Visual source: Newseum
The New York Times on the speech scheduling debacle:
Mr. Obama’s people negotiated with Mr. Boehner’s people behind closed doors. When they emerged, the White House caved, to no one’s surprise. The speech will take place on Thursday.
One day won’t make a difference, but the political spectacle and the final result only served to further underscore the president’s weakness. Worse, the vital importance of the speech — and the need for Congress to take its full responsibility for creating jobs and reviving the economy — was upstaged by yet another Washington soap opera.
Paul Krugman on Eric Cantor's cold-hearted approach to disaster relief:
“Have you left no sense of decency?” That’s the question Joseph Welch famously asked Joseph McCarthy, as the red-baiting demagogue tried to ruin yet another innocent citizen. And these days, it’s the question I find myself wanting to ask Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, who has done more than anyone else to make policy blackmail — using innocent Americans as hostages — standard operating procedure for the G.O.P.
Timothy Egan looks at the prohibition era and compares it to the ability of one very wrong-headed individual to shape an entire nation's policy:
Today, virtually every Republican in national office, and a majority of those seeking the presidency, has taken a pledge to an unelected, single-issue advocate named Grover Norquist. His goal is to never allow a net tax increase — under any circumstances — and in the process reduce government to a size where he can “drown it in the bathtub,” in his well-known statement of mortal intentions.
In times of war, category 5 hurricanes or other national emergencies these mind-locked pledge-takers must answer to Norquist before country. “We are your constituents,” an angry voter said to pledge-bound Representative Chris Gibson, Republican of New York, at a town hall meeting last week, “not Grover Norquist.”
So, even though huge majorities support keeping Medicare and Social Security strong, and raising taxes on the very rich in the interest of sustainable government, one single-issue group drives national affairs — to the bafflement of average citizens. This dysfunction was on full display in August when Republicans nearly pushed the government into default by refusing to budge from their fealty to Norquist.
The AP's Jim Kuhnhein lays out the painful (and obvious) truth:
The tiff over the timing of President Barack Obama's jobs speech to Congress offers little hope that Republicans and the White House will now find common ground on how to reduce the nation's painfully high unemployment. In fact, some Democrats say it's time Obama stopped trying so hard to negotiate.
On matters large and small, Obama has yielded to House Speaker John Boehner in a string of concessions that have unnerved Democrats and emboldened Republicans. A chorus of Democratic voices is now demanding that the president abandon his attempts at being a compromiser and instead lay out an ideological vision that distinguishes him from Republicans and becomes a template for his re-election.
Ann Hornaday reviews the latest lovefest film for celebrity Sarah Palin:
Quick: What did Sarah Palin say yesterday?
Palin, whose failed vice presidential bid in 2008 resulted in one of the most lucrative and attention-getting careers as a gadfly, has gone oddly silent of late. She seems more seen than heard, stealing thunder at other Republicans’ candidacy announcements or teasingly leading the press on a goose chase along the Eastern Seaboard.
It’s Palin-as-projection who stars in “The Undefeated,” Stephen K. Bannon’s fawning, oddly bloodless portrait, which never opened in Washington. Instead, it made a brief midsummer tour through theaters in primary states before landing unceremoniously on pay-per-view Thursday. Now, at their convenience, and at a mere $5 a pop, viewers can see for themselves what audiences largely rejected at the multiplex: a tendentious, poorly made infomercial that reduces one of the most charismatic political and media figures of her age to little more than a talking point for far less telegenic talking heads. Love her or hate her, Sarah Palin deserves better.
Congressman Barney Frank examines the GOP's pattern and practice of blocking even the most qualified of nominees:
Once upon a time, we could have expected the following sequence: After considerable debate, Congress would have passed a bill creating an agency. The president would then nominate someone to head that agency. That nomination would be considered on its merits by the Senate.
But this is now. The president has nominated Richard Cordray, an able, experienced and thoughtful former state attorney general who has a record of achievement in protecting individuals against financial abuse, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the Republican minority in the Senate has announced that it intends to deny any consideration of the individual whom the president has nominated pursuant to his constitutional prerogative. They will do that by blatantly distorting the Constitution, substituting a refusal to allow the constitutionally mandated nomination process for the legislative process in which they simply do not have the votes to accomplish what they want.
Eugene Robinson argues that recent media appearances by Dick Cheney and George Bush are a good thing for the Obama administration:
Thank you, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, for emerging from your secure, undisclosed locations to remind us how we got into this mess: It didn’t happen by accident.
The important thing isn’t what Bush says in his interview with National Geographic or what scores Cheney tries to settle in his memoir. What matters is that as they return to the public eye, they highlight their record of wrongheaded policy choices that helped bring the nation to a sour, penurious state.
Joe Holley presents an interesting argument -- Perry as Calvin Coolidge:
Coolidge was a rectitudinous New Englander presiding, paradoxically, over a raucous Jazz Age; Perry is a gregarious Texan who, paradoxically, stands to inherit a nation shaken by a stubbornly slow economic recovery.
In reality, the two Republicans are similar in several ways beyond party affiliation. Coolidge, like Perry, was the first in his family to leave the land. Coolidge — like Perry, so far — never lost an election in 15 tries, serving as a city alderman, mayor, state legislator, Massachusetts governor and vice president before becoming president in 1923 upon the death of Warren G. Harding. Like Perry, Coolidge enjoyed physical exercise, although his preferred method wasn't jogging along a country road but bouncing atop a mechanical horse in his White House bedroom.
Most of all, the two men share a commitment to minimalist federal government.
Margaret Carlson pens a fun take on the GOP field:
The Republican Party has been speed dating, racing through presidential prospects like a Hollywood starlet working her way through leading men. The fickleness suggests a party that doesn’t know whether its tea-party heart or its establishment head should prevail in 2012.
Stewart Patrick takes a close look at GOP attempts to weaken the U.N.:
For a case study of misguided Congressional efforts to micromanage U.S. foreign policy, look no further than H.R. 2829. If it became law, The United Nations Transparency, Accountability, and Reform Act of 2011 — introduced this week by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Republican chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — would destroy U.S. leadership at the United Nations and undermine critical U.S. national interests. It would alienate U.S. allies, encourage other nations to adopt similarly irresponsible policies, and impose heavy costs on U.S. taxpayers. Fortunately, the bill has zero chance of becoming law.
Finally, PEOPLE's Peter Mikelbank writes up this tidbit:
(People) -- So, you want a famous actor to run for president? George Clooney has just the man for you -- and it's not him.
"The Republicans have certainly shown the way -- that when you run someone who is popular, you win. Sometimes even when you run an actor," Clooney, referring to Ronald Reagan, said Thursday at the Venice Film Festival.
But while many would like to see Clooney run, the "Ides of March" director has a better idea: Matt Damon.
"I guess I only throw his name out there because I'd like us to start thinking that way," Clooney, 50, said.