Once More An Amazing Speech

About Americans he said,

At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions. And it is not merely a matter of tolerance, but of learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens, and finding our better selves in the process.

Those weren’t the words of Barack Obama today. Those were the words of George W. Bush. But they beautifully presaged what President Obama would try to do with his own speech in Dallas: help heal the recent wounds of a community, unify a nation, and call us to really find “our better selves” by “learning from the struggles and stories of our fellow citizens.”

I won’t quote from Obama’s speech at the interfaith memorial service for the five police officers murdered last week in Dallas by an African-American man, an angry, radicalized man who sang and laughed at police after he gunned them down. I don’t really want to quote from Obama’s speech because you really should read, and see, it all. But I do want to say, once again, just how lucky we are to have Barack Obama as our president in times like these. As someone said to me, they couldn’t imagine Donald Trump giving such a speech. Very true. But honestly I can’t imagine Hillary Clinton giving a speech like that either. In fact, I can’t imagine anyone we currently know in American politics giving such a speech. For so many reasons, it really was remarkable.

Maybe, and sadly, it’s because President Obama has had so much practice.dallas memorial.jpg

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Two Men History Will Judge

There was this headline today:

Paul Ryan Refuses To Call Out Trump For Renewed Muslim Ban Push

From the story:

When the speaker was asked for his reaction to Trump’s comments on the Orlando shooting, his comments that American Muslims have been harboring terrorists, and his comments questioning whether President Barack Obama really wants to fight terrorism, Ryan saved his harshest criticism for the reporter making the query.

Then there was this today:

Obama Decries Trump’s Muslim Ban, Asks: ‘Where Does This Stop?’

The lede from that story:

In forceful comments Tuesday that repudiated calls to use the term “radical Islam” while underscoring his administration’s efforts to defeat terrorism, President Barack Obama blasted such language as dangerous and reactionary and slammed Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims.

Now, one of these two men—each the highest ranking official in his political party—have it wrong. History will judge one of them, either Speaker Paul Ryan or President Barack Obama, very harshly. For now, you be the judge. To help you do that, I have posted below President Obama’s remarks today about Trump and those Republicans who are with him. Obama made the history-making remarks after first giving Americans an important and lengthy survey of just how much damage has been done to ISIS over the past year or so. Then, with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff—Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr.—standing beside him, he started to get hot:

It is absolutely true, we cannot prevent every tragedy. But we know that consistent with the Second Amendment, there are common sense steps that could reduce gun violence and could reduce the lethality of somebody who intends to do other people harm. We should give ATF the resources they need to enforce the gun laws that we already have. People with possible ties to terrorism, who are not allowed on a plane should not be allowed to buy a gun.

Enough talking about being tough on terrorism. Actually be tough on terrorism and stop making it easy as possible for terrorists to buy assault weapons. Reinstate the assault weapons ban, make it harder for terrorists to use these weapons to kill us. Otherwise, despite obama on trump.jpgextraordinary efforts across our government, by local law enforcement, by our intelligence agencies, by our military—despite all the sacrifices that folks make—these kinds of events are going to keep on happening. And the weapons are only going to get more powerful.

And let me make a final point. For a while now, the main contribution of some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have made in the fight against ISIL is to criticize the administration and me for not using the phrase “radical Islam.” That’s the key, they tell us. We cannot beat ISIL unless we call them radical Islamists.

What exactly would using this label would accomplish? What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to try to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this?

The answer is none of the above. Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away. This is a political distraction.

Since before I was president, I have been clear about how extremist groups have perverted Islam to justify terrorism. As president, I have called on our Muslim friends and allies at home and around the world to work with us to reject this twisted interpretation of one of the world’s great religions. There has not been a moment in my seven and a half years as president where we have not able to pursue a strategy because we didn’t use the label “radical Islam.” Not once has an adviser of mine said, “Man, if we use that phrase, we are going to turn this whole thing around.” Not once.

So someone seriously thinks that we don’t know who we are fighting? If there is anyone out there who thinks we are confused about who our enemies are—that would come as a surprise to the thousands of terrorists who we have taken off the battlefield.

If the implication is that those of us up here and the thousands of people around the country and around world who are working to defeat ISIL aren’t taking the fight seriously? That would come as a surprise to those who spent these last seven and a half years dismantling Al Qaida in the FATA, for example—including the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk, and the special forces that I ordered to get bin Laden and are now on the ground in Iraq and in Syria. They know full well who the enemy is.

So do the intelligence and law enforcement officers who spend countless hours disrupting plots and protecting all Americans—including politicians who tweet and appears on cable news shows. They know who the nature of the enemy is. So, there is no magic to the phrase “radical Islam.” It is a political talking point. It is not a strategy.

And the reason I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with actually defeating extremism. Groups like ISIL and Al Qaida want to make this war a war between Islam and America, or between Islam and the West. They want to claim that they are the true leaders of over a billion of Muslims around the world who reject their crazy notions.

They want us to validate them by implying that they speak for those billion-plus people, that they speak for Islam. That’s their propaganda, that’s how they recruit. And if we fall into the trap of painting all Muslims as a broad brush, and imply that we are at war with the entire religion, then we are doing the terrorists’ work for them.

Now, up until this point, this argument of labels has mostly just been partisan rhetoric, and sadly, we have all become accustomed to that kind of partisanship, even when it involves the fight against these extremist groups. That kind of yapping has not prevented folks across the government from doing their jobs, from sacrificing and working really hard to protect the American people.

But we are now seeing how dangerous this kind of mind set and this kind of thinking can be. We are starting to see where this kind of rhetoric and loose talk and sloppiness about who exactly we are fighting, where this can lead us.

We now have proposals from the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States to bar all Muslims from immigrating into America. And you hear language that singles out immigrants and suggests entire religious communities are complacent in violence.

Where does this stop? The Orlando killer, one of the San Bernardino killers, the Fort Hood killer—they were all U.S. citizens. Are we going to start treating all Muslim-Americans
differently? Are we going to start subjecting them to special surveillance? Are we going to start discriminating against them because of their faith? We heard these suggestions during the course of this campaign. Do Republican officials actually agree with this?

Because that’s not the America we want. It does not reflect our Democratic ideals. It won’t make us more safe, it will make us less safe, fueling ISIL’s notion that the West hates Muslims, making Muslims in this country and around the world feel like, no matter what they do, they’re going to be under suspicion and under attack. It makes Muslim-Americans feel like their government is betraying them. It betrays the very values America stands for.

We have gone through moments in our history before when we acted out of fear, and we came to regret it. We have seen our government mistreat our fellow citizens, and it has been a shameful part of our history. This is a country founded on basic freedoms, including freedom of religion. We don’t have religious tests here. Our founders, our Constitution, our Bill of Rights, are clear about that.

And if we ever abandon those values, we would not only make it a lot easier to radicalize people here and around the world, but we would have betrayed the very things we are trying to protect. The pluralism and the openness, our rule of law, our civil liberties, the very things that make this country great. The very things that make us exceptional. And then the terrorists would have won and we cannot let that happen.

I will not let that happen.

You know, two weeks ago I was at the commencement ceremony of the Air Force Academy and it could not have been more inspiring to see these young people stepping up dedicated to serve and protect this country. And part of what was inspiring was the incredible diversities of these cadets. We saw cadets who are straight applauding classmates who were openly gay. We saw cadets born here in America applauding classmates who are immigrants and love this country so much they decided they wanted to be part of our armed forces.

We saw cadets and families of all religions applaud cadets who are proud, patriotic Muslim-Americans serving their country in uniform ready to lay their lives on the line to protect you and to protect me. We saw male cadets applauding for female classmates who can now serve in combat positions. That’s the American military. That’s America. One team. One nation.

Those are the values that ISIL is trying to destroy and we should not help them do it. Our diversity and our respect for one another, our drawing on the talents of everybody in this country, our making sure that we are treating everybody fairly, that we are not judging people on the basis of what faith they are or what race they are or what ethnicity they are or what their sexual orientation is.

That’s what makes this country great. That’s the spirit we see in Orlando. That’s the unity and resolve that will allow us to defeat ISIL. That’s what will preserve our values and our ideals that define us as Americans. That’s how we are going to defend this nation and that’s how we are going to defend our way of life.

O Finally Weighs In: “The Values That Unite Us As Democrats”

Racism Is Wrong, Except When It Helps

CNN this morning featured some segments on Drumpf’s racist attack on the now famous “Mexican” federal district judge, Gonzalo Curiel. Judge Curiel, of course, was born in East Chicago, Indiana. But as everyone knows, Indiana has been invaded by Mexicans. And those Mexicans who aren’t out raping and killing people are out to get Drumpf in a federal courtroom. Yes. Everyone knows that.

But CNN’s attempts this morning to highlight Drumpf’s attacks on the judge were a little incomplete. Sure, it’s necessary to call attention to such racism. And, yes, it is appropriate cnn and mexican commentsto question whether the racist attacks will hurt the Republican Party, both now and in the future, with Latinos. But CNN seemed to think that such offensive behavior by Drumpf was only about politics and offended only Latinos. In one segment, CNN had a panel of four “ordinary” citizens on to discuss the remarks. All four were billed as “Hispanic voters.” Fine. But what about the rest of us? And shouldn’t this be about more than politics?

You don’t have to be Latino or Hispanic to be shocked by how casually and how frequently the Republican nominee for president makes his racist and racially-charged remarks. Neither do you have to be African-American to be upset about Drumpf’s attempt to strip the “American” out of African-American, when it comes to President Obama. And you don’t have to be a fan of Allah to find repulsive Drumpf’s ban on Muslims entering the country—or find repulsive his latest suggestion that a Muslim judge might not treat him “fairly” because of his advocacy of such a ridiculously un-American ban.

All Americans, of all colors and persuasions, should be offended and outraged over what Drumpf has done and continues to do. And it shouldn’t just be because of the politics of the racism we are seeing.

Last Thursday CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Mitch McConnell if he worries that Drumpf “may do to Latino voters what Barry Goldwater did to African-American voters?” To which McConnell replied: “I do.” He then went on to say what a mistake it was for Drumpf to attack Susana Martinez, the Republican governor of New Mexico. Well, okay. But isn’t it just plain wrong to say Mexicans who have migrated here are mostly criminals? And isn’t it just plain wrong that a sitting federal judge, an American born and raised, gets tarred as a “Mexican,” as if being a Mexican was a bad thing to be? Aren’t those things wrong in themselves, regardless of the politics involved?

Obviously they should be seen as wrong. Regardless. But too often they are not. Too often they are seen through a partisan lens. McConnell told NBC’s Chuck Todd,

America is changing. When Ronald Reagan was elected, 84% of the electorate was white. This November, 70% will be. It’s a big mistake for our party to write off Latino Americans. And they’re an important part of the country and soon to be the largest minority group in the country. And I am concerned about that.

Good for Mitch. He’s concerned about the politics of it all. “It’s a big mistake,” he said. A big political mistake. But if the politics were in his favor, would he be so concerned? Would he still call out Drumpf?

gingrich on drumpfWhen the faux billionaire was bouncing around television and loudly questioning Obama’s birthplace and loyalty to the country, I didn’t see Mitch McConnell denouncing him on CNN or anywhere else. Or Paul Ryan. Or Newt Gingrich, who was on Fox “News” yesterday calling Drumpf’s attacks on the judge “inexcusable,” but who just said in March of this year that President Obama was “the first anti-American president.” The same Gingrich who said Obama was “the food stamp president.” The same Gingrich who said of Obama,

What if he is so outside our comprehension, that only if you understand Kenyan, anti-colonial behavior, can you begin to piece together in the best and most accurate, predictive model for his behavior [sic].

Did Mitch McConnell or any prominent Republican take a time out and tell Gingrich, and others on the right, to knock it off? Nah. Why? Because Republicans have pretty much written off African-Americans, as McConnell seemed to concede last week. So, thinly and not-so-thinly disguised racial attacks on our first black president are acceptable because they play so well with the anxious and angry white base of the Republican Party. Those racial attacks were seen as good politics.

Now, though, it appears that Drumpf’s racist attack on a real living American with Hispanic heritage—as opposed to his vicious but mostly abstract racist attacks on nameless “illegals”—are unacceptable and “inexcusable” because Republicans can’t afford to write off yet another minority group, one that may contribute to a shellacking of the party in November. Now the racial attacks are seen as bad politics.

Just once, just bleeping once, I’d like to see a Republican honcho go on television and look into the camera and say the following:

Forget the politics of this, my fellow Americans. What Donald Drumpf said about an American judge is abhorrent. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t be tolerated by me or by you or by any American. The same with Drumpf’s past remarks about Mexicans and Muslims and, yes, his attacks on the legitimacy of our first African-American president. It’s wrong. Drumpf’s wrong. And Drumpf’s wrong for America.

The day that, or something like that, happens will be the first day of a long journey back to moral and political sanity for the national Republican Party. That day may come on November 9th. Let’s hope it does.

Yes. Barack Obama Is Responsible For Donald Trump. And We Should Thank Him For It.

disintegrateto break or decompose into constituent elements, parts, or small particles

A among the many things we should thank Barack Obama for is just how much his working in the White’s House—not as a servant or employee of a white president, but as president himself—has helped lead to an ugly disintegration of what has become an ugly Republican Party, a disintegration that is now happening before our very eyes.

The Obama-related dissolution and demoralization began in 2009 with the rise of an angry Tea Party, where nuttiness became normalness. Where—even putting aside the occasional and unseemly displays of racism that came with our first African-American president—questioning Mr. Obama’s devotion to his country and his chosen faith became as natural as questioning his birthplace. And the most prominent birther, of course, was Donald J. Trump, a man now the front-runner and face of his party, positioned to win a number of primaries tomorrow. Thus, even though it was quite unintentional, even though it wasn’t part of a clever national Democratic Party strategy to undermine the integrity of the GOP, Barack Hussein Obama is, ironically, cracking up The Party of Lincoln.

Donald Trump has divided conservatives from the Republican establishment. He has divided conservatives from other conservatives. He has divided reactionary evangelicals from other reactionary evangelicals. He has divided the right-wing donor class from working-class Republicans. He has challenged the integrity of the Republican Party’s official public relations arm, known as Fox “News,” relentlessly and classlessly attacking one of it most popular propagandists, Megyn Kelly. He has made two Tea Party extremists, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz—both of whom believe the government should force a rapist-impregnated woman to bear her rapist’s child, and both of whom represent his toughest conservative competition at this point—seem a more rational choice for the Republican nomination than Trump. And he now has prominent Republicans openly saying they will not vote for him in the general election.

Perhaps most important, in terms of non-Fox, right-wing media coverage, Trump has now turned his most prominent cheerleader, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, into a critic. Look at this header from today’s HuffPo:

huffpo and scarborough

I heard the very conservative Scarborough talk this morning. And I found his comments amazing. After months of rooting for Trump, defending him, giving him advice on the air, Scarborough is now all of a sudden surprised that Trump would do something so dumb as not denounce David Duke and the KKK. After years of Trump’s racist birtherism; after make america grreat againmonths of Trump’s assaults on Hispanic immigrants and Muslims, including women and children war refugees; after Trump’s hate-filled attacks on journalists and his most recent suggestion (which he repeated this morning) that, as president, he would make war on a free press and “open up our libel laws” so politicians like him could sue for “lots of money”; after all that and much, much more, it finally dawns on Joe Scarborough that Trump may not be qualified for president?

That tells you what you need to know about the condition of the Republican Party.

Trump’s awkward refusal, on ABC’s This Week, to disavow both David Duke and the KKK shouldn’t have surprised anyone, including Joe Scarborough and the Morning Joe crew. He has, without much pushback from the Republican establishment, openly courted bigots from the very beginning. That’s why he has been very popular among white supremacists and other haters, like Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

But Trump, who knows very little about a lot of things, thought he could get away with not rejecting the support of open racists on a prominent Sunday political show because, as he has said before, he really believes he is invincible. He believes he can disavow Duke on one trump rally.jpgday, then pretend not to know who he is on another day, followed by a phony explanation as to why he didn’t openly disavow him or the KKK on ABC. He can do all that, he believes, because his bigoted supporters will get the message: “Yeah, I had to eventually sort of disavow the racists, but my ambiguity should tell you something.”

Apparently it does. Judging by his rally at Radford University in Virginia today, he hasn’t lost an inch of ground. Thousands came out to wildly, and I mean wildly, cheer him and his tiresome bigotry. “We’ve gotta unify our country,” he told his audience, after loudly and rudely ordering a few protesters from the premises. That coming from perhaps the most purposely divisive figure in modern American political history.

Joe Scarborough, born and raised in the South, tried to tell his Morning Joe viewers today that the South has changed. That Trump’s attempt to appeal to racists in tomorrow’s mostly southern primaries won’t earn him one vote. Oddly, Scarborough also said that Trump will win most of the races tomorrow. In other words, according to Scarborough, Trump’s shameless and clumsy appeal to racism on Sunday won’t win him any votes in the South but alswon’t cost him any votes.

If that is true, if Trump wins big tomorrow and becomes very difficult to stop on his way to the nomination, that tells you something not just about the South, but about the Republican Party. The GOP is splintering and will soon no longer be a national party at all, but one that will have to deal with a shrinking group of anxious and angry white constituents who give the party most of its energy, but who just can’t cope with Barack Obama and the browning of America and the loss of white privilege that he so impressively represents.

Thank you, Mr. President.

 

How A Joplin Globe Columnist Reveals Why National Republicans Treat Obama Like An Uppity Negro

It is now official. The Scary Negro will have to stay seated in the back of the constitutional bus:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday launched an unprecedented blockade of President Barack Obama’s yet-to-be-named Supreme Court pick, saying they won’t give any nominee a hearing or even meet with the candidate.

obama is a communistLet’s please stop shying away from what that word “unprecedented” means in the context of Obama’s pigmented presidency and even before. From the beginning, he has suffered one unprecedented Republican-led assault on his dignity after another, whether it be absurd doubts about his birthplace and citizenship, or irrational claims that he doesn’t love his country and wants to destroy it, or embarrassing cheers for that infamous shout of “You lie!” during a speech to Congress.

He has been called “lazy” by a Romney surrogate. He has been called “uppity” by a Georgia congressman, and so too his wife by the most popular right-wing radio host in history. There has been constant talk of impeachment, constant charges that he is a Constitution-trampling, lawless dictator. Those and many more personal affronts were either authored by or quietly endorsed by national figures in the Republican Party.

So, what goes on in the minds of people so poisoned by hatred for Barack Obama?

Let’s take a frightening peek into one of those minds, one of those minds that Republican leaders play to when they do such unprecedented things like denying a hearing to President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. This mind does not belong to a national figure, thank God. He is a local writer here in Hooterville, a regular columnist for the Joplin Globe. And this local columnist has referred to President Obama as a “monkey” (full explanation here) and yet he is still featured prominently in the paper. In the past, he has used Obama’s name in connection with the word “boy,” and that bothered no honcho at the Joplin Globe. He still refers to our president as Dear Leader, a reference to a dead North Korean communist dictator whose crimes against humanity can’t be numbered. Again, that witless reference is acceptable to his newspaper employer.

After Obama’s reelection in 2012, this regular Joplin Globe columnist called the president an “asshole” and “unAmerican.” He tweeted:

caldwell and obama destroying americaNow, I don’t have the credentials to accurately diagnose what exactly is wrong with someone who would write something so utterly stupid. But The Scary Negro’s reelection was so devastating to white conservatives, that at I am forced, through sheer decency, to at least pity their poor, broken souls.

Following that humiliating election defeat of a lily-white Romney, our lily-white local Joplin Globe columnist lamented that “we left God and he has left us as a country.” He tweeted, “unfortunately life as we all knew it ended…with a minion media sponsored coup by ignorant idiots.” A coup? And just who were those idiots? Why, they were sick Democrats of course:

caldwell and democrats disabledIn case you have never visited there, this kind of sophomoric nonsense passes for brilliance in the strange and nasty conservative Twitterverse. Here is more right-wing brilliance from the local Joplin Globe columnist:

caldwell and the enemies of AmericaYep. That’s so clever. And so insightful. Apparently it is such brilliance that qualifies you to be a regular columnist for our local paper of record. As does this bit of nastiness:

caldwell go fuck yourselves

For the uninitiated, “Argofyourselves” translates, “Ah, go fuck yourselves.” Isn’t that classy stuff, all you selfish bastards? And very worthy of a local Joplin Globe columnist who advertises his Christian faith and his love for his fellow countrymen.

I can and will go on. The Joplin columnist has written that “the world hates the Jews and Obama’s right in there withem.” That despite the fact that Obama wants to increase security assistance to Israel beyond the $3.1 billion we’re already giving them every year. And responding to the 2012 election fact that “Obama won Hispanics 71-27,” our local columnist said, “Racists want what racists want. We pay they take.” By “we” he means, of course, “we white folks” who are supporting all those greedy “brown folks.”

In order to try to understand how profound is the hatred of The Scary Negro, and why national Republicans continue to exploit white racial angst, I want to take you back to November 6, 2012, that great day when Obama was reelected. I want to show you how Obama-inspired hate began to ooze out of our local columnist right in front of God, the Globe, and everyone.

Let’s first start with his pleas to the Almighty Whitey at 4:46am:

caldwell prayer

As it turned out, either Dear Lord thought voters ought to make up their own minds on election day or Dear Lord guided the voters toward Barack Hussein Obama. But so early in the morning, our local columnist didn’t yet know what the will of the voters or the Lord would be. Three hours after that Twitter prayer, hope was still alive:

caldwell put god back in this house

Who knew that God had been homeless since 2009? Where the hell had he been living? In an alley behind Trump Tower?

Anyway, seemingly credible evidence of an Obama defeat was beginning to appear at 2:14pm that day, and it was starting to look like Dear Lord had heard our local columnist’s prayer:

caldwell before election results

You can feel the excitement building! America—excuse me, AMERICA—is coming home! Which would mean that Whites and God will get their House back! But, dammit, at 7:38pm some Almighty Whitey doubts were starting to creep in, and perhaps the earlier optimism was nothing but premature ejaculation:

caldwell on election night

Uh-oh. That didn’t sound very Christianly, did it?  Obama voters didn’t even have one ounce of decency? Or at least one working brain cell? Man. That’s getting close to hating on your fellow man. And by 10:04 in the evening, after even Karl Rove had finally figured out that Obama would live another four years in the White’s House, the Obama-inspired hate was totally unloosed:

caldwell go fuck yourselves2Praise God and the Joplin Globe for making this man a regular on its opinion pages! What Bible Belt class! How proud the locals should be of their Jesus-loving, editorial-writing hero. But our local columnist wasn’t done that night. Besides blaming Ohio voters, he gave a special shout-out to journalists:

journalists are traitors

You’d think that a man who once bragged to me that he had an IQ of 140, could at least correctly spell “traitors” on such a special occasion. But, dammit, he was pissed! God had let him down! This was no goddamned spelling bee! It was the end of the world!

There is this right-wing Twitterer out there who calls himself “White Fright,” for obvious reasons if you read through his tweets. Just to give you a taste, White Fright recently tweeted: “When Trump is elected, I’m going to act just like all the obnoxious blacks did with Obama, and call him ‘MY President.'” Nice expression of white outrage, huh?

Well, it turns out that White Fright was tweeting back in 2012 on election night, when Obama blew White Fright’s mind by beating Mittens. And it turns out our thoughtful and God-fearing Joplin Globe columnist, patriot to the core, had something inspiring to say in response to White Fright’s opinion of the 2012 results:
caldwell white fright response

It is more than ironic that our local Jesus-loving columnist would, in his moment of mental and spiritual agony, turn to atheist Ayn Rand’s goofy white fictional character to express his outrage at four more years of The Scary Negro. But given how much space Mr. Obama occupies in the heads of white conservatives, it is understandable. There is something about our president that brings out the stupid, reveals the nastiness, in white conservatives.

I wonder what it is?

Obama: “But I Like You Anyway, Bill.”

Dana Milbank pointed out a few facts about Bill O’Reilly’s pre-Super Bowl interview of President Obama:

The Fox News host and purveyor of anti-Obama sentiment was given 10 minutes to question the man he decries to millions nightly. O’Reilly devoted nearly 40 percent of his time to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, 30 percent to the Obamacare rollout and 20 percent to IRS targeting.

Along the way, he interrupted the president 42 times, by my count — although, given the amount O’Reilly spoke, it may be more accurate to say Obama was interrupting him. Sometimes he argued with Obama as though the president were a guest on “The O’Reilly Factor.” Of the 2,500 words uttered during the interview, O’Reilly spoke nearly 1,000 of them.

Dang. O’Reilly only spoke about 40% of the time? I thought it was more than that.

Billo actually did two interviews that day. The second interview was aired on Monday night. In that second interview, O’Reilly actually spoke only 35% of the time (810 out of 2290 or so), so his jaws must have been tired or else the Secret Service was giving him the evil eye.

In any case, I will post the entire second interview transcript below (the video is here) partly because not only does it show again that Bill O’Reilly thinks he is president, but it also demonstrates the tried-and-true Fox formula: use false assumptions and incomplete information in order to draw preordained conclusions and make erroneous declarations.

But the real reason I post the interview transcript is because it shows the personability of Barack Obama and his easy-going nature, even as he pushes back against the stuff floating around in Bill O’Reilly’s head and as he tirelessly corrects all the things O’Reilly thinks he knows but doesn’t:

BILL O’REILLY – One of my, uh, points on the Factor is that poverty is driven by the dissolution of the American family, that is the prime mover, okay. On your watch, median income has dropped seventeen percent among working families in this country. That’s not a good record, it’s not all your fault, part of it was this terrible recession, we all know that. Everybody knows that.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Okay.

O’REILLY – All right. But 72 percent of babies in African-American community are born out of wedlock.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Yeah.

O’REILLY – Why isn’t there a campaign by you and the first lady to address that problem very explicitly?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Actually, Bill, we address it explicitly all the time. I-I’ll send you at least 10 speeches I’ve made since I’ve been president talking about the importance of men taking responsibility for their children. Talking about the importance of, uh, young people, uh, delaying gratification. Talking about the importance of, uh, when it comes to child rearing, paying child support, spending time with your kids, reading with them. So, whether it’s getting publicity or not is a whole different question.

O’REILLY – But —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – This is something that we focus on all the time.

O’REILLY – Would you say it’s been a hallmark of your administration to make that issue, because I don’t believe it has. I know you’ve given the speeches, and I know you know — understand the problem, because you’re a community organizer from Chicago.

PRESIDENT OBAMA -Yes.

O’REILLY – All right? But I don’t see the pressure from the Federal government to go in and say, this is wrong, this is — this is killing, um, futures of babies and children.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well first of all, I’ve just got to say, Bill, we talk about it all the time, we’ll continue to talk about it, we’re convening, for example, philanthropists and business people, city by city, who are interested in addressing these kinds of problems at the local level. There is an economic component to it as well, though.

O’REILLY -Sure.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Because — because what’s interesting, when you look at what’s going on right now, you’re starting to see in a lot of white working class homes, similar problems — when men can’t find good work, when the economy is shutting ladders of opportunity off from people, whether they’re black, white, Hispanic, it doesn’t matter. Then that puts pressure as well on the home. So you’ve got an interaction between the economy that isn’t generating enough good jobs for folks who traditionally could get blue-collar jobs even if they didn’t have a higher education, and some legitimate social concerns, uh. That compound the problem and so we want to hit both. We want to make sure that we’re putting folks back to work and making sure that they’re well-paid —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But this is —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – We also want to make sure that we’re dealing with some of the social issues that you’re addressing.

O’REILLY – The secret to getting a je — good job is education. And in these chaotic families, the children aren’t well-educated because it isn’t — it isn’t, um, encouraged at home as much as it is in other precincts. Now, school vouchers is a way to level the playing field. Why do you oppose school vouchers when it would give poor people a chance to go to better schools?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Actually — every study that’s been done on school vouchers, Bill, says that it has very limited impact if any —

O’REILLY – Try it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – On — it has been tried, it’s been tried in Milwaukee, it’s been tried right here in DC —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – And it worked here.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – No, actually it didn’t. When you end up taking a look at it, it didn’t actually make that much of a difference. So what we have been supportive of is, uh, something called charters. Which, within the public school system gives the opportunity for creative experiments by teachers, by principals to-to start schools that have a different approach. And —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – You would revisit that? I-I just think — I used be, teach in a Catholic school, a-and I just know —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Bill — you know, I — I’ve taken, I’ve taken — I’ve taken a look at it. As a general proposition, vouchers has not significantly improved the performance of kids that are in these poorest communities —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] –

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Some charters — some charters are doing great. Some Catholic schools do a great job, but what we have to do is make sure every child —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – I got three more questions.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Go ahead.

O’REILLY – All right. Keystone pipeline, new study comes in, environmental impact, negligible. Forty-two thousand jobs. You’re gonna okay it, I assume.   

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well first of all, it’s not forty two thousand. That’s — that’s not, uh, correct, it’s a couple thousand to build the pipeline, but —       

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Forty-two all told.   

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well, that, bottom line is what we’re gonna do is to, uh, the process now goes agencies comment on what the State Department did, public’s allowed to comment, Kerry’s gonna, uh, give me a recommendation, uh —        

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – All right, so I assume we’re gonna do that, after five years —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] –

O’REILLY – Okay. I’ll take that as a yes. Little Sisters of the Poor, come on, give them the little waiver that they don’t have to —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – They have, you know —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Come on, the Little Sisters of the Poor? Give them what they want.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Bill, I —

O’REILLY – Right now. Let’s-let’s just do this.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Bill, take, here-here’s the way this thing works. All they have to do is sign a form saying they don’t — they are a religious institution —

O’REILLY – And then they get what they want, right?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And — and they get what they want. What they — the problem is they don’t want to sign the form —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Well, we’ll —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Because they think that that somehow, uh, uh, makes them complicit.

O’REILLY – I’m happy now that the Little Sisters are going to get what they want. Uh, now. Um. FOX News. Uh, I can’t speak for FOX News. All right, but I’m — I’m, you know, the table setter here [INAUDIBLE] -.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] –

O’REILLY – Do you think I’m being unfair to you, do you think I’ve been giving you —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Absolutely. Of course you have, Bill. But, I like you anyway, Bill.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Okay, but — give me how I’m unfair.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – It-it-but — look —

O’REILLY – Give me how I’m unfair. Come on, you can’t make that accusation without telling me.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Bill — we’ve just run through an interview in which you asked about health, uh, health care not working, IRS where-where we, uh, wholly corrupt, Benghazi —

O’REILLY – All right.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Right, so the list of issues that you talk about —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But these are unanswered questions —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Yeah, but-but-but they’re defined by you guys in a certain way. But this — look, this is okay. This-this is —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Do you not —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – If you want to — if you want to be President of the United States, then you know that you’re going to be subject to criticism, and —

O’REILLY – But if it’s unfair, I-I want to know if it’s unfair. Is it un — criticism is criticism. It’s my job to give you a hard time.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Here — here — here’s what I would say. I think regardless of whether it’s fair or not, uh, it has, uh, it has made FOX News very successful.

O’REILLY – But if I’m unfair, I want —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Here’s what — here’s the thing you guys — here’s what you guys are gonna have to figure out is what are — what are you gonna do when I’m gone? I’m telling you —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGHS] –

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] –

O’REILLY – Ah-ha-ha — ask President Clinton. Ask President Bush. I gave President Bush a real hard time. Are you the most liberal President in US History?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Probably not.

O’REILLY – Probably not?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Probably not. That’s-that’s fair to say.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Who-who would be?

PRESIDENT OBAMA – You know, the truth of the matter is, is that when you look at some of my policies, um, in a lot of ways, Richard Nixon was more — more liberal than I was. Started the EPA. You know, uh, you know, started, uh, uh, a whole lot of the regulatory state that, uh, has helped make our air and water clean. Um.

O’REILLY – That’s interesting — Nixon — that’s interesting. I thought you were gonna say FDR.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Well, FDR — Johnson. But I tend not to think about these things in terms of liberal and democrat — or liberal and conservative because at any given time, the question is what does the country need right now? And what — right now what the country needs is, uh, roads, bridges, uh, infrastructure, we-we got 2 trillion dollars worth of, uh, unmet needs. We could put — be putting construction workers back to work right now, folks that you like to champion. Why aren’t we doing it? That’s not a liberal or conservative agenda —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] [INAUDIBLE] –

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Well, why-why aren’t we funding it? The, uh, when it comes — comes to something like basic research to keep our innovation edge. That’s the thing that sent the man to space, that’s the thing that created the internet. Why aren’t we — why aren’t we funding —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Because we have a seventeen trillion dollar debt. We can’t do these things.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – No, the uh — but the reason we don’t do them is because we’re not willing to make decisions, for example, uh, our tax code is rife with loopholes —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – That’s true, you can’t —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – And for us to close those loopholes, we could put people to work right now. Is that a Democrat — is that a Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal thing? It’s neither. It’s common sense. That’s what we should be doing.

O’REILLY -All right.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – In fact, you and I, if we sat down, we could probably agree on —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Well, I’ve said that on air. We don’t disagree on —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Raising the minimum wage, something that you —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But one — one thing we do —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Yes, right.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – I support this.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – I know. And that’s —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – You have to do it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And that’s —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – You want to get people off welfare, you raise the — minimum wage.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – That’s not a liberal or a-a conservative agenda.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – No, fine. But I think that you are much more friendly to a nanny state than I am. I’m more of a self-reliance guy, you’re more of a big government will solve your problems guy.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And I — and I —

O’REILLY -That’s it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – And I disagree with that because I think that what used to be considered sensible we now somehow label as-as liberal. Think about this — Social Security, Medicare —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – But you pay into that. It’s the freebies that are the problem.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Is it? What-what freebies are we talking about? Welfare, actually is worth less now than it was 20, 30 — it’s worth less than it was under Ronald Reagan. And the uh —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Take a look at the disability explosion. I mean, it’s insane. The workplace isn’t any more dangerous now than it was it was 20 —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Well —

O’REILLY — years ago, it’s through the roof. You know people are conning you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – You know, Bill, the point is, we have not massively expanded the welfare state. That’s just not true. When you take a look at it, actually, that-the-the levers of support that we provide to folks who are willing to work hard, they’re not that different than they were thirty years ago, forty years ago, fifty years ago. You and I took advantage of certain things. I don’t know about you, but I got some loans to go to college.

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – Nah, I painted houses, I didn’t get any —

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – The, uh, well, I, no —

O’REILLY [OVERLAP] – See, that’s who I am. I —

PRESIDENT OBAMA – I painted houses during the summer too. It still wasn’t enough. So, the, uh, so my point is is that that’s not a nanny state. That’s an investment in the future generation. G.I. Bill — is that a nanny state? My grandfather came back for World War II, you’re about to write a book on World War II. Smartest thing we ever did was make an investment in the American people. When those guys came back from war, that’s what created our middle class. We-we suddenly trained up and created skills for folks. We gave ‘em subsidies so they could go out and buy homes. Through the FHA, those things weren’t giveaways. We-we understood that what that would do would create a base middle class of folks who were able to, uh, work hard and get ahead.

O’REILLY – The work ethic was different then than it is now.

PRESIDENT OBAMA [OVERLAP] – Well —

O’REILLY – All right, last questions.

PRESIDENT OBAMA -We’ll have to improve the work ethic.

O’REILLY – And here’s something that you and I agree on.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – What’s that?

O’REILLY – And I’ll tell everybody. You helped the Veterans. Now I believe the VA should be doing a lot more than it’s doing. But you, I have come to you four times, and every time you have, uh, done what I have asked, and we have raised more than twenty million dollars for wounded veterans and their families. And I — you know, so when they say that you don’t care and all of that I know that’s not true. But fundamentally, the self-reliance thing in America I think is going down, and the nanny state is going up. Last word. You get it.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – Here’s-here’s-here’s what I believe. First of all, biggest honor I’ve ever had and will ever have is serving as Commander in Chief, and when you meet our military families and our men and women in uniform, they-they, uh. They are so outstanding. You just have to want to help. And you have done great work, Bill, uh, on behalf of our veterans. Number two, I think self-reliance is alive and well in America. I think the problem is people don’t see as many opportunities to get ahead. My job as President, as long as I’m in this office, is to give them the tools to get ahead. They gotta work hard, they gotta be responsible, but if they are, let’s make sure that they can make it in America. That’s what it’s all about. That’s how you and I ended up sitting here talking.

O’REILLY – Mr. President, thanks, always a pleasure to talk with you.

PRESIDENT OBAMA – I enjoyed it, Bill. Thank you very much.

Quiet Passion

“Anybody in this country who works hard should have a fair shot at success, period.”

—President Obama, January 9, 2104

A week ago today Chris Christie gave his famous press conference denying he knew anything about his aides deliberately clogging up traffic on New Jersey’s side of the busiest bridge in the world for some unknown reason. That presser has been the subject of much media attention, for obvious reasons.

Because of all that attention given to the Christie traffic scandal, what you probably missed a week ago today was a remarkable speech President Obama gave in the East Room of the White House, a few hours after Christie’s press conference that morning. Fortunately for me, MSNBC broadcast the entire speech, the first one in which I heard the President say,

This is going to be a year of action.

Part of the action involves the federal government establishing what the President called “Promise Zones.” He defined them this way:

They’re neighborhoods where we will help local efforts to meet one national goal — that a child’s course in life should be determined not by the zip code she’s born in, but by the strength of her work ethic and the scope of her dreams.

President Obama made clear that he wasn’t just talking about “poverty in our inner cities,” but also about “suburban neighborhoods that have been hammered by the housing crisis,” and “manufacturing towns that still haven’t recovered after the local plant shut down,” and “islands of rural America where jobs are scarce.” Those are diverse zip codes.

And he also talked about how helping these diverse communities wasn’t just the job of government, but should include “faith institutions and our businesses and the parents and the communities themselves.” The model of government partnering with non-government entities used in the speech was an organization called the Harlem Children’s Zone, which serves poor children and families in Harlem by providing parenting support (“Baby College”), pre-school programs (“to get kids learning at four years old”) and public charter schools (“that help students succeed all the way through high school”).

In the audience listening to the speech were none other than both senators from Kentucky, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul. One of the initial five Promise Zones will be in southeastern Kentucky.

Having said all that, what I really found amazing about the speech you will see in the clip posted below. I watched both Chris Christie’s press conference and this speech by Obama on the same day and I must say the contrast was striking.

There was a young man standing behind the President named Roger Brown, who had attended Harlem Children’s Zone and who, you will hear the President say, “almost got himself expelled” for misbehaving. He is now a college sophomore. What you will also hear, in the President’s voice as he wanders off script, is the kind of quiet passion he almost never gets credit for. There are those who do things with a roar, like Chris Christie, and there are those who do things with much less noise but with as much or more passion.

Before you watch the five-minute clip below, read part of what President Obama said and think about how amazing it is that the United States of America, an experiment largely started by some brilliant and hypocritical white men, has become such a place that someone with a dark complexion and a strange name can today lead the country and say this:

If you want to know why I care about this stuff so much. It’s because I’m not that different from Roger.  There was a period of time in my life where I was goofing off.  I was raised by a single mom.  I didn’t know my dad.  The only difference between me and Roger was my environment was more forgiving than his.  That’s the only difference.  If I screwed up, the consequences weren’t quite as great…

I want more kids to have the chance that Roger got.  I want more kids to have the chance this country gave me.  We should all want every one of our kids and their families to have a shot at success.  If you are willing to dream big and work hard, you should grow up with the same opportunities in life as any other child living in any other place. 

The entire speech can be seen here. Transcript here.

White Guilt And The Black Guy In The White’s House

Last night Sean Hannity referred to the IRS mess as the “IRS enemies-list scandal.” The only thing you can say about that particular phrasing is that the man who said it is, well, nuts. He’s nuts with Obama-hate. He and other Republicans will not rest until they turn Barack Obama into a darker version, literally and figuratively, of a White House-fleeing Richard Nixon.

And speaking of nuts and Obama-hate, yesterday Rush Limbaugh, speaking of all the non-scandals going on, said,

The real danger to me, though, is not one or two rogue employees at the IRS or the NSA or the CIA. The real danger is having a rogue administration. And we do, I think. This is the primary challenge that we face.

Yes, that’s nutty. But not as nutty as something else Limbaugh presented to millions of right-wing worshipers:

obama regime

In his IQ-draining monologue, Limbaugh advanced his long-held and long-articulated theory of how it is that Barack Obama is able to remain relatively popular and get away with all these scandals and governmental malfeasance and socialist destruction:

White guilt.  Race…In addition to everything else in the Limbaugh Theorem, the fact that there is so much guilt, white guilt that’s behind the election of Obama, that that same white guilt is simply not gonna show up and hold him responsible.  Not you and I.  I mean, we voted against Obama, so we don’t have white guilt, but there’s a lot of white voters that voted for Obama simply because of racial reasons, hoping to get rid of racism or wanting people know they weren’t racists or whatever, but it’s all oriented towards how Shelby Steele has described it, and I think brilliantly, white guilt. 

…It’s why he’s not going to be held responsible for anything.  The whole reason for his existence — and he’s exploiting it, by the way, and knows it — is that enough people in this country feel so guilty over slavery and the civil rights violations that whatever is necessary to assuage that, they will do. 

I mentioned to you two weeks ago, maybe longer, that, in my view — and I’d like to be wrong about this — but I can’t foresee any circumstance where the first African-American president be removed from office.  Can you tell me who in the Congress is gonna make that move?  Give me a member of the House of Representatives that is gonna make that move and then be joined by enough other members to make it a reality?  Tell me who’s gonna do it?  Nobody’s gonna do it.  And why aren’t they gonna do it?  If it were ever justified, if it were ever something that were truly constitutionally justified, still not gonna happen because of race. 

There you have it. Barack Obama is able to destroy America because there are too many white people out there paralyzed with guilt over how their ancestors treated black folks. If we white folks could only get rid of our white guilt the way Rush Limbaugh has, we would see the world as he sees it.

Enlightening commentary from the most popular pundit in conservative media, a man whom Republicans dare not challenge.

Darrell Issa, Arsonist And Insurance Swindler, Should Resign

Yesterday, former senior adviser to President Obama, David Plouffe, took to the tweeting machine in order to chastise Darrell Issa, the Obama-hating chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

plouffe on issa
Forget for a moment the “arsonist/insurance swindler” reference. The “loose ethically” link was to an article on The Hill reporting on Issa’s outrageous but revealing comments on Sunday about Obama’s press secretary, Jay Carney.

In case you missed it, Issa called Carney a “paid liar” who is “still making up things” about the IRS non-scandal. Issa also made it clear that, as a good Tea Party conservative, he is following the rules of Republican logic in the Era of the Scary Negro: first reach a conclusion and then find the premises. Here is the context of his statement about Carney:

…the administration is still — their paid liar, their spokesperson…he’s still making up things about what happened and calling this a local rogue. There’s no indication — the reason that Lois Lerner tried to take the Fifth is not because there is a rogue in Cincinnati, it’s because this is a problem that was coordinated, in all likelihood, right out of Washington headquarters and we’re getting to proving it…

Yes. The conclusion comes before the evidence and it is this kind of reasoning that is governing all of the so-called scandals going on, scandals created by GOP extremists and propagated by a willing and illiberal press.

But Issa wasn’t just aiming at Jay Carney or practicing the art of Republican reasoning regarding the IRS drama. He had some arrows in his quiver of shame for Attorney General Eric Holder, yet another Scary Negro. Issa said Holder was lying “by most people’s standards” and then said, “Don’t use perjury lightly” as he was, well, using perjury lightly. He helpfully added,

Perjury is a criminal charge that has to be proven.

Yes, that’s right. Perjury is a specific crime that requires evidence and courts and all that icky proof stuff. It’s much easier just to call someone a liar or to call ill-advised screening techniques used by IRS employees a “scandal” because one doesn’t need evidence for those things, only the charges and accusations, which the press, hot on a juicy scandal story, will report again and again.

As an example of how this stuff gets reported, Mika Brzezinski opened a segment this morning on Morning Joe with this intro,

After weeks of scandal and controversy…

See?  All you have to do is generate controversy and talk incessantly about scandal and, voilà, you’ve got yourself “scandal and controversy” that will be reported as such.

This morning former Obama press secretary, Robert Gibbs, said that the notion Darrell Issa was in charge of government oversight is becoming a joke in Washington, D.C.  I wish that were true. But it isn’t. As long as Issa sits in that chairman’s chair, as long as CNN or CBS or ABC or NBC report on his antics as if they were serious investigations, then he is no joke. He is deliberately attacking the legitimacy of the Obama government in particular, as well as the federal government in general, and he is contributing to the dysfunction—no, paralysis—in Washington.

And with all the problems out there in the country, from chronic unemployment to falling bridges, a paralyzed government is no joke.

Candy Crowley asked Issa whether Eric Holder should resign and Issa smiled and said,

That’s up to the President.

The last thing Darrell Issa wants is for Eric Holder to resign. As long as Holder stays in office, Issa will stay in the headlines and on the Sunday talk circuit. And he will thus enhance his career as a folk hero to right-wing fanatics who hate Democrats, especially that pigmented Democrat in the White’s House and his pigmented Attorney General.

Finally, back to David Plouffe’s reference to Darrell Issa as being a “suspected arsonist/insurance swindler.” Politico reported on Plouffe’s comments with this nice little summary of the matter:

Issa is a successful businessman whose is [sic] the nation’s largest manufacturer of anti-theft devices in vehicles. Though he and his brother were charged with stealing a car in the 1970s, prosecutors later dropped charges, and Issa said he was a victim in the incident, according to a New Yorker profile of Issa from 2011. After a suspicious fire at his business’s factory, the company’s former owner said he suspected Issa set the fire for insurance, but a cause of the fire was never determined and no charges were filed, according to the profile.

Talk about your scandal and controversy. Now, normally I would give Mr. Issa the benefit of the doubt here and say that while it is true that someone suspected him of being an arsonist and insurance swindler, no one ever actually proved he was.

But as a tribute to Republican logic, as a paean to the kind of stuff that Issa has been doing since he became chairman of that House oversight committee, I will go one better than David Plouffe and say that Darrell Issa is an arsonist and an insurance swindler simply because a) someone accused him of these crimes and b) there is, therefore, a controversy about it, which means there is a scandal.

All of which means that this arsonist and swindler should resign immediately.

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