"0ne of those pathetic bloggers who tries to make a living out of attacking other bloggers and media folk in an effort to illicit a reaction and draw traffic to his site." -- Owen Robinson of Boots and Sabers
This morning Charlie Sykes joined the rightwing smear effort against Shirley Sherrod. He did it relatively late in his show, at a point when there were questions about the veracity of the video in question. Didn't let that stop him. Now that the full video is out, and it's unequivocally clear that Sherrod was telling a story of overcoming racial prejudice.
Charlie feels that the mainstream media owes Sarah Palin an apology for reporting on remarks made by her once and current future son in law, remarks he has recanted. So clearly Sykes should feel the need to apologize for reporting on a video fragment pushed by an outfit with a record of misleading the public.
Christian Schneider, of the rightwing think tank Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, joins the bum rush of Paul Ryan fluffers in the latest issue of the surely ironically named Wisconsin "Interest."
Titled "Rebel Without A Pause" we learn -- guess what -- that Ryan is a deep thinker, he's a rising star, he's humble, he's just a regular guy. He also likes Thai food.
OK, perhaps it's unfair to expect journamalism breakthroughs from Schneider, he who has candidly admitted he hopes unemployment stays high. But to give him credit, he does produce some bonafide howlers.
Such as this:
Ryan began to garner national attention in 2003, during the debate over President Bush’s proposal to expand prescription drug benefits to seniors through Medicare. Ryan is proud of the free market programs he inserted into the final bill (Medicare Advantage, Health Saving Accounts), and believes those are the “seeds” to a future overhaul of federal entitlement programs.
Actually what it laid the groundwork for was bigger deficits, with former comptroller general David Walker calling it "the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s." And, as Bruce Bartlett notes, it was more expensive than Obamacare -- and unlike ACA it didn't include dedicated financing, offsets or revenue raisers. It was just tacked on to the budget. Plus the way it was passed made the Corhusker Kickback look like a goo-goo's wet dream.
Christian -- where's the research?
It's tough to outdo that risible work, but Christian struggles mightily when he describes Ryan "challenging" the president at the health care summit.
So when cameras turned to Ryan, he began systematically dismantling the Democrats’ rosy cost estimates. He pointed out that much of the cost was hidden, as it raised taxes for ten years to pay for six years’ worth of spending. He exposed the fact that the $371 billion “doc fix” (a plan to reimburse doctors more through Medicare) had been separated from the bill and considered as standalone legislation to keep the price tag down. “Hiding spending does not reduce spending,” he said.
As Ryan spoke, the cameras would occasionally make their way back to President Obama, who was glaring icily at Ryan.
“I wanted to throw a match on this thing,” Ryan remembers thinking.
Perhaps the icy looks are explained by the fact that Ryan, as is his wont, was trying to pass off bullshit as revelation. As Ezra Klein noted:
But he purposefully omits any mention of the bill's expected savings, disingenuously attaches the price tag of a broken Republican policy onto the health-care reform bill, and selectively stops extrapolating trends when they don't fit his points. It's a presentation designed to make the bill look less fiscally responsible than it really is.
But don't listen to me. Robert Reischauer is the head of the Urban Institute. He's also one of the CBO's most revered former directors, in no small part because his relentlessly honest cost estimates helped doom Bill Clinton's bill in 1994. I reached him earlier today and asked whether he thought this bill made fiscal sense. "Were I in Congress and asked to vote on this," he replied, "I'd vote in favor." The bill isn't perfect, he continued, "but it at least has the prospect for creating a platform over which more significant and far-reaching cost containment can be enacted."
Did Schneider and Ryan learn to do "research" at the same place?
Or that surveys have found that teabaggers are, to quote Bruce Bartlett, "largely unsympathetic to African Americans."
But not all! For me, a highlight of the Milwaukee tea party was the interaction between an an African American guy handing out bumper stickers and a female teabagger. "Are you really a black conservative?" she asked. He replied in the affirmative. She said "good for you" and commented on how rare a specimen he was. Unsympathetic or just condescending? Or just totally color blind?
That said, perhaps we should be thankful that McIlheran stops short of equating liberals with Maoists, especially given he's previously put them on a continuum with the Nazis.
If Republicans adopt the Road Map as their basic ideological blueprint, it offers them the prospect of a landslide in the midterm election this year, followed by victory in the presidential election in 2012.
This despite the fact Republicans aren't champing at the bit to join Ryan's crusade.
Nick Schweitzer, in comments, sets McIlheran straight on Ryan's lack of credibility as a fiscal messiah:
That's right... Rep. Yes!
He voted YES to the Auto Bailout! He voted YES to TARP! He voted YES to Medicare Part D!
He voted YES to create the very problem he now wants to "solve". Paul Ryan only believes in Small Government when he is writing op ed's for newspapers. He believes in Big Government when he votes in Washington, which is the only time that counts.
Yet while talk show audiences aren’t being led like lemmings to a certain conclusion, they can be carefully prodded into agreement with the Republican views of the day.
Conservative talk show hosts would receive daily talking points e-mails from the Bush White House, the Republican National Committee and, during election years, GOP campaign operations. They’re not called talking points, but that’s what they are. I know, because I received them, too. During my time at WTMJ, Charlie would generally mine the e-mails, then couch the daily message in his own words. Midday talker Jeff Wagner would be more likely to rely on them verbatim. But neither used them in their entirety, or every single day.
This seems fairly obvious to anyone who's ever listened to Charlie Sykes. Yet Charlie, who clearly dearly wishes he was a principled and independent thinker like his old man, as opposed to a thrice married guy who preens as a moralist, would have nothing to do with it. The Brawler recalls, quite clearly, Charlie saying on the radio that yes he receives talking point emails. But you know what he does with them? He puts them in the trash!
Humorously, he read anRPW release , virtually in its entirety, today just after 10:25.
Amusing. Sykes is ranting and raving about Feingold's "penny pincher" ad. The ad kicks off with Feingold saying he voted against the bank bailout. Sykes says "I'm glad he voted against the bank bailout."
That of course is a big fat lie as Sykes stumped for the passage of TARP and hailed Paul Ryan for voting for it after a protracted Hamlet act.
Meanwhile tough guy Charlie calls Feingold a "little punk."
The hope, of course, is that a bad economy=bad results for Dems at the polls in November. The Republicans are rooting for high unemployment and economic pain to continue. How do we know that? Christian Schneider told us so last May!
Basically, the GOP has to secretly root for unemployment to stay high for another year, in hopes of regaining control and making fundamental systematic changes that help unemployed workers in the long run. It appears that endless fruitless bailouts have fatigued voters, which may form a good platform on which the GOP to rebound.
The GOP is hoping short term pain brings long term gain. Let's hope it doesn't bloody Wisconsin's nose irreprably in the next twelve months.