Tag Archives: President Obama

Smoking Politicians

ZOË RICE: Tom Brokaw, allow me to virtually fist bump you for writing this recent op-ed piece. Perhaps I will seem square for shaking my fist at cigarettes, and indeed I’m a former smoker myself (nearly ten years past quitting). But the toll this devastating habit takes on our country’s health shouldn’t be downplayed. Obesity may be the health-epidemic-du-jour (and a worthy one), but could Michelle Obama take an equally firm stance against smoking? She and her family stand in all their leanness as examples of fighting childhood obesity, a cause she publicly rallies against. However her husband, our President, can not act as a role model in the fight against tobacco addiction. And I think that should be part of his job.

AKIE BERMISS: I can completely understand where Zoë is coming from, but I disagree wholeheartedly. I mean, I agree that smoking is probably the most horrible and deadly of all bad habits, that far too many Americans do it, and that many of us are likely to die from it. On the other hand, as a smoker (of cigars), I understand what it means to have a vice. I understand how worldly pressures can lead to comfort in acting out “bad” habits. There’s nothing I crave more at the end of a hard day than a nice cigar and some peace and quiet. And I say, let a man have his vices. Assuredly, too many vices is not a good thing but a person with no vices at all? That’s just disturbing.
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The Politics of 2011-2012

CHRIS PUMMER: After last night’s resounding electoral defeat for Democrats at the hands of Tea Party-fueled Republicans, pundits are starting to speculate what it means for the 2012 election cycle.

While I’ve maybe got a few ideas, right now I’d like to caution observers that road from here is going to be very unpredictable. Continue reading

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Democratic Loyalty

AKIE BERMISS: Last week, after Vice President Biden’s exhortation of the Democratic base, there was great deal of blow back from liberals across the board. I spent nearly an hour on twitter arguing with a friend and fellow-blogger as to whether liberals should or should not abandon the party. Biden was characteristically crass and undiplomatic in his speech and what stuck in many Democrats craws was his demand that we all “stop whining.” While I think that may have been quite possibly the worst way to put it, I do basically agree with the sentiment. Continue reading

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Obama Oval Office Speech Reaction

HOWARD MEGDAL: In a speech with much discussion of the war in Iraq and the economy, it is three paragraphs about Afghanistan that I think provides the real news of the night.

JEREMY FUGLEBERG: A promise kept, Pres. Obama said in his speech to the nation about the Iraq war. Continue reading

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Reflections on Shirley Sherrod

AKIE BERMISS: Let us take a minute and think about the amount of time that has elapsed since the first Shirley Sherrod video broke. Just about week ago the media/blogosphere was all a twitter over a video of the Georgia State Director of Rural Development for the United States Department of Agriculture[ speaking at an NAACP function and APPARENTLY confessing to having committed reverse racism. Just a week ago, but of course it seems like ages ago. What are we talking about today? Probably the final death throws of the not-so-important Wikileaks/Afghanistan story, right? I mean, before the Sherrod story broke, all the talk was about Charlie Rangel and the ethics committee. Before THAT scandal we were talking about how watered-down but symbolically-good the financial reform was going to be. We live in the age of the instant story, the instant story. The 24-hour news cycle and all the spin that is fit to print. Trouble is all this new coverage hasn’t led to MORE coverage or MORE news — its led to more coverage of less topics. Its almost fetishistic myopia.

JESSICA BADER: Of everyone even peripherally involved in the Shirley Sherrod saga, only three people – Sherrod herself and the white couple whose farm she helped save all those years ago – came out of it not looking bad in some way. In a slightly gentler universe, the story Sherrod had told at that NAACP function would be the inspiration for a saccharine Lifetime movie chock-full of important lessons. In the universe as it is, things took a far more depressing turn.
And so for a few days last week, Sherrod, the NAACP, Obama, and “reverse-racism” were the story burning on all cylinders. Continue reading

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Obama and Fox News

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Obama’s interview on Fox news had me wondering whether his intention might have been recapture some of the magic that he worked so well during his visit to the GOP retreat in January. Unfortunately, Fox pit the President against Bret Baier, an awkward, oddly youthful-looking reporter who resembled a cranky sixth-grader on school picture day.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe the President ought to go on Fox News every once in a while, just to show he cares.

But we live in a world where 67 percent of Republicans think Barack Obama is a socialist, 57 percent think he is Muslim, 38 percent see him with an agenda like Hitler’s, and 24 percent – 24 percent! think he may be the antichrist. So while that doesn’t all come from Fox News, legitimizing their “news organization” at all seems like a huge mistake to me. Continue reading

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Health Care Reform Bill Posted

JESSICA BADER: The Great Democratic Freakout of 2010 appears to have run its course as the final preparations for Thursday’s bipartisan summit on health care reform are made. Perhaps bolstered by the profoundly unsurprising revelation that a big chunk of the opposition to reform comes from those who were never going to vote for a Democrat anyway, Congressional leaders have committed to the strategy that was the obvious path to take once the Democrats lost the 60th Senate seat needed to end a filibuster – have the House of Representatives pass the health care reform bill that already passed the Senate in December and use the filibuster-proof budget reconciliation process to iron out some of the differences between that bill and the one that the House passed in November.

HOWARD MEGDAL: The bill released by the White House Monday occupies a very different political space than the ones passed by the House and Senate, respectively. Continue reading

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Didn’t Watch Obama’s Speech, But…

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I did not watch President Obama’s speech on health care last week, and I have to say, I found it particularly lacking.

HOWARD MEGDAL: What speech weren’t you watching? Continue reading

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