Ultra conservative Pat Toomey has surged into a tie with Arlen Specter in a general election matchup in the Pennsylvania Senate race, according to a new poll. Toomey also out-polls Joe Sestak, though there's a high number of undecideds in that matchup because neither candidate has high name recognition.
In what has to be among Fox News' all-time lowlights, Neil Cavuto had a segment a short while ago on whether the new surgeon general nominee, Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, is "too fat" for the post. Seriously. In support of this argument, they had on as a guest some guy wearing a "No Chubbies" T-shirt. Again, I'm serious. Watch.
Late Update: It's not just Fox. ABC has a straight news story about Benjamin's weight. I don't remember C. Everett Koop being svelte. But then he wasn't black or a woman.
Later Update: The Fox guest is quite a character. His name is Michael Karolchyk, and he runs an outfit in Denver called the Anti-Gym (NSFW), a fitness club with an emphasis on getting clients in shape for sex: "With live DJs, cage dancers, and our elite co-ed Ravish Room, Anti-Gym boasts the hottest facilities and clientele in Denver."
TPM Reader AB:
Just to mention something that is obvious, but hopefully not overlooked, i.e., if this country cannot pass a bill which insures that every citizen has access to medical care, which every developed country has managed to do (and got done many many years ago), there is something very fundamentally and structurally wrong with this country.
Such an event, in my mind, would confirm that we live with a completely corrupt and dysfunctional form of government. Forty nine states, each with bicameral legislative bodies, some of which have distinguished themselves recently with unabashed levels of incompetency and cluelessness. Then, graft a federal government over that, which is also bicameral, the non-representative portion of it being filled with officials who are certifiable morons and/or who are bought and sold like whores by wealthy contributors.
Talk about a Waterloo.
This is a defining moment in our history. Do we fulfill our supposed status as a "shining city on a hill" or continue our long slow decline into a second rate oligarchy?
I am not one prone to hyperbole.
I believe this to the depths of my soul.
Hard to say from this AP article how much of this ethics violation is on Sarah Palin herself, and how much might have been the result of her legal defense fund being improperly set up or not kept at sufficient arm's length. We're trying to get ahold of the new report.
Since the fiasco of 1994, health care has been a drum Democrats have banged away on at election time with the more or less open understanding that it would be safely stowed away again after November. But now we're at a point where we should soon see whether this is an issue that can ever be conquered or dealt with in any real way. The Dems went into this round with as many advantages as they're likely ever to have -- a president with commanding authority, big majorities in Congress and a mood in the country that seemed decidedly favorable if not quite sold on the prospect of major reform. The one big exception to this favorable picture was the near collapse of the country's economy (which ain't nothing), but which the White House has nonetheless (and with real merit) argued is a reason for moving now on health care reform rather than delay.
But a series of developments over just the last couple of weeks have transformed this from what seemed like almost a done deal to a really, really tough challenge. Health care is a really complex issue. And the entrenched interests are probably as powerful as any other issue a president can face. Let's not pretend it's even close to easy, ever. But conservative Democrats are digging in on the cost front; the insurance companies have a hold over a lot of senators and representatives on the public option; and for a number of reasons, the president's own popularity has come down significantly.
It is definitely true that the president is still quite popular. But his numbers are now the sort that don't necessarily scare elected officials on the margins or give reassurance to House Democrats in marginal districts. And let's face it, a lot of these members of Congress are simply owned by different parts of the health care industry -- something that a president needs a lot of public support to overcome.
This is a clearly testing time for Obama. But much more for the Democrats. If not now, really, when? Is the hill just too steep?
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