Grassley’s blunder

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) called President Obama stupid! The reason Grassley made the claim? Obama stated that he believed the Supreme Court would not overturn legislation that has the approval of the other coeval branches.

So, Obama is, in fact, stupid. He is stupid because the Roberts Court would overturn legislation the majority identified as being opposed to its partisan interests. Experience and analysis ought to have informed Obama of this possibility.

Grassley therefore was right to call Obama stupid, but he got it right most likely for the wrong reasons.

Another case of reactionary hypocrisy

Andrew Levine wrote:

The hypocrisy is staggering. There was hardly a peep of complaint in proto-Tea Party quarters about executive orders — or, worse, signing statements — when George W. Bush abused those practices at historically unprecedented levels. The right’s newfound aversion plainly has more to do with hating Barack Obama (for all the wrong reasons!) than political principles.

Executive Orders and executive Signing Statements are bad. They are attempts by the executive to rule by decree. The problem Levin identified is the reactionary effort to deny this kind of power to a Democratic President while reserving that power for the Republicans.

Quote of the day

Alex Gourevitch weighs in on the recently ‘concluded’ Debt Debate as well as the political party he believes bears the greatest share of the responsibility for the debacle:

Readers know the details: $1 trillion cuts, $1.5 more through a supercommittee with a trigger if they can’t agree, and the further possibility, by the end of 2012, that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy sunset. Major spending cuts just as GDP growth was revised down for the past three years, and a double dip recession becomes an increasing possibility. In fact, stimulus money is just about dried up and, as we noted in a previous post, was considerably counterbalanced by contraction at the state-level. This plan looks less like a resolution to economic problems and more like a continuation of the trend of redistributing resources upwards: cuts in social spending (yes yes, some are protected, but not all, and it’s always revisable…) and preservation of tax cuts. There is a lot to say here, and we will try to do it succinctly, but to put the conclusion up front: this is not just a problem of a weak, neoliberal President and wacky-tacky right-wing, it’s also the product of decades of Democratic Party tactics and ideology. And more broadly, signals a deep, and not just American, problem facing left-wing thinking — this is an international, not just national story.

Richard Nixon declared his commitment to Keynesianism and met with Mao; Ronald Reagan signed tax increases and concluded a deal with Gorbachev; Bill Clinton called himself an Eisenhower Republican and all but destroyed America’s anemic welfare state a few years later. All three affirmed the core and dominant political sensibility of their moment even though they may have believed they were rebels of a sort. Barack Obama has merely mimicked their example.

Can anyone, Obama included, be a true centrist if the left lacks a project, a party and a set of movements able to promote both?