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Politics and Media Headlines 3/27/09

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Despite Huge Push, Support For Obama’s Budget Slips A Bit (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
Despite the huge push by Obama and Dems to sell his budget over the past several weeks, a new Gallup poll finds that public support for it hasn’t budged and may have even slipped a bit… At the end of February, 44% of national adults hold a generally positive view of the budget; now that number stands at 39%. Gallup says this shows that support for the budget has “held steady,” probably because the shift is within the margin of error. But Gallup, interestingly, also says that there has been a “noteworthy” drop in support for it among moderates and liberals.

Washington Dems To Blame For Slip In Support For Budget? (by Greg Sargent at The Plum Line)
- One reader writes: “Since the first poll was taken, Congress has taken steps to make this budget more conservative. And support for the budget has dropped amongst liberals and moderates. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the problem here is D.C. Democrats are listening to Republicans’ concerns instead of voters’ concerns.”
- A second reader opines: “I am sure there are some Democrats/liberals/progressives whose view of the budget might be negative now because of the fact that Kent Conrad and the rest of the ConservaDems have watered it down and taken out the health care money and the cap and trade provisions.”…
Given that the new Gallup poll finds that support for the budget has slipped nine points among liberals and eight points among moderates, these takes sound pretty plausible.

House GOP offers budget blueprint but scant detail (AP)
House Republicans have released their response to President Barack Obama's deficit-laden budget, but their glossy pamphlet offers little beyond campaign-style talking points.

GOP Releases Problem-Laden Alternative "Budget" Preview (Dissenting Justice)
Highlights from the Blueprint
Politics, Politics, Politics
The blueprint reads like a political document, rather than a budget (or budget preview)…
Questionable Statements
As with most political documents, the blueprint distorts the record…
Fiscally Troubling
The Republican blueprint suffers from the same problem as the Obama budget: It promises to do many things with insufficient funds.

Comparing the U.S. to Russia and Argentina (by Glenn Greenwald at Unclaimed Territory, Salon)
Desmond Lachman -- the former chief strategist for emerging markets at Salomon Smith Barney and a long-time official with the IMF (no raving socialist he) – argues [Thursday] that the most apt comparison for the U.S. now is not Japan's "lost decade," but rather, "that the United States is coming to resemble Argentina, Russia and other so-called emerging markets, both in what led us to the crisis, and in how we're trying to fix it."…

Despite the limitless gorging on public funds by the very oligarchs (government owners) who caused the financial crisis in the first place, the predominant sentiment from our establishment media now is that Obama needs to force ordinary Americans to "sacrifice more."…

When I first heard Chuck Todd questioning Obama at Tuesday's Press Conference about why Obama wasn't demanding "sacrifice" from ordinary Americans -- as though the massive loss of jobs, homes, retirement security and financial opportunities isn't sufficient "sacrifice" -- I mistakenly attributed Todd's question to the standard vapid ignorance and insularity of our media stars. I assumed that Todd was just mimicking a question he heard about 9/11 and decided to repeat it seven years later without realizing what a complete nonsequitur it is when applied to the financial crisis.

But there was actually a more pernicious aspect to his question. He was basically demanding of Obama: shouldn't you be telling those dirty masses that they can't have health care and education improvements and that they're also going to have to give up their Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits (while Citibank and BoA use taxpayer money to buy up distressed assets that they will then sell at a huge profit, also to the taxpayer under the Geithner plan)?...

The key dynamic underlying all of this -- the linchpin that allows it all to happen and, historically, the primary hallmark of a deeply broken nation -- is the total elimination of the rule of law for the ruling class, with a simultaneous intensification of the law as a weapon against the citizenry… There is fundamental corruption in our political system that has led to all of this, and that corruption, in so many ways, is now being exacerbated and fortified rather than uprooted.

The Quiet Coup (The Atlantic)
The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, [Simon Johnson,] is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

Instead, Congress is working to get MORE bribery money into the political process:
House Democrats Track Who's Helping Party (Political Wire)
"It's never too early in election cycle to start fundraising -- or to shame your colleagues into contributing," CQ Poltics reports. "The campaign arm of Democrats serving in the House is privately circulating a tally showing members of that caucus where they stack up in fundraising for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC)." "With a quarterly filing period coming to an end next week, the internal list provides an early look at which members of the majority are looking to flex fundraising muscle within the party -- and earn favor with the leadership while they're at it."

So this is good news:
Parties See Drop in Fundraising (Washington Post)
Between economic turmoil and a campaign that endlessly taxed donors, political giving slows.

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Carolyn Kay

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