While the Professional Left barked, the centrists of the Washington Consensusphere chirped. On the Goldman deal, Ezra Klein, the wunderkind Washington Post blogger and reliable Obama administration apologist, observed meekly, "You tend not to get paid that much for offering guidance to charitable endeavors." Unexplored was the 10,000 Women Initiative's total cost of $100 million, or $10,000 per student, to fund an "education" consisting of a single one-week seminar. That is $550 more than a weeklong Aspen Institute leadership seminar and about seven times the per capita G.D.P. of Nigeria, where Goldman convened the inaugural 10,000 Women Initiative Leadership Academy in 2008.
"It is very hard to believe," Mr. Klein continued, "that Goldman Sachs wasn't attempting to buy influence with a politically savvy economist who had good relations--and would later go to work for--the incoming Democratic administration." If this peep was a bit rich coming from Mr. Klein, whose coverage of Mr. Summers has bordered on the hagiographical and who last month on MSNBC refuted a critique of the tax deal on the basis that he had "sat with Larry Summers while he explained this," his fellow scribes within the Consensusphere were clearly rattled. Noam Scheiber of The New Republic, David Corn of Mother Jones and Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress (where Mr. Sperling worked during the Bush administration) all rallied to defend their fellow moderate. Mr. Scheiber attested that Mr. Sperling was actually regarded as the Treasury Department's "in-house populist [emphasis added]". Mr. Corn hailed him as "the rare economic power-player in Washington who didn't fully cash in after leaving government service." Not to be outdone, Mr. Yglesias affirmed that Mr. Sperling is "one of the best writers and thinkers on constructive economic policy that we have on the progressive side."
Puzzling over the left's unending rage in Slate, Jacob Weisberg declared that the "shifting, impossible-to-refute charges against anyone with Wall Street ties" was tantamount to "a kind of Green Scare." Mr. Weisberg can be forgiven for omitting mention of his collaboration with Mr. Rubin, a Goldman alum who earned more than $100 million as director, senior counselor and chairman of sometime zombie bank Citigroup, on his memoir In an Uncertain World.
Perhaps most tellingly, Matt Miller, a Center for American Progress fellow, contributed a short note to The Washington Post's Web site with a link to the unedited version of a 5,300-word profile of Mr. Sperling he wrote in 1999 for The New Republic. In a move Mr. Miller considers "emblematic of an editorial reflex I still don't understand, perhaps because I came to journalism after working in business and government," the magazine killed the full-length profile because it was "too favorable," then published it in a severely truncated form. "Thanks, President Obama," he closed his post, "for making the piece relevant again."
Mr. Miller's love letter to Mr. Sperling does not disappoint. Only in Washington could a story about a senior economic adviser be commissioned from someone so clueless as to the workings of the economy. Yet in its very blinkeredness the piece is timeless--and indeed, still very much relevant. Another Obama cheerleader, Joshua Green of The Atlantic, rushed to direct "skeptics" to read Mr. Miller's profile as not only "an excellent way for skeptics to set their mind [sic] at ease" but also "as good an argument as I've read for the proposition that often in Washington it is better to cut deals that [sic] to insist, in every instance, on ideological purity."That's an important article, make time to read it and try to circulate it among your friends. It really is amazing that after two years of repeated back stabs, there are so many to the left of center who are willing to buy into Barack's lies yet again.
I have never seen anything like it. It's a cultural delusion, a cultural self-hypnosis.
"Congress quietly prepares to renew Patriot Act" (David Edwards and Stephen Webster, Raw Story via Information Clearing House):
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) has introduced a little-noticed bill that intends to once again renew controversial provisions of the Bush administration's USA Patriot Act that are due to expire this year.
When the act was first signed into law, Congress put in some "sunset" provisions to quiet the concerns of civil libertarians, but they were ignored by successive extensions. Unfortunately, those concerns proved to be well founded, and a 2008 Justice Department report confirmed that the FBI regularly abused their ability to obtain personal records of Americans without a warrant.
The only real sign of strong opposition to the act was in 2005, when a Democratic threat to filibuster its first renewal was overcome by Senate Republicans.
Since the bill introduced by Rogers on Jan. 5 was virtually identical to the extension passed last year, its passage was seen as likely.Yet still they do not buy a clue. There's no need for an extension, there was never a need for the Patriot Act to begin with. Barack's grandstanding about the Patriot Act as a candidate shouls have been seen as just that when he was campaigning for president since he voted to extend it in 2005.
At some point, the cultural delusion harms us all. I don't grasp why people still want to rush to defend Barack from the dog and pony show -- that would be the 'mean Republican says . . . so we Democrats have to say . . .' Ignore what the Republicans say. Focus on the real issues.
"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):