Just before midnight, Wednesday, November 10, 2010, Pacific West Coast time:
Just when you really wanted to effing just go to bed and bury your head in a pillow for the next 24 hours, White House top advisor (at this hour….) David Axelrod has been tasked with imparting this cheery news: The George W. Bush Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest, began at the beginning of the Afghan and Iraq wars (2001 and 2003) due to expire at the end of the year, are alive and well, and won’t be rescinded after all. Yay Chicago Neoliberal Ekonomists !
White House Gives In On Bush Tax Cuts
“We have to deal with the world as we find it,” Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. “The world of what it takes to get this done.”
“There are concerns,” he added, that Congress will continue to kick the can down the road in the future by passing temporary extensions for the wealthy time and time again. “But I don’t want to trade away security for the middle class in order to make that point.”
Axelrod said the President would not comment on the Deficit, aka the Catfood Commision’s, draconium domestic spending cut proposals until the report is formally finished and presented on December 1. A preliminary report by the Presidential appointed co chairs, Simpson and Bowles, was released earlier today.
Oh, and that story I deconstructed earlier, http://docudharma.com/diar… that the Cable News Peeps were sort of ignoring or downplaying earlier this evening, from Tuesday’s McClatchy, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/201… which quoted “administration and military officials” about the change in the timeline for beginning withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan ? Axelrod walked it back.
Meanwhile, on the war in Afghanistan — an expensive and increasingly unpopular conflict — Axelrod pushed back hard against the notion, floated in some recent stories quoting “senior administration sources,” that the deadline for beginning troop withdrawals had been pushed back from July 2011 to some time in 2014.
“If it is being sourced to senior administration officials, than someone has bad administration sources,” Axelrod said. “There is no change in the president’s position. There is no change in that basic commitment.”
Well, look at the McClatchy story link again.
….administration and military officials have told McClatchy.
So far, the U.S. Central Command, the military division that oversees Afghanistan operations, hasn’t submitted any kind of withdrawal order for forces for the July deadline, two of those officials told McClatchy.
…. said one senior administration official.
….. one Pentagon advisor said
…. on Tuesday, a White House official who spoke with reporters in a conference call
“Bad administration sources ?”
This was a very coordinated trial balloon that fell like a lump of lead. Or the guy left babysitting the press at the Oval Office in DC, Axelrod, is either out of the loop, or trying to spin it as nothing to see here.
Axelrod has lots of practice at spinning. In March 2008, Businessweek wrote “The Secret Side of David Axelrod, a master of astroturfing who has a second firm that shapes public opinion for corporations.”
The website is here http://askps.com/whatwedo.php altho Axelrod’s name is not on the masthead now, they continue to specialize in “a disciplined focus on message development and message delivery.” And they create lots of front groups for clients to do that.
From the same address in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Axelrod operates a second business, ASK Public Strategies, that discreetly plots strategy and advertising campaigns for corporate clients to tilt public opinion their way. He and his partners consider virtually everything about ASK to be top secret, from its client roster and revenue to even the number of its employees. But customers and public records confirm that it has quarterbacked campaigns for the Chicago Children’s Museum, ComEd, Cablevision, and AT&T.
Eric Sedler, 39, a former public relations director at AT&T and corporate-reputation specialist at PR giant Edelman, is the “S” in ASK and the company’s managing partner. The “K” is John Kupper, 51, a former congressional press secretary and ad-industry consultant…
In politics, Axelrod’s AKP&D is as partisan as they come. But ASK travels easily across the aisle. Gene Reineke, head of Hill & Knowlton’s Chicago office and former chief of staff for Republican Governor Jim Edgar, says his PR firm shared ComEd as a client and now works with ASK on the Children’s Museum. “Their firm is outstanding,” he says. “I think it’s one of the best in the field, to be honest.”
Here’s another version, in the New York Times, with names you might recognize. Of course they were out of the bleeping country when they said it. Maybe we should check with Julian Assange of wikileaks ?
US Tweaks Message on Troops in Afghanistan
Nov 10, 2010 By Elisabeth Bumiller
In a move away from President Obama’s deadline of July 2011 for the start of an American drawdown from Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all cited 2014 this week as the key date for handing over the defense of Afghanistan to the Afghans themselves. Implicit in their message, delivered at a security and diplomatic conference in Australia, was that the United States would be fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan for at least four more years.
The 2014 date will be a focus at a NATO summit meeting that Mr. Obama is to attend next week in Lisbon, Portugal, where the alliance is to be presented with a transition plan, drawn up by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top NATO commander in Afghanistan, that calls for a gradual four-year shifting of security responsibility to the Afghans. Administration officials said that the document had no timetable for specific numbers of troop withdrawals and instead set forth the conditions that had to be met in crucial provinces before NATO forces could hand off security to the Afghans.
per the NYT, another “WH spokesman,” Tommy Vietor, insisted that there had been absolutely “no change” to the original drawdown policy. And a “White House official” said that “we’re bringing some clarity to the policy of our future in Afghanistan.”
To paraphrase Bush’s Secretary of Unpreparedness, Rumsfeld:
You go to war with the tax rate you have, not the tax rate you might want or wish to have at a later time.
Even if it will add $700 billion more to that deficit the Republicans and the Catfood Commisssion are baying about.
update Thurs And we already have some “Democratic” Senators indicating a willingness to put Social Security on the table because of their “concern” for the deficit.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) on Thursday said Congress should consider all of the proposals coming from President Obama’s fiscal commission, including the controversial proposals to reform Social Security.
In a phone interview with The Hill, Udall said the 50-page proposal released Wednesday by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), the chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, should be seriously considered even though “none of them are going to be very popular.”
“This is going to be a very painful process. But we must bring down the deficit and the debt, and everything needs to be on the table.
edited to add link to orig story Huffpo
and links to business week article on Axelrod and his old PR firm, ASK
edited thurs to add link from The Hill about Udall and from FDL