On February 11, Washington Post columnist David Broder wrote his impressions of former Gov. Sarah Palin's address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, in which he described her as "by all odds a threat to the more uptight Republican aspirants such as Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty -- and potentially, to [President] Obama as well." Broder attributed her power to her "pitch-perfect recital of the populist message that has worked in campaigns past":
Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News' Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.
This was not the first time that Palin has impressed me. I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.
Three days after this stirring tribute to the former governor, Broder devoted his latest column to the recent Washington Post/ABC News poll. Given his assessment that Palin has "locked herself firmly in the populist embrace," it should come as no surprise that Broder's coverage of the poll results completely ignores one of the most significant findings: that very few Americans actually hold a favorable view of Palin, and even fewer consider her to be qualified for the presidency:
Although Palin is a tea party favorite, her potential as a presidential hopeful takes a severe hit in the survey. Fifty-five percent of Americans have unfavorable views of her, while the percentage holding favorable views has dipped to 37, a new low in Post-ABC polling.
There is a growing sense that the former Alaska governor is not qualified to serve as president, with more than seven in 10 Americans now saying she is unqualified, up from 60 percent in a November survey. Even among Republicans, a majority now say Palin lacks the qualifications necessary for the White House.
Palin has lost ground among conservative Republicans, who would be crucial to her hopes if she seeks the party's presidential nomination in 2012. Forty-five percent of conservatives now consider her as qualified for the presidency, down sharply from 66 percent who said so last fall.
Among all Republicans polled, 37 percent now hold a "strongly favorable" opinion of Palin, about half the level recorded when she burst onto the national stage in 2008 as Sen. John McCain's running mate.
Among Democrats and independents, assessments of Palin also have eroded. Six percent of Democrats now consider her qualified for the presidency, a drop from 22 percent in November; the percentage of independents who think she is qualified fell to 29 percent from 37 percent.
If this is Palin at the top of her game ...
Fox News and Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft have seized on comments made by National Economic Council director Larry Summers to claim that he said higher taxes on the rich would lead to job growth. In fact, Summers said that President Obama's economic proposals, such as "rewarding people directly for hiring workers," as well as other measures, will be more effective at job creation than extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.
In the wake of White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan's criticism of Republicans for politicizing the Obama administration's response to the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight, Fox News guests and hosts have responded by attacking Brennan and the administration over its handling of the bombing plot. Fox has gone so far as to ask whether Brennan should resign, and has repeatedly hosted Republican Sen. Kit Bond to say that he should.
Fox News has seized upon reports that Canadian Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams is seeking medical treatment in the United States to criticize health care reform, claiming that his medical decision casts doubt on the Canadian system and that the Democrats' health care reform legislation would "change our system to be more like Canada's." In fact, the health care legislation proposed by both the House and Senate is not modeled after the Canadian single-payer system and maintains the majority of the private health care industry.
Red State's Erick Erickson has uncovered what he thinks is a shocking admission in President Obama's 2011 budget: that "the White House is now admitting" that funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being distributed over the course of two years. Erickson has also determined their purpose. From Red State:
Washington was "unwilling to solve" the problems because 2009 was not an election year and 2010 is. The President of the United States refused to help get unemployment down in 2009 by design so he could get credit in the 2010 election year instead.
You can't blame Erickson for jumping to this conclusion. Who wouldn't accuse the President of prolonging economic hardships in order to rig elections when no other justifiable reason has been presented?
Except Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag discussed exactly this last July:
In designing the Recovery Act, we also recognized that the economic situation we inherited was so severe that we needed to assure producers and consumers that aggregate demand would be boosted not just for a few months, but for a sustained period. That is why we envisioned a Recovery Act that would ramp up rapidly in 2009, have its peak impact in 2010, and lay the groundwork for further growth thereafter.
And in January 2009, the Congressional Budget Office illustrated the fact that the stimulus money was designed to be distributed over two years:
Combining the spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1, CBO estimates that enacting the bill would increase federal budget deficits by $169 billion over the remaining months of fiscal year 2009, by $356 billion in 2010, by $174 billion in 2011, and by $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period.
CBO and JCT [Joint Committee on Taxation] estimate that enacting H.R. 1 would increase budget deficits by $526 billion over the 2009-2010 period (about 19 months) and by a total of $816 billion over the 2009-2019 period.
And, as Vice President Joe Biden wrote in a July, 2009 New York Times op-ed:
The care with which we are carrying out the provisions of the Recovery Act has led some people to ask whether we are moving too slowly. But the act was intended to provide steady support for our economy over an extended period - not a jolt that would last only a few months. Instead of quick-hit rebates, we are giving Americans a tax cut in each paycheck. Instead of pumping out all the state aid immediately, we are spreading it over the two years that it will be needed. Road projects, energy projects and construction projects are being started as soon as they pass review, contracts are competitively bid and reporting systems are in place.
On the February 2 edition of Fox and Friends, Glenn Beck claimed that President Obama's proposed budget contains "magic money coming from things like cap-and-trade, which we don't have." In fact, the 2011 proposed budget does not include estimates of cap-and-trade revenue.
In a February 1 editorial, the Wall Street Journal claimed that the U.S. corporate tax rate is 35%, which "is among the highest in the world," ignoring the effective corporate tax rate, which is lower in the United States than it is in several other countries.
The right-wing media are attempting to revive "bow-gate" by highlighting a picture that shows President Obama bending at the waist while greeting Mayor Pam Iorio of Tampa, Florida, during Obama's recent trip to Florida. The photograph is the latest in the right-wing media's obsession with Obama's purported "bowing," which began following his greeting of Saudi King Abdullah and Japanese Emperor Akihito.
Right-wing media are attacking President Obama for his criticism of the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC during the State of the Union, calling it "unprecedented" and accusing the president of "intimidation." In fact, Obama's comments were not "unprecedented"; Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush have previously used the State of the Union to criticize judicial actions, including those of the Supreme Court.
Following conservative activist James O'Keefe's arrest for allegedly participating in an attempt to interfere with the telephone system at the New Orleans offices of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Media Matters for America review found that O'Keefe previously appeared at least seven times on Fox News and other Fox networks to promote videos he recorded of ACORN workers. During these appearances, O'Keefe said he was "willing to serve prison time" for potentially violating Maryland's two-party recording law, and asserted that he was "doing creative investigative journalism."