Donna Brazile at Obama fundraiser in Oakland

Tomorrow is President Barack Obama’s 50th birthday…

…and like any U.S. politician might, he’s turned it into a fundraising event spanning the entire nation.

He’s attending fundraisers in Chicago today, including a concert with Chicago natives Herbie Hancock and Jennifer Hudson and the Chicago rock band OK Go. Meanwhile, surrogates have fanned out to headline events today in cities from coast to coast: Robert Gibbs in Boston, David Plouffe in Tampa, David Axelrod in Los Angeles, and so on.

In Oakland, Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Donna Brazile is scheduled to join California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Oakland Mayor Jean Quan for a 5:30 p.m. event organized by the East Bay Young Democrats at The New Parish, 579 18th St. Tickets started at $25, but apparently have sold out.

The Republican National Committee is, of course, not amused.

“It’s time for the Obama Administration to focus on putting Americans back to work and protecting future generations, instead of worrying about his reelection,” RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney said. “President Obama said he was going to pivot to job creation but instead of focusing on the millions of unemployed Americans, the first thing he does is a fundraiser to save his own job. The 2012 election will hinge on the economy and President Obama will need every penny earned to cover-up his failed leadership on everything from the debt ceiling to jobs. With Americans struggling with 9.2 percent unemployment, no amount of fundraising cash can erase this president’s leadership and economic failures.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    What the RNC said!

  • Elwood


    Dow down 312

  • Elwood


    Dow down 512

    Can you say O’bummer depression?

  • Elwood

    Welcome back, Carter!

  • John W

    What’s the matter, Elwood, did you get burned by those kumquat futures?

  • Elwood

    I was only a few million kumquat futures short of cornering the market!

  • Elwood

    How’s that hopey changey thing workin’ out for ya?

  • John W

    Compared to what or whom?

  • Elwood

    Well, I’d say the hopey thing ain’t workin’ out too well for LOTS of people and LOTS of people hope we’ll change Presidents on 1/20/13.

    It’s difficult to visualize someone else doing worse. Memories of Jimmy Carter are becoming more vivid every day.

  • John W

    If somebody wants to criticize Carter as an ineffective political leader and a micromanager (White House tennis court scheduling), I’ll have to agree. But if they think he had anything to do with the high inflation and interest rates, high gas prices or Iran, I defy them to say what Carter policies caused those things. In fact, he is the guy who hired Paul Volcker (the guy who figured out how to break the inflation cycle that built up under LBJ and Nixon/Ford).

  • RR, senile columnist

    The great peanut merchant abandoned the Shah’s regime but not the Shah’s person. He did not win any new friends in the Mideast and antagonized some old ones. His economic policy was confusing to both business and the voters, creating oodles of uncertainty. Carter was a lousy leader, a poor communicator and a highly educated fool who was stubborn and thin-skinned.

  • Elwood

    “an ineffective political leader”

    “a highly educated fool who was stubborn and thin-skinned.”

    Barack Carter?

  • John W


    Although I have great admiration for the man as a human being, I agree that he does have some of the flaws you mentioned. Not perfect like you and I!

    I first became aware of Carter from a far distance when he was inaugurated as governor, and the networks reported some of his statements about racial discrimination that people in Georgia weren’t used to hearing at the time. He also made an amazing Law Day speech to the University of Georgia Law School on the subject of racial justice. He also stood up to his segregationist church congregation in Plains and verbally took Lester Maddox to the woodshed. He was a good guv.

    A couple of years later, I had a chance to observe him during his last year as guv when I was running a small-town country music radio station in middle (not New South) Georgia, during which time he visited my station and made news in our studio by becoming one of the first guvs to call for Nixon to resign. A couple of years later, I was working in Minnesota and became one of his early supporters for president when few people outside Georgia had even heard of him. Another Minnesotan campaigned for him at the time. Her name was Michele Bachmann!

    You say he won no friends in the Middle East. I would say Israel has greatly benefitted from not having to fight more wars with Egypt and Jordan, as a result of the Camp David accords. His subsequent views regarding the Palestinian situation have not been popular with Israel’s conservatives, although I would say his views have been grossly misunderstood. People have made him out to be anti-Semitic, when, by faith and intellect, he is quite the opposite. However, there is nothing controversial about his efforts and accomplishments in eradicating diseases in Africa or his work in putting Habitat for Humanity on the map, or his wife’s work on mental health issues. The man has written 20-some books — everything from poetry to novels. Personal flaws aside, he is probably the most intelligent, multi-faceted ex-president since Jefferson.

    As for the Shah, he was a dying man. His demise, by natural death or force, was imminent, and the “Revolution” was unstoppable. It all just happened to come to a head on Carter’s watch. Of course, maybe we should talk about what Carter’s successor did with Iran (i.e. Iran-Contra). Perhaps Carter should have fired a missile down the Ahyatolla’s throat rather that trying to negotiate our way out of the hostage situation. But then, they all lived, didn’t they?

    As for economic policies, none of the points you made had anything to do with the economic distress that people generally think about when they remember back to Carter’s term in office. He didn’t fix it, but he didn’t cause it.

  • Elwood



  • John W

    What was that about S&P “confidence in the O’Bummer administration?”

    I seem to recall Elwood saying last week that he wasn’t convinced that a debt downgrade due to default would matter much, or words to that effect. Apparently, now, it does matter and is all Obama’s fault.

    Three factors mentioned repeatedly by S&P and its head honcho, John Chambers:

    Political brinksmanship over the debt ceiling. Thank you Teapublicans, who have said that the recent unpleasantness is a good model for future debt ceiling increases, which are inevitable under anybody’s plan.

    $2.5 Trillion dollar debt reduction deal too small, and entitlements not addressed. Obama-Bohner had a $4 trillion dollar deal. Included entitlements. Rejected, ’cause it had revenues. Had we adopted Obama-Boehner, there would have been no downgrade. Thank you Teapublicans.

    Bush tax cuts depriving government of revenue as part of a comprehensive solution. Thank you Grover and Teapublicans.

  • Elwood

    We may find out Monday morning how much it matters. At any rate, S&P splits the blame between O’bummer and the Congress. The dimmiecrat solution for everything has always been to raise taxes and O’bummer is the leader of the dimmiecrats. Some of us think we’re Taxed Enough Already.

    Here’s a picture of that great economic guru Barney Frank contemplating the situation:


  • Elwood

    “Mr. Summers (Lawrence H. Summers, O’bummer’s former chief economic adviser) argues instead that the government should focus on tax cuts–”


  • John W

    Re: 16

    “May find out Monday how much it (downgrade) matters.” Indeed!

    “…Taxed Enough Already…”

    Based on what? Nobody alive today has ever paid lower effective federal income tax rates than they do today, lower even than when nominal top rates were 28% for a couple of years under Reagan (before factoring in bracket indexing, deduction inflation etc.).

    Tax cuts and renewal of them would be fine if we were operating in the black and offsetting them with spending cuts. Instead, we have paid for the cuts with more debt. Tea Partyers can’t be serious about not wanting to burden the grandkids and their kids with debt from our profligate ways while, at the same time, taking on more debt each year to pay for tax cuts. Debt-financed tax cuts are no different than debt-financed earmark boondoggles. In fact, the latter may be more productive to the extent that it at least generate jobs.

  • John W

    Re: #17

    As Ronald Reagan once said in debate, “There you go again!”

    First, Summers apparently said we should focus instead on “tax cuts and directed spending to stimulate private spending and investment.” You quoted the part you liked and left out the part you didn’t.

    I’m not sure what his reasoning was on the tax cuts and spending, but he was speaking of that as an alternative to another idea discussed in the article — inflating our way out of debt. He was arguing against that. How he got from arguing against inflating our way out of debt to tax cuts and spending as a way of getting out of debt beats me. I suspect there was more to his thinking that what was covered by the article.

  • Elwood



  • Elwood

    @ #18

    Didn’t you like the picture of Barney Frank?

  • Elwood



  • Truthclubber

    Yo, Hellwoody — way to go, jack@$$ — here’s what we get from your wonderous http://tinyurl.com/3lt6rp6 link:


    Sorry, Forbidden.
    You don’t have permission to access this URL on this server.

    Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you’re having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo!, try visiting the Yahoo! home page or look through a list of Yahoo!’s online services. Also, you may find what you’re looking for if you try searching below.

    I hereby nominate Hellwoody for a Darwin Award — and hope to God (whoever she is) that he accepts!

  • Elwood

    @ toothsucker

    Works for me, liar boy.

    Maybe you need remedial Computer 101.

    Or perhaps the NYT has determined that you are too stupid to access its website.

  • Elwood
  • Elwood



  • Elwood



  • Elwood



    Defense spending now is 4% of GDP compared to 10% in the Eisenhower years. Barney says we could cut $200 billion. A $200 billion cut is a band aid on a gaping wound. What a maroon!

  • John W

    Here’s my solution, Elwood. What’s your’s?

    First, Simpson-Bowles

    Instead of snakeoil salesman Jim DeMint’s economic quackery and constitutional catastrophe of “Cut, Cap and Balance,” we go with Simpson-Bowles: “Tweak, Embrace and Pass.”

    Second, Infrastructure Jobs

    Because no tax hikes or spending cuts will get our debt trajectory moving in the right direction without economic growth, we need to do something to grow the economy. History shows that is very difficult to do when the economic crisis was caused by a financial and credit crisis, rather than by cyclical factors. So, here’s what we do.

    Take another shot at stimulus. But, this time it’s all hardcore infrastructure: bridges, roads, tunnels, sewer lines and airports. No soft green energy stuff. No funky tax credits, which were 1/3 of the last stimulus. Real stuff, real jobs! Even if we didn’t find a way to pay for it, the net effect on the nation’s balance sheet is neutral — spending is matched by tangible, long-term assets. Still, I’d fund it with a 1% surtax on everybody’s gross income.

    Third, get real on revenue, but do it so as not to stunt economic growth in a fragile economy. How?

    Freeze indexing of tax brackets, standard deductions, exemptions and caps on 401k and HSA contributions.

    Impose a cap, to be gradually reduced to standard deduction levels over time, on itemized deductions and exemptions. Within the cap, people can choose to use the allowed amount on deductions for mortgage interest, state & local taxes, charity or whatever. When our fiscal house is in better shape, we can then lower tax rates accordingly.

    That’s my plan. What’s yours?

  • Elwood



  • John W

    Okay, nutty idea. Granted. But, legality aside, there is a pretty good case that S&P caused this entire damned financial crisis with its bogus ratings of securitized debt obligations.

    I’m from a politically conservative resort and agricultural town in northern Michigan. But the people there still love Michael Moore because of what he did for the economy with his permanent film festival there. He has taken over lots of downtown space for staff. Turns out Michael Moore is a real “Job Creator,” not a phony one like the TeaPubs talk about.

  • Elwood

    “S&P caused this entire damned financial crisis”

    A share of the blame, yes, but causing the whole thing all by themselves? Hardly.

    First, the other rating agencies were falling all over themselves to rate that crap (bundled mortgage securities)AAA in order to suck up some of that easy money.

    Then there were the banks, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac IGA and a cast of thousands.

    And last but not least, our wondrous federal government informing lenders that ability to repay would no longer be a criterion for lending in order to give loans to millions of people who never should have had them.

  • Elwood

    @ #29

    Duck, quack, tax increase etc.

  • John W

    Agreed. Plenty of co-conspirators. You forgot to mention clueless or lying borrowers. But the commentators on most of the news channels today — including CNBC and FOX, seemed to single out S&P. That said, I don’t disagree with S&P’s reasoning.

    Where’s your plan, Elwood? You gonna contribute something or just keep throwing rocks from the cheap seats?

  • Elwood

    Cut everything. To the bone. And then cut some more.

    Defense and all entitlements; Social Security, Medicare, Medical, Work to Welfare,Earned Income Credit, all those sweet government giveaways.

    Sacred cows must be slaughtered.

    Of course none of this can happen until after
    1/20/13 when the Republicans will keep the House and take over the Senate and the White House.

    O’bummer must realize by now that he is a one term President. How in God’s name he ever got elected in the first place is beyond me.

    Is there any truth to the rumor that there is a moving van parked outside the White House?

  • Elwood



  • Truthclubber

    @32 (aka Hellwoody) —

    Yo, @$$hole — and all of what you cite (in quotes below) happened under Bush II and the total control of the Congress by the GOP (2001-2007):

    “First, the other rating agencies were falling all over themselves to rate that crap (bundled mortgage securities) AAA in order to suck up some of that easy money.

    Then there were the banks, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, IGA and a cast of thousands.

    And last but not least, our wondrous federal government informing lenders that ability to repay would no longer be a criterion for lending in order to give loans to millions of people who never should have had them.”

    So O’Bummer, as you pejoratively call him, should be given a few years to clean up the Bushsh*t that Shrub left dripping from his behind as he left office…

    Eat Bush and die, you fu*ked up @$$hole — go crawl under a Faux News rock and STFU while we dig out from the pile of Bush you and yours left us.

  • Elwood

    Tell us how you really feel, toothsucker darling!

    Your boy is toast. He’s going to see if he can get a job with the gangster who financed his Chicago pad.

    Oh, and did I mention that you’re a liar?

  • Sara and Meg WHO ???!!!

    The link posted in #22 returns the following result –


    Sorry, Forbidden.
    You don’t have permission to access this URL on this server.

    Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you’re having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo!, try visiting the Yahoo! home page or look through a list of Yahoo!’s online services. Also, you may find what you’re looking for if you try searching below.


    Meanwhile –

    U.S. credit downgraded by private institutions, while simultaneously T-bonds are being gobbled up. Seems like the free market has a view that, while U.S. economics are straining, it still represents one of the best securities available. . . . HOW CAN THIS BE??????

    So, on one hand we have a privately-run institution telling us our economy sucks – and of course, they’re correct. This is the same privately-run institution that DIDN’T warn us about credit swaps and an impending house of cards that ultimately contributed significantly to our current economic demise. Which was a politically expedient strategy at the time, and which suggests that perhaps this same gaggle of self-appointed credit “analysts” are, like so many others, political in their motives – but never mind that. . . . . (P.S. – these guys have nothing to lose if their de-rating is wrong)

    WHile, on the other hand, we have many individuals and institutions seeking to protect their cash investments, and their collective wisdom suggests that, while our economy is, indeed, in the toilet – IT IS STILL ONE OF THE BEST AVAILABLE WITH WHICH TO SAFEGUARD YOUR INVESTMENT. (P.P.S. – these guys have EVERYTHING to lose if they are wrong)

    But never mind that . . we have an election we need to gear up for.

  • Elwood

    Sorry about the link.

    It is to a NYT story. For some reason NYT requires an account w/ a password.

    Simple procedure.

  • John W

    NYT now charges on both a subscriptiona and per story basis. However, you get 20 free stories per month. Registering users with a user name and password is the way they keep track of your monthly story count.

    WSJ online is subscription-based too. If you go directly to their site and click on a story, they will show just the first part of the story. However, you can sometimes cheat by Googling the story headline and clicking on that to get in through the back door.

  • John W


    Cut, cut, cut, cut. Guess that’s one way of doing it.

    You do realize, though, that, by law, Social Security and Medicare Part A are funded exclusively by dedicated revenue from payroll taxes. They have to change to match revenue, because the trust funds will be exhausted in 9 years for Medicare Part A and 25 years for SS. However, they don’t impact the nation’s long-term debt picture at all. Medicare Part B and D and Medicaid, which rely mostly on general tax revenue, are a different matter.

  • Elwood

    Someone once told me that all dollars are fungible. And laws can be changed. Some of that tax revenue stream now going to SS and Part A could be diverted to reduce the deficit and/or pay down the debt.

    And pigs will fly.

  • John W

    Re: #43

    You’re technically right Elwood. Congress could pass a law tomorrow immediately eliminating all Medicare and Social Security benefits while keeping all the payroll taxes. Heck, they could even cancel the programs and double the payroll taxes. We’ll have a human colony on Jupiter before that ever happens.

  • Elwood

    I’m looking forward to life on Jupiter.

    The hydrogen atmosphere might take a little getting used to but the moons would be lovely.

  • Truthclubber

    @ 40 —

    Yo, @$$hole — first it was @ 24 “I (Truthclubber) have my head up my bunghole”, and now it’s “Sorry about the link.” to someone who proves through repetition just how f’ked and delusional you are — what a jack@$$ you are:

    Here’s the original post to refresh your dementia-addled, Alzheimer-riddled mind, you @$$hole and FAUX News Bush-licker:

    Yo, Hellwoody — way to go, jack@$$ — here’s what we get from your wonderous http://tinyurl.com/3lt6rp6 link:


    Sorry, Forbidden.
    You don’t have permission to access this URL on this server.

    Please check the URL for proper spelling and capitalization. If you’re having trouble locating a destination on Yahoo!, try visiting the Yahoo! home page or look through a list of Yahoo!’s online services. Also, you may find what you’re looking for if you try searching below.


  • Elwood

    Help is available for your problem.

    Have you ever considered availing yourself of it and getting a life, liar boy?

  • Elwood


    “It would have helped if President Barack Obama had come forth with a forceful, realistic plan to revive the economy and significantly reduce deficit spending as the economy improves. Instead, he sought to place blame on the tea party, European financial woes, the Japanese earthquake and the competence of S&P.

    Certainly, there is blame to share among all of the above. But the huge increase in federal spending, an ineffective stimulus policy, poorly devised banking reforms and a lack of direction from the White House also contributed to a flagging economy.

    While the economy is weak, we do not expect nor advocate immediate debt-reduction with massive spending cuts or higher taxes. But we do expect better leadership from the president along with more pragmatism and bipartisan cooperation in Congress.”