Friday, March 6, 2009

Sign o' the Times

On Tuesday, March 3, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden unveiled a new emblem to identify Recovery projects. "We're going to make it easier for Americans to see what projects are being funded with their money as part of our recovery. So in the weeks to come, the signs denoting these projects are going to bear the new emblem of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," said President Obama. More at

Don't miss this incredible pan-and-zoom photo of the inauguration...

David Frum's blog entry comparing the public perception of President Obama and Rush Limbaugh caused a firestorm within conservative ranks. The money quote:
On the one side, the president of the United States: soft-spoken and conciliatory, never angry, always invoking the recession and its victims. This president invokes the language of “responsibility,” and in his own life seems to epitomize that ideal: He is physically honed and disciplined, his worst vice an occasional cigarette. He is at the same time an apparently devoted husband and father. Unsurprisingly, women voters trust and admire him.

And for the leader of the Republicans? A man who is aggressive and bombastic, cutting and sarcastic, who dismisses the concerned citizens in network news focus groups as “losers.” With his private plane and his cigars, his history of drug dependency and his personal bulk, not to mention his tangled marital history, Rush is a walking stereotype of self-indulgence – exactly the image that Barack Obama most wants to affix to our philosophy and our party. And we’re cooperating! Those images of crowds of CPACers cheering Rush’s every rancorous word – we’ll be seeing them rebroadcast for a long time.
Frum's point is that regardless of whether you personally think this is accurate, it is the impression gained by millions of independent voters and that this is not good for the Republican party. The comments that follow the post almost uniformly take the position that Frum is a false conservative making personal attacks on Rush Limbaugh for reasons of his own. Then consider this subsequent "exchange" between Frum and conservative talk radio host Mark Levin here.

What you are reading and listening to are the opening shots in what will be a four-year war between the conservative intelligentsia and the know-nothing base. The Republican elected establishment will attempt desperately to walk a line between the two while the presidential candidates court the base. Unless something transformative happens, it will be a one-sided battle in favor of the know-nothings. They have the media, the commitment, and the emotion on their side. What will be left of the Republican party and the conservative movement after the coming purge is anyone's guess...

Bob Cesca of Huffington Post has more on the wingnut revolution here...

The Army Corps of Engineering has released a Category 5 hurricane study with lots of alternatives for New Orleans and the Gulf Coast but no actual plan:
"The lack of specific recommendations violates the law in at least two places, " said Garret Graves, director of the state's Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration.

Graves said the corps' New Orleans district office was ordered by the Bush administration to abandon the idea of recommending specific projects soon after the study was begun in October 2006.

"The authors of the report had one arm and two legs tied behind their back in writing this thing, and that results from the policy guidance they were given, " he said. "From late 2005 until about May 2006, we had a good partnership with the corps, and that's when it ceased, when the corps got new direction from Washington and blew $23 million on this study."

Graves said the Obama administration can salvage the research that went into the report by asking Congress to authorize the corps to choose projects from the alternatives and start construction quickly -- which would eliminate the need to get congressional approval for each individual project.

Friday's Choice: Chico Marx tickles the ivories.


Steven said...

Regarding the comments on Frum's blog... I'm speechless. Absolutely speechless. And we have 3+ years of this to come? Isn't there a chance that their heads will explode long before that?

Roy said...

A friend of mine on has commented on this attitude on the part of conservatives by pointing out that it parallels the behavior of children and opines that homo americanus is devolving rather than evolving. I'm just hoping the devolution isn't as widespread as many bemoan, and that these people truly are a minority, and an ever-shrinking one at that.

Nice clips of Chico. I hadn't noticed before that little gun-pointing thing he did with his right index finger. Showoff!

K. said...

Steven: Believe me when I say the those comments are relatively even-tempered. What gets me is the extent to which his observations were completely misinterpreted. It's pretty clear that if I'm a member of the know-nothing base a criticism of Rush is the same as a criticism of me. I've never seen such thin political skins in my life. And combined with such savagery, too.

Roy: Kids still love Chico. He can make the gloomiest day a little brighter. My piano-playing niece watched these clips wide-eyed when I showed them to her. When my boys were little, they got such a kick out his playing, especially after I explained that there were no special effects involved!

Sylvia K said...

What is it about Limbaugh??? He is disgusting beyond words, who in the hell are these people that act as though he were god almighty???
Great videos -- well, couldn't watch much of Rush, afraid I would lose my dinner!!

Great post as always, K.

K. said...

Sylvia: I don't get the appeal myself. But read the wingnut blogs -- they think he was eloquent and on the mark. I see a guy dressed in black blustering right-wing inanities at the top of his lungs to fist-shaking acolytes and I'm reminded of Mussolini and the Blackshirts. But that's just me. I wonder if the guy would actually dare run for president?

I hope you at least watched the Chico Marx videos!

Ima Wizer said...

I see this behavior when ANY Republican argues (since Bush and his regime). Their arguments are ridiculous, yet they banter on as IF they know what they are talking about.....some sort of HUMONGO denial here. The more you try to insert intelligent dialogue, the louder and more insane they become.
When did hateful gibberish replace common sense? I think it happened the day Bush stole the first election.

Linda Pendleton said...

Obviously those who buy into the ridiculous and outrageous distortions of Limbaugh are the kind who refuse to take responsibility for electing Bush to two terms and now want nothing to do with getting our country and our standing in the world back on track. We now have an intelligent, and I believe, very capable President Obama who will bring change, despite the stupidy of someone like Limbaugh on our radio waves. Limbaugh may blow a gasket one of these days, listening to how upset he gets on the radio waves.

K. said...

Hear, hear!

You make a great point about the refusal to take responsibility. They carry on and on about "personal responsibility" as if the absence of it was somehow the source of the economic meltdown, and yet they championed a president who wouldn't admit to wrong about anything. One of the things that disgusts independent voters about the GOP is exactly its refusal to own its share of the mess we are in.