Hysterical Headlines – Mark Halprin suspended by MSNBC

MSNBC just suspended Mark Halprin for saying President Obama was acting like a “dick” today on the air. He was dumb for saying it, but he was trying to make a point about Obama’s tone, and naturally everyone is treating this like it’s a HUGE news story. It’s not. It’s just the kind of “shiny object” that gives the talking heads and bloggers something to talk about for a day.

Of course this is news, but does the Huffington Post really need this blaring headline with the “breaking” flash images on both sides? Good grief . . .

The funny thing is that Halprin is a pretty good commentator who is very honest about his opinions, often taking shots at both sides, so he often comes across as a dick himself. I think the whole episode is kind of funny.

Digging in their heels . . .

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 29, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

It looks like we’re heading for an ugly end game for the debt ceiling confrontation. Ezra Klein explains:

The best advice I’ve gotten for assessing the debt-ceiling negotiations was to “watch for the day when the White House goes public.” As long as the Obama administration was refusing to attack Republicans publicly, my source said, they believed they could cut a deal. And that held true. They were quiet when the negotiations were going on. They were restrained after Eric Cantor and Jon Kyl walked out last week. Press Secretary Jay Carney simply said, “We are confident that we can continue to seek common ground and that we will achieve a balanced approach to deficit reduction.” But today they went public. The negotiations have failed.

“The primary goal of President Obama’s presser, which just wrapped up, was obvious,” writes Greg Sargent. “He was clearly out to pick a major public fight with Republicans over tax cuts for the rich.” That’s exactly right. But he didn’t want this fight. He wanted a deal. And he wasn’t able to get one that the White House considered even minimally acceptable. After putting more than $2 trillion of spending cuts on the table, they weren’t even able to get $400 billion — about a sixth of the total — in tax increases.

Klein goes on to explain that things will likely get ugly. Both sides are digging in their heals, and only a crisis or market meltdown will get them to move. Perhaps something else will change the dynamic, like the proposal coming from Kent Conrad and the Senate Democrats, but that seems unlikely.

As Klein explained, Obama has been quiet because he was hoping for a deal. Now that the Republicans want a fight, they are going to get one. Nobody likes taxes, but the notion that we can’t have any new revenues, including closing corporate tax breaks, when we’re facing a $15 trillion debt is totally absurd. The polls are in Obama’s favor when it comes to increasing taxes on the wealthy.

That said, the GOP is currently run by the extremists in the Tea Party who won’t compromise on anything. It’s probably going to get ugly . . .

CNN debate highlights from Jon Stewart

This is going to be a fun political season.

Quick observations from the CNN GOP debate

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at the first New Hampshire debate of the 2012 campaign at St. Anselms College in Manchester, New Hampshire June 13, 2011. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS HEADSHOT)

CNN did a terrible job with this debate. With so many candidates, it would have worked much better with one or two moderators. Instead we had to listen to simplistic questions from the audience, and we rarely got most of the candidates to answer the same question.

I didn’t agree with hardly anything that was said by the candidates, but most of them did fine for the first debate. Tim Pawlenty, however, looked weak as usual when he passed on the opportunity to slam Romney on health care. I just don’t think he has what it takes to survive the primaries.

Mitt Romney did fine, but nobody really challenged him tonight, so we’ll see how he does if Rudy Giuliani enters the race. Giuliani will hammer him. Romney also talked in circles about the auto bailout.

I was surprised by Michele Bachmann. Again, I don’t agree with anything she says, but she was very comfortable onstage and she handled herself well. This is terrible news for Pawlenty who is trying to get some of the evangelical vote, and so it’s also good news for Romney, who would love to have Bachmann draw the evangelical vote from more viable candidates.

Herman Cain was very erratic, so we’ll see if the Tea Party crowd remains impressed with him.

Donald Trump won’t go away

The Donald Trump circus is gearing up again. This time the Donald posted a video on YouTube to mostly take aim at the GOP to make excuses for why he ended his fake campaign.

You have to watch it. He basically threatens to run as an independent at the end if he doesn’t like the GOP nominee, so he’s determined to stay in the news.

It starts with the absurd allegation that the GOP made a terrible deal with Obama during the lame duck session, even though this occurred BEFORE he started his fake campaign began.

He then moves on to a stinging critique of the Ryan Medicare plan. In this section the DNC couldn’t have written it any better. Trump says the GOP has a “death wish” with Ryan’s plan to turn Medicare into a voucher system, and in this respect he could be come the GOP’s worst nightmare. The Ryan plan was always political suicide, so in this respect Trump actually has a point.

But then he goes on to take a cheap shot at Eric Cantor. I personally think Cantor’s insistence that any disaster relief for the tornado victims be offset by other spending cuts was politically stupid and insensitive. But Trump of course goes over the top and basically accuses Cantor of not wanting to give “any money to the tornado victims.” This is typical Trump bullshit, but now he’s aiming it at the right. I wonder how all those tea party folks who bought into Trump’s disgraceful attacks on Obama and his birth certificate feel about this clown now?

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