Bill Scher

Weekend Watchdog

Every Friday in our Weekend Watchdog feature, we post suggested questions for scheduled Sunday guests. You can add your own questions in the comment thread. We’ll also include contact information for the shows, so we can let them know what their viewers want asked. Then on Monday, we’ll circle back and see if our questions were asked and answered. Let’s take back our media! For House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio (Fox News Sunday): You recently said: “We can walk out on Iraq just like we did in Lebanon, just like we did in Vietnam, just like we did in Somalia and we will leave chaos in our wake.” Yet you voted to accelerate the deadline to leave Somalia, and voted against funding for the Somalia operation (see Progress Ohio and Buckeye State Blog).

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Bill Scher

Everyone: Stopping Global Warming Affordable. White House: Ack! Global Recession!

Across the world, the consensus headline out of today’s report (PDF File) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is: stopping global warming is feasible and affordable. The UK Times Online reports that “keeping the rise in temperatures to within 2C [two degrees Celsius] would cost only 0.12 per cent of annual gross domestic product [GDP] if governments exploited new technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.” The center-right British magazine The Economist concluded, “The world would barely notice such figures”.

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Robert Borosage

Republican Debate: Monochromatic Candidates, Stale Ideas

Ten white guys in dark suits and bright ties to answer questions. Three white guys in dark suits and bright ties to ask them. Stale ideas fit the staid image at the first Republican presidential debate last night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. MSNBC should have broadcast the event in black and white. The Gipper himself would have felt at home. What do these monochromatic candidates offer? Without exception, war and more war. No exit from Iraq. New confrontation with Iran, with only former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani mumbling a hint of caution. For former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, brandishing his newborn wing-nut credentials, it’s war not just against al Qaeda, Iraq and Iran, but against Shia and Sunni, Hezbollah and Hamas and more. Wartime for America. All this is done while invoking Ronald Reagan’s sunny optimism.

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Bill Scher

Conservative Filibuster Broken on Canadian Drugs

Senators trying to drive down prescription drug costs failed to break a drug industry-backed conservative filibuster when the issue was empowering Medicare to negotiate. But yesterday, they successfully broke an attempted filibuster on allowing cheaper drugs to be imported from Canada. Rejoicing may be premature, however.

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Bill Scher

Bloggers Take On Conservative Failure

While we were commemorating the Failure of Conservatism in DC yesterday, what was the blogosphere doing? D-Day saw conservative failure in the melamine scandal: “Conservatives care nothing about government, and yet they act surprised when the mechanisms of government breaks down. They will somehow try to blame liberals for dismantling the public safety apparatus that has served the country well for decades.

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Bill Scher

Watch The Big Con Face-Off: Kuttner v. Kristol

The highlight of today’s Failure of Conservatism Conference was the debate between the American Prospect’s Robert Kuttner and the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, over the question: “Can Conservatives Be Trusted To Govern?” You can watch the full debate below, thanks to the good folks at PoliticsTV, and share your impressions in the comments below.

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Isaiah J. Poole

One Conservative Success, And The Counterattack

The perversity of conservative failure is that by rendering government incapable or unwilling of doing anything that serves the common good, conservatives have left fewer people willing to trust that government can serve the common good, even when they want it to. That is the sobering message behind polling data presented at the Failure of Conservatism Conference by pollster Stan Greenberg. “These people have made such a mess of things” that getting people to have faith in government is an uphill struggle,” he said. The electoral mood is similar to the pox-on-both-your-houses mood that helped elevate independent Ross Perot’s candidacy in the 1990s. “I’m not sure it is a progressive moment. It may be a Perot moment,” Greenberg said.

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Bill Scher

Corruption + Incompetence = Conservatism

Check out video of Campaign for America’s Future Co-Director Robert Borosage, kicking off today’s Failure of Conservatism Conference. “…corruption and incompetence aren’t idiosyncratic to conservatives. They are, in some ways, an integral expression of the scorn they have for government.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Kuttner vs. Kristol: It’s Hard Out Here For A Neocon

There was a genteel smackdown between Robert Kuttner of The American Prospect and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard. But beneath the generally gentlemanly exchange between the two intellectual titans, there were some genuine jaw-droppers from Kristol, who showed that however thoughtful conservatives can be, their blind spots can be huge. Kuttner opened the debate by saying that the Republicans at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library debate on Thursday will call for a return to Ronald Reagan, distancing themselves from President Bush but not from the underlying ideology. In order to develop that ideology, “it took a village. It took a movement,” he said.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Getting Government And The Economy Wrong

When Rick Perlstein, a senior fellow at the Campaign for America’s Future, wanted to offer an example of how conservatives have gotten government wrong, he talked about chickens. These are chickens that are carrying a chemical that is used to make plastic forks and spoons, because the chemical, melamine, is in food fed to the chickens imported from China. That corrupted feed came into the country through the extraordinarily porous screening of the Food and Drug Administration. Perlstein said that the inability of the FDA to keep feed with this chemical, which also has been detected in pet food that caused the deaths of an untold number of pets this year, from entering the country is an example of how conservatives have crippled government to the point that it cannot keep us safe. “It is one of the ways conservatism is incinerating a pillar of our civilization,” he said.

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Isaiah J. Poole

Failure of Conservatism: Getting The World Wrong

Robert L. Borosage launched the Failure of Conservatism conference at the National Press Conference on Thursday with a broad indictment of the conservative movement and with a cautionary note for progressives: “Ideas have consequences.” Borosage, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, borrowed that phrase from leading conservative thinker William Kristol to point out that just as conservatives came to power in the 1980s and 1990s by forging a comprehensive world view that governed its politics and its path to power, progressives need to do the same. He outlined the themes in the commentary he wrote for the Thursday edition of the Chicago Tribune, “The Gipper Can’t Win This One,” and concluded by paraphrasing Reagan’s famous indictment of government: “Conservatism is not the solution to the problem.

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Robert Borosage

The Gipper Won’t Win This One

This article first appeared in the Chicago Tribune. As Republican contenders for the presidential nomination gather for their first debate Thursday night at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, they are caught between a rock and a hard place. The vast majority of Americans have given up on George Bush, the sitting conservative president. But the die-hards who still support him are loyal Republican primary voters that no Republican candidate can afford to offend. How can the contenders distance themselves from Bush’s failures without alienating their own base? Expect them to invoke the conservative icon Ronald Reagan early and often. They’ll call for a return to the faith, pledge to follow in the footsteps of the Gipper and promise a new “Morning in America.” But the Gipper can’t save them.

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Bill Scher

Failing Conservatives Flail About

Today is the Failure of Conservatism Conference, hosted by Campaign for America’s Future and The American Prospect, which will seek to make the case that “the failures of the Bush administration—from Katrina to Iraq—are more than a matter of incompetence and cronyism. They are a matter of ideology.” Conservatives, of course, are busy trying to salvage their ideology’s reputation. They are trying to distance conservatism from Bush’s deeply unpopular presidency. And they are looking to shift blame whenever possible.

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Bill Scher

Failing Conservatives Flail About

  Today is the Failure of Conservatism Conference , hosted by Campaign for America’s Future and The American Prospect , which will seek to make the case that “the failures of the Bush administration—from Katrina to Iraq—are more than a matter of incompetence and cronyism. They are a matter of ideology.” Conservatives, of course, are busy trying to salvage their ideology’s reputation. They are trying to distance conservatism from Bush’s deeply unpopular presidency. And they are looking to shift blame whenever possible. For example, when the conservative Washington Examiner editorial board learned about the Failure of Conservatism event, they didn’t directly challenge the conference’s premise. Instead, they took pot shots at a single speaker in hopes of deflecting attention away from their right-wing brethren.

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Bill Scher

Memories of Maria Leavey

Over at the Take Back America 2007 blog, I shared my experience being helped by the extraordinary Maria Leavey, as nominations are being accepted through May 6 for the new Maria Leavey Tribute Award. Hopefully it will inspire you to nominate someone you know doing unheralded yet critical work to take back America.

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Bill Scher

The Conservatives’ Secular Problem: Global Warming

Getting responsible about global warming is another way to speak to the concerns of secular voters (not to mention the religious voters who make up the Creation Care movement). And some conservatives are trying to shake their irresponsible, anti-green reputation (with varying degrees of sincerity). But there are plenty of conservatives who just can’t change.

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Bill Scher

The Conservatives’ Secular Problem: Lovin’ Low Wages

The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol (part of Thursday’s Big Con Face-Off, RSVP now!) today published online this from Irwin Stelzer, warning fellow conservatives of horrible developments ahead: …part of the Democratic party’s tilt in favor of “the little guy,” [is] to raise the minimum hourly wage from $5.15 to $7.25. That is designed to help directly the 5.6 million workers (4 percent of the workforce) now earning less than $7.25 per hour, and indirectly the 7.4 million (6 percent of the workforce) earning close to that wage whose pay would also go up. To them, the recent election has mattered. As it will for those whose jobs disappear because they are not profitable workers at the new, higher wages. This is more evidence the conservatives’ secular problem persists.

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Bill Scher

The Conservatives’ Secular Problem: Rudy’s Got It

Theoretically, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the sort of candidate that can help conservatives address their secular problem. With his record supporting reproductive freedom and equality for gays, he’d be hard to peg as trying to impose his religious beliefs on others. But last week, as Pam’s House Blend flagged, Giuliani has flip-flopped on civil unions, opposing New Hampshire’s new law.

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Bill Scher

The Conservatives’ Secular Problem: How’re They Doin’?

With our Failure of Conservatism Conference coming up on Thursday, it’s a good time to check in on the conservatives’ “Secular Problem.” You may recall that during this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, I set out to determine if conservatives understood that they lost the Congress because they lost the vote of those who don’t regularly attend religious services. They didn’t.

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