From this Sunday's Meet the Press:-- shorter Peggy Noonan -- You'll take the GOP's wedge issues away when you pry them from their cold, dead hands.
TODD: You know, Peggy, what's been interesting about this week is all of the big polarizing issues of the last two generations, culturally, all popped up in one week and one of it had to do with the Supreme Court and gay marriage, with abortion, this culture wars, normally when it comes back, it's something that's helpful to Republicans. Is it good this time for the conservative movement to have these issues out there?
NOONAN: I don't know. I think all of these cultural issues, as I guess we call them, have been major issues in America for almost half a century, really. The abortion argument was going on fifty years ago. Roe came forty years ago. It is hard to resolve these issues because they're not just cultural issues. They are moral issues and Americans feel differently about them. So I think one way or another, they'll probably be bubbling out there for a long time and it's not the worst thing.
After pointing out that Republicans are no longer having success running on issues like inner city crime and opining over New York's Time Square becoming "a Disney-fied, bubble gum, wimp company" where "the worst that could happen is one of those giant M&M's tries to flash you his peanuts," Colbert opined over the fact that
this disturbing lack of violence isn't just a problem for our cities" but for the Republican party as well.
As Colbert noted, in this last election Republicans lost the blacks, the women, young voters, Latinos by 44 percent and "even more surprising, they failed to get 100 percent of the white male vote." Colbert had a suggestion for a new wedge issues if Republicans want to turn the voter tide back in their favor -- white male patriarchy.
At the Values Voters Summit on Friday, Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan whose budget was approved by the House with sweeping cuts to aid for the poor responded to new figures from the Census Bureau this week showing that 46.2 million Americans were living below the poverty line last year—a rate basically unchanged from the year before—but a rate not seen in this country in nearly 20 years.
Here's what Ryan had to say about Obama's record on poverty:
"The Obama economic agenda failed, not because it was stopped, but because it was passed. And here is what we got: Prolonged joblessness across the country. Twenty-three million Americans struggling to find work. Family income in decline. Fifteen percent of Americans living in poverty. Here we are, after four years of economic stewardship under these self-proclaimed advocates of the poor, and what do they have to show for it? More people in poverty, and less upward mobility wherever you look."
It's not the first time this election cycle that we've seen the right raise the specter of the poor. But poverty is raised not to offer prescriptions or remedies but to be used as a cudgel, as a means of playing on middle class fears of losing ground by suggesting not so much that they, too, could become impoverished but that the threat to their economic stability is the poor themselves, who are taking that ground from them.
Calling President Obama the "food stamp President" is not bemoaning the plight of those Americans who, in the wake of a devastating financial crisis have lost the means to put food on the table for their families, but rather, to imply that some "other" is living large, while the rest of "us" struggle. That said, we do know something about the people Romney relies on and what they believe about poverty.
Time for your weekly Driftglass and Bluegal podcast. Hang in there Driftglass. I'm sure unfortunately there are a lot of others here who share your pain right now with this terrible economy and the disaster in the Gulf.
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Cenk Uygur took on one of my least favorite pundits, John Avlon, in this segment on The Young Turks and did what you never see anyone in the our "mainstream media" do when allowing this hack to come on their shows, which is to call him out for the fact that there is no one on the left that you can honestly compare to the ultra-crazies we have on the right side of the aisle right now. The best Avlon could muster without going back to the 60's was to call unions left wing extremists.
Cenk made some other really great points like just how far to the right our country has moved when it comes to what you'd call a "centrist" these days and does a good job of attempting to explain to Avlon that what he calls "centrist" is actually "corporatist" and that when it comes to the issues that really matter to most Americans and what is causing to get hammered economically, unlike the wedge issues that get everyone riled up, people on the left and progressives are losing those battles, whether it be the bank bailouts, health care reform or tax breaks for the rich and for corporations. He also did a really good job explaining just how far what used to be called the center has shifted to the right where the positions of those on the left are what used to be considered moderate and that a lot of Republicans from past eras would be run out of today's Republican Party.
My only quibble with Cenk about this interview would be that he allowed Avlon to filibuster him a bit too often. He did finally have enough of it later in the interview and stopped him so he could make his points. He also allowed him to be portrayed as "independent" and didn't point out to his viewers that he worked for Rudy Giuliani.
That said it was a breath of fresh air to see this guy get challenged in the manner he deserves for once and premise of his book, which tries to paint people on the left as extremists when they're not and that calls centrism giving corporate America anything it wants, called a bunch of nonsense, which it is. Avlon finally showed his true colors with being an anti-union zealot in this interview with Cenk. It doesn't surprise me one bit but makes me dislike him even more than I did before listening to him call us "extremists" who are destroying America and the Democratic Party.
It's a long interview, over twenty minutes but if you've got that time to spare it is well worth is watching the king of the false equivalencies get his talking points taken apart for once. Good for Cenk. It would be nice to see MSNBC give him a job if they allowed him to do the type of interviews he just did here instead of just having him on Ratigan's show to debate wingnuts in a five minute debate box with Ratigan controlling the narrative. I'd say this interview ranks right up there with his take down of S.E. Cupp and Wayne Allyn Root.
Rachel Maddow talks to former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias about the pressure put on him to go after ACORN for voter fraud allegations and how Karl Rove wanted to use the issue of voter fraud as a wedge issue to win elections. As Rachel notes sadly, that plan is still paying dividends with the Democrats being all too happy to cave into political pressure by the Republicans instead of standing up for ACORN.
MADDOW: We have previously reported on this show how corporate interests opposed to ACORN`s really successful efforts to raise the minimum wage targeted the group using Republican-allied P.R. firms that proudly specialized in demonizing their opposition.
But ACORN has not just been targeted by corporations who worry that ACORN`s advocacy for living-wage ordinances and an increased minimum wage will hurt their corporate bottom line. ACORN has also been the subject for years of a purely political smear campaign, a campaign engineered by Republicans who are threatened by ACORN`s work to register young and poor and minority voters.
The American voter is typically older and more wealthy than the typical American, and that tends to give the Republicans an electoral edge among voters as compared to the preferences of the populations at large. But ACORN`s registration drives have gone some distance to changing that. Over the past five years, ACORN registered close to 2 million voters. And, yes, the groups of people that ACORN typically registers tend to vote for Democrats.
Over the last few election cycles, fear of a younger, less wealthy, and, frankly, less white electorate led Republicans, especially in swing states, to go after ACORN aggressively, and, in fact, to try to gin up charges against them, to try to make their voter registration efforts in general seem suspect and perhaps to bring down the group entirely. And when I say "ginned up," I`m not exaggerating.
Do you remember the U.S. attorney scandal, the alleged fire ring of U.S. attorneys because of U.S. political considerations? Recall what that scandal was really about. In 2006, nine U.S. attorneys were fired, surprisingly and suddenly, by the Department of Justice under George W. Bush.
Former U.S. attorney David Iglesias -- one of those U.S. attorneys who lost his job despite positive job reviews -- maintains that his pink slip came after he resisted pressure from Republicans to pursue bogus voter registration cases involving ACORN. The pressure began as early as 2002 when Mr. Iglesias says in his book "In Justice," he received an e-mail from the Department of Justice in Washington, quote, "suggesting, in no uncertain terms" that U.S. attorneys "offer whatever assistance we could in investigating and prosecuting voter fraud cases."