After a week of vacation from serving as host of Comedy Central's Daily Show, Jon Stewart leaped into the fray on Tuesday about whether Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly was accurate about what happened while he was covering conflicts in a number of foreign nations.
“First,” the comedian began, “let's be frank about television journalists' self-aggrandizement. … It's nothing new. The most recent allegations -- well, they hurt me, they disappointed me because they concern someone” he considers a friend.
Kevin Drum of Mother Jones claims that Obama’s executive action was meant to “gain Latino support for Democrats and provoke an insane counterreaction from Republicans” and concludes that Obama “succeeded brilliantly on both counts.” Meanwhile, Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly notes that “the Republican Party was actually competitive among Latino voters a decade ago,” but adds, “Now that it’s obvious the party has chosen to…bow to the nativist impulses of the conservative ‘base,’ the question is how much worse can it get?”
Drum, of Mother Jones, suggests that Obama doesn’t have much competition for the “most liberal” title, given that the only other post-LBJ Democratic presidents have been the “relatively conservative” Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. He claims that Obama definitely isn’t “some kind of wild-eyed lefty.”
One blogger argued that media outlets which took the story seriously should “spend the next three-plus years publishing articles [or] airing pieces” telling the public that it was “a cynical and spiteful lie from the beginning.”
The Mother Jones blogger contends that Obama’s immigration action “is politically pretty brilliant. It unifies Democrats; wrecks the Republican agenda in Congress; cements the loyalty of Hispanics; and presents the American public with a year of Republican candidates spitting xenophobic fury during primary season. If you're President Obama, what's not to like?”
The Mother Jones pundit writes that Attkisson used to be “a pretty good, hard-nosed investigative reporter,” but adds that as she developed ties to conservative activists, “her reporting became…detached from reality....Her descent seems to be complete.”
Kevin Drum and other pundits take the press to task for misleading Iowa voters by, in Drum's words, pushing a “charade” that Republican Senate contender Joni Ernst is a “pragmatic centrist.”
The Obama administration is in the doldrums, and not only because it’s August. Is it that the president has a short attention span, or that he’s insufficiently ideological, or have Republicans just worn him down? Three lefty pundits opined on the issue earlier this week.
In a Tuesday New Republic piece, Georgetown history professor Michael Kazin identified “Obama’s sober mistrust of ideology and partisanship” as an obstacle to progress and urged Obama to go beyond “pragmatism” (emphasis added):
This week, three of the most prominent liberal bloggers agreed that when it comes to criticizing presidents of either party about their vacations, people really need to, as one of the bloggers put it, “STFU.”
Do they have a point, or should the appropriateness of presidential vacations be evaluated on a POTUS-by-POTUS basis? Check out their thoughts and comment if you’d like.
Liberals like Chris Mooney of Mother Jones agree that today’s Republican party is “environmental[ly] retrograde,” but often acknowledge it wasn’t like that a few decades ago. For example, as Mooney noted in a Tuesday post, a GOP president, Richard Nixon, established the EPA.
Mooney reports, however, that in the early 1990s the party as a whole grew distinctly more hostile towards environmentalism. He touches on several possible explanations, including a backlash against the newly elected vice president, Earth in the Balance author Al Gore, as well as a theory that after the Soviet Union collapsed, environmentalists succeeded Communists as major objects of conservative fear and hatred.
In a hit record from 1974, a girl repeatedly told a suitor, “I don’t like spiders and snakes.” Presumably no one back then thought the song had any political overtones, but forty years later a post on the Mother Jones website has suggested that the girl’s remark meant she probably was a right-winger.
MoJo science writer Chris Mooney reported Tuesday on a recent paper that claims conservatives have, in his account, “a ‘negativity bias,’ meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments” (including huge spiders). He asserted that righties’ extreme wariness leads them to support “a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns.”
Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore has found some people he thinks conservatives hate even more than they hate President Obama: the thousands of Central American children trying to enter the U.S. at its border with Mexico. After all, righties are merely obsessed with making Obama at least as unpopular in his second term as George W. Bush was in his, but they want to “immediately ship [the] children back across the border in cattle cars,” or maybe just shoot them. But Obama's apparently so much more compassionate than Bush.
From Kilgore’s Wednesday post (emphasis added):