Who knew that one of the best made-for-Labor-Day speeches in U.S. history would be delivered by a chief executive? And who could have guessed that the summer’s major labor story would not be about a CEO saving the jobs of his workers but about the workers saving the job of their CEO?Charles Blow:
Part of the reasoning is alarm at the speed and efficiency with which ISIS — a militant group President Obama described as “barbaric” — has made gains in northern Iraq and has been able to wash back and forth across the Syrian border. Part is because of the group’s ghastly beheading of the American journalist James Foley — which Michael Morell, a former deputy director of the C.I.A., called “ISIS’s first terrorist attack against the United States” — and threats to behead another.ISIS happened because Bush invaded Iraq. If that's not part of your thinking, don't bother to make suggestions.
But another part of the equation is the tremendous political pressure coming from the screeching of war hawks and an anxious and frightened public, weighted most heavily among Republicans and exacerbated by the right-wing media machine.
In fact, when the president tried to tamp down some of the momentum around more swift and expansive military action by indicating that he had not decided how best to move forward militarily in Syria, if at all, what Politico called an “inartful phrase” caught fire in conservative circles. When responding to questions, the president said, “We don’t have a strategy yet.”
His aide insisted that the phrase was only about how to move forward in Syria, not against ISIS as a whole, but the latter was exactly the impression conservatives moved quickly to portray.
It was a way of continuing to yoke Obama with the ill effects of a war started by his predecessor and the chaos it created in that region of the world.
In fact, if you listen to Fox News you might even believe that Obama is responsible for the creation of ISIS.
It's not just Fox News. There is a solid contingent in DC (journalists and politicians) that repeats this "I don't know what to do, just do something", despite being bereft of actual ideas. It should be required to add a tag line as to where you stood on Iraq before commenting now. We need to know their track record before we take the commenter seriously.
Still, Obama's as likely as not to piss off everyone by ignoring them. In this case, good for him.
More politics and policy below the fold.
Matthew Dickinson with a tongue in cheek suggestion that O just give up:
I could go on citing sources proving what an umitigated, crisis-inducing, presidency-ending Titanic-like foreign policy blunder this statement was, but fortunately IJS does it for me, linking to “17 Reactions to the ‘We Don’t Have a Strategy’ Gaffe That May Haunt the Rest of Obama’s Presidency”. And, let’s be honest – it’s not like Obama didn’t realize his presidency had essentially ended when he made that remark; as the New York Daily News notes, Obama sent out his press secretary Josh Earnest to try “backtrack from his ‘no strategy’ gaffe”, but then the President realized the enormity of the gaffe and said essentially “The hell with it, I’ll go golf and raise some money.”Paul Krugman:
At this point the damage is already done. Frankly, it’s not clear to me why the President soldiers on in the face of this enormous mistake. As gaffes go, this is pretty devastating – worse even than “he didn’t build this”, or Obama’s reference to bitter, gun-toting bible-thumpers with no teeth. I don’t need to state the obvious – journalists covering the presidency are not the types to exaggerate an incident for the sake of wooing viewers or increasing site visits. No, this isn’t about hyping a story to generate ratings – it’s a sober, clear-headed analysis of a presidential statement that is likely to go down in history as perhaps the greatest presidential gaffe of all time.
Sigh. I’m going back to bed. Wake me when the President resigns.
So, what do you think about those Medicare numbers? What, you haven’t heard about them? Well, they haven’t been front-page news. But something remarkable has been happening on the health-spending front, and it should (but probably won’t) transform a lot of our political debate.Medicare spending coming under control; VA issues getting addressed; more states (like PA and maybe TN) expanding Medicaid; good GDP numbers. If it keeps up, some of it might make it on to the front page insteead of 'you didn't build that'.
The story so far: We’ve all seen projections of giant federal deficits over the next few decades, and there’s a whole industry devoted to issuing dire warnings about the budget and demanding cuts in Socialsecuritymedicareandmedicaid. Policy wonks have long known, however, that there’s no such program, and that health care, rather than retirement, was driving those scary projections. Why? Because, historically, health spending has grown much faster than G.D.P., and it was assumed that this trend would continue.
But a funny thing has happened: Health spending has slowed sharply, and it’s already well below projections made just a few years ago. The falloff has been especially pronounced in Medicare, which is spending $1,000 less per beneficiary than the Congressional Budget Office projected just four years ago.
ICYMI, fascinating Senate predictions from DKE/Drew Linzer
In terms of overall odds, this combination pushed the Dems' chances of controlling the 50 seats needed to hold the Senate from 47 percent to 45 percent, as Begich's move down seems to outweigh Pryor's move up.and Sam Wang:
The result is that the November Senate win probability for the Democrats (i.e. probability that they will control 50 or more seats) is 65%.They're actually not so different as both predict a very close overall contest.
The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Has Raised $100 Million -- And CountingJeff Shuck has some good suggestions as to what to do with the money.
It seems like a good time to give some unsolicited advice about what to do if a fundraising program unexpectedly takes off and your organization finds itself with a spare hundred thousand bucks, or heck, tens of millions of dollars.Have a great Labor Day! And join me right here tonight at 7 pm ET for Things you can learn from Mom and Dad, a look at contemporary lessons learned about fairness and common sense.
The pressure from receiving that kind of windfall will be enormous. I know — I sit on a board of an organization that several years ago doubled its size in a few weeks’ time through a campaign that was enormously more successfully than planned. The pressure comes from the public, who want to know how their donations will be used; from watchdog groups, who are waiting to rate your every move; from the press, who are ready to pounce when you make a mistake; and from families of impacted constituents, who want the best for their loved ones.
Most of all, the pressure can come from internal leaders and staff. These folks have been working for years to push the rock of change uphill — slow, methodical, and sometimes tedious work. And then suddenly with one campaign we’ve finally been acknowledged! We’ve done something huge! Let’s make a massive investment in our mission! Let’s show the world!
Here’s my advice: take it slow. Stop and think.