REALITY CHECK: The Paranoid Style Of American Politics Minus Adult Supervision Equals Right Now


[Illustration by ALEX FINE]

THINK PROGRESS: Des Moines register reports: “A third of Iowans from across the political spectrum say they support the ‘tea party’ movement, sounding a loud chorus of dissatisfaction with government, according to The Des Moines Register’s new Iowa Poll.” But how loud a chorus is this, really? 55 percent of Americans say they’re personally protected by a guardian angel. 38 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Cuba and 36 percent are favorably disposed toward socialism, but I don’t see anyone writing newspaper articles about how a populist wave of socialism is sweeping the country. The number of Iowans who like the tea party movement is smaller than the number of Americans who want marijuana legalized or the number of Americans who believe the government has had secret contact with extra-terrestrials. MORE

USA TODAY: Could the Tea Party movement be losing ground? Days after Sarah Palin headlined the nation’s first Tea Party convention, a Rasmussen Reports poll released today shows that a generic “Tea Party candidate” would come in third in a theoretical three-way congressional contest. The poll found that 36% of voters would support a Democratic candidate on a generic ballot, 25% would back the Republican and 17% would go for the Tea Party pick. Twenty-three percent of respondents are undecided. In early December, the same poll showed the Tea Party in second place and the GOP in third. MORE

liberalsagainstamerica.jpgTHE GUARDIAN: There is nothing self-hating liberals love more than to be told they’re elitists who detest and fear the real America. So when Gerard Alexander pitched an essay to the Washington Post explaining why liberals are so condescending, the editors must have been overcome by paroxysms of joy. “See how we grovel!” you can imagine them thinking. “Surely no one will accuse us of liberal bias if we are willing to publish a conservative screed as mendacious as this.” Alexander’s piece, published on Sunday, is filled with dubious assertions and strawman arguments from beginning to end. […] Alexander, a political-science professor at the University of Virginia, criticises Barack Obama for complaining that he’s been characterised as a “Bolshevik,” ignoring the fact that his opponents regularly refer to him as a “socialist.” He rips New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, for a blog post in which Krugman went after the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. And he somehow finds fault with author Thomas Frank and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean for observing – correctly – that Republicans succeed in large measure because they use rightwing positions on social issues to induce working people into voting against their economic self-interests. MORE


PREVIOUSLY: Last Night I Sneaked Into The Tea Party

listen.gifFRESH AIR:  Last December, hundreds of people showed up at a rally in Lower Manhattan to protest Attorney General Eric Holder’s taxi_to_the_dark_side.jpgdecision to try Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in New York City. “The crowd was shouting at the Jumbotron showing Holder’s testimony to Congress, screaming ‘Traitor, communist, hang him,'” recalls New Yorker writer Jane Mayer in an interview on today’s Fresh Air. “It was an ugly scene,” she says — so ugly that the magazine couldn’t print some of what the protesters yelled. Mayer writes about Holder’s decision to try Mohammed in a civil court — as well as the political and legal ramifications of that decision — for the Feb. 15 New Yorker. She reports, too, on how “underwear bomber” Umar Abdulmutallab was handled by federal authorities after his arrest, explaining the differences between his interrogations and Mohammad’s. She describes a growing political tempest around Holder, and quotes national-security analyst Karen Greenberg on one possible reason for its fierceness. “It’s about bringing the whole approach to handling terrorists back inside the rule of law,” Greenberg tells Mayer in the article. “But it’s a public rebuke, suggesting that for eight years his predecessors betrayed American traditions.” Mayer joins Terry Gross for a conversation about growing partisan differences about national security, and about how Holder’s politically unpopular positions on terrorism issues have raised tensions among President Obama’s closest advisers. Before joining The New Yorker, Mayer was the first female White House correspondent for The Wall Street Journal. She is also the author of the best-selling 2008 book The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How The War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals.

nurse-corps-obamacare.jpgCNN: Nearly two-thirds of Americans want Congress to keep trying to pass a health care reform bill, according to a new national poll. The ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday afternoon also indicates that the public spreads the blame when it comes to a lack of bipartisanship in the nation’s capital. Fifty-eight percent of people questioned in the poll say that congressional Republicans aren’t doing enough to seek compromise with President Barack Obama on important issues, with 44 percent feeling that Obama is doing too little to forge compromise with the GOP. The survey indicates that 56 percent of independent voters say congressional Republicans aren’t doing enough to try and work with the president and Democrats in Congress. Half of independents see the president as too unwilling to compromise and 28 percent feel both parties are not doing enough when it comes to bipartisanship. According to the poll, 63 percent of Americans think federal lawmakers should keep trying to pass a comprehensive health care reform plan, including 88 percent of Democrats questioned, 56 percent of independents and 42 percent of Republicans. Fifty-five percent of Republicans feel Congress should give up on health care reform. The survey’s release comes hours after the president met at the White House with congressional leaders from both parties. Obama said that he doesn’t want a February 25 televised bipartisan meeting on health care reform to be reduced to “political theater.” The president said he hopes to “establish some common facts” and reach agreement on what the most significant health care problems are. He said he’s willing to consider measures such as tort reform, which “make my party uncomfortable.” But bipartisanship cannot only mean “Democrats give up everything they believe in,” he added. MORE

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