“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.
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Paul Krugman; Disdain for Workers
By now everyone knows how Mitt Romney, speaking to donors in Boca Raton, washed his hands of almost half the country – the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes – declaring, “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” By now, also, many people are aware that the great bulk of the 47 percent are hardly moochers; most are working families who pay payroll taxes, and elderly or disabled Americans make up a majority of the rest.
But here’s the question: Should we imagine that Mr. Romney and his party would think better of the 47 percent on learning that the great majority of them actually are or were hard workers, who very much have taken personal responsibility for their lives? And the answer is no.
Robert L. Borosage: Senate Republicans Shaft the Vets Senate Republicans Shaft the Vets
The young men and women who serve in our military return from fighting in the longest wars in American history to the worst jobs market in generations. They suffer higher unemployment rates than the general population: over one in ten is officially counted as unemployed — and that does not include those who have stopped looking for work or are forced to work part-time.
So yesterday, in one final vile act before adjournment for the elections, Senate Republicans used a point of order to block passage of the Veterans Jobs Corps proposal that would have provided a modest $1 billion to hire veterans to tend federal lands or gain priority in hiring at police and fire departments. The bill was crafted with bipartisan support. 58 Senators supported the bill, but Republicans put together the 40 votes needed to block its passage.
Why shaft the very veterans whose service politicians sanctimoniously celebrate at every occasion?
Is it because unemployed veterans are part of Mitt Romney’s scorned 47 percent?
An overbearing and at times ridiculously aggressive Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown came across as a desperate man Thursday night, as he attempted to gain the upper hand in the first debate of this year’s most closely watched US Senate race and, by extension, in a re-election contest that seems to be slipping away from him.
Brown literally attacked Elizabeth Warren, his surging Democratic challenger, from start to finish. [..]
Warren was smooth and effective, “explaining things” with the same assurance that Bill Clinton displayed in Charlotte. It wasn’t always easy; as Brown interrupted at every opportunity-to accuse Warren of lying about her heritage, of attacking asbestos victims, of starting Occupy Wall Street.
But Warren never sweated it. She knew she had the winning hand.
And she played it. Again and again.
Ralph Nader: Not a Gaffe, but the Real Romney
There was something missing from the release of a tape showing Mitt Romney pandering to fat cats in Boca Raton, Florida, with these very inflammatory words: “There are 47 percent who are with him, (Obama) who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. These are people who pay no income tax.” Romney said his job “is not to worry about those people.”
Hey, Mitt, why start with the 47 percent? Fully 100 percent of the nation’s 500 biggest corporations are dependent on various kinds of corporate welfare – subsidies, giveaways, bailouts, waivers, and other dazzling preferences – while many pay no tax at all on very substantial profits (see their familiar names – General Electric, Pepco, Verizon etc. – here (pdf)).
The latest miniature controversy in the presidential campaign actually touches on an important idea.
“You can’t change Washington from the inside.”
That’s what Barack Obama said he learned as president, when questioned at a forum on Thursday.
Mitt Romney seized on the remarks, saying Obama has surrendered to the forces of Washington. Romney’s aides are eager to cast Obama in his own “YouTube moment,” naturally, and challenge his commitment to “change.”
Obama is correct, of course, that fundamental reform and social change is not usually hatched by Washington insiders. That is not a controversial view. It’s the premise animating grassroots conservative activism from Grover Norquist to the Tea Party, which primaries Republicans who represent the 2-0-2 for too long.
You can’t really understand Obama’s relationship to the inside game, however, without digging into the weeds of his unusual experiment with a grassroots, outside game: The 2009 creation of Organizing for America (OFA), which was designed to extend his massive field army from the last campaign into a governing force.
Katrina venden Heuvel: Progressives must work to retake the Supreme Court
While the election is dominated by talk of the economy and Mitt Romney’s latest foreign policy blunder, don’t lose sight of one important fact: Perhaps nothing will have a bigger impact on the United States’ future than the Supreme Court. And with four justices above the age of 70, the next president of the United States could have enormous power to shape the court for generations to come. Age is not, as Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner has suggested, just a number.
In a government paralyzed by partisan gridlock on the most important matters of the day, the Supreme Court has become what Bill Moyers calls “The Decider.” A majority of the justices has taken a far right turn in its decisions. [..]
They’re right. The court headed by right-wing Chief Justice John Roberts has suppressed the ability to organize through labor unions. It has weakened the right to bring class-action lawsuits. It has impeded ordinary people’s access to courts. It has given corporations more power – and personhood – to inflict their will on Americans. It has shielded financial institutions from accountability. It even threatened the Constitution’s commerce clause in its health-care decision, putting a range of social programs and protections at risk.