the very people on whose primary behalf he ran for president – to ensure that the rich, mega-rich and hyper-rich continue to pay a smaller proportion in tax than the average American nurse. Looking at that face today, in fact, the only way it could conform more precisely to Orwell’s dictum is if, in the next 12 hours, his liver succumbed to the jaundice that turned it bright yellow. For this was a heartbreaking act of skin-saving cowardice.
Ray McGovern: Obama Blows a Judas Kiss to the Poor
The unconscionable result of the manufactured crisis over the debt ceiling shows that the political Right knows how to play hardball, and that President Obama and his hapless party know how to get rolled. There are other options; and we, the people, need to press them home.
The Obama-brokered deal on debt and spending was certainly what the Germans call eine schwere Geburt (a difficult birth); this one should have been aborted.
The Obama surrender reminds me of a sermon that Dr. Martin Luther King gave during the turbulent 1950s, in which he peered into the future and issued a prescient warning:
“A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.”
Tom Engelhardt: Sacrifice-Lite: The American Way
Post-9/11, doesn’t it seem as though all American experience is blending into a single experience whose label is “your safety”? Which means, in practical terms, you get poked, prodded, searched, and surveilled wherever you go.
The other day, I went to the ballpark to see my team, the Mets, play the Florida Marlins. It’s always a shock these days to make your way into the team’s new stadium, Citi Field (named, charmingly enough, after one of the financial institutions that took us down in 2008 and somehow came up smelling like roses). No more is it just tickets at the turnstile. What’s involved now is that peek into your backpack or bag, followed by the full-scale search of you, body wand and all.
I always have the urge to shout: I’m here for a ballgame, not the Global War on Terror! Instead, of course, I just lift my arms and let myself be wanded. It’s like an eternal reminder that, for Americans, 9/11 did change everything — and for the more intrusive at that. Once inside, past all the restaurants and clubs, memorabilia shops and sports-clothing stores that now add up to the baseball (basemall?) experience, it turns out you haven’t left America’s wars behind.