Kyle Schmidt

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What, have I ever lied to you before?

Today, over at Think Progress Matt Corley noticed a piece by the Washington Independent’s Dave Weigel saying that Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) has submitted a list of 44 czars to the chairman and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee seeking investigations and oversight.  It turns out however, that McHenry’s list  had a couple of problems:

Not only does McHenry’s list contain numbers officials who have been confirmed by the Senate, but it also includes a member the Cabinet, Education Secretary Arne Duncan. In essence, McHenry wants some Obama officials who were confirmed by the Senate to testify about how they were “neither vetted by the Senate nor required to testify before Congress.”

It’s hard not to be surprised at the way that Conservatives can still create controversies based on wrong or made up facts and still get their criticisms aired as legitimate.  While czar lists and death panels are easily debunked – it’s other lies and false statements that are harder to disprove that are taken for granted.  Take for example House Republicans that say that they really want health reform. That contention isn’t challenged, because it seems plausible outside the actual political situation.  But here’s the facts: not one House Republican is likely to vote for the bill.  Evidence towards this conclusion is from the President’s other priorities where not one House Republican voted with the President (and then they still take credit for those achievements). Yet, the media portrays the situation as if only House Democrats were reasonable and would compromise then there could be a deal- where the actual situation is more like Lucy and her football with Republicans ready to exact more concessions once one is made because a deal really isn’t on the table.

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Let Obama be Obama

Stuck in the malaise of August,with increased anxiety over health care reform and dropping poll numbers, the White House  has announced that President Obama will address a joint session of Congress next Wednesday night.  This clip from the West Wing seemingly illustrates the situation in which President Obama currently finds himself:

While I’m not the first to notice the Bartlet-Obama connection, the similarities surely aren’t purely coincidental. The West Wing writers created an alternate reality where a relatively unapologetic liberal president tried to enact a relatively progressive agenda. It’s therefore not surprising then that President Obama faces many of the same problems that writers imagined for the fictitious president. Like President Bartlet, Obama has been cautious in using his political capital and has been letting his opposition set the terms of the debate. Yet during the campaign Obama could alter the public’s belief by his speeches, something he has yet to pull out of his arsenal as president.  Maybe  the White House has been waiting for the right moment.  But at some point if Obama wants to get health care reform he’s going to have to take the same risk that he is asking members of Congress to take and fight for health care reform.  Hopefully Obama is willing to take that risk and makes Wednesday night a night to remember.

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