Just Desserts for Chocolate Carter

(Announcement: The original FP entry was somehow deleted. I'm hoping it was due to yours truly in an incompetent attempt to edit the post (although I don't remember moving that fast; besides before you can delete a post, a confirmation prompt will automatically pop up) or some issue with the MyDD server. At any rate, my deepest apologies, dear readers. I know a lot of thought went into the 30+ comments that appeared under the original "Just Desserts for Chocolate Carter.")

The past week produced a string of events that, added up, have grave implications for the trajectory of the Obama administration.

To begin, there was the Christine O’Donnell triumph over a lame liberal Republican called Mike Castle of Delaware. Unable to grasp the enormity of the failure of this current Democratic Party, the media establishment was characteristically late to the realization that O’Donnell was serious. Without skipping nary a step, the same folk rushed to their keyboards to inform us—the impressionable, unsophisticated preponderance—that the advent of Christine O’Donnell torched the GOP’s tenuous aims at a Senate majority. A funny thing happened on the way to this presumption: In the ensuing days, a number of alarming polls put numerous other Democratic seats in increasing jeopardy. Given the extraordinary trend that will only intensify as voters see more of the unemployment figures and a hapless president, my feeling is that Republicans will capture both houses. Always ahead of the curve, I’ve already purchased my Election Night spirits to help me through the pain of seeing Sharron Angle’s, et al., arm raised in victory.

There’s also the Gray Revolution that erupted in Barack Obama’s neighborhood. Adrian Fenty, D.C.’s mayor—smart, energetic, cute, coddled by wine track liberals—will be eligible for unemployment benefits after the inauguration of the man who ousted him, Council Chairman Vincent Gray. (Mayor Fenty, however, is unlikely to become a 99er.) As will his school chancellor Michelle Rhee. It’s been said before, and it bears repeating here, that Mr. Fenty is remarkably similar to President Obama. These two capable black men rode to power on ridiculous postracial pretentions and governed with even more ridiculous technocratic ones. Some of us have long predicted this story of a president named Obama wouldn’t end well. Now we’ve been given a suitable precursor to point to. It helps the credibility.

We’ve also got Velma R. Hart who had the rare temerity to ask a modern president an actual question. This was huge because it was another reminder of how plastic our media environment otherwise is. I like how many progressives stopped kvetching about the White House’s media manipulation, image-making, and insulting faux-events once George W. Bush packed up all of his things and left the keys to the Executive Mansion to Barack Obama. Watching Obama, who is simply dreadful extemporaneously, made me yearn for Bill Clinton—though Bubba’s not any better than Barry on substance.

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This Is Your President on Drugs

If only.

As a persistent (progressive) critic of Barack Obama, it is often demanded I offer any area in which I approve of the president. In response to the inquiry, I have usually given a two-fold answer: First, in terms of his personal appeal, I consider President Obama to be both the coolest fellow ever elected president and the coolest fellow that ever will be president. Although he’s notoriously overhyped, like Sean Penn, I’m drawn to the word “elegant” in describing our first black president. I am also aligned with Ann Coulter and The Hitch in the belief that Barack Obama is probably a non-believer—although I have usually expressed such gleeful suspicion sotto voce for fear of having my hipster chat overheard by teabaggers.

Furthermore, my very real desire to find some common ground with this president has led to me to lavish fulsome praise on his administration for what I thought was its enlightened stance on raids by the Drug Enforcement Agency on medicinal marijuana dispensaries even when they are in complete accordance with state laws.

Well, I’ll be damned.

Perusing the news only to find headlines like “How ObamaCare Guts Medicare,” or “Obama shifts tone on health care,” is as maddening as it is banal and totally predictable after a while. “Speak no evil: DEA, DOJ stay mum on medical marijuana raids,” however, is akin to a violent nutcheck.

Tucker’s Daily Caller:

Despite campaign promises to the contrary, the Department of Justice under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder hasn’t stopped raiding marijuana dispensaries operating in states where sale of the drug is legal for medical purposes. But the DOJ has demonstrated one marked change now that it’s under Democratic control: The department has stopped publicizing medical marijuana raids, both by requesting that more cases be sealed under court order and by refusing to distribute press releases.

Late last week, DEA and FBI agents raided five medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada. In July, DEA agents raided the home of 65-year-old Mendocino County, California, grower Joy Greenfield and confiscated plants, money, and her computer. Also in July, DEA agents raided the home of a couple in Michigan who were licensed by the state to use marijuana, as well as three medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. In January and February of this year, the DEA raided two medical marijuana research labs in Colorado.

In all of the above cases, the DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices issued no press releases and held no press conferences. The websites for DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Detroit, Denver, Northern California, and Los Angeles (which also handles cases in Nevada) make no mention of the above dispensary raids, but do feature news releases for raids, arrests, and investigations involving harder drugs, as well marijuana trafficking, which is illegal in all states.

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Requiem for a Clown

Reporting from the streetz—It’s awfully hard out here for an incompetent hustler if Michael Steele’s legion of woes are any reliable indication. The previously promising chairman of the Republican National Committee appeared on the Fox News Channel with Jenna Lee—God, I miss her on “Imus”—once more feeling compelled to let off some salvos at an ever-growing chorus of critics. Why else does he agree to pointless 8-minute cable news interviews that no one will see or remember? He surely knows that once the polite host has given him the opportunity to unload his ridiculous talking points, the conversation will immediately turn to the far more serious stuff: His buffoonery.

In a year when reactionary Republicans, in typical badass fashion, are preparing to storm the Capitol, the single most ironic thing is that the RNC is broke as a joke.

Steele’s is a remarkable fall from grace. I vividly recall being frightened by the talented Mr. Steele and his energetic campaign against the pedestrian then-Rep. Ben Cardin for Paul Sarbanes’ vacated Senate seat. Lt. Gov. Steele was an enthusiastic exemplar of the supposed Year of the Black Republican that was 2006. In an honest appraisal of political gamesmanship, the Steele campaign earned a cool two-finger salute for this.

Ultimately the pale Democrat prevailed because: a) All the hype in the world D.C. media orbit was not sufficient to overcome that year’s Bush-induced Democratic wave; and b) Mike Steele made the very unwise decision to select a reliably blue Maryland as his political home base. It’s the same dynamic that explains the tortured and insincere centrism of bright Democratic politicos in red states. So sad when that happens.

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Boehner Jokes

One of Jon Stewart’s most outstanding moments during the Bush administration was a 2006 segment—they called it “Rambling Man”—in which he dutifully displayed the 43rd president’s hapless and constant speechifying in response to violent events in Iraq that had spiraled out of his control and the resultant collapse of his popularity. In the interest of fairness and journalistic integrity—two things are no doubt synonymous with the awesome Daily Show—Mr. Stewart has now given the 44th president the very same treatment. The result: Escapist hilarity followed by a depressing comedown.  

If Barack Obama’s personal and much-publicized attack on incoming House speaker John Boehner is any indication, we can assume the White House has finally caught up to what is certain to be the ugly result of the upcoming elections. This, Dear Readers, is what both people like me (self-aware employers of clichés) and the president (as a basketball enthusiast) must recognize as running out the clock.

The president journeyed to someplace known as Parma, Ohio, to tout three new economic initiatives. Since we know for certain that the demonstrable failure of already-implemented policies aren’t to blame for Democratic electoral woes, many in the Washington chattering class have been hectoring him to make a “hard pivot”—i.e. renewed speechifying and feckless stop-gap measures—to economic issues to shore up support for the party.

POLITICO has some salient details:

Touting his own economic plans, Obama alluded to three new proposals to jolt the struggling economy: a $50 billion federal investment to overhaul the nation’s railroads, highways and runways; a big tax break for businesses that conduct research and experimentation; and tax write-offs for companies’ expenditures on hiring, equipment and expansion.

Those measures carry a $180 billion price tag; Obama was careful to avoid calling it an economic stimulus plan, given the current national mood against government spending and the massive national debt. Republicans have nevertheless hammered the president, comparing his plan to the $814 billion emergency spending package he pushed through Congress last year – a measure the GOP leadership has declared a failure.

Momentum in Open Race for VT-Gov

By now you know I've pushing progressive candidate Matt Dunne for the open Vermont governorship. Vermont hasn't had a progressive Governor since Howard Dean, and Matt's got the right background to win this tough election and the right ideas to govern.

His campaign has had some major momentum this week. First, with the first newspaper endorsement of the cycle, the Addison County Independent has embraced Matt Dunne:

Matt Dunne, however, is the candidate at the crossroads of this new generation. He gets it, understands its power and the opportunities waiting to be tapped, can articulate what is both practical and promising, and can set the state on a path to seize that new energy.

While we have no doubt that others could lead the state well, we think Dunne’s unique background as a community developer for Google, his leadership under President Clinton with Ameri-Corps, his family connection to Vermont’s dairy farming will provide a new kind of leadership style that will forge alliances — not for political purposes (a benefit of not being part of the current political leadership) — but for the betterment of the state. Finally, of all the candidates, his vision and intuition perfectly match the times....

We not only think he can do the job, he’s the candidate to help the state seize the day for the next decade and for our sons’ and daughters’ futures. Vote Matt Dunne for governor in the upcoming Democratic primary.

The endorsement follows the campaign's announcement that they met the fundraising goals they'd set for a drive that ended Tuesday night. This means they'll be on television with their first ad soon.

The primary is just a couple weeks away, and absentee ballots are already out. With a low turnout expected, GOTV and final fundraising will make the difference. Please help Matt out at ActBlue.

Matt also used this week to unveil a detailed economic plan for Vermont.

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