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Friday, November 15, 2013

Stories to Watch: 11/15/13

Frank Rich makes a very important distinction: CBS' BENGHAZI!! story "was not a mere journalistic mistake, but a hoax..." Laura Logan's apology/explanation is full of holes and actually begs more questions than it answers.

Somewhat related: the State Department is offering a cool $10 million bounty for anyone involved with the Benghazi attack. Don't expect any of the hacks on the right who claim to know exactly what happened to step up and collect. And go ahead and ponder upon why that might be.

Another really excellent point: Ed Kilgore argues that House Democrats who voted for a Republican bill to "fix" Obamacare today can't really be said to have defected. As I pointed out earlier, Pres. Obama's promise to veto it has pretty much strangled the bill in its crib. So dems get a "free vote," where they can head off critical campaign ads on the issue. They vote for a bill they know is going to die and wash their hands of the whole thing. Without the promise of a veto, it's likely that the number of Democrats voting for the bill would've been much lower.

The Wisconsin assembly just passed a bill that would reduce early voting. They don't seem very comfortable with Gov. Scott Walker's chances of reelection, do they? The move is so blatantly partisan that it's up in the air as to whether the Republican-controlled Senate will actually have the guts to take it up. The continued War on Democracy is a bad idea for Republicans anyway, since in 2012 it actually increased minority and youth voter participation by pissing those demos off so much. But you know the GOP mantra: if something's not working, you need to do more of it.

Conservatives can be real dicks.

On closer examination, stories about Pres. Obama's "collapsing" approvals seem to be the result of cherry-picked polling data and spin. But, of course, that doesn't fit the "WHITE HOUSE REELING! DEMOCRATS UNQUESTIONABLY DOOMED FOR MILLIONS OF YEARS TO COME!!" narrative the talking heads have going right now. Dial it back a notch or twenty, guys. It's one thing to try to whip up hysteria. It's another again to get caught up in that hysteria yourselves.

And Obama pivots to the economy, by pushing hard for an extension of unemployment benefits beyond the holiday season. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it would be a real boost to the economy.

Finally, many in the punditry are comparing the rollout of to Bush's near-nonresponse to Hurricane Katrina. This would be an extremely apt comparison, if it weren't for the fact that it's astonishingly stupid and completely wrong. The death toll from Obamacare is what... none, zero? Somewhere in there.

[cartoon via Truthdig]

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