Jake Tapper catches the White House spinning. “At last night’s Republican debate, the seven candidates talked about unemployment, taxes, regulations, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s talk of a goal of 5% GDP growth, the individual mandate in the health care bill, the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, welfare reform, the Tea Party, currency policy, the National Labor Relations Board, Boeing, TARP, the auto bailout, Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare proposal, former Gov. Mitt Romney’s health care program in Massachusetts, raising the debt ceiling, raising the retirement age for Social Security, the role of religion in public life, the 10th amendment, Libya, Afghanistan, and so on. But President Obama’s 2012 campaign is sending out a DNC video suggesting the candidates spoke only about sharia law, an anti-gay-marriage amendment, repealing health care, Sarah Palin, and the space program.”
Did you catch the liberal blogosphere regurgitating the spin?
The New York Times catches up. “[Michele] Bachmann toned her rhetoric down a bit and offered herself as a competent, knowledgeable insider who would nonetheless carry on the fight against big government with the zeal of a Tea Party activist. . . . Over the debate’s two hours, Ms. Bachmann was clearly trying to catch the attention of voters who have been wary of her often-intense brand of politics: establishment Republicans; pragmatists who want someone electable; foreign policy conservatives; and middle-American families who are struggling economically. Her admirers said she showed an ability to speak out on behalf of their issues without coming across as a niche candidate.”
Tim Pawlenty catches flak. “Tim Pawlenty’s puzzling decision at Monday’s debate to abandon a new line of attack on Mitt Romney’s health care record is prompting fresh doubts among members of his own party about his readiness to confront the GOP frontrunner. One day after Pawlenty linked Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan with the federal health reform law as “Obamneycare” in a nationally televised interview, the former Minnesota governor retreated from the sharp critique at the first debate featuring Romney.” Let’s not overdo this; when Pawlenty does attack, the punditocracy will exclaim, “He found his voice!”
This could catch on: “Obama is considering how strongly to push for extending a payroll-tax break for workers and creating a new tax break for employers to jump-start the economy, reflecting White House concerns about joblessness but also complicating efforts to rein in the federal deficit. White House officials brought up the ideas during closed-door debt talks Tuesday. . . . They told the lawmakers that the White House would be open to payroll tax breaks for employers and employees, sending a clear signal that fresh concerns over slowing job growth have spilled into discussions about how to reduce the deficit.”
If your boss catches you doing what Anthony Weiner did, I don’t think rehab is going help you to escape termination. Ruth Marcus observes that “the episode underscores how rehab has become an all-purpose laundromat for irresponsible behavior, an infuriatingly easy substitute for accepting blame and living with consequences. Increasingly, in our Rehab Nation, the concept of sin has been replaced by the language of addiction. Shame has been supplanted by therapeutic intervention. The disease model of misbehavior dictates that there are no bad people, only damaged individuals compelled to commit harmful acts. In this scenario, personal responsibility evaporates and virtue becomes an anachronism.”
Russian “reset” isn’t catching on with the Congress. “Roskam Meets with Team Representing Russian Political Prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky.”
Maybe the White House is catching a few zzz’s. “President Obama’s re-election machine is already running full bore, but has his entire Administration also decamped for the campaign trail? We ask because the towering ambitions of Mr. Obama’s first two years have suddenly gone into abeyance in his third, apparently to be deferred until years five through eight. The White House is more or less conceding that it doesn’t have a chance of winning a second term unless his major policies go on hiatus.”