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“Yep, It’s A Problem”: Chris Christie Is A Bit Of A Hothead

We all know Chris Christie is a bit of a hothead. I mean, it’s a bit like saying a hothead is a bit of a hothead. It’s not observation but truism. Republicans love him or loved him for it. And Democrats started to too because his blow ups don’t all follow ideology. There was this time back in 2011 when he flipped out at a reporter for questioning whether a Muslim-American judge he’d appointed to the bench might be a security risk or sympathetic to al Qaeda.

Then there was Sandy. Republicans were irate; Dems cheered. What it all really comes down to is that in addition to being a very big man Christie is clearly a big-hearted man. I don’t mean that in the sense that he’s necessarily a great guy in every respect. But he doesn’t do artifice well. He has his emotions on his sleeve. And on his lapel and his pants and his hat if he’s wearing one. He’s just all out there in the 24/7 run of performance art called being Chris Christie.

But this calling the “hack” doctor thing strikes me as a big deal. Not in the sense of the fate of the republic being at stake but in the sense of Christie’s future above the rank of governor.

Here’s what TPM Reader JL just wrote in …

Christie never had the remotest shot at the nomination. At least not after Sandy. But he had a shot at making some noise. Not anymore I suspect. And I say that as something of a fan.The thing is that to take CC seriously as a prez candidate you have to believe that his anger is an asset that he deploys deliberately and skillfully. Which often appears to be the case. But if it starts to look like the anger controls him rather than the other way around, his appeal really plummets.

I suspect the ill advised phone call was a pretty big deal. If I were he, I’d be working overtime on damage control.

This strikes me as exactly right. Calling this women up and berating her over the phone is the sign of someone whose anger has the better of him and lacks impulse control.

Governors don’t have armies or security services. So if they’re a bit nuts or reckless it’s not that big a deal. People evaluate presidents very, very differently.


By: Josh Marshall, Editor and Publisher, Talking Points Memo, February 8, 2013

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Waiting For The Reckoning”: Inside The Republican Civil War

TPM Reader JB (a former GOP staffer if I remember right) doesn’t think either side of the current GOP struggle has reckoned with the first decade of this century …

I don’t think I rely on analysis dripping with the smugness and self-satisfaction your correspondent NS displays.

Instead, let’s eschew the pop psychology jargon and look at the public record. Both the Tea Party types and the big GOP donors represented by Karl Rove were fully on board with just about everything the Bush administration said or did. For all their zeal now, the only major policy issue on which Republicans now aligned with the Tea Party ever clashed with Bush was immigration reform — for which Bush himself, remember, didn’t actually fight that hard.

Neither side in this putative civil war has been willing to reckon honestly with the consequences of the Bush administration for the country (substantively) or the Republican Party (politically). Both do their best to present their views to the public as if the last Republican President had never existed. This has left both groups of activists somewhat unmoored; in politics, you talk ideology and principles when you can’t brag about accomplishments, because voters are a lot better at relating the latter to their own lives.

Since neither the Tea Party types or the big donors and the campaign operatives working for them are thinking of repudiating a Republican administration that lost two wars and wrecked the economy, they are left to air their differences on issues no one besides campaign junkies cares about. The self-styled conservatives complain that Rove and his people say mean things about them; the moneybags wing is dedicated to recruiting candidates who will avoid gaffes. Big deal.

Republicans in the 1930s and Democrats in the 1980s both resisted strongly the idea that their respective parties had earned defeat at the polls. In each case, several election cycles (and epochal world events) were required to restore the fortunes of the party that had earned the kind of defeat the Republicans suffered last fall — when a black incumbent Democratic President whose first term had coincided with the worst recession in 80 years nonetheless won reelection easily. It’s because neither the Tea Party nor the moneybags faction will face the real reason for that debacle that they are facing off against one another now.


By: Josh Marshall, Editor and Publisher, Talking Points Memo, February 8, 2013

February 10, 2013 Posted by | GOP, Tea Party | , , , | Leave a comment

“Freedom For The Few”: Corporations, Miniature Governments With Their Own Undemocratic Governance Structures And Election Systems

We should be done by now with the idea that a corporation is a single thing. Corporations contain a multitude of conflicting interests and are much more like miniature governments with their own governance structures and election systems than is commonly recognized. While these structures are far more hierarchical and undemocratic than we require of our public institutions, Americans should not be resigned that this is the best or the only way the private sector can be structured.

The debate over corporate disclosure currently going on at the SEC exposes some important fissures within the modern American corporation. On the one hand, corporate managers and their allies have argued that corporations should be able to engage in political activities without having to disclose how much they spent or who that money went to. But there is a subtle slight-of-hand to this argument. It conflates the overall interests of the corporation with the desires of management and directors. What proponents of this view really mean is that management and directors should be able to make political expenditures without getting any input from shareholders or other constituencies within the corporation.

On the other side of the debate, shareholders and shareholder advocacy groups have been calling for greater disclosure regarding how corporate money is spent in politics. Shareholders have pointed out, rightly, that management’s political activities are not necessarily good for business. The money spent on political activity is money that shareholders might otherwise see reinvested in the company or have paid out in dividends, and it is money they have residual legal claims to. And, importantly, it often expresses political views that shareholders have no interest in supporting.

Shareholders have been introducing and voting on proposals to improve disclosure. But even when these measures pass, they are merely advisory and do not bind managers. It’s simply not the case that corporate political spending reflects the views of all the people who make up a business. Under existing corporate law, these intra-business disputes already tend to be resolved in management’s favor. And right now it is only management and directors whose views are reflected in political activity. It’s also noteworthy that employees’ interests aren’t even a part of this picture.

In spite of all that, management continues to push back against shareholders. Likely emboldened by Citizens United, proponents of management-dominated corporate speech have begun to claim First Amendment freedoms against their own shareholders. Consider this rather surprising statement from former SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins:

shareholder activists, including unions, state pension funds, and ‘socially responsible investors,’ have increasingly turned to shareholder proposals to selectively burden American businesses exercising their First Amendment rights.

Leaving aside the fact that nobody has First Amendment rights against other private actors, this is an extremely bold assertion. This is tantamount to saying that the interests of management should trump all others and that neither private nor public actors should be permitted to interfere.

Frighteningly, recent developments have begun to enshrine this pro-boss, pro-management bias elsewhere in the law as well. This trend can be seen in a number of settings. During the last election cycle, a number of journalists were reporting that employers were asserting a First Amendment right to trample on the voting rights of their employees. In the ongoing fights over the Affordable Care Act, a number of employers have asserted a constitutional right not to pay for employees’ access to birth control and reproductive health services. (And in the religious non-profit setting, the Obama administration appears prepared to give them the exemption they were seeking.)

Corporations are a “they,” not an “it.” And it’s vitally important that this “they” doesn’t only mean corporate management. More democratic private sector institutions would be an important start. But we need a new constitutional framework for understanding people’s positive rights in the private sector as well. Freedom under the First Amendment doesn’t simply mean, as Paul Atkins might like, protecting bosses from public and private accountability. It means empowering a variety of people, shareholders, workers, communities, and the broader public, to shape the political conditions they live in.


By: Anthony Kammer, The American Prospect, February 6, 2013

February 10, 2013 Posted by | Corporations | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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