Real Time Thoughts on Meet the Press (October 25, 2009)

Vietcong Legs

***As before the quotes below are mere approximations to the true quotes, though, I hope identical, in spirit, to the truth***

(David Gregory) DG, showed videotape of Obama’s moral argument against Wall Street bonus packages.  Personally I think that this argument risks another run at extreme populism without necessarily delivering the desired results: Wall Street execs will not slash their pay packages because Obama tells them to do so. There are many loops holes out; there are ways to finesse language that suggests that contributions were made to certain accounts, boats purchased for the homeless in this or the other Westchester cul de-sac.  Otherwise, the so-called talent will leave for other gigs elsewhere.  The financial engineers at Citi are in demand nowadays, you see.  As Schumer and Cornyn both argue la

Chuck Schumer is right when he says that in Afghanistan if our goal is stability in the region, even if we do everything right, its still a 50/50 proposition that things will turn out our way.

On Wall Street bonuses:

Cornyn and Schumer argue that because these major TARP banks were supported by tax payer dollars, the agent of those tax-payers, the government, can intervene to trigger punishment.  This is quite unlike any supposed requirement of government to intervene in the private sector.  Now this argument is similar to one that the late G.A. Cohen made regarding the motivations of justice of individuals in a Rawlsian Just Society: individuals in a just society are required to be just in just that way.  It will not do to assume just behavior on their part–as John Rawl’s so easily assumes.   I think that Cohen’s arguments are morally compelling; however, they are not compellingly feasible.

On Health Care:

Schumer is saying that Harry Reid is close to securing a 60 vote majority for an state opt-out on the public option.  This is all going on now because public opinion polling shows 61% majority support for a public option.  (Personally I think the opt-out is bad public policy. It will set up bandustans of impoverished health care in some states, while their next door neighbors will enjoy full government price control.  I can already see the law suits that will argue for equal treatment under the law)

Sen Cornyn, the public option is not a trojan horse for a single payer system.  Were it that !!!!

On Dick Cheney: he has no right to say that President is dithering on Afghanistan.  His adminstration–yes I said, (well, wrote) his adminstration did nothing to curb the rise of the Taliban in Pakistan, except feed Musharraf money.

DG, to Jon Cornyn: Did Bush/Cheney provide enough troops in Afghanistan?  (Well, played sir!!)  Cornyn looks stymied.  DG has him exactly where he wants him; though with Cornyn, I suspect he’s easily lassoed.

(On that note, DG is a fine, fine replacement for the late Tim Russert)

On the roundtable:

Tavis Smiley is right when he says that the new whole Fox and Obama dispute is a distraction. So I won’t write more on it.

Joe Scarborough is saying that Reid might have enough votes for the public option trigger, but not for the opt-out.  As a point of fact, Olympia Snowe is all about the trigger; whether she might supprt the opt-out is (at least to me) not yet unknown.

Tavis Smiley is right that Obama needs to be more direct and forceful with his own party and he needs to get the Republicans to side with history on this one.  Choose good policy over whatever gets 60 votes.

DG: Anna Quindlen at Newsweek has written a good piece on Obama, his promise and his practice:

Jane Meyer: What Obama now wants is that magic 60 vote majority.  Meanwhile, we’re indirectly recruiting for the Taliban in Pakistan by killing women and children with our covert CIA drone operation.  We are essentially assassinating individuals in a friendly country, with which we are not at war.  We are essentially doing the same thing for which we used to condemned Israel: committing our policy apparatus to focus on targetted killings.  This is a first.  Is this the kind of war on terrorism we want to fight?

Tavis Smiley: its going to be very difficult for this Nobel Peace Prize winning President to be a war President engaged in this kind of targetted killing and goes along with the deaths of hundreds of innocent bystanders.

~ by Faheem Haider on October 25, 2009.

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