Fair and Balanced (part 2451)

Okay, no surprise to anyone that Fox News is little more than an organ of the Republican party.  Yet, it is somewhat surprising– no, make that disturbing– the lengths they go to in the actual News division (I don’t have any expectations from O’Reilly, Hannity, etc.).  Check out this memo about the Health Care Debate from their Washington Managing Editor (via Media Matters):

From: Sammon, Bill
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 8:23 AM
To: 054 -FNSunday; 169 -SPECIAL REPORT; 069 -Politics; 030 -Root (FoxNews.Com); 036 -FOX.WHU; 050 -Senior Producers; 051 -Producers
Subject: friendly reminder: let’s not slip back into calling it the “public option”

1)      Please use the term “government-run health insurance” or, when brevity is a concern, “government option,” whenever possible.

2)      When it is necessary to use the term “public option” (which is, after all, firmly ensconced in the nation’s lexicon), use the qualifier “so-called,” as in “the so-called public option.”

3)      Here’s another way to phrase it: “The public option, which is the government-run plan.”

4)      When newsmakers and sources use the term “public option” in our stories, there’s not a lot we can do about it, since quotes are of course sacrosanct.

Call it liberal indocrtination if you will, but if there’s one thing I accomplish in my classes, getting student to realize that Fox is not a legitimate source for news, is one of the more important ones.



Senate “majority”

I think Obama does deserve some backlash from liberals for not fighting harder on the taxes issue.  EJ Dionne has a nice column on this point.   What is ultimately clear here, though, again, is how the politics are shaped by the ridiculous (absurd, anti-democratic, preposterous) routine 60 vote super-majority requirements in the Senate.

The Post ran an article the other day, talking about Harry Reid calling for votes in the Senate to make a point, even though the Democrats knew they would lose:

The four measures at issue are:

l A bill that would send $250 checks to Social Security recipients who face a second consecutive year without a cost-of-living increase, a proposal that fell short in a House vote Wednesday. The Senate voted 53 to 45 – seven short of the needed 60 votes – on a measure to bring the bill to the floor for debate.

l A bill that would require states to give police and firefighters’ unions “adequate” collective bargaining rights. This has been criticized as trampling on states’ autonomy. That proposal failed in the Senate Wednesday on a 55 to 43 vote.

l The DREAM Act, a proposal that would provide a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to this country as children and grew up to attend college or serve in the military. Critics say the legislation would amount to a kind of amnesty for lawbreakers.

l A bill that would provide long-term medical care for men and women who suffered health problems while responding to the Sept. 11 attacks or helping to clean up the wreckage. It has been attacked for its multibillion-dollar cost.

All good stuff.  All receiving majority support.  The article (somewhat inanely, in my opinion) highlighted how bad this could make the Democrats (really?) look for not being able to get anything done despite their “majority.”  But when you need 60 votes to pass anything, is 51 really a “majority”?  Essentially, no.  Quite simply, the Republicans have a 42-58 majority.  Seriously, there’s just no way that makes sense in any reasonable democracy.

Compounding the absurdity of this, is just how unrepresentative the Senate is– and it’s only getting worse.  Yglesias has a nice chart pointing this out:

Again, the fact that the million or so people in Alaska and Wyoming have just as much say as the 60 million in California and Texas just cannot stand up to the most rudimentary scrutiny.  If the Democrats have any sense at all, they will take the opportunity to at least begin some meaningful filibuster reform at the start of the next Congress.  That’s a big “if,” though.  I’m not holding my breath.

Quote of the Day

Drum, on why Obama could not just “negotiate better” with Republicans:

The problem with the Democratic caucus isn’t that they negotiate badly, it’s that the Democratic caucus is genuinely fractured. And again, everyone knows it. You can’t pretend you’re willing to go to the mat against high-end tax cuts when there are half a dozen Democratic senators who support high-end tax cuts and Republicans know there are half a dozen Democratic senators who support high-end tax cuts. To fix this, you need more liberal Democrats, not tougher leadership.

Good news for Obama in 2012?

Honestly, I have no idea of how successful Macro Advisers track record of predicting economic growth is, but if they are anywhere close to accurate, Obama should most certainly be re-elected:

Based upon what is currently known of these three key proposals [Obama’s tax cut deal with Republicans], our preliminary analysis suggests that GDP growth in 2011 would be boosted by roughly ½ to ¾ percentage point. This is on top of the 3.7% growth of GDP anticipated for 2011 in our recently published forecast. Growth in 2012 could also be expected to be several tenths of a percentage point higher, with modest drag on growth in 2013, as the temporary provisions expire. This analysis assumed that interest rates were unchanged from the baseline.

They are suggesting that the stimulative effect of these policies will get us over 4% growth.  That would almost certainly get the job done.  Obviously, people need to get back to work, but if the economy is growing decently, they will.

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