Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Stuff

Another flip-flop by The Party Of No from this week, my fellow prisoners...

...and this week marked the passing of Howard Zinn; though I was preoccupied with other stuff, kudos to Bob Herbert for his column in today's New York Times that reminded me of the loss of another voice of reason.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Stuff

(By the way, here is last week's congressional votes from I didn't do one of my typical writeups because not much was going on.)

Sounds like the GOP got schooled today by that Kenyan closet Marxist president of ours without a Hawaiian birth certificate :-) - it's a new day, wingnuts (and funny stuff from Andy Borowitz; color me shocked)...

...and I knew former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich was smart, but I didn't know he was packin' heat too (funny - yeah, the whole "Conan/Leno/NBC" thing got real old after awhile, but that doesn't mean O'Brien isn't still funny)...

...and speaking of humor, Kent Jones brings us the latest from Rudy 9iu11ani...

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...and I sure hope these guys weren't running because they were being chased by tea party goofballs.

Friday Mashup (1/29/10)

Also, I posted a video here.

  • In today’s WaPo, Michael Gerson opined as follows on the subject of President Obama and jobs (here)…

    …the State of the Union raises serious concerns about Obama's economic approach. From either a conservative or liberal economic perspective, his proposals seem timid -- insufficient in scale to encourage a swift return to job creation.
    Gerson may actually have a point about that (right message, wrong messenger, however), though it made me a bit curious to find out how many times Gerson’s old boss referred to jobs in prior State of the Union addresses (Gerson was Dubya’s main speechwriter from 2000 to 2006).

    Here is the number of times the word “jobs” appeared in State of the Union addresses from Dubya while Gerson worked for him:

    2002 – 10 (not bad)

    2003 – 2 (this, by the way, was one of the most grotesque examples of wall-to-wall lies I’ve ever heard or hope to hear again)

    2004 – 6

    2005 – 4

    2006 – 6

    Total mention of jobs under Dubya/Gerson – 28
    Now, do you want to know how many times Obama mentioned jobs in his SOTU address the other night?

    So basically, Obama very nearly matched in one SOTU speech all of the times Dubya/Gerson mentioned jobs over five years.

    Now you tell me which president’s economic policies were “insufficient in scale to encourage a swift return to job creation.”

  • It’s been a little while since I checked on the latest journalistic malpractice from former Laura Bush employee Andrew Malcolm at the LA Times, but as you can see from here, he’s up to his old tricks…

    Spending and also deficits have shot up as voter concerns in recent polls, even as the hallowed healthcare legislation went on life support. This is because the community organizer's claim that giving health insurance coverage to 30,000,000 more Americans would actually save money sounds about as likely as those late-night TV commercials promising an extra $20,000 a month with a simple 800-phone call.
    In the matter of “Spending and also deficits (shooting) up as voter concerns,” this poll from December tells us that “the public’s deficit sensitivity does not translate into a view that deficit reduction is a more important priority than jobs and the economy,” according to Ruy Teixeira of the Center for American Progress.

    And this tells us that the health care reform bill that emerged from the Senate Finance Committee chaired by Max Baucus (warts and all) was projected last October to reduce the deficit by $81 billion over the next decade (which shows better fiscal sense than the Repugs, who passed Medicare Part D when they were in charge with no regard for its addition to the deficit). Even though it remains to be seen what the final bill will look like, the Dems are doing a better job of managing our money on this than their counterparts ever did when they were in power.

    You’re a joke, Malcolm. Go away.

  • And finally, I give you Christine Flowers of the Philadelphia Daily News, waxing indignant here over the inclusion of a pro-life Super Bowl ad featuring Tim Tebow, proving once again that conservatives never decide to tactfully declare victory and depart when they have an opportunity for a hissy fit instead (funny that Flowers doesn’t even identify Tebow’s team, the Florida Gators – I should explain that Tebow is a pro-life cause célèbre because his mother supposedly was advised against carrying him to term, but did so anyway)...

    You don't have to agree with Pam Tebow's decision to put her own health on the line to give her baby a fighting chance. But what you shouldn't do is start pulling out your hair in some wave of hormonal rage and try to prevent the spot from airing.

    According to the Washington Post, a coalition of women's groups including the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority and the Women's Media Center have demanded that CBS drop the ad.

    In a letter to CBS, they wrote, "By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers." (Frankly, a network that's survived "Two and a Half Men" doesn't have to worry about a 30-second spot extolling the virtues of life.)

    The reaction of the Chicken Littles amazes me. They talk about fundamental rights, free speech, autonomy and being able to think for yourself, all the things that you check with a "yes" on the Progressive Club application. But when it comes to information about something they disagree with, those virtues become optional.
    Here’s another reason why those “Chicken Littles,” as Flowers calls them, may be a bit peeved.

    I’m sure we remember the 2004 Super Bowl for “The Tit That Wouldn’t Die,” if you will, the utterly staged (IMHO) wardrobe malfunction by Janet Jackson that worked all those fundamentalist zanies into a furor while Number 43 and Turd Blossom no doubt enjoyed a good laugh, knowing they could reliably count on their votes that November over “values” issues.

    Well, there’s another reason why the ’04 Supe was noteworthy, and that is because the “Third Eye” network refused to air an ad from as part of its “Bush In 30 Seconds” campaign; this describes the rejected ad…

    It's a short, pointed ad questioning President George W. Bush's budget policies. It depicts children wearily working adult jobs, and ends with this simple question: "Guess who's going to pay off President Bush's $1 trillion deficit?"
    Gee, I would say an ad like that would have truly done this country a service (though it probably would have helped John Kerry also, which would have been fine with me). Still, though, we might not find ourselves wallowing in the debt we currently face (with the $1.2 trillion for 2009 projected before Obama was sworn in, as noted here).

    And Flowers makes reference to ‘New Orleans' miraculous rise from the waters of Hurricane Katrina”; I wish that were completely true, but these pics of the Ninth Ward from last February tell a different story.

    And how funny is it that Flowers says that Tebow “has a right to speak his heart, and we have a right to hear what he has to say” when she plainly does not believe that Moveon has that very same right?

    Actually, the only “right” Flowers supports is that to shut up and obey what our “betters” have to say, and the fact that CBS is a “fellow traveler” in that philosophy is one reason why I have no intention of watching the Super Bowl on that network (though I would like to see the Saints win – it would be a great “shot in the arm” for the Crescent City).

    Oh, and in a related story, you can file this under the heading of “someone desperately trying to remain relevant in our national discourse somehow.”

  • Update 2/1/10: Click here to sign a petition protesting CBS on their decisions about which ads to run during the Super Bowl.

    Thursday, January 28, 2010

    Thursday Stuff

    (I also posted some videos over here – still on the mend.)

    Sooo…it’s OK for other presidents to criticize The Supremes, but not Obama of course…

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    …and apparently the “Party of No” is just fine with continuing tax breaks for companies that offshore our jobs…

    …which of course is part of the larger issue discussed by K.O. and Jonathan Alter of Newsweek…

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    …and concerning the dustup with Leno, O’Brien, the other late night comics and NBC, I think Dave ended up fairly unscathed versus the others, though time will tell of course.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2010

    Wednesday Stuff

    (By the way, I also posted some stuff over here.)

    This is a little late for my money, but more like this all the same…

    …oh, and about the SOTU, tell me again how the Repugs are supposedly looking out for small business (I’d really like to know what Man Tan Boehner muttered to his lackey Eric Cantor instead of giving Obama some credit)…

    …and based on this, it sounds like Patrick Murphy is sympathetic to the mindset of the life form(s) who produced this obnoxious video; please tell me this is a joke, Patrick – you’ve earned the right for me to cut you some slack, but come on!...

    ..."Worst Persons" (CNN contemplates a political "Sports Center" - way too damn funny...we'll have to leave it there; Bill Shine of Fix Noise defends his network's decision not to cover the epochal disaster in Haiti; but a bunch of right-wing nutballs get it for claiming that Sarah Palin apparently doesn't owe allegiance to the Tea Party numbskulls anymore since she endorsed "Straight Talk" McCain for his Senate re-election bid over Repug primary opponent and loudmouth J.D. Hayworth - HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and check out what those nutty Slovaks are up to - planting REAL bombs into the bags of REAL passengers flying on REAL planes to test airport security; I haven't covered much world news lately aside from Haiti, and with a story like this, maybe it's just as well (no clue as to what the math lesson was all about at the end)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and here's a bit of Indie fun.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2010

    Tuesday Stuff

    God, this is funny about O’Keefe – how stupid do you have to be to try and bug the office of a U.S. Senator?

    Let’s see how well his “pimp” act plays for his audience in the Big House (and by the way, ACORN didn’t break any laws, and no one from the organization is going to go to jail; let’s see what happens with O’Keefe).

    Oh, and about that resolution signed by 31 House Repugs honoring O’Keefe and Hannah Giles, do you want to know who one of the 31 who signed was?

    This guy.


    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    “Worst Persons” (Flush Limbore gets busted for anti-Semitism, then gets Mark Steyn to tee off on the people who rightly called out Flush over it – as always, these people think rules apply to everybody else but them; Nancy Grace gets a nod here, with Keith telling us that Grace wouldn’t allow a video deposition in a trial where the family of Melinda Duckett brought an action against Grace for Duckett’s wrongful death after Grace accused Duckett of “hiding something” in the case of Duckett’s missing 2-year-old son – just a tad ironic for someone who makes a living accusing people of wrongdoing on camera…Grace, I mean; but O’Reilly gets another “award” tonight – I know I’ve featured this cretin way too many times, but I thought Keith had some noteworthy things to say at the end here when describing how O’Reilly wishes violence upon the Speaker of the U.S. House and the Senate Majority Leader – is it going to take one of these two people getting killed or injured before D.C. law enforcement decides to DO SOMETHING??!!)…

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    …and leave it to Stephen Colbert to give Harold Ford, Jr. another rightly deserved shot (along with this)…

    The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Alpha Dog of the Week - Harold Ford Jr.
    Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

    …and I dedicate this video to James O’Keefe.

    Mikey’s Version Of “People Power” Shakes Up The PA-08 Race

    I’m really trying to understand what’s going on here in Bucks County, PA; this story in the Bucks County Courier Times today tells us that former PA-08 Repug U.S. House Rep Mike Fitzpatrick has called for an “open primary” without any candidate receiving a formal GOP endorsement (Fitzpatrick is definitely running for his old seat, which was suspected, though he made it official over the weekend).

    Yet, as the story tells us, his entry into the Repug primary means that some individuals in the field will now drop out (Rob Mitchell is gone, Judith Algeo is gone, and Dean Malik and Jeff McGeary are thinking about giving up – no word on Merrill, Lynch, Sacco, Vanzetti, the entire Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the rest of the candidates :-).

    So, by entering the primary, Mikey ends up narrowing the field and enabling himself as the odds-on winner of an “open primary” that would end up giving him the endorsement anyway.


    And what exactly is Mikey running on this time around? Well, J.D. Mullane described Mikey’s positions on the issues as “pastel and pending” today in Mullane’s column (Mullane attended Fitzpatrick’s gathering where he made the announcement that he was entering the race – I cannot get a link at the moment to Mullane’s column, what with that miracle of technology known as experiencing one of its frequent service interruptions...never mind - here it is).

    Mikey, when you don’t have Mullane on board, you’ve got a problem.

    Well, since Mikey apparently hasn’t bothered to define himself (pulling a “Scott Brown,” I see), allow me to remind us of what our former rep did before he lost to Patrick Murphy in 2006:

    - Here’s Mikey failing the mothers of children suffering from autism as these women advocate exploring whether or not vaccines could be responsible for this awful affliction.

    Here’s Mikey sponsoring something called the Railroad Security and Public Awareness Act, which supposedly provides more funding for mass transit security; the problem is that the bill is currently stuck in a House subcommittee.

    Here’s Mikey doing nothing (nothing good, anyway) about rising personal property taxes, health care costs, and student loan costs.

    Here’s Mikey “considering” supporting legislation to allow Medicare Part D recipients to buy drugs in bulk for less money, even though Medicare Part D isn’t listed as an issue on his “Mike On The Issues” health care page.

    Here’s Mikey’s ridiculous criticism of Patrick Murphy for attending a fundraiser in Washington, D.C. hosted by Nancy Pelosi when, to quote the Doylestown Intelligencer, Mikey “never met a PAC contribution he didn’t welcome.”

    - Here’s
    more evidence of Mikey the "independent moderate" supporting Bushco both on the Iraq war and its failed domestic agenda also.

    Here’s Mikey voting to fund something called the Secure Fence Act (as opposed to an “insecure” fence? Does it have self esteem issues?) which provides funding for a fence along the Arizona/New Mexico border nowhere near the 8th congressional district, while Mikey and the Repugs voted down a host of homeland security measures including increasing the number of border patrol agents.

    Here’s Mikey stating his support for adult stem cell research, which holds nowhere near the potential for curing life-threatening illnesses as embryonic stem cells.

    Here’s Mikey trying to get New York City to lower its reservoir capacity to 85 percent, which would yield a likely flooding decrease for Bucks residents along the Delaware River of about one inch.

    Here’s Mikey supporting Social Security privatization and taking campaign funding from Dick Cheney, though he proclaims himself an “independent moderate.”

    Here’s Mikey voting against homeland security measures (I know I mentioned that above also) though he DID vote to fund the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska.

    Here’s Mikey voting for a conference report allowing drilling in the ANWR, and also voting against investing in cleaner energy (the mailing in question here, by the way, has no mention of the fact that Fitzpatrick is a Republican, though it does contain a quote from JFK as well as the former president’s picture).

    Here’s Mikey stating that he’s abandoned Bush’s policy on Iraq (Dubya has one?) while Fitzpatrick offers no plan of his own instead.

    Here’s Mikey trying to include an estate tax cut in legislation to raise the minimum wage (the legislation was defeated).

    Here’s Mikey’s sudden conversion to exploring alternative energy sources to lower energy costs, though in ’05, he voted against bills to crack down on gasoline price gougers and creating a strategic refinery reserve.

    Here’s Mikey calling for hearings on Bucks County flooding, even though, as a member of the Delaware River Basin Commission, he should have been familiar with the issue already.

    - Here’s a mention of Mikey’s “Deleting Online Predators Act,” which is still bad law, and mention also of
    receiving $20 from Tom DeLay and $800K from PACs overall (I believe the amount was actually $15K, though the link supporting that, as well as the claim that Fitzpatrick opposed expanding TRICARE funding, has since expired).

    Here’s Mikey shredding the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens and remaining silent while Bush tried to raise acceptable levels of mercury in our drinking water.

    - Mikey
    wasted no time here in calling Iraq war vet Patrick Murphy “a cut-and-run liberal” right after Patrick defeated Andy Warren in the Democratic primary.

    - Mikey
    favored weakening House ethics rules, and his excuse was that he was trying to help pass a homeland security bill.

    Here’s Mikey supporting the House immigration bill punishing religious aid workers, including Catholics.

    Here is the context in which Mikey claimed he would win in '06 “if Bush had a 50 percent or better approval rating.”

    Here’s Mikey trying to fudge on the “honesty” pledge he signed for the Bucks County Courier Times almost right after he signed it (with Mikey’s great quote, “The truth is a matter of interpretation”).

    Here’s Mikey traveling to Iraq to check on our troops, including whether or not they have adequate body armor, but not saying whether or not they actually do (and as a bonus, he also channels “Crazy Curt” Weldon’s “Able Danger” nonsense).

    - And FINALLY,
    here’s Mikey refusing to say whether he thinks Don (“The Defense Secretary You Have”) Rumsfeld should stay or go.
    Fitzpatrick had better go on record about what he intends to do for two reasons: 1) Voters in PA-08 aren’t going to settle for the bland pap that those independent numbskulls in Massachusetts settled for from Scott Brown, and 2) Patrick Murphy most definitely is not Martha Coakley.

    And for proof, here is a Guest Opinion from Patrick that recently appeared in the Courier Times.

    This Wednesday, President Obama will give his first State of the Union address. I'm sure he will talk about our aggressive new strategy in Afghanistan and the need to rebuild our economy. On many measures I proudly support the president. He was dealt an awful hand after eight years of George Bush's reckless foreign policies and disastrous economic policies. There is a simple fact continuously overlooked by the Party of Palin.

    When President Bush took office after Bill Clinton, he inherited a $236 billion annual surplus. He turned that into a $1.3 trillion deficit. This is the stark reality that our nation faces, we must tackle it now.

    That is why I am calling on President Obama to enact a freeze in discretionary spending in this year's budget. This won't be easy to enact and I know that I will face trouble from my own party - but it is imperative that we make tough choices and work together in Washington to return to balanced budgets. We did it in the 1990s under President Clinton; we can do it again.

    My frustration with spending in Washington is neither newfound, nor focused on blaming George Bush and the opposition party. One of my first acts as a new congressman in 2007 was to join the fiscally conservative Blue Dogs and vote against the Democratic Party budget because it did not hold the line on spending. I have also voted against the congressional pay raise every time it has come up for a vote. When the pay raise passed anyway - with support from both political parties - I gave the raise to charity.

    In 2009 alone, I voted to cut more than $15 billion in wasteful spending and wasteful programs. A month ago, I was one of only a handful of Democrats to oppose a spending bill that used returned bailout money for new spending instead of deficit reduction.

    But I haven't just been standing on the sidelines saying no. Anyone can claim to want to cut spending, but specifics separate the leaders from the pretenders. I have teamed up with Democrats and Republicans to propose specific cuts to programs and specific reforms that drive waste and fraud out of federal programs from Medicare to the Pentagon.

    Recently, I partnered with the former head of the Republican Party, Sen. Mel Martinez, to introduce the IMPROVE Act. This legislation, which passed the House and needs a Senate vote to become law, could cut hundreds of millions of dollars of Medicare fraud.

    Earlier this week, I led an effort to freeze discretionary spending in the coming year. This won't be easy or politically popular. My own party will claim that this will hamstring government programs, the opposition party will breezily claim that more can be cut - despite eight years of total silence while they were in power.

    However, I have assembled a small group of members of Congress to support this initiative. We plan to use our voting block to try and force our own party to cut spending. I'm hopeful this can be accomplished in the State of the Union address. If not, we will fight for it in the coming months.

    When I was first elected, voters got to know me as the Iraq war veteran staunchly opposed to continuing the $3 trillion war in Iraq and opposed to President Bush's policies. It's no secret that I was an early and strong supporter of President Obama. I continue to support his efforts to revive our economy and refocus on al Qaida in Afghanistan instead of Iraq. But I'm not afraid to call on this president and my own party to cut spending.

    Since the late 1990s, both parties have continued to spend way too much. This path is unsustainable. That's why I will continue working with Democrats and Republicans to fight for balanced budgets.
    I think Patrick is a little preoccupied with the deficit over the more urgent issue of job creation here, but otherwise, this is exactly the tack a Democrat has to take in the fall elections. Sell yourself on the issues and attack the opposition. If you don’t, they sure as hell will.

    Update: I made some minor modifications to fix broken links in this post as well as correct some formatting issues, since most of this content originated four years ago.

    Monday, January 25, 2010

    Monday Stuff

    You go, Ed (and as far as Harold Ford is concerned, check this out)...

    ...and in a Quick Comment, K.O. takes on someone named Laurie Milroy, who has been screeching about how Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda were connected (for the thousandth time, THEY WEREN'T! And of course, Bushco gave her a job)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ..."Worst Persons" (Glenn Beck blames progressives for inciting violence - yep, that mirror of his seems to reflect everyone else but himself; Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer of Georgia compares poor people to animals, thus accomplishing the almost unimaginable feat of making me want Mark Sanford to keep his job; but you'd have to be a particularly demented individual to fluff yourself at the expense of the catastrophe in Haiti, but Bill Orally fills the bill)...

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    ...and Warren Zevon would have been 63 on Saturday (hat tip to Pierre Robert in these parts on radio station WMMR - can someone please explain to me how Zevon is NOT in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame?) .

    An "Old Gray Lady" Pundit Wrapup

    While taking a break from pontificating that those who supported budget reconciliation for health care reform were “taking hallucinogenic drugs” here, John Harwood of the New York Times communicated the following here today, on the matter of Scott Brown’s victory last week in Massachusetts over Martha Coakley in the special election to fill Ted Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat…

    Mr. Brown tapped into national disapproval of swelling deficits.
    Perhaps, but would it have been too much trouble for Harwood to point out the following on Brown (here)…

    Brown is entirely in tune with his future Republican colleagues. He has railed against the proposed $500 billion cuts in Medicare and opposes the proposed tax on banks. In this op-ed, he says that the stimulus has failed to create a single job, rages about the rising debt, and advocates an across-the-board tax cut while offering no specifics on how to reduce the debt.

    Nothing constructive, nothing coherent, nothing concrete, and no support for anything President Obama has done or plans to do. Brown will fit right in.
    Oh, and Harwood made sure we knew the following (about the ongoing battle to confirm Ben Bernanke as Fed chair for another term)…

    White House aides concluded that they had to douse that fire after the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, publicly equivocated on Mr. Bernanke, whose term expires Jan. 31.

    The chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, upbraided Mr. Reid in a telephone call, saying the administration and sagging markets “need something stronger from the Senate majority leader.” A Reid aide noted that the call had included some of Mr. Emanuel’s characteristic profanity.
    Oh yes, with millions of Americans out of work and without health care (and an administration and Democratic majority Congress that apparently has no coherent plan on these subjects, lest they be chastised as “big gumint” by middle-aged to elderly white people who make racist signs and wear funny hats and attend rallies to feel sorry for one another…see below), it’s a priority for Harwood to let us know that Rahm Emanuel uses bad words and violates all of that prized fa-la-la, mythical bipartisanship so craved, allegedly, by Holy Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Bob Kerrey and President Snowe (and speaking of profanity, Atrios has a bunch here, though I think it’s definitely apropos; he’s probably forgotten more about this stuff than any of these alleged geniuses will ever know).

    Also in the Times today was a bit of analysis on the impact of those teabaggers (here), in which we learn the following…

    Democrats have not been spared primary battling. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who switched to the Democratic Party from the Republican last year, faces a primary challenge on the left from Representative Joe Sestak. The party also faces competitive Senate primaries in Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio, reflecting, among other issues, strains between liberals and centrists.

    But the deeper intramural divisions are within the Republican Party, a sign of the intensity and unpredictability of the grass-roots conservative movement.

    Across the country, Republican candidates are running as outsiders with the backing of conservative Tea Party groups, challenging Republicans identified with the party establishment. Several analysts said the victory in the Massachusetts Senate race of Scott Brown, a Republican who ran with Tea Party support, could encourage more challenges and drive incumbents further right.

    Senator John McCain of Arizona, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, is facing a primary challenge from former Representative J. D. Hayworth, who is seeking to exploit longstanding unease among conservatives toward Mr. McCain.

    Highly contested and potentially divisive Senate primaries are also shaping up in California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Nevada and New Hampshire.
    So apparently, these life forms are the new arbiters of our political discourse…

    God, are we screwed.

    Sunday, January 24, 2010

    Frank Rich Speaks - Let's Hope Obama Listens

    From Rich's column today, I give you this excerpt...

    Last year the president pointedly studied J.F.K.’s decision-making process on Vietnam while seeking the way forward in Afghanistan. In the end, he didn’t emulate his predecessor and escalated the war. We’ll see how that turns out. Meanwhile, Obama might look at another pivotal moment in the Kennedy presidency — and this time heed the example.

    The incident unfolded in April 1962 — some 15 months into the new president’s term — when J.F.K. was infuriated by the U.S. Steel chairman’s decision to break a White House-brokered labor-management contract agreement and raise the price of steel (but not wages). Kennedy was no radical. He hailed from the American elite — like Obama, a product of Harvard, but, unlike Obama, the patrician scion of a wealthy family. And yet he, like that other Harvard patrician, F.D.R., had no hang-ups about battling his own class.

    Kennedy didn’t settle for the generic populist rhetoric of Obama’s latest threats to “fight” unspecified bankers some indeterminate day. He instead took the strong action of dressing down U.S. Steel by name. As Richard Reeves writes in his book “President Kennedy,” reporters were left “literally gasping.” The young president called out big steel for threatening “economic recovery and stability” while Americans risked their lives in Southeast Asia. J.F.K. threatened to sic his brother’s Justice Department on corporate records and then held firm as his opponents likened his flex of muscle to the power grabs of Hitler and Mussolini. (Sound familiar?) U.S. Steel capitulated in two days. The Times soon reported on its front page that Kennedy was at “a high point in popular support.”

    Can anyone picture Obama exerting such take-no-prisoners leadership to challenge those who threaten our own economic recovery and stability at a time of deep recession and war? That we can’t is a powerful indicator of why what happened in Massachusetts will not stay in Massachusetts if this White House fails to reboot.
    And here is the audio only of Kennedy's news conference; the first seven and a half minutes or so are devoted to confronting U.S. Steel. The remainder discusses the combat readiness of our forces, presumably concerning Southeast Asia.

    This is how your predecessor took on an entrenched corporate interest, Mr. President. Imitate him well, or plan for defeat in 2012.