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At the same time that a new poll shows Obama's job approval rising and disapproval falling (on all issues--including health care & the economy--except Afghanistan) a new meme is emerging that portrays the Obama Administration as too diffuse and incompetent. While it has its roots on the Right ("he's a great speech giver, but he can't do anything"), it's now being picked up by some on the Left.

Last week, SNL Skewered Obama for a supposed lack of accomplishment. Then yesterday, Obama supporter Chris Mathews acted as if the meme were accepted fact and debated the personnel changes Barack must make to get things done:

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Is this new meme partisan & unfair or is it legitimate? What should be done?

54%33 votes
6%4 votes
19%12 votes
19%12 votes

| 61 votes | Vote | Results

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Everyone knows that New Media, by design, brings a political perspective to everything they cover. Today, however, I was once again struck over the head by the inherent bias of the mainstream, "trusted" media ... including the ones I routinely rely on.

It's important to differentiate the subtle bias I'm talking about from the blatant bias of outlets like Fox News or MSNBC. In the blatant case, you know there's a spin so you're more on guard and questioning of what they're "reporting." In the subtle case, however, obviously partisan statements or views don't jump out at you, yet, the overall tone, use of language and what is emphasized does subconsciously convey a political perspective. And because you're guard is down, because you're libel to think these are "facts" describing a "truth," you're more likely to simply file away what you've read and let it unconsciously impact what you think and believe.

As I wrote the first time my eye's were opened to this, in June's 3 Divergent, MSM Views Of The Pending Obama Decision To End Federal Benefit Discrimination:

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How much does the subtle bias discussed here impact: (1) your views (2) the average American's views?

23%4 votes
11%2 votes
17%3 votes
5%1 votes
0%0 votes
23%4 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
17%3 votes

| 17 votes | Vote | Results

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Last month, after I posted about Seniors being selfish and not wanting to share their lucrative medical insurance with anyone else, some commenters thought I was being unfair and even a bit inflammatory.

Then today I read a NY Times story on Florida Senator Bill Nelson's attempts to beat back Medicare Advantage cuts and I realized that I might have earlier understated the case:

Seniors as a class (not every individual Senior, of course, but as a vote-in-high-numbers political demographic) are being selfish and acting no different than bankers, the military industrial complex or any other group that Progressives routinely challenge whenever they try to protect their fiscal position without regard to anyone else or the greater good. So why should progressives turn a blind eye to what Seniors are doing?

The argument after the jump ... what do you think?

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Do you think (1) senior's opposition is important and (2) Obama needs to target their hypocritical, indefensible position?

45%32 votes
24%17 votes
17%12 votes
12%9 votes

| 70 votes | Vote | Results

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Karen Tumulty digs out more proof that Seniors Are Selfish: They Want To Keep Their Wildly Popular Health Plan To Themselves.

The Great Generational Divide Over Health Care is pretty clear in the  latest CNN poll. Sixty percent of younger Americans favor the Obama effort; the exact percentage of older ones oppose it:

snapshot-2009-09-02-15-29-23

It's truly appalling that those over 65 who benefit from a government run insurance program (Medicare) would deny the same to those under 65.

Compounding their Scrooge-like hypocrisy is that they also benefit from a government run pension (Social Security)!

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Do you think (1) senior's opposition is important and (2) Obama needs to target their hypocritical, indefensible position?

55%60 votes
16%18 votes
18%20 votes
9%10 votes

| 108 votes | Vote | Results

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Tue Sep 01, 2009 at 05:53 AM PDT

The Truth Depends On How It Is Covered

by kloris

On the 17th of June I wrote the following in 3 Divergent, MSM Views Of Obama's ...,

Over the course of the 16 months I've been blogging every day, I often read about the same event from multiple sources and the differences in the way mainstream, theoretically impartial, unbiased news outlets cover a story has been eye opening.  Bottom-line: there is no such thing as objective reporting, everyone has a partisan slant, some just acknowledge and/or are more obvious about it.

So here in, their entirety, are how 3 "legitimate" sources--not partisan blogs but major newspapers spanning the political spectrum from right to left--reported Obama's decision to stop the Federal government's discrimination against gay & lesbian employee benefits.

So what's the truth? Is Obama's decision a break through or an incomplete bone thrown to his supporters? It all depends on which story you read it seems.

This reality struck me again as I read the NY Times' and Boston Globe's coverage of the same story: how Massachusetts, during these times of fiscal stress, is treating legal immigrants' health coverage under its breakthrough plan.

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Are you an intelligent consumer of news?

8%2 votes
13%3 votes
17%4 votes
60%14 votes
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| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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The final numbers have been released and the Clunker program has done even better that I initially reported (here and here).

Continue to the numbers ...

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Given that the Cash-for-Clunker program ended yesterday, I started wondering how much it actually lived up to its promise (A Reminder Why Cash-for-Clunkers Is Such A Brilliant Idea and A Threefer: Stimulate The Economy, Reduce Foreign Oil And Help The Environment).

Based on my analysis below, I'd say it is a Threefer that far exceeded its potential.

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Do you agree that Cash-for-Clunkers was brilliant (pls read the linked to arguments before voting)

82%96 votes
15%18 votes
2%3 votes

| 117 votes | Vote | Results

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The unruly mobs at this August's health care town halls have me worried.  Now I know America in 2009 is a long way away from Germany in the 1930's but, as the social conservatives like to say, there's a slippery slope and I fear that the right's fear mongering propaganda, and its telling effect on the boisterous, ill educated mobs shouting and acting out on their irrational fears, means we've taken the first steps down the hill.

But am I doing what I claim the Right does: being too irrational and fearful?  Are there really any parallels between America today and Germany just before Hitler came to power? Can we learn anything useful from that period of time; are there any warnings that we should heed so that we don't go further down the slippery slope?

Thanks to the way back machine at YouTube I was able to get some actual data.

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What do you think about comparing then and now?

12%10 votes
12%10 votes
57%47 votes
18%15 votes

| 82 votes | Vote | Results

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 at 06:15 AM PDT

Why Are The Blue Dogs So Damn Powerful?

by kloris

It's because the Democrat Party has been so damn electorally successful!

As I wrote earlier this month after Al Franken was finally awarded Minnesota's Senate seat:

Contrary to the knee jerk, superficial analysis of cable blowhards, the impact will have little to do with preventing filibusters or giving Obama & the Dems a blank check to easily get whatever they want passed ... To understand why, we have to go back in time to this 19 February 2009 post:

I've written extensively in A Blue View about how the GOP has been reduced to a rigidly conservative, ideologically pure rump of its former self. The flip side of this contraction of course is that the Democratic party has expanded its ideological basis to encompass many of the liberal to moderate Republicans turned off by the GOP's far right bent.

So if you were to diagram this out ...

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Are the Blue Dogs good or bad for the Democratic Party?

12%8 votes
19%13 votes
1%1 votes
33%22 votes
25%17 votes
3%2 votes
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| 66 votes | Vote | Results

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One of the things that has burned me over the years, and that is threatening to become a raging inferno during Sotomayor's hearings, is the oft repeated GOP charge that liberal judges are "activists" who make up law to suit their ideology while conservative judges mechanistically "apply" the law without cognition or emotion. And while progressives like EJ Dione below have pointed out the hypocrisy of this charge, Democratic politicians haven't been very effective at refuting the accusation ... until Sheldon Whitehouse yesterday.

Progressives need to get better at getting this counter argument out because in many ways, this whole confirmation hearing isn't really about Sotomayor (who everyone, including Republicans, say will be confirmed) but is about setting the standards by which Supreme Court nominees are to be judged.  So if we want the American public to accept Obama's next nominee (one much more likely to progressively shift the balance of power on the court) we need to be laying the ground work now.  And preventing the GOP's mantra of 'liberal judge = activist = bad' while 'conservative judge = impartial umpire = good' from taking hold in the American zeitgeist is therefore absolutely critical.

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Will progressives be able to prevent the GOP's 'liberal = activist' argument from taking hold with the American public?

17%10 votes
30%17 votes
10%6 votes
41%23 votes

| 56 votes | Vote | Results

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A 3 part argument.

First, the good news on student loans, from the NY Times:

The chairman of the House Education Committee [CA Dem George Miller] has dismissed a last-ditch plea from the private student loan industry and is throwing his support behind President Obama’s plan to end the role of private banks in the federal education lending systems.

Mr. Obama’s plan remains deeply contentious in Congress, and still faces strong opposition from private banks [and Republicans] that for decades have earned big profits for handling federal student loans ...

The president’s proposal, first outlined in his initial budget in February, would save the government roughly $87 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office — money that the White House says should be used to aid impoverished students.

Second, the story offered the typical Republican argument about big government, reducing choice, Obama is a socialist, etc.:

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Where there be a public option in the final health care bill?

61%19 votes
19%6 votes
19%6 votes

| 31 votes | Vote | Results

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I was struck by this little "news brief" from the AP:

Gay Couples May Use Married Names on Passports

Gay couples traveling overseas can now show passports that feature their married names ... [the change] allows same-sex couples to obtain passports under the names recognized by their state through their marriages or civil unions.

Now I certainly "knew" that the Americans who live in the 6 states that no longer practice marriage discrimination were still being denied Federal marriage benefits, but until seeing this brief, I didn't realize what this might mean on a daily, human level.

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Do you think DOMA will be repealed during

42%21 votes
36%18 votes
22%11 votes

| 50 votes | Vote | Results

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