One of the things I've always found most curious about the "war on terror" is how obsessed so many Republicans are with al-Qaeda's psychology. During the Bush administration we were regularly told that insufficient stalwartness on the part of Democrats would "embolden" the terrorists, as though their boldness was really an issue. George W. Bush showed a great concern for demonstrating to terrorists that we were strong and resolute. Understanding their psychology is certainly worthwhile, but the people most interested in it seem to have the most cartoonish ideas about what motivates our enemies. Over at Mother Jones, Siddartha Mananta tells us about Rep.
Watching Barack Obama's press conference yesterday, it's obvious he's genuinely frustrated that he doesn't get more credit from progressives for accomplishing things progressives ought to cheer about. But there's an easy way he can get more credit from the base: Try not to insult them so much. When you reach a compromise, make a case for it that 1) is based in progressive values, and 2) doesn't immediately segue into bitching at progressives for not being happier about it. I suppose it's possible that he thinks there's strategic value in showing everybody he's willing to beat up on his supporters by calling them "sanctimonious" and complaining that they don't give him credit for anything.
When the first round of Bush tax cuts was passed in 2001, Republicans used the reconciliation process, which, among other things, meant that the cuts would expire in 10 years. At the time, this was generally viewed as not that much of a big deal for them, since nobody wants to raise taxes; the prevailing assumption was that they would end up being extended no matter who was president or who was in charge of Congress come 2011. And it looks like that was a correct assumption.
Over at Slate, Dahlia Lithwick and Jeff Shesol give us the lowdown on the latest in conservative creativity, a proposed amendment to the Constitution that would allow states to band together to repeal any federal laws they didn't like. So for instance, if legislatures in two-thirds of the states decided that $7.25 is just way too much for people to be paid, they could nullify the federal minimum wage. Sounds like a great idea! What I really love is that the website for the plan wants you to "join the movement to restore the Constitution," by dismantling the rather carefully crafted balance the Constitution strikes between state and federal power.
November 29, 2010, may be remembered as the moment when progressives stopped giving Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. Some had long before, of course, whether because of compromises during the health-care reform debate, his continuation of Bush-era policies on civil liberties, or what some see as his obeisance toward Wall Street.