Bill Scher's LiberalOasis

Home of the LiberalOasis Radio Show, Bill Scher columns and other liberal commentary

Month: January 2011

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: West Wing Edition

Bill Scher recounts his visit to the White House for a blogger roundtable with Senior Adviser David Axelrod, and what was learned about the President’s plans on creating jobs and reforming Social Security. Plus, the prospects for Arab democracy, and Traci Olsen escapes the snow to deliver the Stabby Five.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).
Or you can simply listen below.

The Week In Blog: Bachmann Ryan Overdrive

The latest The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring Matt Lewis and I discuss the White House blogger roundtable with David Axelrod, the GOP rift exposed by Reps. Michelle Bachmann and Paul Ryan, and the aftermath of the MSNBC-Olbermann divorce. Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf

Axelrod: We’re Gonna Have A Good Ol’ Fashioned Budget Battle

No, that headline is not a quote from White House political adviser David Axelrod during yesterday’s blogger roundtable which I was fortunate to attend.
But you tell me how else to interpret this:

DAVID AXELROD: Well, we have an obligation to put a budget forward, and we’re going to put a budget forward, and that budget is going to reflect the priorities that the President spoke to last night.
It’s going to be a tough budget in terms of the kind of the decisions we have to make about what we can afford and what we can’t afford. But it’s going to reflect the priorities that he spoke to.
And presumably Congress is going to then turn their cards over and say how they would do it differently. And we can have a discussion, the American people can participate in that discussion, as to the priorities…
…If, in fact, the idea is to cut education by 20 or 30 or 40 percent, that’s not a growth strategy. If the idea is to not move forward on innovation and research and development, not to move forward on energy, that’s not a growth strategy.
So I expect this debate to become engaged pretty quickly as we introduce our budget and as they respond to it, and hopefully present us with theirs.

Sounds like a good ol’ fashioned budget battle to me.
And I mean ol’ fashioned. It’s a quaint concept: two sides putting together actual budgets, scored by an objective independent agency, put before the public to debate whose priorities are best.
The White House is now trying to make sure there is a Republican budget to have a battle with. By going first with a detailed bduget, the White House makes it harder for House Republicans — who have been crowing about their fiscal seriousness — to duck without losing credibility .
Assuming the smoking out plan works, the jury is still out whether the White House make this a real debate about two competing visions for America, and not become bogged down into the numerical morass of a wonk-off, where it can be easily supplanted by the latest ephemeral outrage.
How might the White House crystallize the debate?
Part of the strategy would be a fundamental contrast between the President investing in key areas to create jobs and spark innovation, and the Republicans investing in nothing at all. We know that when the President has an unfettered bully pulpit, such as in the State of the Union, the public strongly backs the investment vision.
The second part may be to slam House Republicans for a lack of seriousness regarding deficit reduction. As National Economic Council Deputy Director Brian Deese said at the roundtable:

BRIAN DEESE: If you look at the combined impact of extending permanently the Bush high-income tax cuts, repealing health reform, and what some Republicans have suggested in terms of cuts, that’s a deficit-increase strategy.

As you can see, the White House does not appear to be giving up on either ending the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy, or the notion that health reform is the ultimate deficit reduction strategy.
The third part is the part that will give many progressives pause: touting the President’s willingness to cut spending overall even while boosting investment.
The politics make some sense on paper — much of the public wants to see both spending cuts and public investments. The President will offer both, the Republicans will offer only one.
But policy wise, cuts in discretionary spending – a mere slice of the overall budget – to meet an arbitrary “freeze” target don’t make sense. (Health reform is the ultimate deficit reduction, and the President has already embarked on that path. Unfortunately, much of the public doesn’t believe it, apparently prompting the White House to make other gestures.)
And the political cost, depending on where those cuts fall, may be little enthusiasm among progressives to help the President with the rest of the budget battle.
Progressives should find a way to push dual political objectives:
Push The Limits Of Debate: We can show an alternate path to deficit reduction that does not require any weakening of the social safety net or suffocation of investments for the future. The hard work has already been done with the Citizens’ Commission and other progressive deficit reduction proposals.
Amplify The Contrast: And we can amplify the contrast between the President’s budget and the Republican vision: jobs versus no jobs, honest budgeting versus deficit hypocrisy, the future versus the past – literally.
We shouldn’t let the need to show our own path to deficit reduction interfere with the need to win the headline battle between the President and House conservatives over the fundamental question of the importance of public investment to create jobs and revitalize America’s economic foundation.
Because if we can’t win that battle, there’s no way we can win the war.

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: SOTU Preview Edition

Do the Republicans have a second act after their snoozer of a health care repeal bill? What will Obama do in the State of the Union, now that his poll numbers have strengthened?
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).
Or you can simply listen below.

The Week In Blog: After The Repeal Edition

The latest The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring Kristen Soltis and me discussing blog reaction to the health reform repeal vote, the looming debt ceiling vote, what Obama may do on Social Security and what Sarah Palin may do next. Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: She Who Must Not Be Named Edition

Discussing the relevance of violent right-wing rhetoric to the Tucson tragedy, how it will affect the race for president, why did the GOP feel compelled to postpone the health reform repeal vote, and how much the media can get wrong when covering mass shootings by mentally ill people.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).
Or you can simply listen below.

The Week In Blog: Tucson Tragedy Edition

The latest The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring The Heritage Foundation’s Conn Carroll and me discussing blog reaction to the Tucson tragedy and the looming debt ceiling vote. Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf

The LiberalOasis Radio Show: Frothy Mix Edition

Republicans waste no time breaking their own budget rules and bluffing about the debt ceiling. Traci Olsen rings in the new year with the Stabby Five. And we anxiously await Santorum ’12.
You can download the podcast at these links: (iTunes / XML feed / MP3).
Or you can simply listen below.

The Week In Blog: Super Gay CPAC Edition

The latest The Week In Blog is up at Bloggingheads.tv featuring Matt Lewis and me discussing blog reaction to the RNC chair race, the new White House chief of staff, strife within CPAC and the possible Mike Pence presidential candidacy. Watch it below.
http://static.bloggingheads.tv/ramon/_live/players/player_v5.2-licensed.swf