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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why Are We Still Listening to This Asshat?

Karl Rove, go away. Just... just... get the fuck out of our lives.

I've long since resigned myself to the realization that the "liberal" media will never give Obama a break. It was obvious that they'd held him to a higher standard long before they held their collective breath waiting for him to make a George W. Bush-league misstep during his trip to Germany last year. Now, as then, we're still seeing more Republican talking assholes with ties than progressives. Hell, Think Progress reported yesterday that Fox's viewership actually spiked by 24% since the inauguration.

All the same, I haven't a problem with listening to the very occasional conservative who actually knows what the hell s/he's talking about. What I do have a problem with is networks putting Tom DeLay's, Joe the Plumber's or Sarah Palin's pusses on the air or the WSJ giving Karl Rove a reliable organ where he can short stroke to his heart's content.

Under Rove's stewardship, the GOP got trounced in the '06 midterms and, in his baleful wake, got stampeded even worse last year. The Democrats now control two of the three branches of government and just publicly admitting to being a Republican is tantamount to begging for a tarring and feathering.

So why do we have to endure the likes of Rove when the man is obviously a Koolaid swiller of the first magnitude? Because many of the idiots who have flocked to Fox since the inauguration also hang on Rove's every unctious word. His latest deathless Ode to Bush, "Obama's Straw Men", is just such a masterpiece of obfuscation. Because, according to Herr Rove, nobody is really disagreeing with Barack Obama about anything.
President Barack Obama reveres Abraham Lincoln. But among the glaring differences between the two men is that Lincoln offered careful, rigorous, sustained arguments to advance his aims and, when disagreeing with political opponents, rarely relied on the lazy rhetorical device of "straw men." Mr. Obama, on the other hand, routinely ascribes to others views they don't espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates.

Oh, you mean like Bush's "Some would say..." "There are some who think..." speeches? Bush never did get around to introducing those straw men of his own to us.
On Tuesday night, Mr. Obama told Congress and the nation, "I reject the view that . . . says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity." Who exactly has that view? Certainly not congressional Republicans, who believe that through reasonable tax cuts, fiscal restraint, and prudent monetary policies government contributes to prosperity.

Who'd said that "government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity"? I'll give you a hint: His initials were Ronald Reagan and that ridiculous mantra has been repeated by every Beltway Republican ever since.

No tax cut, as Barney Frank recently reminded us, has ever rebuilt a road or a bridge and never better educated a child. Fiscal restraint? Perhaps, in gutting Bush's NCLB, the Real ID Act and a whole host of other hare-brained Republican schemes that look great on paper provided it's not paper money. Because Big Gubmint ain't the answer, doncha know? But their utterly ridiculous posture of "fiscal restraint" kinda gets blown out of the water when one realizes what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing us each year. Onward, Christian soldiers:
Mr. Obama also said that America's economic difficulties resulted when "regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market." Who gutted which regulations?

Perhaps it was President Bill Clinton who, along with then Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, removed restrictions on banks owning insurance companies in 1999.

Oh, here we go with the "Blame Slick Willie" refrain.

OK, Clinton did sign off on two especially egregious pieces of legislation, one of which was the Commodity Futures Modernization Act. What this did, basically, was remove any restrictions that had previously been in place barring banks from owning insurance companies and allowing mergers so massive that it's a miracle the Federal Trade Commission didn't step in while howling about violation of antitrust laws.

And Rove would have you think that Republicans were howling about this federal deregulation and dug in their heels every step of the way, right?

Uh, not exactly. What Rove conveniently forgets is that Phil "Whiners" Gramm had his fingerprints all over that other aforementioned egregious piece of legislation, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, aka the Financial Services Modernization Act. And in the decade since that law was passed, I'm sure that Republicans, led by Dear Leader Bush, have been fighting tooth and nail to get government more involved in reversing this deregulation orgy that's bringing our economy down around our ears, right? (This is the part where you start to hear crickets.)

As a post script, it's now known that President Clinton didn't even know what he was signing off on, since it wasn't properly vetted, and Republicans weren't exactly anxious to help him fill in the gaps.
Perhaps Mr. Obama was talking about George W. Bush. But Mr. Bush spent five years pushing to further regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He was blocked by Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd and Rep. Barney Frank. Arriving in the Senate in 2005, Mr. Obama backed up Mr. Dodd's threat to filibuster Mr. Bush's needed reforms.

While it's true that Bush called for more regulation of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, no one at the time, certainly not the Democrats who opposed it and had it tabled, knew how bad the problem truly was on account of the burning fuse being buried so deeply in the books. At the risk of oversimplfying this, Democrats opposed tighter regulations at that time solely on the grounds that it could hurt lower income people get financing for housing.

Rove's insistence on labeling his old boss some champion of regulation is beneath laughter but if I try real had, I think I'll still be able to eke out a few "nyuk nyuk nyuks."
Even in an ostensibly nonpartisan speech marking Lincoln's 200th birthday, Mr. Obama used a straw-man argument, decrying "a philosophy that says every problem can be solved if only government would step out of the way; that if government were just dismantled, divvied up into tax breaks, and handed out to the wealthiest among us, it would somehow benefit us all. Such knee-jerk disdain for government -- this constant rejection of any common endeavor -- cannot rebuild our levees or our roads or our bridges."

Whose philosophy is this?

Grover Norquist, who wants to shrink government so that you can drag it into a bathroom and drown it in a bathtub? And, once again, St. Ronnie of the Jelly Bean and every Beltway Republican ever since, yada yada.
Many Americans justifiably believe that government is too big and often acts in counterproductive ways. But that's a far cry from believing that in "every" case government is the problem or that government should be "dismantled" root and branch. Who -- other than an anarchist -- "constantly rejects any common endeavor" like building levees, roads or bridges?

This, coming from the former Katrina Czar. Oh, the irony is delicious.

How about the Republicans who fought the "spending bill" with hammers and tongs, claiming that educating children, aiding battered women and so forth was pork barrel spending? How about Republicans who kept insisting on bridges to nowhere and electrified fences along our southern border while resisting calls to repair the levees of New Orleans?
During his news conference on Feb. 9, Mr. Obama decried an unnamed faction in the congressional stimulus debate as "a set of folks who -- I don't doubt their sincerity -- who just believe that we should do nothing."

Who were these sincere do-nothings? Every House Republican voted for an alternative stimulus plan, evidence that they wanted to do something. Every Senate Republican -- with the exception of Judd Gregg, who'd just withdrawn his nomination to be Mr. Obama's Commerce secretary and therefore voted "present" -- voted for alternative stimulus proposals.

If Republicans had their way, the entire stimulus bill would've consisted of $900,000,000,000 of tax cuts and additional Pentagon spending. Which they got, with slight moderation. Other than that, Republicans were in favor of doing nothing, calling the Senate and House versions "spending bills", as if government spending money to stimulate an economy that flatlined under Bush's sleepy eye is some kind of a crime.
Then there's Mr. Obama's description of the Bush-era tax cuts. "A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy," he explained in his Tuesday speech, after earlier saying, "tax cuts alone can't solve all of our economic problems -- especially tax cuts that are targeted to the wealthiest few."

The Bush tax cuts were not targeted to "the wealthiest few."

OK, at this point, Rove is plainly going for cheap laughs. Because a little over two years ago, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said otherwise: "Families earning more than $1 million a year saw their federal tax rates drop more sharply than any group in the country as a result of President Bush’s tax cuts... Though tax cuts for the rich were bigger than those for other groups, the wealthiest families paid a bigger share of total taxes. That is because their incomes have climbed far more rapidly, and the gap between rich and poor has widened in the last several years."

So there, blubber lips. Oh, you want some more of this?
Everyone who paid federal income taxes received a tax cut, with the largest percentage of reductions going to those at the bottom. Last year, a family of four making $40,000 saved an average of $2,053 because of the Bush tax cuts. The tax code became more progressive as the share paid by the top 10% increased to 46.4% from 46% -- and the nation experienced 52 straight months of job growth after the cuts took effect. And since when is giving back some of what people pay in taxes "transferring wealth?"

And middle income families (or those who don't make that whopping $40,000 referenced by Rove) saved, on average, $58,000, which is a little more substantial than $2,053, which would stave off foreclosure for low income families for maybe a month, two tops.

Leave it to a Republican to piss down your back and tell you it's a golden shower. Of course, conveniently forgotten by Turd Blossom is the screamingly obvious fact that lower taxes for the wealthy results in much lower revenue for the government which, to quote St. Ronnie again, is the problem and not the answer.
In his inaugural address -- which was generally graceful toward the opposition -- Mr. Obama proclaimed, "We have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord." Which Republican ran against him on fear, conflict and discord?

Lesse, the old guy who looked like Grandpa in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre? What was his name? I've forgotten it already. How about Sarah "He Pals Around With Terrorists!" Palin?

It's hardly worth tearing this screed apart but since it's written by Rove, a guy who would've inspired Orwell to write the sequel to 1984, I'm always glad to savage him just to keep my hand in.

But don't go away angry, Karl. Just... just get the fuck out of our lives. Because, as we found out after the 2006 midterms, math's really not your long suit, after all. (Btw, if you want to give Rove your two cents worth, his email's Karl@Rove.com.)
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Anonymous Acai said...
It's hardly worth tearing this screed apart but since it's written by Rove, a guy who would've inspired Orwell to write the sequel to 1984, I'm always glad to savage him just to keep my hand in.

Blogger spocko said...
Well done! And I'm glad you did it. Of course the WSJ doesn't have to run corrections when it's an opinion columnist.

OpenID rishathra said...
I agree with you 100% with one small exception: Karl Rove is not (just) a Kool-Ade swiller, but a major manufacturer and one of the mad flavor scientists behind the brand.

Aside from that, bravo!