Political Hay

LBJ and Obama: Champions of Abject Poverty

By 5.26.15

Lyndon Johnson was adamant. The Great Society would cure poverty. In a 1964 campaign stop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania he said this: 

So here’s the Great Society. It’s the time — and it’s going to be soon — when nobody in this country is poor. It’s the time — and there’s no point in in waiting — when every boy or girl can have all the education that boy or girl can put to good use. It’s the time when there is a job for everybody who wants to work. It’s the time when every slum is gone from every city in America, and America is beautiful. It’s the time when man gains full domination under God over his own destiny. It’s the time of peace on earth and goodwill among men. 

Then there was this from Barack Obama when accepting his presidential nomination in 2008:

White House Keeping Record of @POTUS Tweeters

By on 5.21.15 | 11:19AM

If you want to register a complaint with the Obama Administration, it's probably best you air your grievances without directly tagging them in your Tweet.

Unless, of course, you'd like your Tweet logged, preserved and archived for posterity in a searchable database the White House will use to tag Twitter users who make routine comments that are "concerning" to the powers that be.

Case in point? After Barack Obama belatedly joined Twitter on Monday — in his official, presidential capacity — dozens of Twitter denizens began tweeting him sex jokes, threats and other unprintable inanities. (We counted nearly 500 tweets dropping f-bombs at POTUS in the past day.)

But the joke’s actually on them: Not only does the Secret Service already monitor Twitter for threats, but the White House is archiving each and every thing @POTUS tweeters say. Ashley Feinberg flagged this relevant piece of the White House Online Privacy Policy:

Obama Admin Official in 2010: Train Speed Management System Not Worth the Cost

By on 5.20.15 | 11:52AM

The wreckage from last week's Amtrak derailment had yet to cool and Democrats were already seizing on the political opportunities presented by a government program gone horribly awry. The Amtrak crash, they wasted no time in saying, was the fault of cold, heartless Republicans who don't care about the poor, or minorities, puppies, the future of Amtrak's signature microwave pizza monopoly, or the legions of staffers, lobbyists, journalists and officials who use the New York to DC Amtrak route to attend routine cocktail parties without having to commit to moving out of the cushy NYC suburbs. 

Amtrak, it was quickly pointed out, is a disatrous, bureaucratic bungle, whose sloppy administration and borderline incompetent financial oversight make the Post Office look well run. And while the government has spent the better part of the last half century pumping billions into its coffers, the rail system not only routinely fails to make ends meet, but can barely keep track of what it's supposed to do and why.

Tom Cotton Blocks NSA Reform Measure

By on 5.20.15 | 11:22AM

Tom Cotton was instrumental in saving some of Iraq's most precious feline assets, but that's about the only nice thing I can say about Sen. Tom Cotton today. 

Iowa Dems Can’t Name A Single Hillary Clinton Accomplishment

By on 5.20.15 | 11:02AM

To be fair to Hillary, she hasn't exactly been out front of her own campaign lately, making the case to Americans that she's worth the time and effort required to vote in a Presidential election, so it's not surprising that a panel of Democrats in Iowa - the state whose caucus she'll have to win to solidify her position as the Democratic frontrunner - have absolutely no idea what she's done with her life. 

When Mark Halperin asked them to name even one, single, solitary thing Hillary Clinton did while in office that made an impression on them, the whole crowd looked as him as though it were possible he was speaking Chinese and that this was just an elaborate, if oddly prescient, prank.

George Stephanopoulos Makes a Lot of Money at ABC

By on 5.19.15 | 12:57PM

With his credibility in question, it's entirely possible that ABC could shut their primary political anchor (and longtime Clinton friend) George Stephanopoulos out of covering the 2016 Presidential campaign.

Such a decision, of course, renders ABC's contract with Stephanopoulos moot. 

And such a decision rendering Stephanopoulos's contract moot would cost ABC a pretty penny. Because it turns out, they were spending upwards of $100 million to boost their political reporting and news credibility with a guy who seems to possess none.

ABC has plenty of reasons to be freaking out over the George Stephanopoulos scandal — 105 million, to be exact.

The “Good Morning America” and “This Week” anchor renewed his contract last year for $105 million, TV industry sources told The Post Monday.

The seven-year deal — which dwarfs the five-year, $50 million contract scored by since-suspended NBC rival Brian Williams — was supposed to keep Stephanopoulos in front of ABC’s cameras through 2021.

Alcee Hastings Will Only Work More if America Pays Him More

By on 5.19.15 | 12:45PM

In case you were wondering, America, the reason your Congress has roughly the same legislative production schedule as a pack of rabid ferrets, well, Rep. Alcee Hastings, best known for his work on the Federal bench (which came to an abrupt end when he was indicted for taking bribes from defendants), has the answer for you.

America, your Congress doesn't get paid enough. And unless you agree to give them what they believe they should earn, well, you're only going to get what you pay for. Which is, at best, that pack of rabid ferrets.

Rep. Alcee L. Hastings made the politically tone-deaf case for raising salaries for members of Congress Monday, pointing to the high cost of living in the District of Columbia.

“Members deserve to be paid, staff deserves to be paid and the cost of living here is causing serious problems for people who are not wealthy to serve in this institution,” the Florida Democrat said at a Rules Committee meeting, referring to the average member’s $174,000 annual salary. “We aren’t being paid properly,” he later added....

Claire McCaskill Won’t Watch Game of Thrones Anymore

By on 5.19.15 | 12:30PM

Last week's episode of Game of Thrones ended with a rather brutal, off-screen rape scene. Although the show's creators warned of the scene, and tried to explain how it fit into the subject character's timeline, Internet feminists, fresh out of comic book movies to complain about, latched on to the series and its writers and are now refusing to let go. Apparently, despite several Game of Thrones seasons depicting brutal violence and objectification (including but not limited to a pregnant woman being stabbed in her belly, eye-gougings, other rape scenes, beheadings, sort-of beheadings, an attack by bears, flayings and floggings), this is their hill to die on.

As Claire McCaskill desires greatly to be relevant to, well, pretty much anything, she added her two cents to the debate over whether Game of Thrones had gone a bridge too far. Of course, she thinks they did.

Sidney Blumenthal Resurfaces, This Time at Hillary’s State Department

By on 5.19.15 | 11:57AM

If the Clinton campaign is the greatest hits of the 1990s returning in a Time-Life boxed set to be sold on late-night television to people with chronic insomnia, Sidney Blumenthal is that Smashing Pumpkins song that happens to be the only Smashing Pumpkins song you can readily identify as a Smashing Pumpkins song because it played as literally every other video on MTV for basically your entire time in high school. That is, until Total Request Live discovered the massive appeal of bands that didn't make you want to shove the shards of a broken DiscMan headphone into your own jugular.

Knowing What We Know Now

The Times: JFK Was Responsible for Saddam Hussein

By 5.19.15

Knowing what we know now, who was responsible for Saddam Hussein in the first place?

Ivy Ziedrich, a 19-year-old University of Nevada student, is in the news for lecturing Jeb Bush on ISIS. As reported here in the Guardian,Ms. Ziedrich, a College Democrat, rejected Bush’s statement that the Obama withdrawal from Iraq had created ISIS. Not so, indignantly insisted Ziedrich. “Your brother created ISIS,” she snapped. How did that happen? Why, because George W. Bush invaded Iraq, defeated Saddam, and unemployed all those Saddam loyalists so they needed something to do. 

Said Ivy: “It was like somebody crashing their car and blaming the passenger.” The driver of the car, in her view, being George W. Bush and Obama — who failed miserably to stabilize Iraq and has now widened the war immeasurably — being the innocent passenger.