It became class warfare when “rich” became a synonym for “Republican”

Catching up on some of my favorite writers today, I came across this blog post by Matt Taibbi from last week about what a supreme douchebag that is David Brooks.

I’m not interested in that, so much as this:

The premise of the piece was that he, Brooks, was a “sap” for believing Barack Obama when Obama pledged, after his election, to rise above partisanship and “move beyond the stale ideological debates that have paralyzed this country.” For Brooks, “rising above partisanship” always means “not criticizing the rich,” so you can kind of guess where he’s going with this article.

The implication of that criticism from Brooks is that “Republican” and “rich” are now completely interchangeable in the context of politics, such that “attacking” or criticizing the rich is now highly partisan, and ipso facto a dishonest political game safely categorized and dismissed as part of the right-vs-left paradigm where all the deeply un-serious ideological extremists live.

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Once a reliable GOP bloc, American Muslims now backing Democrats in droves

78% of American Muslims voted Republican in the 2000 election. Then September 11th happened. Then conservatives added Muslims to their list of enemies to be discriminated against along with gays:

Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked an effort to repeal the ban on gays from serving openly in the military, handing gay rights groups a defeat in their last chance any time soon to overturn the law known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

And during one of the 2012 GOP debates:

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Almost half of GOP 2012 hopefuls are regular liars; lying correlates almost perfectly with radicalism

Nate Silver did something I’d been meaning to do for the last couple of weeks. He looked at the ratings for the top 2012 GOP candidates on Politifact to measure their relative truthiness.

The first and only response I’d expect to the following information from conservatives is to dismiss Politifact as liberally biased, as part of their epistemic closure problem. But that’s plainly false (one might even say PANTS ON FIRE) when you look at how many “true” ratings Politifact has done for Sarah Palin (10) and John Boehner (15), and “false” ratings for President Barack Obama (49). (To be fair to the President, Politifact has rated over 300 statements by him, so they’ve also rated 78 statements true and lot in between.)

Not to mention the fact that Politifact has a Pulitzer Prize for their excellence in journalism during the 2008 presidential campaign. That alone is going to make the right hate these guys.

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On PPP’s impeccable polling record and Elizabeth Warren booting Scott Brown

Conservatives that dismiss polling results because they don’t like the results are easy to embarrass because of the ease of availability of pollster records online. Public Policy Polling (PPP) is criticized by the right (and no one else) for being associated with the Democratic Party, but the Wall Street Journal found PPP to be the most accurate pollster of the 2008 presidential election. Nate Silver, a respected statistician and founder of FiveThirtyEight has also found PPP to be one of the more accurate pollsters in recent times.

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Despite 40% job approval, Obama still leading (and in some cases stomping) GOP 2012 field

Mitt Romney

With all the talk about President Obama’s declining job approval rating, few media outlets are reporting that Obama is also leading the entire field of 2012 Republican candidates in polls. A generic ballot poll is one where one candidate is tested against an unnamed opponent to test that candidate’s strength against an ideology or party as a whole. It’s like asking do you like this Democratic candidate’s ideas, or what you’re hearing from the other party?

On the generic ballot, Obama is leading in every poll except Rasmussen’s, which has credibility problems. The average lead with Rasmussen is just half a point. Without them it’s three points. In fact Rasmussen is the only poll to show a generic Republican candidate leading Obama on RCP. NBC News/Wall Street Journal, USA Today/Gallup, and Pew Research all have Obama leading by 3-4 points and none of those pollsters had the problems in 2010 that Rasmussen had.

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