“I believe that my duty is to follow my conscience and vote what I think is in the best interest of the country, and the political risks will have to abide.” — Sen. Arlen Specter • On his decision to switch parties and support the Affordable Care Act, a switch he made in 2009 amidst controversy. The change cost him another term in the Senate — he lost a challenge to Rep. Joe Sestak in 2010, and Sestak lost to Pat Toomey in the general election. Specter managed to become the longest-serving senator in Pennsylvania history despite suffering numerous health problems — including two benign brain tumors in the 1990s, and two separate bouts of Hodgkin’s disease in the 2000s. Specter died of complications from non-Hodgkins lymphoma on Sunday. (via)
Rest in peace, Senator.
shortformblog: BREAKING: Former Sen. Arlen Specter, who served Pennsylvania for three decades and notably switched parties in 2009 — paving the way for the Affordable Care Act’s passage by giving Democrats 60 votes in the Senate — has died at the age of 82.
Dana Milbank: “Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom famously predicted that the candidate would use an Etch-a-Sketch approach in the general election to erase his previous positions. But nobody predicted that the entire exercise would occur in the space of one week — and just a month before the election. Stranger yet, Romney hasn’t been shifting all his views to the center in recent days. While his domestic policies are moderating, his foreign policy is moving to more of a neocon hard line. The only consistency is inconsistency: Whatever Romney’s positions were, they are no longer.”
Mary Elizabeth Williams: “Biden’s laugh is utterly brutal because it takes Paul Ryan, the marathon-exaggerating, dumbbell-curling, wannabe manly man and does the absolute worst thing imaginable to a guy like that. It points at him and makes him a fool. It says, “Yeah, tell me another one, Backwards Baseball Cap.” It’s at once furious and dismissive. It understands that at the heart of humor there’s a howl of pain. That why it’s the favorite weapon of choice of the trod-upon. And it says to the American voters the most undermining thing imaginable: “You see this fella next to me? What a goddamn joke.”
“His “severely conservative” policies and disdain for much of the country are reserved for partisans, donors and the harsh ideologues who clutter his party’s base. This polarity is often described as “flip-flopping,” but the word is too mild to describe opposing positions that are simultaneously held. The best way to judge candidates is not by the popular way they describe their plans near the end of a campaign; it is by the most divisive presentations of themselves earlier on. A candidate’s political calculations when fewer people are watching is likely to say far more about character than poll-tested pleasantries in the spotlight.
“[...] At last week’s debate, Mr. Romney presented himself as a bipartisan leader able to work with Democrats. But that’s not how Massachusetts Democrats remember his tenure as governor, as Michael Wines of The Times reported last week. He ignored or insulted Democrats and failed to achieve most of his big-ticket proposals, like reform of the Civil Service and pension systems. His decision to support a universal health care system in 2006, long advocated by Democrats, was seen at the time as a purely political calculation, at least until Republicans rejected the idea in 2009 when President Obama proposed it. There isn’t really a Moderate Mitt; what is on display now is better described as Convenient Mitt. Anyone willing to advocate extremism to raise money and win primaries is likely to do the same to stay in office.”
If it looks like a snake in the grass, it’s usually a snake in the grass.
Exactly! Get it together, people. COME ON! One night doesn’t erase someone’s entire history and I, for one, don’t expect perfection 24/7/365. The President lost one debate. SO WHAT? Seriously. So what?
“If you’re going to offer an across-the-board 20 percent tax cut without explaining how it’s getting paid for, hell, why stop there? Why not just offer everyone over 18 a 1965 Mustang? Why not promise every child a Zagnut and an Xbox, or compatible mates for every lonely single person? Sometimes in journalism I think we take the objectivity thing too far. We think being fair means giving equal weight to both sides of every argument. But sometimes in the zeal to be objective, reporters get confused. You can’t report the Obama tax plan and the Romney tax plan in the same way, because only one of them is really a plan, while the other is actually not a plan at all, but an electoral gambit.
“The Romney/Ryan ticket decided, with incredible cynicism, that that they were going to promise this massive tax break, not explain how to pay for it, and then just hang on until election day, knowing that most of the political press would let it skate, or at least not take a dump all over it when explaining it to the public. Unchallenged, and treated in print and on the air as though it were the same thing as a real plan, a 20 percent tax cut sounds pretty good to most Americans. Hell, it sounds good to me. The proper way to report such a tactic is to bring to your coverage exactly the feeling that Biden brought to the debate last night: contempt and amazement. We in the press should be offended by what Romney and Ryan are doing – we should take professional offense that any politician would try to whisk such a gigantic lie past us to our audiences, and we should take patriotic offense that anyone is trying to seize the White House using such transparently childish and dishonest tactics.
“[...] You should laugh, because this stuff is a joke, and we shouldn’t take it seriously.”